2013: A review January – March.

Ten more days to go until the first day of 2014. Once again, another year of my life has flown by and I am looking back on quite a year. This time however, I get to look back and share it with a new group of people: my WordPress followers, readers and fellow bloggers. What a year it has been. Lets look back together.

JANUARY

On the 6th of January, I decided to begin a blog on WordPress. It was a dangerous and risky decision. It would expose a life I had hidden from many people for over fifteen years. It would reveal truths some people would rather not know. It would portray a man (who many trusted) to be an evil, ruthless, callous and hurtful father who destroyed his daughter’s soul. It would be my story, a story that provoked people I had not seen for years. People who felt it was necessary to “warn” me and give their advice. They made it clear that I should keep my personal life “private” and that I might “hurt people”. I made it clear back that I had not set out to hurt anyone. It was much more than that. It was closure. It was freedom. It was truth. It would be a chance to speak and finally be heard. It would be the best decision I had ever made (bar leaving him of course).

FEBRUARY

On the 4th of February I celebrated five years together with David. We set our anniversary from our first kiss. It was a moment that changed my life. Gone were the men who used me and took advantage of my loyal nature. A new man had walked into my life. Little did I know that day he would make me as happy as he does now.

During this month, I received an abundance of support from old school friends and past colleagues about the blog over Facebook. I was taken aback from their kind words and blown away by their words of encouragement. It meant so much to know that there was no judgement, that people could see into my past and believe it, acknowledge it and most of all – accept it.

MARCH

I celebrated my 31st birthday on the 2nd. David took me to a South African restaurant in Central London for dinner. It was decadent and adventurous. I felt a little out of my comfort zone but enjoyed it nonetheless. Unfortunately, the food didn’t sit well within me and after a day I began to have horrific stomach pains. Within moments I was nauseous and lying over the bathroom toilet. I thought I had food poisoning but it was a severe case of gastric flu. The week after my birthday was spent at home ill. To top it off, my virus passed onto David who joined me for most of the week holed up in bed. Well Happy Birthday to me!

On WordPress I recounted the triggers that remind me of my father and his abuse. Fruit, movies, plastic knives and forks, making beds and self-help books were the entries I made in March, they continued into April with Furniture stores and Toothpicks and table manners. These triggers still happen. If I see certain objects or hear a particular piece of music, if I visit a particular place or even hear a phrase he might have said; it propels me back to a specific time where life was frightening and upsetting every day. I become emotional very quickly and find it difficult to calm down. A panic attack can be the worst reaction to one of my triggers.

March was the month where a colleague questioned my “motives” for writing this blog. She accused me of taking “revenge” on my dead father. That it was unkind and unfair to do so. It surprised me that she could not empathise with my situation nor could she understand my reasons for revealing my truths. I was annoyed by it. I did not feel I should have to justify my choices and actions to her. She did not know my father. She had not met him. She only had her morals and principles and values to go on. I have morals. I have principles and values too. That is an important part of why I decided to do this, because of my values and principles. I would not be following them if I hid away and “forgave” him for all the hurt and pain he caused.

Dead or not, the truth will always shine through.

Pet peeves.

God there are some things in this world that really grate on me! Being British probably doesn’t help, we do enjoy a little moan now and again. I try not to let these annoyances get to me but it is very hard to control a reaction when I see them. My husband finds it amusing and after five and a half years together, he knows them all off by heart often looking over expecting me to complain.

Here follows my top 5 pet peeves.

In fifth place:

Impractical dressers.

I cannot stand seeing people wearing clothes that do not adhere to the seasons. I just can’t tell you how annoying it is to see someone during the British winter feel that it is appropriate to wear shorts or leave the house without a coat. It confuses me! Why do you think it is going to be hot outside just because you see sun?? If it’s raining, why are you leaving the house in sneakers or plimsolls? You know that they are not waterproof or watertight, you know that within ten minutes your feet will be soaking, so why do it?

In fourth place:

Spitting.

Aaaaarrrgghhh! Hate, hate, hate this with passion! Yes, I understand that footballers do this on the pitch, I get that, but for what reason are random people spitting in the street? I just detest it. I do not want to walk down the road and pass somebody bringing up phlegm, I mean that sound in itself is bad enough, but then to see it fly out of their mouth really takes the biscuit! Eurgh! It’s foul. Use a bloody tissue for god’s sake!

Third place goes to:

Prams. 

Okay, not prams in general, I have nothing against them but older kids in them. I have worked with children for the last seven years, I understand how they develop and what they are capable of. I can honestly tell you that a six year old child does not need to sit in a pram. So why do I see this happening all the time? They are not babies who cannot walk, they are extremely able. I suppose it deems for an easier life, for when that child kicks off, the parent can just place them in their pram. Why not put a dummy in their mouth too?? Wait – don’t get me started, I hate that too.

Another pram-related problem is watching parents overload their prams with shopping whilst their one year old babies toddle behind erratically. It is quite upsetting actually. I think it’s borderline abusive. Get a cab! Or carry your child! Just don’t downgrade them for your bags of shopping. Fine, we all need food but when the prams are filled with shopping bags from discount stores, well that’s the biggest joke!

In second place:

Never-changing celebrities.

By this I mean celebrities who have looked the same for many many years. Ones who are famed for looking a certain way and are holding onto the fact that it made them famous therefore keep that same look for the rest of their lives. God does it annoy me! Embrace the change! I find it both hilarious and sad when I witness it. I feel sorry for them that their only identity is one from thirty years ago. It is a huge pet peeve.

But not as much as my number one:

Sunglasses on the tube.

THERE IS NO SUN ON THE UNDERGROUND YOU IDIOTS!

That basically sums it up.

Hate it and have to bite my lip not to react to it.

I don’t have pet peeves; I have whole kennels of irritation.
Whoopi Goldberg

4. Back to a time of despair.

The final thing I uncovered from my bedroom was a bunch of folded, hidden papers. I only read them recently and was thrown back in time to seventeen years of age.

It was all so angry, so upsetting. My husband was silent when he read them; shocked by my words and frustration. It was a side of me I rarely show. I am not an angry woman but reading the words I had written brought the despair back.

I had clearly written all over the sheets of paper in one go. Fury flooded over me and painful words bled out, piercing my heart. I felt sorry for myself, upset that my seventeen year old self had suffered so much. I was mad that I didn’t do something earlier and save myself a long time ago.

I was talking directly to him. My words were barely readable as I’d written them without thinking, it was just flowing from my soul. Endless words, strings of nonsense sentences, a desperate cry to be loved.

Swearing and hate filled one page and left me in shock as I looked at the continuous course of contempt for him and myself. My resentment echoed through the sheet, my hatred for him beamed from the page and my self-loathing radiated wildly.

The ache to be loved was a key element of my ranting. I just needed love. I just wanted to feel self-worth. A reiteration of failure played over and over as I read through the countless sheets of heartache.

After reading it all, there was nothing left to say.

2. If I could do it all again.

The title of a poem I discovered.

A poem that was dated, 28/08/00. I was eighteen years of age. Proof that the unhappiness inside of me was growing and that my despair was beginning to get a release. It may not be the most complicated of poems but the innocence is clear.

If I could do it all again

I’d be someone else

get a chance

forget the past and live properly

with excitement round every corner,

opportunities through every window.

I’d remain a mystery.

Be happy.

Be loved.

Wish every day and never stop dreaming,

always dream.

Be wild.

I’d go crazy with no cares

Put myself first yet still think of others

Sing. Dance. Be happy.

Every day would be a new day, a fresh start.

An opening to a new world.

Life would be worth it,

worth the struggles, the hassles,

worth the pain.

Happiness would shine through

Happiness would win.

All it does is confirm how positive I kept myself through the misery. I had no one to turn to at 18. My mother and sister still had their bond and still looked down at me. My father was in the depths of his abuse, becoming more intolerant of me and growing with hatred towards his daughter. Yet this poem talks of happiness and hope.

Where did I lose the positivity? When did I lose the love for myself?

My father destroyed all the good feelings I had. And I hate him for that.

Monday 16th July 2012 – Shock.

I did not speak to my father for two weeks after our altercation in the car so I decided to ring him to see how he was. Two weeks was a long time for me to stay out of his life. It took a lot of courage to call but it was the right thing to do.

He did not bring up the previous incident in our phone call. Again, he seemed quite pleasant on the phone. I could not fall into his kindness trap again so I remained on my guard. He took me by surprise when he told me that due to his ill condition that week, he had been unable to go on a planned holiday to Norfolk with my sister and her family. Shocked could not even amount to the way I felt by his news. I thought they were building back their relationship, I assumed it would take her longer than two years to welcome him back so quickly into the arms of the people that once detested him so much. Her hate for him was once so clear, she even punished me for my choice to live with him all those years ago and I could not comprehend how she could so easily forget. But after a little thought, it made sense. Neither of them could cope alone, they desperately needed each other to feel secure.

He continued to say his COPD had worsened and how the doctors were all useless, shoving him to one side. I felt sorry for him, he did not deserve it, and as much as I hated the man I never wished him the same suffering he wished me. He told me to visit soon and I agreed to do so, even if I had no intention on keeping that promise.

Little did I know that I’d be seeing him much sooner than I thought.

Faultless: Can’t say “No”.

Whether it’s a simple request or something more important: I just cannot say “No”. It has improved over the last couple of years but I haven’t completely dispelled this weakness.

Whilst living with my father there was no point in trying to say No. If I even showed the slightest sign of refusal, it would cause either a huge argument or lead him to condemn me with his endless series of insults. To say No would be pointless. To say Yes would strangely give me some control even though I was complying with his demands. Of course, there were many commands from him I could not agree to. He would tell me to cancel important plans or dates to help him with something. I always knew that not only was this his way of having power over me but he wanted to ruin my day. He wanted to throw that spanner in the works and disrupt everything. He would pick his moments shrewdly, waiting to give me my orders with incredible precision, waiting to lead me into a panic and confusion about how to rearrange my plans. After a while, it became essential that I refuted him. I was losing every ability to live, I needed something to hang onto and somewhere, in the depths of my soul, I was going to find the power to say No.

I saw a counsellor in 2010 after many years of wanting to speak to someone. One of the things she immediately recognised was my inability to say No. She was one of the first people to call me on it. We set some basic steps to change this terrible habit and if not in the rest of my life at first, at least with my controlling father.

Putting boundaries ahead of him for our relationship wasn’t easy. He would not accept them at first and even though I rarely backed down, he was adamant my counsellor was full of shit. She was “poisoning” my mind just like my mother’s done. It probably didn’t help that she was a woman, he hated them. Yet, through the struggle, I continued to lay down my new rules and regain some of my lost control.

At work and life, I still lack the confidence to say No. I do not want to seem awkward or difficult. People tell me this is my fault. I know it is. I take on too much to the point of despair, wanting to please people and make them proud. I want to be seen as reliable and trust-worthy, dependable and loyal.

All the things my father told me I never was.

Perhaps one day I’ll get there and realise:

There is nothing wrong in saying “No”.

Free from him – a daughter’s story of emotional abuse -my guest post on Deliberate Donkey.

Free from him – a daughter’s story of emotional abuse..

Control me.

Don’t control me and hold me back,

you cannot criticize me with your verbal attacks.

My life is mine not yours to direct,

don’t bully me with the pain you inflict,

leave me alone and let me breathe,

get out of my space I beg you – please,

it’s getting harder to see the light,

and make me realize I can’t win this fight.

Don’t control me with your wicked words,

and evil swears that are always heard.

The money, the house, you can have it all,

but it will soon be your greatest downfall.

Your greed will leave you completely alone,

and I won’t be here in this tragic home.

It’s a prison, a jail, a rotten cell,

It’s my own, private version of a miserable hell.

I am lost in your world of poison and hate,

your control over me is starting to ulcerate.

I am losing my strength and my will to survive,

with your haste to condemn and to analyse.

I will never be the daughter you want,

My sister will be your true confidante.

I don’t want that role you put upon me,

I regret the choices I once made so foolishly.

Now is the time I must pay the price

and live this putrid, controlling life.

 

Written during the worst of the abuse.

The Visit.

(A piece I wrote many years ago about a trip to India before the divorce, I decided to experiment a little with the style of writing, switching from 1st person to 3rd person to 2nd person).

Having spent several weeks already in the sweltering heat of Calcutta, the end of my visit was fast approaching. It had been a frustrating trip and I felt anxious to get home. Seeing my distant relatives has been hard. We are not close and I have always felt a barrier between us. Whether this is due to a difference in cultures and upbringing or because I had chosen an uncertain and dangerous path. They all hated him and had made that very clear to me. 

Her immature ideas and careless behaviour had led her to this point. She had isolated herself from the people who cared for her, who worried for her. Instead she began her destructive journey with this hateful man. She was not shy like her sister, she was outspoken and blunt, inadvertently insulting everyone in her cancerous path. She had no feeling for others, only herself. But nobody truly understood what the young girl carried on her shoulders, how could they? For they were not suffering from it, they were not the ones caught up in the tangled mess. The poor girl, still young at fourteen, having to drag around so much mental baggage. They could not and would not see her hurt or feel her pain for she did not always display it.

You should be strong and not concentrate on what they say. You chose this decision and you had every right to. It is your life after all. A rubbish one, a pitiful one, but yours. Do not be ashamed of the choices you make. Thank goodness you will be home in a matter of days and you will be able to relax. No more criticism, no more insults. Nobody to warn you or verbally punish you for thinking for yourself and expressing the way you feel. You will have your freedom back. At least for a little while.

 

I never did get that freedom back.

The secret.

On day 3 of the writing course we were presented with the title ‘secret’ and were given five minutes to flow write. This was the result:

 

I got told a secret. It was too much to contain. I went by, ignoring my temptation to utter those sacred words, I bit my lip in public or in the company of my inquisitive friends. I looked behind me constantly in case I gave it away. I panicked at the sight of someone looking at me, anyone who noticed me, smiled at me, laughed near me. They must know, they all know the secret. It’s a burden, a terrible one. I wish I never knew it or heard it. I hate that. All this waiting is too much to bear, let me reveal it to you all. I need to unload it off my chest. It’s burning inside me, ready to escape, willing to let itself out and dash to freedom. It wants to be released. I’m keeping it trapped and holding it captured in my mind.

 

What was the secret? Did it have something to do with my father, the abuse?