A History of Violence

I watched a movie yesterday named “Boyhood”. I don’t know what post-traumatic stress disorder is like, I imagine what i felt is probably only 10% what PTSD must be like. Sometimes when you feel things too strongly, you feel even more isolated when you think “Well, i bet others have it much worse” because you don’t know how much worse it can be. When you’re hurting, you live in a black hole of pain and you can’t see past the event horizon.

Anyway – there was a scene in the movie, where the children were hiding from a drunk violent father. Wait, no, it started before then. There was a scene in the movie, where the mother was on the floor, it was unclear if she had been hit. I thought “Please, I don’t want the movie to go in that direction.” But it was going in that direction, in the same way as i could detect when a family fight was about to spark off. Then there was the scene with the children hiding in their bedroom, and i begun to cry. Afterwards, i was discussing the feeling, and it’s not like normal “oh, sad movie scene” tears, which are ultimately cathartic and just pass you by after the credits roll. My stomach hurt, i felt sick, i felt like i was having a panic attack, i almost had to leave the theatre. But i felt silly for feeling this way, so i stayed. But as soon as i left the theatre, it all came out. Even now, thinking about it, it comes back.

This morning i read about Ray Rice and his wife who he punched in the face, the past few weeks i’ve read about harassment online, women who are threatened out of their homes, i’ve watched a lot of rapes on Game of Thrones. A lot of stuff has been on my mind. But mostly, i’ve thought about how alone seeing violence makes me feel. People only seem to care about victims after there’s proof, a video, etc. No one believes a bruised face is proof, no one wants to see proof, and people who are hurt, they don’t want to share it often. Being a victim feels like a cage. Why don’t abused women leave? I don’t know, but when you don’t leave physically, some other part goes.

I often feel very broken inside. I thought i’d write a short history of violence, i think it might make me feel better to just see it out there.

– Age 3 or 4 . My father throws a vase across the room at my brother. It breaks in a million pieces. It was my stepmother’s mom’s vase. It was a gift. My father didn’t care. I was hiding under the bed. My brother cursed in school.

– Same age, maybe older. My mother (my stepmother, but i don’t refer to her as that) comes out of her bedroom with cigarette ashes all over her face. My father threw an ashtray in her face. Later on, i learn, my mother told my father she would leave him if he did that again.

– 6 years old? I see my mother (biological) at an mental asylum. There are shambling people on the grass. My mom is pretty calm. We play checkers. I feel disturbed by the environment, when i leave, she stays where she was sitting. Later on, me and my brother agree we probably shouldn’t have seen her like that. Later on still, my sister reveals to me how she was abused by the orderlies there. I feel angry, but she’s never told me about it. Many of her schitzophrenic delusions are of men coming after her. Its her reality.

– A family joke, but disturbing to others, my brother hits me in the eyeball with a toy crossbow gun. My father breaks the toy crossbow on my brother’s head.

– Younger than 10, i throw up on myself and my bed. I have to sleep on a bare mattress.

– Younger than 10, i didn’t eat my food. For some reason, i didn’t change fast enough before being hit, so i had to sleep naked. It was cold. My parents think i made that one up. I don’t think i did.

– As i get older, the violence goes away, but the intense fights don’t.

– Around 11, i’m still playing with stuffed animals and my sisters, and my sister’s dollhouse. My father begins asking at dinner if i’m a faggot. Whenever there were fights in my house, i’d protect my mom, he asks me why i protect her more than him? When he calls me a faggot, my sister defends me for an hour. “It doesn’t matter if he wants to play with stuffed animals, he’s 11” I quietly did the dishes.

– I was in school fights every year of my life. I didn’t win really any. In 9th grade, i started a fight trying to be a bully, i got my teeth punched in. I decided to not get into fights after that. I still was a bully though, just with smaller kids.

– In college, i stay with my girlfriend in texas. When they fight, they speak in the same tone of voice and don’t insult each other. I felt so jealous.

– Towards the end of college, i discover my mother is addicted to drugs. I feel abandoned by her. For about a year or 2, we don’t really speak. She goes to rehab. When she returns, my parents get into a fight and my father hits her, the first time in years. My mom tries to stay with family, but no one wants her to stay with them. She ultimately stays a hotel for the night. She calls me, asking me for advice. I begin crying, i don’t know what to do, i don’t WANT to give advice to my mom. I want my mom to be my mother. I tell her i can’t be her therapist, i’m just her son. I hate drugs, i hate violence. My sisters want her to leave my father, my brothers kinda shrug at it.

– 23 years old, I go to a party at my upstairs neighbor. I wanted to have sex with one of them, didnt care which. I found them both to be attractive. When i arrive, i discover they invited many guys from around the block. They were all members of the Bloods gang. I felt awkward, i knew that a house full of young men (11-35 years old) with alcohol and 3 women was not a very safe environment. When one of the women left with a guy to have sex, me and the remaining person realize she hasn’t returned after we see the guy. I find her in the bathroom being sexually assaulted by multiple men. It was probably the scariest night of my life. It didn’t end for a few more hours.

I never have felt the same after that. I never felt right about everything i already had experienced. It kind of made everything i already didnt like in my life, feel darker. The next day, i called out of work. My boss didn’t understand why i was so upset. When i finally came into work, 2 days later, my boss’s sister, who was 64 years old, just held me for awhile and i cried and i cried. I always cry when i think about it. I hate that night. I tried to be friends with my neighbors after that, but i always felt like i was lying or faking or being phoney or just acting wrong.

– A year later, i began dating someone who was a victim of childhood abuse. Every time we had sex, that was a part of our lives. It broke us up.

– For years, since i have been sexually active, i’ve had trouble with sex. As i get closer to women, i become less able to perform, i think its cause i end up treating them more like moms than like girlfriends. While casual sex, one night stands, and fuck buddies have just become how i have relationships. When i have a girlfriend, i have to disclose to them eventually my years where i went to adult video stores, the STDs i’ve gotten, the serial cheating. Although i went to therapy for 4 years in order to get some control, i still have destructive behaviors that i have to always pay attention to.

– Currently, i’m 28. I am dating someone. Sex is mostly okay. But when i began crying next to her in the movie theatre, while watching Boyhood, i didn’t want her to see. Afterwards, she gave me her scarf to cry on, and i just felt she didnt understand. She made a few jokes, and i began laughing and feeling better. I thought “I don’t have to tell her all about it,”

I think its probably better that she doesn’t fully understand. I think its better that she just hands me her scarf to cry on.


3 thoughts on “A History of Violence

  1. That’s was very beautiful. As a victim of abuse, a victim of the system and foster homes, and hotel lobbyists for mothers, I feel a connection. The darkness is always there, no matter what. My adopted father, my father, says that I hide the true meanings of my abuse, that I choose to forget them because they are so horrific, and because they are so obtrusive on my daily life and mind, and he’s right. Who would ever want to remember something like this, like that? Who? It’s something we deal with, something we tell ourselves makes us stronger. If anything, it makes us humbler. We see the humility, the mistake of being, we see the darkness for what it really is, fear.

    And each and every day, I am battling the Demon with painted nails. The one who locked me in the cage.
    But sooner, rather than later, soon, I am going to break out. I am going to burst out of that abysmal chasm, and I am going to save my younger self.

    You will too. Your words are strong. You will too.

    As the famous comedian and actor once said, in a role and scene that will always bring tears to my eyes when I watch it, “It’s not your fault.”

    You are beautiful, and it’s not your fault.

    Thank you for sharing. Thank you for that connection. That metaphysical link.

    • that scene in Good Will Hunting, and the music of Elliott Smith, got me so hard when i watched it, and every time i watch it til this day.

  2. I’m grateful I never had to deal with sexual abuse, but I had a very similar childhood in terms of the emotional and physical abuse. This Boys Life and Good Will Hunting pulled the same reaction from me. Its only in the last 4 years that I came to terms with how I was raised. My father got diagnosed with bi polarism and gets medicine and has completely mellowed out in the last few years, which is weird…but a part of me understood it as I know he got the crap beat out of him by his father. Anyways, much respect for you for sharing.

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