As a young child, my life was dominated by my father. My father ruled the house. Children were to be seen and not heard; well not seen or heard. My mother’s avoidance tactic was to disappear, as often as she could. When he was left to ‘look’ after us, we were dismissed upstairs and warned to not disrupt him. He often neglected us, not feeding us until our mother returned and sometimes, went out leaving us alone.

When my mother was home, they would argue and he would easily lose his patience. He had such a temper, and was quick to berate anyone for being ‘stupid’. He would often compare us and pick his number one child of the day. If any of us had achieved something, he would claim you, if not, you were your mothers child.

While my mother and father practised their second favourite sport of fighting, my siblings and I would entertain ourselves pretending that nothing was happening.

He would then tell us how stupid our mother is, while she would inform us that our father was aggressive. It’s as if we were not witnessing it. We really did not need their character assassinations too.

Their favourite sport, was having children. By the time I was six years old, there was six of us; one sister and four brothers.

This gave my father more children to use as balls, with his hand being the bat.

You learnt to run away pretty fast up the stairs if he was unhappy. One brother became particularly well advanced at this. One day my parents had an argument which resulted in him holding a knife to her and her trying to leg it out the front door. He left that day, and then it was my mother’s turn to take on the role of abuser…

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