Happy Father’s Day.
I went to church as usual this morning thinking we were going to be taught more about the book of Romans. Well it turned out that they decided to devote the whole service to fathers and what a good father was supposed to be like. I cried a lot feeling sorry for myself. I couldn’t stand sitting there listening to all the goody-two-shoes of it all. It was all very hard to stomach so I got up and left early. I didn’t care what anybody thought about my leaving. I know Christians aren’t supposed to swear, but if any of them didn’t like it, well… screw them.
* * *
Even as a very small child, I was entirely on my own, plus having to handle a 6-foot-tall, powerful-as-a-bull, mad-as-a-hornet, maniac father who was home a lot, because he only worked part-time. My mother wasn’t there, nor any other adult for that matter, to help me with him. She made herself scarce. She was an artist through and through and didn’t want to be a mother. I wish I knew what the hell was wrong with my father. His mental illness seems to be undiagnosable as far as I can tell. It seems to me like he had a sprinkling of almost all the different personality disorders. I can’t pin him down to one. Here are the links to the one’s I think he exemplified the most.
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Avoidant Personality Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Dependent Personality Disorder
- Histrionic Personality Disorder
- Dissociative Identity Disorder
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Paranoid Personality Disorder
All this started from as far back as my memory goes. From when I was just a tiny tot.
My father didn’t have both feet on the ground when it came to perceiving reality. His perceptions were very skewed and twisted. He had gigantic emotions all… the… time. Everything he did or said was intense, loud and dramatic. He was just like an opera singer which, by the way, he was trying to aspire to be. His one aim in life was to become an opera singer. He had an operatic voice (more intense power for me to deal with). But his singing hopes were dashed due to allergies. I don’t know how much pain he might have been suffering from these allergies and from his frustrated ambitions.
He was very grandiose and had a very low opinion of himself – both at the same time. He’d call himself ‘hayseeds and cow manure’, but then refer to his genius. He was tormented by depression, self-hate, and low self-worth or esteem but compensated for this by being enthralled with his own genius. He put together a formula for how the universe worked (the qualitative stimuli). He was really into it and fully indoctrinated my mother, myself and both my siblings into it too so that we’d carry on ‘the work‘ after he was dead.
He spent almost every waking minute thinking about this ‘formula-of life’ that he’d worked out in his head and my schooling in it began from as far back as I can remember. Maybe four or five years old. It was full of ‘less than’ and ‘better than’ ideas about how people related to each other. The result of this schooling left me very fearful (paranoid actually) and full of shame and savage self hatred.
He had an extremely quick temper that would erupt out of nowhere. At least several times a week he’d become instantly enraged, grab me and tear to the living room where he’d beat the living crap out of me so that I feared for my life. He had no remorse for doing this. He didn’t, on the outside, seem to care one way or the other about how what he was doing was affecting me. When he wasn’t using me to emote his emotional pain on, he wished I didn’t exist.
He looked at me in a black/white manner. To his view, there was nothing redeemable in me. I believe he would have killed me as an infant if he thought he could have gotten away with it. He absolutely did not want me – except to use as his personal punching bag.
He never said he was sorry for anything. He believed he was a good parent and that the violence was to make us tougher so that we’d be prepared to handle being out in “that back-stabbing world”.
He aggressively made sure that he was to be the center of attention at all times, and that his feelings and desires were paramount. He could not perceive that anyone else had feelings. No one else’s needs in the family were ever addressed.
He held total control over all his children. We had to act like him, talk like him, think like him, and have no feelings about this. He wanted us to be carbon copies of him and if we fell out of line in the least, he’d beat us to within an inch of our lives. There was no space for me to learn about who I was as a human being. I was not treated as human, but as a clone.
He and my mother had very dramatic fights almost every day. He’d say horrible things to her. Afterwards, he take me to my room and, through many tears, explain to me why he was being abused by my mother. My job was to listen to him, and agree.
The violence stopped at 16 when I finally gathered the courage to fight back. After this happened, the violence became just verbal, but when he insisted on engaging me in any kind of verbal interaction, he was able to do quick step maneuvering so as to keep me continuously off balance. This was so intense my head would swim. I’d get literally dizzy.
He did not believe there was such an entity as Love. Neither did my mother. In fact, I had no conception of, nor any understanding of, Love, until I met Jesus Christ when I was 27 years old, in 1982. Up until that time, alcohol was the only source of soothing I could comprehend. Even if Love came and tapped me on the shoulder, I would have probably run like hell in terror of anything getting that close. I was convinced any being that got near me – would hurt me – bad. In a way, I was like a feral animal.
He was very paranoid of all people in the world. They were all terrible back-stabbers to him. He thoroughly instructed us about this.
I think he tried to set his kids up so that we’d never leave him. He didn’t interact with anyone outside the family. We were all the social connection and interaction he had. He drove a bus for a living.
At one point he became entirely catatonic for a whole year because he lost his bus driving job and didn’t think he could get another one. When he wasn’t in bed, he sat in a kitchen chair looking out the window. He hardly said one word for a whole year. That was the year my mother got cancer. Eventually he did get another bus driving job, having little social contact.
He could have been psychotic. I don’t know. Through the haze of drama, I don’t know how he really saw things.
He was an atheist I think. He never called out to God for help that I know of but he’d yell at Satan in the basement.
Though I never saw him actually ‘drunk’, I think he was an angry drunk. He drank a lot of alcohol and alcoholism was put on his death certificate.