Michael McLaughlin’s Story

July 11, 2011

News and Stories

Glancing at the tall young man seated at table 28 at Family Resource Center’s Gala Dinner, one would never imagine that Michael McLaughlin’s childhood was a nightmare of physical and psychological abuse. And that’s fine with Michael.  As he will tell you proudly, he is not a victim: he is the face of hope; he is a survivor.

Michael was just ten years old when routine abuse turned into something that would be etched into his forehead and seared into his mind for the rest of his life. That day his mother beat him unconscious with a lamp and left him alone to deal with the gaping wound and the stares of his teachers and classmates. Looking back on the experience, Michael puzzles over the fact that no one stepped in to help.  If only Family Resource Center had been there then, he says, they would have recognized the signs of abuse —  they would have interceded.

He has similar musings as he recalls being kicked out of his home repeatedly over the next 6 years.  He grew accustomed to the platitudes of the police and school counselors who assured him that “parents say those things, but they don’t really mean it” and, even worse, “you must have done something to deserve it.”  In contrast, he says, no one at FRC has ever defended his parents’ abuse or laid a guilt trip on him.

Finally, at age 16, Michael left his home for the last time and “never looked back.”  He lived in a car at a truck stop near his high school in Joliet, Illinois, in order to graduate, and then moved into an unheated camper at a local campground while he pursued his dream of a college degree.  Michael is happily married now and  is completing graduate studies at Washington University in St. Louis.

Although not a client of Family Resource Center, Michael agreed to work with us to create a video telling his story so that “I can show other kids who have had difficult childhoods that there is hope for them.”   It is our hope that Michael’s story will inspire you, and that Family Resource Center will be here for other abused children like Michael so they too can follow their dreams.

You can hear more about Michael’s journey by watching the video below:

Do you have a story of hope and survival like Michael? Were you inspired by Michael’s story? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment, or contact us via email.