I originally wrote this for another prompt but at the time decided against posting it. Today it also fits the prompt so I’m going to post it with both prompts linked. *As a note: Abuse in any form is serious, psychological abuse is often ignored because there are few physical symptoms but it’s very real and comes with very real consequences. If you are being abused in any way or know someone who is, please reach out, find help, talk to others. There are others out there who understand and who can help.
“You don’t understand.” I whispered. “I can’t just leave. I can’t just ask for things like my birth certificate then move out.”
“Why not?” I hear the frustration rising in his voice. “You don’t have to ask your parents permission for things, you’re an adult.”
I falter. Technically he’s right but it’s still so hard. How do you explain to someone the fall out that you would face for something as simple as wanting to live your own life. How can you accurately capture the reality of constantly being controlled to the point that the thought of striking out on your own is … crippling? Freeing? A crime that not only will you be punished for but those around you?
“You don’t understand.” I say again even though I know my weak excuse is wearing his patience thin. “I just can’t.” I can hear him sigh into the night and picture him practically pulling his hair out. It’s the kind of sigh my father gives when my answer has fallen just short. It’s the kind of sigh that usually prefaces a silent treatment or a berating and when I don’t immediately hear his voice reply my stomach sinks.
“You’re right, I don’t.” He finally says. “Talk to me. Tell me. Why not?”
I blink back tears, I don’t deserve someone this understanding. If I’ve been taught anything it’s that I’m just a pest full of excuses and this is just another one. I don’t know yet, because although I’m technically an adult I’m still too young to realize how different the world really is, how to explain. I haven’t realized yet that I have a parent who’s a narcissist and has spent my entire life abusing me. Although I feel like it’s not normal I still think maybe I’m the one who’s wrong most of the time. I haven’t escaped from under the grasp enough to realize how faulty my thinking is.
I only know that my asking for things that will assert my independence will set my father off and I will be punished.
But words fail me because I still only think of myself as a pest with excuses.
“I don’t know.” I cry. “I just can’t.”