CHAPTER ONE – THE EARLY YEARS
It was once very different. I used to adore him. I was ‘Daddy’s girl’ and I was happy to be.
My early childhood was a nightmare. Fighting and arguing were a day to day occurrence in our household. My parents have hated each other for as long as I know. Occasionally there would be flickers of a normal life and I would convince myself that we were just a typical middle-class family, everybody fights, right? But within moments my dream of normality would be destroyed.
My sister and I hardly grew up in the best of environments; it was like a battleground. And although I never actually saw any violence, I knew it existed.
From a young age, I never saw what love was. Witnessing other parents together, holding hands, kissing and showing each other the simplest forms of affection, made me question, why an earth can’t my parents do the same? They never touched.
Once, on a Mother’s day, just after my eighth birthday, I remember dragging my father into my mother’s bedroom (they’d been sleeping in separate bedrooms since I was born) and physically making him hold her. He may’ve given her a small peck but I can’t be sure I didn’t imagine it. My mother cried. I didn’t understand that. But I do now; she was crying out of hope. A nonexistent hope that he might change or he might just care.
I certainly saw what hate was. My mother detested my father and as I thought he was some kind of hero, I resented her. She and my sister had the closest of bonds. I could not see how a mother could favour one daughter over another how she could open her heart to my sister but leave it closed to me. I never knew how my mother truly felt about my father until later. She never spoke to me. She had my sister. I craved her love and attention but never received what I ached for. Instead my father was there, smothering me with all the attention I could want. I regularly vented my frustrations to him about my mother and sister. He should have taken this as an opportunity to piece the family back together but to him this was the crucial time to tear it apart.
We became two sides of a very unhealthy team, each ganging up on the other when all I wanted was to be united. In my eyes my mother did not love me, I gradually became hypnotised by my father’s abundant lifestyle and deluded version of love for his daughter and slowly my mother and I drifted further apart. She could not break the barrier he had enclosed around me. I had trapped myself in his love, believing he was true to his promises, trusting him as any daughter would trust their father.