Things Are Never Usually What They Seem

This post was submitted anonymously.


“He’s been rolling in the f*cking mud you stupid tw*t!”

I was desperately trying to stop him from continuing to hurt the family dog who had made the mistake of simply being a dog and rolling in the mud during a walk. It had made him angry because now the dog would require cleaning up and so he took it out on him. Our dog was so frightened and cowering in the corner of the shower and I was yelling at him to stop, and as I’d had the nerve to stand up to him this was what was being screamed in my face.

I left for a few hours. I couldn’t stay to witness what was going on and I was frightened. I don’t know what happened after I had gone, but when I returned the dog was simply sitting and staring into space. It took him a few day to recover.

I will never, ever, forgive myself for doing nothing that day.

When adverts appear on the TV that focus on child abuse, the children that are depicted are often dirty, malnourished and looking extremely unhappy. My sisters and I weren’t any of these things. We were raised in a large house in the suburbs of a small town. We were well fed and clean, we participated in lots of activities, we were doing well at school. My father, as well as having a full-time job, was a local politician and head of our school governing board. My mother was a PA. It was a quintessential 2.4 family that those on the outside looking in would deem to be a great team.

I didn’t tell a single person the truth about what my life was really like until I was about 19 years old.

My father was a nasty, vicious bully with a violent temper, and he liked to show this with his fists and feet. To my knowledge, he never hit my mother, but he more than made up for it on my sisters and I, and the family pets. He and my mother were in a desperately unhappy marriage, and he blamed us for being in debt, being tired all the time and having no life of his own. He never wanted three children to begin with, that was my mother’s idea, and as we grew older his aggression increased. Repeated smacks on the back of the legs developed into punches in the arm and head and kicks in the bottom and stomach. He would beat the family dog, a beagle at the time, with the pole of the vacuum cleaner if she stole food, once hitting her so hard that he damaged ligaments in her leg and she needed vet treatment. I was called names like ‘b*stard’ and ‘tw*t’ if he felt I had done something wrong. I accidentally slapped him in the face once – it certainly wasn’t intentional – and all I remember was hanging onto the door as he repeatedly punched me in the shoulder so hard that I thought I was going to pass out. It was impossible to predict when this would happen – sometimes he would fly into a rage over nothing and sometimes it would be a prolonged state of anger that would last for several days.

My school found out what he was doing after he attacked my sister and contacted social services. He was placed on a register for a few years. Instead of changing his attitude, he simply kept her off school the next time he did it and threatened her that if she told anyone she would leave. We kept quiet, we didn’t want him to go.

I never told anyone because, to me, this level of violence was normal. He hit us.  My sisters and I hit each other. I was used to the sick feeling in my stomach that I would get when I knew something was going to happen. I was being severely bullied at school and would return home to be severely bullied by my family. I blamed myself, and I blamed my youngest sister for the situation, as she had started to rebel and get into trouble, which made his anger worse. I was so stressed that I would have random nosebleeds on my way to school.

The ironic thing is that as I became a late teenager, he and I became friends. I was too old for him to regularly beat me, and we developed the strongest bond out of any relationship within our family. When I moved away to university, he would come and visit me and we would spend the day in various music shops and eating lunch at the pub. I would ring him when he was at work to say hello. I enjoyed his company.

During the summer holidays a year later it emerged that he had been having an affair with the mother of my sister’s friend for a number of years, and so my mother kicked him out. For a while, I defended him, until he rang and threatened me, telling me “you know what will happen” when his new partner lied and said I had been to her house. I hadn’t, but that was the turning point. Despite developing a friendship, nothing had changed. He was still the bully I had grown up with, ready to lash out if he disagreed with a situation.

Enough was enough. I told him never to speak to me again, and that from this point on we were no longer related. I started to talk about what I had been through to close friends. When I told my oldest friend, who had stayed over at my house many times as a teenager, she cried.

I stuck to my guns. I refused to have any contact with him. On my 21st birthday he sent me a cheque for £25 and a letter explaining how the situation was my fault. A month later, on Christmas Day, he arrived at the family home and attacked me by grabbing me by the throat because I told him I didn’t want a present from him. My sister pulled him off me, hitting him so hard across the face that she knocked his glasses off.

I called the police, who cautioned him. Of course, in his opinion it as all my fault. Something changed in me. I realised that it wasn’t my fault. None of it was, and this sort of life was not normal. I haven’t seen him since, and that was 13 years ago. For a while, it destroyed me – my family broke apart and for the last decade I have had to fight for everything solely on my own. It’s been tough but it has been absolutely worth it – what’s mine is mine alone and I’m proud of everything I’ve achieved.

I’m at peace with everything that happened. I haven’t forgiven, and I haven’t forgotten, but I have been able to assure myself that nobody will ever lay another finger on me ever again. There will never be another day where I will stand back and do nothing.

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28 thoughts on “Things Are Never Usually What They Seem

  1. Reblogged this on Not a Punk Rocker and commented:

    Growing up in an abusive home, this post resonated with me and reminded me that even though our specific details may be different, we are not alone in this. Regardless of our ages or the time that has passed, it is still there.
    Thank you to the poster today for speaking up and sharing their story. I am glad you have reached a place where you can find peace and strength within yourself.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m glad you were able to come through that abusive start, understand that it had nothing to do with you, and become stronger for it. The more we can spread the word that abuse isn’t normal and isn’t okay, the more children, spouses, and pets we can save from similar situations.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I can totally relate to the perfect family veneer on the outside covering a complete mess on the inside. I also know how it feels to blame yourself for someone else’s actions. It’s so easy to blame ourselves, especially when we are told over and over that it is our fault and we’re just children. Good for you for standing on your own. It’s not easy to do. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. I felt this through and through because I can relate on so many levels. I’m truly sorry that you were put through that. I’m thrilled however that you at least know it’s not your fault and it never was.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. You are so right about the veneer of the perfect family. Rarely do people know what goes on inside those four walls. You are a surviver and kudos to you for writing this post and finding a life on your own terms xxx

    Liked by 5 people

  6. The most telling part of this is where you mention that this behavior seemed normal to you growing up. I see that all the time and it’s hard to convince people that it’s not normal and that they deserve better, especially with kids. They’re often understandably more scared to be taken from their parents than they are to have to take a beating every now and then. I’m glad you broke through and realize that you deserve better and that nobody should put their hands on you.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Thank you for posting this. I am so, so sorry that this happened to you, your siblings, and your dog. I’m also sorry that he only developed a relationship with you at a later time to serve his own purpose. What a miserable man.

    Your story is absolute proof that abuse does NOT have to be carried through the generations.

    Hugs and all the best to you.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Like so many others, I can relate. How sad, for all of us.

    You are really brave to write about this. Thank you for being a part of Stories That Must Not Die. This is one that may help someone realize that it’s not “normal” to be abused.

    May you continue to find peace.
    love,
    S

    Liked by 3 people

  9. OMG… I’ve never been through anything like this, but it brings tears to my eyes whenever I hear a story like this one… No one should have to go through this… I’m so glad you have been able to remove yourself from the situation and forgiven… Forgives is the key to any healing… Much love and blessings to you…

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I wrote this post. I made the decision to submit it anonymously for a number of reasons – this isn’t something that I have chosen to share in quite so much detail with the majority of those in my personal life and I was incredibly nervous about the reaction that it would receive (I’ve had some negative blogging experiences recently and my heart was thumping out of my chest when it was published). It’s taken years to be comfortable talking about it, but I wanted to share my story, just once, because the more time I spend in the blogging community the more I realise how damaged many of us are, and if it helps just one person then it will be entirely worth it. Despite my initial anonymity I have been reading all the comments and desperately wanted to thank you for all your support and your kind words – you’re a wonderful group of people who have helped me through some extremely difficult times…

    Liked by 10 people

  11. Suzie, I honor your courage, strength, and generosity. Your post helped a lot more than just one person. I’m so glad you have found peace with everything that happened. I know it is a tall order, but i hope one day you find forgiveness. Forgive me if I am overstepping boundaries here. I wasn’t able to be free until I unconditionally forgave my step-father for what he did to me as a child. One of my teachers said, “Whoever we withhold love from has a hold on us.” {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I’ve been told, after 30-something years of therapy, that if anyone had known what was going on in my home, that I would have been removed from the home and put in foster. I was also told that if this had been done, the emotional problems that I face on a daily basis would not have been as severe. I don’t believe it for a second. Once, I was called in to a teachers office, and asked if what I had told a friend (I thought she was a friend), was true, and what was it that I had said. I denied everything. They called my father and told him what I had said to my friend – and later, he was there in my room, we were all alone, and during that abuse was told that I wasn’t to say anything to anyone. I didn’t until my life fell apart due to alcoholism and mental illness in the mid-nineties.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. You survived and you have come out stronger for it. One day you will realize that you will need to forgive him. It is for him that you forgive, it is for yourself. And you will feel the biggest weight come off of you and it will be amazing. Just because you forgive doesn’t mean you forget.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This story is hard to read and happens to so many, too many. I am sorry you had to live like this and sorry that you lived your life thinking it was normal. However, the last few lines of this post prove that you are a survivor, a strong and courageous one. Thank you for being so brave.
    I completely understand the heart pounding fear when publishing something like this but rest assured you are cared for and someone needs to read this.

    Liked by 1 person

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