I am a battered woman I am not battered physically but mentally and emotionally, I wear scars unseen by the human eye. Let me start by saying that I have never been sexually or physically abused but I have been abused for 34 years. It’s been a never ending cycle of the blame game, throwing acts of kindness in my face, manipulation, lying, terrorism, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, degradation, control, deflection, apology, excuses and disrespect in the name of expressing how they felt (as if their feelings mattered more than anyone else’s). My father has silenced me by using that he is my father and I’m the child. My father has been very comfortable with dumping his feelings on me and then blaming me for them as he very conveniently lists all that he’s ever done for me as he insists on not being interrupted. This is not a conversation this is a dissertation which I am usually not prepared. I feel as if I need to take notes so that I can respond to all of his “points” he’s made after his very lengthy presentation. When it’s finally my turn to speak, I try to address the accusations but unfortunately can’t remember them all. This is then followed by “I love you’s,” crying, mutual apologies, promises of how it will get better and how the past will stay in the past…until next time.
The next time typically happens because I’ve failed to carry out the relationship he wanted; the same relationship that he makes very little effort to maintain. This happens when I’m so shook that I’m nervous, scared and intimidated because so much time has passed since we’ve last talked (apparently, the line of communication only works one way but magically opens when he wants to “relieve” himself of all his feelings. As he begins to bring up every, single thing he’s ever done for me from my conception until this recent revival of the relationship. He also carefully forgets all of the effort I made. This has been a cycle I’ve lived since I could remember.
By the end of the exchange, I feel worn. I feel that all the old bruises are visible along with new ones and yesterday I ran out of room; like every part of my body was covered with bruises, fractures and breaks. With this last blow, it’s as if all of my bodily functions have shut down. I cry only as a reactionary response, not to mourn a relationship that could’ve been or my hurt feelings. The last time this happened I swore this would be the last time, I think I told the truth.
So What Happened?
I was over my best friend’s (Tuere) house. I got there around 6 and knew I would be there for a while since she lives about 45mins to an hour away. After wrestling with her kids, dinner and having girl talk accompanied by wine, my phone rang about 9 pm. Please keep in mind this conversation is out of the blue. I had not spoken to him over the phone in a couple of months. I answered, “Hey Dad” in a cheerful voice.
I typically cringe when I see his name come across my phone to prepare myself with the ensuing war just like an abused wife who is scared to go home but this time I didn’t because prior to this last month or two I was calling him almost everyday and I thought we had finally turned a corner in our relationship. At that time, I was calling him while I drove home from my part time job around 9pm. So when my schedule changed, so did the habit I was attempting to create. But where was his habit? Where was his effort? I wasn’t upset at him for not calling. I figured he was busy and we would catch up. A couple of weeks went by and it wasn’t until I was in Mexico that I realized that I hadn’t talked to him. Once I realized it, as crazy as it sounds, I became extremely nervous, scared, intimidated and fearful because I thought I could be met with a cuss out. Those feelings had me putting the “inevitable” off even more until those couple of weeks turned into a couple of months. In the back of my mind I knew that extra time was probably only gonna make it worse but I just couldn’t bring myself to deal with the abuse head on.It wasn’t until I spoke to my step mom a couple of weeks ago that I even revealed that fear. She wanted to know if I would watch my sisters because my dad wanted to go to his class reunion. Yep, you read that right, he didn’t call. I obliged because I thought that would be a good way to make my way back without drama. Soon after, I had other issues I was dealing with which brings us back to last night’s drama.
“This is the problem I have with you!” he yells. What was left of my adoration, flushed out with the first blow. Then he systematically runs down his list which details him showing up for me when my car broke down, giving me a hundred dollars toward it and his wife sending me job announcements. He accused me of waiting for him to call me before I would call him (which he clearly did by his own admission in the text below) and everything else is a fog. What I did specifically remember was him stating something about me making a scene when my grandfather was alive, mind you my grandfather has been dead for 5 years. If there was a scene, I was probably really young and it was most likely a cry for help because that’s not my style to be overly dramatic when it comes to serious things. All in all, I think I held my own though.
Somehow he realized I wasn’t home and I let him know that he was so abrupt with his introduction that pleasantries weren’t exchanged to let him know about my location. I knew what that was about, he wanted privacy as he ripped me a new one. Then he decides to text because why be rude for my friend to witness when you can continue to be rude to me by using characters.
As you can tell in the text, he texted me first but blamed me for using text as a way of communication with him. His weapon of choice is the phone or in person because there’s no evidence. He turns everything on me as always and even uses the “I love you” to get a sympathy pass and then proceeds to tell me to not jump to conclusions and how I should feeling while only being mindful of his own. He is legit delusional.
This morning I woke up like I had been in a fight, sore and wanting to disappear. Self esteem crushed, feeling unloved, unwanted but hopeful that I could put myself together at least one more time. If I can, this will be the last time. I literally have nothing left to give. I warned my family and friends the last time that that would be the last time. I guess it was for them or my own declaration to hold me accountable. It worked. I came to work and researched emotional abuse and I cried because that’s what I’ve been going through and just didn’t know what to call it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find many articles about women who are survivors of emotional abuse if it wasn’t about a romantic relationship that went south…nothing about if the woman was emotionally abused by her father unless it was sexual or physical…nothing about a daughter suffering only emotional abuse and having to face adulthood. After having another conversation with my mother, I am now numb but I forgive him. I love him and myself enough to not allow this to destroy me. I am done. NO MORE!
I am not writing this for pity but for awareness. I am not a victim. I am strong. I have scars but I choose to no longer bury this in the darkest corners of my mind and heart like they never existed. I want to shine a light on this because others may need to be encouraged. Honoring or loving your parents does NOT mean that it’s okay for you to sacrifice yourself in the process. Don’t enable anyone to mistreat, disrespect or neglect you. You are valuable. I didn’t have anyone to speak up for me. We didn’t know it was a “thing” back then. It had always been masked as him expressing his feelings. Expressing yourself doesn’t mean you get to silence anyone else. It doesn’t mean it’s okay to project all of that negative energy onto anyone else and blame them for it over and over again. The fact that it’s been an event that has happened over and over disqualifies the argument that he was having a bad day. I deserve respect, a chance to communicate-not you talk and I listen and love…I deserve love-remember love doesn’t keep track of wrongs.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. -1 Corinthians 13
This is not love. This is control and he loves it.
I plan on cutting communication with him. I hate that my sisters will have to experience this but there has been so many times that I could’ve walked away and didn’t for them. I’ve sacrificed my sanity and happiness long enough. He’s great to them and if ever they need me I will be there. I love them all and I pray that my dad gets the help he needs I just can’t be that help for him. I’ve always heard you have to teach people how to treat you and I never understood until today. He’s gonna learn but first I’m gonna pray because prayer changes things. I’ll be sure to let you know about any updates I might have going forward.
I give this situation to you. I love my father. I forgive him and release the destruction, damage, stress, feelings of not being good enough, pain, hurt, heartache, bitterness, expectations and let downs. I ask that you reveal himself to himself and that he takes 100% responsibility for his actions. I ask that you protect my sisters and their mom from any attacks of the enemy and I decree blessing over their lives. Let them know that Sissy loves them. I thank you, Lord, that this cycle of abuse is over. I break it and I plead the blood of Jesus in this situation. Heal me, Lord God and make me whole again. As I take authority to never be a doormat again, help me to also take full responsibility and love from a distance always keeping my family in my prayers. Hoping the best for all of them.
In Jesus name, Amen
What would you do in this situation? Do you have any advice for me?