4th November 2010: Phone call 9.30pm, diary entry –
Told me he was too angry to talk to me all week. Told me not to speak when he spoke nor to contradict him (not allowed an opinion). Continued by saying I have tortured him. For thirteen years, since the divorce, I have tortured him. Said I was “different”, “lovely” before the divorce then I suddenly transformed after it. Blames all my behaviour on my mother and my sister saying they “brainwashed” me throughout the divorce. Actually, we barely spoke to each other back then. He was the one doing the brainwashing! Told me he has suffered for thirteen years with my behaviour. Hundreds of episodes like last week.
“A father’s job is to love and have authority over his daughter,” he said to me with every belief in his absurd and worrying words.
Last week, I had NO right to ask him for respect. It was not my place. I am the child. At twenty eight, I am the child. A daughter cannot demand that. I have no right to want politeness from him let alone ask for it. Told me he cannot “go on like this”.
No Daddy. We can’t.
Train tracks ran behind my father’s house, often a tube train would stop and linger by our back garden. This is the view from the back of my old house. It looks onto nothing. Only an endless train line. There was never an escape. Certainly not from the back of the house. I often contemplating running into my neighbour’s garden as he chased me down the stairs. I imagined myself climbing over the rickety fence and trespassing for those few seconds before reaching freedom. He probably would have caught me anyway. He would have followed me down the street. I had run before. In the dark, late at night. He came after me in the car. He always tracked me down. I was too frightened to fight further. I never got very far. He would coax me into his car with a sorry voice only to condemn me as soon as I had sat down.
The garden was not a sanctuary for me. Instead a place where I went to breathe. I felt so trapped with him. I always needed air. After our heated arguments, it seemed like the best place to go. He rarely followed me out. He worried that a neighbour might appear and see him for his true nature. However, he often lingered at the back door muttering obscenities at me. A tube slowly came to a halt one day as I paced across the grass after one of our heated arguments. My father had lost it. He was waving and shouting and gritting his teeth at me from the safety of the kitchen door. He was ordering me to come back inside. I wasn’t about to. That would not be safe for me. I would be walking into his trap. I knew that I needed to get to my bedroom somehow; I felt safe there. Eventually, he would give up and I could escape but until then the garden was the wisest place to be.
As the train waited for a signal to change, I caught the eye of a few passengers. It would have been clear to them that we were fighting. They were so close to us. A woman seemed to move seats to get a closer look. I was surprised that this was gaining so much interest, that my hell had turned into a drama for these passengers to study and watch with anticipation. Another man turned to his friend and pointed directly at me. I stared at them as tears poured from my eyes. Could they see my tears? What were they thinking? I did not want to feel violated any longer.
I circled round, ready to make my move but found my abuser blocking my way, standing firmly in my path. I went to walk past him but he would not budge. He stared at me. He stared at me with so much hate. He told me I was not welcome inside. That I “needed to calm down” and that he would be shutting the door. I answered back. At twenty four I felt I had the right to do so. Of course, he felt differently and as the train pulled away, my father launched into another verbal attack.
In his tirade, he moved just slightly away from the back door. I saw my chance and sprinted to my bedroom.
“BABITAGO!!!” he yelled from below.
I could hear the clamour of his heavy footsteps and the doors being flung against the wall as he ran after me. I made it, with time to spare. The door was locked and the bed was pushed against it. He banged his hands upon my door making it vibrate on impact. I, like a little child, pulled the covers so far over me as I lay in my bed. I took out my headphones and turned on my music to drown out the insults he began firing at me from outside. His voice could still be heard as the music played but I just focussed on what I was listening to and slowly felt myself relax.
He was not going to break me.
I had to be strong.
It has been over seven months since I last blogged about dreaming of my father. That is because it just hasn’t happened.
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.
I bumped into someone today on the way home from work. It was a pleasant surprise to see them as we hadn’t met up for over a year.
She asked after my father (she knew from a brief conversation late last year that he’d died) to see how I was feeling. I said I was coping when she asked if it was “difficult”.
Yes, it is ‘difficult’ but for the opposite reasons that you are thinking of. Yet, this is not something I would ever dare to say out loud to most people. I am still too frightened to admit the truth about my father.
It doesn’t help that most people I have come across either have a loving relationship with their dad or their father is the most caring individual in the world. The other thing that doesn’t help is if their dedicated, loving father has also passed away.
Whilst I’m silently screaming with joy and relief, their world has been torn apart. To even mention that somewhere, in the big wide world, there are actual men out there terrorising their children, abusing and demoralising them, mentally ripping their hearts to pieces. It is unimaginable for these people to perceive that any father could set out to deliberately hurt or wound their child. My father was one of those men. He lived life torturing me. He gained enjoyment from seeing me suffer. The emotional scars that filled me were his sadistic rewards.
This is why, in certain situations, I have to gloss over the truth.
I can’t be open and honest in case it upsets them or worse, they question me. I think I hate that the most. I do not expect to have to defend myself to you over a man you have never met. A man that has scarred me for life. Just because that lowlife was graced with the title – FATHER, it never actually made him one. He was never a father in any sense of the word.
Since starting the blog, I have been questioned, judged and even interrogated by friends – new and old, colleagues and even total strangers.
It happened. He did it.
I should not have to justify my abuse.
I want to feel free to tell the truth.
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.
R.I.P (Rot in Persecution).
My father called me that afternoon as I made my way to meet a friend for dinner. It was two days since we had last spoken and I was wary when answering the phone. We were not back to having regular contact and I was worried that getting in touch on the 16th was the wrong decision.
As I was on the bus, he told me he had been rushed to hospital the previous night. My heart sank. My memories of him being in hospital had never been good. I began to worry of what he may expect from me.
He said it was serious and again my heart dropped. Now I had to deal with the fact that it wasn’t a prostate problem or a torn ligament, my father may actually be seriously ill. It was a lot to take in so quickly. The doctors at the hospital, after numerous tests, had come to the conclusion that his suffering was either Tuberculosis or Lung Cancer. Both sounded horrific and both petrified me. More tests were needed to determine what it actually was. As I took in the magnitude of the situation, I asked him how he got to the hospital. He explained how he had called an ambulance in the night when realising he could not breathe.
I could not believe it. Three years back when I had my Asthma attack, he refused to call me an ambulance! My life was clearly not as important as his.
He began listing orders:
- I was to come the next day and bring him a set of clothes including underwear
- He needed all his bank cards
- I had to bring his mobile phone
- David or I needed to check the house to make sure it was okay.
Many other things were said but I had stopped listening. I did not want this role he was forcing on me. I had not talked to him for two weeks because he had told me never to speak to him again. He condemned me as a daughter and now he expected me to take care of him and the house, that it all gets forgotten just because he is ill. Is that selfish? Is that evil? Yes, it probably is but I was working so hard to break free, to cut all the emotional ties and feel secure and strong. This was the worst thing that could’ve happened.
I told him it would be impossible to come the next day. He said he would’ve asked my sister but she wouldn’t return from Norfolk until Friday. I had to do it. Of course, I wasn’t surprised she knew his state before me. I barely knew anything about my father any more. I reminded him that I had a job to do and that it was a very important week at work. He muttered angrily down the phone, scolding me for being so insensitive. I told him I would come on Friday too as I was working a half day. It was just about enough to pacify him.