Bite your Tongue.

There are many times where one will need to put this into practice. Often with total strangers, sometimes with friends and colleagues. Usually it’s with the people closest to you – family.

The people that supposedly know you the best seem to be the ones that overstep the mark on a regular basis.

I’ve talked many times on here about boundaries. My family overstepped every boundary I set for myself; they themselves rarely kept any.

From telling me every intricate detail about their private lives to offloading their problems at work on me or irritating friendship issues at every opportunity to the sicker elements of boundary crossing where they’d expose details of their bowel movements while I ate my breakfast or moaned about the constant itching they felt ‘down there’. How is that appropriate? Just because I am here doesn’t mean you can use me as your confidante, your doctor, your therapist.

I cannot give anyone medical advice and even if I could, it would be fairer on your child to see a professional.

As adults and parents ourselves, we too have everyday stresses and problems. I especially know that you need to find time to work through those sorts of stresses in order to get some happiness. You set personal boundaries to protect yourself, to assert your personal rights.

You can be close to a parent without overstepping these personal boundaries. You can share, talk and listen to each other but each of you know where to stop. You know when it becomes suffocating or stressful or inappropriate. Who would want their child feeling stressed out or worried to talk to them?

Not having a proper social interaction and taking a real interest in your children can massively affect them. My family on greeting me, never asked me how I was or what I had been up to – they only used the time they had to talk about themselves. If I dared to mention something to do with me I’d either be accused of and berated for being insensitive or selfish. This would only prevent me from ever offering any information up about my life so when things went wrong in relationships, work or home – it would solely be my fault for not opening up to them sooner.

How could I? It was an impossible vicious circle. If I revealed it all they’d use it against me or feel it was their right to delve as far as they could. Rarely did I receive anything helpful or thoughtful. Usually it was anger and criticism – probably why I don’t deal so well with it now.

I have bitten my tongue for many years and continue to do so now.

My father was a racist, homophobic chauvinist. He hated people from Africa, women drivers, lesbians, politicians, the police. He was critical, opinionated, angry, spiteful, dangerous and very tricky. Talking to him about anything was a risk. Sometimes it was a risk I had to take for my own sanity. In the weeks where he was ignoring me over some “mistake” I’d made, the silence was almost excruciating. If I attempted to make conversation with him he’d either leave the room or stay and utter nothing. He would not even look at me. He’d only break his stubbornness – his rancour – his belligerence if I weakened myself and asked his advice on some other mistake I’d made.

Power is everything to people like that.

When I do not speak of myself is when my family talk to me the most. When I show an interest in their lives, I am heard but only for an opinion on their matters and they’ll be pretty miffed if that opinion is anything other than supportive.

Conversation never flows with my family. Therefore I go through life biting my tongue.

Would be nice if others did the same (!)

 

The Power of Mind.

 

As everybody else tucks into their mince pies and mulled wine, I have spent the last week wondering why my horrific nightmares have returned. I haven’t dreamt this way since living with my abuser and even in times of the worst stress, I have been able to wake myself up from these nightmares. However, recent nights have not allowed me to do that. Instead, I endure the horror and wake distraught, confused and panicked.

Only last week I dreamt my father attacked me and woke up suddenly, clinging to my wrist, letting out a jumble of frightened words.

I was convinced my wrist hurt for the rest of the day. How long had I been holding it? Long enough to hurt myself? Maybe. The fear, but the fear was so intense.

My father was never physically violent to me. I use the word physically specifically as there is such thing as emotional violence. He did that all the time. He never hit or slapped me. He didn’t throw things at me. Yet he would spit on the floor beside me as he called me a filthy pig and he would kick over a rammed dustbin to remind me it needed emptying.

Nothing was ever direct. How wrong of me for wishing it was.

He would not give me that. Physical violence would have been a privilege for me as he often stated. I did not deserve an ending to my “misery” with him, he would mock – he often joked about my life knowing he was the cause.

I dream the most horrible of things. Frightening, sadistic, gut-wrenching.

Some nightmares of the past will never be forgotten. The moments where I woke in the night dreaming that my father had slit my throat and I had witnessed my own death. The dreams where I see myself lying in a coffin with ligatures around my neck or that I cannot breathe as I sleep. Those dreams haunt me.

When most things are certainly better in my life, there is a great deal of other stresses to contend with at the moment. Things my husband and I cannot avoid and although we are supporting each other, times are tough. Mentally it’s tough.

It is something I cannot openly talk about on here with fear of who may read it but be sure, I will express what we are going through over the next few months as sadly, I do not believe we will be free of it for a while but when we are, well, god I pray these nightmares disappear.

The mind is magical. When you think you are coping, it shows you in ways you cannot expect that you aren’t. Positive thinking and all that jumbo is fine, but really all I want is freedom. I can deal with life stresses – what life runs without lows, troubles or faults? I just cannot deal with surprises, tricks, manipulation. I should not have to any more.

I should not have to dream of a man who tortured me so badly.

He is dead and gone and I should be free.

 

 

I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our demise (how it all began) Part 1.

As I stated in my last post, my husband and I are trying to work at our relationship. We do this not only for each other but for our beautiful daughter. Our broken marriage sadly was never very strong but I never imagined we would ever be in the situation we are now. Every relationship has it’s ups and downs, ours always even from the very beginning. The two of us are very different people yet we were drawn to each other at the start. He was the man I could be myself with. No airs, no snobbery, no judgement, just easy. I had never had that before but things clearly changed.

I have to break this post into two parts. I mean how do you sum up the downfall of a marriage in one post?

I can’t spell out an exact breaking point or a specific trauma between us. Our demise has been very slow burning over the last three years. I think my husband probably proposed to me for the wrong reasons. We had come to the end of a pretty trying year between us. I had discovered some revelations about my ‘dearest’……things that threw our relationship into disarray and made me question everything I have ever stood for. You know – the ‘I’d never stay with a man if he did that to me’ kind of stuff? It wasn’t soul destroying but I was pretty pissed off – “betrayed” is a good word for it. I’ll leave you guys to draw your own conclusions on that.

We “worked” at our relationship back then, all those years ago and we did actually sort it out. I forgave him and we moved on and on New Year’s Eve 2010, he proposed to me. Maybe he felt pressured. One of the reasons we had problems back then was that neither of us truly opened up to each other. We were in a very superficial relationship. My life at the time was one big headache as my abusive father was very much controlling my life. For the first two years we were together, I lived with the abuser. How could I show or tell my husband the truth about him? He was so charming to my then boyfriend. Like every other, he liked my father, he could not see who he really was and by the time he saw his truthful nature, my husband was too gutless to do anything.

Even with someone I was still alone.

I accepted his proposal. I needed something from him – a commitment. We had just begun living together, I should have seen that as enough. We weren’t ready for marriage but pressures and excitement from family and friends cascaded us into wedding prep and a day that we never should have had.

I cannot talk still about my wedding day. I do not hold good memories of that day. Not because I got married but because of the issues and ordeals my father put me through leading up to and on it. I spent the majority of the celebration in my hotel room with a glass of wine. I felt disgusting as when most brides lose weight for their wedding, I had put on well over 14 lbs within a year for mine. My dress was tight and I knew it was obvious. I put my hair up which is something I NEVER do in my actual life but I did for the most special day of my life because I thought, “That’s what brides do”. Well what about what I do? I really lost myself at that time. I often talk to David about that day. He did not enjoy himself either. The whole thing resembled nothing of us. I really did it for others. We even invited people that meant nothing to us. Why? Numbers? To be polite? Probably.

It’d be very very different if I could do it again but that doesn’t seem likely now does it?

After the wedding, things returned as they were. Except the year would now be tarnished with my father’s death. I do not feel sad for that time, it is the happiest moment of my life his passing but the weeks before he died were hellish. He wouldn’t stop, even at his end. My new husband was phenomenal. He showed me a side of him I thought I would see from there on in – confident, protective, loving. I never saw that guy again.

Stresses followed. My father’s will, my sister, her husband, deliberately making our life difficult, making things awkward. My husband was in a job he wasn’t enjoying. That changed him. He became isolated, discarding friendships in preference of staying at home doing nothing. He even blamed me for not seeing anyone. I saw my friends. It was his choice to abandon his.

I like my independence. I like to spend time alone. By now, we were in each other’s pockets. I couldn’t stand it. I would often go to my mother’s for a night on my own just for a bit of distance. Perhaps that isn’t normal but I wanted to miss him, I wanted to want to go back to him but I was reaching a point where being by myself seemed more of a good thing than being with him.

We hadn’t even been married a year.

Having a child together was not a rash decision nor was it an accident. Things did get better between us. We wanted a child. There are no regrets. My wedding day was not the most special day of my life, the day I gave birth to my precious daughter was and it always will be.

It was also the day that changed everything for me and my husband. He became someone I had never seen before – a man I did not recognise. He ruined the first 6 months of my daughter’s life. A time where I should have focussed my entirety on this little being, I was having to worry about a grown man who should have been there for me instead of only thinking about himself and for that I will never forgive him.

Part 2 to follow soon……….

Farewell My Friends.

I cannot believe I am waving a sad yet sweet goodbye to my fellow bloggers and supporters of freefromhim, my beloved blog for the last twenty months.

It was a difficult decision but as I am now looking forward and moving towards recovery, I feel that the blog has done the job it intended to do. Now, with the ever-progressing pregnancy and new changes in my life, I feel it is the right time to close the chapter on this blog.

I have decided on a date to say goodbye. I can only hazard a guess that baby will be born on it’s actual due date – the 10th November however it is more than likely that baby will be the only one to decide when it needs to come out! Thus, when it does and when I return home to show you all our little beauty, that will be the date I will post my last post.

For the next fourteen or so weeks, I will continue to blog current and old news. I will re-blog some of the most memorable, life-changing and poignant posts I have written especially the ones that gained the biggest reactions or the most support.

I am so grateful for what this blog has done.

I was hesitant to start it and sadly, was faced with many a negative comment along my journey, some highly derogatory and condescending. Others, just plain ignorant. I do not regret anything I have written about. It was my choice and my words of a past and truth that existed, it happened and as much as many haters will deny it, my father was my abuser.

Closure is what I set out to find and closure is what I have got.

No longer am I angry.
No longer am I hurt.

He is dead and long gone and has no way of hurting me now.
Although my family is no way repaired (the emotional bruises of the last thirty years are still incredibly apparent) and even though there are issues still to be resolved, I feel ten times more stronger than I did at the beginning of my journey.

Undoubtedly, that is due to the immense and loyal support from my friends and fellow bloggers. Your faith and compassion has surpassed my expectations.

So thank you.

Without you, my faith in humanity would have disappeared entirely.

Of course, I am not vanishing completely from WordPress. As I mentioned in ‘Biting the Bullet’ post of late, I will be setting up a lifestyle/fashion blog in the next few months (possibly on my maternity leave when moving around becomes limited!) so PLEASE follow me there and stay with me on my new journey.

Life is precious and my god does it fly by. He took thirty years of my life. He controlled, abused and manipulated all the time we had together. I do not plan to live the rest of my life with him in my thoughts. They do not deserve that. They do not deserve an ounce of our time or a second in our minds.

We must remain free.
Free from them.

The Never-Ending Story.

Nothing to do with the film but everything to do with the story of my life.

A few months ago, I made a conscious decision to stop blogging about past, to focus on the happier things occurring in my life. Blessed with the news of the pregnancy, it seemed like a new start. A chance where I could finally look to the future. My father is no longer a problem physically yet his ever-controlling presence sadly still exists.
I am yet to see a penny of my inheritance as I approach the two year anniversary of his death. To make matters worse as I am still residing with my mother, I still have to endure the daily torture of passing my old abuser’s home every day to work and back.

This is something sadly I have grown accustomed to this past year however it annoys me slightly that the new owners have already moved in and re-decorated, moving forward with their lives and I am stuck waiting, without news, on a chance to move forward with mine.

Surprisingly, that I can deal with.

The real upset is my sister.

I have always said to David, to my friends, that one day soon she would begin to etch herself back into my mother’s life and today we discover she is continuing her journey back to our mum.

It all began last year on Boxing Day when my mother received a card from her. Slowly, over the year, she has found new ways to find an avenue to return. It is never consistent. Instead, every few months she re-appears and toys with her mother’s emotions. An opportunity allowed itself in April. A chance appeared by natural where she could have easily re-entered the family ‘fold’. However, it was her choice to reject that chance when I attempted to call her and inform my only sister that I was pregnant.

She would not allow it. She just would not speak to me and the sweet, innocent news was broken to her by email. Yes, I did not hold back either. I felt at that point, it was within my right to tell her a few home truths about her. Many, many times over many many years have I listened to her tell me my faults and I have always bitten my tongue in reference to her. Mostly out of fear to awaken the beast inside. Her anger has always been terrifying (at times worse than his). However, I am a thirty two year old woman and she is forty for crying out loud. Perhaps it is time to reflect on the reasons why you are so estranged from your family? We NEVER walked away from you.

Many would ask why it bothers me that my sister is back in contact?

Let me make it clear – she is not back in contact with me. Only my mother. Cards on her birthday only. Letters only addressed to her. Did she congratulate me on my good news? No. Has she mentioned the baby when writing to our mother? No. Her intentions are very clear. She wants my mother back only. NOT me.

Well let me make my intentions clear.

I will not go through it again. I will not participate in any mind games. I refuse to be controlled. You may think your trusted strategy will bring you great success again, after all it worked so well with our father. I cannot speak for our mother. I do not know what you intend to use for your advantage this time. Will it be the tried and tested emotional tactic of using the grandchildren? Or perhaps the fact that you’ve suddenly realised you ‘need’ a mother figure in your life again? Just hurry up and make up your mind.

To be honest, if you really wanted to move forward you would not be pushing me aside. Hurt does not even cover it. You abandoned both your parents yet offered your love back to them like nothing had happened. Yet that love has never been offered to me.

Just say it. You wish I’d never come along don’t you?

I look at my friends and people on Facebook sharing photos of their sisters and I’m jealous. After all these years, I’m still jealous.

At least it proves one thing.

I have a heart.

Approaching the 6 month mark!

This Monday will mark 6 months of my pregnancy! I cannot believe that I have almost reached this point. The time is literally melting away. On Tuesday, I will finish work for a 5 week break (as I work in a school) and god, do I need it! The weather has been phenomenal these last few weeks and it seems that in London, it may be getting hotter for the foreseeable future. I love the sun and the heat, but being in built up London and travelling to and from work on the London Underground makes it very hard to survive and endure the sweltering temperature. Especially when pregnant. So I am very much looking forward to the option of staying indoors!

Bump: Perhaps slightly bigger especially at the top of my stomach. 

Cravings: Blackberries, blueberries, cherries, bread, butter, fish curry.

Current Health: Healthy! My head cold and cough has disappeared now. Asthma seems to be better too so generally feeling normal again.

Movement: We had a little panic last week as baby’s movement seemed to ease. I asked a friend at work for advice and she recommended asking my midwife who we’ll be seeing next Wednesday. It’s only to put my mind at ease. I have felt the little one I’m sure but having not had a baby before, it’s all still pretty new to me. Not knowing what to expect is a hindrance. The flutters and tingles happen on a regular occurrence.

Size: Baby is the size of a large mango now. 6 months and it’ll be the same size as an ear of corn! 

Symptoms: The beginning of a few stretch marks have appeared on either side of my belly. I’ve been using Bio-oil to help. Tiredness has reappeared and every day after work I’m ready for a long nap. I know you’re not really supposed to nap after three as it can interfere with your nightly routine. However, at 3pm, I’m at work. So no napping then! 

State of Mind: Feeling happy and excited for the holidays. A little annoyed by people who think every pregnancy is the same and feel it is okay to freely patronize me. Yes, yes, I know you’ve had several children and experience many a pregnancy but that doesn’t mean what I am going through bares little significance or is exaggerated. Okay?

 

Pixelated

Distorted vision

Harbouring contempt

A view blurred

concealed from igniting eyes

a muddied perspective

shunning the light

pixelated

an image broken

a life torn apart

sheltered and hidden

for her own protection

an identity crippled

a severed heart

her fears realised watching herself

where is her soul?

Beaten and bruised

values are mocked

blind perception

critical thinking keeps her from loving

compromised by self-loathing

unanswered questions keep her guessing

a tainted reflection

haunts her shattered world.

Chapter 2, Part 2.

We sandwiched the holiday with the road trip and after two weeks we headed back to his brother’s place. I was a different girl to the one who set off at the start. My relatives picked up on this and my father blamed it on my ‘typical teenage ways’ and lack of good attitude. Nobody doubted him as he was the second eldest brother of a large family and a reliable, intelligent man. His word was the truth. I spent the last week as a shadow of my former, confident self. It was a relief to return to London and back to my safe haven. I had naively hoped things would be normal again and my father’s character would restore back to a loving nature.

My idealistic view was shattered immediately. This behaviour was to stay and his treatment towards me was about to become progressively worse.

Having started at a new school to do my A-Levels I was excited to have some distance from him. I tried hard at my studies but could never live up to his expectations. My sister was an academic and had embarked on a clear career path. I on the other hand was more creative using Drama as an outlet for expression. He never encouraged this as he believed I’d never succeed in such a competitive market. My grades began to slip just as my life began to dissolve. I found it difficult to concentrate and drifted off into day dreams. My father left me to it, only voicing criticism if a tutor got in touch with him. Still he offered no help. This was a shock to me as my school work and high achievement was once so vital to him.

As I lacked so much confidence I found it a struggle to make friends especially in the first year. I felt like I had no escape and nothing to feel good about. Over my sixteenth and seventeenth year I gradually began putting on weight. Having been slim as a young child I was not use to being on the chubbier side. I turned to food for comfort. My father would indulge this, taking me to a fast food restaurant almost every Saturday. Food would become a recurring enemy over the next fourteen years.

At the end of my first year I managed to land a part in the sixth form play. I was a lead character and immensely proud of myself (having been an unknown at school I knew it had been based on my acting skills and not popularity).

My relationship with my mother was slowly improving too. A point had been made that I needed to change to be accepted back into ‘her’ side of the family. As I missed my mother and desperately longed for her, I willingly acted on the advice. At that moment I had lost myself. With my mother and sister I was struggling to build a character worthy of their love. Their closeness was apparent and every time I saw them laughing and talking privately, the old feeling of exclusion hurried back. I felt we would never have the same relationship and no matter what I did, I would be second best. After all I decided to stand by my father and not my mother. With my Dad, I was trying to be the perfect daughter. Not talking back, being polite, doing exactly as he said and giving the impression to the rest of the world how lucky I was to have a father like him.

Turning eighteen brought about a surge of independence in me. I had climbed the social ladder at school. I had more friends and my self-belief had come back. I started going out and spending more time away from home. He didn’t care. My safety had never been high on his list. He continued to spend money, allowing me to go to Europe twice on a school trip. He enjoyed looking wealthy. My friends that met him adored him. He drove us everywhere, paid for lunch, gave me hand-outs and acted like the perfect Dad. This wonderful image of him vanished when we were on our own. He instantly turned into the monster I knew he was. If I ever confided in a friend they would question how I could ever accuse my father of anything. I hated them for it but they never knew any different. For a while I convinced myself they were right.

I left school with poor results. Even in subjects I was certain I’d succeed in. My home environment had made a huge impact on the woman I was shaping out to be. With my studies I had almost resigned myself to the fact that I was likely to fail. Relationships and friendships made me feel the same way. Failure was not an option with my father but I was never given any direction from him. It became obvious that he had been waiting for me to destroy my future so that I would have to rely on him. My confidence and self belief had slowly slipped again. I had put on a stone in weight over two years and now being a young woman, felt the lowest I had felt for a long time.

Luckily I had something positive to look forward to. I had decided to continue with Drama and study it for the next few years. Once again I was left to do as I pleased so I grabbed the chance in front of me and used it to excel myself in any way possible. I still lived at home however. Although I was busier now, my life had not changed. If he saw less of me surely he’d want to appreciate the time we spent? But no, he carefully used this rare time to break me down even more.

Insults became a regular occurrence. Labels such as evil, filthy, heartless and moron became a normal thing to hear. Every day I’d be called a name. I tried to be strong and gave as much back as I could muster but he was a big man who terrified me.  He would shout straight through me with so much aggression it made me tremble like a frightened little animal. I often backed down and accepted hearing such nasty words but I never felt they were true. Although I lacked in self-belief, I knew I was not the bad person the family had made me out to be for all those years. Nevertheless, there is only so much a person can take.

We began having blazing rows. Violence was never an issue. My father was shrewd enough to know I’d have blatant proof of my suffering if any scars appeared. Therefore he was never violent to me. Our fights escalated over time but back then I was shocked to see my father acting that way. When I verbally retaliated and attempted to defend myself, he would launch into his attack. It was most likely to be the smallest thing that caused the upset but that didn’t stop him from exploding.

His face would be the first thing to change. His eyes would swell and bulge as he stared right through me. He’d clench his teeth together (a typical yet terrifying pose I never got used to). Then his body would straighten and stiffen. Sometimes he would clench his fists by his side. Occasionally out of complete frustration the door would be slammed or hit. The majority of the time he raised his right hand sharply, inches from my face as if to slap me and swore in another language. The word he always used (Bodmarsh) rings in my ear to this very day. I recently found out it translates into “pervert”.

I managed to save myself for a year having moved in with friends while studying. Unfortunately he still had control (I longed for freedom however could not fund myself) as he paid my rent and fees. Something he would frequently use in arguments to come.

Thankfully studying Drama gave me a perfect escape. I could slip away and create different characters, parallels of myself. I was doing well in my studies again and felt like I was really achieving something. I thought I had made some lasting friendships but once again I was mistaken. They all judged me, assuming as I was in Drama I must be dramatic in nature. They met my father as he would habitually show up unannounced at my flat. He’d enter and be as charming as ever. As soon as he’d leave I’d be visibly relieved, much to their confusion. They questioned everything I said, telling me I was overreacting and “lucky” to have him as my Dad. I was fighting a losing battle.

When the year was up and my studies had finished I returned home. For two years I had been dreading the day. He seemed pleased to have me back, but almost as soon as I had arrived, my life went back to the sorry state it was before. Fearing every move I made it dawned on me that I had no way out.

The next twelve years of my life became a horror story of intimidation, abuse and defamation.

Chapter 1, Part 1.

As many have asked, here are the first three chapters of my autobiography. I hope this gives you further insight into my past and allows you to understand the effect of emotional abuse. This chapter highlights the beginning and where my childhood became tainted with lies, hate and anger. My story is the truth about what happened through my eyes. Abuse comes in many forms, sometimes you are witness to it but mostly, it is well hidden, among families you’d think were perfect. That’s why it’s so clever, so frightening, so sad.

THE EARLY YEARS

He just couldn’t take it anymore. The screams of abuse and hatred bounced off the walls and I watched as my father removed himself from the anger. Calmly, he walked into the living room. The barrage of screaming continued from the kitchen but it could not be seen. The stairs were my haven, just safe enough to not be noticed but somewhere I could witness everything. I should have been sheltered from it, but instead, I was consumed by it.

I followed him in but with much more haste. I was frightened of them both. They were wild animals at times, ready to rip my father apart. It was terrifying. I closed the hallway door first then the living room door (putting up these obstacles was my only way to keep them out).

He was sat on the sofa with his head lowered. There was no emotion; he was silent. I did what any daughter would do, I comforted my father. Patting my gentle palm on his back I spoke,

“Don’t worry Daddy, I’m here. Don’t be upset, it’s okay Daddy, you’ll be okay”.

My reassuring, almost parental words began the break in his boundaries.

“What would I do without you? You are such a good daughter. You always know how to make me feel better darling”.

The first sign of emotion was let out since the whole drama began. I had made my father cry. My mother’s violent words and my sister’s vicious screams had not provoked the slightest amount of feeling from him but I, a fourteen year old girl, did.

It was his first mistake. I now felt indebted to my father’s happiness.

It was once very different.

My early childhood was filled with moments like this, moments that merge into one. My parents’ hate for each other was consuming. Looking back, all I can see was anger. Occasionally there would be flickers of a normal life and I would convince myself that we were just a typical, ‘normal’ family. Nobody goes through life without problems, no marriage is smooth; I would find any excuse to justify our lives were normal.

Although I never actually saw any violence between them, I knew it existed.

I never saw what love was. 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 rooms 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 non-existent hope that he might change.

I certainly saw what hate was. My mother detested my father and as I thought he was a 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 or 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 them. 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. 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 and trusting him as any daughter would trust their father.

My relationship with my mother and sister only worsened as I grew older. I became as they described a “spoilt, selfish brat”. I was not a rebel; I never acted “wild” although they often accused me of it. I just wasn’t my sister. She was my mother’s confidante, she listened to her. She was quiet, academic, intelligent and dependable. I, on the other hand, was a loose cannon. My mood swings fluctuated daily, I was irritable and wound up by their presence. I seemed to love drama and allowed it to follow me around. At least in some way I was still a part of their life, I wasn’t shut out completely. I just wanted her to notice me.

During these years my father did the unthinkable. He spent all his energy convincing me I was unloved by my mother and sister. He would tell me openly if he heard them criticise or insult me, every day there was something new to tell me. As I walked in from school, he would beckon me to his room to discuss the events of his day and what he had heard. The door would be locked of course.

I didn’t realise the signs but my mother always had deep concerns. In her eyes he showed evidence of abuse very early on.

He always crossed boundaries and saw nothing wrong in doing so. Not just with me but also with my sister. His touch, his kiss, nothing felt right, it was always too affectionate. I always felt uncomfortable and that he was crossing a forbidden line. But I could never voice this, not back then anyway.

Sadist or Masochist?

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.