New Story Idea — Little Girl with Physically Abusive Father

So another story idea came to me.  I had trouble focusing this week, so I still haven’t read much about PTSD.  This time the idea came pretty well formed 😀  The ending and title even came to me, and that rarely ever happens, so I was excited :$  I usually struggle so much with ending a story, and I don’t have to for this one XD  This short story is going to be written from the perspective of an eight year old girl.  I’ve never written in first person so it will be tough.  It’s about her physically abusive father, and the way that it affects children.  She has a little sister that she takes care of.  I still want to write the PTSD soldier and his kitty.  That one will be sweet and a bit fluffy.

I guess some of the inspiration comes from my childhood.  My father wasn’t physically abusive, but he was verbally abusive and at times emotionally abusive.  My mother was emotionally abusive, and she still is.  He and my mother fought all the time, and I hated it.  When I was younger I thought abuse only happened when you hit someone, but you can torture others without laying a hand on them.  One of her best achievements was telling me that my health issues had turned me into a monster, and that I just needed to get over it.  Like it’s easy to get over being bedbound (due to debilitating pain) for 3 years and needing 3 hip surgeries in your 20s.  I was anorexic at the time as well, and I guess I didn’t hate myself enough I for her.  Actually, my dad snapped and tried to kill me once, but my mom was home and stopped him.  The scary part is that I don’t know what would have happened if she wasn’t there.  Later my mom reassured me that I was hysterical, and he needed to smother me with a pillow (for a full minute as I was violently thrashing) to calm me down.  I believed her at the time.  Now I realize she was just justifying the abuse.  My dad had a horrible temper, and it didn’t take much to raise his ire.

I actually thought of my mom as my best friend growing up.  I internalized the emotional abuse and felt it happened because I was a horrible person.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my sister and I both turned out to be self-hating, neurotic, perfectionists with a history of anorexia.  I had convinced myself that it was my fault, and if I was only more perfect they wouldn’t have to yell or say mean things to me.  I know my sister is very much like that too.  She is constantly trying to prove to them what a good person she is, and now that I recognize what’s going on it makes me sad.  Ultimately it’s my sister’s choice, but it really hurts when I see them being mean to her.  I feel like my parents are in a grey area between abuse and normality, but that doesn’t make it right.  I’m more hurt than anything else.  I just don’t know what to do with these feeling or emotions.  My parents both came from very abusive households, and I won’t ever go into that because they want to keep it private.  But I think the trauma contributed to their personalities.  I don’t wish them harm or anything bad.  I still love them in a way and hope they are doing well.  I just don’t want to spend any more time than I have to around them.  My sister and I have a dark joke that it’s not Christmas till someone says, “Merry Fucking Christmas,” and then we laugh so hard.  It’s usually my dad that says it, but sometimes my mother.  I guess it’s because if we can’t laugh about the situation we would probably cry.  My dad has recently made a huge stride in trying to become a better person a few months back.  He has found God again, and I hope he does improve for his sake and my mother’s.

I don’t know if any literary journal will want to publish this story. . .  It’s really dark, but it’s life.  I’ll have to omit the cursewords, obviously.  This is what happens in thousands of homes across America.  I think the most damaging aspect of abuse (of any kind) is the justification that victims use to cope with the abuse.  That certainly doesn’t apply to all victims, but I know that it applies to my sister and me.  It will apply to the sisters in my story as well, one is 8 and the other 5.  My mother was abused by both her parents, and she justified their abuse as well.  It’s like a survival mechanism for kids because they have no control at all in these situations.  That’s the essence of this story.

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12 thoughts on “New Story Idea — Little Girl with Physically Abusive Father

      • I’m sure you will. Just be honest about how much your own experiences have hurt you. In the novel I’m working on I deal with a topic I have no experience with, but I know all basic human emotions are the same no matter what’s causing them. As I write I dig into the deepest place in me of whatever emotion I want my character to be experiencing. It seems to be working so far!

  1. Thank you for opening up and sharing your experience about growing up with abuse. I think your story will be very interesting and I am eager to read it (if you decide to post it on WordPress). I think that kids justify the abuse because kids, in general, think of their parents as guardians. They are told by television shows, the media, and others that their parents are safe. They are not taught to question their parents’ behavior. But, when they grow older and see how other families are treated, they begin to question their own. I am interested in where you are going to take this story and I wish you the best of luck. I’m sure it will be great. 🙂

    • I’d love your feedback floresypaz. You had some great advice on my last story. I’m not posting it online :$ But if you give me your email I can message it to you. I created an e-mail for this account thepaperbutterfly@yahoo.com If you’d like to read, just message me your e-mail 🙂 Yeah it was just in recent years that I realized what was going on. I still remember telling my therapist and other members of an eating disorder group my story of anorexia. They all just stared at me afterwards like I had told a horror story. And the next time I saw my therapist he told me he had no idea that it was that bad, and he asked me why I hadn’t talked about it in prior sessions. It was because I didn’t realize it was abnormal :$ The danger of this is that it’s very easy for me and my sister to become a part of emotionally abusive relationships. I had an emotionally abusive best friend, and my sister went out with lots of emotionally abusive men 😦 I feel very lucky I ended up with my husband. He can be a jerk sometimes, but he’s not emotionally, verbally, or physically abusive. My husband and I are talking about starting a family and I want to end the cycle of abuse. I don’t think any parent is perfect, and I know I won’t be, but I will try my best to not repeat my parents’ mistakes.

      • I will definitely message you my email address, I am deeply interested in reading your story 🙂 I’ve read somewhere that people who grow up in abusive households are more likely to survive in other abusive situations, as opposed to those who hadn’t grown up in an abusive home. By survive, I mean that if you switch a child who grew up in a loving, abuse-free household to an abusive household, that child would suffer differently because initially the child wasn’t use to the abuse, like the other child. This reminded me of your situation because you said that you felt like your situation was normal. The lines for what is normal and what isn’t are blurred, which makes it difficult for future relationships. It’s great that you’ve sought help. I hope that your husband continues to treat you the way you deserve, which means treating you with love. I think being aware of the symptoms of abuse and being aware of your own actions can help prevent the cycle from repeating itself. I’m sure an expert would know all about that though.

  2. Good luck with your story idea. I think first person will come natural for you, and you will write a winner if you can bring yourself to do it. Emotionally, I imagine it would be a hard story to write. I once wrote about being teased in middle school, and it was too painful and I quit. Nothing like the project you’re about to take in. I don’t think the elimination of the curse words is obvious. depending on the magazine, they might fit and even be needed to make the story all the more real. Good luck.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

    • Thank you for your insight Joyce 🙂 Yeah, this might be painful to write, especially the part where the little sister gets hysterical when the parents are fighting. It hits close to home :/ I think it’s a story that needs to be told, so hopefully I can make it through.. I haven’t started on it yet because I’m still editing another story, but I”m already excited :$

  3. That would be a wonderful story. It’s awful that both of your parents were abusive. I have some experience in the area as well, and I’m glad you have found happiness (sort of). It would be a very powerfully dark story, but I think it’s important. I would even suggest writing a story about a verbally abusive father (I didn’t know about verbal abuse, like you, until I read a blog post about it (fosterandphotograph.com)).

    I would thank you so much for writing this. It’s so important, and not addressed nearly enough.

    • Yeah, I was scared of my dad growing up. It didn’t take much to set him off. I’ll give you an example. . . Our bathroom was adjacent to their bedroom, so in the morning if we didn’t close the drawers careful enough it made a sound. Then he would wake up and cuss us out for being too noisy. Or if we got into a fight, he would follow me into my room and yell at me for crying. He wouldn’t just leave me alone. Or when I did my homework if I didn’t get it, he would start yelling at me. I learned early on in my life to avoid my father. When we were anorexic he kept telling us how fucking disgusting we looked, prompting my sister and I to cry. Only he was yelling when he said it. Or one time I visited them on the weekend, and he wanted me out of the house so he started yelling at me. It was so random because I didn’t do anything. Even still I feel pretty tense talking to him.

      He told me recently that he resented me my whole life, which I already knew. He was young when my mom got pregnant and felt he should marry her. He’s really trying to be a better person now, and I hope that he is able to change. I’d say I have come to an understanding about it. I’m not really angry about it anymore. And I don’t depend on my parents for much emotional or mental support. Last Christmas there was still a lot of conflict. I got yelled at because I wanted to go with my husband to a certain church out of town. We planned it a month ahead, and it was the only vacation we have taken in 5 years. We were going to meet up with our uncle and cousin. I told my sister about it, and she invited our whole family. I was okay with that. Well my dad couldn’t make it because of work, and he was really pissed off because he thought it was unfair and that I was trying to exclude him. He was on the phone yelling at me, and telling me I ruined Christmas for everyone, and I was in Wal-mart crying. It was like damn, I just wanted to do something special with my husband. I wasn’t trying to exclude anyone. So I don’t know what me and my husband are doing for Christmas this year. His family is in Japan, but he’s already flying out in October. We might just celebrate it at home or with my uncle and his family. I’d rather be alone then have family drama :$

  4. Most people justify abuse no matter what age they are. It’s sad and it’s difficult to determine sometimes. It all depends on a person’s perspective. Difficult stories can be the best ones to write and the most stirring. Good luck with it!

    • Yes, I think you are right. Adults also justify abuse, and I think it is sometimes a coping mechanism. We’ll see how the story turns out, lol. I think the idea is good, but a story needs more than that to come alive.

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