I cannot call myself a victim.
Even though I have suffered at the hands of my father.
He was never physically abusive to me, nor sexual, but he did cross many of those boundaries. He never lived up to the expectations of a father. He wasn’t protective of me, he didn’t shelter me from harm. Instead he would lead me into failure. He gained enjoyment from my misery, using it to criticise and demean me. It was a game; one he always won.
I hate the word victim. I do not want him to feel he ever had that power over me although for the most part it was not something I could control. His obsessive character prevented me from living a normal life. He was a hawk waiting for me, watching from afar to catch me off guard and swoop in to destroy me. He frightened me with his hatred. I never understood when his hate for me developed.
I was constantly compared to other daughters. I never lived up to his expectations of what a daughter should be. I wasn’t willing to be his carer and nurture him like a mother. I refused to take the place of my mother and be that of a wife – attending to his every need. His chauvinistic attributes were challenging and made me furious. He was a woman-hater, referring to us as animals. Men were the superior race.
He was a racist, often making bigoted remarks about his African friends (they were always late – a sign of “typical African nature”). He was homophobic; it was against “God’s will”. I had to be careful what I watched on television in his presence. It was sensible not to aggravate him. If he ever walked in and something “vulgar” was on, I was immediately condemned for my “bad taste”.
From a young age, he overstepped the mark. He was too affectionate and invaded my personal space at will. He would burst into my bedroom without knocking. He’d invite me into his as he rested. I was made to sit beside him on his single bed as he vented his fury towards my mother. I couldn’t have been more than ten years of age.
He insisted I called him “Daddy”, even as a teenager and an adult. I attempted to change it to Dad but he would become upset and hurt, explaining that I couldn’t love him if I did that. The guilt would get to me. I did not want any hassle, and, in later years, I had practically given up. He was the child and I the parent.
He felt he could freely say what he wanted to me. He didn’t stop and think before he spoke. I was there to listen to his problems. He never asked about mine and by adulthood, I knew it was pointless to tell him. It was just something else he could use as ammunition towards me.
He needed to be hugged and kissed. That was the way he thought love was expressed. I did want affection, but mostly from my mother, who showered it over my dependable sister. She wouldn’t kiss me and my father would not stop. I accepted his affection. It was the only amount I got. Even though he repulsed me, I allowed him to force me to hold his arm in public as a teenager. I just wanted to cling to the memories of my childhood where he showed some signs of fatherly love. Before it became all-consuming and suffocating, I just wanted my loving father back.
He never came.
After the divorce, I was left with a needy, critical man who was unwilling to love me. He expected these displays of affection to continue through his endless abuse, but my hatred for him was only getting stronger. I did not want his touch, his kiss, his hands anywhere near me. It sickened me if he tried to be a “father”. His praise seemed worthless compared to the barrage of insults I was getting every day. If I actually did something that pleased him, a remark would instantly be made to negate it. I couldn’t get complacent or secure. I couldn’t seek that kind of assurance from him.
The emotional abuse was incessant. The derogatory names and controlling demands stifled me. He longed for my pain and defeat, where one day I would allow him to freely treat me like that and be accepting of my pathetic life. I was so desperate to be free. I felt more alone than ever in my twenties. Friends doubted my stories. I confided in everyone possible waiting for help. No one did. They couldn’t believe that someone they knew could actually be suffering so badly. So they rejected me, accusing me of lying to seek attention. I became a joke to them, a problem, something they could easily walk away from. They did not want the responsibility.
My father loved that I was alone.
It just made it easier for him to ruin and shatter me.
Which, believe me……………..
About the Author
Hey readers, This is my story.
It has taken me many years to find the courage to tell the world what my father did to me. I know many people do not see emotional and mental abuse as seriously as sexual or physical abuse but I am here to say it is just as soul destroying and crippling as any other abuse. It cannot be taken lightly and the people that do it need to be exposed.