Pit Stops and Long Talks
I’m pretty certain that this will be the hardest post I will ever write on this blog–and probably the hardest thing I have ever written.
I was abused as a child. Not sexually–but physically and emotionally. I do everything in my power not to call a spade a spade, but I was very much abused growing up. You see, in the first three years of my life, I lived solely with my mom. My parents were divorced, and I had a pretty great life. When I turned four, they decided to remarry, move to a different state, and begin a whole new life. I then began school at Fundie Academy. Now, initially, things seemed fine, but that quickly changed. One, life as I’d known it was completely different. Two, the mother I’d known had completely disappeared, and when I say that, I mean the woman who was very independent became a shell of a person. She started to spend all of her free time laying down in bed watching TV and paying no attention to me. My dad was busy scheming. Now, for clarity, my father is a narcissist–so he is completely self-centered in every area of life. About a year after they remarried, my mom had my sister, SuckaMC, and that is when her mild depression spiraled into full-blown clinical depression. I have very few memories of my mom from ages six to eight. During this time, my dad decided to start a construction business. He had no skills at construction, nor was he, in any way, business savvy. As a narcissist, he does everything for narcissistic supply–meaning, everything is a facade to receive adulation from others. My mother was the president of the business, and I was raising myself.
Now, when I was seven years old many horrible things happened. There was an instance when my mom had gone out with one of her female friends. My dad was at home with my sister and I. SuckaMC was two. Both my sister and I were in our parent’s room. Sucka had taken a jar of Vaseline and began to smear it all over a small spot of carpet. When my mom came home, she asked my dad what happened, and he went into a fit of rage, was face to face with me yelling at the top of his lungs, and then he slapped me across the face. I was stunned. My mother stood there and did absolutely nothing. He then grabbed my sister and threw her into her crib with force. I can’t even describe the emptiness I felt inside. It was the first time where I felt loneliness and shame absolutely pervade me. I ended up in my room, and about twenty minutes or so later, my mom came in and said, “Calm down, and stop crying.”
A few months later, I was outside riding bikes with one of my friends who came to visit. We were racing, and I fell off my bike and was in extreme pain, so I was crying to the top of my lungs. When my dad heard me, he came down the court to where I was and angrily yelled to the top of his lungs, telling me to get up and walk my bike back home. So, I walked home. Thankfully, mother saw that my ankle had swollen to three times its normal size, and she took me to the emergency room, where they told her that my ankle was broken with a hairline fracture. I had to be transferred to another hospital to stay overnight (this was the early nineties), and the ambulance escort asked me, “Who would you like to have ride with you in the ambulance?” I wanted so badly to say my mom, but she looked so tired, like she was begging that I wouldn’t pick her. So I said, “My dad…” The next day at the hospital, they both told me that I lied so much that they didn’t think my leg was broken. They told me that I was just like the boy who cried wolf.
This was also the year when, after playing with some money in my room, I decided to take it to school. My teacher at the time called my mom and told her that I was “flashing cash” around. When my mom picked me up, I told her that I was playing with it and had taken it out of her purse. She told my dad, and he beat the shit out of me with a belt, yelling over and over at the top of his lungs, “I can tolerate a liar, but I will NOT tolerate a stealer!” Dumb ass. Thief, maybe? I was seven years old and went to a private school, so there was so fucking way I could have spent it. I would spend so much time alone that I literally was just playing with it. I hate that I have to explain that even today.
Life went on, and when I was eight years old, I remember gaining twenty-pounds in two weeks. I remember this vividly. When I was nine, I had gained another sixty pounds. It was this year that we had a teacher who was a narcissist–“Orange Man.” He had hijacked our class from our original fourth grade teacher “Schmidt” (yes, I went to a small private school so shit like this could actually happen). Anyways, I had received two bad grades on my science quizzes, so Orange Man said that my parents would have to sign and return them. Well, I went home and showed my mom the quizzes, and she told my dad, who grabbed a belt and beat the shit out of me. I had big welts all on my backside and legs. When I showed my mom, she acted like she didn’t care.
There were times when I would hear my parents arguing and my dad would say, “When I get home, I want my dinner on the table!” Yes, just like an after-school special. And I would be just, torn up about it. My mom has always worked full time in a government job, so it wasn’t like she wasn’t busy herself. PLUS, she was running his failed business. Even typing this shit makes me skin crawl. Needless to say, she neglected my sister and I for him.
Right before I turned ten, I realized that I was gay when I fell madly for my music teacher. Oh, how I loved her. And when I realized who I was, I was very happy. Very. And it provided me another focus other than constantly paying attention to my parents. My dad was still abusive to us. There was an instance when was painting my room (and doing a horrible job), when he began cussing out my mom, calling her a bitch and everything–right in front of me. Because of that, I refused to have my room pained for over ten years. When I was ten/eleven, I gained another fifty pounds. By this time in my life, I had snapped. Toxic shame had pervaded me. My dad was still being abusive to my sister and I. My mom, in my mind, was still dead. I was, I’m assuming, finding comfort in food. This is also when I became super religious. I would write letters to God (see below). I felt nothing but shame at the time. I was very fat, very gay, and very much, at least in my mind, going to hell (or going be “left behind” if the rapture came before my death). There was no solace in anything. I’m surprised that I survived that time.
In 2000, my parents decided to have Christmas in New York. On the drive there, my dad cussed my mom out the entire ride. I even had to switch seats with her so that he would stop verbally abusing her. When we got there, everyone (except for him) was so ill at ease, that even to this day, that was the worst Christmas of my life. By twelve, I tuned out. I never talked to my mom or dad about anything of any significance. I just lived my life–that is, until I was so bullied in school that my mom pulled that information out of me and asked me if I wanted to join LA Weight Loss. I don’t know if that’s when I believed that being thin would solve all of my problems or what, but that is definitely when the fantasy of being thin became paramount in my mind. And naturally, I failed on the program, so when I was thirteen, she had me do it again. The second time around, I had gained about ten pounds and failed again.
My dad’s insanity never stopped. What changed was how I responded to him–with absolute fearlessness (from the outside, because on the inside I was [and still am] terrified of him). Whenever he would start yelling at my mother, I would dare him, at the top of my lungs, to see me about it. And just like before, he’d get in my face and yell at the top of his lungs, but I would stand firm. He’d also go weeks without talking to me. He’d also do that when I was seven. At seven, he had just come back from a trip and he asked if I missed him. I said, “Yeah, I missed everything except for getting your cigarettes and putting your shoes on in the morning.” Yes, he made me (and my sister when she was older) put his shoes and socks on in the morning. We also made his coffee, but I didn’t mention that. He then said, “OK, if you want to be like that.” And he ignored me for the longest time. He legit wouldn’t speak to me for days on end.
And then it happened. I was sixteen. I had a horrible day at school, and was probably blogging in the back room when he said, “Rheeb, can you open this gate for me.” He was carrying something in his hands. I think a cup. I did it with an attitude, and he was pissed. So he went upstairs and started complaining to my mom about me. I then came upstairs a while later and my sister had totally destroyed the bathroom that we shared. So I said, “Sucka, can you please clean up the bathroom?” And my dad said, “WHY DON’T YOU STOP BEING SO FUCKING NASTY?!” I went over to their door and yelled right back. I said, “Oh yeah?!” And he got up out of the chair and started yelling in my face, and I pushed him as hard as I could right in his chest and said, “FUCK YOU!” He then, of course, went into a fit of rage and came after me and of course, started slapping me in my face. I don’t remember this, but my sister said I punched him right in his face. She was there, trying to break us up, yelling for him to stop, when he said, “You’re nothing but a fat bitch!” over and over again. Eventually, they (because my mom was there in the background, as always) pulled us apart. You wanna talk about crushed?! Like I have mentioned before, I was super religious, so to me, I had committed a huge sin. I wrote him this long apology letter that he let fall on the chest. I then realized he was still an asshole, so I took the letter, days later, tore it into little pieces and flushed it down the toilet. Anyways, the next day after the fight, he still drove us to school. And fuck me, you know, having to be in such close quarters with the person I hate the most. We didn’t talk for nearly two months.
Thing about that time was that my mom wouldn’t talk to me about what happened. She made me go to a therapist which convinced me that I was the bad one. The only person on my side during this time was Smoke, who I felt free enough to talk to about the situation. She told me to say nothing in therapy. Useless advice–even though therapy proved to be a waste of time and money, because my home life was insane. I never got into a fight with him again until I was nineteen. Like any narcissist, you can’t predict what they will do from moment to moment, so around that time, he started blaming me for texting on my cellphone. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I didn’t have many friends, and I would only talk on the phone to the ones I had. Anyways, he kept blaming me for his extraordinarily high Sprint bill–not thinking about how he would use nearly 5,000 minutes a month. I then gave him the cellphone back, and he went into a fit of rage. Thankfully, Sucka was with me to witness this. He got up and began cussing me out, so I said, “You know, I already know what you think of me–nothing but a fat bitch, remember?!” Then he went…crazy. Like, actually crazy. He started screaming that I didn’t love him or open my arms and hug him. He made himself out to be his huge victim–almost treating me like I was his parent or something. For two hours, I listened to him, and I made a vow in my head to NEVER get into anything with him EVER again. And thankfully, I have kept that vow and my distance.
I hate my father with everything in me. I pray all the time for God to just let him finally die so that this family can be free. A few years ago, my mom, sister and I started talking about everything that happened throughout the years, and hearing what happened from everyone’s perspective has been slightly (very slightly) therapeutic. My mom even wrote my sister and I apology letters:
I find now, while on this journey to Venus, that I still feel deep anger and resentment. I know my mom was mentally ill at the time. I know that she married a man who is not human in any way. And I know that no one can go back to the past and change things. My thing is, I am still living in this nightmare. I am still dealing with the toxic shame that I have towards myself because of how I grew up. I am still dealing, every single day with feeling like I am not good enough–like I am less than every person on earth. It’s weird, because I do not judge people by how they look (or their education, or their finances, or race, class, gender, religion or whatever), but I judge myself all the time. It’s like I’m blocked when it comes to having compassion for myself. I have days when I wish that my mother was a lesbian! I just wish she would get away and be safe with someone who can truly love her. I would not mind having two mothers at all! More than anything, though, I want to live. I feel absolutely trapped in my life, and I know, logically that it isn’t true. But like many children of narcissists, it’s such a hard journey to live. I grew up in survival mode. I had to protect myself throughout my entire life. I am completely exhausted–which would explain my psychosomatic illnesses that have arisen this year. I am tired, and I need to live.
I need to live.