Post # 1
Like many other people I had a dysfunctional childhood. As soon as I got old enough I left and have never looked back. I wish now that I had spend some time unpacking these memories instead of storing them away. I am working with a life coach who is helping me to understand that I don’t have to act like my childhood was normal and that by accepting the pain I can truly be even happier than before. I am happy now, I just have spent my life in denial of how my unhappy childhood affected and still affects me. This is an eye opening realization to say the least.
I think my father may have been a sociopath. One memory from when I was about 9 years old keeps flooding to my mind as I try to make sense of my experience. I was out somewhere with him when he told me that it was time to go. Of course, like any other child, I lolly-gagged and took my time. He got into another short conversation and then we left. As we pulled out of the parking lot we could see that there had been a very bad car accident maybe 5 minutes beforehand. I could see the paramedics lifting a person on a board off of the street and into the amublance. My dad immediately told me that if I had came when he first called me that the accident would not have happened and it was my fault for being a disobedient girl. He harassed me for weeks, asking my mom if she had heard if anyone was killed in the accident that I caused.
I have no idea why I can’t get this memory out of my head, but now it has me wondering if my father was a sociopath. This is just one of 1000’s of cruel and irrational things he did and said. My father died when I was 21 and I am sad to say that I don’t miss him a bit. If you had an unhappy childhood, did you reach a point where you felt that you had to reach into your memories and make sense of the pain? I have no idea why I am sharing this except that I am amazed that it has taken me this long to admit to myself how screwed up my childhood was.
Post # 3
I’m sorry you had to deal with that kind of abuse. It’s really brave of you for sharing your experience, I hope you receive some solace in sharing and hearing other people stories. I have no advice, my childhood, looking back, was quite normal. I think.
Post # 4
Im so sorry you had to deal with a father that put you thru this!! I can somewhat relate. My father divorced my mom when I was 3, and got remarried. I was supposed to go to his place on the weekends. There would be days that we just wouldnt even show up. When he was available, he spent more time with his other kids than me. Like the year they all got bikes for their BDs and I got $10 out of his wallet. Or how about the birthday he sent me a “happy birthday BROTHER” card, and called me Turd Face in it???
In highschool, my dad was arrested. He got into drugs pretty badly. I did not talk to him again until college. Then, about 2 years after our “reconnection” he decided to stop speaking to me again.
He died 2 years ago, and did not even reach out to me to tell me he was sick. I heard from other family, but I did not make an effort to reach out to him. Figured it was HIS job to do since he was the one that needed to make peace. Needless to say I never heard from him. And I did not shed one tear at his funeral. He was already dead to me
Sorry to hijack your post….just want to tell show you that there are SO many of these stories out there. I dont understand how a father would not want to connect with his daughter. Im sorry that you are feeling pain, but to be honest, I dont think you should waste any time feeling badly. Nothing that happened with your father can be changed now. And NOTHING YOU DID WAS YOUR FAULT!!!!
Post # 5
@MrsFuzzyFace: Your life coach is so right – you don’t have to pretend you had a normal, healthy or happy childhood (at least with regard to your father). You can accept the dysfunction and pain and grow from it.
I, like you, had an abusive father growing up. And it never really hit me how bad it was at times until I was around people who were never treated that way by their fathers. The contrast is what brought it to my attention. When you’re a child you don’t realize that the way your life is is wrong or different from other people.
However, having gone through extreme adversity as a child strengthens some people – as it did you and me. We have chosen to take the pain and learn from it and never forget that our actions and behavior really matter and affect other people.
You’re a wonderful Mom. You have a depth of compassion from what you went through that gives you an insight into the vulnerability of your child that you would not have otherwise had.
We have to look on these past experiences as teachers and gifts. If it weren’t for the trauma and pain then we may not be as clearly able to see and feel the love and tenderness now.
Think of the past pain as a deep pit dug in your soul that is now filled with blessings and peace.
Post # 6
I think you would really enjoy and benefit from the book “radical forgiveness.” With your strong faith, I think you would love it, and I find it is very helpful. See if you can get a copy!
Post # 7
I had a rough childhood at times, but nowhere near the caliber that you had. My dad played favorites (still does). Growing up, my brother would tell people that my dad didn’t have favorites; he just didn’t like me. Anything I wanted came second to my brother’s and sister’s wants. They were allowed to do things that I hadn’t been allowed to do at the same age or even older. My mom tried to even things out, but Dad always had final say in everything. He had anger problems and yelled a lot. When I was 15, I finally got fed up and yelled back. He slapped me across the face.
I still live at my parents’ house, and we’re civil now and can talk, but only about really superficial things. My mom said he’s not expecting to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day. He still doesn’t seem to understand why I avoid him…
My heart goes out to you, MrsFuzzyFace.
Post # 8
When bad memories surface for me, I like to remind myself that my past may have been bad, but now it shows just how truly blessed I am to have such a wonderful partner in life and that the bad make my current happiness even better.
Post # 9
@HelleCat: Me too! I tell my Fiance that my life with him now makes up for every single bad thing that’s ever happened to me. 🙂
Post # 10
Thanks for the input ladies. It is really mind boggling to come to terms with the fact that your deceased parent was most likely mentally ill. It explains A LOT though. I have definitely learned through this process to take time to feel things and not just file it away.
Post # 11
@MrsFuzzyFace: Wow, that was cruel. My dad made some pretty bad comments as well… nothing quite like that, though. I can see why it would haunt you!
I had a good childhood until my dad left when I was 13. It was weird though… I found out things about him (like how he squandered all our money and that he left my mom for a younger woman) and we were estranged by the time I was 15. He is not a good person. I wonder how a father can just up and leave his kids.
I figured I was fine and always prided myself on the fact that I cut him out of my life since he was no good to me… but I think that the older I get I also realize how the whole experience affected me. I definitely have trust issues and as much as I hate the term, self esteem issues. On one hand I can have a bit of an ego, but on the other hand I worry I am not good enough and I don’t deserve happiness. I think this can all be traced back to my past.
I don’t really like to talk about it, and I try and focus on the future, but sometimes I wonder if my insecurities are because of him. I wouldn’t be surprised. I’ve always been a pretty anxious person as well, and constantly worry about one thing or another.. my dad never helped. A good father would have snapped me out of it.
I guess all we can do is acknowledge that our past was not perfect, and move on the best we can.