From Victim to Parent

I asked the readers on my Facebook page a week or so ago if there was anything that they wanted me to blog about. I have tons of blog ideas, but maybe I never really hit the spot. So I thought that I would put it out there. I should really make it a place people can ask and I’ll answer. I’m going to answer the ones I have over the next week or so and in no specific order.

The first one comes from Dawn. She asked: “How you managed to overcome all that you went through to become the strong caring father & person you are today. That’s one thing I’ve never really seen explained in any books written by people who were abused as children……how do they go on & function & be able to be caring, competent adults. It has to be so hard to overcome all of that….I can’t even imagine.”

Terrie also asked: “How you were able to raise your children when your parents did not pass any skills to you?”

There are quite a few questions in there, so I’ll break it down. How have I managed to stay a strong and caring father? Father and child

I didn’t start out that way. I became a parent at 16 years old. It was way too young. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. If you read Scars, you’ll see that I did a lot of things wrong – a lot of bad things. I had to go right down before I could get up again. I ended up on drugs and almost lost my son to social services. My dad was going to get my child and be his legal guardian. That was the moment I looked at my life and at my son’s life and thought no, this isn’t going to happen. I had to make a choice to get clean or I was heading for prison, and my son was heading for my father’s house. This is what Scars is about; it’s the journey downwards, until I couldn’t get any lower in my life.

With my children now, I often try to judge what I am doing. They are the family I have and I try my best to make them happy. I try to give them the right guidance. I try a lot to protect them because my father is still around in my life and they don’t know my past with him. It’s easy to be a better parent. I just do the opposite of how I was raised.

Some of it is just an act, though. The functioning adult part is. I don’t think I will overcome things really. Not ever fully. A recent example is last night, at 3:30 a.m., I had to wake my friend up on the phone because I was afraid. I had had a bad dream filled with flashbacks and all kinds, and I couldn’t feel safe. I was sure the bad man was coming back. I could feel him. I was very afraid. The frightened child inside me takes over. I have so many fears because of this man. I have in the past slept outside or in my car because my fear has got too big. KCRG_news_depression-teen-boy-sad1

Every minute of every day is a fight, and my children help me with that. If they could see inside, though, they’d see I am not that strong. I suffer from OCD. Just getting up in the morning is a drama – what to wear, what to eat. I debate whether I should eat, because I have phobia of vomiting and bringing up my breakfast. I get afraid of being outside and want to go home sometimes, because I just can’t face people. At university, I can’t touch the doors, and I can’t touch people. I have to maintain a distance just so I don’t flip out. I actually have a support worker at uni and a provision that I am allowed to leave the lectures if I can’t cope. I use a Dictaphone to record all my lessons because I suffer dissociation, too, and sometimes I can miss the entire lecture. When I finally get home, it is hard to go inside if my house is empty because the children are at school or something. I look through the windows and check that it is safe.

I try not to have any friends because I can’t cope when they need to do things in their own life – even if it’s just something normal and simple, like shopping. I can’t cope with any kind of abandonment. I have one friend, and she has to cope very well with what to say to me and how to say it. She needs a medal some days. My fear that they won’t come back is so great. It is much simpler to just be alone.

I am a self-harmer. I have to hide that from my children too. So much of how I am with them is because I never want them to become like me. I don’t want them to have my fears or phobias. I want them to enjoy life. It really is because of them I am here. If they weren’t, I would have ended my own life a long time ago. I often wish my father had done it while I was a child and saved me from these years of torment.

Some days the only functioning I can manage is breathing. But I try.

I’m not really sure if this answers your question, but put simply, I use a lot of how I felt as a child to guide me with how to raise my own children, and I hide behind a façade of normalcy to hide what is inside. Only when no one is around do I allow myself to break down.

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7 thoughts on “From Victim to Parent

  1. I like how you’ve opened up your blog to reader’s questions… how you’ve opened yourself to them. As I’ve said in the past, I don’t really have any words to respond to what you have said, other then I’m glad you shared yourself with us. However, I do disagree with one thing; you probably know what I’m going to say, but I will say it anyway. To me, you are the epitome of strength. No matter your reasons, the simple fact that you kept going all these years speaks volumes. I am glad that you’re still here. That you are able to tell your story. That you continue to help people. Most of all, that you are my friend.
    Love you.
    ~ Hugs ~

  2. now that you have told your story, do you not feel that your father should be held responsible for his actions? have you reported this to the police and had them take action? People dont realise unless they have suffered it themselves the trauma that is inflicted on the person being abused, nor the lifelong struggle to deal with everyday things, these abusers need to be made stand up and be named and shamed and given some punishment, after all did they care enough when abusing ? You sure have weathered the storm well, I hate that you are still having so many issues to deal with and perhaps getting even an apology from your father would be a start to you truly healing. I am a firm believer if they do the crime they should do the time. Unfortunately for me the person who assaulted me in this way is dead, so I cannot get him punished, but I would in a breath xx Stay strong xx

    • I weigh it up often, but I think for it all to come out, so many lives would be hurt. The knowledge would be like a disease that would harm many people. Right now it is just me. By keeping it inside and away from my family I can ensure that they are happy and no one else is hurt by what my father did.

  3. JD, you know I feel you are the strongest person I know. I wish there was a way you could share this with your family and remove the burden of all the cover up. Perhaps when your POS father finally passes, you can have that freeing experience. At least that is my hope for you. Don’t forget, I am a friend that will always be here for you too. You have my phone numbers and I am a horrible sleeper also. Many hugs to one of the best dads, men, people I know!

  4. JD, I feel like it is a real privilege that you so freely share your innermost thoughts, feelings, and life with us. When I read about what you have gone through in your life, it gives me a clearer perspective on my own. I am better able to stand back and look at my life subjectively and not blame myself so much. I know better than most the sort of self doubts a person can have about their parenting abilities when their own parents were the worst role models ever. It does take a lot of conscious effort to be a better parent than one’s own parents. I am sure your children and grand children must adore you, value you and love you so much. Even though you first became a parent at just 16, I can see that you did the best that you could within the circumstances that you found yourself in. It’s good that you got a wake up call when your dad almost became your son’s guardian. Not all 16 year old’s would be able to be that mature.

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