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.

Sometimes I Miss You

Sometimes I miss you

Sometimes I miss you so much that it makes my breath catch and my pining heart beat faster.

Sometimes I miss the sound of your voice so much, that I can still hear it.miss

Sometimes I miss the touch of your hand in mine, that I can still feel it.

Sometimes I miss the sight of your face, but then I open my eyes.

Your absence makes me see the real you, more than your presence ever did.

You blinded me, made it so I couldn’t see.

Sometimes I miss the lies I believed.

Sometimes I miss the fake comfort I had in the illusion you created.

Sometimes I miss what you only pretended to give me

Love

My heart still feels bruised

Because…

Sometimes I just miss you.

Day Two!

Day two. Yes, day two of no self-harm, quite an achievement, especially when I didn’t start the day that way. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to face the day today, but I did, I got out of bed before that harming feeling took over. I wanted to share something today, it’s from a reader, he gave me his permission to share this. If all my books ever do is help children like the one he speaks of, then they were so worth writing and sharing. I’ll paste it below. I wish everyone in the world could have this kind of insight.

It took me a while to realise he was talking about me and talking about that little boy from long ago. I had to read it a couple of times before I understood, but here it is. Thank you Colin, and everyone else for the bundles of support I receive every day. I hope you all know how much it means to me.

Hello James my name is Colin. I don’t know where to start… It feels like I’m sitting down to write an essay… I’m 43 living in a small town near Shepparton Vic , Australia.. I’d like to tell you about a small friend of mine.. He doesn’t know me but I feel I know a small piece of him and his life.. He decided to write about himself and published a series of books. He wrote in a fashion I could understand about his misfortunate upbringing and day to day life….. I’d like to tell you how much I cried and still cry on a daily basis of the horrors this little friend went through and I believe still goes through every minute he breathes.. I can’t understand and I never will how he feels. He doesn’t know how much his books have changed my life forever…. I have lived in a gay relationship with my partner of 12 years, He’s a GP and has been there for me in the past month for when I felt really down and helpless reading my little friends books.. I couldn’t help him and I got heavily depressed… But that was ok, My feelings were nothing compared to what this boy was going through. My partner was very understanding and I feel for him too as he has to try and diagnose people with their own problems.. Recently my bike was stolen from my house by a 14 year old boy, He was caught and charged. I thought nothing more of it until I received a phone call one day.. I was requested if I had the time to be apart of a group conference for the young lad. I find out later this boy is living in a foster care type of accommodation and is only allowed to see his mother for 2 hours a week. I thought long and hard about doing this, I was in the middle of reading my small friends book at the time and took a different view of this young thief. I did go to the conference. I’m a funeral director and to be honest with the job I do I really couldn’t care less about my bike. What I was more concerned about why had this kid got into the state he was in… The funeral industry has changed my views on a lot of things, one being, life is too short as it is to worry about material things… I explained this to the kid and how in the first few months of doing the job I had to prepare a 14yo girl who had suicided for her funeral… I explained how I cried and that she had made a bad choice, he on the other hand still had his whole life ahead of him.. The long story short he seemed like a nice enough young man and had been influenced by the conference. I got a good feeling from it as well but then heavily saddened by what life he has gone through to get where he is. I would like to help this kid so I’m making a few phone calls to see if there is anything my partner and I can do for him. We have to be careful as some of the public are still on the belief that all gay people are perverts… Anyway It brings me back to my own plight, While reading the books I felt there was a heavy bearing of my own life in them.. I too sniffed petrol from a very young age and from a broken family of alcoholism on my father’s side I had my own questions to ask. As a child of around 7yo I remember overnight stays with one of my mother’s male friends of the time. I don’t recall any bad doings from this man except sleeping in the same bed. Confirming this with my brother and sister I think I was fine. My mother has passed away so I couldn’t ask her anyway. I’m sorry I hope I haven’t rambled on.. James I think you know my little friend very well, I’ve started to cry again as usual while typing this but he has taught me that’s ok.. please cut him some slack and give him a big hug for me.. That’s all I can do.. I still feel helpless but I hope for the best for him and yourself.. One of your photo’s say “sometimes when you see a person cry…….. I am here!…..” You can re-blog my letter if it makes any difference

Please tell our little friend how much he means to me… Thanks Colin

 

I know you all can't hug me, but when you send messages, even when I am too sad to reply, this is how it feels.

I know you all can’t hug me, but when you send messages, even when I am too sad to reply, this is how it feels.

Silence

It’s funny how, after finishing a book and releasing it, I always feel quiet. Not that I don’t have things to say, just that I have said a lot and I feel guilty. I feel immense guilt at telling the world about my parents, as if I have betrayed them. It makes me even more quiet than normal; this of course gives me time to think. Not just about my writing, but many things.

A friend who will ignore me in a desperate time, yet issue cruel words when I  give up and walk away, or the father who offers me many things, only to take them away when I reach to take them. Now reprimands me, when he offers, and I say no. photo(1)

I seem to be learning many lessons, but for every lesson I learn, comes another consequence.

Each day is a fight.

One day in the last couple of weeks, I don’t know what day it actually was, I sat in my car, just pulled up and looked out at the river in front of me, a place I like to go and spend time. I felt like I was ready to jump. I couldn’t for one thing, think of a good enough reason why I shouldn’t end it right there and then.

I knew I couldn’t because of my children, but it left me pleading inside someone to help me and make me go away, because in that moment, I just couldn’t stand the pain of many things, things that I will never understand.

The only thing at the moment, that is letting me breathe, are the days I give in and self-harm. Yet as much as I self-harm, I can’t dig in deep enough. I daren’t even try, because what I am fighting with at the moment, is the child that doesn’t want to be here anymore, because he took his heart out, and realises it is broken.

Goodbye Teddy

Goodbye Teddy

Motherly Walls and Brick Hugs

I was reading something today about hugging, not general hugging, but actually the way people use hugging in therapy for Autistic children, it can seem quite a bullying technique. It made me think however, about how my dad used to force hugs on me, not the friendly fatherly kind, but the kind that pulled me close to him because he had an erection and he thought it was amusing to tease me in such a way so that I was squirming to get away from him in case he did something.

I don’t think I ever got a real hug from my parents. When I am looking to blame myself for childhood events, often people tell me that children crave affection and that they need love and hugs. This is one of those things I’ve tried to understand, because with my parents and their abuse, sometimes I went to my dad. When I have said this before I have been told that it was because I was starved of affection and it was the only way I could get any. I’ve never really believed that was the reason. I don’t remember being starved for affection, I know I didn’t get any, I just don’t remember thinking yep I want a hug, so I’ll go and let my dad sexually abuse me.

Today though whilst reading about this hugging therapy and that children need hugs for whatever reason, perhaps it’s just because I am nearing the end of Dear Teddy 3.5, but suddenly I remembered a child that would hug a wall or the door frames. At night when I didn’t feel very well I would hug myself up against the wall and cry and try to get some comfort from it. At school when no one could see me I would lean against the cold bricks and hug them too, putting my small fingers into the gaps between the bricks and closing my eyes, or when my mother couldn’t see me and I was in the dining room once again having been punished for whatever I had done, I would hug the wall between that room and the kitchen. Concrete_wall

I realise I actually still do it now. When I am sad or upset I lean against the wall so the side of my face touches, I stand so that the frame of the door fits against my shoulder and I can lean my head against it. It’s always been soothing me. My children ask what I am doing when I have stopped hallway down the stairs and I’m just leaning against the post.

I guess I don’t remember being starved for affection because I found a way to replace it. The wall.

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?