Home » in between time » Struggling, and My History Part I

Struggling, and My History Part I

Since the D&C on Thursday, my pregnancy hormones have plummeted. My body feels it, and so does my mind.

Physical Changes:
– boobs have shrunk down, and are less tender
– hair and skin is feeling oilier
– appetite is back in full force comfort eating
– falling asleep at bedtime is challenging
– cluster headaches stabbing through my right eye

Emotional Changes:
– less happy
– less content
– find myself stuck in destructive moments of dwelling jealousy, deep depression
– severe anxiety stemming from work-related triggers that in unable to shake

I’ve been baking and cooking up a storm, feeling guilty for not going into work these days while DW, who is also grieving, does. She is taking her final principal qualification course, which has her pulling 15 hour days at least once a week. She is doing this for us. Meanwhile, I’m making her gourmet lunches and snacks. Recently, I made chicken souvlaki from scratch, taking the care to give the chicken a nice long marinade. It was delicious. This weekend, she put in a request for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which of course I made gluten-free.


This morning I baked up these Brazilian Cheese Balls:


I haven’t been sleeping well over the past two nights. I can’t seem to fall asleep, with anxious worries about work, and some recent drama involving my undiagnosed bipolar personality disordered father.

Work has been carbon copying me on the comings and goings of my students, which are all pretty troubled youth. They also notified me that they are dumping almost a dozen students with a timetable conflict into my second semester credit recovery class, which is not an appropriate use of the period, and makes my life a living hell for second semester. They are always dancing the line of violating my contract, but unfortunately, approaching them about this will accomplish nothing except undeservingly getting me deeper into their bad books. My medically necessary leave of absence has already done a shit load of damage in this respect, which makes me anxious too because we (DW and I) have decided that I NEED to get out of this school, and accomplishing that requires a positive recommendation from the principal who has shamelessly made me his scapegoat. Each and every email that I get from work triggers a full-body-sick-to-my-stomach feeling of dread, and I get these emails on a daily basis during the work week. I am on a fucking medical leave people! Leave me the fuck alone. Technically, I am not expected to be checking or responding to their emails, but it all comes into my iPhone automatically. So yesterday, I took a positive step in detoxifying my life and REMOVED my work email from my iPhone. I will still have to check it on my computer once every two weeks or so, but it will be when I choose and not disrupting my life at their convenience.

Now my father is a very complicated problem. He disowned me back in July (for the second time) when I told him that we were trying to have a baby, and then just yesterday sent me a nasty mean-spirited email that haunted me all last night. I have not “come out” about him before, and I feel that I should do that soon.

[TRIGGER warning- do not read on if descriptions of physical violence is triggering for you.]

My father has done a lot of bad things, mostly to me, but also to my mother and sister. He was in his last year of dental school when he got my mother pregnant, and has always blamed my existence for “ruining his life” (his words, which I have heard so many times). Being a nice Christian couple, my parents got married when my mom was three months pregnant, and they were both 25. She moved in with his family (it’s a Chinese thing), and the “perfect family” image that his family portrayed so perfectly started to crumble. Almost every single one of my father’s siblings has an undiagnosed mental illness that is so very destructive to the people around them. Only one of them has been diagnosed, and she is treated so badly by everyone else. After all, they are all medical doctors (I’m not kidding, almost every single one), and have too much pride to come to terms with their issues.

So we lived with my grandparents, and I would say that they raised me until the age of 8, when my mother finally left my father. Contrary to what many people think of children suffering from the fracturing of the family unit, I was very relieved that she was finally leaving him. I had witnessed him physically assault her regularly, and once even thought that he had killed her when he pushed her through a glass shower door, knocking her unconscious. At 8 years old, I was aware that he was a very bad person and that we would be better off on our own.

When I was 2 years old, my father had an affair with my mother’s 19 year old sister. He flaunted it in her face, and even got her pregnant. He forced her to have the pregnancy aborted, and when my mother’s parents found out my aunt was pregnant, she got shipped off to Asia. My mother was too ashamed to tell them it was her husband who had gotten her sister pregnant. That aunt has always been weird with me.

The rest of his affairs were carried out in an equally flaunting manner. He would have sex in his office with his assistants, show me photos of his latest girlfriends, and leave evidence of his escapades all over his condo. I hated visiting him. His visits would consist of taking us swimming, then making us clean his condo (disgusting- think of all of the paraphernalia lying around).

He was never loving, kind, or dependable like I saw all of my friends’ fathers to be. When other kids wished for toys when they blew out their birthday candles, I always wished that my dad would just die. Or I would fantasize about having a different dad. Dreaming of smiles on my mom’s face, laughter, and living a life without fear.

I was so fearful. All the time. Because when we lived with my grandparents, I had their protection. My father still answered to his father, and my grandfather loved me. But when we moved out, he would come over and terrorize us. He would pull into our cul-de-sac in his Porsche and then enter the house in a bad mood. He’d then pick a fight over nothing with me or my mom, and then beat me or my mom. It was a sick beating too. Not just a punch or a slap, but a Muay Thai kick to my 8 year old quad, knocking me to the ground and then dragging me by my hair across the tiled foyer and then slamming my head against a wall. The worst part for me wasn’t the pain, but the fact that my mother would take my sister and leave me there alone with him. It was me or her. She’d rather save herself. Sometimes, I would hear his car rolling into the neighbourhood, call my mom for help, and she wouldn’t come save me because she herself was too scared to confront the monster that she married. Once, I tried to call the police, but he ripped the phone out of the wall, and I got the worst beating of my life, for “betraying him”. He always apologized after beating me up, saying that it was for my own good, and that god had anointed him, and that he was doing what god wanted him to do, because I was not honouring him.

The emotional abuse was worse than the physical abuse. It’s damage had staying power. He basically convinced me that I was worthless, a mistake, and that there were evil spirits in me. I was just a kid. I tried to cope by writing poetry secretly in a diary that I kept. My sister found my diary and showed it to him. For that, I was locked in my bedroom for 48 hours and had 4 “Christian pastors” exorcising me, until I finally gave them what they wanted… Me to admit that I was full of evil spirits, and to talk in tongues as a sign that the Holy Spirit had come in flush out the demons. I was 11, and then subsequently tried to kill myself soon afterward.

While I felt some fleeting moments of sympathy for my mother, I also felt incredibly angry at her. When her romantic relationship with my father was really bad, she would disappear- drive up to Whistler for a week, or fly to Asia for a month, leaving us with my grandparents, who were so loving and kind (thank goodness for them). But as a small child, all you really want is your mom, and I felt abandoned. When she finally stepped up and bought her own house, I thought it would be a new beginning for us, but she gave him a key to come and go as he liked. He had his own condo by then, but would stay at our house whenever he wanted, making it never safe for me. I walked on eggshells my entire life until the age of 17.

I survived high school primarily because I played every possible sport, joined jazz band, the acting troupe, and an Eco club that took me on weekend trips. I made it so that I never had to be at home. Money was tight because my mom was essentially raising us on her measly income, penny pinching because money only came from him when we “deserved it”, and in his mind, we never did. I ended up getting a job at the library, and saved everything so that I could leave the house after I graduated high school.

I busted my balls and graduated as valedictorian of my class, with a 97% average. I was offered full tuition scholarships to each university that I applied to, and in the end chose the one that also covered my room and board in residence. I was finally free.
It was difficult, as I used up my savings that first year, and worked two part-time teaching assistant jobs for the university for the duration of my degree. I actually really enjoyed the teaching portion of the job, but it was so time consuming that my grades dropped significantly during years 2 to 4, because I was trying to make ends meet. I didn’t qualify for student assistance because even though I got very little money from my family, my father’s income was too high.
Wow, this post did not turn out at all how I had initially intended. But I guess I needed to put this out into the world so that it can be lifted a little off of my shoulders.

I have invested a lot of time into trying to undo the damage that my father has caused. I devoted myself to intensive therapy with psychiatrists and psychologists for almost 6 years, and continue to reflect on my emotional well-being and interactions with others. It wasn’t until I was 24 years old that I really felt like I was having meaningful healthy relationships with other people. Prior to that, I was promiscuous, inconsiderate, self-centred, and self-hating. I am very happy and comfortable with who I am, and have felt very stable in my sense of self for almost 10 years now.

So when my dad says he’s “disowning” me, it really bears no weight because I’m not the same scared little girl that he used as his punching bag. But when he continues to send really mean and nasty emails to me, I need to stop forgiving him, and resist the urge to give him even a whispering voice in my life.

21 thoughts on “Struggling, and My History Part I

  1. Tears are streaming down my face reading about the horrors you’ve lived through at the hands of your own father, who should’ve been your protector. I wish I could take the little girl D into my arms and give her so much love.

    What an incredibly resilient and amazing person you are. Really! Think of all you’ve lived through and all you’ve done through adversity. You should write a book or share your story somehow – it’s very inspiring and we just got the very short Cole’s Notes version.

    I’m glad you’re going to work towards getting out of your current workplace. It sounds like it’s too toxic and you don’t need that shit in your life. I used to work in a place that would make me physically ill, and I had dreams of anxiety almost nightly. I know the feeling of absolute dread and being utterly incapacitated even just thinking about going to work. You deserve better.

    • Thanks Lindsay. It’s been a long journey of fighting for myself. Sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago, but then things happen that remind me of how awful and unsafe I can feel. I feel like I’m regressing a little bit in my mental health, perhaps due to some post-partum-like hormone withdrawal, so it’s good to put some of my baggage out into the world and let go of it in my heart. Thank you for all of your support. I definitely feel it.

  2. I’m so sorry you went through that growing up. My childhood wasn’t that extreme, but I also remember feeling that I would be much happier without my father at home. My parents never divorced though.

  3. I am so, so sorry you went through this. Child abuse is a tragedy that no one should ever have to endure; parents are there to protect children, but sometimes they’re the enemy. I work with victims of trauma every day and it never fails to sadden me, but reading this I was sobbing. You are such a strong person, even when you don’t feel that way, to have endured and be a loving wife and mother-to-be. Thank you for sharing your story here, I hope you feel supported and less burdened.

    • Thank you. I thought about you when I reflected back on my therapy, and knew that you would know some of the horrors that happen to kids. I volunteered at a women’s rape and abuse shelter, and I know that the stories of abuse can be much worse and perverse than mine. In ended up having to quit that job because it was too heavy for me. Kudos to all that you do, the training you endured to do it, and the strength that you have to endure it.

  4. My heart was racing when I was reading that…It was a combination of wanting to help you and wanting to hurt your dad (and dare I say your mom?) for not protecting you. I was thinking, we know so much about each other through these blogs, but actually know so little. I hope that talking about it helps at least a little, and that you know that you have a couple of friends here who are willing to listen to you and your struggles, joys, pains, and whatever else there may be. You are a strong, intelligent, loving and kind person. To think that these atrocities happened to you, and you were so little, just makes me so sad. It breaks my damn heart! It must have been hard to share that with us, so thank you…

    • You and Callie inspire me with all of the love and safety that you provide your foster kids. While I am happy with who I am today, I really should have been taken out of my home. It was such a scary thought at the time- being separated from my sister and mom, but knowing that there are wonderful people like you and C doing this kind of work, makes me think that I could’ve had a totally different childhood. (I know not all foster families are as great as yours though).

  5. Thank you for opening up and sharing yourself with us. You are truly are amazing woman. This makes me heart ache for you and I’m also in awe of your resilience. It makes me happy knowing that you’re now in a good place with someone who seems to care immensely for you and you for her.

  6. 1) every time you post something you’ve baked I want it.
    2) what the hell is it with bothering people on leave? it’s the most insanely intrusive and disrespectful thing to do.
    3) that is some serious trauma, woman. good for you for finding your way to the other side of it.

  7. I’m so sorry that you had to endure this physical and emotional abuse. It breaks my heart. You are an incredible person and I’m glad that you had the strength and resiliency to get out of your house and have built a lovely life for yourself and with your wife. I’m also glad that you felt that this space was safe to share your history. You are pretty incredible.

    • Thank you. I feel so grateful for all of the help that I have received along the way, and for the great support that I get on this blog. It really does help me with my own healing, and reminds me that I’m not alone in my fight.

  8. Just catching up on everything after being on vacation. And holy crap man 😦 I can’t even imagine all of that. So sorry that was your life, and I applaud your survival.

  9. There’s never really a ‘right thing’ to say to someone after hearing a story like this. “I’m sorry” or “Glad you got out alive” don’t seem to really be appropriate, though most of us would opt for those words because society deems them as ‘nice’ and ‘sympathetic’. I actually don’t KNOW what to say, other than there are good and bad people in the world. It sucks you had this kind of person as a parent, but it’s good that you were able to seek the help you needed to become ‘okay’ with things, even if nobody could expect you to be perfectly fine and accepting of them. I’ve heard versions of your story through the eyes/words of similarly abused/mistreated kids. We aren’t alone, but when we’re going through it, we certainly feel like we are. I have my own issues with past parental abuse, but have been ‘okay’ with things for a very long time. It seems that you were dealing with your own unrelated anxieties at the time you posted this, and honestly…those should come first. We have to acknowledge that “I” sometimes is more important than “they” who surround us. If blocking your dad’s emails might help your frame of mind, don’t even hesitate. In a way, you disowned him years ago, you’ve wished him dead, you’ve surely realized he did not (and continues to not) treat you fairly. If I were in your position, HIM telling ME he’s disowning me would come as a relief with a secret chuckle. You’ve won this. Simply by surviving.

    • Thank you for your empathy and your kind words. I sometimes think that my relationship with my parents will be THE lifelong lesson that I will spend my entire life trying to resolve. But as Dumplin’ and Mochi are on their way, I realize that spending more energy, time, and heartache on it takes away from loving them and being a happy Mama for them. I need to put MY family first 🙂

      • YES MA’AM!!! I have a friend in therapy to settle her own issues with parental neglect (silent abuse), and she learned that she shouldn’t refer to herself as ‘healed’ as much as ‘always healing’. It’s an ongoing process that hopefully takes less and less of your focus as time moves forward. But cheers to the little mama family!

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