There are things in this world that we can’t control. Can’t change. Can’t even understand. For me, that something that is constantly haunting my soul is my abusive biological father. And its something I’ve obviously struggled with for a long time.
We walked on eggshells when we were at his house. Nature became our sanctuary.
My parents divorced when I was 7. The majority reason being that my father was verbally and emotionally abusive to my mother. She won’t tell me too much and I don’t fully remember any time before my parents divorced. I remember the abuse starting afterwards. Most likely my mother shielded me from seeing or feeling most of it. But recently our discussions of the past, bring to light that she may not have know about it at all.
I don’t remember the first time my father hit me.
Speaking about this now that I have a daughter is making the pain tenfold. It was one thing when it was just me. Another thing when it was my baby brother. And something completely and utterly unthinkable when I think about my precious daughter. She makes me ache. Her birth actually brought a lot of this back to the surface because it made me realize just how awful that is/was.
I do remember the last time my father hit me.
I was around 15 or so. I don’t think I could drive yet. He was dropping me off at my aunt’s where I worked on her farm. As I recall, we were looking for my cousin(boss)-there were a few greenhouses to look in – and I had yelled her name to see if she was hiding in one. Wham! Right across my beautiful, youthful freckled cheek.
I didn’t tell my mother what was going on until years later.
I don’t remember the verbal exchange that took place. Something to the effect of that he didn’t appreciate me yelling. Like we were in the fucking Library of Congress. Not his sister’s privately owned garden business in the middle of nowhere. But it wouldn’t have mattered if we were standing in front of a lion foaming at the mouth with rabies, waiting to be eaten.
It was the last time he would hit me, but not the last time he would hurt me.
I’ve spent years struggling with the “proper” emotions. I’ve refused to talk to him or about him. I’ve “forgiven” him because the anger/hatred was eating at me. I’ve reached out to repair our relationship. I’ve invited him to my house. I’ve not told him that I have a daughter. I’ve sought therapy. I’ve written letters to him I’ll never send. I’ve written poems about that black hole in my life.
His hands were weapons. Shattering my fragile sense of worth.
They weren’t his only weapons though. I vaguely remember that he used a twig/branch one time. Honestly, I wonder if I blocked most of these memories out for self-preservation. It angers me though that I can’t remember clearly….almost makes me believe him when he tells me it never happened. NOT.
He bought me a leather jacket to make up for hitting me.
Only now, do I realize how manipulative he was. I don’t remember him ever saying “I’m sorry.” Because he wasn’t. His temper was notorious. It was always sneaky ways of making it up to us that a child doesn’t realize. He took us to theme parks, movies, shopping, fast food, and such. This was a big deal because we lived in a rural area and because our mom didn’t really do those things with us. We never really “told” on him to mom. Biggest regret.
April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. This post is cathartic for me. Isn’t admitting it the first step? But mostly its to make others aware. It happens. So much more than we think or are willing to talk about. I’m thankful that my situation wasn’t worse, but it did a lifetime of damage to two children – so I can’t imagine how others feel.
This is me standing up saying you aren’t alone. You aren’t at fault. You aren’t less because this happened TO you. You aren’t defined by this.
The cycle stops here.