I often wonder what makes people tick. What makes people act the way that they do? This, in turn, causes me to reflect on the “why” behind my own decisions. The older I get, the more I realize that a lot of what happened in my youth continues to affect me to this day. If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, you know that my father, AKA Black Rambo, was a very abusive man. He was verbally abusive. He was physically abusive. That was his forte. He was also emotionally and psychologically abusive. He would say/do things and then tell us we couldn’t react. It was almost his way of saying, “you should be grateful I’m not beating you instead.” Make no mistake about it! We were INDEED grateful to have escaped the physical brutality of his punishments, but the emotional beatings left scars no one could see. We couldn’t question ANYTHING. We couldn’t make faces of frustration, sadness or even confusion. We basically couldn’t express emotion. We didn’t dare show anger. We couldn’t even cry or he’d respond with, “Shut up before I give you something to cry about!” So we held it in or went somewhere he couldn’t see us cry.

I remember one incident vividly. Back in the day, all we wanted to do was go outside and play. Rain, sleet, or snow- it didn’t matter! Just let us go OUTSIDE! It was one of those days. The beautiful sunny weather sang its siren song. It was the weekend. Mom was at work, but Black Rambo was home. That meant if I wanted to go outside, I’d have to speak to him directly. It was a nice day, and not even close to the time when the street lights come on. I had finished all my chores. My chances for outside activity were at their prime! I went upstairs and asked Black Rambo if I could go outside. Permission was granted. I left his bedroom quickly before he changed his mind. I went down into the kitchen to grab a quick glass of water. I didn’t want him to accuse me of running up the electricity bill by coming back inside and chance him saying stay in or stay out! As I finished my water, Black Rambo came down the stairs fussing. I didn’t hear much of what he said until he made it to where I was in the kitchen. He walked in and said, “And stop telling me where you bout to go when you leave here. I don’t give a fuck! You could be telling me that you on your way to get laid and I wouldn’t give a damn!” He continued to cuss and grumble as he made his way out of the kitchen and back up the stairs. I was only 13 years old. I didn’t even know what “getting laid” meant, but I could tell from his tone and language that he was angry. I just wasn’t quite sure why.

To this very day, I am still dealing with remnants of such treatment. It’s extremely hard to trust when you feel as though you don’t have a safe place to process emotion. At times it was hard to think because I was never taught how to properly manage the thoughts associated with feelings of frustration, anger or sadness.  Of course, this often made it difficult for me to even FUNCTION.

Now, I ponder what dark horrors my father must have been subject to during his youth in order for him to be so cruel to his own children.

Comments (4)
  1. “ We couldn’t question ANYTHING. We couldn’t make faces of frustration, sadness or even confusion. We basically couldn’t express emotion.” – Wow… we REALLY ARE NOT so different.

  2. I’m aware of some of what he went through growing up. I wish he had gotten the help he needed, but I’m afraid he was just too stubborn to admit he needed help,even living in his van,when he could have come to either of us . Could have made a world of difference. Very sad.

  3. Your mode of explaining everything in this piece of writing is actually pleasant, all be able to easily understand it, Thanks a lot. Julie Irving Pahl

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