Alan's Mental Health: A(nother) New Arrival

And did he or didn't he?

If you're a new visitor to the blog, or to the Alan's Mental Health feature, take some time to read this introductory post. It explains a bit of the background behind the posts.

This post contains some strong language and descriptions of violence which, whilst not overly graphic, may trigger some readers.

In early 1993, we (myself, my sister and step-sister) were all asked by 'them' (him and the other woman) how we'd feel about having a little baby brother or sister. My first thought was "Oh great. So it's not bad enough that he had an affair with this woman, but now he's gone and done this as well?!" My second though was "Why the hell are they asking? Parents only say stupid stuff like this when it's already too late. I hope it's a boy so I can have a brother." Naturally, it wasn't. I had another sister - this time a half-sister.

As soon as I met her for the first time, I remember feeling that same protective feeling that I had over my mum and my sister. Only this time I was older. This time I knew what I'd do if I discovered that he'd laid a hand on her. Note: I fucking hate that expression. 'Laid a hand on her.' It's so feeble and ridiculous. Being beaten by your parent is an horrific experience that no child should ever have to go through. I'd call the police, stay until they arrived, and then I'd walk away and never look back. And you know what? I told him. I sat down with him in front of everyone and explained my position. With a trembling voice but with quiet determination I told him.

"If you ever hit her, if you ever cause her any pain, I'll call the police and then I'm gone."

He looked at me with a somewhat vacant expression on his face. It was if he either didn't understand what I was saying or couldn't believe someone would have the audacity to stand up to him. The other woman looked shocked, and scared. I don't think my sister and step-sister really understood what was going on, as they were very young.

When my half-sister was a little older, probably about one and a half I think, she did something (though obviously not intentionally!) that angered him. He started shouting and screaming at her, then dragged her upstairs. She screamed and screamed, while we all sat in the living room. The other woman just sat there, motionless, not evening trying to stop him. My sister and half-sister welled up. I sat there, getting angrier and angrier. My fists clenched, and I stood up and headed to the stairs. The other woman called after me 'Don't Alan! Don't go up there! You don't know what he'll do!" As she finished speaking, I heard footsteps and saw him at the top of the stairs. I went back to the living room and sat down. We all watched him as he came down the stairs, our eyes fixed on his every single move.

Eventually he spoke: "What? What are you all staring at me for? I didn't hit her." Oddly, I think we all believed him. We hadn't heard any other the noises which we were so accustomed to. I replied "If you've touched her I swear..." I was cut off. "I didn't touch her. I didn't hit her. Whatever." Then he disappeared into the kitchen. I ran upstairs to check on my baby half-sister. There were no red marks, no bruising, no cuts and no other signs of a violent assault. "How would I know?" you ask? Well, I'd experienced those things first hand. He was actually telling the truth. I comforted her and brought her downstairs. I explained to the other woman that she was ok and he hadn't touched her. We all sighed, relieved that she was only shaken, but otherwise unhurt.

After that day, things improved a lot for the other woman and my three siblings. For me however, only the violence subsided...

* The photo is, I think, a slightly more recent one than the events described in this post. I haven't got any photos of me from this time period. It's not relevant to the post.

If you feel you need immediate help with your mental health, then contact one of the organisations below (click the logo for their website):
Samaritans (UK)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA)

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