One story about an abusive father (and meditation)

I debated about whether or not to share this story publicly, but I think it may potentially be helpful for two groups of people, so I’m sharing it here. First:

  1. For victims of abuse, I want you to know that you’re not alone, and that your feelings (anger, etc.) are perfectly normal.
  2. Second, for people who meditate, I want to let you know that both good and bad memories can pop into your mind spontaneously as your meditation practice advances.

And now for the brief story:

While I was washing the dishes by hand tonight — and only trying to pay attention to that task, using a noting technique — I remembered the time I first tried to shave. My dad was there, and showed me how to use the lotion, and not cut myself. It was a good memory.

Less than thirty seconds later another experience flashed into my brain. I was somewhere around 11-12 years old, and had just finished pitching some batting practice for our little league baseball team on a summer day. During the practice, some of the kids were chewing gum, so I had one piece of gum in my mouth while I was pitching. After practice — and after everyone else had left — my dad, who was our manager, smacked me in the face so hard that the gum went flying out of my mouth and my hat fell off. He then told me never to chew gum again while I was pitching. And to pick up my hat.

I don’t remember if I had to go to the dentist that, but during this memory I did recall that my jaw was sore for a day or two.

Another thing about this second memory is that it was extremely vivid, which I believe is a side effect of my meditation abilities. I can remember not only being hit, but exactly where it took place (a baseball/softball field not far from our house), that it was a clear day, that he waited until everyone else left, etc. I also remember the emotions that I went through in the moments immediately after this: shock, confusion, sadness, and eventually anger.

My dad never apologized for what he did, and I think that may have been the first night I ever wanted to run away from home. Problem was, not even being a teenager yet, I didn’t know how to make that happen.