Exploring Change

Exploring change

As a child I was brought up in a strict Catholic household, consisting of my parents and two younger brothers. My father was a violent alcoholic and my maternal grandfather sexually abused his children and grandchildren. At a very early age I remember feeling I had to protect my younger brothers at all costs. I could not protect them from our father’s verbal abuses we endured on an almost daily basis, but I could protect them from other forms of abuse like when our father was looking for someone to beat, I would step forward and take the beating, so that my little brothers didn’t.

Because I was the eldest I was the first one my grandfather took an interest in. He did not have any preferences, boys or girls it did not matter to him. Fortunately my brothers never had to suffer at his hands and they never found out about what he did to my cousins or me principally because we moved home and there was not the same opportunity for contact between him and my brothers.

My behaviour has been strongly influenced and controlled by these events. As a result I have always found it difficult and uncomfortable when people get too close or wish to embrace me, even though I am very touchy feely with people myself. For example; if someone was distressed and needed a hug I would be fine giving them a hug, but if the situation was reversed I would find it very uncomfortable, as a consequence people who know me will always ask if it is ok to embrace me before they do so.

From a very young age I decided that I would never drink alcohol, because of all the damage I’d seen it do, from the hold it had on the person addicted to it, to the physical and emotional damage caused to those around them. I also feared that if I drank I too might become addicted and I would not be in total control, and from my experiences I had learned that being in control of situations, required being in control of oneself.

When my father was drunk he seemed to take on another...