Tonight's special guest is Tammy Shoffstall from Wilmington Island, Georgia, an abuse survivor and long-time NAASCA supporter who's telling her story for us for the first time. Tammy was the second child in an abusive marriage between a teenage mother and a soldier father who died when she was a toddler. Her mom went back home to live with her grandparents. "I was a burden to my grandmother and she often stated that this world would be better off if I had never been born," Tammy says. In this home she was physically, verbally, and emotionally abused by her maternal grandmother. "As a child and to this day, I struggle to understand why my grandmother chose to abuse me." When she was eight her mother re-married, but one night her stepfather said he was going to teach her 'about life.' "I fought for a while," Tammy reports, "then I stopped and turned to stone." The same step father went on to groom and sexually abused her sister for years. Tammy's marriage was very abusive, too. She says, "I was financially strapped. My husband raped me several times" She divorced him in her early 30's and went back to school. "I earned my bachelor, my master's, and am currently working on my doctorate." Tammy considers her healing journey a work in progress. "I learned to stop looking for someone to love me. I made it a personal quest to find people to love and eventually people will love me back." She concludes, "I transitioned from victim, to survivor, and am evolving into warrior. Being a warrior means helping others who are struggling with abuse or the effects of past abuse. One can linger in victim mode forever, but transitioning to survivor will allow healing to occur."
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