Today is Father’s Day and you know, I cannot remember a Father’s Day ending in anything but an excuse for my father to drink and behave badly. So for all out there with wonderful fathers or wonderful memories of their fathers, I am happy for you, but to the rest of us and I am sure there would be a few, do you think your father also helped shape your life? I am sure mine did.
I am sixty two years old and although the memories I have of my father are not good, I am sure he must have done some things right. But my life, as I look back on it now, has had some horrific events, some caused by my father and others that he could have helped me with and didn’t. It has taken me nearly forty years to speak up about him and the influence he had on my life and I know that I will upset family members but quite frankly, in the words of Rhett Butler, “I don’t give a damn”.
I will not go into long details here, but seeing all the messages to great fathers on social media, brings backs memories of mine and I know I cannot put one single nice thing about him in print. From the time I was very young to my teen years which were the worst in my life, to the last time I saw him, he was nothing like any of the fathers I have read about today. I am a believer in your environment, your upbringing, your family’s traditions playing a big part in who you become. These things I believe, mould you into the adult you become. I do believe though, that this person is not always the best you can be, so if like me, you had a negative influence growing up, you need to recognise this and take steps to rectify the damage.
Am I the only person who had a terrible childhood? Am I the only person whose teenage years were horrific? Am I the only person who hated her father? I know hate is a strong word but you all know me now and you know I won’t sugar coat anything. I know there are others out there who probably feel as I do but won’t say for their own reasons. At sixty two though, I think it is time for me.
I grew up thinking I was worthless. I was the eldest of five children and my life was a misery. I had red hair and lots of freckles and in those days, it was not cool. I was called names like human leopard and left out of things at school and social gatherings. So you see, bullying was rife back then too. My father told me to shut up and live with it. I learned quickly to do just that, but it turned me into an untrusting person. The things that happened in my teens and early adulthood, made my life much worse than I thought it could get. Much of this was because of my father.
However, I guess I knew no better. Because of the way he was with me, I allowed people to treat me as worthless, I never stood up for myself and for a long time, I believed I was worthless. I must admit, that every now and then even today, I have a little slide backwards.
I believe the way I was treated by my father, played a big part in who I chose to marry and what treatment I took from my first husband. I believe it also played a part in the way my life played out as I knew no better and thought it was the way it was supposed to be for women like me.
I think now, I should have spoken up in those early days, but there’s no point looking back. It took me till about seven years ago to finally realize I was a somebody. An incident occurred at my workplace which nearly caused me to shrink back into my hole, but one morning, heading for work and utterly miserable, it hit me. I was a nice person, a good person. I never treated people the way I had been treated and I didn’t “allow” it to happen to me. I was too young when it started and didn’t even know I could do anything about it. I could now though and had to stop the trend before my life ended and I never knew what it was like to have one. I stood up for myself that day and have done so ever since. I try to help likeminded people and I am learning to like my life.
My father aided in shaping my life into a blur of hurt and anger, hate and frustration. Oh I know he was not responsible for it all, but he was responsible for the seeds he instilled in me on how life should be for me. Today I am a better, happier person, but I have missed so much. Today, by writing this down, I begin to heal and have a good life, not just exist. So to all of you out there with wonderful fathers, cherish them and what they bring to your life. To those like me, regardless of whether you tell a soul, don’t let him ruin things for your future. It is never too late.