Trigger Warning: Descriptions of abusive behaviour
I was discharged from the inpatient unit on Tuesday afternoon, since I seemed able to keep myself safe after the group therapy session. I was able to talk a little bit in the group, and I was quite impressed with myself for that.
I said I had been feeling very suicidal last week and that on Friday I was admitted to hospital and that I had to return there after the session. I felt embarrassed, and it was horrible knowing that everyone else could go home and that I was going back to the ward. I didn’t know then that I would soon be discharged.
I explained that one of the reasons I felt so bad was that a lot of painful memories had been raised for me when I listened to others’ experiences of having violent and abusive fathers. I told them how it made me feel small and helpless. I told them I was scared of feeling that way all the time if I talked more about these memories.
Then yesterday I met with my individual therapist. I felt ashamed because of everything that’s happened since last week. She said she had been very worried about me then. She talked about it kindly, and put me a little more at ease.
I told her I’m still feeling awful all the time and I described to her (to anyone) for the first time the memories I’m feeling about my dad.
When they happen, the memories are in my body and in my mind, unlike my usual memories which are just replayed in my mind. It feels like they are physically happening now, like a flashback.
I remember my dad’s hand gripping all the way around my skinny upper arm. He’d grab hold of me like that when I tried to get away from him hitting me. I can feel his hand on my arm now. It is also the place where my worst scars are. Was I trying to cut him out of me?
I remember making a triangle to hide in behind the door of mine and my sister’s bedroom: the back of the door made one side and the wardrobe and the wall the second and third.
I’d run up the stairs and bolt into there, pulling the door wide open to hide behind it. It was hopeless though. He’d be thundering up the stairs right after me, and it only made him angrier that I pulled the door in front of him. He’d grab my arm and pull me out and hit me.
The hitting wasn’t even the worst part. The terror beforehand was; trying to get away, and his sudden mood changes.
I can feel his hands where he’d hold my two little wrists in one of his big hands so I couldn’t get away.
I remember once we were all in the living room and he suddenly snapped, lost his temper. He grabbed me and pulled me to the kitchen door, and pulled it open. He picked me up and threw me across the kitchen and then shut the door. It was cold and dark in there.
They used to tell me I was so bad and so badly behaved (that being hit was my fault). I still feel like I am bad inside, that people will find me out as being bad really.
They used to tell me I would be sent away to a school for bad children because I was bad, and I believed them. Perhaps they were just saying it to try to get me to behave, but I was just a kid so I believed them. I didn’t question this belief until really recently, maybe last year sometime.
When I said that last part to my therapist, I was pressing my hand against my chest. That’s where the badness is, in there, inside me. My therapist said she felt sad for me then, that she could really feel the pain I was feeling.
I felt guilty I made her sad but glad she cares about me. I haven’t had that empathy as I haven’t talked about this stuff much and when I have I haven’t always had a very sympathetic response.
She said not to feel guilty because she can cope with her own sadness. That was new to me too. I always feel like I have to protect other people from my feelings, especially my mum. Lots of guilt there.
I still feel depressed and like I’ve decided not to kill myself but I don’t know how to live either. I’m in limbo.