What It Was Like to Be the Favorite

Photo by Artur Aldyrkhanov on Unsplash

I learned the ins and outs of lying at a very young age.

I was taught that in some cases, it was the easiest way to go about life. Little white lies could spare you from many inconveniences.

The biggest lie that I ever pulled off was a lie about love.

When I was very young, my parents divorced as many do. After the split, my mother met a man over the internet that many of my family members disapproved of. My mother got custody of my sister and me soon after she met him.

The first year was okay. My sister and I dreamed about parent trapping the man out of our lives. As time went on, all I could do was pray.

I’ll spare you the details, but my step-father was very mentally and verbally abusive. There were constant fits, which slowly tore apart trust within our family.

Seeing all of this chaos, I reverted back to the lessons I learned in lying. I made up my mind to finally call this man “dad.” I would say that I loved him and be kind. I would not put up a fight. I would be perfect. It was exhausting.

I became the favorite of his — on occasion during fights he would tell me that my sister and mother were a deadweight to myself and him.

My lie provided me safety and a bit more peace of mind. I got yelled at much less. I got less flak for being me. My sister was constantly degraded by him, and I slipped by unscathed.

My lie also ruined my spirit. I had conditioned myself to be unable to speak up for myself when I deserved it. It stopped me from confronting those fears head-on.

It wasn’t until he left when I could finally confront the situation — kind of. I wrote out the longest letter, detailing how horrible he was. I signed it, addressed it, but never sent it off.

The honesty within that letter let me forgive him and myself. I was able to come to terms with the harm that those lies brought to my life. Being the favorite didn’t help me, it exhausted me.

Lies poison you, and truth is the only antidote.

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Journalism student at the University of Kansas | Ghosted in America Podcast Host

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Abby Peeler

Abby Peeler

Journalism student at the University of Kansas | Ghosted in America Podcast Host

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