I don't think a day goes by where I don't get mad at the son-of-a-bitch at least once or twice. He was cruel, unloving, hateful, and pretty much insane. My childhood is pretty much under a cloud that was my father. In fact, I find it hard to BE a dad because of him. I think a lot of my male-anxiety comes from the past I have with him.
When I think of my childhood, I think I have the same reaction young Jews fleeing Europe in the 30s and 40s must have felt about Hitler. His fear was everywhere, and he touched and ruined everything you had ever loved. He was out to get you, and made no attempts to disguise this fact. You hated him because you were terrified of him. I have so many reasons to hate the man. I have scores of childhood traumas, and I'd say a good portion of my daily brain cycle is devoted to overhead just to keep back the tide of childhood memories from stuff he did to me. I mean, I had bullies in school, lots of them, but I can't even remember their names anymore. I barely remember specific incidents where I was beaten by bullies in school more than I have of similar encounters with my father.
My friend Bruce always said, "You should never hate, because rarely does the person you hate care about it, and then you're left doing all the work." My relationship with my father is so dead on to this concept. Hate is a transference of power. I give my father power over me, every day, and I doubt he even thinks of me anymore. Sometimes I wonder if anyone has asked him if he has kids after I moved out on my own, and whether he said, "from a former marriage," or just, "no." So why the hell do I even care?
Well, there's always the loose ends. I guess we all want approval of some kind from our dads, and I never got that. My father was the typical "never good enough" type of parent when it came to praise. Some kids go insane trying to impress such a parent, and some, like me, gave up. In fact, it was sort of a sick game I played where I pretended to be really stupid. Like pot-head stupid. Sometimes, I'd even do the, "Duuuuhhh..." look and act like I couldn't even navigate a hallway without bumping into something. It was a very passive aggressive move on my part, to be truthful. Part of it came from the fact that there were several instances where showing I was right, or smart, got me punished. Severely. "Playing dumb," was sort of a part I learned because assuring him I was stupid was cathartic to him, almost like watching a heroin addict take a hit. "Playing clever" was a sure way to get punished, often way out of proportion to the crime. It seemed to be a threatening posture to show even a hint of power, which was pretty random. There were many things I was punished for that left me confused. Like every time he beat me severely... I don't recall what started it (although it has occurred to me that I may be blocking it out). I also think playing dumb meant that I had given up trying, and set my standards so low that achieving them required little energy. Sadly, I got addicted to this game, and it spread into my personal life, and finally, in my blood. My self confidence can be very shaky sometimes, in uncertain territory, and I fall back into old habits. But when I think back to all the "Duhhh... I dunno," crap I pulled? I can't blame him for hating me for that. I think that was on purpose.
Forgiving is a very hard thing to do sometimes. The only kind of forgiving I can tolerate is unconditional. Otherwise, there's too many gray areas. I have been told forgiving is often harder when you blame yourself, at least in part, towards the person you hate, and I think that's true in this case. I have forgiven a LOT of people in my past, and I know what an enormous release that is, but it's easier if you have no guilt attached. Sometimes you have to forgive yourself as much as the person you are forgiving. Like, "I'm sorry I blew up your car because you slept with my sister," would be a good example of a hard apology, especially if the statutory limit on car bombing in your state hadn't passed yet. I have forgiven friends who have "done me wrong" in the past because of mistake, miscommunication, or just time. Like I have forgiven almost everyone who did anything mean to me five years ago or earlier if they were under 25 at the time, because I figure sometimes we mature, and I want to give hem the benefit of the doubt. These limits will expand in time. But forgiving 18 years of hell? Takes a lot of undoing.
I have considered several scenarios, and none of them are very good. The first thought was to totally block out my childhood, and never speak of it again. That didn't go very far, because not only would this make me psychotic, but doomed to repeat the mistakes I learned from him (i.e., what not to do). Then I thought of the, "he was insane, and couldn't help it," route. This gets weak because while I do realize that insanity runs on that side of the family like a poisoned black vein down the family tree, he was a fully cognizant man, very intelligent, and ... well, it feels like I am making excuses. If I go murder a guy, insanity won't excuse me from the family of the victim. No one forgave Hitler, for instance. I have also tried to see it from his point of view; raised poor by an alcoholic dad, a crazy mom, married an alcoholic wife, had a stressful job, and so on, but his brother says he was cruel as a child, too, so that's more leaning towards the insanity plea. So the last resort I have to do is tot totally muster up enough strength to collect all the memories, pain, and anguish, and just forgive the poor man. And there, I lack the strength.
I'm too weak. In fact, the hatred and anger still burns strong like a fire, and I have often used it to complete physical labor. If I have to do something I hate, and requires a lot of muscular power, I just relive some thing he did to me, and wala! Like taking steroids. It's some weird fuel that not only burns and powers the engines, but also burns and damages all the parts until I am left spent and bruised. Sadly, whiule this does get a lot of housework done, this is doing me no good mentally.
I have tried to disassociate myself from him, but I'm not fooling anyone, especially myself. My blog is FULL of it, like stains on a carpet that just keep coming back. It's a bile I am constantly spitting out. While writing this, I told myself, "No specific events, do NOT get into that trap..." because once I start...
Some potential entries have been pages and pages of abuse, but after I reviewed them (I was so angry, I had to do the "wait 24 hours before posting rule"), I thought, "This is far too shocking, ugly, and ... dammit, almost unbelievable. People are going to think this is a V.C. Andrews novella." So I have to refrain from specific incidents, however many may escape, from becoming long histories.
Still, the power I could have if I forgave him...
Sorry for the first 18 years of my life. I suck as a son.
Please love me,
Your son Grig Larson.
Nah... not sincere enough. It makes me want to add, "I'll do anything to have a real dad in my life, even live in denial!" Besides, I bet he'd think, "who?" Some quote goes, "To err is to human, to forgive, devine!" Maybe God or whatever is the only one who could forgive him fully.
Must be nice to be God.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000358.html