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Well today you have plans to go see your dad. I know that when you get back how angry that you will be at yourself, first of all for going to see him in the first place, second for the way you feel when you do go see him, and third for the way that you act when you go see him. As the adult I am now, when I get back after thinking on the visit, it will be very hard for me to understand how you could still care for him, still be nice to him, and act like nothing happened. Then normally after such a visit, I get angry because for some reason he still has a hold on you. A hold on you that makes you start to believe that he is actually a decent man, a decent father; a hold on you that makes you doubt your own mind, your own feelings, your own memories, and your own thoughts. Along with that doubt comes tremendous guilt that in someway you have betrayed him; which also holds anger because the you cannot believe that you feel like you owe him anything, anger and shock that you could ever feel like you have betrayed him. I know how hard it is to not feel like you are weak because of this, a weakness that you absolutely despise, a weakness that you feel is the reason you were abused to begin with; hence, comes the self-blame soon afterward. These thoughts towards yourself are all toxic, and are a detriment to your healing, toward yourself. So I am going to try to remind you that there is a reason behind all these feelings, that it is understandable, and to be gentle with yourself.
It is natural for a person to want a father and it is natural for a person to want a father's love. That is what every child wants, love and acceptance from both parents. There is nothing wrong with having that need, that desire. The thing is, you never received that. You longed for it when you were a child and you never got it, and there is part of you that still wants that very badly. You have always had in your mind an ideal father, what you want, what you need. In some weird and crazy way you passed a few of those qualities over to your father even though he does not have any of them. You have always known that he was not that good of a father, but you disillusioned yourself into believing that he had enough of those good qualities to forget the bad. That was part of the way you coped, because the alternative would have been too much to bear. Maybe it still is too much to bear, and maybe in a small way that is how you still cope; or maybe it just that little girl that comes out in you that still desires to have a father who loves her. Either way, it is ok to feel that way.
Little note to myself of what I am feeling right now writing that last line, "it is ok to feel that way." Now see even now, it is hard to admit that and accept it. It is very hard to admit and accept that it is ok to need that or want that from him, that it is natural. It is a little sick when I take into account what he did!!?? See already feeling anger and disgust just at that idea. Everything that a little girl, a daughter should be able to feel towards her father is all sick and twisted because of what he did. It makes it all sick, and that is why it is so easy to feel that anger and that disgust not only towards him, but towards myself for needing and wanting it from him. I hate to even admit it, honestly, hate it!! I know that it is natural for a daughter to desire that from her father; but the thing is nothing that happened between my father and I was natural, so what the hell am I supposed to do with that??!! How could I even go there??!! How can I even think that it is ok to still want that from him after what happened. That is the problem I still do, part of me still does, and that is so hard to admit, and I hate it. Now see this letter that was supposed to be understanding and compassionate towards myself has turned into disgust along with the thought of, how can I??!!
I think I need to stop for a moment before I can't continue on with this letter, the letter that is supposed to be me being more understanding and more compassionate towards myself. It was a great idea, but I need to stop the voice going on in my head right now, that critical voice. I need to turn it around to a different type of voice, a voice of more compassion and understanding, a voice that my t would have, or that Pandys would have. The voice that I need to hear. It is a little bit easier when it is coming from another person's mouth, still hard to believe, but easier to think on and try to accept. Isn't that the whole purpose of the letter, so that I do not come back feeling the way I started to above??!!
Well, lets try this again....
As I was saying, it is natural to feel this way. It is natural for a person to want both parents love and acceptance. It is hard to accept the fact that you do not have that, you never have had that and you never will have it. It makes it even more difficult when the person that you have always wanted to be there, and who never has behaves in a way that makes you believe he wants to have a relationship with you, that he loves you. It makes that part of you that still wants it, to believe it, and to go as far as to doubt the person who you know that he really is. The person that could not possibly love you the way you need to be or deserve to be loved. After all this is the same man that did all those horrible things to you and your sisters.
Maybe I should take you on a small walk down memory lane so you can understand that he is not that man. He is not the man that you want or wish him to be, he is not the father that you wish he was. As innocent and nice as he will appear today when you see him, he is not that man, he is very, very far from that. This is the same man that years ago, beat your sisters, and may very well have seriously injured or even killed one of them if your mother did not move when she did. This is the same man that kicked your sister because she was not moving fast enough, not working hard enough on the farm a day after surgery for endemetreosis. This is the same man that wrapped a blow dryer cord around your sister's neck because she didn't come to the dinner table when told. Shall I say more, lets do just so that voice doesn't start up in your head, that voice that wants to believe he is a good man. I must rub your face in it, slap reality into you so that you can see him for who he truly was, I have to remind you about the man that he really is. Maybe writing this all before the visit today will help me from getting into that mindset of a daughter trying to please her father when I do see him today. Maybe writing this will allow me to be cold towards him and distant, the way that I want to be around him. Maybe writing this all will keep me from feeling guilty for being that way towards him.
He is the same man, he is. The same man that kicked your sister to the floor because she was walking too slow. He kicked her to the floor and continued kicking her over and over again even though she was laying in a fetal position in the corner with nowhere to go, nowhere to hide, and crying, even though we were all begging him to stop. The same man who slapped your sister across the face and because she retaliated with a "I hate you" forced her to the bed, straggling her back with her arm twisted behind, and continued to twist it until she would apologize to him. The same man who got your dog's little puppies, put them in a bag while they were still whining for their mother, tied the bag at the top, and threw it in the pond to let them drown. This is the same man we are talking about here. Must we go into what all he did to you when you were just a little girl?! Must we?! Surely this is enough, surely these reminders are enough? Maybe this will keep you from doubting the monster that he truly is. He was a sick and cruel man, and he always will be.
Still, as horrible as it was, as horrible as he was, it is still natural to want a father and need a father. Everything is twisted and fucked up, but that is the way it is. It is this way because he made it this way. Things are not the way they are, or were the way they were because of you. It all started with him, it all started when you were just a child. It is twisted that even after all the shit that part of you wished that he was a good person, or that maybe he possibly could be, but it is ok. Don't be so hard on yourself for wishing you had a dad who loved you. There is more of you now that has accepted the truth and knows the truth, but you have to realize that little girl that you were never did get that father that she wanted, and she is still in there. She still wants that to happen badly, she still wishes it to be true, and she still cannot face what her father was really like, or what her father did to her. She is still scared, and she is still hiding. You just have to be an understanding and empathetic older self when she shows up occasionally, wishing so badly for a good father that she pushes you to believe that you have one. When she does show up, come back and read this letter, face the truth of who your father truly is and what he did, but all the while be understanding and compassionate towards that little girl that is so scared and so hurt. Remember that she didn't have anyone but herself to turn to, and that she did whatever she could to survive, she had to live through hell, and more than anything what she needs now is for someone to love her, understand, and show a little compassion. Remember that all the times that you feel so much disgust, hatred, and shame towards yourself, that you are actually feeling that for the sad, little girl that is so alone, so scared, and has nowhere or no one to turn to. The little girl that was truly innocent and that was hurt so badly. That little girl is you, so don't be so hard on yourself.
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The Kelsey Briggs Story
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~In Memory of Kelsey Briggs