I am a problem child. What do I mean by this exactly? I was the devil child if you ask my Father and his partner (X), and I just couldn’t be saved. They tried to reason with me, they tried to beat and bully it out of me, but there was just no hope. At just 14 I was a fully fledged narcissist with emotionally abusive tendencies – or so they’d have you believe… Shall we pick up where we left off?
After the first explosive altercation – the mother of all arguments (well so far) things at home were ‘tender’ to say the least. There was a massive girlfriend shaped wedge between Dad and I and it was stuck there. Having had time to sleep on it X had come to the conclusion she wasn’t at all sorry, and she was going to ensure I knew…
I made my way downstairs blissfully unaware that X might as well have not apologised. I spoke… not a word… so I carried on… I spoke again… not a word (this was probably an hour into the excruciating silence)… I spoke directly to X, surely this could break the silence? No. Of course not. She stared coldly at me, eyes dead, still not a word. This is what I like to call the ‘I think I’m clever ostracising you in your own fucking home’ but thats a tad too long so I’ll just call it the ‘ignorant phase’, and this was the first of many. Now, when someone won’t talk to you it becomes impossible to live harmoniously. I might add that Dad was wrapped around X’s little finger so when she was present he (for the most part) joined in with the ‘ignorant phase’. So slowly but surely it began, 4 days a week I wasn’t a part of the family. At first I would try my hardest to worm my way back in, I’d sit downstairs with them but nobody would talk to me. To try and prevent me sitting downstairs X began using a seat on the sofa as storage for her magazines, laptops, journal (full of erotic novels she was writing and passages of pure hatred toward me), her Nintendo, her art book, anything she could fit onto the sofa she would, anything to keep me away from them. So I’d perch, so awkwardly out of place with my own family. I didn’t know what else to do, I just wanted my family. I didn’t give up, I kept trying, when they talked I tried to wade into the family conversation and this is when it all blew up again…
Dad, X, my brother and I sat downstairs. As per usual I was perching. A conversation began and everyone was included but me, they laughed and joked, whilst I watched from the sidelines. This was my chance! Everything was relaxed, everyone was in good spirits, now I would break down their walls. I piped in, laughing with them. But they stopped. The conversation ended with an almighty sigh from X.
“We weren’t talking to you.”
Dad grunted at me as X gave me her infamous dead eyes.
“What? Why? Everyone was talking! Why can’t I just talk to MY family whenever SHE is here. I don’t even like you!”
I screamed hysterically before darting to my bedroom, slamming the door behind me. A mere 30 seconds later X stomped up the stairs and slammed her door too. I sat crying waiting for my Dad to come up and make it better, and tell me things would be ok. Maybe he would finally tell her to talk to me? Maybe I’d have my family back? Yes. Now they knew how upset I was they’d definitely wanted to sort things out with me. I could hear Dad huffing and puffing as he marched up the stairs – there he was, coming to save me like Dads do! I had planned everything I wanted to say to him, I wanted everything to be better. I watched the door eager for him to open it… But he didn’t…
No, MY FATHER, didn’t come to comfort his little girl who was heartbroken to have no place in her own family, why would he when he had a hot, blonde, 21 year old in the room next door? He went in to her. He comforted her. Told her it was all going to be ok. But I reassured myself, it’s ok, he’ll come in afterward, he’s probably just telling her this has to end now and we all need to get along, right? I waited. And waited. An hour later I heard them re-emerging; finally we were going to sort this! I sat watching the door, eager for him to open it… But he didn’t…
He went straight downstairs. X followed soon after. I stood at the top of the stairs listening, patiently waiting because they just had to sort it out with me… but I listened to my Dad kiss X goodbye and walk out the door to work for the night… He didn’t sort it out. He didn’t help his daughter. He walked out and left her in the care of someone who wouldn’t even speak to her. That night I cried for hours, silently sobbing into my pillow. I didn’t eat. I didn’t go downstairs, not until X had gone to bed in the small hours of the morning. That was the night I really lost my family – but I was blind to it. That night was the first night I experienced insomnia and depression. I simply didn’t belong.
The next morning I didn’t try to talk to them. I didn’t want to talk to them. Why would I want to talk to them? X was ruining my life whilst Dad let her… No, I didn’t want to know. I got what I needed from the kitchen and shut myself in my bedroom. I didn’t come down again, I wasn’t going to sit with them, not this time. Hours passed before finally Dad called me downstairs. He sat X and I down in the conservatory. We were finally going to talk. Now I won’t bore you with the details because they’d be tedious and largely inaccurate because at this point I’m probably about 12, I don’t remember the finer details. But we talked. I ran away upstairs a few times because I didn’t understand why I was the bad one. After an hour or two, we made progress. The ‘ignorant phase’ had passed. But I didn’t settle back into my family for long.
For the next 3 years the ‘ignorant phase’ would become a constant.
Fast forward a year or two. We’d moved house. Many arguments had passed. Many ‘ignorant phases’ had gone by. We were hardly family of the year but we got by. I made mistakes, like taking her bras, reading her journal, eating her food. I’ll admit I was never perfect, but I didn’t mean to hurt anybody. I lived with a dad who wouldn’t let me shave my legs, or buy me bras. She got the expensive food for herself that we couldn’t afford. I was just nosey, what can I say? In retrospect I was quite annoying to live with, but abusive? I don’t see it. So she took special measures and I don’t blame her, she hid her clothes and bras. She hid her journal. So that should’ve been the end of it but of course in our family, that could never be the case. Because of my invasive behaviours we were in a 6/7 month ‘ignorant phase’, so the real trouble began…
When you live with someone who won’t answer the most basic questions it’s near impossible to keep them happy…
- What do you do when she chooses a Sunday evening to do her laundry, and leave it there overnight, knowing that I had to wash my school uniform? You move the washing into the dryer and turn the dryer on, right?
- What do you do when they don’t tell you they plan on having a bath, and you need one? You have a bath, right?
- What do you do when it’s dinner time and no-one is using the oven? Cook your tea, right?
This is what began to happen and it caused my relationship with my Dad to fall apart completely. Now imagine this: I’d be listening to music in the solace of my bedroom whilst everyone else sat downstairs, X would come upstairs to use the loo (no intention of sitting upstairs) and tell Dad my music was positively too loud and he needed to tell me to turn it down. Dad would come upstairs tell me to turn it down so we’d both roll our eyes and he’d go back downstairs. I’d move X’s clothes and Dad would roll his eyes with me. I’d take a bath and Dad and I would roll our eyes. But after a while it became tedious. Instead of rolling his eyes with me Dad starting snarling at me. I didn’t understand. My music was never loud. Not when they were home. And I couldn’t help needing to wash my clothes. So I argued back – the worst mistake I ever made. Starting as just a bicker, snowballing into the start of the most traumatic experiences of my life…
“Turn your music down will you?!”
Dad would tell me everyday.
“It’s not even that loud Dad, just tell her to shut up?!”
I whined back at him. But this time was different, normally he’d tell me to just do as I’m told but instead he grabbed me by the arm. He threw me to one side of the room – I fell full force into the wardrobe doors.
“What the fuck are you doing?!”
I screeched. He grabbed me again, flinging me to the other side of the room. Again and again. Until he threw me to the floor, as I begged him to stop. He stormed off and that was that. No apology. Not that day, or the day after. Never in fact. I lied to the teacher the next day when she asked where I got the bruises from. And I made sure Dad knew so he would be grateful I’d protected him. But he wasn’t. He didn’t care.
Things steadily got worse both at home and at school. I was getting bullied at school. I came home to being ignored by everyone. I was (as you can imagine) miserable and it showed. Every morning I would try my hardest to put on perfect make up so I fit in and didn’t get bullied, and then every night I’d be up until all hours trying to make friends online, the combination of the two made me late for school and no more liked than before. Slowly but surely I got later and later to school, but given how far away from school we lived that didn’t just mean I was late, it meant my brother was late. Every morning was a battle between Dad and I as he reminded me what a tart I was for wearing make up. Until one morning it blew up. The second time Dad had hit me. We’d managed to get just 1 miles down the road in the car, he was yelling at me the typical:
“You look like a fucking clown, why’d you even need to wear make up? Because you’re a tart!”
I screamed back at him, and I mean, I screamed…
“I don’t fucking care!”
Already crying my eyes out because I’d been knocked down and degraded from the moment I had woke up, he thumped me straight in the stomach before pulling over in the car.
“No because you’ll drive off.”
we conversed. He got out of the car and opened my door, he pulled me out of the car and ordered me to get in the back. I did and we sat in silence until we got to school. He didn’t say anything other than:
“I won’t be picking you up from school either.”
I went into school crying. I told them everything. They rang the police. Again, I protected him, so he’d finally be grateful. But he wasn’t. I was a nuisance.
Everything got on top of me and misery soon turned into depression, and self harm became my only friend. Only for a number of weeks, I told my Dad after that, I thought maybe if he knew how much I was hurting we could go back to being a family. And for a week or so we were. Until the first argument since I told him. Now I know this seems to be just one thing after another but bare with me because it’s all relevant. We’d argued about whatever, the same old rubbish. But no beatings this time. Not physically anyway…
“You’re a psycho just like your mother! Why don’t you go and drown yourself in the bath.”
To this day those words ring strong in my head. He had insulted my Mum who wasn’t here to defend herself anymore whilst proving that I meant nothing to my family. That night I tried my first overdose, although luckily I was naive enough to think 6 paracetamol was enough, but I honestly thought it was and I had hoped it would finally be over. I wrote the note and slept. Just slept. I woke up very much alive and binned the note and any other evidence: nobody would know. Nobody did know.
X started making things worse, cutting up my knickers, going through my room collecting everything she’d lent me during ‘ignorant phases’ and deliberately taking my stuff too. When I asked Dad for them back – well it was world war 3 caused my Satan’s child aka me. I stopped going to school, every morning a battle between Dad and I as I had panic attack after panic attack. And with added pressure from the school to get me back or face a fine our relationship (or what was left of it) crumbled. I spent everyday under his feet in his way until the last beating before April Fools…
We’d been talking, laughing, joking, just like old times. He said something and I responded sarcastically. He didn’t like it and I just didn’t understand so I argued back until I was blue in the face. I could see that look of pure rage on his face so as we continued to argue I tried to back away upstairs. He hurled abuse at me as I hurled Just as much back from the top of the stairs. He’d had enough. He ran up the stairs and planted his sweaty paws either side of my face. I started crying.
“Hit me and I’ll hit you back.”
He snarled through gritted teeth.
“Hit me and I’ll hit you back.”
I continued to whimper hoping he’d leave me alone, tears soaking my t-shirt.
“Go on then.”
“No just leave me alone.”
“I will if you do it.”
He smirked at me. It had become some sort of game to him. I brought my fist to his face precariously, and put it against his chin, hoping he’d accept that and leave me be. He stared me right in the eyes… and head butted me. I rang the police, begging them to take me away, whilst two female officers told me;
“Well he didn’t do it as hard as he could?”
I agreed whilst showing them bloodied tissues from the nose bleed that had followed but they left without so much as a warning. The could’ve saved me that day but they didn’t and as a result the story is to be continued…