I wrote about this a couple days ago, posted it in the middle of the night, thought it was a bad idea and too personal, and deleted it after 15 minutes. I'm still very nervous to share this, especially because I'm not at all sure I did the right thing. But here goes.

So, uh. On Friday night, I punched my father in the face.

I don't know how I feel about it. Part of me is like, "Good, he fucking deserved it." (More on that in a bit.) And another part of me is like, "Holy shit, Greenheart, you are an adult and no provocation is excuse to hit another human being."

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Let me start at the beginning. When I was four years old, my father used to punish me by holding me down until I stopped struggling, often for close to an hour, and then spanking me, bare-bottomed, with a freshly cut willow branch. Not being able to sit down for a week hurt, but what I'll never forget is the feeling of being powerless. I knew I was weak and he was strong, that my opinion didn't matter and he could do whatever he wanted to me and no one would stop him.

I know there are many, many people that have been abused to a much greater extent than I ever was. But what all abuse has in common is that it is about power. The strong taking power from the weak. What my father does, above all, is take away our right to feel. No matter what emotion my mom, my sister and I tried to express, it didn't matter. We were wrong, we were PMSing, we were women, we were rebellious. Our feelings didn't matter. He would use the Bible to hurt us. He would use small things as points of control.

He didn't love us. I knew this with certainty my entire life. He wouldn't come home, he wouldn't spend his weekends with us, he wouldn't keep his promises to us. He would make my mom cry again and again. He made her feel worthless, ugly, like a servant. He stole her money, in the thousands of dollars. When I was 15 my mom became so stressed out that I was afraid she would die. I knew that if she did my father wouldn't be able to make sure we had groceries, let alone finish our education. Education was everything to me as a kid. As many of you know, I dated an extremely emotionally abusive man for close to three years and only got free of him about 9 months ago, and he was basically a clone of my father, minus the religion.

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Within the last year, my mom has been finding more strength and thinking about leaving him. During that time she has told me some things I didn't know about him, one of which is that he has raped her repeatedly, and I mean against her protestations and crying, throughout their married life.

I've already always struggled with hatred against my father. Because the thing is, my father doesn't just think men are better than women. He hates women. I've always known this on some level. I tried to be a good daughter - I tried to submit as a kid. But I was never good enough. Me in particular, I was too much of a questioner. I had a hard time believing things just because someone told me to. When I was 16, he would call me a slut. When I was 18, I began dating someone who wasn't religious. My father told me if I married this boy he and my mom would not attend my wedding. But finding out about my mother's being raped her entire life with him really sent me over the edge into full-blown hatred.

About 8 months ago, my dad started trying to use me to check up on my mom when she was out of town visiting friends. This was after I'd learned about the rape. I told him firmly that I would not report on my mom and not to ever contact me again. And he mostly hasn't, until Friday. Friday was my dad's birthday. He sent me a message asking, but more like begging/using guilt, that I come on a hike with the rest of the family on Saturday. I was going to be in my parents' town that day, but I had already made plans to see a friend that day, so I politely told him no, I'd already made plans. But he kept bugging me about it, so I told him again, no, I don't want to talk to you until you stop hurting my mother, and didn't respond to any more of his messages.

That evening I drove into my parents' town and brought my mom home from a trip to see a friend of hers. (She doesn't like to drive.) I dropped her off. My dad wasn't there, so I stayed for a couple minutes to say goodbye. During that time he came home, so I began to leave. He immediately confronted me about the hike again. That time I lost it. I told him, "You are a rapist. I want nothing to do with you."

Do you know what he said? "Don't talk so loud - I don't want the neighbors to hear!"

I started laughing. "How typical!" I said. "That is fucking textbook abuser, right there."

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My dad got very angry. "Do not use that language in my house! Get off my property! You are never allowed to come here again!" he exclaimed. And he began shoving me out the door.

So I punched him in the face. And kneed him in the stomach.

He called me "demon possessed." At that point I began to scream. So much rage, so many years of feeling unimportant and useless and unloved, so many times I saw him make my mother cry. I hate him. Maybe that makes me a bad person, and maybe I will someday be able to forgive him, but I hate him.

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Yesterday, when I picked my mom up on my way back home (she wanted to get out of town as fast as possible so is going back to visit her friend), she handed me a letter my dad gave me. I refused to open it, so she did. It said, in part, "I'm sorry for anything I might have done to upset or hurt you. The only thing I can remember is once, when you were 14, I didn't take you on a bike ride."

ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS RIGHT NOW?! What about what I actually said was the reason I was angry?!! Oh wait, that's right, YOU DIDN'T LISTEN BECAUSE YOU DON'T CARE.

So now what, you guys? It would be easier if my mom wasn't still with him. Then I could just write him off, block his number, and forget he ever existed. But I can't do that. So what do I do? How do I stop hating him?

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ETA: Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement. You guys have all been amazing. I knew you would all help me if I shared, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I don't think I can save my mom, because having been with an abuser, you can't leave until you're ready. I've read that it takes an average of 9 times to successfully leave an abuser. (It took me 4.) I just try to listen to her and be there for her, and yes, I've expressed many times that when she's ready to leave I'll help her with paperwork, help her move her stuff, and let her stay with me. (Well, actually, she's my landlord, so of course she can stay with me.) I do think counseling is a very good idea and will look into it hopefully with my next paycheck.