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The Vivian

My church counselor. She saw that I was not loved, brought up in an atheist state by a physically violent narcissistic father and an absent mother. She showed me that I deserve unconditional love. She was never the one to talk a lot but was always driving us around, organizing support groups, camps, and learning opportunities. Many youths who had my upbringing develop unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse or suicide ideation. She couldn't rip me out of my family for lack of resources and for the fact that I was caught in a classic abuser-survivor dynamic: I was deeply in love with my perpetrator.

 

It would have taken me fourteen years from then to be emotionally separated from my perpetrator. However, Vivian made sure that I was safe every time I came to Church. She made sure that I was fed and nobody was bossing me around or bothering me. She made sure that I could come once a week for an hour or so just to be a kid. She saved my life. Everything was made possible when Vivian set an example of what safety feels like to me. She did so without much talking. And she is the person I want to be when I grow up.

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