10.1 RICK DOBLE'S STORY OF AN ABUSIVE FAMILY
My tale of abuse does not usually involve drunken brawls or beatings or black eyes. Although these occurred at times, for the most part the abuse was an invisible environment of anxiety, uncertainty, insecurity, and intimidation. I think that this might be worse than the memory of actual beatings, as an environment like this is hard to pin down. I also think that this kind of abuse is what most people have to deal with day after day.
NOTE: While physical abuse was rare it did happen. My stepmother hit my father in the hand with a high heeled shoe. The cut required a visit to the emergency room and several stitches. My much older brother held me for about a minute under the water and then said he was joking when I came up gasping for breath. Another time my brother passive-aggressively tried to drown me by getting me to swim across a large pond where I almost drowned and had to be rescued by a life guard. In my last dealings with him, he did beat me in front of my mother for no reason that he could explain; I did not give him the satisfaction of hitting back, because I wanted to make plain to my mother that he was abusive and had gone over the edge. And while my 1st wife was not physically abusive she almost drove me to suicide.
My father's family exhibited a pattern of abuse from my grandfather through my father to my brother. My mother was harder to peg, but I believe her mother (my grandmother) was abusive since virtually everyone said she was quite difficult. My mother was passive-aggressive which included taking my dad to court for almost thirty years over her divorce settlement even though her marriage had lasted only eight years. In virtually all cases the courts ruled against my mother but she continued her harassment almost till her death. Then there was my stepmother. When my father remarried I was delighted. I thought I might have a normal family, finally. Instead my stepmother was one of the most abusive people I have ever met. In addition she was an alcoholic. It seemed like I was surrounded.
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