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.