To my Father’s Family,

To my father’s family,

He was your son, Uncle, cousin and nephew. To you all, he was a good man. He pursued a life in England, climbed the ladder in his career, played the loving and later wronged husband, became a doting father and most of all, gave the impression of a well-rounded, thoughtful human being.

Unfortunately, I am about to shatter your perception of this ‘perfect’ man.

This thoughtful being was the most unthoughtful person I’ve ever known. Not only was he abusive to me but he spent the majority of his loveless marriage abusing my mother both emotionally and physically. He beat her. Violently. She did nothing to “provoke” him. He chose to hurt her. What kind of a man does that make him now? Do you still think of him as caring and loving?

To my Uncle who asked whether his brother would be having a religious, Hindu ceremony for his funeral. My sister lied. We never held anything of the sort for him and there was never any intention to do so. My father was no longer a Hindu and had not been for over fifteen years prior to his death. My sister kept up his pretence, his shame, well after his death. She was happy to deceive you and probably would continue to do so to this day. She even wrote to me and asked me not to mention it to anyone, you know the fact that he was a Christian

He was ashamed of his religion and would never have told any of you. 

It was secret for many years.

But it is time you found out the truth.

I cannot empathise. He never fully embraced Christianity. He certainly followed an odd set of beliefs too. I myself, having been to a Church of England Primary School and now working in a Faith School, have seen what true Christianity is. My father’s beliefs were not from the Christian faith that I know. It was evangelistic and critical. It was homophobic and racist. Ultimately, it was frightening.

He had become a robot regularly preaching psalms to me, spouting biblical nonsense at me. His life centred around his church. His funeral took place at his church. This devoted Christian man received a very surreal send off. I watched as they praised him for his integrity and wept at the loss of such a wonderful considerate man.

I did not weep.

I was happy. I am happy. I am happy that he is dead.

This man destroyed my life. He was the soul reason I hated myself for many years. He controlled, manipulated, abused, insulted, defamed, lectured, bullied, threatened, tortured and emotionally battered me for sixteen years.

This wonderful person did not deserve a place on this earth.

To anyone who thinks he is in heaven right now…………….

He is swimming in hell.

 

Friday 4th February 2005.

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.

It reads,

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.

(Written later)

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.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Am I passive?

One word.

Yes.

I could easily describe myself as passive.

My mother disagrees after looking through a list of passive behaviours I was given at the course. Certain words that I had highlighted, she negated. I circled “subservient”. She totally disagreed. In all honesty, I have elements of this quality and do not demonstrate or believe I possess it all of the time. However, in the past, it definitely played a strong role in my life. Do I feel that is is easier to agree with people? Yes. I do. The want to have an easy life, a less stressful life, has left me sitting back, being passive and watching others take control of their lives. It’s left me feeling jealous and tired at the monotony of my own.

Once upon a time, I would never have described myself as subservient. Even living with the abuser did not make me feel like that. I fought against it. But as the years have gone by, my reality has changed and I have been left with a life I am not entirely happy with. 

I am indecisive especially when it comes to making requests. I plan in my head what I need to say or what I want to do but saying it out loud is another story. I feel nervous and as though I am putting the other person out. I am expecting criticism and fault finding within myself. I constantly criticise myself. It’s no wonder I expect it from others too. That’s not to say that I want it. I don’t. 

I put myself down. A lot. 

A key sign of passive behaviour. I do not respect myself enough, regularly finding fault in my body image and appearance. I am the person who hears my complaints the most. I do not want to seem aggressive or attention-seeking. I do not put myself first or value who I am. I wish I could.

I run from confrontation. I fear it. It is no surprise after enduring hell with the abuser. I can’t stand it at work or home.

Am I passive?

Yes I am. Some of the qualities will stay I’m sure but I am making a change to the others. I want to like myself and feel good about myself. I want to feel self-value and respect and be able to stand up for myself in challenging situations. I do not want to play the victim or agree to everything for an easier life.

It’s time to change.

The last Goodbye.

My husband and I made our way to the crematorium in the car my father had paid for with my sister and her husband. It was sweltering and in the back seat I began to feel very ill. I hated travelling in cars as it was; it did not help that I was in one with two people who clearly hated me. It was totally silent for the thirty minute journey.

When we all arrived at the crematorium, my first instinct was to look for my mother. She and her friends had travelled up separately but as we walked to the entrance, I could not see her. The entrance was already lined with half the congregation. His old school friends had flocked to my sister’s side as she left the car and ushered her inside. I was totally ignored and followed behind them. I was almost enjoying being the figure of anger and darkness they had created me to be. I had barely spoken in the time I had been at the service, it was interesting how they had developed their judgement of me so quickly. Perhaps, others had been involved in reaching this verdict.

Once inside the crematorium we were led to the front pews. It was unavoidable this time as much as I would’ve preferred sitting at the back. As I looked over to my left I noticed his coffin on a raised platform waiting to be lowered as we said our final goodbyes. Another shorter service took place, again with hymns and prayers in my abuser’s honour. I never sang nor bowed my head. I did not want to pay my respects. I only wanted to witness the atrocity that was his funeral and see his unholy and evil presence disappear.

As the coffin lowered after the final coffin, a tear ran down my cheek.

“Rot in hell” I whispered to myself.

Rot in hell.

After the service had ended everyone left to the gardens to stand by his poor showing of flowers. My father’s pastor approached me as I lingered behind the congregation with my mother and her friends. He passed on his condolences and very quickly I responded by telling him not to.

This was the time to do it. He needed to know.

“This funeral has been an entire farce. None of you know what kind of man my father really was. He was an evil man. You all one day will know the truth, I promise you.”

The pastor just looked at me. I could see he was shocked. After all, I was the abuser’s daughter, I should have been in floods of tears when instead I was describing to him how relieved I was that he was finally gone.

I don’t regret what I told him. My father was an abusive, deceitful and controlling man. Everyone must now know the truth.

I decided there was no point in putting myself any further through the ordeal and chose to leave with my mother and her friends. I told my sister I was going as the rest of his friends looked on. I wanted them to see my disloyalty, my hatred, my hurt.

Goodbye Daddy.

R.I.P (Rot in Persecution).

The boss of me.

I have to be honest here. I lack majorly when it comes to standing up for myself. If questioned, I feel backed into a corner. I hesitate, show anxiety, panic and doubt myself if questioned in a bossy way. My father was so demanding and his level of questioning was always challenging towards me. He made me feel like no answer would satisfy him and that nothing would appease the situation.

When challenged by my peers now, I react similarly to the way I did with my father. I do not like to be bossed yet I respond well to clear and respectful orders or requests. I notice it the most in a working environment. No matter where I have worked through my career, it has always been the same. I appreciate being talked to not talked at. I appreciate communication and cooperation. It makes for an easier life. I am not good at second guessing or acting on assumption, I like to know in advance and feel prepared for something. Of course, this doesn’t mean I can’t be spontaneous. I just leave that for the other parts of my life. At work however, I want to know where I should be and what I should be doing. 

My father was always the boss of me. 

He gave himself that role and I allowed him to have it.

Thursday will be an important day with an important post. It will be exactly one year that I watched my father’s body be cremated. It will be a time to look back on what I consider to be the most surreal moment of my life.

It was a hellish day, an upsetting day and most of all, a very revealing day.

It was my father’s funeral.

A quick getaway.

Unable to relax earlier in the week, my husband told me to take my shoes off and I will feel more comfortable. It was around nine in the evening and he was confused to why I still had my shoes on. He never feels relaxed if they are on all day and prefers to wander around the house barefoot. I on the other hand feel safe with shoes on, leading my husband to be confused at my response,

“Why do you feel safe?” he asked.

“This way, I make a run for it,” I answered casually.

He laughed; it was an odd reply. He questioned it again and I realised why I was saying this.

My father always berated me for wearing shoes in the house. He hated that I was so insolent and did not comply with his endless rules. I would refuse to take them off. They were my security and in the times where he had thrown or locked me out of the house in a fit of rage, at least I would have my shoes on and keep an ounce of my dignity. The moments where he would threaten me and raise his hand sharply to my face, I would be able to run, run out of the front door in fear. My shoes saved me in those traumatic times and kept me calm. I lived my life on edge with my father around, him watching my every move, waiting to jump. Me, always aware of putting a foot wrong and upsetting him. I needed something to keep me calm and keep me safe.

Shoes did that.