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.
You and I have the right to:
- put my needs first – there are times in our lives where we have every right to be selfish. It is our life after all. It is essential that we have concerns and care for ourselves. Within reason, we need to be selfish in order to be happy.
- be treated with respect – I spend most of my time worrying about how I treat everyone else that I forget I deserve the same treatment. For years I feared my father who demanded constant respect. I associated the word with him and that there was no justification for me to get it. I know now that I deserve it too, I deserved it all along. Respect is a basic right.
- express my feelings whatever they may be – Anger, hurt, sadness, fear, happiness: I have the right to feel these things and not have to justify them when I do.
- say NO – If and when I need to, this is an essential right for me, one that I am only just getting to grips with, one that will take more time to develop but one that I hope will strengthen in me. Someone called me a “walkover” recently. It hurt me. I am not a walkover or a pushover. I have a soul and I have rights and I do not appreciate being perceived in that way.
- have opinions and values – they count. They are relevant and as important as yours. They are mine and should not be dismissed at any whim. I am a woman with a mind. Accept it.
- not take on other people’s problems – A very significant right. At times, we want to and will be there for others. That may be part of our character but like anything else, we have rights to refuse this when it becomes too much. Mentally, there is only so much a person can take on. Other people’s problem bring a new stress into our lives, we worry and fear for them, we become consumed by their issues often neglecting our own. It seems selfish and unkind but this is not a right that we demand constantly. I have spent hours listening to the trials and despairs of my family wishing they’d factor in that I have problems too. They didn’t and I was left dealing with theirs, feeding them advice and becoming a confidante to them. A position I was so desperate not to be.
- make mistakes – it’s okay to be wrong. It happens. I have the right to be wrong. Do not punish me because I am not perfect. No is.
Not even you.
Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don’t give up the fight.