Constantly being nervous when he's in the room. Hearing him walk in the room near you. Memorizing his footsteps to see if he will enter your room or the bathroom. Hold your breath. Don’t show emotion. Be still. Or something will happen.
I thought my parents cared more than the other kids’ parents. They cared so much it was normal to be hit. It was normal I wasn’t allowed to be a person with feelings, thoughts and opinions, or even capable of making decisions. Who am I? I'm a disobedient bad child.
I’ve always wanted to tell him how much I hated him but I couldn’t. The penalty was too extreme. I tried running away but I was caught. I asked about calling child services but they said my life would be way worse. I believed them.
I dreamed about the day I could finally leave. Escaping from reality was the only way I could run away–climbing on the roof, curling up in the corner, sleeping in my closet, or swaying back and forth until I could fall asleep in peace. Crying wasn’t allowed so I had to cover my mouth and force myself to be silent.
It wasn't until I was getting married when I realized that this wasn't everyone else's childhood. This actually wasn't normal.
My counselor recently told me to put my hands straight out in front of me. Do it with power. Hold it for a minute. Showing that I’m capable of standing up for myself now. I’m allowed to have emotions and feelings, and I’m capable of making decisions. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done.