FORMER Palmyra real estate agent Joseph Fagarazzi reveals how he overcame the legacy of childhood beatings and psychological abuse from his father, in his cathartic memoir Escaping My Demons.
Fagarazzi was born in Venice Italy in 1951, but at the age of nine his parents put him in the Alberoni convent, when they emigrated to London.
“It was very unpleasant,” Fagarazzi says. “The treatment imposed by the priests is still vividly printed in my mind and difficult to forget.”
Fagarazzi thought things were looking up when his uncle managed to get him out the convent and arranged for him to be reunited with his parents in London in 1960, but he was then subject to his cruel, passive-aggressive father who constantly ridiculed and belittled him and regularly slapped him about.
“I was made to feel like a mistake in my father’s life that ruined his youth,” Fagarazzi says.
“I always hated my birthday; to me this felt like a day I should not have been born.”
The beatings ended when 15-year-old Fagarazzi stood up to this father – after being slammed against the dining room wall and repeatedly punched – telling his dad he was never going to lay a finger on him again.
From then on, Fagarazzi had the bit between his teeth and got married in London in 1977 and mustered enough money to pay for the flight to emigrate to Australia in 1978.
He went on to manage and then open three clothing stores, while also dabbling in property development.
But still he couldn’t escape his father’s bitterness – his parents later emigrated to Australia and his dad told him he had always hoped his son’s business would fail and he would go bankrupt.
In 2006 Fagarazzi sold his clothing business and moved full time into real estate, where he remained until his retirement in 2015.
Aged 70, he thought it was time to deal with his traumatic past and try and help other victims of abuse.
“My book is about helping others survive and move on with their lives as well as making biased parents understand the need to change their ways,” Fagarazzi says. “Eleven years ago I started writing a five-page letter to myself and placed it in the freezer; at the time, it was to be a self-healing therapeutic process to get rid of my inner emotional scars and thus help me cope with my anxiety and depression and finally rid me of the condemnation from the people that had caused me pain throughout the years.
“In reliving these painful memories, I realised that I might be able to help other victims of abuse.”
These days Fagarazzi, a self-taught-artist, spends his days painting and enjoying the fruits of retirement.
“You should not forget the past, but instead learn from it,” he says. “This has been great for growing my mindset, as well as teaching me how to finally be in the driving seat.”
To find our more about his memoir Escaping My Demons go to josephfagarazziauthor.com