I was just chilling yesterday. I am currently home with my mom and I am working from home and I was just sitting outside, on my terrace writing my little emails when my mom called me because the mailman needed my signature for some documents.
My company sends me some documents regarding my paycheck that I need to sign for every month so I thought it was that and I saw the envelope with my company’s name on it. But there was something else. I had to sign for that as well, twice, and then I saw that it was from the Protective services.
My knees got weak when I saw it. I do not have the best history with these people and getting mail from them was not an everyday occurrence. I am well over 18, no longer living in that abusive household so there was only one reason why they would be sending me mail. My father.
As I was opening it, the only think I thought about is that he did something. Again.
My father has been in a facility more suited for people like him for a very long time and before my mother and him went through their divorce, my mom was his legal guardian. During the divorce, social workers gave him another legal guardian and now the law has changed which has allowed my father to pick his new guardian. He requested his brother to take the place, but his brother refused. Legally, my sister and me are still his children so Protective services had to contact us to ask us if we could give suggestions as to who should be his new guardian.
My first instinct was to take a picture of it and send it to my sister, so she knows the letter is coming and she doesn’t get the mini heart attack that I got. Immediately upon reading the whole thing, I felt like they were expecting one of us to become his legal guardian. He went to court with my mom and stated “Those two are not my children” and called my mother all types of names and now I was there with a useless piece of paper feeling guilty for not becoming his legal guardian. How messed up is that? I honestly believed I eradicated the patriarchy from my system the day he said that, but I guess I didn’t.
I hate the way I still feel like I should be responsible for him or that I should take care of him. The man tried to kill me and I watched him destroy my mother’s health and life for years but I still cannot bring myself to be calm whenever something comes up concerning him.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that this is just legal mess and bureaucracy. The rational side of my brain knows this doesn’t mean anything but the emotional side of me that went through years of abuse and court trials gets upset and agitated whenever his name just comes up in my life. I know he cannot reach me and that no one can force me to become his guardian, but getting that letter brought back that “fight-or-flight” feeling back.
People who have been abused know exactly what I am talking about. It’s the feeling of always being on high alert, convinced someone is going to attack you, someone is out to get you, checking 5 times to make sure the doors are locked, constantly having the feeling someone is watching you or standing right behind you…
This fear is also very much justified by what my family has gone through after he was sentenced to jail and afterwards moved to this facility he is in. The last time we finally allowed ourselves to live a life that’s normal, tried to get used to peace and sleeping without him threatening to burn the house down during the night, his name came back like a storm. We ended up in court for a very long time because our country and protective services, just as every other country, has a predatory and bloodsucking behavior towards the poor and people who need protection. They tried to take our house away from us and I do not have the time of day to get into all of that but it did happen and it was vile. So his name popping up is never good news.
Is there peace? Does this ever get easy? Will I come to a point in my life when hearing news about him or getting documents about him will not profoundly disturb me and slap me back into being that scared child I was trapped in the same house with him?
Despite all of the issues I have and crisis I go through, I know I am strong and resilient. I show up for myself when I need to, sometimes it takes time but I show up, pick myself up and move forward but getting a useless piece of paper with his name on challenges my stamina to the core.
I am going to keep repeating to myself that it’s a piece of paper, I am going to write my reply, send it and be on my marry way but it will take me weeks to get rid of this guilt I feel for not becoming his guardian and thinking about how he is alone and might be suffering as if he didn’t make me suffer for 19 years and as if the consequences of his actions are not still messing with my life and progress. I don’t know does this what I feel say that I am a good person for still finding the strength to worry about him or am I just a dumbass?
I guess we’ll never know.
Hope your week is going better than mine.
#savingme is the community where abuse victims can publish their experiences just to let go and find comfort and support. Maybe it doesn’t feel like much but just publishing your story for others to read makes you strong. You can send your story about the abuse you went through to firstname.lastname@example.org and you can choose if you want it to be anonymous or not.