I have a lot of mixed feelings about my father.
He wasn’t perfect. I don’t think any father is. I just wanted him to stand up to my mother. You grow up learning that men are supposed to be strong and in control. Yet here was this man, who was physically and mentally capable of being in control, sitting back and letting my mother get away with everything. Why? Fathers are supposed to protect their children, not perpetuate their suffering. What hurt me more than any hit from him was knowing that he did nothing to protect me from my mother.
My father worked a lot. He would be home on the weekends, but for the most part he was not present during the week. Even when he was physically there, he was never there emotionally. He was always unpredictable. You never knew if he was in a caring mood or about to fly off the handle in anger.
My father was physically abusive at times, but I had become so numb from everything else in my life that his actions rarely bothered me. There was only one instance that I will never forget. I was 15 years old, and my high school guidance counselor had called my parents with some concerns about my emotional state. I begged the counselor not to, but since no one knew the reality of my family life, there was no other choice. I knew something was coming when I went home that day. Instead of care and concern, I received hostility. My father pulled a chair out to the corner of the kitchen and made me sit down. He started screaming at me and all I could do was cry. I’ll never forget what he said next.
“I’ll give you something to be depressed about!”
Before I could react, he hit me so hard across the face that my neck snapped back and the side of my head hit the wall. I knew at that point I had to be quiet. It didn’t matter what I said or did. I committed a horrible crime. Not only was I depressed, but I talked to someone about it, and talking wasn’t allowed in our household.
When I was in my second year of college, my father became ill. I dropped out of school to help take care of him. He’s been in and out of hospitals ever since. Several heart attacks, a stroke, and a few blood infections later, he’s not the same man. He’s physically and emotionally weaker; no longer aggressive, only passive. My mother controls him completely now, too, and he can’t fight back. Part of me sometimes feels sorry for him; my mother treats him like shit. But then I remember how he treated me and tell myself that it’s karma coming back to bite him.