Apparently, I sent an unusual email to a client the other day. I was referring to a new understanding about an inner part and how they were impacted by my dad. The client wrote back and said, “There’s a word I don’t ever hear you say: ‘dad’.” I was a little surprised to hear that, but in general, I guess it’s true. I don’t talk about him much. There is a part of me that doesn’t want to give him the time of day. He doesn’t deserve my time or concern or any emotion at all. He has lost the privilege of my time. I replaced him as the fatherly role at a very young age. I put my faith in others (who unfortunately didn’t come through either). But they were better than him and at least I knew that.
There’s another part in there too. There is a part who fears him. He made sure that part was there. He stopped at nothing to ensure I would know he would always control me. He knew he lost my love and faith, but he was never going to lose his power over me. Or so he thought. These past two weeks, I have been thinking about all the strategies he used to gain power and control over me. And I have been gaining some new understandings of his strategies too. As his birthday approaches, I guess it only makes sense that I am letting go of his influence in deeper ways. So I wanted to share this list of how my father maintained control over me in my childhood.
He was sexually abusive. This is not shocking if you know my story. Of course he did. But his methods were psychopathic in nature. He raped with an intention of being in total control. He never tried to pretend that rape was about love. He never acted like this was meant to make us closer or that I was his favorite. Believe me, I experienced that with my stepfather and grandfather. I know it adds a level of confusion to recovery too. But with my father, it wasn’t like that. He was entitled to rape. He was entitled to my body. I belonged to him and there was no reason to attempt to make it look like anything else. No persuasion was necessary. He owned me. End of discussion.
He trafficked me. Trafficking is horrible in all cases. But when a parent traffics you, there is something even more diabolical about it. Any fantasies that the parent might be unusual go out the window. Apparently everyone agrees with them. If all these men were willing to pay my father to rape me then this planet is shit. There is nobody who is worth a damn. That is how my father wanted it. I had to be hopeless. I had to see no escape. I had to give up. And if I didn’t give up, he had to work harder to get me there.
He was physically abusive. This one might be a bit obvious too. But physical abuse isn’t just about physical injury. It isn’t just about scars and wounds that heal (like all those clichés say). It is a message. And that message says, “I will stop at nothing to control you.” And that include death. If death is the only way to silence you, it is not out of the question. Physically abusive people don’t just hurt you where others can’t see it (although they do). They hurt you where it is explainable to others. There were multiple facial and head injuries explained by “kids being kids”. Bike accidents, falling down stairs, falling off woodpiles, trampolines, you name it. According to my dad, I was an accident-prone kid. And in reality, I was. I was so dissociated, I had no coordination. So the story was an easy one. And I came out of childhood knowing he wouldn’t think twice when it came to taking me out.
He had control over others. He wanted to make sure there was no chance I believed that others would help me. And just in case others were considering helping me, he had to maintain control over them too. That control had to be obvious to me. This started with my mother and others in the family, but was not exclusive to them. If they ever dared to stand up to him, they were abused and controlled in front of me. They were intimidated. They were threatened. They were ostracized. It was clear they needed to step back into their place or things would go horribly wrong for them. And the message to me was clear. There is nobody who can help me, even if they wanted to.
He instilled paranoia. He not only wanted to control me, but he had to expand my perception of control beyond reality. He had to make me think he was powerful beyond the average human being, even magical. He had to make me think he could see things he couldn’t. He hired others to intimidate me, watch me, even hurt me. And he took credit for it. He even convinced me that his doctor friend had planted a tracking device in me so I could never escape him. He fueled my karma kid to keep me in line. This is what I call “the insurance policy”. He didn’t want me to get any ideas and start acting up and speaking out in adulthood. Even if I walked away from him, I could never walk away from his control.
And we all know how well this went for him. Clearly it didn’t work. And if anyone is reading this to gain new strategies for controlling others, please know this. This is not a guaranteed plan. Attempting to control another person is stupid. People are not that predictable. And in the end, you will lose. And you will have a bunch of really angry people on your hands (and no true allies). And you will be the one running scared. So find another way to deal with your pain or one day, someone may be writing a blog about how you tried and failed to control them. And you will be just like my dad.