” I did not settle for survival. “
He was born weak, innocent, dependent and vulnerable just like every other human person that has ever come into the world. He was somebody’s baby boy. He was named and baptized. He was born to a dirt-poor immigrant family. They lived in a tarpaper shack in a small coal-mining town in Montana.
62 years later he died in a hospital here in Minnesota. He had shriveled and shrunk with heart and kidney disease and cirrhosis of all his major organs. This was after having numerous heart attacks and 6 years of complicated medical issues, mostly stemming from decades of severe alcoholism and heavy smoking.
The life that man lived between his entry into and departure from this world is one that profoundly wounded, terrorized, scarred and damaged many people. His violence and abuse left me broken, mentally staggering and painfully crazed.
His drunken rages terrified family, friends, neighbors and strangers. His lordship over my physical and emotional existence was fierce, cruel and completely devastating.
That was my father. He was lord and master of my existence until he died when I was sixteen years old. He beat me, he raped me, and mocked me. He sold me as a child prostitute to strangers in spooky hotel rooms. He and his evil cameraman friend made pornography with me and other children that had been brought to the hotel by other men.
He hated me. He was ashamed of me for existing, it seemed. He told me that if he had a dog with face like mine he would shave its ass and make it walk backwards. I believed him. You would not believe how many dogs asses I looked at throughout my childhood, trying to figure out what I looked like. That was the mirror he held up to me. Since he had driven me insane, I honestly thought that is what I looked like. And it devastated me beyond belief.
He threatened me with death so often and so viciously that I began to wish that he would just make good with his threat and get it over with. The torture of wondering if I would be killed each day was almost worse than being alive.
That I survived a tumultuous, premature and dangerous birth circumstance was the first miracle of my life. That I survived the next 16 years of being his daughter and victim was a hundred thousand miracles. That I have had the courage and fortitude to spend several decades recovering my life from the ashes it was in when he died is several million more miracles.
My father’s name was Victor, which I dreaded and feared almost as much I did him. The Miriam Webster Dictionary says this about that word/name:
Full Definition of VICTOR
: one that defeats an enemy or opponent
— victor adjective
Origin of VICTOR
Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin, from vincere to conquer, win; akin to Old English wīgan to fight, Lithuanian veikti to be active
First Known Use: 14th century
beater, conqueror, master, subduer, trimmer, vanquisher, whipper, winner
Here I am now, a woman of peace and strength, blessings and great joy. Definitions, Origins, Synonyms and Antonyms are swirling around in the spaces of my mind and heart as I write this article about a man whose force ended up working against him and for me. I laugh at the word that I once dreaded and feared.
I have written and published 5 books on the details of my experience of wounding and healing from abuse and neglect. But my greatest achievement is that I have a life that I love and enjoy now! I did not settle for survival, I wanted thorough healing and to live like other people live who were not so damaged so early.
Sometimes I think that I now have a greater capacity for joy than if I had never been so deeply hurt, simply because contrast has created a depth and vividness of sensation as my consciousness has awakened through healing.
It would betray my heart if I didn’t include in this article about my father that I have come to forgive him. I have forgiven him in order to free myself from the poison of hatred and resentment. I have forgiven him because it does not nourish my soul or give me joy to harbor even justified rage and despising.
This forgiveness has come after the necessary years of expressing all those things. Finally, I became tired of my hatred, and it tired me out. Refreshment came with letting go.
Who is Victor now?