September 24, 2013

Leaving Abuse, and Sometimes Family, Behind


Today, Patrick shares about his agonizing decision to break ties with his family, but how, ultimately, this led to his healing. It has been a great pleasure to have Patrick on. Be sure to leave him a note if something he has shared has made a difference for you!

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As an adult survivor of child abuse I decided to break ties from my birth family, that decision may come as a shock to people in my social circles.  From the outside of my family circle—and even within it, at times—everything looked perfect, tidy, and loving.  To those who gazed at my birth family, the portrait of a good and loving family is all they saw.

In that light, the decision to break away may seem out of nowhere.  However, that life-changing, painful decision has not come lightly.  I agonized over the decision, discussed it with my psychiatrist, and also have gone back to analyze all the years of small events and large ones leading to this drastic measure. 

And when I, the adult survivor of child abuse, separated myself from my birth family, it often upset my family’s self-image, reputation, or order of business, which led to a backlash from relatives and friends.

In my case, I found mutual friends or family members not believing my account of my upbringing.  Typical comments I received were similar to other victims of child abuse including:

“No, you appeared at times to be happy, obedient child!  You never said anything about being abused.”

(Abused children are very often difficult to detect for they appear to be well-behaved, at times cheery children.  Those children are often desperate for approval and love, which means they will be on their best behavior all the time in the hopes of winning their family's love.)

“Why didn’t you say anything before?”

(Abused children often do not make the realization of their abuse until they are adults.  Psychologists say this is because the child must adopt a sense of denial in order to survive their childhood.  For example, how could a child cope with the realization that they lack love, support, and warmth from the very people who are suppose to give them that?  A child may have a feeling of soul-crushing depression and loneliness, but he will bury those feeling in order to survive the day to day of their childhood.)

My abuse didn’t stop when I was a child; it extended into my adult life. I suffered anxiety, low self-esteem and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) due to the traumatic child abuse and bullying I endured throughout my life.  I never thought I’d be able to live a normal life again.

Like most abused children, I gravitated into abusive relationships… verbal abuse, black eye, scratch marks, bleeding nose, and broken arm.  You tend to feel that abuse is all you know, and in some ways, I felt in these relationships I could help my spouse/partner become a better person.  I felt that when they abused me, maybe I deserved it because it was all I knew my entire life.

Several times I wondered why did I blame myself so much? I wanted to scream to the world, "I want to be free even if it takes my life."  I did attempt suicide once as a teenager and then again as an adult just a few years ago.  My attempt a few years ago was impeded by the thought of leaving my daughter without a father.

Now I speak about my past, being a survivor of child abuse and bullying.  Change is what happens when I realized that I can talk about my abuse/bullying and make a difference in this world and impact the lives of other victims.  My goal is to be an example of how and when to talk about the issues of child abuse and bullying and how we can prevent or stop it.  My main message is always awareness.

I’ve decided to stop the cycle of abuse in my life by speaking up.  It changed my life!  Once I started talking about my abuse, I started to heal. If I can do it, so can you. 

I’m now a survivor of child abuse and years of bullying.  I’m now a nationally recognized Child Advocate seeking to promote increased awareness of child abuse and bullying, and deliver a message of hope for victims.

I’m saddened to say that my mother recently passed away a sudden death and it was painful for me to deal with because she was the last link that held me to my family.  I attended her wake but before my siblings and extended relatives came to the funeral home.  I went with my daughter to say goodbye for the last time together to my mom.  Later that day, my partner and I had all of our friends and extended family to our home to celebrate my mother’s life the way she would have wanted.

I’ve requested that my family no longer have any contact with me.  As my psychiatrist advised me, they are toxic to me and if I allow them into my life they take control over me.  I pray for them and have forgiven them for the pain and hurt they have caused me.  I let them go and said goodbye.


My soon to release book is for millions of victims on the path to recovery, I AM ME – Survivor of child abuse and bullying speaks out is the next step.       

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Patrick has now broken his silence and has written a memoir about the abuse and bullying he endured from an older brother throughout his childhood and adult life. The memoir is also a torturous coming out story of a man raised in the midst of a devout Catholic family whose members he loved and spent years trying to please by realizing their dreams for him. He attempted suicide twice, and found freedom and himself one day in three simple words: “I have survived.”

In living to please others, Patrick married twice and today is the proud father of a beautiful and loving 16 year old daughter. Recently, he met a man he loves and is now sharing his life with his partner. Now an advocate for several organizations devoted to preventing childhood abuse and bullying. Available as a public speaker to help victims of abuse and bullying.

Patrick graduated with a BA in Broadcast Communications from Columbia College in Chicago. 


Website www.youandmecanstopbullies.com

September 18, 2013

Understanding the Impact of Bullying


Today, Patrick shares more about the impact of bullying and what we can do about it!

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Every child deserves a happy, healthy and loving environment to grow up in.  Together we can protect children from abuse, neglect and bullying and lead each child into a brighter future. 

America’s children suffer from a hidden epidemic.  Every year over 3 million children are victims of violence and neglect, and those are only the ones that are reported.  Because this epidemic is so under-reported, the actual number of children being harmed is 3 times greater.

And every day 1 out of 7 kids and teens are approached online by predators, 1 out of 4 kids are bullied.  Depending on the age group, 43% of students say they have been digitally harassed.  9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school and online.  8% of students miss at least 1 day of class per month for fear of Bullies Suicides as a result of bullying are senseless.  No one deserves to be bullied for any reason.

“A lot of parents still think it’s just kids being kids, that it’s a rite of passage or that every kid has to go through a time of being tormented by their peers in order to build character,” says Patrick Dati, owner of You and Me Can Stop Bullies.  “That’s totally false.  We know that it’s very harmful; it actually is peer abuse.”

Unchecked peer abuse can lead to devastating results for children who are bullied.  Children who bully and children who witness the abuse also are at risk for long-term problems.  Those who observe bullying behavior may feel unsafe, powerless to act, guilty for not acting or may even be enticed to participate.  Students who bully others often end up participating in more antisocial behavior – including criminal activity – at an early age.

Wherever groups of children interact, bullying has a way of rearing its head.  The phenomenon is widespread­­­­­­­­­­­­­­—but it’s also avoidable.  Schools can take action against bullying behavior by working to change culture.  With focus and commitment, anti-bullying programs can lead to long-term change.

Bullying affects a reported 15 to 25 percent of students in the United States.  It can be physical, verbal or psychological.  It is characterized by an imbalance of power, repeated incidents between the same children, and intent to cause distress or harm.

And harm it does.  Victimization can have profound effects on children’s physical, psychological, and emotional health.  And these effects can carry over to schools and communities.  Every day, more than 160,000 students miss school for fear of being bullied.  Prolonged attacks may lead bullied students to drop out of school permanently, abuse drugs, develop violent or antisocial behaviors, or grow dependent on public assistance—societal costs that could have been avoided if bullying were stopped.

Many school leaders see bullying behavior as a problem without a solution.  A rite of passage.  Just part of growing up.  But recent research into the long-term consequences of bullying reveals an issue schools can no longer afford to ignore.

For an anti-bullying program to work, educators have to know exactly what they’re up against.  The program can begin with an anonymous student questionnaire.  This helps educators identify when, where, and among which groups of students bullying is most prevalent—allowing schools to respond accordingly.

Teacher-facilitated discussions with all students (not just those who bully or are victimized) clarify the parameters for interacting with others.  This is more effective than a teacher intervening only after a problem occurs.  The program also provides educators with research-based “scripts” for talking with students, allowing them to speak and handle issues with confidence.

How bullying behavior develops is a complicated issue because of the multitude of factors that can contribute to its development.  The media, cultural issues, temperament, as well as genetic influences probably play a role.  However, parent styles and what parents’ model at home has a lot to do with the messages that children receive from adults.  I often ask parents how conflict with their spouse is experienced by their children.  Does one parent always win and does one parent always lose a battle?  Does one parent always win by using strong authoritarian strategies?  Children observe the way their parents fight, and will either identify with the winner or the loser.  An aggressive child may see that winning through aggression will eventually get you what you want, whereas a child who may be passive may be intimidated and frightened by the aggression.  This child may run away from aggression and identify with empathy, concern and compassion to the parent who is on the losing end of the conflict.

Parenting styles have much to do with how your child “learns to bully”.  Parents who have very strict boundaries, and do not leave a lot of room for children to be themselves may encourage a child to get angry and rebel at different places outside of the home.  These parents may not allow for children to develop caring and empathetic responses, which can further contribute to bullying behavior.  These children may lack remorse for being aggressive because they experience this as normal behavior.  Unfortunately, the combination of aggression and lack of empathy can all be part of bullying.





Check back next week for the conclusion of Patrick's story..


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Patrick has now broken his silence and has written a memoir about the abuse and bullying he endured from an older brother throughout his childhood and adult life. The memoir is also a torturous coming out story of a man raised in the midst of a devout Catholic family whose members he loved and spent years trying to please by realizing their dreams for him. He attempted suicide twice, and found freedom and himself one day in three simple words: “I have survived.”

In living to please others, Patrick married twice and today is the proud father of a beautiful and loving 16 year old daughter. Recently, he met a man he loves and is now sharing his life with his partner. Now an advocate for several organizations devoted to preventing childhood abuse and bullying. Available as a public speaker to help victims of abuse and bullying.

Patrick graduated with a BA in Broadcast Communications from Columbia College in Chicago. 


Website www.youandmecanstopbullies.com

September 10, 2013

Coming Clean About My Double Life--Part 2


Today we hear Part 2 of Patrick's story about coming out to his family and surviving an abusive relationship.

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The story goes on.  I realized during my teens I was gay but hid, because I knew my family would never accept me nor could I figure out how to even act out on my feelings.  As years went on, I learned how to please everyone that loved me because I was afraid to disappoint them.  Although I had gay feelings, I never acted upon them because I did not want to lose my family and the people that loved me.

For the rest of my life I became a pro at pleasing everyone that loved me, not even thinking about myself or what made me happy.  It was more important to please everyone else and just put my own feelings aside. It was easier and pleased the people that loved me.  Deep down inside I began to hate myself and did not care about living.  I wished at times to be hit by a truck or shot by a gang member just to put myself out of the life I created, which was not what I chose.

To make a long story short, I married two women and lived the life everyone else expected of me, pretending I was happy.  The one wonderful gift I got out of it all was a daughter, and I thank God every day for allowing me to be her father.  I tried so hard for many years to be normal (what was normal for my family) but deep down inside I was dying.  I hated myself.  Finally at one point I met a wonderful man named Derrick. 

I introduced him to the family as my friend.  Derrick was in love with me and begged me to come out and marry him and share a life together.  He made me so happy, but when it came to making my decision to share my life with him I walked away.  I knew my family would not accept my life as a gay man so I walked away from the first man that made me happy.

A few years later after hiding my sexuality from my family, I met my ex-partner (big mistake).  He was not the person I wanted to be with because I knew he was bad for me, but he did give me the confidence to stand up for myself and come out.  God I wish it could have been with anyone else but with him to come out to, my family but life deals the cards and you just go with the game.  Well the next few years my ex-partner drained me of my life and almost every dime I earned.  I had to leave my condo home that I finally purchased on my own to move back with my brother, mom and dad.  My life meant nothing any more.  I have a beautiful daughter the love of my life, but inside I felt empty and every day felt like it just should end.  I did not want to go on anymore.  When my Dad was dying, my brother was out of work, and mom was doing her best to keep things going, but I just wanted to end it all.  I began to act out and doing things that never was the norm for me.  I started to indulge into over the counter drugs and drinking way too much.  I did not care about life and nothing mattered except to please my family.

Throughout our childhood and adult life my brother picked on me and at times beat me up.  He may have felt it was sibling rivalry but to me it was hurt and pain.  I was frightened of him my entire life and at times thought he would kill me because he hated me.  Last February my brother and I got into an argument.

That night my brother said in front of our mother and niece that I was a faggot and he hated me his entire life and then threatened to kill me if I did not leave.  That day I relived the day of being raped at 9 years old.  A man had threatened to kill to have sex with me and then I came home where my older brother who was responsible for taking care of me beat me up.  That day this past February was an awakening for me.  I decided that I would never again live with any more violence and abuse.  I hid my entire life from abuse and bullying and will no longer let it back into my life.

I have moved on with my life.  It is not the life my family would like for me but it is the life I have always wanted.  I have fallen in love with a wonderful warm man.  He loves me completely for me and we have begun to build a happy life together.




Check back next week for Part 3 of Patrick's story..


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Patrick has now broken his silence and has written a memoir about the abuse and bullying he endured from an older brother throughout his childhood and adult life. The memoir is also a torturous coming out story of a man raised in the midst of a devout Catholic family whose members he loved and spent years trying to please by realizing their dreams for him. He attempted suicide twice, and found freedom and himself one day in three simple words: “I have survived.”

In living to please others, Patrick married twice and today is the proud father of a beautiful and loving 16 year old daughter. Recently, he met a man he loves and is now sharing his life with his partner. Now an advocate for several organizations devoted to preventing childhood abuse and bullying. Available as a public speaker to help victims of abuse and bullying.

Patrick graduated with a BA in Broadcast Communications from Columbia College in Chicago. 


Website www.youandmecanstopbullies.com

September 4, 2013

Coming Clean About My Double Life--Part 1


I am so excited for this month's series by Patrick Dati, author, public speaker, advocate, and beyond survivor. Patrick is dedicated to changing the way we address abuse in the LBGT community and the often unspoken pain that results from bullying, and I know you are going to gain so much from his story.

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I hid most of my entire life to please my family and to forget the abuse and bullying. I have recently introduced my family to the real me, their gay son, brother, uncle and father. They only knew the person I showed everyone, the person I thought everyone else expected me to be. I lived a hidden life because it was a life I never came to terms with, never revealed and lived, until recently.

There are so many things I did not allow them to know about me and that is my fault because I could not deal with the life that was dealt to me. I was born the youngest child in a family of five children. During my first few years of life, I developed bronchitis, which caused me to be the sick kid in our family.

My mother spent a lot of time making sure I was taken care of getting me to the doctors for weekly shots. I think that this caused the rest of the kids in our family some resentment towards me because it drew additional attention on me. This caused much animosity between my next older sibling and me, to the point that he beat me out of revenge.


At about the age of 7 years old, I felt different from my brothers. I felt like I was not the same as other boys, and because I was too young, I could not figure it out. I felt the same around my own my boy cousins or kids in school. I did not feel the same as them and looking back I feel my brother may have sensed that I was gay before I did, and it made him feel different about me. I am not suggesting that, it is just the way I felt about us.

I remember that during our younger years mom put my older brother in charge of watching over me. This was a responsibility that I am not sure he was 100% interested in taking on, but he had no choice because mom and dad forced him. During this time when I was 9 years old a horrible nightmare happened to me that will never be erased from my mind.

It was a winter Saturday afternoon and my brother and I headed over to play at our cousin’s house. Down the block from their house was Goldblatt’s Department store. We decided to head over to Goldblatt’s to get out of the cold and get candy. We were just kids and we decided to hang out in the store and play hide and go seek. It was my turn to be the seeker and find the guys while they hid. A few minutes into the game I had to go to the bathroom. I remember mom and dad telling me not to use the public bathroom without being with them or my older brothers, but I had to go and could not find my brother.


This particular day would be one that changed my life for forever. This day I lost my innocence and would never be the same again. I will not replay the entire story because until this day I die inside reliving this event. I was raped this day in the bathroom at Goldblatt’s Department Store. After the attack I was left on the floor and felt like I was going to die, I picked myself up and ran home, not even remembering that my brother and cousin were still in the store. I just wanted to hide and forget that it happened, and the man that took my youth from me threatened to track me down and kill me if I spoke a word.

I ran home and went up to our bedroom and climbed into the closet and cried until my brother came home. When he entered the room he pulled me out of the closet and beat me up. He was mad because he was responsible for me, and I left. It was not his fault he did not know that an hour earlier a man a raped and attempted to kill me.

My family is now asking me, why didn’t you tell anyone, and why did you hide? Well the man told me if I said anything to anyone he would track me down and kill me and my family. I was a kid, I was frightened for my life and thought that my family and I would be at risk. Years later this decision of hiding this event would haunt me more than you could imagine and I cannot even tell you the details at this point.

That year in spring of 1972, I flunked the 3rd grade at the Public School and mom and dad transferred me to our parish Catholic School that next fall. You see, no one in our family saw what I was going through, but it was because I hid it. I was ashamed what had happened and started to feel that the rape became my fault and I lead this person to do this to me.

Strangely enough as the next few years went by, I started to feel I was not right in my skin. The odd thing is that I felt my brother knew this. I think because he teased me that I was a sissy and because I was not like him and my other brother made me feel even worse in my skin. I remember that at one point my friend Jeff and I were being bullied by a kid at school. He was calling us fags, and my brother caught wind of it and made me beat him up the next time he picked on me. My brother told me that if I did not beat him up he would beat me up. I hated that but wanted to make him proud. That was sick, but I did it so my big brother would be proud of me and accept me.


Check back next week for Part 2 of Patrick's story..


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Patrick has now broken his silence and has written a memoir about the abuse and bullying he endured from an older brother throughout his childhood and adult life. The memoir is also a torturous coming out story of a man raised in the midst of a devout Catholic family whose members he loved and spent years trying to please by realizing their dreams for him. He attempted suicide twice, and found freedom and himself one day in three simple words: “I have survived.”

In living to please others, Patrick married twice and today is the proud father of a beautiful and loving 16 year old daughter. Recently, he met a man he loves and is now sharing his life with his partner. Now an advocate for several organizations devoted to preventing childhood abuse and bullying. Available as a public speaker to help victims of abuse and bullying.

Patrick graduated with a BA in Broadcast Communications from Columbia College in Chicago. 


Website www.youandmecanstopbullies.com

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