I very rarely discussed or even admitted my experience as a victim of violence and abuse in fear it would lessen the effectiveness of my advocacy mission. I am no longer an advocate and am now just one man telling my story. If you like or don't like my story or how I think....it's okay. I have a response for that on my good thinking habits post.
I was abused as a kid. So were you. Surprised? lol I've always defined abuse as anything I say or do that I wouldn't want said or done to me. Literally 100% of humans have abused and have been abused. I know the abuse I suffered was less than many others and more than many others as well. It's not a competition. I could claim the same thing about abuse I've imposed upon others. And you know what? Anyone who claims different is simply not honest....at least to their self...in my opinion.
I was scared shitless of my father....and so were many others. I will never forget "The Look" of rage in his eyes and the terror it ignited deep in my gut. Today at age 63 I cringe remembering. Probably everyone who's been abused knows exactly what I'm talking about. To those who've seen the look of rage in my eyes....you were the reason I worked so hard in my career. Being a kind man of integrity and compassion has been my absolute highest priority for many years. I digress due to my continuing guilt. :(
I'll just provide a couple stories because I'm not here trying to elicit pity but to actually (probably) explain to myself why I am who I am and why.
We had a finished basement in our home and one time when I was perhaps age 11 or 12 some other kids tapped on the window to get my attention. When I went to see what they wanted, they asked me if I wanted to buy some marijuana. At that point I'd never even seen marijuana. I told them no and then left. But apparently my father had heard them somehow from upstairs. Next thing I know I'm on the ground rolled up in a ball and he's kicking me and yelling something about being on drugs. I could hear my mother upstairs screaming, "Stop it you're going to kill him!".
Then apparently he kicked my head into the cement block wall and knocked me out. Because when I awoke I heard mom and dad upstairs screaming at each other still fighting. Usually when dad was after me in the basement I could escape by hiding behind the furnace. There was enough room for me to squeeze behind but not for him. So he used to try to poke me with a broom handle to get me out. But I was too scared. I'd stay behind that furnace for hours.
Some time later when I was probably 12 or 13, he asked me to move a car in the drive way. After moving the car I apparently didn't place the shifter in the right gear because later the car rolled down the drive way and into the neighbors car parked on the street. Dad started coming after me so I took off running. I was terrified to go home. So I ended up staying in a camper parked in the back yard of a friends house and another friend who was a restaurant bus boy was bringing me food. After a couple weeks the police found me and I was incarcerated in youth detention for a month for being a runaway. While locked up a police detective came to talk to me and asked me why I ran away. I told him. I think he may have went and threatened my father because after that he didn't have much to do with me. But I stayed clear of him the best I could too.
I used to stay at friend's houses until their parents made me leave. There was a Catholic church and school across the street from our home. I could see my parent's bedroom window from the school doorway. So I used to sit in that doorway until some time after my parent's bedroom light went out and then I went home. The doorway was inset some so it provided some block from the wind. But let me tell you, it could get pretty damn cold sitting out there in Jan and Feb for a couple hours at a time. I remember there was a city park not too far from where we lived that had an activity building that was like a coffee shop. There was often someone in there playing guitar and singing. I could go there
and they would give me hot chocolate and I played chess with others there. But I think it used to close at 8pm or 9pm and so I'd head for the school doorway to wait to go home.
Once I was old enough to drive my life got a lot easier. I didn't need to freeze any more in the winter because it was always warm in my car. My car became my life. Any time I wasn't working at my part time job, or in school, I was in my car cruising around. But again, there would come that time in the evening when everyone else except me went home. I used to sit in a parking lot and listen to music for hours on my 8 track. James Gang Rides Again was my favorite.
I could tell many more stories but why? As an adult I had to have surgery on my nose to correct a deviation caused by him punching me as a kid. I had nothing to do with him the last five years of his life.
I think truth be told, I held resentments toward my mother for not doing anything to protect us....not that she could have. :(
My father though violent was not a drinker. I don't recall ever seeing him drink. There were times he was coming after me and I could say the right thing and it would stop him in his tracks and I avoided getting beat. So I became very quick thinking and quick responding as a survival skill.
Today I have a very difficult time becoming close and trusting anyone. I can smell bull shit. If something doesn't add up I will always notice something's not right. My hyper-alertness borders on paranoia for sure. I've had a difficult time sustaining any relationships truth be told. I sucked at choosing women compatible to me. There was a time when every single woman I was ever involved with at some point cheated. I adopted a firm belief it wasn't possible for a woman to be monogamous. In all fairness, I was no better than any of them and I did my share of wrong doing.
It continues to amaze me every time I learn about some feeling or behavior quirk I have that I can trace directly back to habits I learned coping with violence and abuse as a youth.
NOTE: As of late October, some of the thoughts I expressed above have changed as a result of my PTSD treatment and therapy. Please realize I was in a very heightened state of "high alert status" view of the world when I wrote the above.