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#431827 - 04/20/13 06:19 AM Re: I needed my daddy [Re: ThisMan]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4286
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
me too. My real father died just before I turned 3. Mom married the step-dad when I was 5 ˝. They asked me if I wanted a new daddy and I said yes. I should have said no. not that it would have made any difference. It didn’t turn out like I expected. He was verbally, physically and sekually abusive.

I have heard the saying that anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad. I had to reverse that because of my own history and the associations with the two terms.

The way I have referred to mom’s second husband has changed over the years. When I was a kid – from the day he married mom, when I was 5 ˝ - I HAD to call him “daddy.” That changed when I was about 13 and I started to call him “dad” – because I didn’t live in the south, bill! That lasted up through the time I started therapy the first time in my mid 30s – I started referring to him “my stepfather” – I rarely saw him in person by that time and didn’t address him directly if I could help it. More recently – I guess since shortly before I started this round of therapy less than 2 years ago – I started to call him “THE step-father.” I didn’t want to own any kind of personal connection – especially a possessive one. Now it is usually “the step-dad.” I reserve the word “Father” for my real, blood father.

So I don’t say I needed my daddy – I say I needed my Father – but I definitely know the feeling. It has been a deep aching black hole in my life for as long as I can remember. And the difference between what should have been – and the real-life experience with the step-dad – was such a stark and blatant mockery of what fatherhood means – that it is obscene to use either of those words in connection with him.

When I got past age 27 – the age at which my Father died – it was such a strange feeling – to be older than my father had ever been. Now my son is past that age – another weird feeling. It used to be that I couldn’t even stand to look at photos of my Father – it just hurt too much. There have been some very surreal moments – my grandparents (who I rarely saw) used to slip and call me by his name, though our names were not the same. Once I found a document that I couldn’t remember writing – it turned out that my father had written it – and my handwriting looked just like his – though I had never seen it before. I found an insurance form he had filled in and our heights and weights were the same.

The only way I was even able to think of trying to be a father myself was to try to do everything the exact opposite of what the step-dad did.

But – yeah, the deep hurt is still there.
How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#431831 - 04/20/13 08:17 AM Re: I needed my daddy [Re: ThisMan]
GT13568 Offline

Registered: 09/02/11
Posts: 188
Loc: California, 93451
Hi ThisMan, 

I needed my daddy, too - or my "dad" in my SoCal home. I mean I had him, my parents stayed married, but he started to sexually abuse me - and otherwise ignore, punish, and humiliate me - when I was real small. There was no chance of praise or positive reinforcement in my family, nor any chance of learning anything good from him.

I wish I had a man for a father. In the best light, my dad was sad and messed up. In the worst light he was a monster.

I wonder sometimes if I love him. I don't know. I don't know what that love would be like. Even though he is long dead - by his own hand, and without ever saying a word about what he did to me - I'm still afraid of him, and ashamed of what I did for him. When I dream about him I feel angry and sad and powerless and trapped.

Powerlessness is the worst. Back then, all I could do was freeze and disappear inside myself and take his abuse. There was no fighting back. It was like a bargain we had - he and my mom put me in the hospital for "brain treatments" (whatever that was) when I fought back when I was four. It could always happen again, that was made clear. Similar hospitalizations did happen again.

So yeah, I needed a dad. Sometimes I found one then, and sometimes I still do; in friends, in my partner, in strangers who I see doing kind and honorable things. 

And, (-: sometimes I find a dad in myself. I guess he's the real one.

Thanks for posting this, and thanks to the men who so beautifully and powerfully shared.

I won the moment he hurt me, because he poisoned his soul, and I did not poison mine. I did not hurt anyone. He did. He was the perp. He tried to make me into a victim, but I became a survivor. Yes.

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