Last night I was up very late because I was scared of seeing my dad. Knowing he has shown a consistent pattern of abuse toward me and my mother, I was afraid that he would act out again. And sure enough, he did. Last night, I made the inner decision that if my dad acted up again, I would simply ban him from future visits with me. I fell asleep knowing that I have the right to say no to seeing my dad. I also inwardly confirmed my feeling that I should not accept money from my father because I know he will use it to control me.
I never realized how skilled my dad was at playing the game of Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde until today. He, my mother, and my grandmother came down to visit me from Boca, driving more than an hour and a half each way to see me. He put on an act as a compassionate husband and father for the house manager, and she swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. He made a very nice appearance. He came across as a mature, respectful adult. He treated the house manager with the kind of courtesy that he consistently denies my mother.
The minute he left this house and he was not being seen in public anymore, he turned back into his old abusive routine. Some abusers reserve their cruelty only behind closed doors. In my father’s case, he chooses three types of locations to inflict his emotional brutality on his wife and daughter:
· His own home where no outsiders can see what he is doing
· Homes of friends who know his routine and approve of it – so he can count on public support
· Public places where he is not being watched and so he has nothing to lose by assaulting his victims
He took me and my mother and grandmother to lunch. First of all, he controlled me by dictating to me what I could eat and what I couldn’t eat. Seeing I was overweight, he refused to let me eat pizza and insisted all I could eat was a salad. He also put himself on a diet as well and ate salad alongside me. But I resent him ordering me on what I can and cannot eat. He has the best of intentions, but his methods are coercive, controlling, and wrong.
Then he escalated the brutality against me and my mother on two counts. First of all, he decided to silence me by telling me to lower my voice. By telling me I was speaking too loudly, he knew that he would suppress me. I stopped talking in reaction to his abuse.
Then later on we resumed the conversation. My dad was asking me in detail whether I liked Conservative or Orthodox Judaism better. All of a sudden, my mother tried to join the conversation and share her opinions with us. Well, my dad scowled at her in a ruthless way. Then he berated her harshly for attempting to join our conversation and told her that he was trying to speak to me.
Seeing my dad verbally assaulting my mother, I rushed to her defense. I said to him, “Dad, I know you wanted to talk to me. But you don’t need to be so rude to Mom.”
He continued berating my mother, and I told him again to stop it. Finally he scowled at me and stopped talking to my mother and me.
Later on, instead of being grateful to me for standing up for her, my mother berated me for having left the family without her knowledge. She did not appreciate me speaking up for her. I told her, “I have been defending you all my life.”
She said, “You don’t have to take care of me anymore. I can take care of myself.”
I told her, “I am not going to live this way anymore.”
We had to sit through a painful movie experience after that. It was a trying ordeal to be in my dad’s presence for several more hours after he had humiliated my mother yet again, and tried to control me yet again.
I told the house manager about the abuse, and she dismissed it as insignificant. She offered me no comfort and support, as I expected. Ironically, I was just getting off the phone with a mentally unstable friend who advised me to reconcile with my abusers when my parents arrived here for their visit.
This incident for me was another painful reminder of why I refuse to accept their money under any conditions. I would rather go on welfare, even SSI and food stamps, than endure their abuse any more.
I have about enough money to live for another 3 to 4 months. I can only hope that I publish my book by then and begin selling copies so that I can start supporting myself. I have a vision and a dream of achieving self-sufficiency through this book. I am joining the movement against verbal abuse and all forms of abuse with this book and web site. I hope to contribute my voice to this struggle against oppression and to help other women who are seeking the path to freedom.
I told myself that if my dad acted out again, he would be banned from future visits with me. And clearly I am going to implement this decision now. My father had a chance to act like a civilized adult, and he blew it big time because he felt I was so desperate financially that he could take advantage of my vulnerability to restart his war on me. What he didn’t count on was that his daughter had gained even more emotional strength during her time in freedom and was not going to tolerate his abuse anymore.
Having lived in freedom for almost six months, I am determined to continue on the path to freedom no matter what the costs. I am not going back to slavery and captivity no matter what happens.
I told my mother that this is why I left her and my dad. She played dumb, as if she didn’t know what I was talking about. I said I was rejecting my dad’s abuse of her.
She continued playing dumb, saying I had left grandma’s house. I said that yes grandma had abused me as well.
Unfortunately, a ruined holiday visit turned into good material for my blog. This incident is another reminder of why I need to continue my involvement in the struggle against verbal abuse. It also reminded me why I need to keep finding the inner strength to live in freedom.