Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Freedom did not come for me until I realized it was not my fault..."

The Back Story
All my life, I have lived with my dad's total disrespect for me, my brother, and my mom. He used very harsh discipline on us, that I am still emotionally healing from. When I was a child, he abused animals in front of me, which was very traumatic for me to watch. I still struggle with the images of what he did to innocent animals in front of me.  He's been in and out of my life over the past 5 years, ever since I had my first son. He meddles, wants to control. One time he even wanted to bite my son when my son was biting him! We tried going for counseling with him. He sat there and told lies about me to the counselor, acted like the poor victim. When I went for a counseling session alone, the counselor told me for the sake of my children, it might be the best thing to not have him in my life.
I made mistakes too. I used to lash out in anger when he would disrespect me. After speaking to the counselor, I held on to the hope that if I just apologized and stopped lashing out in anger the relationship would get better. I changed, and for a long time, I just let him make his disrespectful comments to me. When I bought him a birthday or Father's day gift, instead of saying thank you, he would make some sarcastic comment. When he came over he would insult the fact that I have pets in my house.  I kept hoping he would change. Freedom did not come for me, until I realized this was not my fault (he is still blaming me for everything) and that I cannot change him. Attending counseling sessions with him, asking my husband to talk to him, ignoring him, standing up for myself in a nicer way---nothing worked, I simply cannot change him. And as much as I hate where we are at, that my family is torn apart, I will not allow my boys to be treated in the same way I, my mother, and my brother have been treated.

The Last Straw
He was often very good with my boys. He spent time with them, played a lot of games with them, they adored their "papa" But I noticed that as they got older, every once in awhile, he would start to treat them the way he treated the rest of his family. He would wrestle and become too rough, if they got out of line he would speak to them in the same harsh tone that used to freak me out, as a child. It stressed me out very much. I did not want to confront him and cause family drama again. I did not want to be responsible for tearing my family apart and his not seeing the boys anymore because I was afraid my boys would somehow blame me..
Then, the straw that broke the camels back was last November. He was wrestling with my son and again being too rough. I told him to stop and he wouldn't listen. Things got out of hand, my son kept teasing him by slapping him in the face (he was doing it as a joke because my dad was hitting him roughly also!). My dad snapped, got mad and threatened to slap my son across the face. I should have intervened, but I froze in fear, I asked my mom for help and she did nothing  and before I knew it he hit my son on the shoulder. I told him not to hit my kids, that he was teaching them to hit him back. He got madder and argued with me, right in front of my kids!!!!
At Christmas, my mom made it sound like he wanted to patch things up with us. I bought him a gift and sent it home with my mom. I told her we wanted to patch things up too, and still come over for Christmas. I told her all we wanted him to do was phone us, promise us he will not hit our kids again. We waited all day on December 24th for his phone call. Finally the phone rang at 6pm!! It was my mom. She said he refuses to talk to us. How hurtful!! Thank goodness my boys were too young to understand what was going on. We later found out, from my mom, that he wanted us to drop our son off at his house -alone- so he could talk to him about the hitting incident, and then we could all come over for Christmas. We, of course, would never do that. Why did he insist on being alone with him?
I phoned a social worker to get some counseling after he hit my son because both my boys were so angry with him, I did not know how to handle it. I don't want my boys to grow up with bitterness and anger the way me and my brother did. I wanted to help them but felt completely at a loss as to how.My pastor was gone, a counseling service put me on a waiting list, I needed help asap!! Social services is listed in my phone book under counseling so I phoned them and a social worker spent a lot of time talking to me. The phone call was anonymous and it says right in the phone book they do not subscribe to call display. She gave me great advice, I told my mom what she said with the intention of helping my dad and our family. I also told her it was an anonymous phone call. My dad freaked out, said he is scared to talk to me because getting social services involved is dangerous, he's heard of people going to jail over social services!! This has caused me great hurt. I phoned a social worker for help because my boys said they wanted to "scratch his eyes out" and I did not know what else to do!! Once again, I am blamed, and he's made himself out to look like the victim who is scared to talk to me because I might send him to jail. How hurtful, I would never report him. I was looking for some help because he had caused so much damage with my boys and I wanted to help them.

Breaking Away
Since then, almost a year ago, we have had nothing to do with him. It's been a hard year, but a good one. He is no longer meddling with how I raise my kids, making subtle hints that they should go to school, treating them in the same poor way that he used to treat me. I'm glad to be away from him. I feel free and I don't want him in my life anymore. The pain he has caused me and my family, he refuses to apologize for or even acknowledge. My boys are still too young to understand what has gone on. They still ask about him sometimes, but they do not understand the seriousness of it all. Again, they are too young and I've tried to gently explain the basics to them, but shelter them from most of it.

Looking Ahead
The one thing I feel bad about is that my sons absolutely adored him. They still ask about him from time to time even though they never see him anymore. I'm very worried my sons are going to grow up and and blame me for why they did not get to see their beloved papa when they were growing up. Another huge fear, that they will want to have a relationship with him when they are older and my dad will try to turn them against me to get revenge.

I hope this blog can be a place to heal my heart because I feel so alone. My husband is a huge help, but only someone who has gone through a similar experience really understands what it is like. I also hope I can help others who are a part of this blog heal. It's so hard seeing grandparents who babysit and respect what their children want. I live in a small town. I often have people asking me about my parents. I just kind of brush it off and say "they are doing fine."  


  1. A few parts of this post really hit home for me. When people ask about my parents I don't know what to say. I am in contact with my mom, but not my father--so I usually just answer about my mom as if my father doesn't even exist. And really, in my life he doesn't.

  2. That loyalty that we feel, to protect our family, even when they are destroying the very thing we hold of sure runs deep, doesn't it? I know that loyalty all to well, too. Here's to you, to finding your strength, to realizing that you aren't alone, to knowing that telling your story gives so much power and healing to so many...

  3. Something similar happened with my uncle and my grandma and my mother told us when were were old enough what happened.

    When your sons are old enough to understand, just tell them that grandpa hurt them when they were little and isn't allowed to see them because of that. Remind them that they were very hurt and angry at him.

    My brother and I never blamed our mother for keeping us from our uncle. We understood that he hurt her and us. I do see him now, but if I ever had children, I would not spend time with him with them.