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Katie Pasquini Masopust Painted Canyon

Katie Pasquini Masopust
Painted Canyon

I hate my father right now. Please don’t tell me that I should forgive him or that hating him hurts me more than it hurts him. I think that sometimes there is a time and place for hating someone. For me that time is this period when I am finally accepting not only that my father abused me, but allowing myself to see and feel how that has affected me for most of my life. It is my way of laying claim to the certainty that what he did was completely and inexcusably wrong. He harmed me so badly. Yes, I am determined to recover from it, but I have spent 4 decades paying for his misuse of my body and my trust. I am so far beyond angry about that and I hate him right now. How else does a person express the level of rage and revulsion that she feels when she finally allows herself to experience what it was like to have her father do things to her that only lovers should do to each other?

I hate him for the fact that I have been experiencing body memories for 20 years, but my mind couldn’t let me know who was creating those sensations. I have spent decades remembering/feeling him doing things to me that no father should do to his daughter. This week has been especially intense in terms of body memories. There is one in particular that has come up repeatedly and brings up such feelings of rage. He taught me that he could take things that feel bad and combine them with pleasure to make them feel good. I feel so much outrage at both what he did and how he manipulated my body.

I hate him for daring to touch me, for acting like he had a right to my body. No one has a right to my body other than me. No one. Definitely not my father. I hate him for not caring about what his using me would do to me. I hate him for how my husband is paying for my father’s actions.

I so wish that he was not a part of the world. So much of me hates him so much right now that I wish that he was dead. I wish that I could wipe him off the face of the earth. I am so angry that he has a comfortable life when he has caused me so much pain. I hate him.

I hate him for the fact that I cooperated. I hate knowing that I did what he wanted for me to do. I hate remembering doing things to make him feel good. I hate that he gets between me and my husband when I try to touch my husband.

I hate him for not loving me. If you love someone, you don’t use her in a way that is going to scar her for life. Love and forcing your child to have sex with you just don’t go together. Don’t tell me that you loved me. I haven’t bought that lie in years. You were proud of me and glad that I could make you feel like you had done a good job by raising an accomplished daughter. I hate you for using the fact that I wanted your attention and wanted for you to love me when I was a child, though. I was so confused, because at last I felt like I was useful for something, but it felt wrong somehow. What you did left parts of me feeling like I’m only good for sex- I should just be used and then thrown in the trash. Or maybe that’s both you and grandpa.

I hate him for the fact that I think that things didn’t stop when I was six. I seem to remember things happening when I was 8 or 9 and then again somewhere in the 10-12 age range. I just hope that they happened for a little while and then stopped until they started up again. I thank God that he was in the military and would be gone for 6 to 9 months at a time, so I know that I definitely had periods of safety that way.

I hate him for the fact that I may lose my mother over his abusing me. Yes, she is the one who will have to choose how to respond if/when I tell her whatever I tell her. As much as I wish that I could avoid it, listening to myself, I suspect that I am going to need to confront her with some very unpleasant truths. I also fear that she won’t be able to deal with them. If he hadn’t abused me, we would have had a fighting chance if we only had to deal with the abuse by my grandfather.

At the moment, though, I think that I most hate him for my having to live with the physical memories. In most of them, I’m not even entirely sure what he did; I just know that he produced certain sensations in me and I know what sorts of actions on his part would do that. I get to go through the day, experiencing body memories at unexpected times. I might be sitting in the grocery store cafe, making a shopping list, when I feel myself being penetrated so painfully that I just want to curl up in a ball. Fortunately that happens rarely, more often it will be a case of my driving the car down the road and I will experience intrusive feelings of penetration. Or I will be standing on the playground, waiting for my daughter after school when I have phantom feelings of being stimulated. I was at the ballet tonight and I briefly experienced the memory that my mind is most struggling with with week. I know how to deal with it so that no one around me knows that anything is going on and I don’t let it stop me from getting done what I need to get done, but it is so wrong that I’m still feeling things that my father did 4 decades ago.

So, I hate him right now and I feel no guilt over hating him. I spent so much of my life trying to look at him positively, to my own detriment. Now I need to look at him honestly, even though that means that I hate my father. I’m guessing that the anger will ease eventually; it has for my grandfather. I’m not sure that I will ever be able to forgive him, unless he is able to apologize to me (which won’t happen), but I do hope that I will come to the point where he doesn’t matter enough for me to waste my emotional energy on. For right now, though, hating him is a part of my laying claim to being able name my reality. He hurt me badly enough for me to hate him. I’m not just angry at him, but I hate him.

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Over the last few weeks, I have experienced two intense episodes of self hatred, which have followed on the heels of two memory experiences.  These days I generally manage to be fairly gentle and understanding with myself, so these episodes were confusing as well as distressing for me.  “What in the world is going on?  Why am I doing this to myself?  I can tell that this is hurting me inside, so why can’t I stop it?”

I felt consumed in the need to think of myself as “disgusting,” “horrible,” “worthless,” and “trash.”  I wished that I could cut out and destroy all of my child parts and I felt rage at them for even existing.  I was certain that all of the abuse was my fault and it only happened because of some horrible thing inside of me

It felt like I was split and one side of me was helplessly watching as another side was heaping anger and hatred on the most vulnerable parts of me.  I knew that this was not my normal behavior and held on to that as a hope that I would be able to stop soon.  It was so consuming that it seemed that there had to be some reason for me to be going through this, but I couldn’t make sense of it at all.  The only thing that I could think of was that it felt safer for me to be that angry with myself than with my abusers, however I knew that wasn’t the answer, or at least not the primary answer.

But eventually I realized that in some odd way, it felt safer for me to hate myself than to not hate myself at that moment.  The reason I couldn’t stop myself was because it felt too scary for me to stop.  There really was some bit of reason to this seeming madness.

Finally, it dawned on me that hating myself let me distance myself from myself.  If I saw myself as being worthy of compassion, I wouldn’t be able to keep myself at a distance and then all of the pain, fear, and grief would come crashing in on me.  This was a coping mechanism that I developed as a child, so I could deal with an impossible situation.  If I was horrible and disgusting, then it made sense that no one would come and rescue me.  Believing that it was something about me that made the abuse inevitable gave me some sense of control in a situation where I really had no control what so ever.  If it was my fault, then I didn’t need to be angry with a mother who loved me, but was unable to see well enough to protect me.  And if I was a vile creature then of course I was all alone.

I felt like my heart was being ripped to pieces while Mama Bear helped me make sense of the whole blindingly painful mess.  And yet, somehow, coming to understand what was going on and feeling the pain that I had been trying to avoid let me accept that while I might have needed to believe those things at the time, I am strong enough to deal with the pain now.  I have people who love me around me and who will not abandon me while I am on this journey, no matter how much I hurt and how ugly the truth is.

As I was preparing to leave the session, Mama Bear asked me how I was feeling and I admitted that I felt very raw.  “What can help you get through the next few hours?”  “I need to keep on feeling that I am worth nurturing and protecting.”  Because I am worth it; all of me is worth it.  While it makes me cry that I didn’t get it when I most needed it as a child, at least in the here and now I most certainly can give it to myself and get it from others.

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