Voices from Childhood

Raffaella's letter "to my father"

"Dear" father,

I am angry. I am angry with you. I hate you every day, every hour of my life. You are the vampire, the bogey man who's cut me off from love forever.

"No one will take care of you if you dare to leave me" you used to say.

I will! I will do it! Against YOU.

You will not bury me with hatred and fear

With your condemnations,

You will not kill me AGAIN.

The fear of not being PERFECT will not win

The fear of being CRAZY won't get the last word.

Your, YOUR OWN, confusion will not win.

I don't belong to you. Before you came to break it, my soul already belonged to ME.

You are only a THIEF and a COWARD.

How can you act as if it's nothing.

How could you kill that innocent child through your yelling, your ridicule, your contempt, your rejection? Why didn't you try??

Why did you always choose yourself?

Self-righteous, pompous liar, monster.

Why didn't you defend me? It was YOUR job! Always!

Why did you drown me in fear and guilt? Why didn't you EVER EVER look kindly on me! Acceptingly? Why didn't you ever talk to me?! How could you willingly instill so much fear in me?

My breathing is broken and shallow because YOU would not let me cry for my wounds. Because of your screaming, your threats and your slaps, my breath has stopped dead, terrified to go on, and paralyzed by the fear of PAIN. It stopped to shelter me, to protect me from YOUR HANDS, to save me from YOU. You should have been my refuge. You should have been the one I could trust above all.

You never listened to me, you kept me away, separated from you, enjoying the FEAR you could evoke in me and the POWER it gave you. Descending from your heaven, your sacred study, that was always locked, only to hand out rulings and punishments. HAPPY that you didn't have to engage with me, and trying to PREVENT my mother from loving me and consoling me.

You created this painful guilt, this shame I feel whenever someone listens to me and takes me seriously. I had to FEAR being comforted because it would draw upon me your rage and contempt. It would have pushed me further away from you and from my mother because she FEARED you and obeyed to YOU.

I remember an incident when my sister and a friend started mocking the loving words I used to exchange with my mother. I felt ashamed and I cried. I felt such anger at my sister.

But that anger was really meant for YOU. BECAUSE YOU DID NOT ALLOW THAT I WAS LOVED!! It meant to be exiled and to drown in guilt, the guilt of supposedly stealing from you what was really rightfully MINE. The fear of causing my mother pain, of tearing the family apart, which you accused me of, and instructed other family members to lecture me about.

YOU dared to accuse me of breaking your bond with my mother because I needed her attention and presence and to be in her arms. Hopelessly, I gave up on everyone's understanding in order not to be a problem.

Nothing else did you see in me. Devoid of tenderness, of patience, you despised and mocked those qualities in others, while you monopolized pity with your endless complaining, when you could not win our obedience through fear.

Never did you try to comfort me or solve my problems and aches. You never gave yourself spontaneously, but only forcedly and with endless recriminations. You never talked about feelings, but only about guilt and duty. Feelings didn't exist in your world. No matter how hard I tried to make you understand, you looked at me as if I was talking a martian language, trying to deceive you, or was plainly crazy, when I mentioned my feelings. When I pleaded with you to be heard, for you not to hurt me.

You INSULTED me, calling me inept, whore, stupid, crybaby, crazy, weird, a pain in the neck.

You never called me, little one, love, darling or ANY loving names. You never felt or displayed any joy holding me, or being near me, only resentment, fury, frustration, impatience.

You never valued my feelings, thoughts, needs, which always, always had to give in to yours.

You have RULED my life, my thoughts, my priorities, my judgment. My true self was squashed, suffocated, buried under your contempt.

My sensitivity and intelligence were bent to your service, your JEALOUSY stopped me from blossoming. Your HORRID, INCESTUOUS jealousy taught me to look on my body with contempt and to regard my beauty as an OFFENSE. To be afraid of it, for fear of unleashing your HATE.

Because of your HYPOCRISY, my loving nature, my natural need to communicate and touch people, to make myself LOVED, was uprooted, denied. As if it were a horrible sin.

The sweetness of a caress, my mother's, or a man's, was condemned, trivialized, insulted, filled with unbearable shame.

At 19, I still had to hide from you when I wanted to date a boy. "Where do you think you're going?", you asked me with eyes that silently called me criminal, corrupt, dirty, a monster for daring to escape your iron cage. You looked so crazy I ran and put the kitchen's table between us. My mother had to swear in my place that I would not try to get physical with my boyfriend, that I'd be satisfied with a kiss. My needs thrown away to appease you. Many years before, in my childhood, she had refused to sleep in my bed when I was sick or scared, because she would not make you angry. I had to be ashamed of having a body, and desires! How did you dare, monster?? YOU ARE THE MONSTER, THE CRIMINAL, DIRTY AND CORRUPT. A CRAZY SEXUOPHOBIC FANATIC, an incestuous creep who would rather have me dead than free and belonging to another. My pain, my solitude of 19 years were swept away, together with my dignity, and my need for love. Having to hide just to try for once, what it meant to have someone there for me!

But then as the cruel man you are, your hatred of him turned to sympathy when he broke my heart and I stopped eating and sleeping out of grief. You said he had done right to leave me and that I had demanded too much.

How much hatred has grown inside me- a bottomless thirst for justice. You had NO RIGHT.

Your unhappiness is NOT my business. Blame your mother, that arrogant creature. It's not my job to pay for your sins!! Not me! Not anymore!

Your accursed family, loaded with hatred, resentment and perversions, your HEARTLESS, SPINELESS family, your bigoted, racist, insensitive, hypocrite, self-righteous, ignorant and cruel bunch. Your family of misogynists, criminals and perverts doesn't belong to me. I don't want your filthy legacy. I want to be free! Happy! Loved! I want respect and honesty, not your self-commiserating ways. I HAVE TO, have to, at any costs, have my life back. Live my life. I have to speak up against your wrong, monstrous way of living. Assholes.

The word you never let me say, the word you punished me even for writing, I say it to you now: ASSHOLE. Daddy, you are an ass hole.

How could you stand around and watch emotionless when that pervert of your brother talked to me sexually, staring at my body, and talked about my breasts and my vagina as they were objects for his entertainment. I was barely 11 when he started alluding to my breasts in every sickening joke he cracked, for the enjoyment of the family. When my sister, my cousin and me acted a play for the grown ups that we had written ourselves, I heard my uncle say say that if he did not like it he would tie us up and use as targets, mentioning he'd win the highest prize if he hit our sexual parts. I was 12. You never talked. Our male cousin joined in the giggles. What a revolting family you have.

FILTHY MONSTER. Shame on you, if you had any shame in you. For letting it happen. You let it happen for years, that slimy being, that heartless thing was able to torture me, humiliate me, persecute me because YOU let him!! It was YOUR job to stop him! You are a pig, just like him. That's what you are.

How could I not despise men and fear them? They all had my father and my uncle's faces who could torment me cruelly for no reason at all without anyone daring to intervene. I thought men were all like you, CRUEL TYRANTS, ARROGANT, JEALOUS AND SELFISH. I used to think by some trick they had stolen the key to the truth and kept it hostage, so that somehow they managed to appear always right and make me always wrong. I wrote on my diary: "I hate all men. They think they're fucking gods on earth". I thought they were after women to have SERVANTS to humiliate, prisoners, sexual toys, to deride and deny their soul. Vilifying them, enslaving them with their judgments, blackmailing them with their MONEY, PRESTIGE and with SARCASM. I thought like you they wanted to annihilate my will, deprive me of freedom, become the CENTER of my life, judge me, fill me with fear and guilt, cage me with no way out. I thought they wanted to force me, to make fun of me, sucking the life out of me with their ME ME ME. That they wanted to silence, confuse, subjugate me. That they would tie me to them with their endless demands for pity, forever, while my own pain disappeared, while I disappeared, and only US existed which really meant YOU.

I always saw you in them and ran, ran as fast as I could. I never sought a master, never wanted to be a toy. I always expected to be rejected, forgotten, pushed aside, left by men of stone like you. Like you abandoned me for hours as I played next to you while you worked, every day alone with you and did not speak to me all day. Just like you forgot me or pushed me aside, showing me again and again that only my mother mattered and that all the cares you had were for her. YOU did not care about me. You would not give your love and would not let me reach for my mother's love.

You rejected me, kept me away like an intruder between you and my mother, who came to break your perfect harmony with absurd, obnoxious demands for love and to be seen! Me! Your child! The one you put into this world. You put me here and made me feel useless, unlovable. You separated me from love, passing me impossible, unsolvable dilemmas: should I lose protection and security, could I be chased away if I dared to ask for your love or my mother's? So, on without love for the rest of my life! Because you made a huge show of loving her and her alone and wanting to take from me to give to her. Passing her broken, unwanted stuff to me so you could buy new shiny gifts for her to show off. Treating me as a parasite, sucking my mother's attention. I stood between you two, helpless. And I killed myself with jealousy, consumed myself, thinking: I'LL NEVER MATTER TO ANYONE. FOR NO ONE WILL I EVER BE ANYTHING AT ALL. I AM NOTHING IN THE WORLD, I HAVE NO PLACE AND NEVER WILL HAVE IT. My LOVE and my NEEDS will cause my death or the end of my family.

I won't love or ever be loved.

This curse you have written in my flesh. To always deny myself, disappear, run from everyone. On everyone's faces I saw cold and intolerant glares that wanted to erase me, like you did. Their disapproval meant death. My hatred and my pain can never end in this life. You should have loved me. Now these words echo again and again and drown me in a sea of fear and depression.

You used to provoke me by looking hard at me while you expressed your racist, humiliating views of women, and called for the destruction of all that was different and deviated from your ways and views. You knew how to push my buttons. In childhood, I had to memorize all too well that I was on the top of the list of things that were wrong and needed extermination or correction. I was trained to think I didn't deserve anything. You would have me thinking that I have nothing, not even my right to live, unless you conceded it to me. How sick. You enjoyed driving me mad, knowing you had me trained and resigned to never reply to you, to never ever dare to think or say that you were wrong, bad and STUPID which you were all the time. You were sadistic to the core.

When you were young, you used to torment your cat and then place its paws on your face because you were sure that it wold never dare to scratch you. I grew up like that cat, wishing to claw your eyes out, wishing with every fiber of my body that I could do something to stop my suffering; but having nowhere to escape the wrath that would ensue. Feeling suicidal when I realized it would never end. Fighting not go mad. Fighting simply to stay alive.

You and my mother could call me witch, parasite, insect, mad, inept, ugly day in and day out.

How many times did I hear you say you wished it was back to the times when you could have beaten me black and blue and it would not be called abuse. Your words always dripped hatred, a barely restrained violence which I knew was even stronger and bigger in your body than you dared to act out. You posed as a kind man, counting my blessings. Which were, you did not kill me or starve me or torture me (the latter is questionable). You wanted me to feel like you could have done any of those any time. For this you demanded gratitude, for keeping me alive as if I was your prisoner instead of your daughter.

But why should you have wished me dead, when it would have deprived you of a victim that you could brutalize every day, a victim that no one could take away from you? An available scapegoat, unaware of its fate, fooled into taking cruelty and returning it with affection? A child that one day would turn into your useful slave, your mirror, your worshipper, your caretaker?

How dare you making me feel that I deserved to be hated just for being born. I deserve to be alive, like every other being and more than you do. Because in my life I have never hurt like you have in one day. Or hated a child who came into the world, dumping my rage on it, using it as an excuse. You should have known better. You should have RAISED me and not CRUSHED me. You had no conscience and didn't want one. You didn't and don't want to be reminded of what you did and what you are: you choose ignorance and self-absolution. You choose cowardice and a half life, a life of untruths.

You never ever said you are sorry. You tried to extort my forgiveness without ever making an apology. You never admitted to any of the facts that I reminded you of. I am not sorry that I escaped your prison. I am not ashamed that I don't love a cruel and unrepentant man, or that I can see and call out your bluff. I am not sorry for speaking the truth.

You made up and enforced a law in our family that you would be the sole monarch and everyone would bow to you, serve you and never contradict you.

You never honored me or SHOWED me what respect was about, you only DEMANDED it arrogantly and unilaterally. You never practiced what you preached.

You are a judge but you confused just with powerful.

You confused just with insensitive.

In your job, you always robbed the weak of protection and defended the oppressors, you always punished the wronged and protected and exalted the power-hungry, the cheaters, the sadists.

You dared to demand LOVE when you never EVER GAVE IT. You dared to complain that you didn't feel loved while you treated me as the most unlovable, wretched being on the face of the earth.

Love does not need to degrade itself and crawl for approval like you wanted me to. What you call love is nothing else but slavery. Loving you meant death, the absence of love. Loving you meant to be loveless. Because it closed my mouth, drowned out my screams, tied me with the chains of hopelessness. I had no choice but to believe this painful, desperate attachment, this overwhelming fear of being wrong, of being abandoned, of being punished, were love. I had no choice. As a child, I believed in your honesty. I believed you would never ever tell me that I was bad, and a burden, and stupid, if it wasn't true. I could not have conceived of you lying to me. After all, you said it yourself: you were perfect and always right. You knew everything, right dad? Would you still say that to me, today, with a straight face, now that I can judge you, talk back to you? Now that I can see what crap it was? No. You only had the nerve to brainwash a defenseless child. Adults always made you coward. How often have I heard you taking back your views, when you sensed others in the room did not approve. Only with me you were proud of being a jerk. Being "your daughter" meant that I did not deserve the respect and consideration you would give the most casual of your acquaintances. It meant that I belonged to you and had no right to have boundaries or be capable of independent thoughts.

I cannot love you because love is not IN YOU. I cannot love you anymore than I can love WAR, INJUSTICE, LIES, SOLITUDE, AGONY and FEAR. MISERY and POWERLESSNESS, DESPAIR and SUICIDE. These are the names of the companions you gave me, that I lived with when I lived with you as a child. It is what you have passed on day by day, hour by hour, studiously, precisely, relentlessly. Demolishing my sense of self and of being worthy and my ability to live.

"Daddy, I have danced with a boy" I said 12 years old, beaming.

"I NEVER raised you that way" you said, chilling me to the bone.

You're BAD.

With lies and prohibitions you kept me on your path, blocking me from the view of the outside, drowning me in fear. To aways be up to your desires. My own desires I never even had time to feel or acknowledge. That would have required someone who told me that they were important. Someone to show the child stuck in your merciless state of terror that there was something else. That there was life outside, that love of oneself was allowed and could be felt and not be punished.

You destroyed my joy, the pride I took in my voice. You buried the path to happiness on a whim.

I could NOT have been your MOTHER, WIFE, SISTER AND LOVER a MIRROR OF YOURSELF, a desire-less being, the robot of your dreams!! You tried to reduce me to a joyless being, a dreamless creature, anxiety-ridden, consumed by the fear of failure and the notion that I could never SUCCEED because you had to win. It was the only rule. In order for you to win, I had to lose.

I could have never gotten out of the tomb of the perfect daughter.

I abandoned my dreams until I heard no more echoes of them and could not even feel regret.

I convinced myself that I was incapable, unfit, talentless, so that I didn't have to suffer and recognize that YOU had persecuted and killed my hope.

My confidence, the hope that every human being is entitled to, to live and be loved at the same time. The hope of a connection with you, of a bond, of being acknowledged, appreciated and finally accepted. The hope of feeling beautiful and gifted, to know that you were proud of MY SENSITIVITY, of my GOODNESS, of my bravery, of my sense of justice and desire for the truth. Of my wonderful imagination. Of my talent, my intelligence. Of my kindness, empathy, my endless capacity to love and forgive, that you never saw or recognized. You should have looked up to me and learned from me. Instead I had to listen to you and lose my humanity.

My sweetness you used and treaded upon, because you were too blind to enjoy it, too envious, bitter and resentful. You blind fool.

You destroyed my self esteem, deriding me for the smallest mistake. With your horrid, cruel chanting: "clumsy", "inept", "handicapped", like a drill inside my brain. How you magnified and reminded me of every little faux pas. How you mocked my fear and my need for reassurance and guidance with unbelievable obtuseness and arrogance, refusing to guide me but only criticizing me in everything, making me feel ignorant, stupid, clueless, clumsy, unfit.

Heartless and without a trace of understanding, you covered me with insults, pointed at me without ever helping me, destroying every certainty, undermining every effort, filling me with no-way-out anxiety and unbearable hate and frustration with myself. Convinced me of being too clumsy and unfit to be loved- convinced that I was a living SHAME, incapable of doing or learning anything, thinking that I could only ever go WRONG and that I was never ever safe from your poisonous, stinging comments, your yelling and your humiliations. Every day beside you was torture, every little breath or attempt might suddenly become my ruin, my sentence. How did I wish to be another or even to DIE! Anything, rather than put up with relentless derision, this ostracism, not to feel a reject, less than a dusting clothe, a stupid handicapped, a burden, an embarrassment, a parasite as you called me, a dead weight.

USELESS, INEPT, UNWORTHY, DIFFERENT, INFERIOR, these were the words that were always on your mouth. You extinguished my desire for life, my urge to experiment, the joy of being guided, the joy of being looked upon and noticed. You only ever noticed me to scrutinize me and deride me. I barely dared to look up.

You ridiculed me so harshly when I used to fall as a little child, that I find myself still walking only with my eyes on the ground, barely able to avoid bumping into people or to see cars in the street. You put my life in danger. You threw me into terror, shame and confusion every time something went wrong-. I lived in TERROR of being abandoned, cast out, marginalized, because I was supposedly handicapped. Of being isolated and left alone, to die. How could I wish to live when life was such a nightmare of fear and humiliation from which I never woke up? Where there was no hope, the only hope being in my dreams, in my imagination? YOU imprinted in me the need to hide, to be invisible, you forced me to be a ghost, to stand still and dumb for fear of making a mistake. You took from me the pride of walking with my head high with your INTOLERANCE; LACK OF UNDERSTANDING and your sadistic wish to humiliate. You made me feel HOPELESS, in constant TENSION, always looking for a way to please you and distract you from my supposed flaws. Always concerned with being acceptable, doing the right thing, afraid to fail and be marked and pointed at. Again and again I tried to get up from the mud in which you pushed me, tried to rise, hoping to leave it behind, to finally forget, BUT YOU WOULD NEVER LET ME. YOU WERE ALWAYS REMINDING ME OF MY INDIGNITY, throwing in my face my unworthiness and stupidity.

How future-less did my life seem! Only full of HOSTILITY, TESTS AND JUDGMENTS. Only full of reproaches and MUST DO's. How discouraged, desolate and lifeless I felt each day.

Always you said you had not wanted me, that I should not have lived. That I ought not to disturb with my being alive. That I was born to be your slave, to silently take in your contempt and grow up, grow old, unhappy, with nothing mine to show, feeding your ego and worshipping you. That I did not deserve to live my life, to lead it. That I could not lead, could not choose but was only good for following. That I could not talk but was only good for listening. That I could not know, but was only good for believing. That my life existed by mistake and only by your good will it didn't turn into death. You used to say I was not good enough to kiss the ground beneath your feet. You used to say my place was in the street, that you would turn me into a beggar if and when it pleased you. That I was a guest in YOUR house. That not even my clothes belonged to me. Not even the air I breathed.

You forbade me to go out, to have friends. Then you teased me because I had none. You called me ugly then laughed at my attempts to make myself pretty. You called me a whore because I made up my face and said it would serve me right if I got myself raped. You even said if this supposed rapist had made me pregnant you would turn me out of the house. Unsurpringly, when I was molested and nearly raped at 15 I did not say a word about it to you. I did not call you for help. I stood at the mercy of my attacker and as always, believed it was my fault. You had set me up and trained me for it. Fifteen years of your lessons had done the job. I already knew I had betrayed you because /I had gone to a party and good girls don't go to parties. They stay home and keep dad's company to repay him for the trouble of being born. If they don't, they deserve bad things happening to them./

At 4 you said god would turn me to ashes for talking back to you. At 13 I knew god didn't exist because you never turned to ashes for breaking my heart. The only reason I'm sorry that I don't believe in God is because it robs me of the chance of seeing you in hell.

You said hell was my home and that my pain was my dues for not being BETTER, PERFECT, A DISCIPLE, A NURSE, A LOVER, A DEVOTED SERVANT. You fed your ego with the compliments that strangers paid to me but NOTHING was left for me. I never won. I could not win your affection. I could not win my self esteem because I owed you anything good I did. My brain, my academic achievements. Never mind that my sister got the same education and could do nothing with it. You stole my triumphs from me. I got A- and you only asked why it wasn't A. I got A's and you would not compliment me unless I was the only one in my school. I was the only one and you said it was nothing out of the ordinary. Fuck you.

I won a writing competition and you framed my essay and bragged with your relatives. But you did not want me to go on the trip to Paris that I won as a prize. I only went because my math teacher said you HAD to let me go.

I felt proud when that teacher said of me that I was a good person because I never judged anybody no matter how mean they were. I was glad because it made me different from you. But it also meant that I could not judge you and those who hurt me because I was trained to shrug it off. I could not withdraw from harm because I believed I didn't have the right.

Like Sisyphus with his stone, I kept laboring under your judgments, and my original sin.

You started early enough. In kindergarten, you took me with you to protest with the nuns against the indignity that I was allowed to play all day. You said I was old enough to study. At 4 and a half I had learned to read by myself. At 5 you called my sister names and then turned to me and said: "YOU will make me proud". I could feel my sister's hatred of me and I wondered why I always had to lose someone in order to please you. First my mother, then my sister. At 8 I lay in bed terrified while you yelled standing above my sister because she didn't understand her math. You would not let her go to bed and I could not sleep. "Idiot!" you screamed, while she was in tears, and I prayed that I would never need your help.

At 11 I had read all of Shakespeare's works. At 12 I started throwing up before school tests. I was afraid to fail and lose the only reason you found to like me. At 13 I started losing control, throwing up every day. At 14 I went numb. At 15 I tried to commit suicide the day before school began.

You demanded that I make you proud yet you called me arrogant if I dared to point out your mistakes. You said if I knew anything it was owing to you. Clown. Thief. You acted as if it was a punishment to have an intelligent daughter. I was ashamed that I dared to steal the limelight from you. All my classmates wondered how could I be so clever and so unassuming. Both you and my mother hated my brain because it made me see you for what you were.

Anything I did I did through my will and my brain. My brain I did not take from you. You may be learned but you are blind, narrow-minded and short-sighted. I came to despise people who use their intellect to set themselves apart and above the rest. In spite of that, my second boyfriend was just like you. Thank heaven, I got rid of him.

I turned to another who was an artist. He seemed the opposite of you. Not grim, angry and demanding, but sunny and outgoing. But he had too much on his hands and too little in his heart. They all had one thing in common. Like you, they did not, could not and would not care.

You owe me all the years I spent chasing your approval. Putting all my gifts and energy in the service of your goals, not mine. I hate you. I hate your coward and mean world, which ostracizes feelings and fears liberty. I DON'T WANT TO LIVE IN THAT WORLD.

I was always the last to know. You accused me of being withdrawn and not interested in family affairs. You're damn right, I wasn't- I had nothing to share with them, I was only allowed to say "yes sir". I did not want to play your game and pretend I had a choice when I did not. You always cut me off from information that would have been vital to me. I bet it gave you a sense of control that you could hit me with it when I least expected it. I guess it reinforced your concept that I had no dignity and should always come last.

When I wanted to be close to you when your mother died, you said I would be nothing but a burden. I went back with my mind to when I was five when my grandpa died -- the only one who liked me. You never explained what death was. "Will he come back again?" I asked, doubtfully. "NO" you replied and never mentioned it again. I was not allowed at the funeral, because I would be a burden. NO QUESTIONS. I do not know what my other grandparents died from. Family was obviously not my business.

I used to watch your anger spiral out of control when you encountered the slightest opposition. HE WILL DIE, HE WILL ABANDON US ALL, I thought, as you always threatened. We enjoyed a high standard of living but you always made us all feel as if we were one step away from ruin; and that the only thing preventing us from living under a bridge was you. You predicted that we would bring you to your grave, then we would die without you, die without a penny and amidst pangs of remorse. I empathized with my mother who seemed to believe you and grew scared. Powerless to protect myself, I thought only of reassuring YOU, offering you A SCAPEGOAT, my mind racing for a solution. As if I was the adult and you the child to soothe. Reality was very different. You were an almighty, violent bully, the punisher and the judge, the miser, the emotional leech and the abuser. You used me as a walking stick, to lean on, to satisfy your needs, then your hatred like lightning would hit me suddenly and I had no shelter. I had to take care of you, as you forced me into the role of a surrogate wife, complaining of the frustrations in your marriage and expecting me to make up for my mother's deficiencies. Indeed you saw us all as your harem, the three women who in turn should indulge you, praise you, obey you and fulfill your every wish. Taking and demanding was second nature to you. We all had to feel guilty that we couldn't make you happy. We all were to feel your sorrow and be consumed by sympathy for our abuser.

I wish you had turned your back on us as you often threatened to do. You would have been just as miserable, but my life might have been so much happier.

I called you the cloud over my sunshine. I even felt it was hard to breathe in your presence. You were a black poisoned smoke that was omnipresent. I could not help breathing and become intoxicated. How much freer, fulfilling and joyful my life could have been, how peaceful and meaningful if I had never listened to your bullshit. What a lighter place the world would be without the weight of your guilt, your sermons, your misogynism, your pessimism, your mistrust, your aggressive contempt. Without your constant demands and strict, mean, unfair and meaningless rules. Without your iron fist, the gloom of your punishments hanging over us like a sword. Without the humiliating tyranny. The crippling double standards. You clipped my wings. I can only imagine the woman I would have been had I never heard all of that. A sane, healthy woman who takes joy in life and herself. Who has a sure guide in her feelings. Who is not afraid of the truth.

I don't need to believe in hell. I have seen EVIL and evil to me was YOU. Your vice you elevated to virtue. You blabber that the lack of love was intentional, and for my own good. Except you know you would not have been CAPABLE of doing otherwise. You would not have held me, told me sweet things, listened to me open heartedly by your choice. Because you cannot feel the feelings that make you do these things. These signs of love make you feel ASHAMED, you banned them, condemned them, mocked them as weakness.

It is said, knock and you shall be answered. With you, it was knock, and be left out in the cold.

You often said you would rather be feared than loved by me. Here you have your wish. But fear brings hatred. I guess your precious teachers did not tell you that.

As a teenager I would go days without speaking, except through essays and desperate poems that you and my teachers graded, then forgot about. My screaming soul did not get through to you. You kept using me to project your wounded ego. I did not eat. It was my scream. Since a baby I rebelled against the silence that surrounded me. Against the abandonment I felt since you left me in hospital in the hands of people who did not care to know what I needed, but pierced my head with needles and left me alone to cry. I cried and cried. My feelings and needs did not get through to you. Eventually, I grew quiet, and dead inside.

If I had died that day, or when I was 15, now you would be comfortable. I would not be here to remind you of what you don't want to know. I would have gained a cross in exchange for being "your good daughter". I don't want THIS CROSS, YOUR CROSS! I don't believe in martyrdom. I don't want to see my blood on the way to sainthood. There are people who would rather die than accuse their parents. I don't. You have shamelessly used the most vulnerable of human beings. You have abused the most sacred of bonds. You attempted to tear my heart out. You attempted to block my way so that I could not grow. You painted a picture of a scary world, a world full of exploiters, thieves, treacherous, inferior people. You proclaimed that I would never find happiness away from you.

A few years ago, we were on vacation, you knocked on my hotel door. I opened naturally and you said: "You should't have opened. What if it had been a maniac?". Later I sat on my window pane and contemplated jumping off . It sums up my life with you. You drove me nuts. You wished me to go crazy, to be confused, to always doubt myself. You also wished me to become autistic, frightened and isolated. You wished me to be paranoid and mistrust my perceptions. You wished me to feel unsafe and helpless. You wished me to feel uncertain of everything, including who I was. You almost succeeded.

Happiness IS away from you. /You/ were exploitative and treacherous. One thing on your mouth and another on your mind. You considered me your property. You would not allow anyone to buy me even a drink in your presence. You prevented people from showing kindness to me because it shook your position of absolute power over me. Others could only get to me through your permission. You had to make sure that I would always be grateful to YOU only and that I would continue to believe that I depended on you FOR EVERYTHING, that I could not --was literally not allowed to - count on anybody. That without you I would have nothing. Loathsome as it is, this was true in my childhood.

It is sickening what people allow themselves to do just because they have become parents. It is revolting how they jerk their children around just because they can and because no one holds them accountable; and if someone dares to voice indignation at this outrageous, coward violence, then they claim sanctuary, in the church of parental perfection. Even the worst of corrupt dictators will be held accountable one day. Only parents can torture at pleasure and never be called to answer, and die surrounded by a halo.

You held the tiniest of your pennies dearer than your family. You understood giving as a control tool, either through withholding or recrimination.. Like a giant stone you stood between me and people, preventing me to connect in the most basic fashion. You never stopped to consider whether it was among your duties to make ME happy. On the other hand I had to make YOU happy, be constantly silenced and contradicted, and on top of it keep a smiling face before your insults and tyrannical ways. I had to accept your sick justifications, your self complacency and self-commiseration as "wisdom". What a sick, ignorant, conceited fool.

You were always demanding more. Your list was never ending. It was never time to rest. You sucked out my peace, shaming me and bringing me down me every moment when I was happy, relaxed and anticipating pleasure. My existence was an impossible task, a mountain whose summit I never got to reach. My rest you called laziness, my soulfulness craziness, or "psychological problems". My helplessness and inexperience you called weakness and ineptitude. You always prophetized disasters, you never BELIEVED in me. You forced me to live in your illusions as if they were real. My rightful rebellion you called "selfishness, stubbornness, ingratitude" and other horrible, false names. You forced me to hate my RAGE, you crippled me, while your tormented me with one hand and used the other to keep me blind. Any relationship with you was impossible unless through submission and acquiescence.

I had to nod in sympathy as you spat on me. You sighed, shook your head, frowned as you saw me first thing in the morning. Your face was always frowning. It served to remind me that I was the cause of your unhappiness. I could not for one moment forget that my existence annoyed you. That there would be no end, no way out.

Even now I am forced to smile and talk about nothing to keep you distracted, as a perfect hypocrite, as you taught me. Thus I can avoid the anxious wait of your reproaches, reassuring you that /I'm fine, that everything is fine, that I don't resent your vile treatment of me. /

I fill the air with words waiting for you to squeeze through a hole and find something to criticize about my life. When I lived with you I wasn't even allowed to frown. My sister was free to rant, but ended on trial for even raising an eyebrow.

Yet you never succeeded in erasing sadness from my face. You always bullied me into pretending, so that you could erase my pain from your consciousness, but NOT from my face. Until that day when I finally screamed I hated you and "leave me alone!!". You did not leave me alone, but I did find the strength to leave you, to leave that miserable place of persecution that had been my house, my prison. Your shadow would follow me in that house from room to room.

You would have me be a soulless robot, a phobic, recriminating, bossing machine, like my sister. Anything rather than be reminded of my pain. Anything rather than show what I was -- ANGUISHED, ANGRY, UNHAPPY AND HOPELESS because your face, your arrogant voice, your hypocrisy remind me of the tortures of my childhood.

You scared me out of my wits with your incomprehensible rages. My body plays a clear message, that with you I felt there was no safe place from injury, that with you my LIFE WAS IN DANGER. I could go to Australia, change my name and my face, and still my body would fear that you would find me and kill me. That if I say one angry word, my life is over . That if I protest, I am dead.

NOT EVEN ONE WORD. You would not listen to one word of criticism without unleashing violence.

I can't remember all you did to me. But it must have been extremely dark and violent to paralyze my voice and me completely. It must have sufficed to make me scared of you for the rest of my life.

I don't love you.

To love would be an insult, it would be immoral. Coming innocent into the world, expecting, like every newborn, to be received lovingly, I had no idea why I should deserve pain. Why "love" should feel like calvary.

I only desperately hanged on to the illusion that you would change someday. That someday you would give me understanding instead of lectures, tenderness instead of put-downs. My attachment to you was nothing but the fear of a trapped animal: which has no means to free itself but has to lick the only hand who could free it -- the hand that laid the trap.

You have disappointed me. To a point that I don't know if I'll ever recover trust in anyone. You betrayed me not once, but a thousand times. I needed to deny this for a long time. I needed to feel safe with you because I could not leave you. But something inside me, a voice knew it was you. That you were the monster in my nightmares. The snake crawling by my bed.

How could I ever think I had to be perfect! How could I so young have learned self-hate? Where? From YOU YOU YOU. Even my thoughts, writings and dreams you wanted to own.

You were jealous, because your poems were meaningless and mine were vivid and strong. You called them "depressing" and said they amounted to nothing but daydreaming. You said nothing good would happen in my life. /You said because I was weak I made people want to hurt me/. My sister was twice my size and thrice my weight, a vicious, violence-crazed, mean bully who hit me for no reason, ordered me around, tormented me in every possible way.

/You told me not to cry when my sister beat me up because that's why she found it fun, you said. /

You were always good at rationalizing cruelty. Always good at turning a blind eye. Always good at blaming the victim. Always good at shrugging me off.

I want to pin this letter to your grave so that when you're dead and can't fucking plead amnesia, people will know the real YOU.

Some say people's true nature is not shown by how they treat their peers, but by how they treat those in their power and care. That is why I know a truth about you, that you yourself have closed your eyes to. Because through my eyes you have revealed yourself for who you are, what you hid from everyone, you true nature, you showed it to the child, the silent witness who could not tell the story of what she saw. Who did not have names for your crimes

You are a dangerous tyrant, a coward, a pharisee, a violent sadistic bully. A soulless narcissist, a schizophrenic liar, an emotional cripple, a heartless box filled with only proverbs and quotes.

You are a desert, a cemetery, a place forsaken by all life and sunlight. You are a blood-sucking leech drinking straight from my soul.

"Dear" daddy, I just looked up "abuse" in the dictionary.

1. To use wrongly or improperly; misuse:.

2. To hurt or injure by maltreatment; ill-use.

3. To force sexual activity on; rape or molest.

4. To assail with contemptuous, coarse, or insulting words; revile.

5. To deceive or trick.

I say you fit.

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