The Devil, Fears and my Father

There are many things in this world that I don’t have a firm grasp of comprehension, the devil is one of them. What I mean is I am not sure what I believe in. I am not saying I don’t believe in a dark force of some sorts but I am not sure I believe in the christian version. All you have to do is turn on the nightly news to see that there are people doing evil things. There are also people who I believe are pure evil like Hitler or anyone who hurts children.

My mom’s side of the family is Southern Baptist, which is all about fire and brimstone. Back in the day, women weren’t allowed to wear pants and dancing was not allowed. I learned that the pathway into heaven was very narrow. I envisioned this tight rope into heaven, with people falling off into the fiery pits of hell. God was someone to be feared. He was not only the Judge but the jury and even the executor.

How could any child not come out of that filled full of fear? I see fear as a shadow. In reality it isn’t real, just a dark reflection of yourself. In theory there isn’t anything to it but the more you feed into it, the larger the shadow grows.

I was told by my father countless times that I needed to accept Jesus Christ into my life or I was going to hell. I couldn’t have been any more than 13 0r 14 when it started. My father preached it at me enough to give me this reoccurring nightmare. It was always the end of the world. Jesus would call people’s names who got to go to heaven… My name was never called. NEVER!!!

My father was the type who followed the do as I say, not as I do philosophy. In the eighth grade, my father left my mom for another woman he worked for. He left us for broke. My mother had to get a job outside of the house for the first time since she was a teenager. I can’t imagine how scary that must have been for her especially after what my Dad did to her. When my father would come to the house and family he had abandoned he usually was trying to knock down the door, and always screaming obscenities and threats towards my mom. I vividly remember those moments and the fear I felt as I hid underneath my pillow, praying for him to go away.

As traumatic as it was for my father to leave, I felt relief. I was frightened of him and knew who he really was. Now that I think of it, I guess I saw him as the Devil… just in sheep’s clothing.

During that summer I found a church that wasn’t fear based and I started to attend the youth group. I felt so much joy, love and acceptance. It was a way for me to get away from my troubles and bask in the God’s love. It was a chance for me to learn that no every Christian felt the same way. I looked forward to Wednesday nights when the youth group met. It was also a chance for me to make new friends.

For the rest of the summer I attended youth group. The church had a van that they used to pick up teenagers that didn’t have a way. I will admit that some of the teenagers were how do you say, not very behaved. What ended up being my last youth group meeting, they started to act up on the way home. The driver of the bus, one of the congregation, proceeded to swerve the bus and finally slammed his foot on the brake. He then proceeded to scream at us in a way that sent chills up my back. I was afraid, very afraid… I was transported back to my bed, where I tried to hide underneath my pillow as my father was belligerent.  I so wanted to get off the bus and couldn’t wait until I was dropped off.

After that day, I did not return to the youth group or the church.

Shortly after this, my parents got back together.

Honestly that was when I put away my faith and my spirituality. I felt abandoned and betrayed by God. How could he allow this monster back in our household.

For the next 10 years I had to sit back and watch my father treat my Mom poorly, and there was nothing I could do. NOTHING.

This wouldn’t be the last time my father left my mother…

Prior to 2002, I was deeply afraid of my father. My father wasn’t always bad. There was time’s he was wonderfully nice… but when he was mean, he was MEAN… He was just like Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. You never knew what would set him off.

My parents had owned the home we grew up in for over 30 years. During that period he rarely did any upkeep to the house, only when he had to. After so many years of doing nothing, our home was falling apart. His excuse for not doing anything, was that it wasn’t worth it being the shape it was in. I saw it differently.

My parents were trying to refinance the house and with my experience in the mortgage industry I took the initiative to help get a better appraisal on the house by trying to fix up a few things on the house. I borrowed money from my Aunt and I got the materials to put a drop ceiling in the laundry room. The ceiling had been partially destroyed by water damage from the roof. There were big holes in the ceiling.

Not only did my father not offer to help, he berated me during the whole process and told me time and time again that I couldn’t do it. I didn’t listen or let it stop me.

I have to admit I am not the most handy when it comes to home improvements, nor had I ever attempted anything like it before but I didn’t let that stop me either. I got a book that gave instructions and went to work. It wasn’t easy. Tearing down the existing ceiling was very difficult and very laborious. It was also very messy. Finally I removed and cleared it all and began to put up the drop ceiling, which wasn’t as easy as the book made it look. I can remember being so frustrated. A few times I would get up part of the ceiling to only have it come crashing down on me. There were times I wanted to give up but I wasn’t willing to let my father win! Plus I can remember my mama coming in to give me encouragement.

It took me all weekend but I finally finished the drop ceiling. I felt a sense of accomplishment.

Not only did my father not thank me for the work I had done, he made snide comments and barely talked to me. I had also worked on adding landscaping to the front of the house as well.

I don’t quite remember what had happened next. If my memory serves me right, Mama let it known she wasn’t happy with my father. Who he proceeded to treat her poorly.

I had a lot of pent up anger how he treated me. I can remember my father saying something to my Mom in a negative matter and I proceeded to stand up for her. I couldn’t take it any longer. My father didn’t like it when anyone questioned his authority.

When he shoved me, it was the straw that broke the camels back. Previously I would have coward down… but this time I fought back. Prior to that night I was never involved in a physical confrontation, nor was I after that night as well. I probably shouldn’t be proud of that moment but I am. It was the first time I stood up to him and from then out I was never scared of him again.

I proceeded to toss him across the living room like a rag doll. I can remember climbing on top of him and wanting to squish his head… My sister, her boyfriend and my Mom had to pull me off of him…  Which he proceeded to come at me with his fists, as they surrounded me to protect me… I am the first to admit confrontation really intimidates me but when you are pushed and have nothing to lose you go for it. I am not proud that my one and only fight ever was with my father but I am proud for standing up for what is right. The fight ended with the cops showing up and my father playing the sympathy card, acting like he had a heart condition and said he was afraid because there were guns in the house.

That was the last time I lived in that house. My Mom and I moved in with my Grandmother, and my sister with her boyfriend at the time.

I would like to point out no damage was done to my father, or me for that fact.

After this a few months later, my Mom took him back. Again I was so disheartened by this, as I knew my mama deserved so much better.

Finally after countless times of my father leaving my mom, he divorced her in 2003. After 30 years he left her with very little. He got the house since she couldn’t afford the mortgage. He re-married about a year later. He no longer needed our family home, so he abandoned it and let it go into foreclosure… Though before he did that, he took out anything and everything of value like the central air conditioner. He literally gutted out the place.

It didn’t surprise me, as that is what he did to us. That shows you the kind of person my father is. Toxic. Since the fight, I have not had a relationship with my father. Though I still have his voice in my head at times, especially when it comes to God, Jesus and my spirituality.

For so long when I saw God, I saw my father… and I could not face him. I have since come to learn that God and my father are two entities. They are not the same. In a way my father is the devil, well not really but symbolizes what the Devil represents.

I don’t believe the philosophy behind honor your Father and Mother, means you have keep someone in your life that is harmful. I have learned there are some people you must love from a far. I will honor his contribution to making me but other than that I am done. I don’t believe a parental role gives you cart blanch. For some people the role of father, is just a title. The term Dad is earned and he is not worthy of that.

It is tough to have the people who are suppose to love and protect you be the ones who cause deep harm. I can see how I so easily confused God and my Father… Because in the eye of a child his or her parents are God… Strength is taking the stand in saying NO!!!!! I deserve better. You deserve better…

For so long I have let others control my happiness that is is tough to overcome, even years after you have severed the physical bonds. There are things my father said to me, that still to this day hurts to my core. Like for example, “you have always wanted to lose weight and you will when you get AIDS and die alone.” He went as far as saying the friends I had weren’t really my friends and I would die alone in the hospital. This is what I got for coming out at 18…

I am still growing spiritually. There is so much that I am unsure about.

Losing my mom has sent me into “Danger Will Robinson” mode. She was the only person I had to latch onto that was light and comfort. So apart of me feels like I am stuck on this earth alone, with no protection… (that is the untrue parts of me I am dealing with) My mind knows that her spirit is still here but my heart doesn’t.

I use to have this nightmare as child of this great big force that would always keep me from my mother. I could never see what the force was, I just knew there was something impossible to get through.  Thinking about it to this day still gives me chills. I guess in a way that is what is happening with my head and my heart. There is this great force keeping from what I need and deserve. I think that is the key for to someone who is abusive and controlling. They isolate and keep the people they are controlling from others. They fill their heads with lies to keep them there. The lies become your jail cell. Though I have broke free from the chains, a part of me still remains locked up. I still have parts of my Dad and others who have hurt me blocking the passage way from my head to my heart.

I wish I could instantly sever all these unhealthy bonds but I have to realize these untruths were brainwashed into my subconsciousness over many years. Healing takes a lot of work and time.

At times I feel so crippled by how I feel. Especially if I am triggered by something. The traumatic event of my mothers untimely death has shook the skeletons out of my closet and they aren’t even mine. It feels like someone has taken a vacuum to all my fears and insecurities and swept them all up into a bag, and then they shake bag all over the room… Letting the dust fly out all over.

It is like I am transported back in time to that scary place where I am unworthy of God’s love and care.

Honestly I feel so crippled by the loss of my mama. I am scared to venture out into the world, in the fear of being hurt.

I know Glee is kind of fluff but the last episode had something in it that was pretty profound. One of the characters had fallen down on his luck. He had lost what he thought was everything but was reminded that he still had himself. That basically he was more than what he saw himself as, that just being him he had a lot going for him.

I am so much more than what my father told me. I am so much more than it all. I have to keep telling myself that. My therapist told me when I have a negative thought come in my head, which lately is often, to tell myself this may not be true. Basically I have to rewire my brain. Repetition is key.

So I guess the Devil is whoever or what ever you see it as… A negative thought. A person. To me it is the absence of love… It is pure hate. I guess why I have been so scared by the Devil, is that others have made it sound like I was worthy of that fate. I guess it is easier to put someone else to blame for a persons bad deeds, rather than take person responsibility for their actions. I would like to think that there wasn’t a devil, something so pure evil out in this world but I am not sure that is true? I do know there is hate in this world.

I am not weak. I am STRONG… I am one of God’s children. I may struggle in this life but I have a pure heart. Even during my times when I thought my spirituality was gone, I still had God in my heart because of the love inside. Whether or not if there is a hell, I will not be going there when I die. There are some things I may not know but that I do crystal clear.

and just like my Mama, I get knocked down and I get back up again. It might take me some time but I will do it.

Love is the key (a gift from my mama), and I have had that all along. Now it is time to plant my feet firmly into the earth and build a sturdy foundation around me. So that when something tries to knock me down, it won’t be able to. Plus now I have the greatest guardian angel of all, my sweet beautiful Mama. I got this…

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