My Father’s Violence: Part 2
Trigger Warning: I now come to another of my most difficult posts. I am about to recount some of the horrible abuse that I suffered while I was mentally ill. These experiences are the subjects of my flashbacks and my nightmares, so be forewarned that this post will be difficult to read.
Then there was the night when I first realized that I was being abused, the first time I was subjected to such severe physical violence that even I knew what was happening.
I had developed an obsession with getting saved and then having to tell someone that I had been saved. I used to spend hours in the middle of the night standing frozen by my bed, trying to pray the perfect prayer of salvation. I would then go downstairs and stand outside of my parents’ door, still trying to get saved so I could tell them about it.
After many incidents of this kind, after many times when he opened the door to find me standing there, silent and frozen, my father made a terrible choice. As he came to the door that night, he warned me, “Sarah, if I open this door, I am going to hit you.” I remained immobilized, terrified but too sick to move.
He opened the door, and, true to his word, he hit me across the head with the flat of his hand. I still remember my head ringing. Then, he took me upstairs and climbed into bed with me. He started hitting me over and over, my head ringing, pain and fear filling me.
When he was done hitting me, I climbed out of bed and stood there, chilly and miserable. My father began crying, begging me to get back in bed, but I refused. I remained standing there for hours, until the early morning when the light started coming through the windows. My feet were cold.
After this incident, my father’s violence escalated. One day, he took me upstairs and tied me to the bed with duct tape. He told me that this was what I was doing to myself.
Another night, my father came into my room and sat down on the bed next to me. He grabbed me around the neck and started choking me. I struggled. My father was so much bigger and stronger than me. I still feel the helpless fear for my life which I suffered. At last, he let go, and I think I must have screamed. My mother came to the door to find out what had happened. I screamed at her that my father had choked me.
My father angrily informed me that this was what I was doing to myself. I was killing myself in front of him, torturing him. He was showing me what I was doing to myself.
Minutes later, my parents had me lying down on my back on the bed and were forcing water down my throat as I choked on it.
To this day, I can feel the feelings. I feel the hurt, the rage, the betrayal. How could my own father treat his little girl this way? How could he do it?
I still know the trauma of these events, as well. This summer, I have had to process that trauma, living through uncontrollable flashbacks. I have relived the horror of those moments, knowing all the terrible wrongness of my parents’ actions.
So, before you blame someone for their mental illness, think about what you are doing. Before you strike your child, think about the irreparable damage you are about to inflict on that child for the rest of their lives. Before you twist another’s suffering to be all about you, think about the living Hell they may be experiencing every minute.
If any of you would like to share thoughts on this post, please feel free to do so. Join in the conversation.