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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bad Hair Day? The Worst.

My Lord………..man alive……………yesterday was NOT what I had expected it to be. On Wednesday, I booked a long overdue hair appointment on a website that gives offers on high end salons in the city. I have done something like this before and had a very positive experience. Last September, I used another of these websites to do my hair. It was a success and one the best haircuts I’ve ever had.

Yesterday however, was an entirely different story.

On arrival, a friendly welcoming receptionist greeted me. All good. I only had to wait a few moments before my ‘stylist’ (I use this term very lightly) appeared. She ushered me over to the chair without a ‘Hello’ or ‘Pleased to meet you’. There was no introduction nor did she ask me for my name. I just sat down in my allocated chair.

“What do you want then?” she asked abruptly.

Taken aback by her rudeness and lack of decency, I showed her some printed photos I’d taken from Google of Rose Byrne – my hair idol.

 

She had no clue who this beautiful woman was which was clearly a bad start. In her broken English, she proceeded to argue and shout that my hair cannot be cut in this way.

Baring in my that my hair was to my shoulder blades and almost one length with long layers running through, her argument held no strength. It was clear that perhaps she was not capable of such a cut and I was receiving a barrage of excuses. I couldn’t believe that I was having an argument with my so-called hairdresser! I had booked this appointment, thankfully on discount, hoping for a relaxing and well deserved treatment. Instead, I felt like walking straight out of the door. Sadly, through these websites, you have to pay in advance so it was obvious that I was stuck with her.

The idiotic stylist began making exasperating looks at her fellow co-worker, like I was the problem. She particularly didn’t like it when I called her “aggressive” but that is truly what she was.

After coming to a basic agreement, the hairdresser seemed to understand my request. Well how wrong was I?

I absolutely detest the final result.

She has given me the worst haircut I’ve ever had in my life, far surpassing the time when my father gave me a lop-sided bob aged seven. Thank god I only asked for a trim and my hair grows quickly as I won’t be taking it out of a ponytail for at least a month!

Unbelievable.

Shallow as this rant may be, as a sufferer of BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) my hair was the sole thing that I ever liked about myself so this is bound to knock what little confidence I have left.

Do NOT visit BURLINGTON’S BOUTIQUE in Oxford Circus, London. Unless you want someone to insult you for an hour and ruin your hair (!)

Night Terrors.

It has been over seven months since I last blogged about dreaming of my father. That is because it just hasn’t happened.

Until now.

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.
Dave Mustaine

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.

3. Sex and respect Part 1.

I was never given any guidance around the subject of sex. My parents shied away from discussing it with my or my sister and we never saw any evidence of attraction between them. Where some children are embarrassed by their parents’ display of affection, we never had that feeling. They rarely embarrassed us.

As a child, I had no knowledge of sex. I never questioned things as most curious children do. The reproductive system and menstrual  cycle was taught at school in Science. We were never taught at home. My parents left that to our teachers. My sister and I never talked about that side of things, we were not close and our relationship was already unsteady and resentful. I wanted to confide in her and ask questions but my fear to approach her in this matter was too overwhelming and I backed away. Fellow peers at school always seemed more enlightened on the subject than me. I wondered if they could talk to their family about their curiosities.

At my all girls secondary school, I remained intellectually inexperienced in sex, looking to my more confident peers to set the example. I was envious that many of the girls knew about sex and could talk about it freely to each other. I would not have dared joined in. I just listened from the sidelines picking up information without them realising. My teenage years were turbulent at home and my needs were pushed to one side. Socially, I was doing okay. I had friends and due to my dream-like and false reality, I was able to appear confident and capable. No one truly knew how much I was suffering inside.

At the age of 16, when my mother and sister had gone and I was left with my ever-changing father, sex became more of a forefront in my life. I switched school and my year group was now mixed. I was seeing boys every day and socially, I couldn’t cope. I was not popular, fading into the background in my first year. I was developing crushes and obsessions easily, feeling heartbroken if the feeling wasn’t reciprocated. I began thinking about sex but never acting on it. I’d only kissed one boy until the age of seventeen. I was behind in a lot of ways. My friends at the time were surprised how unsuccessful I was with boys as my confidence sent other messages to them. I got on well with boys as I had a good, sarcastic sense of humour. I could poke fun at myself and was easy-going. But I did not know how to turn on the sex appeal. I never felt sexy.

By the time I reached Drama School the majority of my friends had all lost their virginity. As it had never been discussed at home I had no idea how to broach the subject. I was frightened of it and although I was having natural urges, I pushed them to one side. I did not feel attractive in any way especially around boys of my age. I hated competing with other girls and naturally moved away from those scenarios. I was drawn to older men often getting more attention from them on nights out. My friends loved that twenty five year old men were attracted to me, they thought it was thrilling and I was encouraged to take it further. I enjoyed the flirt as I was good at that. I was great at banter. However, any further would just scare me off.

I learnt about sex from film and T.V mostly as a teen. As a young adult, it was from listening to my classmates stories and sexual experiences. I asked questions shamelessly. I wanted to know every detail. They didn’t mind, they enjoyed talking about themselves. I realised that it was something I needed to do, I wanted to experience it. It was unlikely that I would see it in a relationship as I was unsure of how to even begin one. I couldn’t “love” remember. The girls at Drama school were shocked that I was an eighteen year old virgin. It was practically unheard of. Even though they regularly encouraged me to do it I wanted to do it on my own terms. I wasn’t waiting for love. I just wanted it to feel right.

The hunt to find it began.

Part 2 to follow.

1. Love

The most obvious thing I never truly understood was love. I never saw it growing up nor was given advice on it as a young adult. My mother had her own problems to deal with and I, inadvertently had become my father’s problem. He wasn’t about to teach me about love.

My parents expected me to know everything about how the world worked but I lived through example. Either choosing to do positive things they showed me (which was not often) or the opposite of their negative choices. I was adamant that life couldn’t be that miserable and my life would be a success. I look back on my dreams as a child sadly. I had so much hope. I no longer feel that way. The innocence has completely disappeared.

Love for me:

Love came across so bitter as a child. My mother withheld it, used it and controlled how much love she gave me. She showered it over my sister, not just affectionate love but guidance and advice, two things I longed for from her. She will say she did that but it was not in the same way she treated my sister. She was given positive praise and affirmations and I was just told. Her love for me came out as worry. I wasn’t meeting her expectations as I grew older and every time we were together I got bombarded with a list of issues I needed to resolve to become more like my older sister and succeed in life. The comparisons were too much and only pushed me further away.

My father’s love for me has been twisted since I entered his miserable life. I was used as a pawn and weapon against my mother. He used love to manipulate people. He used love to hurt and destroy any faith I ever had in human compassion. Love was a word to him, not a feeling or emotion. He had no emotions. He felt nothing.

Love for each other: 

God, they really hated each other didn’t they? I never once witnessed love for each other. My parents did not love each other, certainly not by the time I came along. I know my mother once did, she told me. She fell in love with a totally, different man. A man who complimented and laughed with her, not a man who mocked and judged her. He led her into his deceptive world, tricking her into loving him, manipulating her devotion to benefit his will. He was truly awful to her it’s no wonder her love for him vanished and her hate became everlasting. I don’t blame her. I feel for her. No woman deserves that.

Love for my parents:

I loved them so much as a child. All the bad examples, their reckless behaviour, the abuse and screaming, the taunts and violence, it didn’t stop my love for them. I saw them as separate beings. My mother was so powerful in my eyes as a child. She was the dominant figure and my father seemed weaker than her (I now know how he deliberately placed himself in that position to make Ma look dictatorial and evil). I never saw her like that, at least not as a young child. She was my mother and I loved her. My father was a God to me. I adored him and the love I felt for him was immense. What child feels so dependant on her father? An abused one I’m sure. It was an over the top love, an unreal love we shared. It was a love he had created, disturbing and obsessive. It was a love that worried my mother. She needn’t have worried. It was a love that soon disappeared. It was a love that turned to hate and anger and fear.

Love for others:

As I was never taught the true meaning of love, I never knew what to expect from relationships. You all know how badly my friendships went. Relationships with men were no different if not worse. As a thirteen year old, I developed an obsessive infatuation with a neighbour of mine something my mother’s friend still jokes about it to this day. I smile. What else can I do? She does not know how it felt, how it ached every time I saw him, how I thought about him constantly and had no one to tell. I couldn’t brush it off as a crush, I didn’t even know what a crush was! I had no guidance in love and sex. The T.V was my main source of advice and as we didn’t have a computer at home, I wasn’t able to access the internet, in fact the internet was only just beginning when I was in my late teens. I had hoped my sister might enlighten me on the subject of men seeing as she was eight years older, but she was leading an entirely unconnected life from me, she was never going to do that and I was far too embarrassed to ask. My mother would just reiterate to me that sex out of a relationship was unimaginable to her and if I did it, she would look down on me for that decision. She never talked about love, just sex. I wonder how she perceived me………

I do often find it difficult to love.

I hope I’m doing it right.

Where there is love there is life.
Mahatma Gandhi

Free from him – a daughter’s story of emotional abuse -my guest post on Deliberate Donkey.

Free from him – a daughter’s story of emotional abuse..