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You're Pulling Me Under

Mental Health and Trauma Blog | Noisy


Now that I'm older, and I've been through unimaginable trauma, I get it. I understand why you did what you did, but you pulled me under, and you were drowning us both. I had to let you sink so I could survive. I loved you, I still do, but my need to survive was stronger than my love for you. My first memory of you was watching on as a child as you smashed a mug into her face. I remember the screaming and shouting as she ran upstairs holding her face. I ran after her. "Mummy?" I couldn't get up the stairs as quickly as you. You ran past me, and I heard the bedroom door slam as you stood outside, demanding she let you in. I used all the strength in my little legs to make it upstairs and watched on as you tried to get through the door while she screamed at you to leave her alone. I hated hearing her cry. "Mummy!" You begged and pleaded for her to open the door, apologising for what you'd done. Before I could get any closer my oldest brother coaxed me to my bedroom. It was my safe space. "I'm thirsty, I need a drink." I lied, even at such a young age I could lie so convincingly. "It's okay, you stay here and I'll get you a drink. Just stay in your room, don't come out." He gave me the most unconvincing smile. I knew he was scared. I never did get that drink I asked for. It didn't matter, I didn't need one anyway. I just wanted to be out of my room so I could try and help. How naive I was. What help could a child be in that situation? I knew what he did to her was wrong, but I still loved him. I adored him. When the situation was defused and all was calm again it wasn't spoken about, not so much as thought about. Why would it be? Volatile situations like this were always put down to drink. It was always alcohol. You'd have a bad day, return home from work and you'd drink, everyday like clockwork. It was normal to us, watching on as you overindulged. It was accepted, never questioned. So much so that up until my mid-twenties I couldn't stand the sound of a can being opened, no matter what its contents. Whenever I heard that noise I took me back to my violent childhood. What you did wasn't okay, it was never okay. But I know the life you lived was brutal. A harsh life filled with the same fear you instilled in mine, you couldn't break the cycle. Instead you broke me. It feels like an impossibility, loving and hating someone at the same time. I adored you. You taught me so much, skills I use in everyday life. You protected me while putting me in danger. You tried to guide me along the right path while I watched you stumble down the wrong one. You taught me to feel so intensely when all you did was suppress and drown your emotions. You'd scold me for my short fuse while you lost your temper over the slightest inconvenience. You screamed at me and lectured me when you found out I'd been fighting yet you were the one who taught me how, you proudly told me stories of the things you'd done. You pinned me against a wall when I came home high on drugs, yet as a child it's all I knew. With your words you tried to mould me into the person you wished for me to be, while your actions showed me the person I was always destined to be. The older I got the more resentment I felt towards you. I never could understand how you expected so much from me when you gave me so little to work with. "You reap what you sow." You repeatedly told me that. So how could you be so disappointed in the person I turned into when you worked so hard to make me this way. You reap what you sow, right? Your need to drink was stronger than your will to save me, so I let you drown. I let go of your hand that grasped me so tightly and I watched you sink. It took me a long time to swim to the surface and at times I could barely keep my head above water. The memories of what you did hit me in waves, and they pushed me back under. But I used the skills you gave me to build a raft, a safe place to sit while my past surrounds me like sharks waiting to drag me back under the water. I'm okay on this raft, it's well built, and it'll hold the weight I have to carry. But it's lonely out here and it's cold. And when I look down I see you there, I feel immense guilt for not being strong enough to pull you up from the depths. On occasion I find myself tempted to let my legs hang off the side and feel the cold water once more, but if I do I'll slip. I want to be close to you again, at times I want to be with you down there, but if I let go I'll never be able to pull myself back to the surface. We could have sat through the storm together, there's enough room on here for the both of us, but I couldn't pull you up on my own. I needed you to put the effort in, I wasn't strong enough to do it on my own. My need to survive was stronger than my love for you, so I had to let you drown. This is the fight of your life.

- Noisy

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