Memories…

memories

Now that my father has been sober for over a year and a half, sometimes I struggle with writing this blog.  I started this in order to deal with the things that my dad currently did…the nasty emails, the horrible voicemails, the dreaded family holidays.  I tapped into memories occasionally, but so much was still happening when I started writing this that I very much lived in (and had to deal with) the present.  I find that now I have a tendency to think about and reflect on the past more often.  Doing so has brought up events that I have not thought about in many years.  There have been times when my sister and I talk about things that my father did when we were growing up and they just feel unreal…like hearing incredible stories from someone else’s life.  It is almost like having to still deal with him protected me from having to remember the past and now that he isn’t actively doing anything all those memories are flooding back.

My dad was such a belligerent drunk.  He was scary and threatening and violent and intimidating.  He bullied and harassed and screamed and threw things.  But when I think back to my childhood and teenage years, what I think about mostly is the psychological abuse he inflicted on us.  He did such bizarre and strange things. He recorded phone conversations…I thought I was so cool to have my own phone number and phone in my bedroom as a teenager, until I realize that he had an extension of it also installed in his office, where he would listen to my calls.  I don’t remember ever getting a piece of mail that was unopened.  I have almost an obsessive need to check my mail now as an adult…like I have to get to it before someone else does.  He followed my mother, sister and me.  I remember coming out of school as a senior in high school and finding a note on my car that I was “parked crooked”.  You know that song…”it always feeeeeels like somebody’s watching meeeee”…yea, that was my life.  I told my boyfriend the other day how I had gotten into an argument with my dad and then stomped away, like a 16 year old girl will do, and locked myself in my bathroom to take a shower only to have my father kick down the door.  There was just never any privacy.  If we slammed our bedroom doors, he would take the doors off the hinges.  If he was especially angry at night, he would remove the spark plugs from my car so I couldn’t leave for school in the morning.  Even when he wasn’t home, it was like I was on constant high alert.  I dreaded the sound of the garage door opening announcing he was home from work- I would get a pit in my stomach knowing he was home.  Any semblance of peace in the house was gone as soon as he walked in.  And on the days he was “normal” and didn’t drink, it was almost even worse, because I never knew what to expect.  At least when he was drunk, I knew what was going to happen.

One of my most vivid memories was my mother, sister and I going to Costco on a weekend when I was about 17.  My dad seemed fine when we left.  When we came out of the store a couple hours later, my father was parked in his carnext to my mom’s car in the parking lot.  At that time, Costco was almost an hour away.  It was like he couldn’t stand to not be involved in whatever we were doing, or he didn’t believe that we were where we said we were.  Obviously he was drunk, so he could not drive his car home.  My mother initially asked me to drive him home.  I had my license but there was no way I was driving alone with him for an hour.  Eventually, she agreed to drive him home in his car and I would drive myself and my sister home in her car.  I started to drive away and came to a red light to exit the parking lot.  Unbeknownst to me, my father ran after the car and completely scared the hell out of my by opening the driver’s side door and pulling me out of the car.  I screamed for my sister, who was 13 at the time, to get out of the car and quickly tried to open the back door to get my purse.  My dad jumped in the driver’s seat and gunned the engine with me still leaning into the car.  He then proceeded to pull out of the parking lot with the back door open and my frightened sister still in the passenger seat.  I screamed and yelled and my mom tried to chase them on foot.  Luckily, for some reason, my dad stopped after driving just a few feet and I was able to get back in the driver’s seat.  I remember just leaving and not even caring what happened with my parents; I just wanted to protect my sister and get us out of there.  I drove directly to my boyfriend’s house so we didn’t have to go home for a few hours.  The weirdest part about this memory is I vividly remember seeing a police officer’s car in the parking lot and kept wondering why he didn’t help us.  I even called my sister to ask her about this and she remembered it exactly the same (and mentioned it was one of her most vivid memories).

That is a more extreme depiction of what we dealt with growing up, but I have so many stories like that.  It’s weird how the mind works- I had not thought about that in years, but memories like that keep coming back to me at random times.  It is like now that my mind isn’t being violated by a constant barrage of daily crap from my dad it finally has a chance to recollect these old events.  I’m not entirely certain that this is a good thing at all, but sometimes when I tell someone a story like this and they are incredulous about it, it makes me proud that my sister and I survived all that craziness and became the people we are today.

8 comments on “Memories…

  1. iamnotleah says:

    I grew up in an abusive household too. I understand what you are going through. When things are quiet our minds tend to “think” and “remember.”
    It is strange, as a child I was in self preservation mode and I hated him. Hatred and fear were the only feelings I had with him. Now that he is older, and I am an adult, and he can no longer hurt me, I still have to face the demons of the past. When I ignore them, they will manifest in other ways, like the men I choose.
    Part of my healing, or rather the start of my healing (and there is still healing to be done) came when I fully understood that my heavenly father is not at all like my earthly father. Even that is hard sometimes when our early experience of what a father is, or is not, comes from a father who could not love us or protect us.
    Thank you for your transparency. I know its hard. Keep writing, get it out.
    Huggs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do Nothing Daughter says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I can completely relate to what you wrote about no longer fearing your dad but still being haunted by the memories. I have not been afraid of my dad for a long time, but the memories are still very active- at certain times more than others.

      And although I am not religious, I can also appreciate what you wrote about learning what a “father” is…I did this through other men in my life, like my uncle and my friend’s dads who were good men.

      Thank you again 🙂

      Like

      • iamnotleah says:

        You are blessed to have other father figures in your life. I sometimes do not think fathers truly understand the importance and impact they have on their daughters. We need more men like your uncles and your friends dad 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • judyjourneys says:

      Yes, I think it is crucial that we separate our concept of the Heavenly Father from the earthly father. Somehow God gave me that realization early in life, and I am thankful for it.

      Like

  2. i would think sometimes memories are good because it’s time for us to re-digested what’s going on, re-evaluate the situation. People tend to suppress memories for years until they finally feel safe and secure enough to release these memories. i think this is the must during the healing/recovery journey. but good for you, you seem survived very well. That’s need courage and wisdom

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do Nothing Daughter says:

      I agree about suppressing memories. I have a pretty bad memory,especially when it comes to recollecting my childhood experiences. My therapist said this is a coping mechanism to help you just get through it. I guess I have to look at as a good thing because it is a lot of those events that shaped who I am.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting!!

      Like

  3. judyjourneys says:

    I totally relate to life with a violent alcoholic father. Although I was the oldest of six children, we never talked about our experiences in the dysfunctional family. As a matter of fact, I never told anyone about them until I finally published the family’s secret shame in my book. I was driven to write the book because my father was abused and neglected in nursing facilities. No matter what he had done in the past, I felt he did not deserve such maltreatment when he was old and defenseless. I wanted people to know what can happen in nursing homes. But in order to tell that, I had to recall growing up with him as an alcoholic and how it had thwarted my development. I had to overcome hang-ups from that life before I could help my father. Recalling and writing were cathartic for me. BTW, now I find myself reflecting more on my mother and her role in the sordid mess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do Nothing Daughter says:

      Well I can definitely relate to much of what you wrote. I also have been in the position to worry about my fathers health. Many don’t understand the love and feeling of obligation I still feel towards him. And yes, as close as I am with my mother, I often feel twangs of resentment for her allowing us to be treated the way we were. I am so interested in your book and how that came about. I joke that I want to write a book about my experiences with my father. I give you all the credit in the world that you actually did it- I am sure it was a painful- yet amazing- experience for you!!

      Like

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