In which I discover more proof… and write the longest blog post ever

** WARNING: Trigger alert **

In my last post I talked about some of the progress I’ve made in therapy; things I’ve done but never imagined I’d do. It feels quite weird acknowledging this. My therapist has been rabbitting on about trying to get me to see this for ages. Finally, I’m starting to see it. I mean really see it and really believe it.

Today I discovered more proof. I was flicking through old emails when I came across an email I sent to my therapist in my very early days of therapy. Back when she was trying to get me to disclose the secrets of my past.

Reading over the email I realised that I have come a long way. It’s as plain as the nose on my face. I’m going to share some of that email to my therapist, but I warn you – it could be triggering. I’m oddly scared of posting this stuff… scared of scaring you all away. Some of you say that you care and you care already so nothing will scare you away, but the little kid inside is still not sure.

Anyway, I hope you will see my progress as well. What I wrote then was filled with turmoil; filled with struggle every step of the way. I think about therapy now and it’s different. I’m different. Even when I’m flailing about on the floor, I’m different. Even when I’m scared to talk about stuff, it’s different. Even my writing now is different. I have come a long way. I have disclosed a load of toxic junk. I’ve processed a lot of that junk. I think I’d even go so far as to say I’ve grown through doing that.

Gee that’s scary to say!

By the way, for those of you monitoring my adherence to the NaBloPoMo theme – yes, I know, this post has more to do with “yesterday” than it does with “tomorrow”, but hey, they are both on the space-time continuum. 😉

** Start of trigger alert **

Dear T –

I found it incredibly difficult to tell you the things I told you last week. They were things I’d long forgotten; things I’d never spoken about before. And yet I didn’t tell you everything. I couldn’t. There’s stuff I just can’t bring myself to say out loud. But there’s something about it that feels unresolved.

So I’ve written stuff down. Even that has been incredibly hard. I’ve avoided it, procrastinated, distracted myself in a thousand ways. I’ve told myself that nothing I say will be new to you; that nothing will shock, offend or concern you; that you’ve heard it all before, and worse.

And yet still I feel embarrassed and afraid. This is stuff I’ve NEVER told anyone. I’ve kept it hidden in places I NEVER let anyone go. I feel incredibly vulnerable, even though I know your office is safe and you will respect my confidentiality. Something in me says I have to let the walls down if my sessions with you are going to do any good. I’m still not sure if I can talk about some of it – but you can try.

It’s a pretty random dump. Some of it I’ve told you already. Some I haven’t. And I suspect some you know even though I haven’t told you.

When I write it down it doesn’t seem that bad. Part of me thinks I’m just over reacting or being over sensitive. After all, there were no broken limbs; I wasn’t locked in cupboards; and there were no satanic rituals. 

[I have just realised that some of this is written like I’m talking to my father – sorry but I can’t be bothered fixing it up]

As a child, and now, I’ve always bottled things up. I always pretend everything was “fine”, even when it isn’t. At home. At work. With friends. I’m always the strong one; the one who copes. Mum always told me to “be strong – be a survivor”. I have, but I’m starting to think it wasn’t necessarily a good thing.  For the longest time I’ve felt alone in the world. I put on a mask every time I get up – a different mask for different aspects of my life (the “good daughter”, the “smart student”; the “capable worker/boss”, etc etc). I’ve been doing that for so long that I’m not sure what’s underneath anymore.

I’m guessing part of that stems from my father, being constantly on edge, worried, afraid of what mood he’d be in. Having to play the appropriate role around that. I grew up thinking that what I felt/thought/experienced didn’t matter. And it didn’t. My only concern was keeping the peace. Doing anything I could to stop him going off, even if it usually didn’t work. 

I’m sad that I never got the kind of childhood other kids had. Instead of being nurtured, loved and supported, I spent my years in fear. I was constantly on edge, and yet had to pretend that everything was ok. And when I didn’t – when I told the school counsellor – Mum denied it, blaming “adolescent angst” or “overactive imagination” or whatever.

I remember being afraid. Constantly. You’d often go to the pub and come home late, drunk. You’d complain about how bad your dinner was (no wonder – it had been in the oven for hours). There was always yelling on those nights. Tirades about how useless mum and I were. Constant tirades about how I was stupid/useless/just a child. What I remember most strongly is being nervous and afraid. Wondering what mood you’d be in when you got home. I still feel it now, and it still comes back when you drink too much – the nervousness, the tensions around your mood and when you’ll turn.

Sometimes dad used to sit in the kitchen getting drunk, yelling about how useless mum and I were. Mum and I would retreat to the lounge room – staying out of the way, hiding, or just watching TV, I’m not sure. I remember mum closing the lounge room door to shut out dad’s tirades.  Dad hated that.  He’d have one/ten/a hundred drinks too many and put his fist or foot through the door, yelling and screaming.  That always frightened me.  I can still hear the wood splitting.

I remember mum sleeping in my room a few times. We’d squeeze into my bed and she’d tell me “Don’t worry. It will be ok.”  But I did worry, and it wasn’t ok. One time (many?) we’d barricaded ourselves in by putting the chest of drawers up against the door.  Dad hated that. He’d smash the door, yelling and screaming.

I hated Xmas. The pressure, the tensions, the pretence. When I was little (4? 5?) dad would spend the day in the back room getting pissed, yelling at mum about what a crap job she’d done with the food, and telling me to “piss off”. I pretty much hate all meal times actually – they’ve usually ended in disaster. The constant tension, the pressure building, the anticipation of you exploding. Even now I eat quickly – just to get it over with, get out of it peacefully (or at least in one piece).

I remember the time you brought the gun home and threatened mum and me with it. I was afraid. I didn’t understand what I’d done wrong or why you’d want to kill us. You reminded me of its presence constantly after that. Part of me wanted you to just do it so I didn’t have to put up with you or be afraid anymore. Many times after that I wanted to die. Still do, sometimes. I just wanted to be safe and free from the hurt and the pain. I thought I’d found a way to block out that pain, but turns out I was wrong. It’s been lying in wait for me all these years.

I remember the times you stayed in the garden at night, or slept in the car. Mum would lock the door and say it was a good thing you were out of the house. But all I remember is being afraid. I was nervous about the locked door and how angry that would make you. I was afraid that you’d come back inside during the night – and afraid of what you’d do when you did. I was afraid to go to sleep those nights.

I remember constantly feeling embarrassed. I’d have friends over, but I was always on edge. Always wondering when you’d turn. Usually you didn’t while they were there, but you kept your distance, ignoring me (but not my friends). I could feel the tension building and I knew there’d be trouble after they’d gone.

You’d set up, or just take joy in, any accidents I had. You’d wait and watch me fall over in the yard; bait the dog to bite me; or laugh when I fell off my bike. I remember the time I broke something on the bike and had to carry it home from the park, bloody kneed, hurting. You watched me walk up the street, and you laughed. Even when I had that car accident and broke my wrist [about 10 years ago], all you said was “oh yea, good”.

I remember a couple of times (one?) after you’d yelled at me, [a family friend] tried to console me and tell me it would be ok. It wasn’t, but he showed more kindness in those moments than you have shown me in a lifetime.

I remember always being criticised for what I wore. You always told me I looked awful. Even now, there’s always something wrong with my clothes/hair/nails/etc. I remember when I was about 15 or 16, going to a party, you said “you’re not wearing that, are you? You look awful. Everyone will laugh.” And so of course, in my mind, they did. They still do.

You always told me I was too fat; too ugly; I’d never get a boyfriend. You were right – I never have had a positive, meaningful, adult relationship. I say I don’t care, but really, I think I do. I fear I’ll end up one of those sad old people with no one. I’ll be dead for weeks before anyone notices. Even then it’ll only be because of the smell.

You taunted me endlessly about being stupid/fat/ignorant/ugly/blah blah blah.  Either that or you’d just ignore me completely. Even now.

You never came to school plays/speech nights. You never wrote me a birthday or Xmas card. You never gave me a gift, never chose anything for me. I’ve never understood why you hated me so much, or what I did to deserve all this. You’ve never said you loved me. In fact, no one has ever said “I love you” or “you’re beautiful”. I used to think it didn’t matter but, you know, actually I think it does.

I can’t believe I’m telling you this stuff. It’s wrong. It’s scary. I’m scared of what you’ll think. I’m scared that I’m opening myself up too much. I feel vulnerable. And yet I’m hopeful that it will help. It’s taken more courage than I thought I had to actually write it down. Will I actually send it? Yes. No. May be. I don’t know. It’s raising a lot of questions for me, but I’ll leave those for another time.

** End of trigger alert **

21 thoughts on “In which I discover more proof… and write the longest blog post ever

  1. Wow, it is amazing to see how far you have come and that you are beginning to see it yourself. Your letter holds so much pain and confusion and hurt, as well as fear about how it will be received, and yet now you are sharing it in a different way (although I hear you are still afraid).

    Whoop whoop for the proof, and for the growth. It’s wonderful. 🙂

  2. Wow, Kerro, Wow!!

    I am so glad, first, that you are seeing your growth. That is such good news!! And I’m so impressed with your sharing of this. The fear and hurt he put you through is so clear in your words that it’s impossible not to feel it. You absolutely did not deserve to be treated the way he treated you, and I’m glad you realize that. And you know what? By going to therapy, and by sharing this here, you are exhibiting that you truly are the strong one.

    Good job!!!


  3. @ The Same Sky and @ Tamp – thank you so very, very much. I was sooo scared posting this … I almost pulled it down but then discovered two lovely posts. Thank you. Realising I’m making progress – and realising that what my father didn’t wasn’t right or “normal” – and having all of that validated feels so… wonderful. Odd, but wonderful. It’s heart warming. My father’s antics still upset me, and I still need time to process what I’ve just done in this post, but it’s getting easier to deal with. Thank you again.

  4. Kerro –
    Thanks for having the courage to post this. I feel our paths are similar in some respects.

    I’ve followed your blog for just a short time, but it seems like you have come far in just a few months.

    It’s hard to think that we didn’t cause these things that happened to us, but we were kids.

    Take care,

  5. K…the thing is…sharing this letter with us is controlled vulnerability. Your feeling like you can open yourself and relate on a whole different level…hold what others have to say…and grow from it. My god how courageous! Forget looking back on your growth…look at what you just did! I am in awe at your progress in such a short time.

    You know, when I see trigger alert, I never really know what to expect. I put on the “numb hat,” so I am not too affected. I read your post at work…numb + work hats are on. I was moved, and wiping the tears from my eyes, when one of my employees walked in and asked what was wrong? (You know I’m not very emotive…especially at work) I said wrong? Nothing is wrong…everything is right…! A good friend has finally started to grieve a loss, and she doesn’t even know it.

    I suppose some of those tears were shared recollection of drunken abuse. My relating to the years of buried memories, fear, resistance, suppression and distance. Knowing…seeing and feeling how we are different because of the dysfunction, and trying desperately to change and conform to “normal.” I’m not sure we’ll ever really be normal…how could we? But we can be different, better and fulfilled. We can know normal and understand how we are different and embrace it in our future and with others.

    I just have to say what an inspiration you are to really working therapy. Your proof that despite its head fuck it can change us in ways we never imagined! ((((Kerro))))

  6. It’s an amazing thing you are doing – to realise that you have come a long way. Such a positive thing about yourself. It’s brave to share the truth. I’m not scared off. Certainly life as a kid with your parents sounds very frightening. But that doesn’t mean that you are frightening. You are brave for allowing yourself to be vunerable and wise for choosing the right people to be vunerable with.

  7. Thank you everyone. I’m truly touched by your comments.

    @ One Long Journey – it is hard to think we didn’t cause these things, but you know what? It’s so powerful, so liberating and also a little confusing, when you realise that we didn’t. None of that was our fault. We were the children. They were the adults. Feel free to email me anytime if you want to share paths. Take care.

    @ Strangename – thank you, I’m flattered. I’m touched that you were touched. We probably won’t ever be “normal” (whatever that is), but like you said, we can be better and more fulfilled. We can accept the past, accept that it made us who we are now, and embrace that for a better future. I say these things, and I see them in others, but I’m not yet sure how to do it for myself. I guess I am doing it. Right here. Right now. This is healing, isn’t it?

    @ Cat – thank you. Funny how when you’re a kid you know that life is scary and somehow that translates into you being the scary one. Awful how kids internalise like that. I have come a long way, and it’s taken me a long time to realise it. Even if I still have a long way to go.

    @ Marie – It’s moments like these I think every moment of therapy has been worth it – every cringe worthy second, every minute spent staring at the carpet or wishing the chair would swallow me up. Thank you.

  8. Wow Kerro. How horrible an experience. I cannot imagine how bad it must feel to have one of the people who’s “supposed” to be there, care, support, nurture, love and a whole host of other positive things treat you so badly. I felt so sad reading how he’d laugh at you when you hurt yourself or tell you people would laugh at you. What a nasty person! However, you have proved yourself to be 10 times (if not more) the person he could ever hope to be. By posting what you’ve written you can see the progress. You’re taking back your power. Slowly but surely he is losing his grip on you. You are proving that you are stronger and a better person than he could ever even dream.

    I am so proud of you for giving yourself permission to accept the positive feedback from us all.

    We are all on the sidelines and cheering *bravo my dear friend bravo*

  9. Hi Kerro,

    Wow, you are incredible. See I told you so.

    I can understand the fear that others will go away when you disclose. Most people will see the truth about you. Some can deal with that and some can’t. That is about how healed someone else is and is not about you.

    The truth about you is that you are not the abuse. What you were accused of is not the truth. The way you were treated is not the truth. What other people, including abusers, believe is not your truth. The truth is you are an exceptional woman with great strength and purpose to heal.

    You are a little babe who is showing us your wounds. We stand around you, offering the little bits of healing and love we have to give, huddling close to you and saying that we care.

    Still here.


  10. @ IGMC – thank you. I hope he is losing his grip. May be one day.

    @ Kate – thank you so much. I burst into tears (again) on reading your comment. It feels so wonderful to be validated and supported like this. And to have you say you care and to see there is good in me, and that my healing is worth it. Thank you.

  11. Hi Kerro,

    I wish you could see you like I, and others like me, see you. It would make you go wow, I’m pretty special. And you are.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.



  12. @ Kate – ugh, why do you do that to me? why do you make me burst into tears with your niceness? Seriously, thank you, that means so much to me. More than words (or my sarcasm) can ever possibly convey. Hugs and healing thoughts to you.

  13. Hi Kerro,

    Seriously I am not very nice. I can be very scathing to people who are abusive to me. So you can see, I am nice to those who are nice. Though I don’t think that I have ever brought someone to tears by being scathing.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


  14. Hi Kate, being nice to abusers is a learned behaviour. Being “scathing” to abusers means you are standing up for yourself, not allowing yourself to be stomped on or abused. That is a true sign of healing. 🙂

  15. I don’t know what to say. I think you’re an amazing woman and I’m so sorry that you suffered so much at the hands of your parents. Your bravery blows me away. I really hope that you keep going on this healing journey and find the love and happiness that you have always deserved. ((((((Kerro))))))

  16. Oh Jules, thank you so much. I’m so touched that you stopped by… and by your lovely comments. You brought tears to my eyes. (((Jules)))

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