Aug 22

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F*** you, I didn’t ask for this

I’ve felt this post coming for a few days and I’ve been pushing it away, not wanting to go there.  But here it is, refusing to go away…

When I went back to my high school last week and interviewed Jack Cummings, it precipitated the opening of a huge well of grief that I didn’t know was there.

After writing the post “It Was About Me“, I received a message from one of my high school teachers saying, “OF COURSE it was about YOU. We all knew that…wish we had made it clearer to you.”  I responded to her, trying to explain why no matter what they had said or done I wouldn’t have been able to hear it or understand it.  I was on the “sharp edge” of trying to survive the emotional turmoil that was my home.  I couldn’t trust anyone who said nice things to me because I was tensed for the verbal slap that was right behind it.

My father told me one moment that I deserved all the best in the world and the next moment that I didn’t deserve anything that I had.  He called me his “princess” and then accused me of believing that I was a princess.  He told me that I was the smartest kid in the world and then punished me for being too stupid to accomplish an adult task.  He told me ad nauseum that I could go to any college I wanted because I was completely worth the expense…and then withdrew all financial support and stopped speaking to me when I was in college.

I’m willing to bet that more than one person is raising their hand as they read and saying, “That sounds just like what I experienced.”

The grief that came up this weekend was a result of seeing the line drawn so clearly between my desire and my reality – wanting so desperately to have a male figure in my life who was calm and steady (like Jack Cummings appeared to be), versus going home to a man who was so manipulative and emotionally abusive.

I cried a lot this weekend as I worked through the pain, talking it out with my loved ones.  At one point I yelled out, “FUCK YOU, I didn’t ask to be here!  I didn’t ask to be born!  What right did you have to treat a little girl like this???”

Words I never, ever, ever would have said aloud to my father.

They were bubbling furiously under the surface – silent but deadly.

Getting them out proved to be such a relief.  There was still more crying to be done (and there will probably be more in the future), but those words were poison that had been living inside me all these years.  That boil has finally been lanced.

I know there are other truths that I’ll get back to again soon – my father was acting out of his own craziness, he had jacked up role models of parenting, he didn’t know any better, etc.

It’s also true that it’s not okay to treat a little girl that way.  That little girl grew up believing that she was crazy and it wasn’t safe to yell back.

Now she has yelled back.  The world didn’t end.  No one hurt her.

The abuse has ended. Her world is a safe place to be now and she can stop waiting for the slap.

She is safe.

I am safe.

My world is a safe place to be.

Thank you God.

About the author

Leah Carey

Leah Carey is the Chief Miracle Officer of The Miracle Journal, where she writes about the large and small miracles that happen in her life every day. She is a life coach, speaker, journalist, freelance writer, and lover of life. In all of those pursuits, she works with people to identify what’s already right in your life so you can build an even more joyful and fulfilling daily experience from that foundation. You can find her on Facebook, , Twitter, and YouTube.

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  1. Lisa LaPlante

    I love you so much my dear precious friend. A scene… more so a line from an episode of Grey’s Anatomy has stuck with me like an instantly branded tatoo deep inside the very moment I heard the words come out of Christina’s mouth. (apologies if you are not familiar with the show)

    Speaking about her closest friend Meridith, she said….”Okay, so um… She lives her life at an eight. Her pain, at any given day, she lives at an eight.”

    It’s silent, it’s hidden, but it’s immediately right beneath the surface. Not easily seen… but very real indeed. I loved that visualization, and I understand that that type of pain.. is not only measurable… but it’s also a constant brimming current that drives our navigation through life… most especially those emotional twists and turns. Here’s to hoping that the “bleed” has lowered your pain number and that moving forward… on any given day you will be living your life at far less than an eight.


  2. Loretta Stride

    Leah, you continue to amaze me with your open-ness. I grew up in a loving, caring atmosphere. It was not always perfect by any means, but I always new I was loved and safe. I thank you for your insights and am glad your heart is able to mend. Know that you touch so many people with your honesty and love. xo

  3. Debra

    I sometimes think we all have our own “F you” moment about someone or something in our past. Even though we usually can’t say it to that person, it can be healing to finally say it aloud. Glad you had your moment.

  4. Leah Carey

    Thank you for your support, ladies. Sending you all a big hug!

  5. William

    Tonight I’m grateful that the healing process happens even if slowly. So far I’ve gone through a couple of significant stages since my father’s death. Following the immediate grief came a period of being angry with him for the way he treated me. After that resolved I began noticing all the important life skills, especially relationship and social skills, that others had and I yearned for. I saw how I hadn’t had a good role model for a father and I then I was angry that I had so much work to do making up for it. That has passed too. I’m not sure what else will happen before I get to a place of compassion, real tenderness, for all the suffering he experienced in life. Sitting here feeling grateful as I am for the progress thus far I say bring it on.

  6. Leah Carey

    Dear William,
    The steps you describe mirror my own experience quite closely. I’ve rarely experienced healing to be a linear journey. For instance, I can often sit in a place of compassion and tenderness for the fact that my father was raised by completely jacked-up parents and it’s amazing that he was as functional as he was. In those moments, I really get that he was doing the very best he knew how and he was loving me the best way he could.

    Then I get side swiped by some piece of unprocessed pain and I go down the rabbit hole again and have to take some time to find my way back to the compassion. (And the compassion IS a significantly easier place for me to live, but I can’t just wish myself there, I have to do the work.)

    I’m not sure when or if the day will come when I’ve processed it all and I’m able to sit in compassion and tenderness indefinitely. I hope it will. But then again, I (and you) have chosen a path of interacting with our demons, which may mean that they keep coming up.

    Thanks for sharing, William, and giving me an opportunity to write some of this thought process out for the first time.

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