The book A Prisoner by No Crime of My Own has been professionally edited and will be published this year. To pique interest, I will share tidbits from the manuscript with you each Tuesday.
Chapter 3 – Indoctrination
Dad taught me, lesson after lesson, to artfully survive. He busied himself with menial work when he wasn’t abusing. His hands now crusted with layers of conniving and nails darkened by cigarettes, he was a ready teacher. Controlling my emotions and implementing denial was the first weapon he gifted me for my arsenal of psychological tools. Denial became my gift as a child. Trust? A fucking joke. Trust lived nowhere near our street and never came inside our home. You must choose which voice to listen as a child. That’s what it really boils down to. Who do I believe? Not, who do I trust. Not in houses like mine.
Denial was a gift straight from the throne of God. I wouldn’t have endured without it. The unreasoning web that my parents had built had no consideration for its construction other than to entrap. It was meant to have no way out. Lunacy is probably built in this way. To stay out of the destructive voices I found in my parents, I used the tool they gave me. It was my God-given right that was now mine. And I am thankful for it.
Today, I’ve learned that I don’t need this tool anymore, but I certainly did at one time. I’m grateful it was available to me. The images of body parts I couldn’t unsee, the smell of an old motel room that I couldn’t stop, the sound of a strange scream – experiences that were in a constant projectile made it impossible to tolerate more than simply getting through the it all. To sustain the memories then would have been a demand too tall for my little frame. Withholding it all from memory was my gift to survive. Contradiction was my gift to allow play. Disagreement with reality my gift so I could sleep. Oh, the truth still happened by every now and again, but at least for many uncalibrated moments, I got to breathe.
These tools handed down ultimately became weapons I would use against my father. I developed some of my own tools as well. I stayed constantly vigilant in my observation of him, memorizing the way he exerted control and manipulated others to get what he wanted. I was a soldier being indoctrinated for war. Mundane family projects became training opportunities for surviving the battleground of childhood.