March 8, 2016

Welcome to the Paupers Graveyard

Our father never lived with us again after he put a knife to our mother's throat and shredded her clothes.  Instead, he came over and spent the weekends with us.

I honestly don’t know where he lived during the week, but since he had no job I think it’s safe to assume he lived in a transient hotel.

I was indifferent to his visits because instead of bringing a good change to our daily dysfunctional lives, he made it worse.  Despite all his promises to change, he would come over with bottles of alcohol and nudie magazines.

He disrespected our mother by looking through nudie magazines at the dinner table while eating and making rude sexual comments to my sister and mother.  Occasionally he would show me a picture of a woman with small breasts and tell me that's what I would look like when I became a woman.

While you could see our mother slowly losing her temper, it was my sister’s behavior that always took me by surprise.  While she was usually very talkative, when father came to visit she became very withdrawn and after dinner went straight to the room she shared with Peter.

Almost like clockwork, by the end of the night our father would be drunk and fighting with our mother about how she drove him to drink because she was crazy.

During our father’s last visit he would get drunk and after dinner tell me to try his cigarette and whiskey.  Peter tried to stop him, and that led to a huge fight between father and Peter.
At one point our father went to the kitchen and came back with a long knife and attacked my brother.  He pushed my brother onto the sofa and was holding him by his throat and I could see my brother was having trouble breathing and was fighting for his life

I began crying and screaming at our father to stop, but he couldn’t hear me because he was in a rage and screaming that he was going to kill my brother once and for all.

Mother ran to the kitchen and came back with a wooden baking rolling pin and hit father over the head as hard as she could, knocking him out cold.  Peter wanted to call the police but mother refused.  Instead, Peter helped mother drag our father by his ankles out to the hallway.

Mother shut the door and waited in the hallway for our father to wake up.  We heard them arguing through the door.  Peter held onto me and I could feel him shaking as he told me, "Everything's going to be okay."  I knew he was trying to calm himself down.

Our father never came to visit again.  The last time I saw my father was on the street when I went grocery shopping with mother.  He was homeless in a dirty long wool coat.  He walked with his head hung and looked like a dying man.

I wanted to go to him and give him a hug, but instead, mother shoved me into the doorway of one of the buildings and looked scared that father would see us.

A few months later mother would receive a telegram informing her that father had died of renal failure and had been buried in the pauper’s graveyard.

When our mother told us that father had died, I was surprised to see her cry, but not surprised to hear her say, "Good."  I wasn't surprised when Grace expressed that she hoped he burned in hell.  Peter had simply left the room with no comment.

While Grace had been a victim of our father's perverted sexual needs, Peter had been a victim of father's resentment that Peter acted like the man of the house.

I didn’t know how to feel.  I had never been close to my father and instead of feeling a deep loss I felt relief knowing he wouldn't hurt Peter again.

I knew I was supposed to feel pain over losing my father, but I honestly didn’t feel anything, which made me feel guilty, so I forced myself to cry a few tears.

Through the death of my father I learned that I liked the sympathy and kindness people showed when I told them my father had died.

For the first time I understood why it was so easy for my mother and sister to use sympathy to manipulate people.  Mother would garner sympathy by telling her friends how evil our father was and how he forced her to come to America.  Grace would make up lies about fake illnesses she had to get friends to feel sorry for her.

Until father died I had nothing to use to garner sympathy from people.  I couldn't tell anyone how mother hurt me because she would kill me, but now I had something and it felt good to have people feel bad for me.

I interpreted sympathy and kindness as something equal to caring and love.  I had a distorted belief that no one would feel sympathy for me unless they really cared about me.

As a young adult I began to feel torn about sympathy.  A part of me liked getting sympathy from people, especially when I was stuck in the victim mentality.  I needed someone to feel bad for me.  The other part of me felt annoyed with sympathy.

It took time to realize that the reason I was increasingly annoyed with sympathy was because it was an emotion that mother and Grace used to manipulate and hurt people.  I didn't want to hurt anyone.  I just wanted someone to feel bad for me.  I was craving attention, but I didn’t know exactly why.  All I knew was that having someone feel sad for me felt good.

Eventually I would realize that my need to have someone feel bad for me was simply a need for someone to love me.  Through my efforts of trying to garner sympathy, I was trying to find the affection and love I never received from my mother.

The older I became the more I grew to resent sympathy.  It became a useless emotion I had no need for.  As I searched for answers on how to heal, I no longer needed people to feel bad for me.  I needed people who could help me to get better.

1 comment :

  1. The relief of not having to deal with your father's craziness had to be a huge relief for your family.