- Don’t kick, hit, scream at or threaten to beat your children
- Don’t assault or scream at your wife, don’t grab her by the throat and choke her
- Don’t bully your family, don’t put them down, don’t verbally assault them or set them up against each other
- Don’t treat your children’s bodies like you own them
- Don’t treat your children’s achievements like you own them
- Don’t make your children a dumpster or ATM for attention, to be used to dump your problems on and complain to and expect comfort and validation from
- Don’t pretend to be a victim when you’re the perpetrator
This isn’t kindness, it’s selfishness. This isn’t compassion, it’s assault. This isn’t modeling healthy behavior, this is tearing your family down instead of building them up.
This is why I have nightmares. Nightmares of him assaulting me or my brother. Nightmares of being choked by him. Nightmares of him screaming at me, my brother or my mother. Nightmares of being trapped with no escape and being unable to physically free myself. Unable to move, unable to fight back, I am frozen while the night terrors grab me and don’t let go.
I remember with my first therapist, I expressed that I would wake up with the feeling there was something watching me. Read the post on night terrors, it’s really interesting. She wrote it down in my file and that was that, no mention of it ever again. I went to therapy 10 years too early, probably, there’s way more information about CPTSD these days than there used to be.
This is why my capability to feel connected to people, has been harmed so much that I am still suffering to this day. Some people say that blaming your parents has an expiration date. That may be true. But processing trauma does not. It will come, unbidden, in the middle of the night, like it does now, and shows me pain in all its forms. Because other people’s ability to feel connected is not impaired, I am happy to say I have friends and good acquaintances. I just have difficulty feeling close sometimes.. Especially this time in my life is particularly difficult. But I’m making an effort to reach out to people, to have a cup of coffee or tea. If you’re one of the people I’ve reached out to, I hope you don’t feel upset or burdened, please know that I value you for who you are and appreciate your presence in my life very much.
My mother, who once in tears asked me if I would come live with her if she would divorce him, never divorced him. She seems incapable of understanding she was severely abused. She seemed incapable of understanding that me and my brother were in serious emotional danger. She once screamed at my father that my brother was scared of him. I was too, but it didn’t register on her radar. It didn’t register, until my brother was visibly shaking in terror, before my mother registered anything.
My mother, who is very much handicapped when it comes to registering the emotional state and needs of her children, who doesn’t see sadness until you’re crying, who doesn’t see fear until you’re physically shaking, registered that my little brother was terrified. We both were. After she pointed it out, the horror in the household subsided for at most two weeks. And then it all started over again. He never makes any effort to change.
I do not blame her. She didn’t realize this was abuse and didn’t have the tools or emotional resources to fall back on. If she ever seriously considered divorce, the prospect was probably too overwhelming for her. She panics at letters from tax authorities…
She really did do everything she could. She never played the victim card. She always worked, harder and harder, at everything she heard, saw or read. She read a lot of self-help books and applied all the advice she read and became happier as a result. In contrast to my father, my mother reads and applies whatever she can find. I have said it before and will say it again, in that sense she is a role-model.
He still has, set as his voicemail message, my voice from when I was a teenager. It fucking creeps me out.
I am scarred for life. It impacted every relationship I have ever had. When I am triggered, I expect emotional abuse. In times like these, I spend a lot of time being triggered. On average, it has gone down in the past months. But it is not gone yet, by a long shot.
This is why when he texts me, I ignore it. This is why I sent him one letter in 2019, the last he will ever hear of me, that he is no longer welcome in my life. My mother, who is sadly still incapable of understanding that what my father put us through is straight up abuse and how much damage this has done to me, still gives me his regards. I do not reply and never will. (She doesn’t really understand when something violates my boundaries. Pointing it out is exhausting, because it doesn’t stick until you’ve told her a million times and then only maybe..)
This is why I will call the police if he ever shows up at my doorstep. This is why I will have security at my wedding.
Now that I am an adult, someone is going to keep me safe from him and it will be me.