Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Next Up? Daddy Dearest

Continuing on yesterday's thread, the other half of the equation in all of our lives is fathers.

Not having grown up around my father and having the only man my aunt (who raised me) was involved with be a molester, my understanding of what a healthy relationship with a man is hasn't come to light until my life blew up in December.

I've known for years that my marriage wasn't good. Having wanted to leave when the kids were little and being sneered at, something inside me curled up and hibernated for fourteen years.

I stayed. For that choice, I am guilty.

For the consequences of stbx's fucked up childhood, I am not.

Before I knew that stbx was a pedophile, I knew he was a rotten father. I told myself that he would try to get partial custody of the kids if I left. I believe this to be true to this day. He would have done it out of spite. By staying, I could at least be there to protect my kids against his sarcasm, his indifference, his obvious lack of interest in them. Had I known what kind of interest he had in in at least one of them...yeah...there we go with that 20/20 hindsight thing again.

When the kids were little, he called them "screaming balls of flesh" (granted, there were those days and nights of colic when this was an apt description). He told people that he would be more interested in them when they got older. He said it would be great if you could just give a kid a ball and send them to a corner and have them bounce it for hours on end so they would leave you alone.

There were early attempts at school conferences and school functions. But somewhere after third or fourth grade, it all stopped. As I write this sentence, I realize, that involvement with the kids stopped when the abuse started.

That is also the time that he totally withdrew from us as a family.

Seven years.

That's how long the kids have had an absentee father who sat a mere two feet from them, involved in everything online and nothing in his real life.

There were times when I tried to invite him to school functions or to something we were doing but he was always busy or acted like we were the stupid ones for actually going outside the house to have a life. In the last couple years, when I would mention "asking dad to come with us", the kids would sigh and balk. It would either be a waste of time or else he would come with us and make us all miserable with his aura of gloom and sarcasm.

As I've stated before, having been abused, I cut him even less slack for becoming an abuser. He knew where I came from. At any time, he could have sat down and either talked about his past or simply said "I need help and I can't tell you why", but he didn't. He told his manhole that he "couldn't help himself". Well, he could have helped himself. He chose not to. It was easier to use his own child for his own selfish purposes than to pick up a phone and make a call to a professional.

That's what makes this whole scenario so insidious. He has played the victim his entire life. He seeks out women that want to nurture and "help" and once again, he only has to be the ten year old child, crying to his mommy.

That will be his defense when this all goes to court. His lawyer will try to turn the tables away from what he has done and turn him into the victim that he has acted like his entire life.

Since he surrounds himself currently with people that perpetuate that myth, I'm sure he's feeling quite secure in what a terrible lot his life has been and just how much he can sway a courtroom.

And how he had no control over the mess he has created.

1 comment:

Shelly said...

I think that, ultimately, the only difference between victims and non-victims is that one group does as you said, surround themselves with people that perpetuate the myth. There is great comfort to be had from people like that. Some people crawl into the comfy lodge and never again get up off the couch. And, they are allowed to do this by the people who believe them when they say that they need some kind of protection.

We all need protection from time to time, to be sure. I wish I knew what it was that drove people to continue to protect someone long past the point where it is actually needed. I have a friend who's girlfriend is a major alcoholic and is verbally abusive to her, but my friend continues to defend her girlfriend. Once, when I suggested that she leave her, my friend didn't speak to me for a year and a half, because she was so angry that I would even suggest such a thing--even though her girlfriend was so awful to her. 15 years, they have been together. While I find her girlfriend to be a fairly decent person most of the time, her personality issues are quite evident to anyone who might pay attention. It is her choice to be a perpetual victim, and that choice is what leads to her being an abuser--hey, you gotta do something to con/manipulate/intimidate your caretaker into staying, right?

I suppose that the answer is simple--that my friend thinks so little of herself that she actually believes her GF when she says that she couldn't make it on her own, or that she is stupid, or whatever--all of those hideous lies, told by people who do, in fact, CHOOSE to remain victims, at such heavy cost: The lives of others, used to help them maintain their little victim facade.

If only EVERY enabler one day just said "Screw You" to the victims they serve...imagine what delightful chaos we would witness then. I'd like a front row seat for that.