I haven't spoken with or seen my father for at least 10 years, by my choice. He was an abusive man, physically and emotionally. In my forties, I realized that any contact between us was bad for me and actually made me sick. It's too bad, but it's simply true that I am much healthier without him connected to my life in any way.
When my own son was about 4 or 5 or some age like that, I remember being aware, while he was sitting on my lap one day, of thinking, "Wow. I never knew there could be love like this between a father and a son."
Twenty-three years ago, when my first child, my daughter, was about three years old, I came to a moment of my life where I consciously became aware of my heading down the path of parenthood for which my father had been a model, and in an awakened state, I decided not to do that and to go a different way. My three-year-old precious child was doing something that annoyed me, and in my anger I slapped her. My slap made her lip bleed. I was horrified. In that moment, I knew this was a crossroads in my life. That was the moment when I knew I was NOT going to be like my father.
Over the years I have been told by several different people that I was and am a good father. My children and I get along very well, we actually like, love, trust, and respect each other. I know without a doubt that being a father is the best thing about my whole life.
So no - I don't have anything to do with my father, and that's a good thing.
I know that we are supposed to learn to forgive, and I believe it. But I don't know how. I wish I could, but the truth is I have not forgiven my father for what I consider to be "soul murder." I will never be the man I might have been, I will never accomplish what I would have had the potential to do, because of the abuse, the terror, the name-calling, and all the rest.
I know that everyone suffers, and everyone has a right to try to be happy. But I have not yet figured out how to forgive my father. Maybe I never will. In the meantime, I know that I am better off having no contact with him in the same way that I know I am better off not drinking bleach.
Hi Mosborn, good story. I don't believe that children are under any obligation whatsoever to forgive abusive parents. Abusive parents who are shunned and hated by their children simply reap what they sow.
My father died when I was 28 years old. I despised him and never forgave him while he was alive. If he were alive today, 18 years later, I would despise him even more. Being a father myself now, the way he treated me and the rest of my family disgusts me and baffles me more than ever.
I was 40 years old before I became a father. It wasn't exactly a planned thing, and I really believed that I wouldn't be capable of loving my son. Thankfully I was wrong about that. It is his birthday today and it breaks my heart that I'm here in Sydney looking for a job and not there to share the day with him.
I don't know what was wrong with my father. Sociopath seems to be the closest fit by far. He also showed signs of bipolar disorder and he might even have been a really nasty aspie. It doesn't matter at all to me what made him the way he was and how much or how little control he had over his own behaviour. I know how much it would hurt me every moment of every day if my kids grew up to hate me, and my father must have felt at least a little of that pain.
Like yourself, I know that I will never be the man that I might have been if I had grown up in a less abusive environment. I was in my mid 30s before I was even remotely functional. My 2 brothers and 1 sister that I grew up with - life has passed them by, they have all suffered serious depression and as dysfunctional as much of my life has been... I'm the poster boy for "functional" in my family. They are all smarter than me, ridiculously smart.
When my father was alive I sometimes had well-meaning twits trying to tell me that I HAD to forgive my father, like it was my duty or something. I used to say that I had no problem with forgiving him for the way he treated me, but that I could never forgive him for the way that he treated my mother and my siblings - all the people in my life that I really cared about. Nobody really had an answer for that one.