Father's Day was good from the perspective of my little family. My husband is a devoted father and I enjoyed celebrating the day for him. I had some thoughts, though, about my dad that were kind of angry.
To give a little background, my SA abuse was at a family friend's house where me and my little brother were being babysat while my parents went out; their oldest boy violated me. Because of how harsh my mother was, I never felt safe telling. I tested the waters many times to try and tell her, and she was never in a frame of mind to be understanding of my feelings or questions. I've talked some about my mother here--she was abusive in other ways: emotional, verbal, and some physical with getting slapped and knocked around. She was often in a rage with me. She told me she hated me when I was four years old. I believe that she was jealous of me early on because she constantly tried to break my spirit.
My dad has been dead for almost eleven years. I've always felt that on Father's Day I should take some time to reflect on his life and be grateful for the kind of person he was. He was a good man, had a great sense of humor, and was fun to be with. But he was gone a lot since besides working he was always working on his college degree. Because he was gone so much he would get rants from my mom about how awful us kids were to her, and then he'd have a talk with me, being the oldest, about helping out more and being more obedient. Once he told me that she wasn't the same woman he married; that when they dated she was soft-spoken and sweet, and that since she had us kids she wasn't like that any more. He would ask me to do more. The thing was he wasn't getting the whole story, and I tried very hard, but I couldn't win with her. One of my brothers is very angry with him for not standing up to her and telling her to knock it off. He's pointed out that the fact that dad is dead doesn't make him a saint. He died from Multiple Sclerosis, so he was in decline for a long time. I think during that time he saw what she was really like because he had to retire early and she cared for him at home when he couldn't take care of himself any more. She was abusive to him, too--sometimes she hit him and we saw her shove food down his throat many times when she didn't want to take the time to let him eat slowly the way he needed too because he was losing muscle control. She was awful.
Because of the way he died and the things he endured, he's kind of been up on a pedestal in our family. It has seemed wrong to be angry with him for anything. But as I've worked on allowing my feelings, I have felt some anger at him for not helping me. When there were obvious signs that I was distressed, no one took the time to find out what was bothering me. I would get yelled at for spending too much time in my room, or like one time when my dad was frustrated with me he was passing me on the stairs and I ducked because I thought he was going to slap me. He said, "Oh, that really takes the cake." And he was angry about that, instead of taking the time to sit down and ask me why I thought he was going to hit me.
A part of me is afraid of feeling this way because he is dead. I'm afraid I'll be judged for not being more respectful.
co-cl, Sexual Abuse Healing Board