My father often used old phrases to describe the way I “treated” him. He regularly told me this particular saying, accusing me of being ungrateful to the very person who has offered me so much help over the years.
Another favourite of his was Beggars can’t be choosers. To him, I was always the beggar, living beyond my means, having hopes and aspirations and not being thankful for what he gave me. In my eyes, why would I be thankful for the hate he poured over me? Of course I wanted more for myself. However aspirations are not greedy but that is the way my father saw them. When giving birthday and Christmas gifts, my father would say this phrase. Emphasizing that I “must not be so shallow in life” even before I had uttered a word.
It was made very clear to me early on that he believed me to be the Black Sheep of The Family. That had never been a surprise. I always felt apart from them. My father just continued this feeling as I grew into a young woman. He reiterated that I had no identity, that no one wanted me alive, that I was a mistake and should never have been born. He once said that he wished my mother’s previous miscarriage before me hadn’t happened. At least then he’d have a boy and I would never have been born.
I was a Chip Off The Shoulder in reference to my mother. This was another condescending insult from him. He would say this through his frequents moments of belittling. Usually it’d be uttered in the throws of laughter. He laughed at me a lot. I was a big joke to him, he made that very clear.
I spent my time trying to Pull the Wool over his Eyes. I was deceitful, untrustworthy and dangerous. He created me to be the devil. Every move I made had to be questioned. Nothing I did held integrity. He doubted my entire being.
The time’s I dared to answer him back left me Skating on Thin Ice. He would always give me warnings. Warnings that led to the abuse. Rarely would his warning be calm or parental. They were often as bad as the punishment. If I had pushed him to feel even slightly aggravated by me, then I was deserving of the hell he would relay on me.
Occasionally, my father would attempt sarcasm. He always failed miserably as he regularly got confused often mixing up the meanings with the phrases. For example, he would joke that I should not give up my day job if I was ever “kind” to him. It was unbelievable to him that I could be a kind and genuine person and that my intentions were pure. To him, I always had an ulterior motive.
When “deliberately provoking” him, I would be told to let sleeping dogs lie. Obviously it was entirely my fault if the abuser exploded. His cliché of a warning should have been enough to stop me immediately but being the stubborn bull that I was, things were not that easy. He was preparing me with that idiom. Preparing me for hell.
To make a long story short, I try not to use clichés now.