Part 1 – 22 YEARS OF ABUSE: my first two “fathers”

Even though it is cold, it is peaceful sitting here in the corner of the garden making daisy chains. I am a queen with a crown of daisies and buttercups. My adoring subjects are around me, waiting to fulfil my every desire.

How I love being by myself, imagining that I am loved – but what is love? No one loves me: no one cares. I can dream and find some semblance of satisfaction, but I know it isn’t real and cannot be real, because I am evil. So I sit and pretend, keeping out of Agnes’ way, hoping that she will leave me here on my own. I hate being locked in the coal shed where I huddle cold and cramped and miserable and not allowing myself to scream because that would give her more pleasure. The coal shed holds terrors for me so I try to keep out of her way. I try to be good. I try to please. I never know what it is that I’ve done wrong. All Agnes ever says is that I’m evil so I deserve what she does to me. I don’t deserve anything good.

One of her other delights is to grab a bunch of stinging nettles and rub them all over my legs. Of course, she used old newspapers to protect her hands. She often threatened to rub them all over my body, but then she wouldn’t be able to say I’d run through a patch of them. She did rub them over my face once, saying I’d been clumsy and fallen over in them. Then she so gently rubbed Calamine lotion on my face in front of my mother. Being clumsy also provided the explanation for my numerous bruises. In winter, Agnes delighted to hold my hands in a bowl of icy water or snow. My fingers felt like they were burning and they were stiff for a long time afterwards.

Agnes was my oldest sister and Agnes hated me. She told me that everyone hated me because I was so evil. She was 12 years older and because my mother had to work, she had the job of looking after me. I was a handicap, limiting her freedom when she could have been dating. I was a nuisance. Many years later my mother told me that Agnes had always been very highly strung, often pulling tantrums and playing tricks. I had no trouble in believing them. It is only in recent years that I learned she abused all her own children.

At least once Agnes married I didn’t have to worry about the coal bin any more or about the other ways she had of venting her anger on me. Life was a little better but I knew it wouldn’t last. I was evil. Nothing good would happen to me. I have never told my mother – or anyone else until recent years – of the abuse I suffered from Agnes or of later abuse from others. As is common with most abused people I blamed myself. It was my fault. I deserved it. I didn’t deserve anything good. I didn’t deserve to live.

I don’t have many early memories of my biological father. He left when I was very young and I remember seeing him only a few times. Even though I didn’t really know him, he had a very big impact on my life. Agnes constantly told me that he hated me and wanted me dead. His practice was to place his hand on my head and “swear by the life of this child that I’m not having an affair with Win” or “May God strike this child dead right now if I’m having an affair with Win.” Win was my mother’s sister and later became my father’s second wife. When it was discovered that he and Win already had a child when he made those oaths, I was told that he was asking God to kill me. Since my own father hated me enough to want me dead – to ask God to kill me – I must be a dreadfully evil person. As I grew, this became more and more evident.

For most of the war years we lived close to Portsmouth, England’s naval docks and one of Germany’s prime targets. My mother was a very conscientious chief air raid warden who was decorated for her work. She knew where everyone was and ventured out during raids, ensuring there was a total blackout and checking that everyone was safe. Where were her own two small children? They were at home, alone, frightened, sleeping in a steel shelter table/bed; sometimes with plaster falling around them, windows shattered and doors forced shut by the bomb blasts. Why were others more important than we were? Didn’t we matter?  My father wanted me dead. Had my mother rejected me too?

I have many memories of the war, some of them quite gruesome. I was only four at the beginning of the war and ten when it was over. As chief air raid warden, my mother helped sift through bomb sites, and I accompanied her, especially in the years before I commenced school. Death and mutilation were everyday events. I remember one man who had been shaving when the bomb hit. His decapitated body was found wedged in a chimney. A parachutist whose body was nothing but strips of flesh landed in our back yard. Did these things help to make me hardened and uncaring? Maybe.

The war gave me my second father. Although he wasn’t legally my father, he was the only one I ever called daddy. My mother was the billeting officer for the district and Pierre was a French Canadian soldier who billeted with us. I never gave a thought to his sharing my mother’s bed, for I knew nothing about such things.

I was about eight or nine when Pierre came to live with us. Agnes was married by then and was no longer a threat to me. My other sister, Pam, five years older, was my biggest rival in everything, including Pierre’s affection. Pam was a goody-goody. Pam was perfect. Pam did everything right. Pam was a real lady. Pam was just the opposite of me. Why couldn’t I be more like Pam? Everyone liked Pam!

But I was Pierre’s favourite! Pierre preferred me! I couldn’t believe it, but it was true.

Pierre had a daughter, Pauline, in Canada. Pauline’s mother was dead so she was staying with her aunt. Pierre missed Pauline and I was about her age and just like her, which is why I was special. When Pierre came home on leave, he always had a kitbag full of chocolates and goodies which were unobtainable in England. I was Pierre’s “special princess” and I always received more goodies.

Pierre taught me French songs and made me feel very special. Pierre told me that he enjoyed the company of mummy and Pam. They loved sharing his bed with him, but because I was his very special princess, he spent more time with me. There was never intercourse but a great deal of fondling and later of oral sex. I didn’t like it but Pierre said Pam really loved it. I wasn’t going to let Pam win on that one! He preferred me! It never occurred to me that it was wrong. The thought never entered my head. Besides, Pam would NEVER do anything wrong! Pierre loved me and this was what real daddies did with their very special little girls. Pierre was always kind and caring. I never once saw him angry or heard angry words. Though he never used physical force, I realised many years later that he used a tremendous amount of emotional pressure and probably told many lies, but I thought he was marvellous. He was the only person who had ever shown me any affection.

For the first time in my life, someone cared for ME. Pierre even liked me more than Pam! Maybe I wasn’t all evil? Maybe I didn’t deserve to die? There was no way I was going to risk losing his love. There was no way he would spend more time with Pam! I rushed home from school to beat Pam who always arrived later because she was at high school and she also spent time with friends. I shared his bed every afternoon and sometimes we went for a walk to the nearby park. I was his special princess.

Whenever Pierre was not there, I missed him dreadfully and the loneliness was worse than before. Pierre wasn’t there the day I broke my leg at school. I was pushed over on the ice before school started and a teacher took me home, leaving me in the front sitting room where I stayed all day. I couldn’t move because it hurt so much. It was a long, long day. When my mother eventually arrived home she and Pam half-dragged, half-carried me, screaming, all the way to the doctor’s. My leg was broken in three places and Pam wonders today if it was broken in three places in the morning or if one or two happened on the way to the surgery in the evening. I needed Pierre that day, but he wasn’t there. When he did come he had a doll for me and we called her Simone. Simone was a fat, rag doll, all out of proportion, with little short arms sticking straight out at her sides. I guess she was an ugly doll but I loved her.

Surprise, surprise! My father turned up to see me and even more surprising, he had a doll for me. This was a truly beautiful doll, with tight blonde curls, moving limbs and a lovely blue and red gingham dress. Yes, I can still see that doll: the nicest I had ever seen. How did he manage to get a doll? No toys were available in England, but according to the family he was a con man with access to the black market. Why had he come? Well, Pierre was named as co-respondent in the divorce case, so he may have used my broken leg as an excuse to enter the house with hopes of getting evidence.

I vividly remember throwing the doll back at him and angrily declaring “If you don’t want me, then I don’t want your doll. And anyway I have Simone and she is much nicer!” I know I also tried to say something about having a new daddy now, but everyone else was shouting me down for being rude.

The day for Pierre’s return to Canada drew closer but I didn’t mind all that much, because as soon as he arrived back there, he was going to arrange for us to join him. He and my mother would be married when we arrived in Canada and Pauline would be my new sister. I bragged about it to everyone at school but no one believed me. That didn’t matter. I had the best daddy and I was going to Canada to be with him. I would be his special princess for ever. I would never be lonely again. My mother wouldn’t have to work so maybe she would spend more time with me. I was going to have a real family. Things would be different at last.

We received a letter from Pierre. It was written in French but my mother had it translated. He was working to get our immigration in order. A little later my mother told us she had received a letter from Pierre’s brother, advising that Pierre had died during an operation. I don’t know why but I didn’t believe he was dead. I felt rejected: rejected by the one person who had shown me affection.

I don’t know why I didn’t believe it. Was it because I knew nothing good could ever happen to me? As I grew and learned a little more about life, I was convinced that Pierre had enjoyed his fling and had gone back to his wife and family after the war. Quite recently I found I was wrong. Pierre hadn’t died, but he hadn’t gone back to a wife either.

With Pierre gone I was devastated.  Agnes wasn’t there and I didn’t have to contend with the horrors of the coal shed, but it was the same old thing again: no one loved me, no one cared. I was unwanted. I was back to daydreams and loneliness. It was back to daisy chains and being queen of the daffodils.

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About meetingintheclouds

I am Cloudwatcher, a 76 year old Christian lady, happily married to a wonderful man for over 50 years. We have five wonderful sons, all with at least one University degree and in top positions in their chosen fields. One son is still single but four have found perfect wives and they have given us five lovely grandchildren. I was born in England and while I'm proud of my English heritage, I am doubly proud to be a true-blue, fair-dinkum Aussie. My husband and I are committed Christians whose first priority is to love and serve our risen Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. My life story will tell of my journey from abuse to peace. I suffered 22 years of abuse, being constantly told I was totally evil and an ugly freak: no one would ever want me, so I might as well do the world a favour and kill myself.
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14 Responses to Part 1 – 22 YEARS OF ABUSE: my first two “fathers”

  1. Denise Hisey says:

    Although this post was written nearly 2 years ago, I just stumbled upon it. I was fully engrossed reading your story. I, too, was abused by family members. The toll it takes is tremendous, but my healing has been possible in part because God has given me the strength to forgive.

    Like

    • Hi Denise. Welcome.
      Yes, the toll it takes is tremendous. Having suffered from all four types of abuse, I found the mental/emotional abuse the hardest to overcome and had nightmares for many, many years after the abuse stopped.

      Now, I can look back on those 22 years and be thankful for everything that happened. While I have no happy memories of those years I have lived a life of abundant blessings for the last 54 years. Those years of abuse helped to make me what I am and gave me the empathy needed to reach and help others who still suffer.

      My amazing God heals completely.
      Angela

      Like

  2. Wow…that’s an amazing story. You are a great writer too. I can’t wait to read the other parts of your story. And what ever happened to Agnes? Is she living still? I wonder what she was going through that she was projecting her anger on to you… Very sad.

    Ava

    Like

    • Agnes died a couple of years ago. I did meet her again 33 years after leaving England and I felt nothing but pity for her. She came out here for a couple of holidays and I drove her and my sister who lives here, up and down the coast to tourist attractions for a couple of weeks. She was never like a sister to me, and I found out recently that she also abused all of her own children.

      I would have to say that Agnes’ abuse was very mild compared with later abuse. That one day under the house gave me nightmares for years and the mental abuse after that was the most damaging.

      Like

  3. I too suffered years of abuse. After becoming a Christian I was able to forgive my abusers, (one had already died before that happend). It was so freeing to be able to forgive. I share my past freely to let others know there is always hope. I know you are a strong woman. (I am 63)
    I shall return another day to read more!
    Cheers!!

    Like

    • I never found it difficult to forgive my abusers – not even my third ‘father’ whose actions that day under the house gave me nightmares for many years. Maybe that was partly because I was brainwashed to believe I deserved everything that happened to me.

      My life changed completely 8th June 1958 and after that I felt extreme pity for my eldest sister and for my third ‘father’. He died in absolute terror and I so wished I had been able to reach him with the Gospel. People say he got what he deserved, but while that is true, it is also true that I deserved it too, but my God called me to Himself and gave me a new life.

      I’d like to read your story. I did visit your blog, but being non-tech I found it rather confusing. I’ll go have another look.
      Angela

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      • I will be back to read the rest…and I look forward to reading about 8th June 1958! It sounds like that was the day God made you His own and put His Spirit in you allowing you to see others with grace and compassion. A life truly transformed! Thank you so much for sharing! I love to read about the grace, mercy and transforming power of our God.

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  4. barb19 says:

    I can’t understand how anyone could be so cruel to a child, as your sister was to you Angela. She has a lot to answer for.
    I’m sure the abuse you suffered for those 22 years has made you into the strong and confident woman you are today. Just a shame you had to go through it – but you did, and held onto your dignity all the way. Your life story will inspire many people – perhaps God’s way of using you to help other people.

    Like

    • What my sister did was nothing Barb and had the least effect on me. I recently found out that she badly abused all her six children – and still does – and THAT causes me more concern than what she did to me so many years ago.
      Her daughter said “I help her because she is a human being, not because she gave birth to me” What a tragedy! I pity my sister and I admire her children for their attitude.

      Like

  5. perfectlytainted says:

    I am so glad that I clicked on your blog. Though I am only on the first part of your series, I have already been completely moved by your story. I cannot fathom abuse at the depths you went through, and I am so thankful that God rescued you from it and you are healed, happy and healthy today. I look forward to reading the rest of it, and I, too, will meet you in the clouds that day with the One who has saved us both.

    Like

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