Well, I finally did it....
After almost 32 years of dealing with an alcoholic, self-absorbed, abusive father...I have finally done it. I have broken off all contact with him.
I feel relieved, in a way. And very, very sad. But the Good Lord knows, I have tried. I've tried for years, for my kids if for nothing else. But he's even a bad grandfather at this point...and after he forgot my kids' birthdays AGAIN, I stopped talking to him.
And then, came the day before yesterday, when the straw that broke this camel's back finally occured.
My dad and my former stepmonster are back together.
I told my father, last year when he came to visit me, that if the two of them EVER got back together, I was done. Finito. End of story. I would not, will not, cannot have that evil woman back in my life.
And how did I find out about all this? She emailed me.
Here's the first email, and my response. Emails have been X'd out, and names have been reduced to initials. Stepmonster is referred to, of course, as Stepmonster:
In a message dated 6/12/2006 4:03:01 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, XXXX writes:
Dear Angel, I bet you do not know who is really sending you this message.
Your dad is fine and T and him are divorced. Your father is now back in
L and my life, he is back in Ohio with F. I have never really
gotten over the whole situation with your dad but have never stopped loving
him, life is too short and none of us is getting any younger. I hope that
this news does make you happy and that you and your dad can resolve your
differences.If you want youcan call us at XXXX Love Stepmonster
The fact that he didn't call, send a card or anything for my kids' birthdays doesn't exactly lend well to resolving any "differences." Wren's birthday was on Tuesday, you know. And Phoenix's 13th was last month.
If you two are happy, by all means, be happy. But I am not going to let him do to Phoenix and Serenity and Eden what he did to me for years growing up....and trust me, Phoenix definitely knew his Papaw didn't notice his birthday for the second year in a row. I should not have to console my kids because their grandfather is too wrapped up in women, drinking and bullshit to remember they exist. I am tired of making excuses for him. I can handle him treating me that way, he has most of my life anyway (did he tell you, by any chance, that our "differences" started because he got married TWICE and didn't ever bother to tell his oldest child?). But he is NOT doing this to my kids. If he has problems with me, take it out on ME. Don't ignore my kids and treat them as if they don't fucking exist, either.
Give L a kiss for me. Perhaps she will be happy to hear from me, as I get the feeling neither of you will be.
To be honest, I thought that email would put her off. I thought it would get the point across that I am ANGRY and don't want to talk.
The second email, and my response:
In a message dated 6/13/2006 6:21:20 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, XXXX writes:
Angel, I do not know any of the details between you and your father, as far
as I am concerned, I am glad to hear from you. When your father divorced me
all of you kids acted as if I never existed. I never did anything to any of
you and always tried to be there for you. I don't think that you have any
reason to be angry with me. I am sorry he does not remember your kids
birthdays, but I always was the one when you were growing up that remembered
them Please do not take out on me what he has done to you in the past. I had
gone on and started my life with just L and I when he contacted me. I
know that you cannot help who you love and I have never stopped loving your
father.He really hurt me in the past and it is something I may never get
over. I think that I was always good to you and the rest of the kids. If you
do not want to keep in touch with him that is up to you. If you want to
write to me, my email is XXXX. Your father never knew that
I was emailing you until after I did. L is doing fine and so am I. I
bought a house and a new van after the divorce. If I did anything to offend
you please let me know what it was . Love to all of you. Stepmonster
You have got to be kidding me. Do you honestly believe any of this bullshit you just wrote?
I didn't "pretend you never existed" after the divorce, Stepmonster. If you will kindly remember back, you and I continued to email and IM for MONTHS afterwards. Mostly, it was you bashing my dad, remember? Don't bother to deny it; I saved most of them. I stopped being friendly when you called in a false alarm, telling me my grandfather was in the hospital and on "death's door," and I should get on a plane right away. When I found out it was a LIE, I told you never to call me again, and changed my phone number to ensure you didn't call me. I guess you forgot about that, huh? Most convienant.
You "never did anything to me"? You were "good to us kids"? Good Lord, what is the color of the sky in your world? You were as shitty to us as you could possibly be when I was growing up. I remember very vividly my 15th birthday, do you? Probably not, as you didn't remember it when it happened. When you guys finally came around to remembering it, I was told to shut up because YOU were upset over J and couldn't be expected to remember anything as trivial as my birthday. YOU were upset? How the fuck do you think I felt? You wouldn't know, as you never once bothered to try to find out. You were too busy making us feel like utter shit because your kid is a fucking deviant. I remember the little "game" you used to play with M and R and me (and trust me, they remember it, too). You remember, don't you? When you used to pretend to be our "friend," so we would give you "secrets" you could then immediately run to Dad and sit there with that snarky fucking looking on your face while we got beat for it. Yeah, loads of fun....for YOU. I remember having to sleep in a fetid bedroom, with no sheets or pillows, dog shit all over the room stinking to high heaven. I also distinctly remember that your kids' rooms weren't a thing like that. Yet every week, when we'd show up...the room was like a third world fucking country. I remember needing braces, but did I get them? No, S had to have a fucking car. Now I have no teeth, so thanks a lot. Do you remember when I got beat for refusing to call you "Mama Jean"? I do. How about all the stuff you stole from the house when Dad left you, stuff that had belonged to people I loved and cared about, people M and R and RJ loved and cared about? In your zeal to punish Dad, you could not have cared less about us. I also remember, whether you want to or not, the incredibly shitty way you treated my mother for years and years. And then there was the despicable way you behaved at my mother's wake. Did you even realize that EVERYONE there was talking behind your back about what a disgusting person you are?
But you know what you did to me that's really stood out in the last day since I got your first email? The time you told my sister, either not knowing that I could hear you or not caring, that you didn't believe all the things J.D. had done to me because "I kept going back." Well, aren't you the little fucking hypocrite. Dad beat you, beat on your kids, cheated on you left and right and left you for an Internet whore...and YOU TOOK HIM BACK!
Those are only a few instances, Stepmonster. If you think you were "nice" to us growing up, I'd hate to see what you being "mean" would have been. There's a reason us kids refer to you as "the stepmonster."
As for my kids' birthdays, it is sorry and pitiful that the two of you actually think there is ANY excuse for doing that to a child. He is a grown man who should be able to remember, or at least write the fuck down, the birthday of his oldest grandchild. He doesn't do it, because he doesn't care. Last year, I even emailed him and REMINDED him of their birthdays. He STILL forgot them, so wound up in his own bullshit that nothing else mattered. Did he even tell you I have another child? You wouldn't know it from his end...he forgot her first and second birthdays.
You are a complete fool. You think Dad called you because he loves you and misses you? Give me a break. He knew you wanted him back for YEARS. We talked about it, on our visits. He LAUGHED about it. You were the butt of his joke. The only good thing he had to say about you was that you were good in the sack. He also said he'd never take you back, but I guess he's a fucking hypocrite, too. And you, you're just too blind to see that he took you back not because of this undying love (had he loved you, he never would have left you for another woman...which anyone with half a brain could figure out), but because he lost the latest Internet whore and God knows, Dad can't be expected to wash his own clothes or take off his own boots or any of the other million meaningless chores he expects his wife, or slave, to do for him. You've got a new house and van, huh? You think THAT didn't figure into Dad's plans at all? You must be blind. Of course, he'll tell you that none of this is true....and you'll believe it, as you always did. That's what makes you a fool, Stepmonster.
If he hurt you in the past, well, join the club. He hurts everyone. That's what he does. You're a fool, because you KNOW it, and you're going back anyway. You deserve what you get from here on out. Just as you thought I deserved what I got. Karma sucks, doesn't it?
I'm sure most of everyone else is kissing your ass right now, talking about how "happy" they are that the "family" is back together. And you're doing double-time, ingratiating yourself to the extended family and telling, in that loud booming voice, everyone about how you never stopped loving him and blah blah blah. What's hilarious is that you think anyone actually believes it.
Well, I'm done kissing your ass, and his ass. I'm in bad shape. I live, daily, in more pain than you or Dad could possibly imagine. Dad does not give a rat's ass. And neither do you, so spare me any such stepmotherly declarations. You want to talk about life being too fucking short? Life is too short to put up with the two of you. You, in particular, have caused me nothing but pain and grief. These past six years of you being gone were wonderful. And I'm not going back to a life of (Stepmonster's maiden name) bullshit. If dad wants it, have at it. I don't. There's a reason I moved 2500 miles away from you people. It's a pity you idiots haven't figured out what that reason is yet.
Don't email me again. I assure you, I will just delete them, so it's wasted effort. As you said, life's too short...and I am not interested in playing family with you. I have a real family who actually cares about me, and loves me, without games and drama and endless amounts of bullshit. Leave me to them.
I have not heard back, so I suppose the message finally got through.
I couldn't believe it when she emailed me the second time. This horrid, abusive, disgusting woman, who made my childhood a nightmare, having the nerve to tell me she "loves" me and "was always good to" me? This is the same woman who, after I (and four other young girls) was sexually assaulted by her son, called me a liar and a sniveling brat. This is the same woman who once gave me permission to go on a date, knowing full well my father had told her no, not yes, and then locked the door so I couldn't get back in. My father tried to choke me, and I had to leave home, running, with no shoes and no money. But she was "always there for me"? Is she purely evil, or just plain stupid? I think it might be a little of both.
My husband has been begging me to cut off contact for years. He hates them all, for making me sick from the amount of stress they pile up on me. Never once, do any of them call to ask how I am feeling or doing. Never once, do I hear from any of them when I've been in the hospital. But my father threw a HUGE hissy fit when I didn't call him following the death of Dale Earnhardt...a man he never knew!
It's taken me years to realize it, but they really do only cause me pain and grief. They so clearly, patently, don't care about me or my kids at all. And do I really want my kids around these people, these abusive drunks? NO!
I just can't go back to having that woman in my life, after being rid of her for so many years...wonderful years, glorious years. That woman, she lives for drama and head games. When bored, she creates it, and enjoys it. And sadly, she is often bored.
And what about my dad? He forgets my kids' birthdays. He never calls me, never checks to see how I am doing. He could not care less about my MS. When I told him when I first got the DX, his attitude was "so what?" I asked him to tell other members of the family, so I would not have to...but months later, when I came to visit, I found out that he had told NO ONE. When I told him it looked like my MS was going progressive, and it was upsetting me, he said, "What did you expect? You knew it could happen. No use bellyaching over it." Gee, way to be supportive, Dad.
When my grandfather died almost 13 years ago, he asked me to try to get along with my dad. I tried, Papaw. I really, really did. I swallowed my pride on so many occassions, I have long since lost count. I have put up with so much more than any one person should ever have to. And now? I am just too damned sick to do this anymore.
And I am too damned sick for it. I can't have this kind of stress. I need to be surrounded by people who love and respect and care for me. I can't have toxic people in my life. It's literally a matter of my health, and my sanity. I have to weed out the people who do not care for me, who only bring pain and stress and heartache into my life. And the top of that list: Dad and Stepmonster.
They made my childhood a living hell. I won't let them do it to my kids, and I won't let them continue to do it to me.
I tried. I tried to get along with him. But it can't be done.
So I won't try anymore. I don't have it in me now. And you know what? I shouldn't have to choose between my father and my health. But I do, and it's really no contest. I'm not getting sicker because he's an abusive drunk. I'm not getting sicker because he went back to the Harpy from Hell. I'm not getting sicker because he cares far more about himself than he ever did care about me.
I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my very soul. The past is now in the past...and my present and future are about my REAL family. The people who actually do love and respect me.
If I could say anything to my father right now, and I know I can never have that opportunity, for he would never listen...this is what I would say:
I love you. But you just don't get it. I am really sick. It's not a game, or something I can ignore. I have to take care of myself, and I can't let you keep making me sicker. I can't let you keep making me cry, or not sleep because I am worried about you ending up in prison or a ditch or worse. I can't be the only one who keeps trying at this relationship. I know you, for some reason, think that's the way it should be, that I should do all the work and I should have to simply "live with" or "deal with" whatever you throw my way. But, Dad, I'm not a kid anymore. I don't have to live with it, or deal with it. And all the things you've done to me? I don't have to "get over it," either. I can walk away. I didn't want to, but you've left me with no choice. I can't go through all this with you again, and with her. I can't live that way anymore. It's literally toxic for me. And I won't let my kids grow up the way I did, with your toxic presence and her toxic presence. They should never have to know that kind of pain, the kind that was with me all my life. And you can yell about how I am "disrespectful," or "living in the past," or any of a million different things, but it's not even close to the truth. And you can insist that I "don't want you to be happy," but that's not true, either. I do want you to be happy. You have a right to be happy. But you know what? So do I. So you go and be happy with her in Ohio. I'm going to go and be happy here in Oregon. This is where it ends, Dad. You've never wanted to be my father, and I've never wanted to be your daughter...this is where all the pretending otherwise ends. Maybe we'll both be happier this way, who knows. I hope so.