Broken

 

I know, this is the third post today and I apologize for the overload, but if I can’t get this stuff off my chest, I’m going to implode.

The title is named for the song “Broken” by Seether featuring Amy Lee and so help me, that is exactly how I feel right now.

This exchange I had with another blogger has really torn open some wounds and no matter how hard I try I just can’t stop the bleeding. Honestly, I thought I had let these scar over enough throughout the years that I would never face this stuff again.

I was wrong.

As I’ve mentioned,, I am the child of a pastor. A Baptist preacher at that. Lovely man, you should meet him. I think he’s still alive but I’m not sure and I really don’t care. Harsh? Yes and I have every right to be.

Let me give a warning, I am very upset at the moment. I am hurt, I am angry and I don’t want to feel like this. If I bottle all this up again I know it will eat me alive, or kill me.

Before he “found God” my father was an abusive alcoholic who took things out on me and my mother. The earliest memory I have is of him coming after us one night with a large kitchen knife. Yeah, real sweetheart this guy.

Another thing I remember all too well is how he punished me. He used a large white leather belt that had a diamond design cut into it so that all those open holes would leave raised welts. That is what he used on a child under the age of six. Yes, I can remember that damn belt from before my sister came along and I was six when she was born.

He would use that belt for more than ten years. It wasn’t to wear.

All punishments required at least five lashes, often more all given at full strength. Yep, a full grown man would beat the hell out of an undersized child he could lift with one arm.

Think things would change after he got religion? You’d be wrong, they got worse. Not only were there beatings, there were new punishments too.

Example? I once said a “bad word” and it wasn’t even fudge. What did I get? I had to hold a bar of lye soap in my mouth for half an hour. I remember that all too clearly. I received chemical burns to my mouth and my vocal chords were stripped. I could barely eat or talk for more than a week.

Another thing that happened was that I fell and broke my arm, (I didn’t know it was broke until years later after getting an x-ray), but I knew something was wrong because my arm swelled, turned bright red and locked so that I couldn’t move it. When my mom suggested that maybe I should go to the hospital, my father said: “He’s a man, he can take it.” and that was that. It unlocked enough I could use it three days later.

My dad decided that he had been “called” to the ministry by the time I was nine. Once he had been assigned a church we had to pack up and move. A new town, a new state. No friends, nothing familiar to fall back on, I was left pretty much to my own devices, I was to be neither seen nor heard. More often than not I was ignored in my own home, unless I did something I wasn’t suppose to do like come home two minutes late. Yes, they gave me a watch and a time and I had better hope I remember to wind the thing before I left because there were no excuses and that belt always hung on the back of the door.

During this time and until I was thirteen I had a standing promise, any grade that I had that was a C or lower earned me five lashes each. I had six classes and I only got Bs in PE. You do the math. This was my fathers way of motivating me to do better in school.

Did I mention that I was to be neither seen nor heard? Did I mention that my parents both went out of their way to act like I didn’t exist? If they did take note, it was to tell me how worthless I was, how I would never amount to anything. My mother looked at me one day and said:

“You’ll never be worth shit.”

Yeah, that sweet little preachers wife said that to her son.

Still wonder why I was terrified of getting caught dressing up? They would have killed me. I was certain of that. They didn’t really want me in the first place.

I shudder to think what they would have done had I told them I often felt more like a girl than I did a boy.

Okay, I simply cannot continue this sad little tale, I have to get up and move. I have to do something with my hands other than typing. Please forgive me for dumping all this on you, but I just couldn’t think of what else I could do.

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4 thoughts on “Broken

  1. As I read this, my heart hurts for you. Such suffering. It’s horrific to think of someone that is supposed to be leading others, to be committing such unthinkable things inside the privacy of his home. Your pain was surely unbearable, such pain that I can’t even fully comprehend it, because I didn’t have your unique experience. It makes total sense to me now, why you talking to me, a pastor, brought back all of these memories.

    I’m sure you saw a lot of similarities between me and him which spurred your anger. On the one hand, I might try to say that we are different, that maybe he didn’t truly have a real relationship with God, but that I do. But really, do I know that? Of course I don’t. All I know is my own story, that I am a pastor, leading God’s people, and have my own secret sins committed in the privacy of my own home. My own secret sin of crossdressing that went on for years. My own stupid pride in my heart and mind that is ongoing. I know that I don’t deserve God’s love and forgiveness anymore than your dad does. But I am so grateful for God’s love and forgiveness and the hope and joy he brings in my life each day.

    I understand why you reacted to me in the way that you did. And trust me, there are no hard feelings here. It makes sense, and all is forgiven, and I hope that you can forgive me for the ways that my words have hurt you.

    I will pray for your mom and dad right now and ask God to convict them of those sins and to draw them to himself for forgiveness and healing. But more so, I will pray for you. I pray that God reveals himself to you in a powerful way, that he shows you how much he loves you, that he speaks to your heart. I will pray that you find healing from these wounds in Jesus. That his love and the joy that he gives would completely overcome and take away these hurts.

    Jesus, God made flesh, experienced what it is like to suffer. He knows your hurts and cares. And his suffering on the cross ultimately brings an end to our suffering, if we give our lives to him. I know it must be hard to turn to God, when the man who represented God in your life was so evil. I can’t fathom what that would be like. But your dad’s evil ways do not entail that God isn’t there and that he doesn’t truly care for you. I don’t know where you are at in your faith. Perhaps I’m speaking this all in presumption and you already have a healthy relationship with God. If so, I apologize. But if not, perhaps this whole series of events and conversations, was all part of his plan to draw you to himself for you to find healing.

    1. Nothing for you to apologize for, you had nothing to do with my problems, you just got caught in the aftermath. I have given myself a kick in the pants and I should be through the worst of it. Thank you for your concern and understanding.

  2. Thank you for commenting,
    I do have a number of things I do to get through most of my down times, I write fiction and poetry, I draw. I also read a lot of books. As you might notice, I love music and use that to keep my spirits up. I blame no one and nothing other than my parents for what happened, and though I try very hard to not relive the past, there are times when events bring back things better left buried and as I do move forward they have a nasty habit of ambushing me. I will not give in to this, I will survive.

    Kira

  3. Kira
    Thanks for sharing your story. I hurt for you to have gone through what you did because I had a very abusive childhood myself. The nickel tour goes like this:
    I was sexually molested at age 4, lived with all women till age 8 when my mother married Fred who turned out to be an abusive, wife-beating alcoholic. To give you a slight clue: here i am at around 8 or 9 sitting at the dinner table eating dinner and talking to mom about something or another when Fred comes in from the living room into the kitchen and wham right to the back of my head for no reason that I could possibly imagine. All I could feel was the pain and see the peas flying out my mouth as contact was made. Fred also had “the army belt” that was ever present in the hall closet so every time I opened that closet door it was in plain view. I never knew from one day to the next what kind of mood he would be in or when I would get it again.
    Please continue to reveal more of yourself and the pain as I believe you will find some healing rather than keep it inside. Your story is important and can be used to bring healing to others as well. Your father was wrong to do what he did to you and today we would easily call that abuse. Unfortunately back in the day I guess to some neandrathals that was considered proper training for kids, how sad.
    I recently heard a man by the name of Norman Geisler who wrote a profound book on evil and one of the take aways for me was that God did not create “evil” but that evil is the wreckage, if you will of something that was good. There is no evil in and of itself but it is the pollution of that which was made good. i.e. rust is the evil that happens to steel, rust does not live on its own.
    I hope that one day you might forgive your mom and dad for the evil that was done to you because you will find much healing in that forgiveness. It also will not be easy nor will it be immediate but if you can, I want you to think on this:
    “Resentment is a poison that I take, hoping that it will kill the other person”
    Your parents do not deserve nor do they warrant your forgiveness but Christ died for me and forgave me for everything I have ever done or will do and makes it possible for me to truly live because of what he did so how can we not favor others with that same grace? You forgiving them has nothing to do with them but a lot to do with you and is but another step on your journey.

    Blessings my friend
    Andrew

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