Living in Fear
New York, United States
content warnings: Child Abuse
My body was bare, exposed. My eyes had a bitter sting as my dead stare was broken and blurred by a watery cloud. My fragile heart felt deprived of its strength, yet its overwhelming thud was difficult to contain. My breathing was restricted as my airway tightened. My hand trembled uncontrollably side by side with the deafening sound of chattering teeth. Every muscle clenched as I anticipated a beaming insult. I feared another humiliation.
“You are nothing but a waste of time!”. I cowered. His tone softened, and his voice lowered, but it was no less condescending than anger-ridden yells. “My wife.” he paused. “I love you, but I can no longer tolerate your behavior towards me. My sanity is at stake.” He appeared powerless as if all hope was lost. “I can tell I’m not wanted.”. A gentle whisper led to nauseating silence, and we exchanged a final glance as he backed towards the door. His hand twisted the knob, and I watched intently as a barrier came between us. Another door had closed. With a simple squeak and a click, I felt relieved. The man that I know has become someone I knew. The moment was bittersweet. One who I once loved is now gone. One who caused pain is now gone as well. The cold lack of his presence warmed my aching soul. A sour taste turned sweet with undertones of accomplishment. I feared I enjoyed it too much.
However, this blissfully naïve emotion was far from mutual with my son. Never would I’ve expected my very own son to cause me to hurt. “Look what you’ve done! He’s gone, left us because of you!” I felt shaken. The shouts pierced my skull. The words caused me agony, but the pain was familiar. The same package, merely wrapped in a different bow. I feared the aggression would linger.
By forcing myself into bed, I hoped to avoid the insults directed at me. Slumber was plagued by my son, which even made rest difficult. I awakened to screams of criticism attacking my every move. I was scared of doing anything at the cost of bombardment. My son and I became distant from each other, yet the cruelty against me persisted. “You’re useless! You never fail to fail!”. My son showed no mercy. If he doesn’t want me, he doesn’t need me. I went days without making eye contact with him and weeks without talking. I lived a torment that only a grudge could solve. I’d cover my ears with every step I took past him but to no avail. Regardless of any attempt to drown out the dehumanizing shouts, I could always hear them. I feared the uncertain future.
Weeks after the harassment had begun, my son and I crossed paths by the front door. I felt paralyzed and vulnerable because of the confrontation to come. I longed for him to accept me despite his ridicule of my existence. “I can no longer stand this treatment. You ignore me and I can’t bare it.” his soft voice was a discomforting shift from demeaning yells. The soothing tone of his speech did little to ease my backlash. “Time after time, you’ve called me a disappointment, a waste, a failure. All you do is shout at me! As the seconds tick by, it becomes increasingly sickening!”. My voice cracked, and tears rolled from my eyes, red with rage. I felt so small and insignificant, but my head beamed with every heartbeat. I was gasping for air, but nothing could distract me from the battle in front of me. His smooth, whisper-like dialect pierced me like bullets. “I never said that. You have to believe that I wouldn’t say those words in a million years,” he said. Though my son appeared confused, my incohesive fog began to clear. I could comprehend every word he spoke. “Mom, you have to believe me.”. His gaze into my eyes spoke to my soul, and it felt like a plea for help. He sighed. “Goodbye, mom. I love you.”. His tragic voice mimicked a helpless child’s. I feared my only love would leave.
I watched in horror as he reached for the doorknob and cried a faint whimper. I desperately wanted to grab his wrist and pull him towards me, but I was frozen. I mouthed the words “Don’t leave me.”.But the door screeched open. I shed a tear. The door screeched shut. ‘Click’. I feared the loneliness to come.
He was gone. I felt swallowed in an odd sense of relief, but unlike before found no pleasure in my son’s absence. I felt like a nuisance because of my son, but I felt the same without him. I was alone, but the demeaning shouts were louder than ever. “You’re an unwanted waste of life! Useless, hopeless, heartless disappointment!”. My mind is the problem, and I’m stuck with it. I can’t escape myself, and I can’t drive myself away like I did everybody else. I blamed others for my internal conflict. I was not afraid of my family. My family was afraid of me. I fear myself.
She had been sabotaged by her corrupted mind. She has no choice but to live in fear of herself, her thoughts, what she has done, and who she has become. Living in fear is not living at all. It is nothing but a cold, bare, dull existence.
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