Secret Story No.13

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.



Filed under Random, Secret Stories

9 responses to “Secret Story No.13

  1. I’ve read the whole series Hermia, and they were all sad and some were full of pain and confusion, but this one is the only one that actually brought me to tears.

    I’m generally not an overly sensitive person, but this was written in such a way that I could feel doors slamming and the heat of the authors breath as she hid under her duvet. Powerful isn’t even the word.

    I don’t have any advice for the author, really. I can’t even begin to know how she feels because I didn’t go through that. But I’ll say well done, because she’s obviously an exceptionally strong person.

    Great idea, great series, great (if quite harrowing) ending.

    • Yeah this was a tough one and definitely one that made me question my decision to end the project.
      Thanks for your support….you and everyone else that commented helped somebody who has having a tough time and felt they’d no one else to turn to, so you’ve done good! 🙂

  2. That was indeed very sad. Just found your blog, I think from someone else’s–really enjoying so far.

  3. I don’t know what to say, that was heartwrenching. It must have taken such strength to even write that down.

    Secret stories was an amazing idea and such a success, and that was a perfect end to the collection. Well done

  4. Can’t think of anything else to say other than heart-wrenching. I don’t think there’s a hair on my body that didn’t stand up.

  5. Eve

    This may have been my favorite of all the stories. Its so touching and poetic yet really real at the same time. This is the type of story this project was made for. Thank you for sharing it.

  6. this story is so terribly saddening.
    i can’t imagine what it must be like to live in a household like that.

  7. This story is so upsetting. Very powerful end to Secret Stories though!

  8. Tara

    Experienced a similar situation as a child except the abuser (power tripper) was my stepmom and her older step children, and my father was the one who refused to leave despite my pleads. Thankfully there were no beatings, for she relied on emotional and psychological abuse. At 18, i gathered the courage to leave home even though I still had a year left of High school. Used to think my father was a victim as well, but looking back with an adult perspective i realise that while he was not an abuser, he never found it worthwhile to fight for me- just as bad. The idolisation i once had for my father is now gone due to this, and a series of events as well. Like you kept returning because of guilt trips. Finnaly broke free for good the day my son was born, i decided that a happy childhood is worth fighting for- the cycle would stop here. Decided he wouldnt deal with what i had. You have it in you to decide that your happiness is worth the while- they may be family but toxic relationships only hold you down- if they were your friends and treated you similarly would you keep them? Find support- bf, husband, friend. It is amazing what this can do for your willpower. I probably would not have broken off with them if it were not for discovering what real family should be like through my husband and his family and most presicely my husband`s great listening and understanding of the situation.

    Remain strong whatever your choice, it will not be easy.
    and thank you for sharing your story it takes courage.


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