A foreword from Hermia:
As some of you may have noticed, I closed submissions for Secret Stories a few weeks ago.
This will be the last entry of the series.
It’s been a wonderful experience and reading your stories has been such an eye-opener for me, but I feel it’s time to bring the project to a close.
It was never meant to last forever and while I worry that I might be cutting off a source of relief for some people with problems, I do think it’s the right thing to do.
I want to thank everyone who sudmitted a story and everyone who took the time to read them and offer support and advice.
So here is the last entry in the anonymous Secret Stories series…
It was happening from as early as I remember.
He would lose his temper, she would get the blame and take it willingly.
As I was growing up, it didn’t affect me as much as it has during the last few years.
Every family fought, right?
Every child was hit and shouted at and belittled.
That was the punishment they all got when they did something wrong.
Every mother was treated in the same way.
You could sense it coming, almost like a storm and then BAM, that explosion of anger.
Everything you’d told him was used against you during the tirade.
“No wonder you’re bullied in school”
Pushed up against wall, pressing yourself against the stippling wondering when the next slap would come.
What had set it off this time?
I didn’t understand my maths.
I wanted to go out and play with my friends.
I couldn’t sleep with my bedroom door open and I closed it partially over when I was ordered not to.
I was a good child.
Did well in school, didn’t sneak around, didn’t start smoking or drinking or doing drugs.
I didn’t curse at them or shout.
I was responsible.
Not an angel.
I didn’t like injustice or being told what to do when it was just because of a power trip and tried to stand up for myself.
But, I had an ‘attitude’.
I’d made a ‘face’.
I was just like my mother who “always wound the situation up”.
Afterwards, I was supposed to understand.
He had a hard childhood and made such an effort to keep his temper, but I made it so hard.
She was afraid and wouldn’t leave for our sake.
She wanted her children to grow up in a proper family.
Those mind games were the worst.
Being convinced the whole ordeal was reasonable.
I’d deserved it.
I hadn’t seen him hit her, and shouting and banging and tears and limping wasn’t proof.
I did my best to get out of it by getting away from them through college and friends and jobs.
Away from his insane need to control everyone in our ‘family’.
And I pushed it to the back of my mind like it didn’t exist.
When it became blatantly obvious it did exist, that’s when the depression set in.
She loved him more than us.
That’s why she never left.
Anyone could see it wasn’t a good enviroment for children.
Providing food and clothing is NOT enough to make up for all that anger, all those hours spent terrified, the night I slept with a scissors under my pillow.
I was made feel guilty for not being grateful.
I spent years and years trying to understand WHY they did it (bad childhood, stress, frustration) and thinking that as the daughter I was supposed to forgive them.
That that was the right and good thing to do.
There was an internal struggle: I felt I was supposed to forgive them but I was so hurt and messed up that I felt I couldn’t.
But they wouldn’t let up on me.
They kept saying how hard I was making it on them.
How hard I was making it on them.
It’s destroyed me and has put me in therapy.
I can hardly bear thinking about them.
But I know the guilt will get to me and I’ll go back.
Because they say I’m hurting them by keeping a distance and not being ‘ok’ with everything.
I’ll have to change to appease them.
I’ll have to pretend there’s no problem.
That they haven’t done anything wrong.
And all so they’ll feel better.
When they never did the same for me.