I could discuss where I am now, how it is to be home. But today I am feeling sorry for myself. So today, I am going to use my blog, (after all this is why I chose to do this). to share with you.
Looking back… How is it that I don’t remember a single good memory of my childhood. Well other than the ones from my teenage years. When I used to stay at my best friends and do what normal teenagers do.
Sexual abuse, emotional and physical abuse. I suffered it all as a child, I knew no different. Did I think this was normal? Did I know that it wasn’t? I can’t answer either. I just don’t know. Yet, I do know that I live with it daily, the shame the guilt. The frustration. On the outside, people think I am this strong youngish woman. I’m not, I really am not. I’m broken, I feel like I am damaged goods, unworthy of anyone’s love. Not only that I feel confused, so very confused.
I’m going to go back to my childhood. I want to get this out of my head, these thoughts and feelings. I want to remove it from inside me. Something, I haven’t mentioned yet is that I do speak with my father now. Why? Why? Why? Am I afraid? Is it because I am so desperate to be loved by him? How is it, I can forgive him, yet not my mother? Not my cousin? They all had a part in ruining my life…
So I was 6 years old, playing outside with my siblings and cousins. If I remember right, it was a simple game of hide and seek. My two older cousins, then 13 and 15, called me into their shed to hide. It was dark in there, a small window that gave a little light. It had a chest freezer in there. I can remember being in there, I can remember them both being in there with me. I remember the freezer, the damp metalic smell of the shed. Why, why can’t I remember if something happened in there. Did it? Is this where it began? Why, was I given a fruit lollipop and told not to tell anyone, it was our secret. I just thought this was all part of the game. I don’t know if it was days later or weeks later. But my parents went out and I came downstairs for a drink. My cousin was babysitting. He was in the front room, watching porn on the telly. This was the first time I had seen anything like this. He asked me to come and sit with him. Why did I? Why did I not just go back to bed? I didn’t I sat with him, this is fun I can stay up a bit. He is funny, he is nice. We sat there watching the porn, I think I was a little embarrassed as there were naked men and women on there. I tried not to look. I think my cousin could see my unease, so he started teasing me, then tickling me. I thought it was fun, I didn’t think anything was wrong, but why would I? I was only 6. So we were rolling around the sofa and the floor being tickled. All the while, the telly is quietly showing naked bodies doing I have no idea what! The same? rolling around ticking each other? My cousin put my hand on him and with his hand wrapped around mine, he made me move it. I was embarrassed but he reassured me, said this was ok. So I carried on letting him move my hand around as he wanted. Then he heard steps, he quickly jumped and heard my brother coming down the stairs. Go back to bed he shouted. He then said to me, don’t tell anyone because your dad might get cross if he knows I let you stay up. I went back to bed. I didn’t tell anyone, I couldn’t, and why would I? Did I know what happened was wrong?
Our house was an open house, doors were never locked, neighbours, relatives would come and go all the time. So how did no one know what went on in that house. The shouting, screaming. Why did no one do anything? To this day, these are questions unanswered!! I saw my cousins daily, we all played together. When father was out to work, mother would be in one of the neighbours houses. Kids would all be out in the cul de sac playing. Mother always made sure that we were home when father came in. A normal evening routine would be the deep fat fryer on. I would lay the table for dinner. And we would be sat in the kitchen watching telly waiting for father to come home. All the while, wondering what sort of day he had. Mother would be busying herself getting dinner ready. It was sausage, chips and beans on this night. She makes father a cup of tea and places it at his spot on the table. He seems ok today. Mother dishes up the dinner, fathers first, when suddenly there it goes flying across the room, inches from our heads, before smashing at the wall. It was a wednesday, he would have sausage and mash on a wednesday. Our heads down, not daring to look at him, we try and carry on eating our food. He would be shouting at mother, her crying. It’s hard to eat, but we know if we don’t it will fuel his temper. Stupidly, I would try and calm the situation, say something, then he would shout at me, you got something to say, f**ing shut your mouth, go to your f***ing room, get me the yellow pages on your way. The f**ing police can come and take you to the naughty childrens home. Mother just standing there quiet. Brother gets ordered out the room too. Upstairs, we can hear the raised voices, things being broke, then the doors slam and it’s quiet. We won’t see him now for a few hours, as he will shut himself in the shed sulking. As I creep to the top of the stairs, I can hear mother crying. I go down to see if she is ok, she is on her knees cleaning the broken plate and food up. I go over to her, put my arms around her are you ok mummy?? She turns and looks at me, pushes me off, go away, get to bed now! she shouts. I walk away, crying. Back to bed I go. The next morning, we come down, the atmosphere is still heavy from the argument the night before, father then walks in and tells my brother and I to put our bowls back. We didn’t finish dinner last night, we would be finishing it this morning, or we can starve. This became the norm, we either ate our dinner, whether we liked it or not, we were not going to waste it! It would be breakfast the next day. Fathers mood swings used to last a few days, then he would be the nicest man you can imagine. Teasing, joking with us. It was always so hard to work out what to expect. We were always living on egg shells.
I am 8 now, I have learnt how to make father a cup of tea, I wash up every night. I even have to peel potatoes ready for dinner. I don’t mind, I like helping out. We had dinner, and I get up to wash up, I can only just reach the sink. Washing up is slippery, as I go to put my mothers pyrex dish on the drainer, it slips from my hand, smashes by my feet. I am crying, shaking. If father comes in from outside, I will be in so much trouble. I quickly get the dustpan and brush, clean it up and put it in the bin. They wouldn’t know, the only one that knew was my brother. I continue washing up, silently crying due to the fear of what I have done. I make father a cup of tea and take it out to him. He is in the shed, working on something. I knock the door, he says hello? I say I got you a cup of tea dad, F** off did I ask for a f**king cup of tea??? I walk away, trembling, take the cup back into the kitchen and go to my room, where I remain for the rest of the evening. I get up in the morning, its the weekend. I have been given a list of chores I need to do. Tidy away all the toys, empty all the ashtrays, wash up. Father seems in a good mood this morning, I must do this right. They are going out, its ok, my brother is here and my cousins and family are around. Where are you going I ask. Mother answers there and back to see how far it is.. This was a normal response when they would go out. I would busy myself cleaning, doing my chores, my siblings playing outside. They would come back, no thank you for cleaning, no recognition. Put the kettle on …. as a good girl I do. Father and mother are both happy today, i’m not ruining it. They had been shopping, they put all there bits away, my cousins would be over, father would be messing around with them, joking and laughing. Friends of my father would be coming and going, borrowing this borrowing that. Or asking for advice or help for something. Father would be in his element. With people around, my father was a saint, a friendly character a laugh. He would be like the loving father you would want, thanks darling if I went and got something for him. Most weekends they would be getting ready to go out. My cousin would be coming over to babysit. Did I dread him coming over to babysit. Sometimes I would sometimes I wouldn’t. (Is that sickening that I can say that sometimes, I didn’t dread him coming over). Whenever my cousin babysat he would come into my room and ask me to come down stairs with him. From that first time of him putting my hand on him. 2 years had passed now. The routine remained pretty much the same really. He would call me down, the porn movie playing in the background, he would sit and watch, talking to me about it. Then he would mess around, tickle me. Then he would ask me to put my hand on him. Now though, he would have his hands down in my underwear too. The first time he had done this was a year ago. I remember it hurt, but he would kiss me down there and say there its better now. My siblings upstairs in bed asleep, and me downstairs with my cousin. I would always have the same warning after, you can’t say anything because your dad will be so cross with you, if he knew you were coming down.
So this was my childhood age 6 to 8. I could continue, but for now. I need to tell you why I’m telling you this. Why today?
Well like I said at the beginning, today is not a good day for me. I am feeling sorry for myself. Last night, the nightmare returned. There I was this 6 year old girl, in this room with my cousin. And then the vivid arguments of my parents, and the threats to me. It was there, last night, I was reliving it. I hate these memories, I hate how it makes me feel. In my previous blog, I mentioned feeling like I am on a rollercoaster. Well yep that’s my life.
I was 13 when I first cut myself, it didn’t hurt it felt good. I hid it well, to be honest, I never cut deep just like a scratch, enough for it to bleed. I was smoking, which my cousin would give me money for the cigarettes. I would walk to my best friends and spend time there. I would try and avoid being at home as much as I could. As long as I had done my chores, I could go out. I didn’t know that I suffered from depression, anxiety. To be honest, I’m not sure I knew what that was. Unless I was out with my friends, I would feel really sad and lonely. I used to watch home and away, god how I wished my dad would phone social services, maybe I could have a new mum like Pippa. That was now my dream.
At 16, I left home, and finally got help from a young person centre. I registered at the local doctors surgery. It was then that, I learnt that, I suffered from depression and anxiety. I started counselling. My therapist was lovely, I used to see her regularly. I felt able to talk her about most things. But then I became pregnant and the focus was on that. I then felt uneasy talking. I was going to be a single parent at 17, I know she was just trying to help, but I wasn’t ready to hear it. Besides, I needed this baby, he or she would give me something to love, to live for, and in return I would be loved back.
So back to today. I had a nightmare last night, I hate these nightmares. It’s like being punished over and over again. So I got up this morning, feeling sorry for myself, it’s my day off work. I woke with a headache and sore throat, now that gets me in a low mood anyhow, I don’t do feeling under the weather. I got the kids ready for school, and dropped them off. Walking back, it’s a beautiful sunny day, people going about their business. I’m thinking about my nightmare, lower and lower I am feeling. I had a call last week from my safelink counselor do I call her, do I tell her how I feel. I don’t know… The thing is I don’t know where to start really. I hate people feeling sorry for me. I also hate people trying to reassure me that it wasn’t my fault. I know this, but I lived it. I let it happen. For years I covered it up, and now I decided to bring it all up, why? why?
I have had times where I have felt low, anxious. But I have always, found a distraction to put it back in the box and lock it. Why not now. I’m angry at myself, I’m angry at those around me that love me. I’m so god damn angry… I should have left the box closed.. How is it all the times in the past that I wanted to shout, I wanted to scream. I never, all those missed opportunities. I sit here thinking about it, thinking about all the wrong choices I made in my life. How, my children and my husband would probably be better without me. Is that true though? I’m a coward, I have attempted twice now to runaway, leave them all behind, I don’t want to end my life. I just want to get away from the pain I feel inside. I want to get away from the guilt I feel, for how my life can affect my children. I just want to run away from myself. But like a very good friend of mine said you can’t run away from yourself, you must face it. So I started this blog. This is my way of dealing with my feelings, if I didn’t sit and write this today, I think I would be thinking about running away again. I could phone safelink, maybe I will. At the moment, I just don’t want to talk to anyone, i’m angry, i’m hurting. Why did I not stop it, why did I let it happen for years. And also why am speaking to father. Yet I won’t speak to my mother, should I feel guilty that I have been told that she is dying.
2 years ago, I started talking to my father. My grandmother was upset and because I love her so much, and I know how much her family meant to her. I decided to contact him, we argued on the telephone, for the first time though, I actually had the strength to shout back at him and I did. He ended up crying, saying he was sorry. Was he? He appeared to be, so after that I would speak when I saw him at my grans house. This made gran happy, so I kept it up. I still chat to him now though, and gran is no longer here. So how is it, I can talk to him after all the abuse and torment, he tried to kill me. How can it be ok to talk to him and not her. How is it ok to report my cousin, yet be ok to talk to father. Even as I write, my head is spinning, I am so confused right now. My nightmare last night was pretty much taking me back to that 6-8 year old.
I can cope with this, I have in the past. So why is now so different? I guess, because now I have the grief to deal with? The fact, I almost ruined my marriage. And the fact, I actually left my young children, what sort of parent can be that selfish, that they leave their kids? I had always vowed, I would never do this, no matter what, my kids would come first. Am I like my parents, I ask myself? Am I just as bad as them? You see with anxiety and depression comes paranoia. I even ask myself, did I do ok by my older children, do they really love me? Have I let them down? Will they soon disown me? like I did my parents.
I hate feeling sorry for myself, I need a distraction, I need to get busy again. Maybe, I should look into online courses, but then that costs money, can I be selfish and add to my professional development. I know, that is how I have come through this in the past. I was busy, I was protecting my young children, I was working. I would be studying to become a nurse. I become carer for my mother. There has always been some sort of distraction in my private life, something to stop the hurt and painful memories of my past. But, I no longer had that distraction in my life, I had a job, I absolutely love, a fantastic family to be proud of and a loving husband. We may not have everything we want. But it was ok.
Then it happened, I could no longer keep the secret anymore, its out. I spoke up.. I don’t regret it. I just wish I knew how I could deal with it better. It seems, I’m only happy if I truly am busy. If I had some kind of distraction.
How long will it be, before I get my specialist counseling will it even help bury this. I don’t know…