Free from him – a daughter’s story of emotional abuse.

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……………..

He did.

About the Author

FreeFromHimHey 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.

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52 comments

  1. Your father reminds me a lot of my father. Have you ever read about sociopaths? They tend to ‘play’ with their victims for the purpose of entertainment and to get in touch with human emotions.

    1. No, I’ve never explored that but thank you for telling me about it. It sounds very familiar to be honest. My father gained a lot of enjoyment from my suffering. R x

      1. My father used to lift me up by my head when I was a toddler, just to see if my neck would snap. He would also put our hamster and the rabbit in the same cage to see if they would fight, they did. We were standing behind him screaming our lungs out, because, you know, they were our pets, but it was all part of the game. He would also leave our parquet out of the cage, to see how long it took for our cat to catch him, and he did. He brought me and my sister to tears millions of times with his games. And yes, he is a sociopath.

        One way to test if your father is a sociopath is by confronting him with the horrible things he did to you. If he starts excusing himself (probably with his own past) and making everything look like it was your fault and/or not such a big deal. Then he’s most likely a sociopath. Or a manic depressed person with sociopathic tendencies. It doesn’t make much a difference though, they’re all unsuitable to be parents. 🙂

        1. My god, that is awful. I did confront my father, many times. He told me it was all in my head and that he was an incredible, loving father. He even accused me of being an abuser to him! I was the problem that frustrated him. I was the cause of his anger and pain. He would just laugh at me if I tried to reason with him. He once told me that,
          “A father’s job is to love and have authority over his daughter”.
          That basically summed our relationship up. He was superior to me and felt that respect only went one way. It was like fighting a losing battle, in the end I resigned myself to the abuse. Thankfully, I escaped it. However it took thirteen years to leave him physically although the emotional escape took much longer. R

          1. Yeah, your father is a sociopath. It has helped me and many others I know that have sociopath parents to study the behavior of a sociopath. For example: for me, it was really helpful to know that it was nothing personal. Sociopaths just “are” that way. They are so distant from their own emotions, that they need to hurt you, because that’s the only way they get to experience human emotions.

            Google “Profile of a sociopath” and read that, then go from there. I’m sure it’ll help you to leave the experiences with your father behind. The most difficult thing to accept is that, to your father, just like me, you were just a toy. But once you get past that, everything else is a breeze.

            1. Thank you, I will definitely look into it. I knew he had mental health problems although he would never admit to that. He was of sound mind in his eyes. I know I was used to make him feel like a big man. It’s just upsetting that I allowed him to do that for so long. Nobody I know truly understands why I remained with him for so long especially as I was in my twenties. I questioned myself too.

              1. The thing about sociopaths is that they are VERY HARD to diagnose, because they appear perfect people to the rest of the world. They are only their evil despicable selves towards their victim. You are the only person that knows your father’s illness, unless he had a few other victims (perhaps your mother or a brother or sister).

                In my family — my parents are divorced now, thank God — but the only people who know my father for who he really is, is me, my mother and my sister. And the rest of the world has declared us as spoiled, overly sensitive little brats.

                I don’t know if a professional will agree with my opinion, but my opinion about sociopaths is this: at the core they are severely damaged, for whatever reason and they are too scared to fix that issue. They spend the rest of their life running away from that problem, adding layer after layer and lie after lie, just so they don’t have to look at that thing — whatever it is — that scares them so much.

                They convince themselves they’re good people and they need you to believe that, too. And if you don’t, you become a target until you do.

                Basically, admitting one lie or one failure means that the bubble they created ever since their trauma will collapse. And they will never do that, because they’re too afraid and popping that bubble would mean they’d have to kill themselves. And they are too selfish, that’s why they started running in the first place — self-preservation.

                I hope that makes sense. Don’t question yourself. Study your father, get to know what drives, realize he’s a pathetic, ridiculous man and move on.

                You’ll be good. And if you need help, you can pop over to my blog and send me an e-mail. 🙂

                Stay strong.

                – Daan

                1. I’m truly sorry for what your father put you through. It breaks my heart. My father is a narcissistic sociopath too.

                  1. I’m not sorry. I mean, of course I wished I had a better childhood, with loads of more fun, etc. I didn’t, and that’s okay. My past doesn’t influence my present and/or future. In the end the only person he fucked over was himself. Me and my sister both have children now, and he’s not welcome in my home anymore, so he only sees his grandchildren on the birthday of my sister, brother-in-law or nephew. Our children don’t even recognize him. They have no idea who that guy idea. Sociopath or not, if there’s a shred of humanity left in him, he knows he fucked up…

                    1. I hope I didn’t offend or upset you. I just have empathy for those in a similar situation to me. I think he is a vile man for doing that to you and your sister (I hope you don’t mind me saying). He won’t ever admit what he did but at least you have hope and have not let him ruin you. He can never take credit for the man you have become. x

                    2. Oh, no, you didn’t offend or upset me. I’m sorry if I came across that way. 🙂

                      Sociopaths are vile creatures, and to be honest with you, my father is less than dead to me. I don’t hate him, I don’t fear him, he simply doesn’t exist. He happens to be a figure in my past, that for ridiculous reasons wanted to damage us in various ways. He didn’t succeed with me and my mother, my sister is still picking up the pieces – and (unknowingly) allowing him to mindfuck her.

                      All we can do is try to help and apply damage control. His games don’t impress me anymore.

                      That’s why I advised you to study your sociopathic father. Once you figure out his game. You can bend the rules and stop playing. And he will go nuts, and threaten you, and throw every last card he has, but if you persist to not play. He’ll grow tired of you and move on… They’re like children, actually.

                      I hope you are well…

                      Sincerely,
                      Daan

                      PS. If you want to take this conversation to email, I really don’t mind. Pop over to my blog and use the contact form (I never write down my e-mail address, to not feed the spambots). I’ll get back to you immediately.

                    3. Hi Daan,

                      I filled in the contact form, hope we can chat some more soon, Ros.

                    4. I’m one to believe our past deeply affects our present even if we don’t realize it. I’m happy for you that you now have children and he’s out of your life.

                    5. I feel ‘affect’ carries a very negative load. I learned from the past. I closed the chapter, learned from it and moved on. It does not affect me, it has only made me wiser.

                      That’s how I see it, for myself. 🙂

                    6. I’m glad you’ve moved on. 🙂

          2. I’m truly sorry you’ve been there too. My father is a narcissistic sociopath too.

  2. Now I feel so uncomfortable I want you to remove my comment(s). This is all me, not you. Email me sometime if you want and I’ll say more. My email is under the About Alice tab on my blog.

  3. twindaddy · · Reply

    I’m so sorry to hear of your troubles. I hope that you’re recovering or seeking help for what happened.

    1. I am a strong person and just wanted to share the past with everyone. I find a lot of therapy from writing and blogging. It was an awful, degrading and humiliating time in my life but I faced it and survived. Thank you for your kind words. R x

      1. twindaddy · · Reply

        Writing is very therapeutic. I’m glad you’ve find strength and courage in blogging. Keep your head high and stay strong.

        1. Thank you 🙂

  4. Please feel free to look at my other posts about the abuse from my father. I have been blogging since January and very much appreciate any one who takes the time to read my story. Click on freefromhim by my photo to have a look. R x

  5. Bless you for sharing and for the strength it takes to do so!

  6. I’m sorry you had a father like that. Emotional abuse, in my opinion, is often far worse and more damaging than physical abuse. Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Thank you for reading it. I sometime wished him to hit me so I would have some proof as I was often doubted by the people close to me. He was a very clever man fooling everyone he met. I was insecure and desperate to be heard. I am so thankful that people listen on WordPress, in many ways it has saved me. R

      1. I was not believed by people close to me either. That hurts worse than the abuse.

        The WP community is kind, understanding and knowledgeable. Cheers!

  7. I just wanted to thank you Melanie for posting my piece, I am really grateful to be heard by anyone so thank you for all your support xx

    1. You are so welcome. Thank you for sharing your story here.

  8. You are very brave and congratulations for putting yourself out there. My donkey did similar things to myself and my daughters. I have been writing a lot about my life in poetry and small portions of my life. Mental abuse is worse sometimes than physical bruises go away but the scars of mental abuse stay with you for life.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I’m sorry that you have experienced something similar in your own life, it’s so sad that so many people are dealing with the repercussions of mental abuse and it is even more frightening how overlooked it is. I hope that your scars are healing now x

  9. I’m so sorry for what your father put you through, he sounds much like mine and I believe mine to be a narcissistic sociopath.

    1. I had never thought of him as a sociopath before someone made that very comment here. He was definitely a sociopath gaining enjoyment from humiliating me and feeling better about himself. I’m sorry you had to suffer such similar abuse x

      1. They are unable to feel, they will pretend too but cannot empathize or feel compassion/love.

        I’m sorry for the pain he’s caused you. He won’t change unfortunately. Are you still in contact?

        1. He died last year. I haven’t blogged about his death yet as it is still so fresh. It was a horrific summer, right after my wedding and he made my life complete hell till the day he passed away, playing his usual mind games and condemning me for my lack of character until his last few breaths. He did not change. They never do x

          1. Ugh that’s brutal. They’re so cruel, it’s how they feel about themselves. Is there a bit of relief with having him gone?

            1. When I got the phone call to say he had gone, I broke down. The sense of relief was immense. It was so emotional. Although I am glad that fungus is out of my life, I am left with so many unanswered questions. It’s infuriating!

              1. I can imagine you would be both relieved and have questions. Conflicting emotions. 😦 I’m so sorry. I can’t like I wish the father was gone for me too. Maybe his screaming judgmental,negative voice in my mind would simmer down

                1. Yes, but I still hear his words echo in my mind when he isn’t even around. They hurt so much. He left me with so many insecurities about myself. I’m really sorry too. That the father is still in your life. Do you ever see him?

                  1. The words go so deep like into our souls don’t they? It’s so hard to escape them 😦

                    I haven’t seen the family in three years nor will I again. I live quite far away from them and that was one of the best things I could have done for me! I had no idea how freeing that would be! I still hear their blame of me in my mind for “breaking up the family” “causing trouble” …

                    1. It’s surprising how physical distance is so good. I’m glad you have separated yourself from those destructive people, it sounds as though your life has benefited from being away from them. Hearing their words will always echo in your mind as they tortured you so badly. I hope you find some peace now x

                    2. Thank you, I’m learning to remind myself when I hear his voice that he’s not here, and I actually tell his voice to shut up, I’m not listening. It helps. I hope you can find some peace and healing too!!

  10. I’m sorry for what you went through. You are right emotional abuse can be just as bad as physical/sexual abuse. Well done for sharing your story. xx

    1. Thank you for your sweet words x

  11. prayingforoneday · · Reply

    Mel.. x
    Can you send me an Email please..

    x

  12. Abuse is abuse, whatever form it takes. I’m glad to see you are now free, and I thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Thank you for reading it xx

  13. Good to hear that you are out of it.

    Hope and wish the best of the world for you!!

    1. Thank you for your kind comment. Ros x

  14. Anonymous · · Reply

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