Here’s the deal. (Also one of my favorite things to say.) I talk about my past for a few reasons. First because I can. I finally made myself a blog. I love to write and I have written from the time I was able to. I scared the ever living shit out of my parents with a short story about a woman who not so coincidentally looked very much like me and planned a detailed suicide when I was a teenager. I was not actually planning a suicide but I was angry and sad and it was a cry for help, some kind of help from outside my family that of course went unanswered because my parents were idiots and well, broken. But there is that.
I have written in notebooks for years and ratted them away in closets much to my husbands annoyance. Then the internet was invented and a friend, you know who you are and thank you, introduced me to facebook. I have not been able or willing to shut up since.
As a child I was ordered to be happy and to look happy at all times. I eventually figured out I did not actually have to be happy because I wasn’t but I could just smile and fake it. I did it for years. I was not allowed to express any other emotion, sadness, anger, apathy, nothing existed in my repertoire according to my simpleton and controlling parents other than happy, happy, happy.
I smiled because I was required to smile. I laughed because I was required to laugh. Make no mistake, I was often terrified, scared, frightened, sad, anxious, nervous and often just annoyed as FUCK at my parents for their behaviors, but I was a child and vigorously focused on survival. I did what I was told.
As I got older and bigger in size, and more frustrated with my parents and their stupidity and abuse, although I would not label it that until I was an adult, I had to speak out at times. I had to because sometimes the crazy got so bad that I felt like my head would explode if I didn’t say something, ANYTHING.
When I had to apologize for things I did not say or do or my father threatened to ground me, despite my protects, yeah, I had to say SOMETHING. Especially, since this became something that happened routinely from about the time I was around twelve. Every few months, I was treated to days of the silent treatment from my mother. Suddenly I would notice she was not talking to me, then the traditional, “Your mother cried all night.” talk from Dad.
The first few times I felt horrible. (She cried all night. Oh, that is awful.) After a few years, this got old. (Seriously, she cried all night. Is that even physically possible? She must have fallen asleep at some point.)
. Then I was ordered to apologize for something outrageous that I never would have said or done to my mother, like calling her a name, telling her she was stupid, or saying something equally cruel. I was never mean to her or anyone for that matter. That is not who I was, especially as a child. I would offer to talk to her and straighten things out.
Then I was ordered not to do that and to apologize for what I had been accused of. I would refuse, saying I would not apologize for something I had not done. My father, angry, raising his voice in a threat, “You will or you will be grounded for two weeks.”
Even as a younger child, I did not want to be stuck in that house with those crazy people. I wanted to option to leave if I wanted or needed to. He had me and he knew it. I always made sure I was across the room and in a doorway when I responded. I needed to be able to get away if he chose to try to hit me, which he would do in anger if the mood struck him. “Well, you and I will both know that I am lying.”
He always looked so pissed when I said it. And it always gave me such satisfaction to see that look on his face. It was the only power I had, speaking the truth.
It is still my power and I use it.
I want children and adults out there to know, even if you are living with the crazy now or you did for years and years, you can be okay. You can talk about it and then let the anger and the pain go. You can make sense of it. If you are a child, talk to a trusted adult. Talk to a teacher, a counselor at school. Get out of there. You do not deserve to be abused, no matter what your parents say or what names they call you. You may love them. I loved my parents too, still do in many ways, but you probably suspect there is something wrong with them too. No one deserves to be abused.
You do not have to keep the secrets and more importantly, YOU SHOULD NOT KEEP THE SECRETS. They eat away at you. They destroy you. They take away your joy. You have the right to your feelings whatever they are. And you should feel and express joy and happiness when you really feel it.
I remember sitting in my therapists office years ago while she held my hand and I sobbed. I had told her that I had gotten in touch with my rage Not anger, RAGE.
. I had been seeing her for a while before that but finally I had faced and truly felt the pain of what my parents had done to me as a child.
She held my hand as I said, “How could my parents do that to me? How could they do that to their child? The people who should have loved and protected me, how could they do that to me?”
She held my hand while I cried. She walked through hell with me and I will always love her and respect her for that. She helped me walk out the other side a stronger, different person.
I still don’t understand how an adult does that to a child, hurts them like that. But I know you can heal from it. Sometimes you have to ask for help.