So now I had to deal with the abuse. The obvious stuff was from my father. Especially since he told me he wanted me to feel bad. I had so many moments where I was full of fear around him. He used to stand outside the door when he got home from work and ring the doorbell just to hear us all scatter.
He was in the Army and always treated us worse than he did his soldiers. We never called him Sir or anything, but he always told us “When I say jump you say how high. Got it.” He would whip his belt off for ‘spankings’ which were actually fairly rare. Mom was the stabilizing force for him. He could start to go into a rage and if she walked in he’d cool off.
He was a micro manager though. And he despised us because we took up all of mom’s time and affection. It was like he blamed us for the lack of love in their relationship. He was a contradiction. He’d tell you to do something, then tell you you did it wrong or that it wasn’t what he’d said to do.
He was a master manipulator. He’d say or do something and you’d know exactly what he meant, but if you threw it back at him he’d tell you he meant something completely different. He’d go on and on about how family was the only thing that mattered and then treat me like I was worthless.
At one point he became very sexist. He’d do all kinds of things for my brothers, but ignored my sister and I. He’d always get pissed at us if we showed any ounce of thought and blame it on us being on our periods. If you believed him we were always on our periods.
And everyone outside our family loved him. I learned later that this is a classic sign of an abuser. Perfect in the outside world and an horror at home.
At one point I decided I was going to start going to church. I think I was around thirteen. They let me do that. It was like they couldn’t say no because they were so steeped in sin they needed at least one kid to redeem them. I became their ticket to heaven. I was supposed to be the one who saved them. This became a huge source of isolation from my siblings for me.
Course it took me a long time to figure that out. I don’t know what my parents said to my siblings, but every last one of them has made some comment that made it obvious that my parents told them all that they were going to hell because they didn’t go to church like I did. They would also leave me alone with my parents as if they thought I was the only one who had a good relationship with them. I could no longer connect to them on any level.
And then I was going to hell because I wasn’t living up to my parents expectations or ideas of perfection. And since I was their ticket to heaven, I really had to be perfect. Again, it was never anything so horrid. But I the emotional and verbal abuse was the worst kind for me.
I remember one time I went to a bowling alley for a friend’s son’s birthday party. I went to church first and went to the party after. Then I went home. Now according to my parents interpretation of Keep the Sabbath day holy, you aren’t supposed to go anywhere on Sunday. (Apparently not even church but that’s a rant on their hypocrisy). So when they found out I had been at a bowling alley they looked at me like the very gates of hell had opened up beneath me and Satan was standing right next to me laughing.
I got a clear image of this in my mind. (These days I’ve learned I’m actually very sensitive to these things. I get images all the time. From people on this mortal plane and on non mortal planes). So I felt horrible. Like I had committed some horrendous sin, like killing someone. That’s how they made me feel all the time. That everything I did that was wrong was akin to me committing murder.
The fear, guilt and anger would collide. And I had no clue what to do with it all. (No surprise considering our society’s lack of understanding emotions). So I would trigger into a PTSD episode, or deeper into the one I was already in, or I would go completely numb.