Do I Really Want to Go There?


Who could have hurt this child?

In all the years I have been blogging (over 11 years)  I have not spoken a great deal about my biological father. It is one of my relationships that could fill several volumes of books. If I could sum up my relationship with him in one word it would be terror. Total and complete terror. He ruled our house with an iron fist. I won’t even go into how often my mom was black and blue, her nose broken. I won’t go into the abuse my brother suffered. I won’t even go into the abuse that I suffered. No. How about just a few incidences? Hanging me over the ferry and bridges. Beatings with the belt for coughing too loud. Force feeding. Throwing me into the river over and over teaching me to “swim”. Fuck. I really don’t even want to think about it. But. But I do think about it because it wiggles its way into my adult life. Oh, not directly. It sits there with me. Like an unwelcome person sitting beside me on the bus seat.

I don’t have issues anymore about why my father was abusive. I don’t have issues with why he found it so hard to love. It took years to work through it and the understanding that his own father abandoned him makes it easier to understand and easier to endure. In fact, I feel immense compassion for him. His father left my grandmother with three children under the age of 4. I feel sad for him. From what I have been told by my aunt is that his own father was abusive and a monster. It must have been very confusing for that little boy, my father.

It feels like this post is going off course but it isn’t. What I am dealing with now is the traits I learned as a little girl, doing what I was told. Being forced into being a pleaser at any cost. If I didn’t do as I was told there were terrible and drastic repercussions. Beatings. Verbal abuse. Food and water withheld. Isolation. Being sent outside in the cold and rain without proper clothing. The issue now is still feeling like I have no voice. That my needs and wants are unimportant. I do what I am told because of fear. When I am at work I do what I am told by my nurse managers, clients and coworkers. When I am dealing with friends and family I just go along with what everyone else wants.

It all rolled over me yesterday. Never before have I felt such sadness for that little girl. I don’t feel sad for me. I feel sad for that little girl. (It makes no logical sense because I am that little girl.) I was driving to physio and started crying. I wanted to protect her. To take her into my arms and tell her she was such a good girl and that she was pretty and smart and had a good heart.* I wanted to tell her to not be scared anymore. Because I have been scared my whole life. Scared of everything. Scared of speaking up for myself. Scared of men. Scared of of the dark. Scared of making people angry or even unhappy.

I don’t know where to go from here. I am just a scared adult who lets fear of speaking up and telling people how I feel rule my life. I am still as powerless as I was at 3 years old. There is likely no way out of this and I will remain a powerless woman. I don’t feel sad for my adult self because this is just who I am.  It is just too confusing to even know where to start to get myself out of this. It isn’t like this fear can even be removed because it is woven into who I am. What if I start pulling threads and the whole fabric of who I am unravels?

OK. This post has exhausted me. That is all for now. I will end this post with a note of gratitude. I am forever grateful that my biological father abandoned us and that my step-dad came into my life and raised me.

*My mom tried but she had also lost her voice and got beat for speaking out. She had become powerless.

15 thoughts on “Do I Really Want to Go There?

  1. All I can say is I sure can relate, although for me it was mother that was violent, aggressive and terrifying. And now it’s been left to me to deal with her. Now she’s an old frail woman, that everyone expects me to look after when she treated me like shit my whole life. As you said, I’ve learnt to obey at any cost, and that’s why I’m stuck in this awful situation I’m in now.

  2. I truly wish I did not understand one word of this post.
    But. Because I do, I understand you.
    I love you. I love that little girl. We make do with what we have and sometimes that’s enough and sometimes, it’s enough to make us weep.
    But if we understand why we do what we do, at least we have that. You do. And perhaps, from that, can come change.

  3. I read your blog but rarely comment. I am so sorry for the little girl you and the adult you. Unraveling seems impossible and maybe it is but our backgrounds sure explains a lot about how we are today. It’s good to share and I hope it lightens your burden some. Sending peace.

  4. You can tell that little girl that she’s safe. That’s what she wants more than anything, is to feel safe. It’s the gift that parents are supposed to give their children but often can’t, the feeling of being safe. I went through some therapy that involved talking to my three year old self and telling her that she was safe. It did help. I could use some more therapy but a little was better than none.

    That little girl, she needs love, acceptance, affection, she needs to know that she is fine just as she is. She needs to feel safe. You can give her that. Aren’t I a fine one to talk? Should put my money where my mouth is, or rather, walk the walk. Take care woman.

  5. Oh Birdie. My story is so very different but my heart feels such kinship with yours and where you find yourself.

    When I am stronger I find myself mothering myself quite often, in such a similar fashion as you described above it’s eerie… wanting to comfort that little girl within, give her all the hugs and kisses she missed out on. I’ve been told that doing so is a wonderfully therapeutic thing and that somehow our brains don’t quite know the difference, that in fact we can mother ourselves into stronger, calmer, patched-up individuals. I certainly hope this is the case, and that I’ll make it back to a place where I can be so kind to myself.

    In the meantime, don’t worry about unraveling. In the long run we weave and unravel many times throughout our existence yet we never quite lose ourselves completely; even when the threadbare, fearful, battered portions of us are repaired or woven over those old colors, scents, and shadows of our past persist, an ever-changing yet constant base for the perpetual project that is our Self.

    And if you do fall apart for a bit, you have many loving friends here to hold your tattered edges together for you while you re-ravel 😉 It’s scary, but it seems necessary for us, somehow we are compelled to tease apart those old threads despite the fear, the risk… just thinking of it takes my breath away and gives me a sinking feeling in my chest. It’s a very daring thing to unravel oneself. And exhausting, you are very right!

    Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being you and being here, I’m so glad for it.

  6. Birdie you have a voice and you just used it. You told us how you are feeling. You told us some of your history and how it made you feel and still makes you feel. You used your voice and helped us understand and feel as you did. I wish I could hug that little girl too, she deserved so much better. {{{HUGS}}}}

  7. You had a severely and savagely abusive father. He should have met my mother. They would have made a “cute couple”. SHEESH! Great big loving (((((HUGS))))) from one terribly abused child to another.

  8. I am sorry you had to deal with this, no one should. But .. there is still time to care about the adult you now, and make changes.

  9. Dear Birdie,

    I am sorry for every bad thing that ever happened at the hand of your dad. No kid should endure that. As other bloggers have pointed out, you can make your inner kid feel safe and make changes. This use to be referred to as re-parenting. It may still be, for all I know. What I can tell you is, it worked for me. Hugs.

  10. Where to start Birdie? Right where you are with more listening to that little girl and holding her close. You’ve understood your birth father and feel compassion for him which helps with forgiveness. Maybe it’s time to feel that compassion for your self, for your little girl inside. In fact no maybe about it. Yes it’s time. I agree with the blogger above who talks about us unravelling many times in life and that there is support for you here if you need it. You’ve some strategies in place now to notice if you are becoming ill and you sound strong enough to do this now!
    And those adult traits…..those I have too but for different reasons…..accepting them and not being angry or harsh with yourself when they surface everyday as they have since you started to use them to keep safe as a child….that is part of the unravelling….and a positive if painful part. Accept them and celebrate when you do raise your voice to speak out…..notice your small steps and celebrate every single one! (That’s what I’m going to do for the next 100 days and see how I go!) love you Birdie, you are such a support for all of us. So we would want to do that same for you. Cheer you on for this next part of your journey. X

  11. Oh Birdie, I just want to put my arms around that little girl and tell her she is safe now, and that she will grow up to be a beautiful and sensitive woman, and that she will find her voice, and use it powerfully, as you have here. Sending love to you, and to your mom, who clearly wove a cloak of love around you, that kept your center whole when everything else was breaking apart.

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  13. When people suffer as children, they either become what they loathe or they become the opposite. For every mean thing your dad has done, I’m certain you’ve done at least one good thing. In fact, I know it. You have such a super capacity to love.
    I’m so happy for your inner child! She got such a gift from you! The trick is to keep nurturing her and giving her NOW what she needed THEN. You will both be stronger as a result.
    Our 40s are a time of unravelling, aren’t they? The great part about unravelling though is balling up the threads and weaving a new tapestry, a stronger one with a prettier pattern. Picture that!
    Maybe you should write your inner child a permission slip to say whatever she wishes she could have said, only let her say it now. Life is too short to be silent.
    Xoxoxo do to you today and always!

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