Thursday, January 06, 2011

Sometimes the apple falls far, far away from the tree

When I was at my Pop-Pop's funeral, one of my second cousins kept introducing me to relatives I'd either never met or hadn't seen since I was young. She'd say, "This is April, Eddie's daughter." I cringed every time she said that, yet maintain a smile. While at the wake, I drank a margarita (we were at a restaurant) on an empty stomach so I had a slight buzz. She then introduced me as Eddie's daughter to someone and I said, "Though that's a fact I'm not proud of." She looked at me like I was a horrible person and said, "That's not a nice thing to say!" I just smiled and walked away.

I've been feeling somewhat embarrassed of that comment since then. I keep regretting that I said it. I mean, I was at my grandfather's wake! He's the father of my dad and I insulted his son at his funeral. Then I get a phone call from my sister today and I now I don't regret saying it at all.

It's a long story but to sum it up: My brother was briefly staying with my dad. They got into an argument and my dad told him to leave. My brother was gathering his things when my dad started hitting him, trying to get my brother to hit him back. He wouldn't do it. Then my dad called the police. Why? I don't know. The police sat outside watching my brother calmly walking in and out of my dad's house with his things to leave. Each time my brother walked into the house, my dad would yell profanities and hit him. The cops saw this. When they went to the door, they told my dad to step outside. My dad told them, "I'm not fucking going anywhere." He kept yelling at the police and being defiant, then he elbowed one of the cops. They slammed him down to the ground and cuffed him. My dad started screaming that he was having a heart attack so they took him to the hospital while under arrest. He is 65 years old.

My sister and brother waited at the hospital to find out if he was OK, which he was. After they took him to jail, they (sister & brother) frantically tried to gather bail money together. When she told me this on the phone I said, "Why? Why didn't you just leave him in jail?" She said, "He's my DAD!"

She thinks that he has something wrong with his brain. And maybe he does. He's definitely worse now than he was in the past. But none of that changes the fact that my dad is a lying, manipulative, drama-seeking man. I washed my hands of him a long time ago, which is honestly something I struggle with often. I have several unfinished blog posts about him, my feelings about him and the things he's done to me.

On the grand scale of things, what he has done to me isn't horrendous. I wasn't molested or physically abused. I was manipulated to hate my mom and stepdad for pretty much my entire childhood. He never once saw me march in the band or come to any of my band concerts. He never helped me with my homework or even asked if it was done. When I got a job at 15, I started buying all of my personal items (shampoo, tampons, deodorant, toothpaste, etc), school clothes, school lunches, senior pictures, prom dresses, etc.

The bigger things he's done to me? When I graduated from college, he called me the day of graduation and told me that he wasn't coming because my mom was going to be there. My mom, the woman he divorced over 14 years prior to my graduation. That one? That hurt me the most. I worked my ass off to graduate college. I worked full-time, went to school full-time and was a full-time single mom. I didn't talk to him for over a year after that. When I did finally talk to him it was after my car accident. I called to let him know that I was in a serious accident, because I would want to know if something like that happened to my kid. Right after I told him about the accident, he had the balls to ask me for money. I was incapacitated and out of work for 10 weeks and he wanted money from me. I hung up on him.

I didn't talk to him for a while and then on my birthday he sent me an email. In that email he went into detail about how he was raped by 4 guys in high school and that when he was 16, he used to suck dick for money because "a lot of guys were doing it and it didn't make us gay". Just the thing I wanted to hear. Happy Birthday to me!

Again I didn't talk to him for a while. Then one day I got a call from my aunt, his sister. She told me that my dad was dying of stage 4 cancer and that all he wants is to talk to me before he died. She said he only had 2 months to live at most. I called him up and we talked for about 20 minutes before I brought up the cancer. When I did, he started crying, "I knew you'd call!" I said, "What?" He said, "I don't have cancer, I just wanted to talk to you. I knew you'd call!" I told him he's sick and I hung up on him. HE LIED TO HIS SISTER ABOUT DYING SO I WOULD TALK TO HIM.

I could go on with stories but I'm sure you get the picture.

The bottom line is that I just don't care anymore. Yes, he is my dad. Yes, I love him. But I do not want him in my life. I do not want him in my son's life. I do not want to deal with his constant problems, lying and manipulation. I guess the issue is that I feel bad for not caring. I have spent many years distancing myself from him, so I'm to the point where these stories just don't effect me.

So many people at the funeral asked me how my dad was doing. I got some looks when I said, "I don't really talk to him much." So I finally just started saying, "Great!" Believe me, I would LOVE to have a positive, healthy relationship with my dad. But it's just not possible on his end. Every time I let him back in, he does something to fuck it up. So I've stopped letting him in. I just can't.

I don't know why I put all of this out there. I guess I just needed to get it out. Thanks for being therapeutic, internet!

Deep Throat of the Day: I'm thankful that I'm nothing like him.


Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear that. I am sure it has weighed on you over the years. But you have put in the effort to have him in your life. That is all you can do.

Jim said...

Wow . . . I'm thinking that this was a very tough thing to write and share, but thanks for letting us in a little this way. I wouldn't worry about the alcohol . . . it has an interesting way of allowing us to say things that need to be said, sometimes, even though it can also get us into trouble :-)

I think you're fine, personally, in how you view your relationship with him . . . or lack of one. Life is all about choices, and he's made some odd ones that have created the situation that you're both now in, and it's all in the past. What happens from here on out is mostly up to him, not you. You've got your hands full already, as you begin building your new life in the coming year, without trying to fold him in, as well. It sounds like he's demonstrated a lack of concern about who you are and what you do throughout most of your life, and at some point, it's time to move on from those poisonous relationships, father or not.


Grant said...

I haven't said much about this topic on my blog because it just feels like old news to me and because people often don't understand and fall back on the whole "But she's your MOTHER!" rule, which means however horrible your parents have been you're supposed to be deferential and caring of them for life. I think it's usually bad parents who espouse that rule. I cut out other members of my family over time, but finally rid myself of the last of their drama when I ditched my mother. By way of caring response, she demanded money. I think my parents owe me for my childhood. If anything, I think you may need to consider dumping the other members of your family if they bring nothing but stress into your life.

April said...

Joe: You're right. I have done what I can and now I'm done.

Jim: Thank you. It was very hard to write it all down and actually publish it. Like I said, I have several posts similar to this one that I couldn't publish. It's really embarrassing to have a father who does the things he does and says the things he says. The ball has been in his court for many years now yet he chooses not to pick it up and do anything with it. I've tried telling him that I'd like a "normal" father/daughter relationship. Even gave him examples. But he just can't do it.

Grant: I know I've read on your blog some things about your mother and it's great that you've cut her out of your life. She sounded like she was cancerous to you.

~Kenny said...

April ….Man as I read this I felt for you, but I get it. My step-father was an alcoholic who would beat me as a kid. When he got older I wouldn't take it anymore, and that stopped, but his alcoholism never did. The family finally walked away from him and never looked back. He died alone in a hospital in Oregon and we never found out until after the fact. Sometimes for your own sanity you just have to be done.
That being said your father is an incredibly selfish and immature man. I cannot imagine EVER EVER EVER doing to my daughters any of the things he has done to you. I admit sometimes I feel like an inadequate father, but reading about your dad actually made me think I wasn't doing too bad.
Still I hope your dad figures it out before its too late, although I would say if he hasn't figured it out by now that is very doubtful unfortunately.

f1trey said...

cool post darlin!!!!! XXX OOO

Randi said...

I think you did the right thing but maybe because it's exactly what I would have done. You can't choose your relatives but you can certainly choose whether you want a relationship with them.

Hubman said...

I can appreciate how you feel about your dad. For different reasons, Veronica has no relationship with her dad, he was not invited to our wedding 17+ yrs ago, and not only has be never met his grandkids, he's shown no interest in doing so, even when Veronica reached out to him.

We've made our peace with it, it's his loss, life goes on. Sounds like you've come to the same place.