Three words come to mind when I think of my Dad.
Narcissist, Selfish and Liar.
These days I have developed a love/hate relationship with my Dad, and to be frank with you it is leaning more towards hate. Growing up I lacked a positive male role model and this was pretty evident when it came to the type of man that I would attract. There is this understanding that Father’s often influence the men we choose as partners. Thankfully, after several dud relationships and a lot of self love I was able to find and marry a genuinely lovely man and now share two gorgeous boys together.
Dad failed me before I was even born. When my Mum was several months pregnant with me, she discovered that he was having an affair with an another woman/women. I don’t know much about what actually happened during this time, but I remember being told a by Mum. She phoned him at the local Pub and threatened murder if he did not call it off! I was only a couple of weeks old at this point.
Dad failed me as a child.
He was an alcoholic, gambler, womanizer and chain smoker. Thinking back to when I was seven or eight, I remember coming home from school, and I was made to run to the laundry to fetch a bucket for him to vomit into. There was this other incident where I came home with my Mum to find him passed out naked on the floor of our lounge, head phones still attached to his head. This was the norm for us. Each afternoon after school, I would be given a gold coin and spend at the local Milk Bar. This was mostly done to keep me out of the house so he could drink until he was drunk. I also forgot to thank him for high dental bills due to regular fillings. Thank goodness for Health Insurance as I simply could not afford the bill.
His alcoholism was so bad that he hid his cans of beer in the cistern of the toilet and threw his evidence over the fence, into the back alley. There were so many, they required several large garbage bags after a neighbor demanded them removed. At the peak of his addiction he drank methylated spirits just so he could get that hit. He almost lost his job as a signalman for the Victorian Railway because he often went and continued to drink at work.
For obvious reasons his addiction placed pressure on his marriage to my Mum, so the fights and arguments were pretty gargantuan. I would be screaming, tears streaming down my face yelling at them to stop fighting. Mum once knocked him unconscious with a vacuum pipe, and even though it had a huge bend in the pipe it still continued to work well. I once got in the way of their argument. Dad grabbed me by my hair and aimed it at our glass sliding door causing it to crack. Plus at the peak of their fighting, knives were once drawn. Dad was warned by the Victorian Police that if another DVO was submitted then he would be removed from the home and would likely spend a short period of his life in jail. This was my life…
Dad failed me as a young woman.
Thankfully by then Dad had given his alcohol addiction away. However having an addictive personality it was always replaced with something else. I was troubled, and made very poor and uninformed choices, mostly because of my toxic home environment.
Have you heard about the cycle of domestic abuse? This is what I learnt and experienced during my very first relationship with a boy. I was fifteen when I first met him, he was a good eighteen months younger than me. Looking from the outside, he came from a well off and intelligent family however he was an abusive, controlling, manipulative and jealous young man. I was never given insight on how to respect myself or gain the respect of others, especially from boys. Looking back, its sad that I would have preferred to spend time with an awful boyfriend than be with my family. Plus the fact that nothing was done to help me.
Dad failed me as a woman.
Dad continued to have affairs, and this is what broke the camels back for my Mother. I was and remain thankful that their marriage was finally over. It was sweet relief, because honestly it was all I ever wanted. I wanted normalcy, I wanted the dysfunction to end, and most of all I hoped that I would have a better relationship with both my parents. There has been turbulent times with my Mum, but our relationship has just continued to blossom. I love her dearly, and it is nice to know that she is so thankful to have me as her daughter. However the relationship I now have with my Dad has only deteriorated further. Mostly after the way he treated my son Lucas when he was last visiting. He is known as Grumpy Poppy which is just sad.
Dad has failed me today.
I have two gorgeous sons, one he has met and one he is yet to meet. You see, I live in Perth and he lives in Brisbane so there is no denying that the distance is great. But, his partner and her mother will be flying to Perth next year, and he has decided not to come. He was even offered to have his flight paid for by his new mother in law. This broke my heart, and yet after having a confrontation with him he still chooses not to come. I have gotten to a point in my life where I think to myself if he was just not related to me, I would not pursue a friendship at all. So…why should I pursue a relationship with a man who chooses not to reciprocate my love?
What I am thankful for today. I am thankful for who I am. I like me…no, I love me. If it was not for my dysfunctional upbringing, I would not be the person I am today. I am a helper, I am a doer, and I love those who love me unconditionally. I am thankful that my sons have a positive role model, and I am thankful that I have a husband who respects me.
Thank you Dad for teaching me resilience, compassion, empathy, developing a thick skin, and having the ability to speak out. However I am not thankful for how I acquired these traits.
I feel better, I needed this post.