The Ties That Bind


"Skewered" ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2010.

Photo:  Razor wire on the River Walk in West Sacramento, CA.

Some people believe we choose our own parents before birth.  I beg to differ.  If this were true, I certainly would not have chosen the father whose DNA merged with my mother’s to create me.  He was the personification of evil; the sly, sadistic, terrorist type who hid his bad deeds with the skill of the most talented sociopath.  Everyone outside of our family who knew him loved him.  His personality could charm the Queen of England; with his toothy grin and his Elvis Presley swagger.  He was a man’s man, a former Green Beret and an avid outdoorsman.  Yet he had a putrid, ugly side that hid well in the shadows.  It had to in order to survive.

My childhood felt nothing less than a prison; my cell was a dark, dank and musty place filled with constant fear of the demon’s prowl.  My nights were sleepless followed by days of a foggy haze.  It took every bit of my strength to survive the pain he meted out on my child’s soul.  I learned early on to be an actress on the stage of life, to make everything appear just fine on the outside, while my insides bled profusely.  My screams filled every cell of my internal being but those around me never heard.  His threats were palpable so I kept silent.  Every day of my existence was a living horror film; adrenaline poised.  It was an on-the-edge-of-my-seat fear of impending terror.  I was hyper-aware of every dark space, every lingering shadow, every threatening noise.

My whole childhood I prayed to a God who did not listen; who failed to save me from the pain at this monster’s hands.  He continued to prowl this earth until my 40th birthday, though from the age of 18, I made sure I was safe from his grasp.  The day my father died I did not shed a single tear for him.  Inside I felt only sadness for the memory of my childhood lost and an empty nothingness towards a father who should have never been.  For me there can be no forgiveness when there is no admittance of sin.

I survived a Hell that no child should have to suffer, yet many do.  The one thing the experience did give me was a strength beyond measure.  I will never be anyone’s victim again.  The memories on occasion still rear their ugly head, but I am no longer powerless to defeat them.   I am now the owner of my own soul and it is free to live a long, happy and fulfilling life if I so choose.  While his soul, if there is a Hell, is burning slowly, painfully, without pause.  And I rest peacefully in the knowledge, though related by blood, there is not a single tie that binds me to this pathetic man who made the choice to stalk innocence from the shadows without a single ounce of remorse.

About tracyth76

I am a professional photographer, obsessed iPhoneographer, freelance writer and website designer located in Northern, California. View all posts by tracyth76

11 responses to “The Ties That Bind

  • Patty Smith

    i hear you. 🙂

  • diane rake

    Tracy – I too, had an awful childhood, but mine was at the hands of my mother, a woman who picked up anything close to hit with – a ping pong paddle, a hanger, or her hand. She was the most unloving, cruel person, yet those around her who weren’t there day to day to see the evil come out, thought she was just wonderful. Her religious piety made me gag and to this day, I can’t set foot in a church. When she died, I was so relieved. And I didn’t shed a drop of tears, either. Now I feel cheated when I see moms with their daughters, laughing and sharing times together. Why couldn’t I have had that, I ask myself.

    So – I can feel the pain of your words. I know.

    • tracyth76

      Diane – I am so sorry you had to go through what you did with your mom. No child should have to suffer cruelty at the hands of the ones they trust and love, yet there are so many that do. The best part of being an adult and having survived such a tough childhood is realizing we now have the power to create and surround ourselves with our own positive support system to help us through the remainder of our lives.

  • David Lacy

    I’m sorry. I don’t think I really *looked* at this the first time I linked it to our Facebook page. I am so sorry to read that this happened to you. People who act out their fantasies or aggression (whether sexual abuse or physical abuse, I mean) are vile and repugnant. Thank you for sharing an emotionally powerful piece of writing.

    • tracyth76

      Abuse of children, whether it be sexual, physical or emotional is an abuse of power by the perpetrator. And yes, I agree with you, they are vile and repugnant…When it happens within a family it is especially devastating because the bonds of love and trust are completely shattered and it becomes a difficult challenge in life to mend those shattered pieces of self within other relationships.

  • Debra

    WOW. =(
    I will give you an extra hug next time I see you.

  • tracyth76

    Tess, You were just as much a “victim” as the others. Perpetrators use their position of power to keep both their victims and those around them silent. You did absolutely nothing wrong.

  • Madge

    I really like your writing style. Not sure how I got here but glad I did. You write with your soul and it has tremendous images. Your photography reflects that.

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