Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The lady doth protest too much

On some level, I've always known I was badly spanked by my father as a little child, when I was too young to form clear memories. The only clear memory I have in relation to this was realizing I won't get spanked this time - or ever again - because I showed no fear to him. I think I was 3 and I remember the feeling of victory. And the realization that I've made him fear me, because he's actually the weak one.

It felt wrong to accuse where I had no proof in the form of clear memories, but this knowledge came out again and again. I remember telling a boy at school, at age 6, that I'd been horribly spanked when I was little. I told a friend about it when I was very drunk, in my twenties, a friend who knew and respected my father. I wrote a poem about it when I was 22, in which I debated with myself whether to confront him on the issue or not. If he confessed, the poem asserted, all civilization would somehow come crumbling down. If he denied, it would be even worse.

I did confront him, soon after writing the poem. He denied.

This wasn't just a simple, one-time denial. I might have believed it if it was that.

I think it was even before I asked him this, that he wrote in my birthday card how blah, blah, he loved me, as did my dear late mother, although she sometimes even spanked me. (And he didn't, the card implied clearly; or it might have even been explicitly stated, I don't remember.) The sheer inappropriateness of this, and the fact that he waited for her death to accuse her, were immediately huge red flags for me. Denying abuse and accusing your dead wife of it, in a sickeningly sweet, sugar-coated kind of way, ON A BIRTHDAY CARD?

When I asked him, he didn't just deny. No, he immediately talked in great, disturbingly, sickeningly clear detail about how my mother spanked me when she was annoyed or irritated (which I actually don't doubt per se, but this was not my question), and how he watched as she left red marks with her hands on my tiny, but fleshy and well-rounded bottom (what kind of sick father remembers this, and then retells it to his daughter, as relevant information)?!*

My mother didn't deny spanking me out of anger. She told me about one such occurrence herself and felt sorry about it. This was the "dress" incident: I refused to wear a dress to go outside because that meant no playing in the dirt, according to her rules; she spoke to her NMIL about this, and the evil woman said she needed to force me, because "If that child isn't obeying you now when she's just two years old, what will she be doing at age 18?" So she kept spanking me and I kept saying "No". She did win, in the end, and I wore the effing dress, but then, she recounted, a few days later I asked her "Why did I have to wear that dress?" and she replied "I don't know." There are other infuriatingly stupid instances of her spanking me, like once, because I climbed a tree and got dirt on my pants, and it was embarrassing for her to be walking outside with a girl with dirty pants. So we went straight home, she spanking me along the way. I was as old as maybe 8 or 9. This is all indeed maddening, ridiculous stuff. But it doesn't cover my vague memories of being cruelly and methodically beaten with a belt by my father when I was very little.

And, recently, he felt the need to bring it up yet again, at my recent birthday party. I told my aunt, somewhat proudly, how my younger daughter seems to exhibit signs of being a very strong-willed person, and my father chimed in, saying I was just like that, impossible to subdue, as my mother found out when she tried to spank me into submission during the notorious dress incident. But he himself never spanked me, he added.

So, these overenthusiastic denials coupled with the evidence in my previous posts are, I think, enough for me to decide to believe myself that I was indeed spanked by him, cruelly, when I was very, very little. All civilization didn't come crumbling down. Just his edifice of lies. Just the monument he erected for himself as the perfect father. Just my illusion of an idyllic childhood.


  1. * This is disturbing and I'm sure someone will rightly see it as a red flag, so I'll answer a possible comment about it immediately - I have considered the possibility of my father having somehow sexually abused me, but I find I have nothing to go on except this and another inappropriate comment, made when I was 10 and complained about some older boys commenting on my butt, and his weird reaction was to say "Well, you do have a fleshy, round behind which boys will find attractive." This stuff is disgusting in and of itself. I don't have any reason to accuse him of anything beyond being able to see me in that way, and at a very young age, though.

  2. I am having difficulty leaving this comment, I keep getting new word verifications without anything being posted. Trying again... and again, now I'm going to try to comment as "anonymous". I'm Insidespen.

    I have read that narcissists are known to sexually abuse their own children, whom they see as "extensions of their own body". I have been concerned about this, because my ex-husband spends time alone with my little girl, usually one night a week. I don't think he is the type to do something like that, and he does not have the same red flags for child molesters as my father had. I worry that I am too paranoid about this issue because my father was a child molester and I am not very trusting of men with little children.

    I, too, have wondered if my father had abused me when I was very small and unable to tell anyone of what happened. It would not surprise me. I recall, as a child, knowing way more about the "birds and the bees" than any of my friends. I knew how babies were made at a very young age. I don't know how or why I knew these things. For now, I would rather believe that nothing happened when I was a child, because I am not sure how I would deal with horrible memories like that. I am afraid that I would not be able to focus on my children and my job if I had to deal with repressed memories. I DO have memories of inappropriate behaviour, but not actual touching. I can see this is going to warrant a new blog post for me.


  3. Weird. This comment was marked "spam" and the only one from you I could find! Sorry you were having trouble. Blogger is still going nuts, it appears.

    I'm basing my wondering on this issue solely on the fact that,as you said,"narcissists are known to sexually abuse their own children, whom they see as "extensions of their own body"", and on these two inappropriate comments. Not enough. But still, I'm not discarding the idea: they'll do anything if they know they'll get away with it.

    I'm waiting for that post!


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