I Survived Child Abuse for Years—Here’s What Everyone Gets Wrong About It

Erin Cole was six months old when her parents divorced caused her life to spiral out of control. Read on to learn how she not only overcame years of abuse and trauma but also used her troubled past to fuel her dreams.


She can’t remember a time when abuse and neglect didn’t affect her life, and yet entrepreneur, designer, and author Erin Cole has found a way to beat the odds. She hasn’t just survived; she’s thrived.

Cole’s parents divorced during her infancy, and her mother’s alcoholism set the family down a path of destruction. When her mother married a man Cole refers to as “Captain Jack,” things only got worse. Her new stepfather suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and often flew into fits of rage—with Cole and her siblings becoming his targets. (That’s Cole, above left, with her sister Jenna McCarthy, and below, on the right, with McCarthy.)

Between the beatings with tree branches, periods of starvation, and being locked out of her home overnight from the time she was five years old, Cole became desperate for a way out. She found it through self-reliance and the words of her caring grandmother, her primary lifeline in the turbulent waters of her childhood. Cole’s memoir, The Size of Everything, shares her journey from a life of pain to the incredible success she enjoys today as a celebrated designer with collections featured around the world.

Read the full story at Readers Digest

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