For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a “daddy’s girl.”
My father has always told me that he loves me more than anyone else. More than he ever loved my mother, more than he ever loved his second wife. Even as a small child, his intensity when he would tell me this would creep me out. I didn’t want to be rude or hurt his feelings but I knew that amount of “love” was “off” and now I know that it is inappropriate.
I was seven when I ran a very high fever and when that fever broke I started hearing voices. Those voices continued for two months before I couldn’t take it any longer and I told my mother. Mom scheduled me for an appointment with a counselor and the first thing that the counselor asked was if I had been sexually abused. Mom was in the room with us and there was no way that I was going to admit to sleeping in my father’s bed with us both naked. No way that I could tell anyone about the time that we had stayed at the local Holiday Inn so that I could swim and I had awaked to my father masturbating to porn at the end of the bed that I was sleeping in.
Nothing had really happened to me. He had never touched me that I could remember. But still, I didn’t tell.
Right after I had my first child, a girl, my father genuinely went off the deep end and started using drugs, beating up on his new family and stealing things so that he could pawn them for cash. My step-mother had all that she could take and filed for divorce. She called me one day and asked if I would be willing to testify in court concerning the fact that Dad taught me to drive at the age of 11 so that he could drink beer while I drove us the two hours to Little Rock where he lived. My step-mom wanted to show a history of dangerous behavior as it pertained to his kids so that Dad would have no chance of getting unsupervised custody.
This time also coincided with me finding a new counselor who confirmed what I had thought for quite a while: though he had never touched me that I can remember, what my father did and the shame that he caused me to feel was abusive. This realization, along with me having a daughter of my own, gave me the courage to tell my step-mother that I would do anything within my power to ensure that my father never did to his new daughter what he had done to me. My ½ sister, twenty years my junior, looked at our father much the way that I did when I was her age and that scared me.
My step-mother informed her lawyer of what I was willing to testify to and then I received a “private number” call on my cell phone. My father’s lawyer had been told what I would say if the custody battle went to court and she called me to talk me out of it. She called me to let me know just how scary a courtroom would be and to tell me that “everyone will hear [my] lies.” With that, all of those years of anger and shame and guilt and self-loathing came crashing down around my ears and I hung up on the woman.
I called my father and raged at him for giving my phone number to his lawyer. Raged at him for denying what he had done. Raged at him for failing as a father. Raged for years and years of feeling other and broken and less-than. Raged at him for taking pure trust and love and making it dirty.
That was just over two years ago and I still talk to my father. The conversations are short, awkward and always initiated by him. He refuses to admit anything and I refuse to forget. The balance of power has shifted and I’m finally the one who isn’t scared and that’s a nice place to be.
Amy writes at Taste Like Crazy.
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So sorry for your experiences. You are such a strong woman to have been able to stand up to him. Your daughter is lucky to have you as a role model. Prayers for a calm, peaceful life!
His attorney needs to be reported to the Bar Association in your state. Harassing a witness is unethical and in most jurisdictions A CRIME! She needs to be disbarred and never allowed to practice law again.
I'm glad you're healing...keep looking forward.
Oh, I am so glad you shared this. I am so glad you said that last sentence: " The balance of power has shifted and I’m finally the one who isn’t scared and that’s a nice place to be."
I'm so glad you were able to realize what he had done and confront him. Even if he never gets it, or apologizes, it is still important for you and every other woman/girl/child to know that such behavior is never okay, or without consequence. You are a hero.
Abuse does take nearly as many forms as it does abusers. It always sickens me how capable of denial so many abusers are. It's as if you weren't even there!
I'm sorry you had to go through this but kudos to you for being brave enough to stand up and fight for your half-sister. You're stronger than you know.
I hope you can make peace with this. It was not your fault and it shouldn't be allowed to take up space in your psyche!
You hit me hard when you mentioned taking love and trust and making it dirty.
Strength is in hanging up the phone, believing what violates you as a person, speaking out and helping others. You have hit home on your story. I pray for you to keep up your remarkable strength and courage. The power is yours!
I'm so proud of you, Amy. Thank you for sharing your story - I'm positive others will learn their own way to end their silence and shame from it.
So proud of you for telling your story.
You will never know all the women you will strengthen by telling your truth.
So proud of you, my friend!
The power is yours! To clearly see abuse in the form you endure and speak out is what saving youself is all about. I have much admiration for you. Blessings!
Good for you---for being able to see abuse for what it is in any form it takes, and for using that knowledge to empower others. Thank u.
You are brave, and you are right, Amy.
Thank you for sharing your story.
I am sorry for what you had to endure.
And I am so glad the power is now yours.
That certainly is a good place to be, and I'm glad you've found it. I'm sure your sister will be a better person for the stand you took, even if she never fully realizes what you did. God bless you.
That was intense...thank you for sharing your story. I applaud your continuous courage and fierce fight now that you've found your voice. The balance of power has indeed shifted and you wear it very well m'lady!~
"The balance of power has shifted and I’m finally the one who isn’t scared and that’s a nice place to be."
This is the finest line I've read on this website to date. Congratulations!
Thank you for sharing your story. You are right to speak out. What your father did was wrong. I'm surprised that he's continued to reach out to you even after the legal battle. Good for you for standing up for yourself.
amy, thank you for sharing your story. i'm so empowered when i read of how others have truly embraced their own survivorship.
your story will empower others.
Thanks for sharing your story Amy. It's all too often that situations like this occur and it's brushed off like it's not abuse. Even though he never did anything physical to you, it's still ABUSE. We really need to create awareness because it's such a common thing.