The world as we know it

Paranoid schizoprenic

It was around the Granville train disaster in January 1977 that my sister & I went to spend holidays with my father, who was staying at his mother’s house in Burrill Lakes. Why we even wanted to see him after what the horrific things he put us through I don’t know. I know part of me always wanted a father who loved me, that was the polarity I lived with. A father who never touched me except in brutal physical & sexual abuse, always threatened me &never took any interest in my welfare. I was 15 & my sister was 9. Maybe my delusion was I thought he would or even could change. As kids you live in hope despite the most appalling circumstances. The holiday was sure going to kill that idea & any hope.

The first day or two with Dad wasn’t too bad. He had the flat on the side of his mothers house. It was opposite the lake, with a park in between & walking distance to the beach. Erin & I got on well & enjoyed each others company. As Dad was a bit smothering her & I would walk along the edge of the lake to the beach in the morning just to get a bit of space. He would look at us with suspicion when we did & later accused me of taking my younger sister for walks so I could poison her mind. I looked at him & then my sister with disbelief, the last thing we wanted to talk about was him.

Anyway Dad ran very hot cold. He was either paranoid or pretend. On this day he was pretend. He had driven us to Mollymook Beach & parked in the car park overlooking the beach. As we were ready to hop out of the car he cheerily said ‘why don’t you two wait here while I get changed & we can all walk down the beach together’. My sister casually responded ‘Dad, can we just walk down the beach & meet you there’. “Out of the car ‘ he blasted, furious at us. We jumped out quick smart knowing to follow his orders & & he screeched off in the car.

We looked at each other. My sister looked like she was going to burst into tears. I tried to calm her and said why don’t we go down the beach & relax, and have a swim, he’ll come back. So we went down the beach, found a spot and lay there on our towels, but sis couldn’t relax. Doug she kept saying he’s up there watching us. I tried to look for him but couldn’t see him, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t there. I knew from experience what he was like. After a few hrs we’d had enough of the beach & waiting as it was apparent he wouldn’t return. We had no other option but to start the long walk back to our Nannas which was around 7km away. It would take a while.

We got to Ulladulla & we had enough money to call Mum in Sydney. Sis was upset. Mum told us to pack our things and come home. Understandably she was angry, not with us, but with Dad. Everything always ended in tears. So we started walking again from Ulladulla to Burrill Lakes. After a few kilometers we came to a relatively deserted patch between the towns & Dad pulled up. ‘Get in the car’ he demanded. I was furious. ‘No’ I said, were going home to Mums. He hopped out & stood over me. He was a big solid man of just under six foot, me a pre pubescant teenager, still tiny for my age & not a lot more than 5ft. ‘Get in the car’ he yelled threateningly into my face. I was standing my ground. ‘No” I said, we are going home to Mum. He snapped, his whole appearance changed, as though someone had flicked a switch & he was now out of control. I’d seen this before whenever he was confronted, & now it was getting dangerous. ‘Get in the car or I will kill you he said pointing into my face’. My sister was crying, ‘Doug, please do as he says’ she said. I stood there petrified, shaking, rapidly reassessing my options. ‘I’ll kill you’ he said, ‘I will kill you’, he repeated as he towered over me he started clenching his fists as though ready for a fight. Realising I had little option & shaking uncontrollably & crying I hopped in. I could have made a run for it but I wasn’t going to leave my sister, I couldn’t leave her alone with him. Unbeknown to me people at a nearby bus stop saw what was going on and started rushing over. But Dad had taken off with the two of us as they stood staring after the rapidly accelerating car.

In the car I confronted Dad about his violent abuse, his bashings of mum. He told me I was a liar & told my sister I was insane. He told her she was not to listen to me, never to listen to me. I was like her mother, a liar. He repeated it over & over again as though he was not just trying to convince her but himself as well. The stupid thing is Sis knew what he was like, she had witnessed him bashing Mum, its not like him telling not to listen to me was going to change the past. It was crazy, I was broken, we sat in the back seat crying, I hated him – again.

In a few minutes we arrived at my Nannas. Dad parked the car down the side. Sis & I were both still shaking and crying. He turned to us & cheerily said ‘I’m going to go get a towel & then we can all go down the coast & have a nice afternoon at the beach together. I don’t want you making any noise and disturbing Nanna’. Sis & I looked at each other through our tears, was this man for real?, crazy (yes), we were total emotional wrecks, the last thing we wanted was to be with him down the coast. As Dad went inside Nanna had heard the car & came through & noticed instantly we were visibly upset, and inquired what was going on. We told her & she burst into tears. We told her we wanted to go home, we wanted to catch the bus back to Sydney.

Dad was seething but tried not to show it in front of his mother. Nanna was visibly more upset than the situation demanded, as though there was other things she knew about him. He couldnt threaten us with his mother there, he had a persona to maintain. With her assistance it was agreed we were too upset to stay. Dad refused to let us catch the bus & insisted on driving us back to Sydney much to our horror. I just wanted to get away from him.

It was the scariest road trip I’ve ever been on, as we silently sat in the car he sped way past the speed limit flying around corners and over hills, petrifying the two of us in the process. I especially remember the bends along the clifftops near Kiama & thinking any moment we were going to fly over the edge & crash down the hills below. The tyres of the car would screech around the corners & we would swerve across on the other side of the road. Dad as usual was delighting in his power & revenge, smirking taking pleasure in petrifying his two kids.

We finally made it to Sydney, physically in one piece but emotionally & mentally distraught. Never was I happier to be home and definitely happy to be away from him.

Filed under: Governance

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