Story by Anonymous.
Because of my childhood amnesia, I have few solid memories of my past. It is still difficult for me to create new long-term memories. Trying to remember my childhood is like trying to remember a dream I once had. I can remember certain events but nothing specific about those events. Any stories I tell about my childhood years are partially from my memory but also from heresay told by my sisters or mom.
When my mom found out she was pregnant with my baby sister she called my dad at work to tell him the good news…. he was so angry upon hearing the news that he threw a chair across the room and threw a fit (he was not fired). He came home that night with a six pack of beer and said to my mother, “well it better be a boy.” And that was ALL he said to her.
The entire time I was growing up in my father’s house (he made it very clear it was HIS house), my dad was verbally abusive. If we made too much noise while drying dishes he would scream at us, if we left the light on after using the bathroom he would scream at us. When he would come home from work there would be a tangible shift in the air, as though now that dad was home the fun had to stop. It always depended on what mood he was in. If he was happy, the rest of the family was allowed to be happy, if he was in a bad mood, the rest of us were expected to be miserable too. My dad constantly complained about how stupid, incompetent and insane my mother was. My mom explained to me that men are superior to women. She was a terrible role model for her daughters.
When I was 15 years old my boyfriend got carried away and gave me a hickey on my neck. He apologized and said it would never happen again, but it was too late. My hair was short at the time and I couldn’t hide the hickey very well, so my dad ended up seeing it. Naturally, he screamed at me for a while and he called me a whore ( apparently a virgin 15-yr-old can also be a whore) and forbade me from ever seeing my boyfriend again. I don’t remember most of this happening, my mind repressed it, but my little sister told me about it a few years after the fact.
I was usually too embarassed of my dad to have guests over. I coped with the stress of abuse by escaping into a land of fantasy. I read Shakespeare and Austin and science fiction novels and the character I read about gave me hope. They had strength I felt like I could never have. I was unable to relate to people I went to school with. I didn’t understand the high school social structure games that needed to be played. Luckily for me, I was very pretty, so nobody bullied me really. Mostly I got attention from the boys and the girls left me alone. Unfortunately I didn’t understand that the boys wanted me for sex, I thought they wanted to be my friend (yes I was naive!). Because the girls didn’t like me, I learned to trust men more than women, which was a terrible thing to learn at a vulnerable age when girls are most likely to be targeted by predators.
The summer before my senior year I met a thirty-something year old man at the beach (I was 17). I knew he was too old for me, but he talked with me and gave me attention. I was very lonely back then. I didn’t want to have sex with him but I craved physical intimacy. I wanted to be close to someone – anyone, and I was foolish enough to go back with him to his place. He didn’t take my virginity, but he definitely sexually assualted me that day ( to avoid triggering anyone I won’t go into detail). I didn’t tell anyone about how he violated me.
My senior year of high school was the worst one. My very small private school class shrunk even more, and I was left with students I disliked very much. I got along better with the teachers than the students ( I was an A student in high school). During my senior year i was desperately lonely. I had become invisible at school and at home. My sister had begun doing drugs and drinking heavily so no one realized I was sinking deeper and deeper into depression. I made it through the first few months ok, but when I couldn’t keep up the charade anymore I started skipping classes so I can sleep more. I started sleeping about 12 hours a night. Then I started skipping entire days of classes. My mom didn’t know what to do. She knew I was not rebelling or acting out. I was a great student and skipping classes was against my nature. I was very sick. On days I skipped class I slept for about 16 hours and barely had the energy to lift my tooth brush. I knew I needed help.
I asked my parents to send me to therapy (they are upper middle class with great healthcare) but my dad just got angry and screamed “what do you have to be depressed about???!!!” As usual, he made my problem about him. And my mom always liked to pretend my dad wasn’t abusive, so she went along with him. And I didn’t get therapy. I got worse and worse. I had nobody to talk to. My little sister was too busy developing bulimia and body dysmorphic disorder. My older sister was too busy drinking and drugging . My mom was too busy soothing her abusive husband and my dad didnt care if I got help.
I became suicidal. The teenage brain has only a partially developed prefrontal cortex which is why they have trouble seeing into the future. I couldn’t image being older and being able to escape the hell I was living in. I had a plan. I was going to down a bottle of.. (I can’t remember which prescription) and was going to kill myself. I obsessed about that thought over and over. I had nobody to talk to. One night I decided I was going to do it finally, but that I would give someone the chance to talk me out of it. I called 9-1-1. I asked the operator for the number of a suicide help line. The operator asked me for my address. I said I didn’t want to provide that and I hung up the phone. 5 minutes later there was a knock at my door. My mom answered. It was a policeman. He asked my mom to talk to me, I can still remember my mom’s stupified expression. I went outside with the police officer and I talked with him on the steps for a while. He was the first person who tried to rescue me while I was drowning. I told him there had been a mistake, that I had only called 9-1-1 because I wanted the suicide hot line number. But he said he couldn’t leave until i convinced him I wouldn’t kill myself. He talked with me for about 30 minutes, I didn’t want him to leave. He was so kind to me and told me that if I could just wait a little longer, I would see how things would get better. I remember wanting to hug him, to cling desperately to someone who wanted to listen to me. When the policeman was convinced I wouldn’t hurt myself, I went back inside. My mom finally told me what I had been wanting to hear, ” you’re going to therapy.” I asked her to not tell my dad about the cop at the door, because I knew he would be angry. I wish i could remember the policeman’s name, so I could call him up now and thank him for helping me.
Recently my dad told me that it upsets him how little my sisters call him. He really has no idea what he did wrong. He has never apologized for his sexism.
(End of Part 1)