Losing My Father to Himself
In my previous article "Malignant Narcissists and Their Equally Malignant Victims" I explored my story with abuse and the subsequent consequences of walking away from said abuse without seeking justice. I only briefly touched on the abuse from my father, and I did this calculatingly, because just before I began writing this I was seeking to mend my relationship with him. Feeling as if writing an article on my feelings as they concern my relationship with him would do more damage than it would do good, I thought it best not to solidify my story in print until a more positive outcome was reached. I've all but given up at this point due to my last email exchange with him where he refused to present and exchange questions, explanations, and apologies due to not wanting to dwell on the past. So I'm taking this nonsense to print, damn the consequences, because I have no real hope for my relationship with him.
An Analysis of Myself
Growing up was quite difficult for me, and if you have read my article explaining my abuse then you can understand what I mean. Just because growing up was difficult, that does not mean I am without fault and unwilling to take responsibility for the things I've done and continue to do. In fact, I often feel as if I'm the only one legitimately trying to recognize my faults and actively change them so I'm a better person for everyone around me. It is very difficult to remain objective about myself in the face of my parents being unwilling to tell me what it is I did to deserve the abuse I endured, but I continue to do my best to recall why it is I was abused in the first place.
Every day I struggle with the traumas of having been abused in my past, and part of my chosen healing process is reliving the events so I may determine what it was I could've done to make my parents react in such a way. Despite much of what was done to me being blatant abuse, I am unwilling to accept that I did not do something to deserve at least some of what happened to me. The more I seek answers to the question, "What did I do?" the more I come up empty handed. I'll do my best to list, concisely, what it is I believe I did in my past to make my parents upset and punish me by using bullet points. So, here it goes:
- Talking back.
- Talking too much.
- Being annoying.
- Always hungry (eating disorder).
- Cussed a lot, like my mother.
- Timidity caused me to hide things from them.
- Being strong-willed, arguing.
- Being shy.
- Being too quiet with strangers.
- Enjoying inappropriate jokes.
- Having an auditory/visual processing disorder.
- Having ADHD.
- Being open about everything with everyone.
- Lying about inconsequential things.
- Getting caught with cigarettes, and Xanax at school.
- Sneaking a girl into the house, once.
I never really thought I was any different than any other child, and perhaps I wasn't, but that doesn't change the fact my parents are refusing to give me the, "Whys?" as to the treatment I suffered. If I can't get those answers I am left to dwell on it, and ultimately I have to learn to just forget it all or leave it in the past. Nonetheless I am seeking recourse from my father, trying to remain as neutral as possible.
The Letter to My Father
"To begin this I would like to apologize outright for the way I reacted to your accusation of not accepting responsibility and dwelling in the past. It was absolutely inappropriate for me to lose my temperament in such a way, and such outbursts have become increasingly frequent with my declining health that I am now working on. Part of my road to a full and healthy recovery is repairing our relationship to the fullest extent possible.
In order to repair our relationship, it is apparent we both need to meet in the middle grounds on any topic either of us wish to discuss. If we don't meet with open and sober minds we will have a repeat of the outburst and conflict. I am ready and willing to admit to anything it is I have done that caused you long-term trauma, but I must also have your ear when it comes to my reasoning behind my actions and how it is I have changed since escaping the torture mom put me through. A fair warning, though, the statement you made concerning "believing your truths" when it concerned my absolutely valid claims about mom has permanently erased my ability to trust anything you say going forward.
I say I can't trust anything you say going forward, but I do not mean that in a subjective emotional capacity. I mean it in the most objective way possible, your wording implied you believe that I find these events to be true but they are simply alleged and you can't believe them outright. It is more than reasonable to take it with a grain of salt but Erin can now attest, even take pictures of, the torture chamber my mom has built around here. There was a time you even believed me, and I still continue to appreciate it, and we told the cops about mom's abuse. Sure, she somehow managed to convince the cop we were just out to get her and I don't recall our reactions or any specifics outside of those details, but you believed me once and I won't forget it.
I don't seek your belief on those matters anymore, it isn't necessary, and all I need is for you to allow me to reference them every now and again to explain why actions I have taken in the past don't seem to make much sense or seem malicious in their intent when most of what I did as a kid was the only way I could avoid outright committing suicide.
That being said, I want to have a conversation over the phone with you. I want you to be sober, because I do look down on the fact you're an alcoholic only in the sense that it dulls your mind and you taught me not to have crutches. I respect you for what you taught me about weakness and overcoming it without crutches, delicate little flower is what you used to call me, and in that same vain I now hold your alcoholism. The entire last conflict we had was created by an avoidable misunderstanding that I am blaming on the alcohol and my inability to control my reaction. I need a conversation that functions as a two-way street with you.
For example the post on Facebook from years ago that you brought up with no prompt from myself. I did post about that and it was inappropriate. I would never repeat such an action as who I am today. If it caused you any long term damage I am sorry, truly and deeply sorry. The reason I did it was because you were drunk that night and people could both see it and smell the alcohol. I won't forget that mom grounded me to begin with and I shouldn't have even been there by her standards, but you allowed me to go and I'm forever grateful despite the outcome. What I don't think you know at this point, because no one ever asked or really cared, was that the girl I was dating at the time was actively trying to ruin my life. Mom kept me in the house most of the time, locked away and feeding me ideas of the world that are vastly cynical and pessimistic, and that made me extremely gullible.
You went up and hugged my girlfriend at the time, I thought it was totally normal. In fact, I don't see why people give a flying f@#$ who is drunk or what they smell like because you were cordial. That didn't stop them from making fun of me the rest of the night, calling you a pedophile and saying how uncomfortable they were around you. Not to mention you met her father drunk, and he was a total d*$% about it causing me further issues down the line. Nonetheless, I don't look down on you for it anymore because there was and is no reason to.
Having said I looked down on you, and mentioning mom locking me away and brainwashing me, she still tries to fill everyone's heads with bulls%&# about you. My grandparents still try to fill people's heads with bulls#$% about you. I am the only one sitting here, when I was still able to speak to them because now I just stay away from them altogether because of the torture they're putting Sean and everyone else through, telling them that it is fu@!*!$ bulls!$%. I think you're an alcoholic, womanizing, self-destructive, sensitive dude. I think I am a womanizing, self-destructive, sensitive dude. I think we are one in the same and we need each other to start healing properly.
To put all this concisely: I want my dad, and I want my son to have family. I am better at writing than speaking but if you can't email then I want to have a conversation over the phone while you're sober. My one stipulation is that we both enter the conversation with open minds and meeting at the middle grounds. No accusations, no allegations, no assumptions; the only things that should be brought up are questions, apologies, and explanations. If that isn't possible then we can never be family again, and I don't want to keep living half the life I could be if everything were just more ideal."
Relationship With My Father
My relationship with my father is a difficult and confusing one for me to analyze. I wrote that letter to him, recently, trying to correct the wrongs of the past so that we could move forward into a brighter future. His response was this:
"Finally a response. My response will be short with a glass half full out look. I would like to not talk about anything negative in the past. I would like to look forward to happily ever after. I know that I never cuss at anyone, and I don’t associate with anyone who is profane towards me or my family. There are so many great memories that we share, and I refuse to acknowledge the bad. I love you,and I was with you every day of the first 9 years of your life. We did everything together. It will be easy for me to be close to you again. I am so proud of you and Erin, and your beautiful son. I am not open to any criticism from you. Nor do I have any for you. I am close with my dad again after many years apart. He asks about you all the time. I hope you can find a happy future soon. When I think of you three, I am happy. I love you so much. Please don’t talk bad about me any more to anybody. I am so much better than any of the bad stuff that has been said about me. These are my loving, sober thoughts on the whole subject."
If you read my letter to him, I'm more than positive you can see why this is unacceptable for me. It is as if he wants me to bottle away all the emotions I have, never bring them up, and pretend like everything I went through never occurred. This is the gist of my relationship with him, live in denial until the next blow-up. My response to this was quite simple:
At which point my girlfriend, who was playing mediator, extended upon my feelings and made my comment a bit more acceptable. I would love to have this conversation in front of a crowd so everyone could see what it was we are all dealing with in this situation, and we could all be held accountable, but sadly that is not an option. His incessant need to be an escapist, from fault and his own trauma, is preventing us from reconnecting.
What Do I Do?
If you have taken the time to read this article, my article about malignant narcissism, and the section containing the letter I wrote to my father, then I feel you have enough information to make an educated assessment on the situation and offer me a bit of advice.
What do I do going forward from here? Is giving up, accepting the past, and moving on really the only option?
In giving up and leaving everything in the past, letting bygones be bygones, I'd be damaging myself. This is a piece of the puzzle I really wanted to fit into the bigger picture. With my father's penchant for alcoholic outbursts, and mine for anger outbursts, I don't think I can maintain a relationship with him if he doesn't take the steps to also heal his own life.