Sunday, December 25, 2011

My dad did it again

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.  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 14 of Freedom: July 14, 2011

Last night and today have been extremely painful for me. My stomach burns almost constantly from the pain. Today I wrote my dad an unsent letter where I told him exactly how I feel about his vicious, calculated, and intentional brutality against me. I felt this overwhelming sense of both anger and sadness. I was crying for a while, and I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I did not have the energy to write to my mother and grandmother in addition. I feel an overwhelming sense of hurt about the way my dad has treated me, and this emotion is surfacing along with the trauma of my unhappy and abusive childhood.
Today I was able to be a friend and mentor to Rachel’s kids Tink and Ceci and that gave me a lot of consolation. And also I hugged poor Isabella, 12, who came home from seeing her mother Maria in a mental institution in tears from shock and pain. But I am going through this overwhelming sense of loss and pain and grief. It is really hard to live with the knowledge that your own father hates you and never loved you and basically has wished you ill and evil from practically the moment you were born.
My stomach burns from the grief of knowing what my father has done to me. My soul is rent into a million pieces by shock and grief and loss. I suppose I am going through a process of mourning for the father I never had.
It is really devastating and heart-rending to come to terms with the fact that your own father hates you so deeply to the bottom of his heart and soul, to know that basically he wants you to suffer for his own pleasure. It is in some ways almost so horrendous that it is hard to believe because no father should ideally wish the kind of total destruction upon his daughter that my father seeks for me.
Once again I am crying because I find this almost too hard to accept, almost too much to bear. I guess the sadness comes from knowing that I have loved my father all my life, but he has never loved me with even one inch of his soul. The tears are now streaming down my face as I write this. I think what I am feeling is more of an overwhelming sense of sadness more than anger even. I don’t think I ever really allowed myself to feel an overwhelming sense of sadness about my dad’s abuse.
I feel inside again like a six year old little girl who is craving her father’s love -but who now finally understands that her father has never loved her, can never love her, and never will love her. I remember staying up late every night when I was six years old to wait for daddy to come home - and now I realize it was all a waste because he never wanted me in the first place.
It hurts to know he would have loved me so much more if only I had been born a boy, if only I had a penis. He rejected me from birth due to something entirely beyond my control, something that a feminist writer once called “the Original Sin of Being Born Female.” It was almost completely due to my absence of a male organ that my dad hates me so very deeply.
In truth I know he also verbally abused Jason as well, at times calling him “worthless”, “idiot”, and “moron.” But I think that despite this verbal abuse, he at least felt something like love for Jason. He spent all night every night helping Jason go through the challenges of dental school and then periodontal fellowship, and then he spent $600,000 or so to buy Jason a dental practice. Oh, and when Jason was unemployed for a year after completing his dental fellowship, my dad paid back his loans for dental school and fellowship. I can only contrast his willingness to spend $600,000 on a dental practice for Jason with his refusal to buy me an apartment and conclude that he loves my brother for being male and conforming to a standard career path and hates me for being female and for being unable to fulfill a standard career path.
It is quite clear to me that my dad doesn’t care what happens to me, that he has discarded and abandoned me almost entirely. After all, he is retiring in a year without making any provision to continue supporting me or buy me an apartment although he knows fully well that I won’t be financially self-sufficient in a year. In some ways, though, I am better off without my dad’s financial support, because I know that it comes at the price of a lifelong experience of intentional brutality, cruelty, and abuse. My dad treats me like a garbage bag and a punching bag because I have not been able or willing to fulfill his expectations for me, that is to hold a job in an office or, even better, to get married to an abusive husband and raise abused children just like my mother has done.
He finds the idea of a strong, free woman who believes in her own dignity, humanity, and equality to be extremely threatening and upsetting, like a deliberate affront to his manhood and male identity. For him masculinity depends upon systematically terrorizing and brutalizing the women under his control - and most of all on breaking their spirits so thoroughly that they are willing to accept almost any level of toxic emotional abuse that he can dish out. He considers it his right as a man to treat his female possessions like garbage in exchange for financially supporting him. I think he is unable to see the woman as having any dignity, humanity, or identity of her own. He thinks men exist to control and brutalize women, and women exist to serve men and to accept their subordinate role to men. The man’s role is to keep the woman “in her place” through a systematic and intentional program of terror and control, and not to allow the woman to ever experience any feelings of freedom or dignity.
He has dreamed of crushing me for my entire life because I rebelled against him at an early age and refused to accept his terms of engagement. He likes women like my mother and grandmother who kowtow to men and who accept their inherently subordinate position under male control. He likes a woman who accepts his abuse - who stays in her place, who doesn’t challenge the automatic and absolute nature of male authority over women. When I left him, he was very angry about losing control of one of his female objects and possessions. He was mad that his victim had run away and told him to get lost and that she doesn’t need him. He was angry that she told him she refused to remain in a dependent and subordinate position in relation to him anymore, which meant that he could not get pleasure out of battering her anymore.
I think he was filled with a mixture of anger and joy about my failure at the office setting. His joy was knowing I couldn’t function in an office; thus, he knew I couldn’t support myself financially and thus I was financially dependent on him. He liked having me financially dependent upon him because that meant he could have the pleasure of terrorizing me to keep me under his control. On the other hand, he was also upset at having to support me financially because that cost him money. He wanted in the end the best of both worlds from his point of view: to have me partially financially self-sufficient so that I was not a total burden to him financially but not sufficiently self-reliant economically that I could actually fend for myself in the economic realm. He knew instinctively that if I could ever free myself financially from his control that I would also be able to free myself emotionally from his control as well.