Tearing down the house – 3

How often does a parent have to yell, scream and swear at their child, to do serious emotional damage? How often does a parent have to threaten beating their child up, to do serious emotional damage? Throughout my childhood, he screamed at us and balled his fists, red face, eyes bulging out of his sockets, making it seem like he was barely restraining himself from beating us up. He drank, screamed at us and my mother. He grabbed my mother by the throat and shook her.

How often does a parent have to bully family members, to do serious emotional damage? How often does a parent have to belittle any family member, to do serious emotional damage to everyone? Witnessing how he treated my mother and brother is part of my past. As a child, I sided with my father in an attempt to fix things. To soothe him, to stay ahead of outbursts. I had to stand and watch as he made derogatory statements about my family. How can a human being act in such a cruel way to the people they are supposed to love?

How often does a parent have to estrange a child from other family members, to do serious emotional damage? Love was earned by siding with him on everything. If you didn’t, you were punished, bullied, screamed at. I had to denounce my mother and brother in order to be worthy of his ‘love’. At some point in my childhood, we went for regular walks. There, he would vomit all sorts of things. He victimized himself for everything. His boss was an asshole, his colleagues idiots, one colleague was an alcoholic (hypocrite!), my mother wasn’t good enough for him, she wouldn’t give him blowjobs, she was a horrible cook, she didn’t listen, she didn’t understand him, nobody understood him! But the two of us were special, weren’t we? We understood eachother. Did I also experience, just like him, that people would tell me their troubles and stories? That’s because I was such a good listener. The two of us, we were special, weren’t we?

How often does a parent have to model inappropriate behavior, to do serious damage? He would boast that whenever he fucked my mother, he would blow out millions of sperm. He proudly declared that she would have to get a handkerchief and walk downstairs with it between her legs to go wash. He boasted that he could drink 40 beers on an evening and now have a hangover at all. He boasted that he “used people”.

How often does a parent have to touch a child inappropriately, to do serious emotional damage? How often I had to kiss his wet, alcoholic drunken lips before I went to bed. He would pout until we did. He would slap me on the butt. It was the way to earn love. He would grab me and try to pull me close. Just stop touching me, stop clawing at me, stop grabbing me! I’m not your possession!

How often does a parent have to put you down by making jokes at your expense, to do serious emotional damage? His self-absorbed “It was just a joke” is, to me, still the most cruel form of gaslighting there is. Jokes are never at someone else’s expense. If you think they are, you’re a fucking asshole.

How often does a parent have to get drunk and make threats, to do serious emotional damage? My father told me he wanted to kill my mother. They were going on holiday, the two of them, and he would come home alone. He would push her off a mountain. He told me he the reason he wouldn’t divorce her is because he wanted to keep the house. If she divorced him, he would destroy all the furniture. Although I understand now what a coward he is, a child doesn’t know. I was terrified.

How often does a parent have to fail to show any basic interest in a child’s well-being, to do serious emotional damage? Not once has he cared about what I was doing. Not once. He didn’t care about the drawings I made, he didn’t care about my singing, he didn’t care about what I was reading, he didn’t care about how I was feeling. He just didn’t care about anyone but himself. Unless you did something that earned you high marks or praise. Then, suddenly, he would grab at you to suck from your bones all the affirmation that should have been yours. Everything I did well was taken away from me to feed his ego. Everything I did for myself, he pouted at, like a baby. If it didn’t earn him attention, he would do whatever he could to make it go away.

How often does a parent have to fail to support their child, to do serious emotional damage? How often does a parent have to make their sulking and pouting more important than supporting their child, to do serious emotional damage? Not once did he support me when I was bullied. Not once did he comfort me. Only my successes were taken as proof of what an amazing parent he was. None of my pains, failures and difficulties received any attention. “Tieten vooruit en kop omhoog! Puberen doe je maar in je eigen tijd!” was all I got. (“Tits forward and head (derogatory) up. Go through puberty in your own time!”) When I had my first real friend, he pouted, sulked, complained and nearly cried that I wasn’t spending time with him anymore. When I had my first real boyfriend, the pattern continued. I cringe, looking back that he kept saying to me “Why are you spending so much time with him? Why are those parents taking any interest in you? You already have parents!!!!!!!!” He felt threatened by the love and kindness that was shown to me by other adults. I cringe, because I didn’t know what else to do than to tell those kind well-meaning folks, who were trying to teach me some basic social rules and skills “I already have parents.” He bullied me into submission. I wanted to go to art school. After years of catering to his needs, after his pouting, sulking and bullying, all it took was for him to drink himself into a stupor and complain about it, for me to abandon that road. When I graduated University with an Engineering degree, he started sobbing “MY DAUGHTER BELONGS TO THE BEST!”. I felt anything but ‘belonging to the best’. No congratulations. No acknowledgement for how hard I had to work for it. No. HIS daughter. HE. HIM. ME ME ME. Even my graduation wasn’t mine.

Should I password protect this post? Or should I just post it for everyone to see? No more hiding, no more shame. This is what I experienced from someone who should have supported and nurtured me.

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