No one really cares about child abuse. Especially when you’ve grown up.

No one really cares about child abuse. Especially when you’ve grown up.

 

That’s how it feels sometimes. I mean, everyone wants to prevent it, wants to stop it, and wishes it didn’t happen in the world, but after, then what? Does it just go away? Does the kid just get over it and it’s done with.

If you follow me on either of my blogs, then you know I journal daily. I have done so for a few years now, and today, somehow, I wrote the immortal words, I was abused. It took me by surprise that these worse existed on my page. Not that I had forgotten, but it’s like a dirty sentence, a thing still to be ashamed of even now. Even after five books documenting it, it feels so strange to say.

Sometimes I feel like a shadow walking through the world amongst all the other people who can’t really see me—the real me. No one ever really sees shadows, they’re just there. They exist as the darkness following people around.

I remember someone saying to me, oh sorry, I didn’t mean to remind you about the abuse. It took me aback to hear that. To realise people were afraid to bring it up with me because hey, I’d forgotten all about it and might suddenly remember and fall apart.

It’s very hard for me to comprehend this, because I don’t forget. That’s the problem. It’s here, in my head, always. I walk up the stairs at night when I am alone in my house … a house where nothing ever happened, and around the corner I might possibly walk into the shadow of my childhood. I stand in the shower and a momentary lapse of judgement; I realise I have turned my back to the door and suddenly that fear is there. Someone is behind me. I wake in the middle of the night, gasping, realising I feel into such a deep sleep.

There isn’t a day goes by where I don’t think about something … some part of such a giant slice of my life. And I don’t think anyone understand that.  I type this and bite my lip to keep it from trembling, just so I can go on and get out of my whatever random babble it is I want to say. Of course, I’ll wipe my eyes, and take a deep breath and switch the screen over when my other half comes down the stairs. I’ll plaster on that smile that people understand, because what’s underneath is too hard for them to see, not for me.

I’ll go back to being that person who forgot what happened.

I still haven’t told people my dad is dead. None of the people who know me in life, know he is gone. I mean, of course anyone close to me, my family do, but friends, people I stop and chat with, have a coffee with, have the odd meal with. They don’t know. Every time I see them, I think to say it. But the more time goes on, the harder it is because how do you tell someone, yeah, my father died over two years ago, and I never told you.

I still have his name programmed in my phone and when his mother calls me from the house, my phone announces, Dad is calling. For that split second, my mind jolts and my heart skips.

I think my dad’s death goes in the same box with everything else labelled, things I can’t talk about. Not that I can’t. More it is people can’t listen to. It’s such a terrible situation. I must listen to endless days of the same conversations. What shoes someone has, what they had for dinner, what’s on the television, what the government is doing now, it goes on and on, but if I were to mention my thing more than once, I see that awkwardness in their expression. I see them not knowing what to say, but worse, I feel that I am complaining, that I am going on and on and eventually I know, they’ll be sick of hearing it and tune off. On their breaths are the whisperings of just get over it.

You know what I realise about any kind of child abuse? The times they happened weren’t so bad. Each event, they came, they went. It’s living with it that’s the problem. Because even now, even after all this time, I’m still as silent as I was as a child. The only difference now is people know.

 

The Bully in my Brain

The Bully in my Brain

When I was a child, I experienced bullying at school. It didn’t last for too long. I wasn’t the type of kid who stood for it, mostly because there was nothing anyone could do to me that was worse than what was going on at home. Bullies tried, though. I mean, I was the outsider, the quiet one. The one with the dirty clothes and greasy hair. I was the kid who everyone knew was poor. Whose mother couldn’t handle him (Her lies).

I was that problem child who’d burst into a rage, hit another child, rip up someone’s school work for no reason at all. But I was also an easy target. One of the worst things of bullying, I think, is the silence, the shame, those moments alone when you can’t find a way out of what’s going on, and you know, tomorrow, when you’re walking down the road, that bully is there. He’s waiting. He’s got every god damn tool, and he’s been waiting for you.

Forty-two years old, and I’m still the victim of a vicious bully, except, just like when I was a child, I can’t report this bully to anyone. I can’t get them to stop. I can try and say it, try and fight, but how do you fight a bully that’s your own head?

I feel like I’m sitting in this never-ending pit of darkness and silence. It’s got me locked in a closet, far away from everyone. I try to open my mouth, open messages, start replies to my friends. My bully keeps catching me, keeps putting the gag over my mouth, over my thoughts, over every piece of me. So I close messages, I put down the phone. I utter the lies that I’m fine. Just tired.

Do you know how many just tiredsI am recently?

The problem with bullies is that they isolate you. They cut you off from the world for so long that people give up on you.

I can’t tell anyone that part of me wants to die. To just close my eyes, fall back and let go. I can’t say it because no one understand. People hear die, and then they go into panic and stop listening. Tell me what I have to live for. Maybe they think I don’t know, like I can’t see my kids, my grandkids, my life and know that it’s all so great, all so worth taking each breath.

Don’t they think I know that? If I didn’t have those, I’d not feel this way because I’d not be here. That’s the difference. I’d fight this bully by taking us both down. We’d fall off the building, and I’d be holding onto his hand and making sure we go together. But I can’t jump. I can’t fall, and I can’t tell anyone, because no one understands.

No one can make it stop.

I feel like a person trapt in the body of someone else. I feel like cutting today. Like taking something sharp and taking it down my arm from the inside of my elbow to the edge of my wrist. Every see Terminator Two? Where Arnie cuts off his skin to show what he is … that’s how it feels. Like I could dig right in and pull something out of me, maybe the bully, maybe the monster inside my head who keeps weighing me down.

I feel like I’m drowning. I feel like I could put my hands on either side of my head and scream until I can’t speak, but instead I sit silently. I put on a false smile and tell everyone okay.

I even cracked some jokes today. Isn’t that a great cover story? He’s not sad today, he’s laughing. Look. Everything is just fine.

I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m fine.

I’m so ready for this bully to go home.

The more I try to fight him, the more he tells me what’s the point.

And I pause here, because even this seems useless.. I feel half dead, but I’m still breathing.

I am …

I am a whisper you can’t hear. A child you can’t save. I am every part of every soul crushing moment when I have tried to stand tall and all my mind could do was grab me, pull the veins from my body and splay them out on the ground in a pile of dark, black strands.

I am dark, silent, tormented. I am a master at the lie of I am okay. I’m fine … fine, like the dying breath of an aching soul. Fine like the last beat of my heart you can’t hear.

You can’t be my friend because you don’t understand. You think you do, but that is a lie, to yourself, not me.

You think yourself a hero, something marvellous, someone who can read my story and put me back together, but who says that’s what I want.

Maybe I want to be broken? Maybe I like all the sharp edges that dig into my skin every time I find the energy to move. Maybe they are my super power, did you ever think about that?

You want to be my friend, but really what want is to ease the pain of a collective conscience the world has. But it cannot heal it. You cannot heal me.

You will sit there and tell me I am not what I believe. That I am not as broken as I think, but I sit here and tell you, you deny me my voice, my thoughts. You try to tell me what I think is wrong, and isn’t that the very thing that got me to this place in the first place?

I can thread my hands into my hair and pull with all the power I can muster … pull until my scalp stings and the painful agony as my flesh wants to rip away. I can claw down my face with nails that have been both friend, and enemy in my life.

I am an echo in my own head, a dream inside a bubble, a nightmare in my memory. I am lost.

And you, my unfriendly friend, do not understand.

 

Just Listen

I hate my head. I hate it with a passion. I wish there was a way to kill off parts of myself, and just leave the bits that can cope with life …

My skin feels like it is on fire today, except it isn’t burning. I don’t really know how to describe it other than a sensation inside my skin that makes it crawl and makes me want to cut along it because it is skin made of fire and anger and everything inside that wants to come outside, but I don’t know how.

I can’t tell anyone other than the people who read this. I’d say faceless, because that’s what you are to me just now, but it feels insulting. Faceless is better than being able to see you, though … of being able to see the looks of pity, or misunderstanding.

I feel like I’m standing in the middle of the world and everything is spinning in the opposite direction to me. I’m screaming, but I don’t know what about. I scratch at my own face, but I don’t know what I am trying to get rid of. My mind has declared war on me, but it won’t tell me what it’s fighting for, so I don’t know how to yield and make it all feel better.

I stood in the shower this evening with my head in my hands and water taking away the only scream I could let go. I don’t feel real.

 

I try to work out what is wrong with me, and the only thing in my life that is a problem just now is a doctor’s appointment in a week. If you remember, I wrote a post, I’m Fine. Ages ago. I still didn’t make it there yet. I try and I try, and even picking up the phone to make an appointment triggers me.

But I did it. I called, and I made the appointment. Now it looms and I picture it in my head and all I can see is myself standing at the door begging the dr, please don’t touch me … please don’t touch me. And maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s the thing because that breaks the barrier in my head and makes me break down as I write this, but I type. I type just to get this out of my head because if I don’t, I’ll do something bad. It’s right there, on the edge. I could jump …

I cut as I write this. I cut both my arms. Don’t panic. It isn’t bad. I just needed to feel it … I needed that sting to feel something that was something bigger than the ball inside my chest, the one that’s choking me from the inside. The one making is so my lungs are crushed to asphyxiation even though I can still breathe perfectly fine.

I need to make it stop. I need to find some way to shut all this up inside my head … inside my mind. It’s so loud. So god damn fucking noisy and it doesn’t stop. Ever.

I think of telling the dr I was abused. Of saying those words before he does anything. When he asks why it’s taken so long to go to him … I’d say because I was abused, but what if he didn’t understand? What if he told me that was silly?

The first thing they ask when you go for therapy is was there penetration and it’s the first thing that always chokes me up. If I say yes … do you know what that means? Do you know how bad that makes me? If I say no, then I’m wasting your time. It isn’t important.

I rake my hands through my hair and dig them into my scalp because I can’t make any of this stop. I can’t take it away. I make people who know me tired. I have people who knew me because they’re tired. That’s how they change their tenses in my life.

At least you can leave me. At least you can stop speaking to me when I am too much, but what can I do?

I’m a wound-up box with a door closed tight and sometimes, someone dares to open it, but the sound gets to loud and they try to listen, they try to stand, but in the end, the doors got to close again.

I went to a therapist once. It was at the time all those people came out to say the guy Jimmy Saville, had abused them. There were many that came forward. My new therapist asked me if because of all this fame, was it the reason I came to speak about it … I wanted to yell at him. I wanted to leave. He asked why now? Why … now? Because that’s when I needed it.

How do I go to the dr to make sure nothing is wrong, and not have him touch me?

How can I say I was abused, when even in my own head, I don’t believe it?

They can ask if there was penetration, and the yes will catch in my throat because then I make the it sound bad … in my logical adult brain, I know the actions were bad. I know what happened. I know what it means and if that child had been anyone else but me, I would agree … but I can’t lie. I can’t say I was abused when I wasn’t. I can’t say that there was sexual things with my father because it lets the world know I am some sick fuck.

I wish there was a way to end it … just a way to end me … the me in my head.

I just needed to tell someone. I don’t know who you are, or if you made it this far.

I just needed someone to know that I’m not okay.

But if you ask me, I’ll tell you, I’m fine.

 

 

Untitled … like me!

I don’t write here very often anymore. I used to write on here a lot. Sometimes it was daily, sometimes weekly. Now I don’t even think it is monthly. It isn’t that I have got bored of here, or found something better to do. It is that I get sick of the sound of my own voice. I get sick of saying my things … not because I don’t want to, but I imagine you … whoever you are reading this, looking at me and shaking your head. Looking at me and thinking, here he goes again.

I get like that when my head is a mess. When I am standing in my house and everyone around me is living and all I want to do is find a corner and cry until whatever is inside is gone. It’s like I can hide myself. I can hide from everyone and they don’t really notice me.

Someone says to me, how are you … I say I’m fine. I say I’m okay … I type it to them, as I wipe away the blood from the last meeting I had with my secret blade. I’m fine … Fine! Don’t you hear me?

What’s the point of saying I’m not? You can’t fix me. You can’t make everything in my head go away.

I can make you go away. I can. You won’t believe me, but see … I just have to be me and then it gets to a point where every second you’re around me, it’s hard. It’s difficult. Ultimately, it’s me who leaves, but that is because you’re at the point of falling apart. I do that.

I know writing here, I’m not really speaking, but you know … this is the place I come and I take my skin off and underneath all of that I am just bones and muscle and broken cogs all loosely held together. I am open, afraid, mad, angry … I am a bunch of many things rolled into one.

My flashbacks have come back. I don’t know why. Just the other night. They started up.

When I was a child, there was a man. I don’t know who he was. I don’t even know what he looks like. I can’t remember. In my head, he is just a dark figure … a monster … someone.

He used to keep score on the wall above my bed. He’d scratch each conquest against me into the wall. I was four. He won many times. I couldn’t sleep the other night. It was like he was there … he was waiting, ready … just needing that moment for me to drop off, then he’d strike. That was always his favourite time.

I lay in bed anticipating the feel of his hands on my arms, on my legs, his breath in my face, his teeth against my skin. He used to bite till I screamed. He used to scratch down my back till I bled. He liked to make me jump. The more terrified I was, the more he liked it. I remember that.

I remember him waiting for me at the side of my bed while I slept. I remember opening my eyes and he was there and I was trapt, and that was it.

He was in my room with me the other night. Every time I tried to close my eyes, he was there … he was there and he was waiting and watching and no one would come. No one ever came.

This is my head …

I did the only thing I could think to do. My other half was asleep. I cut. I cut into my skin, into my leg, into a part of me that needed to feel it … needed to bleed. I curled up with my shame then. The shame that I had given in. The shame that I was having a flashback.

The shame that I was me.

I clutched that blade, stared at it, tempted by it. I could make it all over. I realised that, but then there is that usual thing … that part of me that gets upset because I can’t. I mourn the chance to make it all stop because if I were gone, who could care for my children? Who would they go to?

I feel like I’m mad inside my head. I feel like I could cut more. Maybe I could stop being me. Maybe I could stop being so crazy. I can’t find the switch to turn it all off. I feel like ten people inside one and we’re all falling apart.

Some days, I hate myself.

 

I can’t Stop

Self harm. It’s like this beast that I can’t shake off. It lives with me always. Sometimes, we just exist side by side and other times, we cling to each other like it’s all I have.

I have been a self-harmer since I was four years old. A long time for it. It’s part of me now and part of who I am and an addiction I can’t seem to kick. Like my old friend I have to keep going back to.

This last week there are more days I have harmed than I haven’t. I keep trying to not do it, but it’s like when you’re on a diet and that bar of chocolate says one piece won’t hurt, or when you quit smoking and your brain says, just one cigarette, its ok. If you’ve ever tried to quit anything, then you know what I mean.

My other half despairs so I hide it. 36 years of self-harm has taught me how to do it so that no one sees it. I haven’t self-harmed yet today, but it is early and its there. That feeling in my skin calling for me to cut … just to feel that. It’s like taking a breath, holding it until your head pounds and letting it out real slow. Or that sigh you get when you finally sit after a long day … that’s what I need. I can see it in my head. Grabbing my blade, putting it into my skin and sliding it down slowly so that I can make the pain last just a little bit longer.

I can feel my chest wound up so tight as I try not to give in and my brain asking, why am I abstaining? What does it matter if I cut? I’m not hurting anyone.

My other half, my friends, they just don’t understand it. They say it hurts them, but why? I’m not cutting them. I’m cutting me. They eat chocolate and junk food. They drink coffee, watch tv shows. They do stuff that makes them feel better, why can’t I?

I’m not killing myself. I can’t say I’m even scarring myself. It’s just old wounds. The more I sit here and try to analyse why there is a reason to stop … the more I know I am likely to publish this blog post and head straight to my bathroom.

What kicked this off? Someone asked me. I don’t know. My dad died a few months back, but it is so big for me now. Bigger than it was when it happened. I don’t think I paused when he died, and then something happened a month or so ago and it seemed to kick of my grief. It was the strangest thing perhaps. My grief coming months later and now it’s so much inside that it hurts to breathe because he is gone.

He’s gone …

Some people have said, when he died, they were glad he was gone. I think those people forget me, the adult, the son … still the child. They see the man in my books and see him as a monster, but they don’t see the connection that was there. It’s hard to explain to people who see it black and white. We had secrets together, a thing … it made me who I am and made him who he was and now it’s like half of something is missing.

I keep looking at my phone and expecting him to ring.

There’s no one that can make it better. No one who can fix it. I have messages that say he isn’t suffering any more, and I know. I don’t miss that dad. I don’t miss the dad in a bed who needed feeding and cleaning and dressing. I don’t miss the man who suffered.

I just miss my dad.

I can’t …

Silence 

One of the skills I mastered as a child was silence. It’s a great skill sometimes. I can sit in a room feeling completely shattered inside and no one would have a clue.

I can act normal. 

When I was a child, I used to think that if I told anyone, my parents would go to jail and I would end up lost. That’s what my parents said anyway. They’d tell me that if I ever went to care, that my brother and I would be split up, and maybe he’d be sent to somewhere not very nice and I couldn’t help him because we’d not be together. They also told me that once you go to care, you never see your family again. 

My parents never actually told me not to tell. They never threatened me. They never told me I’d go to care if I told. But making me aware of what happened to others who spoke out kept me silent. 

I kept silent for 33 years.

Do you know that a child who is abused from the age of five to the age of 15 … that’s 11 years. Everyday for 11 years is 4015 days. A child who is abused (I originally put the word rape here, but deleted it. It’s seems wrong.)  every day between 5 and 16 will be ‘abused’  over 4000 times. 
Do you know how hard that is to hold in?

Although, technicallly, I didn’t hold it in. I spent more nights than I can count crying myself to sleep. Asking why didn’t my dad love me? Talking to my bear. Asking God if he would please just not let me wake up tomorrow. I poured my words out to an empty room because I had no one to tell. 

At 33 I told someone. I sat one night and told someone. I was shaking and crying and falling apart and thinking, God, what did I just do? I’d said it. I’d said that bad thing. I’d let the shadow out to show someone else. 

I sometime get mad with myself. Mad because all of that … those years of stuff stick in my head. Like on repeat. 

Maybe my body was taken 4000 times, but in my head it’s more than that. The worst thing about abuse isn’t the abuse. You only get that rape once, physically, but in your head you relive it hundreds of times. Suddenly 4000 incidents because an unimaginable number and then someone says 

… stop thinking about it. Move on. Grow up. 

It’s like a punch to my gut and the hand across my mouth again trying to silence my screams. I can’t breathe. Is that it? Just stop thinking about it? Stop talking about it?

I guess if someone stepped on our foot on purpose in school and the hurt our feelings, we’d have forgotten about it, right? 

Suddenly I feel crazy. Like I don’t know who I meant to be or how I am meant to ask. I didn’t ask for that life. For this life. For these memories. 

Two nights ago, I was asleep. I was dreaming. I dreamt of that man. Not my dad. The other man. He had hold of my legs. I couldn’t see him, but I could feel him. I could hear him. My body reacted before I woke up and I leapt from my bed, fighting, screaming for him to stop. I was by my window ready to jump out because falling to the gravel below is less painful than what he could do to me. Then I’m down on my knees, shaking, I can’t breathe and my other half is there. Asking what’s wrong, but suddenly I am five again. And, I’m so afraid. 

Telling me to shut up makes me feel crazy. It makes me feel that when I have moments like that night that I am wrong. I makes me hate he face in he mirror. 

You want me to battle my brain with my brain. 

I’m so tired inside. 

Sometimes I cut my skin like aversion therapy. If you could just be normal, I say. If you could just act like everyone else …

I stare in the mirror and I hate the face that stares back. I hate the man there. The one with the memories. The one with the mental health issues. If I could punch the glass and hit his face, I would. 

Shut up. 

Move on

Try to get better 

These aren’t lessons  you’re teaching me. They’re just another blade to cut myself because you make me feel like my dad did.

That me, who I am, is not good enough. 

I wish I could blink and wake up.