I know what an ideal father is supposed to be like. I have friends who have very supportive father figures in their lives. Men who have always stood up for them, who have protected them, who have allowed them to become who they wanted to be. Who would jump if they needed any help. Men who often defied traditional ideas of masculinity and showed emotions and love. And I am jealous. I don’t know what it is like to have a positive father figure in your life. It must be lovely. For me, things just looked very different. My “father” is an abuser, a rapist, a narcissist, a drug addict and a liar. This could be a triggering post for some, so please don’t read this if you think any of the things that I just mentioned are making you too uncomfortable. So let me tell you about my “father”.
My “father” is from Iran. He was born in 1942 into a family in the city of Shiraz. His father was the patriarch of the family, his mother was married to him against her will when she 11 years old. He was 40 years older than her. As a matter of fact, he was born in 1889. My “father” had two brothers and they were from a high middle class family, with his father owning a business.
There was no love lost in that family. His father was abusive, powerful and did whatever he wanted with his wife and children. My “father” spent most of his childhood on the streets, just hanging out, being away from home. And he took the first chance he got, to get out of there.
He came to Germany in the 1960s to study agricultural studies in a town by the Baltic Sea. He was one of the first Iranians ever arriving in Germany, and when he got there, he couldn’t speak a word of the language. His first night in the new country was spent at the central station in Berlin, eating pea soup and waiting for the train in the morning.
Fast forward. 1973. My parents met. My mother was sitting at a bus station at 4 AM in the morning, 18 years old, pretty and slightly uncomfortable with a drunk guy hitting on her. My father drove by in his car, saw her and remembered her from the rock club they both were at earlier that night. He opened the passenger door and asked her if she wanted a ride home. The foreigner in the old car seemed less frightening than the drunk guy next to her, and she jumped into the car.
At that point. my “father” had dropped out of his studies and was working as a bouncer at the local rock club. He also worked security for some big concerts all over Germany. I have seen pictures of my “father” standing next to Jimi Hendrix. “My father” had an afro during that time, and was very much involved in the music scene. In the late 70s, he became the manager of the only alternative club in Northern Germany, drank too much, had friends in the Hell’s Angels and was in more barfights than Bud Spencer ever had been.
My parents got married in 1979. My mother claims that he was often drunk or high from pot during that time, but he was still a kind man with not a lot of anger issues. I don’t know if I believe her. I was born in 1981. My parents decided to get out of the rock club business and try their luck with other things, because they had a child now.
That is supposedly when he started taking drugs: when he couldn’t handle the reality of having a child and not living the rock’n’roll lifestyle anymore. That is when he turned into the monster I have always known him as.
Dissociation and Trauma
I need to explain something now. When someone has been through severe trauma during childhood, the brain reacts in a wonderfully helpful way. It learns how to disconnect from the overwhelming physical and emotional pain. This is called dissociation. The longer and the deeper the trauma, the stronger the dissociation. And for some brains, like mine, it becomes the to go to coping strategy. You even dissociate from memories, they are now compartmentalized into different alters or dissociated parts. You can imagine it like a desk with different drawers. Those drawers are not interconnected with each other. Meaning, they might not even seem to build upon each other. It is complicated. But that is Dissociative Identity Disorder.
With that comes something called amnesia. I don’t remember everything about my childhood. there are huge chunks that are missing for me. They are missing for me, because I (the person writing right now), do not hold those memories. I am not connected to them. They are in another drawer. But slowly, the other drawers have been opened and files have been shared. It is confusing for memories to come to you, memories that you are not sure are true or not. But they fit the puzzle perfectly. They come in the form of flashbacks, that are so intense that you feel like it is happening to you right now. So what I am about to write is about things I know happened. There is definitely more to it. But I have not been able to open all drawers yet.
My “father” – The Abuser
I do not know the man that my mother described for me. I do not know the cool person, or the fun person, or the loving person. I know my “father” as a monster. He is an opium addict, for over 35 years, he has been smoking opium, every day. I can still smell the sweet smoke always lingering in our house. He is 76 years old now. He is still smoking that stuff.
I know him as the patriarch who ruled the family. His word was law. His command was law. If you didn’t meet his needs, you were beaten up. Not only us girls, but also my mother. I have seen my mother getting hit, bleeding, kicked and screaming. I have seen him smash her head into the wall. I have seen her scared for her life. I have seen him hit my sister. Throw her through the room. I have seen him spank her, slap her, punch her, kick her. I have seen her scared for her life. Scared of him.
The only feeling I remember having towards my “father” was fear. I was stuck with him, I had nowhere else to go. The first time I ended up in the hospital because of him, was when I was about three years old. Many more times followed. How no one picked up on the physical abuse, I can’t explain. He made me work in his restaurant at the age of 5. I was 5 years old, sitting in the kitchen of a huge restaurant, rolling meatballs for hours, peeling potatoes for hours, cleaning for hours.
One very terrible incident I remember is my sister and me hiding under a wooden staircase from him. She is younger than me and was hiding behind. He left us there and then returned with an ax. He attempted to smash the stairs and manged to have wood splinter everywhere. In that very moment, I thought I was going to die. All I wanted was to protect my sister. My mother jumped on his back and stopped him. He threw her down another set of stairs and she ended up in the hospital with broken bones.
So my “father” was a physically abusive drug addict. But that was unfortunately not all. He was also emotionally abusive. I don’t even remember when he started controlling my eating and what I was allowed to eat. He called me fat when I was 6 years old, wearing a swimming suit. He told me that I would never find a man, someone as ugly and fat as me. I was not a catch, I would be lucky if any man gave me attention. He took away my books because a girl needs to be pretty and marry a good man, and be a good wife and mother. No one wants a booksmart and witty woman.
I wasn’t allowed to eat candy anymore. My portions were cut smaller and smaller. He criticized everything about me: my intelligence, my looks, who I was. My father has not once in my life told me that he loves me. My father has not once in my life told me that he was proud of me. Not once. The physical abuse stopped when I was 14 years old. The emotional abuse first stopped when I cut contact with him.
I remember holding the speech for my graduation class at highschool. My “father” sat in the audience. Afterward be came up to me, told me I looked fat and terrible, and he was ashamed of being my “father”. What would the neighbours think? And his friends? There is not a single picture of me from my graduation day because he forbade my mother to take pictures of me.
He conditioned me into being scared of showing any kind of disrespect. Actually, any kind of feelings. Feelings got punished. I will never forget when his dark brown eyes turned black with anger. I was scared for my life in those moments. I was so very scared. And he made this clicking sound with his tongue, which is an Iranian thing. It made me feel like I am piece of shit. He made me feel like I was not even as worthy as a piece of shit in those moments. And it didn’t matter if he made that clicking sound when I was 35 years old, it put me right back into the space of feeling like the worst person in the world. He still has that power over me.
So my “father” was a physically and emotionally abusive drug addict. Unfortunately that is not all. My “father” also sexually abused my sister and me. No, let me speak clearly, he raped us. Not once, not twice. But countless times. The first time I remember it happen, I was five years old. The last time I remember it happening, I was 11 years old. My “father” is a raping pedophile.
He was not the only person doing this to me. He allowed other men to do that to me. He watched. He sneaked me out of the house and allowed them to use the wooden shack in our backyard. I don’t know if he got paid for it. I don’t know if it was just his sadistic nature, watching his own daughter getting sexually abused and getting in on the action too. The only reason why those terrible things stopped, was because we moved.
I don’t remember all the details from my childhood. I know that my sister has been through similar things. We don’t talk about it. The few times we did, as adults, it broke us down.
And now? I moved out at 19. But I was still financially dependent on my “father” at that point. It was first when I moved countries, when I moved to Sweden, that his power over me diminished. The few times I met him since then, he still put me down and emotionally abused me. He tried to make me dependent on him again. The last time I’ve seen him in real life was in January 2015.
My parents got divorced in 2014. The reason for that was him still abusing my mother, and she had met a new man, who made her realize that she didn’t have to run around with a swollen lip and bruises all the time.
My sister confronted him about the abuse once. He denied everything and said it wasn’t that bad and she is imagining things. She has recently become a mother, and is poor. He has made her financially dependent on him again. I worry about her.
And me? The last time I sent my “father” a message was on New Year’s Eve 2018/2019. In February this year I decided to cut hm out of my life. I had just had another terrible flashback. And I impulsively deleted his number from my phone and blocked him on all social media.
My “father” is a drug addict, an abuser, a rapist, a pedophile and a liar. I have never reported him. I am still scared of him. If he stood in front of me right now and clicked with his tongue, my heart and mind would break. I’d be scared he would kill me. He is turning 77 this year. I hope he will die soon. I will never forgive him. But I will try to move on. I am already trying. My “father” is a monster.