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Monday, February 6, 2012

My Father's Hands

I'm going back to therapy.

Through a strange twist of events, I was able to meet with my therapist very quickly a month ago.  I updated him, we discussed those things in my life that he could help me with, and we chose a plan of attack.

Then I set appointments.  I couldn't get scheduled for sooner than March.  That seems like forever.  And way too soon.

You see, we're going to talk about my dad.

I went to therapy off and on for a couple of years a while back.  I attended a support group for a year or two.  I did lots of therapeutic writing to process some of the dark things in my life.  My attention to my relationship with my father has been lacking.  I have touched on it, but not really done much work.

Even though I feel like it's the source of so many difficulties.  Maybe all of them.

I have stayed away.  I have stayed mostly silent.

I knew I had other work to do so I always steered therapy that direction.  I avoided discussion about my dad whenever I could.


Because I am afraid.  I don't understand.  I feel so small and helpless when I think about my dad.  I worry that I'll get caught.  I worry that I'll get in trouble.  I worry that he will know, that he will find out.

I'm forty-two years old.  I'm still afraid of my father.  And I don't really understand why.

My memories are so inaccessible.  So foggy.  So vague.

And when I think of them, of my dad when I was little, all I feel is fear and sadness.

I am sad because I never had a daddy.  He didn't like me.  I was in the way.  I was trouble.  I was a disappointment.  I needed to be invisible to be safe.  I was a thing.  An annoyance.  A money suck.

As I have waited for my appointment I have tried to avoid preparing for the work.  I have tried not to think about it.  It causes such intense anxiety that the rest of my life becomes difficult.  I cry and shake and collapse.  I curl up in an attempt to hide.  To protect myself.  To be little and unseen.

But my mind started working anyway.

I still don't have many memories.  But my fear has found a focus.

I am afraid of his hands.  They are big and strong.  They hurt.  They are so strong.  They hold me in place.  They are in control.  They don't care about me.  I am a possession.  I am to be what he wants me to be.

When we are out together in public, I am never allowed to stray.  I must stay right by his side.  He grabs me by the shoulder or the back of the neck.  He holds me this way as he talks to people. 

I don't move.  I don't squirm.  I don't wiggle.  I am still.

I smile and say my lines, what I think he wants me to say.  Anything that will make him look good.  Anything that will make him let go of me.

But he doesn't let go.  Because I am bad.  I will misbehave.  I must be kept under control.

So I just do what he wants.

Don't worry, dad.  I learned my lesson well.  I do what I'm told.

Thanks a lot for that.  You set me up for a lifetime of abuse.  Boys and men telling me what to do and me obeying.  Because that's how to stay safe.  That's how to be loved.  Just do what you're told.


Pastor Sharon said...

Wow! That is heavy.

And, what a way to find the focus of your fear. Good for you, getting back into therapy.

You are not a bad kid.

I say this to you and I fight that myself. . . yes, I do at 42 yrs old.


Lyn said...

I am so sorry you didn't have a daddy, Robin. I believe it will be good to work through these issues in a safe environment with your therapist. We love our parents and it can be difficult to shake off their power over us long after we have become adults. For me, it was working on issues with my mom. Although, she and I will never have a normal mother-and-adult-daughter relationship, I can now accept her the way she is, flaws and craziness and immaturity and deceit and all the things I don't like about her, and love her anyway. And I can accept that she loves me even if it has never been in the way that I would have preferred her to love me.

Good luck with the therapy. Focus on that fear and be brave and work through it. You are strong and smart and kind and you will be stronger, smarter and kinder for working through these things and letting go of them.

Get in touch with me if you would like to talk sometime.


Hillary63 said...

This is where we can speak our truth and no one else gets to say. Here we hold sway. I see you and your resilience and your courage, thank you.

Peace to you.

Rubye Jack said...

I think this is maybe why I never did what I was told once I got out of high school. I wish you didn't have to wait so long to get back into therapy Robin. I know how March can seem a long time away, but at least you've started it.

Bonnie said...

Hang in there. My father's hands were like clubs. I didn't understand until after he died that that was as crippling to him as it was to me. I love you.

Stephi said...

Reading this makes me so sad and so angry. Sad because I went through the same thing growing up with my father and angry because it has happened to someone else and I would never wish this on my worst enemy.

I hope that you find the peace that you need and I pray that fear will no longer torment you.