The little boy has just dipped his spoon into his porridge. It is Sunday morning and he feels like he’s in heaven. He loves his porridge and today it’s just right; Heaps of brown sugar and butter melting into it and mixing with the cream taken from the top of the milk in the thick glass bottle.
He is rugged up in his favorite blue pyjamas with red fire trucks plastered all over them. They were fresh out of the wash last night so they still have that new clean feel to them. On his feet are his soft brown slippers.
And then it happens. The sick feeling in his stomach returns instantly and his whole body spasms. The spoon jerks in the porridge sending all the deliciousness spilling onto the table. Dad is yelling at Mum in the bedroom. Again.
The little boy puts the spoon back into the porridge and shrinks deep inside himself. Making himself as small as possible. Nowhere is safe and everywhere is familiar. He has shrunk so far that his eyes feel as though they are deep inside his head. Looking out at the kitchen around him feels like looking through a long tube. It is completely quiet this deep inside him but on the outside, everything is shaking.
The argument yells and bashes its way up the hallway.
Dad is pissed off about his washing not being done properly. He is yelling and swearing and the little boy knows that his fists will soon be swinging. Mum is trying to defend herself in the meek kind of way that she does. She is following him and answering back, saying, “if you don’t like the way I do it, then do it your bloody self” but her voice is shaky and she sounds scared. He knows he’s got her … she’s too weak for him.
By the time they appear in the kitchen the little boy is too afraid to look up. The bass drum he hears is his heart pounding against his boney chest and his skinny bone arms are rattling on the table in time with the shaking of his body. He feels white and small and so very helpless and pulls a little further into his cocoon.
He takes a terrified look, nothing moving but his eyeballs, and sees Dad holding one of his black bush singlet’s in his hand as he turns to yell at Mum some more. Flicking the singlet at her again and again. It looks like a striking snake. “There’s the fucking door. If you don’t like it, use it!”
She yells back but the little boy doesn’t hear what she says.
The little boy’s voice screams inside him, “Please mum leave him alone … just leave and go back to the bedroom … stop arguing with him … you’re making him worse”
He tried to yell at both of them but there was no sound. Nothing ever comes out. Everything is trapped inside like jagged, hard rocks in his gut.
Suddenly dad grabs mum by hair with his left hand and rams the singlet into her face with the other hand. It’s on. Mum screams and the boy’s arms bounce faster against the tabletop. His Mum looks like his sister’s rag doll, flopping and shaking at the end of his Dad’s hand and screaming so that the boy feels her terror added to his own. His Dad is huge. Big muscled arms from felling trees for a living. His face and neck have turned bright red. Spit flies from his mouth. “Shut your fucking mouth and listen you good for nothing Bitch!”
The boy can see them in the washhouse now. His mother’s head being hammered into the old ringer washing machine in time with his father’s words. He can’t move. His heart is punching and slamming against his chest. Just like his dad’s fists which are now pounding into his mum’s head.
Suddenly his little two-year-old sister is in the washhouse hitting at his dad’s legs. “Leave my mummy alone. Leave my mummy alone”. In an instant, she is on the floor near the door. He has kicked her. She gets up, shouting, “stop it, stop it, stop it” and keeps on yelling even when the boy’s twin sister comes and carries her back to the bedroom.
His dad is spitting huge globs of spit, like a savage, out of control dog.
And then he stops. The front door slams, almost breaking the glass inserts and he is gone.
Mum is on the floor where he has discarded her. Not moving, just sobbing and breathing. He pulls himself out of his cocoon, puts his tiny feet on the floor and gets down from the table. He reaches the washhouse door. “Mum?”
“Leave me alone. Go to your room”. She doesn’t look at him, just yells, wiping blood from her beaten face.
He balls himself upon his soft bed where he hears his father’s habitual words roaring among the rocks in his gut, “you’re a weak, useless, good for nothing piece of shit, boy”.
My name is Dean Powell and I was that little boy.
My intention in telling you this part of my story is to let you know that no matter where we come from or what has happened to us, our lives are for living from today on.
Sure the past shapes us and we can either cling to it as an excuse for not having the full and rich lives we say we want, or we can come to terms with it by learning to see it differently and give up all hope of it ever being anything other than what it was. It is how we think about it and what we believe about it that will determine what happens next.
My story didn’t end with that little boy curled up on his bed believing he was a useless and pathetic waste of space. In fact, that was just the beginning. Being exposed to the violence and abuse, and believing what my father told me about myself, took me on my own path of abuse and violence: inflicted mostly on myself but often enough on others, sadly those closest to me.
In an effort to find myself and prove myself worthy of being a man, I attached myself to all sorts of male role models whom I thought were real men and who I hoped would show me how to be one. At the very least, I hoped that being with these men would make me feel better about myself. That some of their masculinity would rub off on me.
I became a junkie, an alcoholic, an abuser, and an attention addict all to try and wipe out my father’s words. In the end, I became every bit of the useless, pathetic, good for nothing piece of shit he told me I was. I had fulfilled his prophecy.
I hit rock bottom when I had my own nine-year-old son by the throat up against the wall, wanting so badly to punch him. I realised in that instant I had become my dad; the one thing I swore my whole life I would never be like.
I was angry, depressed, unfulfilled and miserable. I regularly contemplated suicide and had planned out various ways to do it. My relationship with my partner was empty to say the least, as was every other relationship in my life. I didn’t know how to let people in or how to be intimate, ironically the thing I craved the most.
The turning point for me came when I sat in a seminar and got to experience the most profound thing in my life to date. It was like someone let me into a room of complete knowing for an instant and summed my life up in a way I never thought possible. We then absolutely reframed that life in an instant and I got to see my dad, my life and my future in a whole new way.
It was not a head or mental thing it was a complete shift in consciousness! I felt completely different. From that point on I obsessively studied this work with diligence and focus and learnt all I could. As a result not only did my life change including my ability to have real relationships with partners, children, family and real friends but I now get to help other people change their lives.
I now know that everyone has a ‘story’ and no matter how good (yes good believe it or not) or bad the story is it keeps us repeating the same patterns and cycles in our lives. So if you are one of the many who know there is more to life than what you are currently experiencing and you want to REALLY do something that will profoundly shift things then click the link below.