I got home from work at lunchtime in a shitty mood. I knew I had an empty afternoon ahead and I was fantasising about the destructive ways I could fill it. I sat for an hour or so thinking about the options and formulating dangerous plans.
After a while sitting with the exhilerating thought of suicide, I chose not to go through with it today. Again. This chain of events is one I am disturbingly accustomed to. This is my normal.
Part of the reason I’m feeling crap today is knowing it’s my dad’s birthday this week. I knew I needed to at least send him a card. Yes, I am also aware that nobody is holding a gun to my head and making me do it. But it’s expected. It’s one of the ways I can maintain the facade of being a good daughter, and the sham of being part of my family.
I didn’t want to make a card for my dad. Recently I have moved into a phase of hating him. I love him too, but I don’t connect with that love at the moment. When I think of him, I feel anger and disappointment. He lets me down constantly. He makes no effort to understand me, or to even talk to me about anything important. So I avoid speaking to him or spending any time alone with him.
My brother, the man who abused me, is my dad’s son. His mother left when he was a toddler and my mum raised him as her own. But he’s not hers. Not like my sister and I am. He is a monster, and a part of me hates my dad for bringing him into our family. Because he’s got a different mum, my dad is all the more protective of him. I think that’s a big part of why he didn’t suffer any consequences when my parents found out about the abuse. Somehow it is easy for my dad to feel sorry for him.
It’s all simple to my dad. We are all his children and he loves us all equally. Apparently, there are no conditions to that love. My dad has completely forgiven my brother for what he put me through. He says he’s a different person now. He has even told me that as it is all so far in the past, I need to stop bearing a grudge. He says that removing my brother from my life is needlessly spiteful. When I reported the abuse to the police a few years ago, my dad told me it broke his heart that another way couldn’t be found. In his eyes, I am the one causing the problems; I’m the one tearing his family apart.
I hate him for all of this. I hate him for not being in my corner – for not being furious with his son for taking his daughter’s joy and innocence from her when she was only 10. I hate that he thinks I should forgive and forget. I hate that my truth means nothing to him.
Despite all this, I am still the compliant, needy child I was 20 years ago. I still crave his love and approval. So I got some paints out this afternoon and sat down to make him a birthday card.
The first attempt didn’t go to plan, and suddenly this rage overcame me. It just hit me – it appeared from nowhere – and I just destroyed everything around me. I smashed things, threw things, tore up a load of stuff in a notebook, punched the walls repeatedly. As that passed, I ended up foetal on the floor, crying. I just lay there, alone on the floorboards, not knowing what to do with myself.
Strangely, after a little while, I got up, tidied up all the mess, and started over with the painting. Thinking about it now, that switch is possibly more insane than the complete rage attack that came before it.
Anyway, the birthday card is finished and will go in the post tomorrow. As with everything else, my dad will have no idea of its significance to me. He won’t know what sending it means, and he would never in a million years guess that creating it made me feel like this.