It’s our honor to bring to you this week’s Reframe of Reference by Laura R. It’s a story of abuse, bravery, and the long road to mental health recovery. We want to thank Laura R. for sharing her story, and we hope it helps others who have been the victims of abuse take the first step in getting the help that you need.
If you feel inspired to write your own Reframe of Reference after reading this one, click here to learn more about it:)
My story is one of confusion and heartbreak and unending sadness. The man who vowed to protect me all of my life, changed beyond recognition and decided that ‘the bottle’ took priority over being a father to his 15 year old daughter.
The more my father was consumed by his own mental pain, the harder he would drink and lash out, with both his fist and his tongue. The warm hugs and “I love you’s” that I had received in abundance as a child, were replaced with punches and “no one will ever love you,” as a teenager.
I continued to live with this man after my parents separated. I wanted to believe that he could get better and that things would return to how they once were. I would have my ‘old dad’ back and we would live happily ever after.
One night I tried to escape the tirade of abuse pouring out of my father’s mouth, by locking myself in the bathroom. For 4 hours I stayed there, desperately trying to drown out his drunken psychobabble and him repeatedly talking about how much he despised me. At 4am, all eventually became silent. I crept downstairs, past the living room & the sofa where my father now lay in a drunken stupor. The sofa, where in happier times I used to cuddle up with him to watch motorsports every Sunday. I opened the front door & stepped out into the darkness, burdened with a broken heart & the kind of sadness that is so heavy it feels strong enough to pull you right down to the core of the earth.
Seventeen years have now passed and I am still an abandoned child, a fatherless daughter. His words are forever etched on my brain – I am unlovable and worthless. I have stumbled through life, in and out of therapist’ rooms. I am consumed by rage, weighed down by crippling low self esteem and an inability to trust anyone. Why would I? If my father can abandon me, everyone can.
My confidence issues have caused problems in my personal life and work life – I constantly feel like I’m failing. I have a permanent scar on my brain that will never heal. My 15 year old self was broken beyond repair and I am now frozen in time, unable to move forward.
My story is one of bravery and courage in the face of unbearable pain. The first man I ever loved became unwell and was unable to keep his promise to love and protect me forever.
My father did terrible things that no child should ever experience, but in order for me to move forward I have considered the bad things that have happened in his life, to try and make sense of why he changed beyond recognition.
I struggle to forgive him, but with a better understanding of addiction and mental health problems now, I am able to see how this may have contributed to him becoming a person who hurt me so much. My ‘old dad’ is still there, but he got very sick.
For years i had been in and out of therapist rooms, but eventually I found a GP and therapist who recognised all the warning signs and gave me the support I truly needed. The PTSD diagnosis enabled me to finally understand why I have felt so bad for so long. Finally, I have some clarity.
I am not broken beyond repair – I have a psychological brain injury that was gaping wide open for many years, but with time and support it is now slowly starting to heal. I understand that no recovery is linear, meaning that I still struggle with regulating my emotions and have days where my heart feels like it might break in two. On days like this I know that I need to have down time and remind myself that, “this too shall pass.”
It may feel like I am frozen in time, but I have actually taken very small baby steps everyday since I was 15, and achieved more than I give myself credit for. I am now a strong, independent 32 year old woman, who works hard to take care of her inner child and patch up the damage caused by her past. I also have a desire to help others in the same boat. Through my own struggles, I have been blessed with the ability to care deeply for and to empathise with others.
I still battle with confidence problems but I am not crippled by them. Each day I am finding new ways to believe in myself a little it more. I feel anxious everyday but I am facing fears very regularly. I don’t take shit lying down. The pain that comes from wanting my dad back and for him to wrap me up in his arms, never fades. I understand though that I am riding the wave of unresolved grief which means I will probably never get the closure I need – I seek solace however in knowing that I have some happy memories of my time with him.
I still struggle to trust, but I have the love of a very good man in the shape of my husband, who has not run away and has shown me what real love is all about. My father might have abandoned me, but not everyone will. My past and mental health battles do not define me. I am in control of my own destiny and am strong enough to use my greatest pain in a way that will enable me to help others and put me on a positive path in life.
If you are someone that has survived abuse or are currently in an abusive relationship and are still battling every day, our friends at BETTER HELP are here to listen to you if you need them by CLICKING HERE. The people at BETTER HELP are trained therapists that are here to listen if you need someone’s ear. So don’t hesitate if you need to talk right now. CLICK HERE.
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This post was created with the help of Grammarly.