My Dad The Villain In His Life Story (G-uno)

My strange relationship with my Dad was the single most impacting relationship of my childhood. This is my first attempt to post about it so please bear with me, because it will hands down be the most difficult post I am sure I will ever write. I would like to start out by saying that our relationship comes with some very graphic unpleasant details, so this may not be a post that’s suitable for you. I would also like you to know that in spite of some of the details I will share with you, my intention is to bring some perspective on what it’s like to be the child ofย someone who was mentally ill, and was never diagnosed. This above all else is the true tragedy in my story. In fact my Dad is the main victim in this situation, because he was cast as the villain in his own life story.

Being born in the wrong the era can make a catastrophic difference in your life story. Just ask the women who were burned at the stake for being cast in the roles of witches. Being mentally ill in today’s world is incredibly difficult at best, but being mentally ill in the ย 60’s was a completely different animal. Are you familiar with the term “there’s a fine line between genius and insanity”? I fully understand this concept. Having known many people who deal with mental illnesses, I can tell you that in my experiences the majority are highly intelligent people bordering on genius. My Dad was extremely intelligent. One might think well this should be a great asset in life, but I have found this to be the complete opposite for people dealing with mental illness. It perpetuates the false belief that intelligence should over ride the symptoms of their disorder. This is about as logical as telling a diabetic “Well use that intelligence of yours to tell your pancreas to work correctly” you see my point? Stigmas associated with mental illness keep people from seeking medical care. The fear of being labeled as crazy, and being thrown into some horrifying mental institution (sadly not that far from the truth) was a very liable reason for my Dad to keep his personal issues a secret and certainly played a huge part in his self medicating with alcohol. My Dad was a severe alcoholic.

Dad’s violent, paranoid, and erratic behavior was always attributed to his constant drinking. I believe this false concept is frequently assigned to people with mental illness by unknowing, well-meaning family members, friends, and co-workers… Just one more thing “they” should be able to control. It’s no wonder the suicide rate is so significant among people who have mental illnesses. Can you even begin to imagine being smart enough to know something is terribly wrong within yourself, the self loathing, and to have a society that blames you ( for something that those without mental illness) fail to recognize? For many years of my life I inflicted this judgement onto my Dad, not only during my entire childhood but well into my adult life! I for lack of a better depiction tied him to the proverbial stake, and lit the fire every time I felt the need to defend myself from his deplorable behavior.This thought alone haunts me on a constant basis.

Every time he would come home drunk, enraged by his own delusions yanking me from my childhood bed to beat me unmercifully I would pray for his death! Even worse was to watch him beat your mother or siblings, you would do anything to divert his attention back unto you just so you would not have to watch in horror as your other family members endured his torture! I still vividly remember not being able to sleep, my stomach in knots knowing that at some point when he returned home from the bar that we would hear those footsteps coming down the hallway. The anticipation of what was about to happen to you was as damaging as each physical blow. The emotional and verbal abuse was unimaginable, the horrible words, accusations left marks on our souls that we carry even today. The deep humiliation of having other people witness these almost daily abuses even more devastating. Every single day uncertain of what might happen. Hating him, loving him, in those even stranger days where he seemed “normal” and he was so loving we were still somehow tortured inside.

It would take a thousand posts, and a much better writer than myself to accurately tell this story. After all this is a story that has lasted for fifty years plus. My intention today was to bring about some awareness regarding our worldwide lack of knowledge, empathy, research, and ability to recognize mental illness. To point out how improper diagnosis, and treatment has the potential to destroy a person’s life story. My hope is that by removing blame, shame, and stigma we will be able to someday give everyone’s life story a shot at being a fairy tale. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  1. #1 by g2 on December 10, 2014 - 4:03 am

    I’m so glad you stepped into this. I know it is probably one of the hardest things to talk about but I’m so glad you’re doing it. I take that back, I have no fucking clue how hard it is. I had a mental abuser for a caretaker, you had the double whammy that is something I cannot even begin to fathom, I can only guess. But I’m cheering for your bravery.

    You’re right, the diagnosis sticks with you. If its severe enough the state can come in and take over everything you ever tried to build up for you and your family and their welfare is not even taken into consideration. We don’t allow mental illness to be a treatable issue, like cholesterol, diabetes, etc. It’s still mentally aligned to serial killers, rapists, and those completely dysfunctional. Those considered “lesser” than average. Like a proverbial “awww, he thinks he’s people” kind of attitude.

    Love him for the man he was without the illness, hate the illness, but don’t ever beat yourself up over anything you ever thought or desired as a child. We have such nonexistent power as children… we are so helpless… our heads are the only place where it’s just for us, where its safe to think and feel and play out whatever scenario gets us through the day. It’s the only real defense mechanism we have. Don’t feel bad for using it.

    Look what you have surpassed. Look at what you completely sloughed off and evolved away from. How freaking strong and amazing you are ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. #2 by lbeth1950 on April 20, 2015 - 11:38 pm

    Glad you wrote about this. I still struggle with loving and hating my father, even though I’m in my sixties. It would have been so much easier if I hadn’t had moments of his love and years of misery, though I would have been so much poorer. Thanks.

    • #3 by idioglossiablog on April 21, 2015 - 10:24 am

      My pleasure. Kindred spirits, it took me years to work through the hurt. It’s very interesting to see how each of my other siblings have internalized our upbringing. I’m sorry for your painful struggle. I appreciate your taking the time to read my post. I am a big fan of your blog! G-uno

  3. #4 by abbiegrrl on January 9, 2016 - 3:28 pm

    Reblogged this on abbiegrrl's recovery blog and commented:

    I tried to reply to this three times, telling how I relate to the writer AND her Dad. I guess I was supposed to share it instead.

  4. #5 by carolineturriff on January 9, 2016 - 4:14 pm

    I really feel for you for this story. Unfortunately, as a recovering addict, these situations where mentally ill people beat their children are something I hear far too much about. You don’t say how you dealt with this trauma – did you turn to alcohol yourself? Well done if you didn’t. I would be interested to hear how your adult life turned out. My mother and father were mentally abusive and my mother tried to beat me but I was a tough little kid and was stronger than her so she couldn’t do it. Unfortunately my childhood trauma led me to bulimia, drugs, OCD, depression and many other problems, which I am just now recovering from. http://bit.ly/1ER5cLY

  5. #6 by idioglossiablog on January 9, 2016 - 5:51 pm

    Thank you for your heartfelt words. I would like to first say that the majority of people with mental illnesses are not abusive, in fact they are more likely to be abused. My father was subjected to all forms of abuse in his childhood. It’s my personal opinion that environment over genetics may have been the reason he was so abusive. I believe that fear of the stigmas associated with having a mental illness kept him from getting help leading to his own self medicating with alcohol. I started drinking, and partying in middle school. Alcohol was not my drug of choice. I partied like a rockstar for almost a decade. I was textbook wreckless. Interestingly enough I have never dealt with this side of my life with professional help. I think if I had it may have saved a lot of people in my life a great deal of difficulties.
    I woke up one day after a particularly wild night.After stepping over numerous passed out bodies while making my way to the bathroom I stopped, and looked into the mirror at myself. I saw more than my reflection. I saw a pretty messed up individual who was actively participating in a life she swore she would never be a part of with every part of herself. I felt sick to my core. I spent the next week tying up the loose ends of my life. Then I got a call from my now husband ๐Ÿ˜‰ who was living in another state. I told him I was done living the way I had been living, that I was leaving the next day to head up North. He asked me to change my direction,and come South. I did go South, and I have been here for over 3 decades.
    My husband has been on the receiving end of my journey to outgrow my past. I wish I could tell you that I never think about the past, but I do have those days. What I can tell you is that I speak about it openly, as truthfully as possible. I’ve made a conscious decision to release myself from my childhood, and all the things that were not in my control. I have also made the conscious decision to take responsibility for all my decisions in my adult life because that is within my control. I find great comfort in knowing I am the master of my destiny. I look at my past as a learning experience. Something that has given me an insight on so many really important life issues.
    Our joke (between my sister,and I) is that some people have the type of childhood that teaches you what to do in your adult life while others have the type that teaches you what not to do. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The fact that you have chose to be so truthfully open about your life tells me that you are strong, intelligent, and you have exactly what it takes to be healthy,and happy in your life. Our issues however excruciatingly difficult are ironically also our strengths.
    I don’t reach for perfection (most of the time ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) I just try to find the happiness in each day, reminding myself that I deserve happiness. We all do. Some days I fail miserably, but like everything else in life I get a little better each day with practice. Sending you positive thoughts as you move forward in your life. Please let me know how it’s going.We are all in this together. G-uno

  6. #7 by daisywillows on January 27, 2016 - 12:28 pm

    What a post. I suppose not having addressed his problems in the 60’s led him to become violent on alcohol; Always be truthful. Your story needs to be told ๐Ÿ™‚

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