800 pound elephant in the room

I think I now know that my every family gathering is unique, full of as much stress and awkward moments as joy.

I survived another Family Christmas party with dad in attendance. To me, the one he abused for 16 years, it seems unreal that I should have to see him, speak to him, even acknowledge him. It seems that no matter how terrible he is, he continues to be my dad – at least in title.

We barely speak to each other at these gatherings, other than hello and goodbye. Same for the kids. This is made easier by the fact that he is in late stage emphysema, can not stand on his own strength, and has oxygen tanks. He now weighs about 90 pounds. And yet my gut reaction when I see him is fear and disgust.

And also a warped sense that I still want his approval. Still there just a little. And no matter how he hurt me, it still hurts me to see any human suffering the way he is now, so inner conflict is the name of the game.

I don’t know if I’ll ever tell my kids how terrible their Grandpa was. But they are certainly not old enough yet. I decided long ago that he lost the right to know my children. So other than the occasional family gathering, they don’t even know he exists.

And I still try to show him I am doing well at work and expect a “good job” from him, but I am never shocked when I don’t get it. He is truly a psychopath and does not share the same emotions as the rest of the world. My brain knows this. But my heart still knows he is my dad.

Sometimes I wish I had told the entire world about his abusive, creepy nature, though I don’t think it would have changed anything. And now at this point, so many years later, it doesn’t seem right, or even to matter any more.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmingly guilty that I did not tattoo him as a pedophile, a scarlet P perhaps, or have him castrated. I hope to God that he did not hurt any other children, but I will never know this for sure, and have to resolve that part of me. I was too busy saving myself to think of anything else. And now that I have the strength to help others, it seems pointless to label the dying man as a wicked threat.

 

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2 thoughts on “800 pound elephant in the room

  1. Statistics say these monsters never do it just once…they always hurt more than one person!
    Statistics also say they have no real idea that their victims “did not really like it”…until confronted with the ugly truth in front of witnesses.
    It is kinda unreal that you put yourself through it year after year…after all, your family that love and support you can always have a different gathering without him and with you.
    He is not your Dad, he is a sperm donor. Dad is a beloved term to be used only for men that deserve it, not for half men that abuse children.
    Love yourself better…eliminate the poison from your life.
    Also, protect your own children unless you have eyes on them 1000% of the time.

    • It seems simple, but it isn’t. He has been confronted by many, but not all. I think 20 years ago it would have been better to let the whole world know about him, but I followed the advice of my social worker/therapist and did not press charges. And I was such a mess, with depression, other illnesses, I think they thought I could not handle all the negative attention. And I also think they were afraid he would retaliate, I remember how angry he was when he told me someone questioned him at work and I better never embarass him again. I was very very afraid of him. So for years we had a pretend relationship, then I cut him out completely, and now I bump into him occasionally but have no relationship. I am very protective of my own kids, but have been disappointed by my brothers. Either they don’t fully believe what happened, or just don’t believe he is a threat, or they are also afraid of what he would do if we angered him. He is very smart and lies easily. And I also have good memories of him as a dad, which I guess I cling to. So we say Merry Christmas to each other, but otherwise, he is not a part of my life. And I dare say his time is limited, his physical self is now as sick as his mental self.

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