Most people would think this a good and worthy activity. In our home, during this stage of my childhood, it became a huge source of stress. My parents would come together and kiss. My mother always handed my father a glass of alcohol when he walked through the door. And then I would push my way over and hug my dad second because I was pleased to see him.
Then came the time when he started biting my head off when he came through the door. Yelling at me to leave him alone after a hard day of work. This would definitely hurt my feelings. Sometimes I’d listen to him and stay away. Those were the good evenings. Then there were the days I felt like being a rebel and saying hello to my dad. I was putting my well being into his hands.
One evening I rushed up to my father when my mother was still handing him his drink and accidentally spilled it onto his work suit. He hit me across the face and then told me to get into my room. I slinked away from him in abject terror caused by the look on his face. I knew I was in for it.
He came crashing into my room screaming at me at the top of his lungs telling me how worthless a daughter I was to him. He told me to pull down my pants and he unbuckled the belt of his pants and told me to turn around.
At this point, I would just be praying he did not use the belt buckle when he whipped me. Sometimes he would and sometimes he would not. That night he did. It hurt much worse with the buckle. The welts from the belt buckle would stay long after the red lines from the belt had disappeared. It hurt for me to sit afterwards.
“That will teach you to spill anything on me again!” My father said.
Wrong. What it taught me was that men in authority were not to be trusted. It taught me that men could use their power over me and treat me badly and all I could do was sit there and take it. It taught me that I was not worthy of love unless there was some type of mental, physical or verbal abuse included.
And it also taught me not to want to touch my father in any way or be near him. It was a weird connection between love and betrayal that I could not fully understand at the age of seven. I learned how to live with it. What choice did I have? I dealt with my parents and my upbringing the best way that I knew how. My choices were limited. I didn’t have any help. I was alone in my world of tyrants and abuse. I had no-one to turn to for help. I prayed that someone would come along and help us. I wanted a grown up to help me. But I didn’t know how to help myself. I never told a teacher what was going on. I never spoke to my friends of the horrid abuse I was going through. I thought this behavior was normal. I thought my own little girl friends were going home to their parents and also getting beaten. It never occurred to me that they were not living the same life as me. I took it for granted that physical abuse was the norm.