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.