Monday, September 5, 2011

15 years...

The year I turned 15 I moved from living with my paternal grandmother - who started the day with a vegemite jar full of brandy, and would continue consuming the bottle through out the day - to living with my abusive father and his new wife and her children. Frying pan to fire....

I had hoped that because he was newly remarried that the history of abuse would cease... how wrong was I.

He loved an audience. Comes with the territory of being an entertainer I guess. Him and his wife would come home from a gig anywhere from midnight to 2am, and he would proceed to wake myself and her three children up. We would all have to sit and listen to the tirade for whatever supposed offence we, or his wife had committed that day/night/hour/minute.... then the physical violence would start, usually as a result of his wife telling him to stop, or to leave one of her kids alone. And we would sit in silence. This was new to them... for me, it was just a continuation of how it had always been. The only difference being the place, and the woman.

I had hoped that because he had a new wife that I would no longer be a target for sexual innuendo, or touch. It had been safer in the past when there was a woman around. The degree of sexual abuse changed, what would happen was to a lesser a degree, I wasn't raped anymore... but that was all that changed... After all "don't be stupid, I'm your father" was the common catch cry if I protested.

"Don't be stupid, I'm your father" apparently meant that it was ok to grope your 15 year old daughter's growing breasts, that it was ok to walk past her and goose her, at the front or the back... It meant that it was ok to come into the bathroom while she was showering, and open the shower curtain under the pre tense of getting the soap...

I only remember once being on the receiving end of my father's violence. I hadn't put the vacuum away quickly enough in his opinion, and because I spoke to him with attitude, I was promptly pushed up against the wall with his hands around my throat. I woke up, on the floor to him kicking me and yelling at me "who the fuck do you think you are?"

What's this got to do with anything?

I have spent 100's of hours in therapy... 17 days in the psyche unit... a plethora of anti- depressants and other meds, a committal hearing, a trial, and successful conviction for the historical sexual abuse that he committed against me. The continual fight to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and Acute Anxiety Disorder. Read God know's how many books in the hope of learning how to parent successfully, because my own point of reference is so skewed, that all it gave me was the HOW NOT TO parent experience.

There have been many many times through out my daughter's life that I have been triggered by her femaleness... as she entered adolescence and the physical changes occurring in front of me were so visibly confronting that I went into counselling again, to learn what was 'normal' for a adolescent female to experience and show.

And here I am, heart sore. Because it feels like it was for naught. My 15 year old daughter, in the midst of her own teenage angst, has declared me the enemy, and is moving to live with her father. All the therapy, all the books, none of it can quieten the angry 15 year old in me, as my daughter tantrums at my answers of no, at boundaries being put down, at not getting her own way right here, right now.... the 15 year old inside of me, looks at her, aghast, and thinks ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???

Then, of course the mother in me kicks in, and says shush, Laura's experiences are relative to her, this isn't about you. Which tends to only irritate that 15 year old me even further, and I split, and oscillate between being Laura's mother and trying not to take it so personally, and being 15 again, when my world was so very different to the one my own daughter is in and feeling profoundly angry about it.

How did I so royally fuck this up?


  1. Hi Vicky

    What a great thing, that you can honestly look at your own emotions and experiences - Then, have the insight and self-awareness to be truthful about how these affect your own parenting. Don't under-estimate your strength and courage in being able to do this.

    What a time for you.


    What a number. What an age. It brings up so much.

    Writing is such a beautiful healing process for us mother bloggers. I feel you. And I Thank you for sharing.

    You really are an amazing, incredible woman. Look at you - standing, writing, alive. Having created the biggest miracle of all - The miracle of human life. And of course, your choice to love, when you could so easily live a life full of hate and rage.

    I respect you.


    By the way - I couldn't let this slip without saying something - Your father's violence was continual, not just that "one-off".

  2. This is nothing you have done or not done. It's wings stretching and not giving a shit who gets hurt because of it (remind me when my girls are doing this please!)
    You will both survive this.
    My heart aches for the hurt you are feeling.
    Luv you

  3. Vicky - just, motherfucking, wow.

    Gobsmacked at your comment to me just then, then I came here to read this heartfelt, heartbreaking post. Check this site out - you will love it.

    You should guest post on it, man. You are not alone. Never ever ever alone.


  4. Did you ever think about how SHE was dealing with all this change in her life?

    Just a thought...

  5. Every minute of every day....
    I think you have missed the point.
    I don't have a "normal" point of reference so consequently I have actively sort out information to try and understand.

    I miss my daughter so much that I cry thinking about her, looking at pictures of her, and seeing teenage girls of a similar age...

    So yes I HAVE thought about how SHE was dealing with all this change.

  6. And I grasp that you didn't have a 'normal' upbringing, but how is that any if her fault?
    You say yourself that your 15 year old self takes over and clearly, with her moving to her fathers, letting your inner 15 year old take control has had negative outcomes.

    You miss her, she obviously misses you, but there is one vital part of information to why she has moved to her fathers.

    YOU DIDN'T GIVE HER A CHOICE. You told her to get out. That she wasn't allowed in 'your' house anymore.
    But conveniently, whenever someone asks you about that, you say you 'don't seem to remember'.
    Funny that hmm?

  7. As you feel you know so much about the situation why are you afraid to put your name to your comments?

    As for whether she misses me - I don't know that as to date she does not wish to speak to me.

    None of my past is any of Laura's fault... and I have never, and would never say that. This post is about my experiences with PTSD and acute anxiety, and how it consequently invades situations, and affects me mentally and physically.

    Perspective is a funny thing. A situation can look completely different to two individuals, based on their own sets of experiences and filters.

    so just as I am being accused of conveniently not remembering not giving you, I mean, her a choice, there are facts that seem to have be conveniently forgotten or chosen not to be focussed on from your part. And I say YOUR PART because clearly from your commentary you are someone who has something to do with my family.

    Before passing judgement, at least have the decency to gather all the information from all parties involved, and have the balls to own your comments.

  8. The beauty of life is that people are able to make mistakes, own them and move forward. Both parties have made mistakes, both have made BIG mistakes. Said extremely hurtful things, done extremely hurtful things. Part of being "mature" is owning up to ones own part in the problem. Part of being "mature" is to be able to swallow one's pride and put their ego aside and say sorry. Having a fucked up childhood myself, the 15 year old in me also sits back and says "really? thats why your life is so "hard"? But the adult in me can put that feeling aside, like the mumma in you Vick and see that to her, Laura, her life sucks. Or "apparently" sucks.

  9. This must be hellish for you, no matter what was said or how it came about.... I was the kid in a similar situation - the kid who went to live with the father. Except, I didn't have a choice (but my mother told everyone that it had been my decision). So I hear what you're saying about perspective. Everyone's truth is the truth, especially in such highly emotive circumstances as these, because there is so much feeling involved. And feelings can never be wrong. Ever.
    I feel for you deeply, no matter how her leaving came about. I reckon what matters now is the new relationship you forge with your daughter. It is going to take on a new shape no matter what, and that part will surely take some time for you to grieve.

  10. Oh Vicky...
    How anyone survives being 15 is beyond me... The scars from events in my life when I was 15 still make me flinch and affect everything I do.. if I don't take care. You have taken more care than anyone I know to prevent this happening and for that I applaud you. I wonder what is 'driving' anonymous? It certainly isn't empathy or any REAL understanding of your lifes journey.

    You and Laura will be ok..I feel sure of it. I just think it may be a while in coming to pass..

    Must keep reading...and I must do some blogging myself. I'm still kicking and fighting so that is a plus..


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