Scarred for life?

When I was 11 years old I lived with my mother and my first stepfather called Michael, in a small council house in Hullbridge, Essex…

By the time the summer of 1978 had arrived, my relationship with Michael had completely broken down. During many confrontations we threatened to kill each other. Sometimes in the middle of the night I would wake up with a fright and see Michael standing over me, menacingly, holding a weapon. Other times he would just wake me to belt me across the face and remind me who was the boss in his house. His tactics worked. I felt very intimidated and this would be an enduring image, a splinter in my mind’s eye that haunted me for the rest of my life.

However, I felt I had gained a small victory in the violent struggle against my stepfather. He had a lock fitted on the outside of my bedroom door, ironically to make sure I didn’t disturb or attack him in the night. I distinctly remember one time when Michael came home from a party inebriated and locked my mother in the lounge.  First came the profanities and then the fists. I tried to break the door down with no success. I felt helpless so I shouted at the door, calling Michael every name under the sun. The door burst open and he started to pound on me. Michael was crafty. He wouldn’t clench his fists but instead he cupped his hands, slapping me hard across the face with enough force to knock me to the floor.

I took the fight into the kitchen where I grabbed a knife from one of the drawers and tried to stick it right in his heart. But he was too strong and forced the knife out of my hand and cut me with it instead. He knocked me down several times until I stopped trying to get back up because my head was too sore, and my back was bleeding. Like an evil menace he stood over me and told me that my cuts were to serve as a reminder to never try and stab him with a knife again.

It worked! Every time I look at my scars I am reminded of my stepfather Michael and what he did to me. But I can also look back and know how much I have forgiven and been forgiven, and because of this truth I am a changed man no matter how deep the scars go…