Stolen Everything

I think as I go more and more through this journey in my life, I discover more and more has been stolen. Of course, I lost my innocence a long time ago, and maybe that was the worst thing to lose. Or maybe it was that I lost myself and who I was meant to be, but there are moments, things, that I never realised I had lost.
Sympathy.
Not mine. It’s a weird thing to lose. I sit here with my chest tight and my shoulders weighted down, but there is no one to really turn to. People’s dislike for my dad is stronger and they can’t see. They can’t see what is being taken from me.
When normal people’s fathers are sick, suffering with something like cancer, and the normal person sees their parent slipping away. When the adult who raised them suddenly needs help to fasten shoelaces, make meals or simply fill out a form. They talk to their friends, they get hugs and care and sympathy.
I find myself in this place I never imagined, where that has been stolen from me. I tell people my father is sick, and they say good. Inside, the child who is there, who loves his father, wraps his arms around himself for comfort. 231b6640ef7d79030ade6674b2b0185d
When I say that I am helping my dad, fixing his car, cooking his meal, I am told that I am doing more than he deserves. I end up finding myself torn between what feels right to do and what people think I should do.
When people ask me why I would help him, my answer is because he is my dad. I find myself envious of that normal person who wouldn’t be asked why, but would be asked, what help do you need.
I wish I was a normal person. Instead, he is my abuser and I am his victim. But I wish the world would see that he is my dad, and I am his son.
I never knew that this part had been stolen.

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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.

Time Limit on Mental Health Recovery

Why does mental health recovery have a time limit? It’s one of the things that bugs me the most. Many people put into therapy get 4-6 weeks of therapy and then they are cast out into the world again. Some people get 12 weeks if they are lucky, but that seems to be the maximum. Why is it that mental illness comes with such a limit?

Would we treat a cancer patient and say well you’ve got so many weeks of chemo, but after that you’re on your own? Or tell someone who is recovering from something like a stroke that they have 12 weeks to rehabilitate and then off they go to do it themselves? I don’t think so. Why is it okay with mental health? It’s just as debilitating as any other illness. The difference is, is that it can’t be seen.

The reason from my rant today comes from my own experience. When I had taken an over dose those few weeks ago and gone to my doctor after the hospital had discharged me and for the first time I said to someone that I think my thoughts are wrong. I need some help, did I get some and felt relieved.

I was assigned a therapist. I have had therapists before and for various reasons either I didn’t stick or my time was up. This time I tried to give everything I had. I tried to be honest about how I was feeling. I even showed him my many self-harm episodes across my skin. tumblr_mjvm92IrOr1s8qsclo1_500

It was heart-breaking to hear at my last sessions that I only have three left. His manager said I could have 14 sessions. I’ve done 11 so far, because I needed so much, but that’s it for me. I feel let down again. I feel lost again. I keep hearing those words in my head and it makes me upset.

I am not a stupid person, but I am an ill person. I don’t understand how the doctors can say to someone who –

Who is suicidal and has tried many times before.

Who self-harms almost daily (although at the moment it’s been 8 days)

Who has flashbacks, sometimes so bad he has to leave the house.

Who suffers disassociation and often doesn’t know if he is a real person.

Who has BPD and breaks down and wants the world to end at something as simple as a cancelled lunch date.

Who suffers DDNOS and flits between different parts of himself at different ages because he is fragmented.

How can someone with so much to recover from be told they have 14 weeks and then they’re on their own again.

No wonder people don’t tend to get better. You can’t put a time limit on recovery from anything. That includes mental health.

 

Just Today

 

I got myself up today with my heart heavy in my chest for many reasons. The most important one today though has to be that it is the anniversary of my Nan’s passing. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t think about her, or miss her deeply. If I close my eyes when it is quiet I can hear her voice saying my name. I can recall her perfume and the way she laughed.I_Miss_you-I_miss_U (2)

13 Years have gone by so fast, but it feels like it was just yesterday. I walked in the hospital that morning and the nurse caught me before I got to your bed. I knew right then that you were gone, but I asked her not to say it to me. I didn’t want to hear the words from her. Even sitting here writing this to you and I feel myself fall apart. I guess what I want to say is that I miss you so much. I wish you were still here. I wish you got to see all the things I missed sharing with you. But I am grateful for the 24 years I got to have you in my life.  You were my favourite person, probably always will be. Without you I don’t think I’d have survived.

I miss you badly.

Facebook Messages

On my Facebook I have liked several pages that look or talk about mental illness and different things in child abuse. Often these pages have many inspirational quotes or things that are really food for thought.

I saw a couple of them today, they both kind of link in and probably caught my attention because of personal matters. One of them states that abuse survivors suffer many losses and it isn’t until the healing journey begins do we see these losses. This I find myself to be very true, once I opened the box to the hidden pain I’ve carried for such a long time, I also got to see what I have lost and as many times I have seen there has to be a period of mourning.

The repercussions of childhood abuse seem to be never ending. First there is the loss of innocence, something that is so freely given, yet for people like myself it was taken so young I don’t remember having it. We lose our families and parents. Not in the physical sense of the word, but what they are supposed to be we never experience. I do not know what it feels like to have my mothers arms around me, or to see my father smile proudly at something I have done. My family was stolen from me and I became just someone that lived in the house with these people. I do not know what it feels like to lie safely in my own bed or to share the excitement of a family gathering. My birthdays and other members of my families were nothing but pain filled dates for me to dread with that burning inside my stomach as I would wonder what cruelty I would suffer this year. Such simple things, the list is endless, but I lost them, not that I ever had them to begin with.

The post also mentioned the loss of friends, friends who do not understand and yes I have had my fair share of that, often the loss of a friend just reinforces the messages from parents, that I am not good enough. I was never good enough to be loved as someone’s son and my parents were right, if my parents couldn’t love me, how can anyone else? With the loss of friends along the way, it seems that whatever my parents saw that made them treat me that way, other people see too. But it isn’t just that, there is the loss of the friend who doesn’t understand, or can’t listen.

Which brings me to the other post I had read a couple of days ago that said, as survivors we should limit what we tell to our friends, they can only take so much and whilst we ask for understanding with whatever repercussions we face, we must do the same.

I see the point of it, I understand that not everyone can take hearing these terrible stories, it makes me ask which is fair? Is it fair for the survivor to have to be quiet and continue the silence endured a life time already, or should the friend just listen and deal with whatever they are being told even though they have not had the same years of conditioning so it’s all very hard for them.

I know I hear often a true friend listens etc, and whilst that is also true, I realise that it is another loss. Child abuse doesn’t just steal from the past, it takes from the future too. My health, my friends and simple things that just hurt too much.

Why is the world so cruel?

Some days I think it hurts to live in this world, perhaps it’s just me, I don’t really know.

I don’t watch the news because of this, when I see the despair, loss and atrocities that people do to each other, it feels like pain inside, like sadness I think.

I watched and shared a video, it was about two people that clearly loved one another and one of them died in a sudden accident, and I watched the one that was left behind, his tears and the sadness that was so unmistakable in his face and words, he had just lost his world, but what is sadder than that, is his partners parents cruelly pushed him out and took his partners body and then strangers that saw his memorial page for his partner, or read his sorrow, dared to email him telling him to get over it, and that he should stop moaning there are people starving and other various vile words.

When my book first came out, I received some messages like this, obviously I didn’t lose someone, except my own self as a child, but I was told to not write about my abuse, that other people were abused and they didn’t spread their story all over. That my story is boring and that other people have had much worse happen to them.

I wonder what is wrong with people. I recently lost a friend of mine, not through death, although it does feel that kind of loss, but through acts I do not understand.

I wonder why people aren’t nice to each other. why they spend so much energy on being cruel. Why they are happy to cause someone else’s tears. why their own selfishness makes them say things.

If watching that video showed me anything it’s that tomorrow the person you love, be it partner, husband, wife, friend or child, maybe they could be taken and then it’s too late.

Why do we put more time into hurting others and less time telling them we love them. why do we not just take the hands of those we hold most dear and hold onto them. forget what the rest of the world is doing. forget sending cruel messages to strangers.

In one breath, what you love could be gone, so why risk wasting a minute?

The End Perhaps.

Maybe now it is time for the end.Image

Maybe now I have to say, it’s done.

Too many times I have tried. I have waited but it’s always the same. I get crushed.

I realise I am waiting for something that won’t come. It would be far easier to touch the stars than it would to reach out to you and for you to understand what it is you have done.

I have never harmed you; I have never hit you or beat you. I have done everything you ever wanted me to do and always you deny me the one thing I wanted. A family and a father that would love and not hate me.

But you don’t. You beat me down every chance you get. You call me names and let me know my place in your family.

I ask you why? Why am I still here? Why did you keep me? What was the point? You deny it and tell me I’m imagining things; that if you didn’t want me, I would have been put up for adoption. I wonder what it is that you thought you gave me in life.

I’m done now. It’s over. I hurt too bad. It breaks my heart to walk away, but what else can I do? There isn’t anything like I hoped. You are cold and there is nothing. I will always be an enemy in your eyes. I realise this.

I could call you names and give you my anger, but what would be the point? You wouldn’t listen. You would turn it back on me and tell me how it was my fault.

I feel sorry for you. Your life is sad and you miss out on so much because of your hatred. Your grandchildren, your family, and children that would love you and be there when you needed. But that isn’t enough for you. I’m sorry your life is so poor that you have to bring me down.

You may look at me walking away as nothing. You may call me names, swear at me, even try and hit me for it. I have no doubt all you will feel is anger. But I can’t stay. Not with you. I can’t be here.

I feel so bad to walk away. It hurts so much. But it hurts more to stay with hope, and listen to you. I can’t do it any more, I’m sorry.

I feel guilty to leave you alone when you don’t have anyone. I wish you could see why it is that you are alone, but you are too blind to notice that you got rid of everyone.

Maybe I’ll be back, I don’t know.

Maybe I’ll pick up the phone the next time you call. Maybe you won’t even care that I’m not here any more.

But, I have to do this for me. I hope I have the strength. I hope I can stand alone and do what is right for me. I hope I will be better than you. I hope one day you’ll be able to live your life without all this hatred.

I am your flesh and blood. Your son. You tore me apart once more. I am broken.

I’m sorry you’re my father.

Goodbye.