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My Father was under handed. He wanted to look like the good guy. When he talked about people he feared he wanted to be the victim and then the conquering hero. He loved to talk about himself. He liked to talk about perverted subjects that disturbed him. He believed the people who were around him were there to serve him. He was full of shit and liked to hear himself talk. To people he wanted to impress he was charming. If he thought you were weak he would treat you the same way he would treat a dirty animal, with disgust and contempt.

Life was all about him. He was a chauvinist that believed he was a feminist. The worst kind of double-dealing self serving opportunist that would push you into the oven and then look up and say “He said he was cold!” The kind of man that believes that Strippers  prefer to strip and wouldn’t bag groceries if offered the same amount of money.

“Why did no one see it?” I used to ask myself. I knew if I brought it up with anyone else within or outside of the family I would be dismissed as being silly. The reality is everyone saw it. In our family everyone accepted it as normal. I guess the question should have been why was I the only one who questioned it. But I knew the answer to the question instinctually. It’s the answer of the coward. If someone else is getting the raw deal and you are not, shut up and allow them to collect the pain. As long as you are not serving the shit pie you can tell yourself you’re not guilty and it isn’t your fault. In fact you can even convince yourself that the person getting the abuse deserves it because they’re not stopping it. Even if they’ve been singled out which is what bullies do. My father was a bully and my family were his accomplices.

Growing up it seemed my mother was innocent of all this. She was busy with her schooling and her job and dealing with the household. My father had it made. My mother was not only our mother she was his mother too. She did everything in the household. And what she didn’t do we kids did. He would say, “This is my castle,” and he didn’t even have his name on the title. Guess who did the taxes and the mortgage?

It sounds like I’m complaining for something that may be common in many families. The one kid who gets picked on. The one kid who is the black sheep. My family treated me as if I was just a complainer. And I was, but not “just”. This constant contempt, sometimes disguised as caring when he was patronizing, the refusing to treat me as a person with equal rights and as someone who deserved their privacy and who needed to be cared for as a dependent and not a slave or burden. I remember feeling hopeless and helpless as a child. Wherever I was dragged to was never my decision. Whatever I was told to do I was never asked if I wanted to do it. By the time I grew to an age where I was asked if I wanted something I gave the answer I thought they wanted to hear. My family became they. The world became them. And by the time I came of age I was conditioned to be a domestic violence statistic.

My mental illness saved me.

I remember the rage as my brain started to change. The fear of the man that stomped on me gleefully to make himself feel bigger beginning to change to hate and grow like a hot burning infection under my skull. I began to sneak out of the house and I avoided him as much as possible. That wasn’t too hard, he was an alcoholic who drank alone in front of the television like one of Stephen King’s antagonists. I still did sh!t for him, serving him so he wouldn’t become angry at me. He scared me still. But my hate grew deep and it became as passive aggressive as my father. I still believed if I was nice to him maybe someday he would treat me like I was normal: equal to him or my sister who never took his shit and fought him tooth and nail, or revered like my mother or my brother who was the family jokester. I failed to realize that my sister was no hero as I saw her to be. She was not treated like a pathetic whipping boy. She was the first child and perfect in my parents’ eyes. My sister also treated me like I was a burden to be ordered around and abused at her whim. I grew up believing that this was the way of the world.

Everyone else didn’t even bother to watch. I was some leftover thing that no one had time for. I wondered why they bothered to have me or keep me around when they didn’t want to deal with me. I assumed the older I got that I was just some sick kind of joke. Maybe I was a back up? Probably I was the scapegoat. All the speculation made me more confused, didn’t answer questions and didn’t help me to resolve my self hatred. All the harbored self loathing built and festered with no where for it to be vented. Dealing with other people was a game of shadows as I believed they saw me the same way I saw myself. I was trapped within a labyrinth made by my experiences and my mind as well as the information my family fed me. Life was h3ll.