Fatherly Hate

The Beast on the Wall

Fatherly Hate

I was watching an episode of “Flashpoint” today and it got me thinking about fathers and sons. The family is having dinner and the father is belittling the elder son (as usual). The son gets up from the table and returns with a gun and points it at his father. Then shoots. So what led to that moment? As it turns out the father had abused both sons all their lives (both physically and verbally) and the older brother had finally had enough!

It reminds me of my own childhood. My earliest childhood memory is of being beaten by my father. My brother and I were playing in a pool and there was a slide. He was at the top of the slide, but he was too scared to go down! My father told me to be patient and NOT to push him. But I wanted to go down now, so I gave him a push. He went screaming the whole way down! Of course, as soon as I got to the bottom and landed in the pool, I was hauled out and beaten with the closest thing he could find… a flyswatter. I still remember the welts and can still feel the sting of each hit and how it sounded when it connected with the flesh of my legs.

I think that is the difference between a spanking and a beating. A parent spanks with their hand, because it should hurt them, too. A parent beats a child with an object so as to inflict pain on the child, but not on themselves. I was beaten with flyswatters, belts, books, paddles, etc. and always out of anger. Beatings are always out of anger.

My brother and I used to think of ways we could kill my father. We both hated him. We fantasized about and talked about it often. We weren’t evil. We just hated being abused by him over and over and over again. Now the physical abuse I could handle. I always healed from those torture sessions. They never left scars that others could see. It was the mental abuse that was impossible to recover from. Many, many years and many therapy sessions later, I am doing the best I can to recover from my abusive childhood.

My father died last year and I don’t feel bad about not having been there. I know that may sound cold, but if you’ve read the words above, then you may be able to understand, a little, about how this is possible. It’s taken me a long time to get to a more neutral place; where I neither love him nor hate him and I’m okay with that. The following is a poem I wrote about him… The Beast on the Wall.

The beast on the wall

lives down the hall.

He comes and goes

and still I know

what he does and doesn’t do.

He calls me “fool,”

then beats me, too.

What can I do?

Not only his name

is to blame.

He’s a tormentor.

Some call him “Father,”

but I know what he is

and where he lives;

in my nightmares,

and my daymares,

on the wall,

down the hall.

May 28, 2014

I had a dream the other night. It was me and my father. We were getting along. Having a pleasant conversation. No name calling, no angry words. It was strange as this was unusual for us. When I woke, I was at peace… for the first time in a long time… about him. I hope he will visit me again in my dreams.

Father’s Day – 6/15/14

My father was not perfect and I’m not going to attempt to rewrite history now to make him so. He was the product of his own father’s imperfections. If you’ve read my book or my blog you know some of what I grew up with… enough said. I think he loved us… in his own way. He made sure we had a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and food in our bellies. He wasn’t always as supportive as he could have been, though. A son’s worth should not be measured in whether or not he can throw a baseball or catch a football. There was a time when he was quite pleasant to be around (I have to give credit to my step-mother for that). All in all, he was my father, for better or worse. It has taken me many years to come to grips with who he was and what he did, but I have managed to forgive him and can now wish him a happy Father’s Day… in heaven.

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5 Responses to Fatherly Hate

  1. gloria munson says:

    I cried. I totally understand. I had one and only one parent that beat me.
    And you are so right. The mental abuse was worse. Bless our healing.

  2. Bill Turner says:

    Dear David, I can so relate to your story in many ways. When my Dad committed suicide in 1993, I found myself even more angry that he was once again occupying space in my mind with his selfishness and cruelness. To this day I have the nightmares and see his methods of discipline still leaving awful memories in the rest of my family members. My love and support to you always my friend!

  3. Kevin Crisler says:

    I cannot relate to this at all, but wish you any healing there is in this world. Hugs.

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