Which one? I always knew he was a sadist. He may not have received any sexual gratification from his regular, public humiliations of me or his constant degrading behaviour but he certainly gained enormous pleasure from watching and causing me to suffer. Little things were his greatest achievements and the moments when I completely crumbled under his power gave him immense satisfaction. The pleasure he gained from my discomfort only clarified one thing – my father was a Sadist.
His love of mental torture and his ability to ambush his victim and catch them off guard was beyond me. He was an expert at luring me into a well prepared trap. His evidence would be laid out in front of him ready to use in his emotional case against me. I would let down my barriers as my father would greet me at the door. The door that had to opened, ready for him as he pulled into the driveway (if I wasn’t ready and he had to ring the doorbell I would feel his wrath for the rest of the evening) he would smile and be very pleasant. Too pleasant. Within seconds and when the door was closed, his true personality would reveal itself. Had I been expecting it all along? Why did I fall for it again? I fell for it every time.
Perhaps I was a Masochist?
Did I enjoy my suffering? I couldn’t have, I wanted so badly to leave, to be free. Many people have accused me of it in the past and still do now. Their limited understanding cannot compute why a ‘sane’ young woman would put up with such behaviour and treatment for so long. I appeared a ‘normal’ and centred character to them and in many ways I was. They weren’t the ones abusing and harming me. I did not have to shield myself around them. For that short while, I could lower my guard and feel relaxed.
I used to joke that I was indeed a Masochist. The more I fell into his emotional traps and mind games, the more I wondered if I actually wanted it. Was I used to it? Had it become my norm? That frightened me enormously. I did not want my morbid reality to become my definite future.
Did I have Self Defeating Disorder? A fairly new term to me. One that I’ve discovered only recently. Did I search for failure and choose situations that led to disappointment? Knowing that nothing made my father happy, I STILL tried everything to make him feel pride in having me as his daughter. I must’ve known deep inside me that I was bound to fail and yet, through hope, I continued to strive for his love and approval. Do I reject love as a result of his sadistic treatment? I cannot take compliments well. I do not feel I deserve them. Or is that simply a result of what he did to me?
My father clearly suffered with many personality disorders some I am yet to discover. At least now, the pieces of the puzzle can rejoin.
She looks at herself at her tainted reflection
and is taken aback by her bland complexion.
She hates what she sees and longs to change
to look normal and pretty instead of quite strange
they will say she is shallow and seems to be vain
as she rarely reveals when she is in pain
for her hurt is hidden and her anger disguised
her fading self belief rests in her sunken eyes
She finds fault and flaws in her entire face
ridiculing each feature to debase and disgrace
a horror to see what the world can see
in the broken mirror looking back at me.
*Photo – dreamstime.com
Since my father died, I have an abundance of old notes made about his incessant nitpicking and abuse. On February the 4th 2005, my father picked an argument with me over the smallest thing. The note highlights how trapped I was in his company, the fear that encroached me and the endless demands he made.
He has guests coming in the evening. His routine of obsessive cleaning is taking place. I’ve locked myself in my bedroom. I’m too scared to come out and be forced to be a part of his army drills. I can hear him coughing loudly downstairs. What’s wrong? Something’s wrong.
I went downstairs, he called me there. He was waiting. There was a mark on the floor. My make up. He found it while he was hoovering. He saw it a while ago but it’s not his job to clean it. It’s mine. He needs to prove a point. I made the mess. That one little mark on the floor. A quick wipe is all it needs but I have to do it. Me. He told me to mop it up today before his friends come. I’m fed up. I want to retreat back to safer ground – my bedroom. I went upstairs mumbling something under my breath. He heard.
“What??” he shouted.
“Nothing” I replied.
He bounded up the stairs behind me. I quickened my pace.
“WHAT DID YOU SAY?”
I shut my bedroom door. I was safe again, “Nothing!” I shouted back.
“If you are nasty then I will be nasty. If you are good then I will be good”.
I’m 23 in under a month. What kind of a father days that? He has never treated me like a daughter, never. He never lets me feel anything, I’m not allowed emotion. I have to be a robot at all times. I cannot cry, that’s wrong. I cannot get angry, that’s wrong too. I can’t even act like a child sometimes. I’m not allowed ‘bad moments’. I have to be perfect. I have no free will. He keeps using money as a threat. If he ever gives me anything he has accounts for how much, when and where. I can’t breathe! Let me breathe.
This was how my father behaved nine years ago. Yet right up until his death he never changed. He had the same attitude towards me till the very end. He held all the power. Not any more.
You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power – he’s free again.
It has been over seven months since I last blogged about dreaming of my father. That is because it just hasn’t happened.
Last night marks my first night terror in a long while. A conversation with a colleague on our way home from work sparked my memory of my nightmare as we discussed funerals. At 4.am this morning I awoke suddenly. I was short of breath, sweating and disorientated. What had brought on the beginnings of a panic attack? It didn’t take long to recollect.
I had dreamt of the abuser. It was so vivid, so real, that I was completely shaken up. The worst thing was how frightening the actual night terror was. I had dreamt that I began receiving phone calls; phone calls from my father. My dead father. When answering these calls, he would speak to me, from the dead. In whatever hell he is in, he was speaking to me. I could hear his voice so clearly. The roughness of it punctured through the earpiece and entered my soul. In the dream I was as terrified as when I woke up. He sensed my fear, reiterating that I would never truly escape him, that he would forever have control of me and that I was a puppet to him, one that would be his source of entertainment (a position I had in reality).
The nightmare ended abruptly and I awoke with a jolt. I looked around the room, aware that I was on edge, searching through the shadows on the walls, looking for a figure. Like a child, the light went on. I needed reassurance.
I do hope that this will not be a new pattern and that he will not haunt my dreams. I just want closure from him. The everlasting stress that continues even after he has gone, needs to be put to rest. Just like him. I cannot cope with the games my family are still playing, even now. It is only adding to my already fragile state.
Moving on, is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard.
He is dead and gone.
I never have to see his face again.
Yet I do see him every day. Every day, on my way to work and every day on my way back home, there he is – the abuser. Since moving in with my mother, I have the unfortunate daily routine of passing his house on the train. The tube rarely travels overground in London except in some cases. The tracks run, for a short while, behind my childhood home. The prison where he kept me under his control. The garden with no way out into the world, trapped by those blasted tracks. The building that never sheltered me from the storm raging in my father or protect me from his thunderous nature.
Every day I have to pass it.
The residence of torture and his haven of abuse. That solitary confinement that controlled and watched over me. His sadistic dungeon of emotional perversion. I know it is coming as soon as light appears after the darkness of the tunnel. I am expecting it, awaiting it and fearing it. I have tried to avoid it by sitting with my back to it and although physically it helps, mentally I am completely aware of what is burning into my back. It is unfortunate my mother lives in the same area as my father did and that I have to endure this journey each day.
Occasionally, I peer in. Worse, if the train stops by the house (which it can do), I am forced to stare into each room. Nothing has changed which only sparks more anxiety in me as if he’ll appear at any moment. I look hard to see any shadow but nothing materializes. Instead the rooms look the same as when I left them. The stress and panic in me builds within a few short seconds. By then he has imprinted himself in my mind.
We will move out of this area. That is a guarantee. I cannot do with this daily torture for the rest of my life. I never want to see that house again.
From what I hear, this was a decent time for the rest of my family. Although my parents did not have the best relationship, their hatred was not as magnified as it later became. My sister has fond memories of this time; the eight years before I was born.
The family took holidays together and spent time socialising, it seemed happier. That’s not to say there were not problems. My father was incredibly abusive to my mother behind closed doors and bang in front of open ones too. My sister was definitely a witness to the fights and abuse. Overall however, it was nothing like it would become.
My mother’s desperation for a second child was the catalyst in ripping the family apart. My father did not want me, he made that very clear to her but she longed for another baby. This obvious desperation only exaggerated his despise for her, he hated weakness in people. What’s a natural feeling for a woman was a weakness to him. He would never understand that feeling, a want to love, a longing to pour love into someone.
To give love, you need to feel love.
Eight years is a big gap between siblings. My mother was pregnant before having me but sadly lost her previous babies. He wasn’t there to support her through that. Instead he berated her and used it as another way to criticise her. He was moody and implied to her that he was not responsible for the loss of her child. He was that much of a narcissist that it had to be all about him! His love for her had faded and there was no respect. Within days of returning from the hospital my father was giving my mother demands. The want for a second child only amplified.
As my mother edged towards her 40th birthday her second daughter was born three weeks early.
He seemed happy – at least for a while.