Self-indulgent Bullshit.

Luckily on WordPress there are filters. Thankfully – there are filters. Unfortunately, you may attract some haters, people that are looking to make a point, to insult and patronise. People who believe they know what counts as “abuse”, that it is as black and white as being slapped across the face. Well it isn’t. I may have not suffered physical violence. I may not have been slapped across the face. However, unless you yourself has suffered from abuse, you cannot dare to comment on what I have been through. To the rude man who decided to comment on my last post, my life, my past is just that. It is mine. If you do not agree with it then do not read it. I am not playing a victim. I do not want that label. I set out on my own journey last year and I do not have to justify it to you – a total stranger. You clearly have no idea what emotional abuse is.

My photos are only a small element of my past. I am not ungrateful for having a life. Everyone is ‘allowed’ to look back. I do not compare myself to anyone else. I am not belittling other’s abuse nor am I expecting anyone’s sympathy or “pity” as you so kindly say. Other survivors on WordPress have been incredibly supportive. They (having experienced it themselves) understand. They can see through the darkness. YOU however, will remain hidden from the light in your miserable little world, looking for someone to attack and criticise for your own personal gain.

Perhaps you have been abused yourself. I hope not. I do not wish that on anyone.

My photos are a part of my old life. My “basic human right” was to eat, not to have a cooker. Clearly that needed to be spelled out to you. Of course food is a human right and obviously there are many people in this world who cannot access that. I am not comparing myself to them. I am born and bred in the Western world. My life would always have been different to theirs abuse or no abuse.

My father had a history of abuse. He terrorised my mother for thirty years. He was a very generous man, so generous that not only did he emotionally abuse her, he battered her too! The man was clever, he learnt his lessons, he never touched me. How lucky for me (!) You are a weak human being. A troll. You do not know me yet you feel free to, behind your computer shielded from view, manipulate my words and condemn my truth. Good luck on your quest to break someone. You haven’t succeeded here.

Now tell me WordPress readers, from the rudeness of this stranger:

Am I “undermining the voices of the real victims of abuse”?

Oh and cheers for your bright and breezy comment that my life is “self-indulgent bullshit”. You really are a pleasant man.

We appreciate frankness from those who like us. Frankness from others is called insolence.
Andre Maurois

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The cost of kindness.

I sometimes forget all the things that are free in this world. Kindness is one of them. After being sent a link on Facebook, (35 pictures to prove there is some good in this world) it made me think about how easy it is to take such a basic emotion for granted.

When living with my abuser, kindness was almost forbidden – certainly on his part and especially towards me. His exterior often portrayed a kind and generous man but behind closed doors was a different matter. I ached for an ounce of kindness from him. I wanted him to be gentle and thoughtful with me, to be considerate of my feelings and character. I longed for him to empathise with me and have compassion. These are characteristics that he would have certainly classed himself as having as he did not see himself as ever being without these traits. Many would agree that my father was a thoughtful man but they only saw what he wanted them to.

I will never forget this memory.

One summer evening after a shopping trip, my father was driving us home. It had been a bad visit to the supermarket and we had spent the majority of the journey arguing in the car as we drove back. It was a stupid and dangerous thing to partake in. Arguing while he was driving was my worst place to fight as I never could trust what kind of risks he would take. He was happy to risk our lives and leave me fearing for my life. I cannot remember the subject of our row only that he was attempting to drill in his point. It wasn’t so much of a two way argument; more of a barrage of anger from his end. I had done the unthinkable and spoken back to him. His questions were NOT to be answered. Silly me for forgetting.

I began to feel claustrophobic and tried to avert my eyes from his powerful gaze. Even as he drove he was still finding a way to bury his burning glare into my soul. As my eyes darted from window to window, something caught a hold of my attention. The car slowly pulled up to a bit of traffic as I focussed in on a man lying face down on the ground at a bus stop ahead of us. The day was fading into night and the sunlight had now disappeared into the distance. My father was still continuing his tirade at me but by now, my concentration was fully placed on the stranger.

As we slowly approached the man, I dared to interrupt my father. I could feel his shock and momentary build up of rage. Once again, I interrupted his flow and as I was too frightened to speak in fear of him screaming, I just pointed. I pointed to the lonely man lying face down on the floor.

“Ignore it,” my abuser muttered as he keep his eyes ahead of him.

His comment immediately broke my gaze.

“What?”

“Ignore. It.” He repeated defiantly.

I couldn’t ignore it. I couldn’t fathom his own ignorance. I was horrified.

“There’s a man over there. Pull over.”

“Did you not hear me the first time Babitago?! IGNORE IT!” He shouted violently and slammed his hands on the wheel.

I lost it.

I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I was not that kind of a person.

“He could be dead!” I screamed. “Pull over! We need to call an ambulance!”

“You are a insolent moron! Evil! Disgusting! What is wrong with you? You have no respect for me!”

“This isn’t about you!”

My final comment was enough for my father to release his fury. He let out an almighty roar and I practically jumped out of my seat. The traffic had subsided and he gradually began to pick up speed. I had unleashed his inner monster and it was not about to go into hiding. I turned to see the stranger still on the ground. His lifeless body waited to be found yet no one stopped to help. I wanted to show some kindness, to reach out, to help in some way but the demon beside me was preventing it. He had total control and even when we returned home he made it very clear that I was not to follow through with my plans. Even suggesting anonymously ringing for an ambulance was useless. He wanted nothing to do with it. To him, it was a problem and someone else’s for that matter. That man could have been dying and it did not matter.

I was subjected to an hours worth of abuse and insult when we were hidden behind closed doors. My father reprimanded my concern instead of praising my worry.

I was ashamed to be his daughter.

I never knew what happened to that man.

What a “victim” will often hear.

I say “victim” in inverted commas as I detest the word. I have made the point several times, that we are survivors. Inspired by a video posted on YouTube by an emotional abuse sufferer, I have created my own list of what an abuser’s prey can often be subjected to. Many of these were thrown at me on a daily basis. One on their own does not seem so bad but for many people, they are constantly tormented and cannot escape this abuse. Sarcasm, questioning and indifference play a huge part in verbal and mental abuse.

  • I am worth a million of you
  • Remind me why you were born?
  • You are disgusting
  • I can’t believe my child is a moron
  • What did I do to deserve you?
  • My life used to be good
  • I should have stopped having children after your sister
  • What’s wrong with your face?
  • Be very careful
  • I’m watching you
  • You will never change
  • Idiot!
  • Here come the tears (!)
  • Grow up
  • You really are a pathetic creature
  • Why has God punished me?
  • I say this out of love
  • Why do you always hurt me?
  • Your words are like poison
  • You break everything you touch
  • No one likes you
  • What man would want to marry you!
  • I do not owe you any apologies
  • You brought it all on yourself
  • There used to be a nice person inside you
  • You want me to get angry don’t you
  • I’m your father, I don’t have to respect you
  • I am the authority
  • You are going to drive your future husband to violence – and who can blame him?
  • You embarrass me
  • I’m ashamed to call you my child
  • People are staring at you
  • When I die, you’ll get nothing
  • This isn’t your house; it’s mine
  • Everything you own is mine
  • What are you moaning about now?
  • All you ever do is lie
  • You dare to push me
  • Are you challenging me?
  • Pig!
  • You are always ill!
  • What is wrong with you?
  • I do not deserve this life
  • If I catch you even looking at me………….
  • You will be the reason I die early, probably from a heart attack
  • Are you throwing all that food away?
  • Get out
  • You only ever think about yourself
  • You are evil
  • GET OUT OF MY HOUSE
  • You are just like your mother
  • I am really going to lose my temper
  • It’s your fault I’m angry
  • Where is my apology?
  • Well?
  • Are you stupid?
  • Move
  • Where have you been?
  • Why are you crying, are you a baby?
  • You are a failure
  • Are you trying to kill me?!
  • Even your voice irritates me
  • Think before you speak
  • I’ll never hit you. You’d love that.
  • What is your problem?
  • Imbecile!
  • Even your friends hate you

Of course this list is endless. I could write a thousand more.

Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau

22nd August 2012 – The funeral home.

Sorry this post has been delayed, what with moving this week, it has all been a bit chaotic but I can finally return to the story of my father’s death last summer.

During the day of my father’s death, I received a text from my brother in-law detailing the plan to meet together the next day at the funeral home to discuss arrangements for my father’s funeral. It was all still very raw and as I had spent most of the morning feeling overjoyed and released, it came as a surprise that I needed or that they wanted me to be there. Perhaps they were his wishes.

I did not want to go.

It wasn’t local, instead near my father’s church in a part of London that only reminded me of him. I didn’t want to be anywhere that reminded me of him. He was no longer here, let me mourn, grieve and most of all – move on. The funeral was not something I really wanted a part of. However, as my sister was organizing it, curiosity got the better of me.

In the last few weeks of my father’s illness, it had been revealed that my father had made my sister executor of his will. It was a deed he had once forced upon me several years back when I was living with him.

I remember being called to his bedroom one day to find a heap of papers laid out with a pen beside them.

“Sign it,” he ordered without even a glance in my direction.

“What is it?”

“Don’t question me, rude! It’s to be the executor of my will. Sign it. Someone needs to do it.” His gaze centred on me, “Why are you being difficult?”

It was futile trying to reason with him. I had crossed the line and dared to question my father. I was causing conflict in a simple situation. There was one problem though, I did not want to be executor of his will. I did not want that sort of thing put upon me. I didn’t want to have to deal with him even after his death. Could I voice this? Of course not. So, I had no choice. I picked up the pen and without any knowledge of what I was signing, my name began to appear on the lines he was pointing to.

I never heard about it again. He clearly thought he’d never die.

The next time I would hear it would be the moment I found out he had drawn up a new will. One that my sister was now executor of. I had been dropped in place of the prodigal daughter. She, unlike me, was happy to take on her new role. She enjoyed control and power much like my father. They were the same in almost every way.

At the funeral home, my sister took charge. I was horrified to find out that they had invited a woman along. A woman who was a friend of my father’s but in the situation that it was, it seemed inappropriate for her to be there. They weren’t confidantes, he never saw women like that. In fact, this was a woman he had taken great pleasure in criticizing over the years. A woman that I have heard some appalling things about from my father’s mouth. He was disgusting. The way he spoke of his so-called friends was shocking. It felt odd to see someone I knew irritated him at the funeral home the day after he died.

She seemed devastated. Why wouldn’t she be? My father may have insulted her behind her back but to the outside world he treated her like his daughter. Her child even called him “Uncle”. He was worshiped and respected by many and my sister – his new found disciple – did not want others to see him in any other light.

I sat and watched as the three of them took charge.

I sat back.

I was only there to show face.

My mind was elsewhere and judging by the strangeness of the day, I was anticipating the upcoming funeral.

I was right to be worried.

19th August 2012 – My stony heart.

It must’ve been the hottest day of the year.

It had been eleven days since our last encounter. I had drawn it out as long as I could. He had tried to convince me to visit sooner but after the previous visit, I had no intention of falling into his emotional snares again. It was too much of a risk and I was barely keeping my head above the water as it was. Perhaps it was too long a break and I should have been there for him. But for those eleven days I had a small sense of normality again, I felt safe without him there and as wrong as it may sound, I felt free.

We left early on the Sunday on purpose. We wanted to avoid the heat of the tube and the crowds of people. The journey to the nursing home took over two hours door to door even though we were still in London; the hassles of not being able to drive. By the time we reached it, the temperature had picked up and I was already fanning myself with my hand.

It looked pretty from the outside, a tall white building decorated with pink flowers. Yet as we entered and followed the directions to his room, I was startled to how different a place could look inside compared to the outside. However, the biggest shock was to come.

My father was sat upright in a chair beside his bed.

I sat opposite and watched in horror as he drifted in and out of sleep and consciousness. He was sat in a t-shirt David had brought him from home the previous week. He had a towel covering his lower body. I looked away, feeling repulsed. How insensitive of me; I berated myself but my father had always made me feel uncomfortable. Even in his suffering I could not forget the painful memories that reflected in everything he did.

Babitago……I need you to go to the house tomorrow and find me some more t-shirts to wear,”

he said quietly, still managing to give me orders.

“Did you hear me?” he questioned, I nodded with no intention of stepping into his house.

“Your sister would do it for me; she has done so much for me but she has a family.”

He was still capable, even at his lowest point, to take a dig at me. I was trying so hard to feel something – sympathy, pain, sadness. I was willing these emotions out. All I could do was look at him.

His body was almost shrivelled. He hadn’t shaved for months and unable to grow a beard, his silver facial hair was dusted like sleet over his chin. His heavy eyes remained closed as I stared straight through him. His fragile arms gripped the chair and the only sound that could be heard was his shallow, stilted breathing.

I was waiting to feel something, anything! Love, hurt, fear. I felt none of those things.

I cannot describe what I felt.

3. Don’t patronise me Dad.

Finding one of my father’s patronising notes to me was quite shocking. Although I wish I kept them all for evidence, I could not stand the thought of knowing his evil letters were filling my drawers.

I must have saved this one for a reason. Perhaps I was losing patience or wanted to remind myself that these things were truly happening. Either way, I saved it. I do not know when this note was left for me or what the circumstances that provoked him to write it really were. But usually it didn’t matter what I had really done. It was probably the smallest thing that prompted him to write it. All that is clear, is that I had annoyed him. He does not talk to me like his daughter in it nor like someone close to him. If anything it speaks volumes of how he could not communicate with anyone especially his own child.

 You still have got a part filled tall glass in your room. Can you bring that down and do the rest as you have said. I do not wish to prolong this topic but why do you need to use a fresh towel each time you wash your hair and then dump it somewhere? A little effort to live in germ free conditions and a little good taste in living conditions would be appreciated.      ‘Cheers’ 

I have no idea why he signed off with cheers in inverted commas. Was he being sarcastic? Or making fun of me? Probably. He never vocalised his grievances to me when they were small. He’d write these notes and leave them throughout the house surprising me in every room. He would wait until the little annoyances built up to a point of frustration and he would take great enjoyment in each explosion of utter rage.

My father couldn’t have wanted a good relationship with me. Surely, if he did, he would have recognised that these notes were pointless and all he needed to do was communicate calmly to get what he wanted. I wasn’t obstinate. I just wanted respect.

Respect he always said I never deserved.