My father is an alcoholic with mental health issues; while I know the diagnosis, I feel it’s unfair to name it for fear that others with the same may feel associated.
The abuse was emotional, physical, neglect, and sexual. Living with him was 24 hours every day of total fear. It felt like Mum got a beating every night and to be honest it mostly was. If we were lucky enough to be allowed to go to bed and not witness it (we had to ask to go to bed or have a bath) I could hear her asking as calmly as she could for him to stop. You had to stay calm otherwise it triggered something in him. If I was in a good mood for example I got ‘attention’, so you learned to be still. We weren’t allowed to have much interaction with her in his presence so in my late teens, she told me she knew sign language for “I love you” which we did behind his back, and still do it to this day.
He beat us when my dog got run over but before taking us all to hospital for stitches he filled the sink with water and poured oil into it to show it didn’t mix. This, he said, was him and mum. So you know, you’re like “no shit Sherlock”.
There was never enough food so we would eat rice with some sugar or brown sauce depending on what your palate felt like experiencing. The last of the money would go to a bottle before anything else.
I think what drove me to keep going was wanting to be normal, but it still is some journey to get there. An example of how I messed myself up: when I was age 2 to 3 a neighbour abused me. For years I blamed myself because there was a hole in the crotch of the swimming suit I wore. I had to work to talk myself out of this conditioned way of thinking.
When I got my first job I was an anxious wreck but my mantra, which I said to myself repeatedly, was ” fu** it”! It actually worked and helped me to let go and slowly cut the ties of anxiety’s grasp that used to dig into me. You should try it, it’s quite cathartic.
I was determined not to mess this chance up and so I kept going with this little nugget. Also, interaction with more people leaves less space for old thinking habits.
Perspective helped me so much. Acknowledging what others have been through or going through worse helped me to not drown in the despair of my experiences. It gave me a point of reference and an understanding of my childhood. ‘First World problems’ always put things in order for me.
Getting in contact with a childhood friend was incredibly healing but I was lucky here because he is an incredibly wise and curious mind and he held space for me along with teaching me meditation and breath work.
Constantly trying to change my frame of mind has been the biggest obstacle but I believe therein lies the key. Punishing inner dialogue and negative thoughts are self-harm as much as addictions or inflicting physical pain as a form of release. We have to stop doing the abuser’s work for them and be gentle with ourselves, the same way we would soothe a crying child. It’s obvious to most what a child needs so the trick is to turn that caring and comforting inside us. Self destruction is aiding and abetting our abuser and goodness knows they don’t deserve our help.
Some days I float, some days I swim. Floating keeps my head above water until I’m ready to swimming again.
This is anonymous to protect my children whom I owe my life to I’m sure.
Epione wants to personally thank today’s author for breaking her silence in sharing her personal experience of growing up in a domestically violent home with many layers of childhood abuse, her survival, and what worked in her journey of healing so far – a journey we hope and expect will allow our author to continue to grow and flourish immensely! Once again, we see that meaningful connection can be the catalyst for change and recovery and when you see real value in those to whom you feel closest, anything is possible. Indeed, when life gives you a glimmer of hope… well, that’s what we call glimmreraid!
If you would like to collaborate with us and share how you have overcome trauma and how you have been recovering, please get in touch with us at email@example.com – We look forward to hearing from and seeing you in 2021!