Repost for Father’s Day: First I feared him, then I loathed him, then I forgave him and now I take care of him: the story of my Father and me

15 Jun


My father was born in 1938 during WWII in a small town outside a large city in Germany.  He was the only son in a family of ten children.  He was six years old when the war ended in 1944, and his earliest memories are of houses burning, being painfully hungry and soldiers marching.

Dad and his sisters suffered through extreme food deprivation, as did countless others.  Indeed, he experienced such severe malnutrition that his growth was permanently stunted and he reached an adult height of only 5’4, despite the fact that his father and grandfather and uncles were all well over 6’.  He has huge hands and incredible upper body strength, a testament to the physical man he might have been.

He witnessed horrors we can barely comprehend, including the deaths of four of his sisters.  They did not just die, they died in front of him.  Dad is not forthcoming with war stories, and I have never heard the exact circumstances under which he lost his sisters.  It is simply too painful, all these years later, to recount.  One story he will tell is watching a Russian tank burn, and seeing desperate soldiers escape through the hatch, only to be beaten to death at the roadside by old women with shovels and hammers.


Those experiences made him a profoundly religious man, and sadly, his views of pain and suffering were always ones of comparison.  Dad was offered a place at the gymnasium in Stuggart (a university preparatory), but his father, a former SS officer, forbade it.  He would learn a useful skill, and he was sent to agricultural college.  His father didn’t see the Green Revolution coming, and by the time Dad graduated, industrial farming was well under way.

Dad married in Germany, and had two sons.  Like many others, he turned his face towards the New World, seeking opportunity and greener pastures.  When his children were ten and eight, he set forth for North America, leaving his sons and his wife in the care of his mother and sisters, promising to return for them when he had secured a job and a home for them.

He never went back.  He abandoned them.

He met my mother when she was just nineteen years old and he was considerably older.  He never told her about his family back in Germany, and they married and had four children by the time my mother was 25 years old. My three brothers, and me.

And they were fucking horrible parents.  There is no nice way to spin it.  They embraced a religion that encouraged extreme violence against children.  Their philosophy was that a child’s will must be completely broken so that the child will then accept the will of God.  My mother was ecstatically violent, and my father less so, but they were both culpable. Their particular brand of religious violence continues in America to this day.

To compound our suffering, my parents also believed that any demonstration of physical affection would “spoil” a child, and I have not one single memory of my mother or father kissing or hugging us, or showing any sign whatsoever that they loved us.

When my father came towards me, as a child, all I felt was … fear. I wondered what pain was in store.  And no matter what it was, I knew it would pale in comparison to the pain he had suffered.  I was supposed to feel grateful for that.

I didn’t.


We lived on a farm, growing our own food, making our own bread, with chickens and cows and bees (for honey) and pigs and endless fields of potatoes. Whatever money my parents managed to earn, they turned over to the crazy church.  It was an interesting childhood, to say the least.

And then….my mother discovered feminism. She exchanged one violent, irrational, dehumanizing ideology for another, and she soon decided that she needed a man like a fish needed a bicycle. After countless physically violent arguments with my father, including one episode where she hit him in the head with a cast iron frying pan and left him for dead on the front porch, he turned his back and walked away from us, just like his first family.

One day we woke up and he was gone. My mother was quick to inform us that he simply walked away, and left us to starve in the streets, and that she alone would be the sole reason we survived and prospered. She never missed an opportunity to curse him.  She told us about his first family, and how she did not need to divorce him, because they were never married in the first place.  She hated him and hated all men and our daily lives were filled with her anger and vitriol and violence.  She never gave a moment’s thought to what her hatred of men and our father was doing to her sons. She gave us daily rations of rage and blame and every bad thing that happened was always his fault.

Being a child, I believed it.  So did my brothers.

And we loathed him for it.  How could he leave us with such an evil woman? My mother once held a knife to my throat and made me beg for my life.  When I was eleven. And I remember going to bed, thinking not how much I hated her, but how much I hated HIM for leaving us to her devices.

Needless to say, coming in to my own as a person was a difficult and very fraught process.  When I finally made it to university, I had literally no idea what a loving, affectionate, decent relationship looked like.  I was lucky enough to meet Pixie almost immediately, and although her material circumstances were much more comfortable than mine, she too had experienced a horrifically traumatic and abusive childhood.  I will leave it to Pixie to reveal any details. Suffice to say, at our posh university, we were definitely outsiders.

Interestingly enough, I was never attracted to men who behaved badly.  I never sought to enmesh myself in relationships that replicated the worst of my father.  Quite the opposite.  I didn’t seek out pain in an effort to work through what I had suffered.  I had a lovely boyfriend who was all kindness and sympathy.  He was the gentlest man I have ever known.  And I cannot adequately articulate how his gentleness and caring healed me.

He proposed marriage, but ultimately, he was far too compliant and mild, and I was disconcerted by his willingness to acquiesce to what I wanted, even though I never wanted anything bad.  I could trust him to treat me with the utmost kindness and care, but I could not lean on him.  That was impossible. I declined his proposal and moved on.

I eventually landed at graduate school, in an MBA program, where I met my husband. From the time my father left and all throughout my twenties, I never saw him.  I knew he was working overseas and only landed stateside a couple of times a year, but I never sought him out and he never looked for me.  I married and went overseas myself, and after a year in Australia and another year in China came back to North America with a young daughter and my son only months away from being born.

And then I received a phone call.  It was my father, calling to tell me that my mother’s mother had passed away, and that I should let her know.  So much of the pain had seeped away that I felt confident confronting my father, and I asked him why he had done it.

Why did you just turn your back and walk away?

And then the truth came to light.  He hadn’t walked away.  He certainly had not left us to starve.  My mother had filed for an annulment and requested a restraining order, which she was granted. When I finally saw my father again, he had two boxes with him.  One was filled with income tax returns showing that he had never missed a child support payment, and court orders preventing him from seeing us based on his violence towards my mother, along with supervised visitations that were all scheduled for when he was overseas, working to meet his child support payments.


The other box contained cards and letters.  Birthday cards and so many letters.  All returned.  By my mother.  He never stopped sending them, hoping one of us would one day get the key and fetch the mail, but my mother was always adamant that the mail was her business.  It was one of those community mailboxes, where you had to go and fetch your mail, and since I never got any mail, it never occurred to me that there was anything untoward about my mother’s insistence that only she would have access to it.


As an adult, it makes so much sense.  How did we continue to live in our house?  How was my mother able to afford food and clothing and YMCA memberships for four children without my father’s support? Of course she had his support.  But she hid it from us, and poisoned our minds against our father.  It’s called parental alienation, and she is not the first, nor the last woman to destroy her children in this way.

It’s a special kind of evil.

It has been many years since I have had any contact with my mother.  She hated Mr. JB with a passion, and saw that she could not control him.  She forbid me to marry him.  I told her to go fuck herself. With the birth of my own children, I have truly come to grasp the depths of her depravity.  It is unthinkable for me to hurt my children.  I would die before I ever whipped them unconscious with a wet leather belt.  I would kill anyone who tried to do such a thing.

It was not just my mother who was violent during my childhood, though, and a huge part of the reason I have a relationship with my father is owing to the heart-felt, tear-soaked apology he offered me.  My father does not cry.  It was an intensely emotional experience, to listen to him express his regrets for what he had done.

“If I could do my life again, I would have showered you with love, and never lifted a hand against you”.

He gave no excuses, no justifications, no defenses.  My father looked at me and apologized for being wrong.  So very wrong.

And I forgave him.  I cannot turn back the hands of time and restore his children to him, but I have three beautiful children of my own, and he is a wonderful grandfather to them.  He gives them all the love and attention he denied his own children.  And I understand profoundly how important that is.  In being the mother to my children that I wished I had, I have erased so much of the damage she inflicted.  In being a loving, perfect  grandfather, my father is able to forgive himself for being a terrible father.


The most amazing relationship has blossomed between my Dad and my husband, too.  Mr. JB is the son my Dad wishes he had.  They go fishing and do home improvement projects together and sit in the sun and have cold beer and talk about football.  My Dad holds forth on his crackpot conspiracy theories and my husband laughs at him and tells Dad he’s nuts and they laugh and watch the kids race up and down the street.


Today is Father’s Day.  Millions of fathers will wake up to pancakes and glitter covered construction paper cards and new socks and ties.  Millions more will wake up to a quiet house, their children only ghosts that haunt the corners of the room.  This post is for those fathers.  I am a living testament to the fact that children grow up, and they look back and see truth that they could not see when they were only children.  Estrangement from your children is the most unbearable pain, and to see your children twisted against you is pure agony.

But there is hope.  Children are not children forever.  The brutal reality is that the women who injure their children in this way will never face any punishment from the law.  Their own children may not be so forgiving.

My mother stole my father from me and blighted my childhood in so many ways. My revenge has been to refuse to allow her to influence my life, to refuse to carry out a cycle of abuse and to be a good mother to my own children.  My revenge has been to marry a good man, and be a good wife.  My revenge has been to find my father, forgive him, and be a good daughter.  I cannot give him back the days past, but I can give him this day, and all the days to come.


Never lose hope.  The future could be so different.

Happy Father’s Day.

Lots of love,


25 Responses to “Repost for Father’s Day: First I feared him, then I loathed him, then I forgave him and now I take care of him: the story of my Father and me”

  1. Zelcorpion June 15, 2014 at 14:48 #

    Raised by a Dark Triad mother is no easy feat.

    I also remember the times I said to my father: “Dad I love you, but I cannot stand being around you and I have to go.” But I knew that he would give his life for anyone of us in a second, so it did not matter.

    The truth is that a relationship/family can be destroyed by either a destructive father and mother. But somehow we are to believe that only men are capable of evil. Currently I think the pendulum swings actually more in the favor of men, because wome are encouraged to engage in any vices to their hearts’ content and are even excused for it.

    Don’t know if there will be a way back or we will see streets of single mother households like in the UK.


  2. Shane June 15, 2014 at 14:54 #

    I wrote the following on the original post the other day, not realizing the post was a year old. So, I wanted to put this story somewhere current so that some Dad here would see it and know that he’s not alone.

    I sat in my car and read this post with tears welling up. I composed myself and drove home thinking about how close to home this hit.

    She’s 22 now. Her mother and I split when she was pregnant. We tried after her birth, but we couldn’t get along. Mom ended up with sole custody and I ended up with child support payments. Back in the 90`s, this is how things rolled. However, mom decided that I wasn’t really good enough to be in our daughters life and started moving around to hide her from me. I went to court to enforce visitation over and over again, but nothing changed. I got to see my daughter on her terms with her conditions or not at all.

    I got married (still am) and this threw my ex for a loop. My wife wanted my daughter in our lives, so we tried everything we could to knock some sense into her. We offered to take her for weekends, even driving 5 hours to stay in a hotel only to find my ex had buggered off for the weekend casually forgetting we were coming. We offered train tickets and hotel rooms for them to come see us, only to be denied. Remember, my wife and I were young and broke, but we still wanted to put in the effort. My wife and I started our own family and expressed the wish for my daughter and our son to grow up together in some way.

    I still remember the day the whole dream came crashing down in a lawyers office. My wife and I wanted to have the custody order amended for some sort of defined shared parenting. The lawyer was very blunt with us and what we heard that day framed the next 15 years. She (yes, she) told us that if we pursued this custody issue, half of my wages would be garnished. And then she looked at my wife and told her that they would garnish based on combined income, so if we were happy to live on half our wages in perpetuity, we could go ahead and pursue this. She even pointed at my infant son sleeping in his car carrier and said (i will NEVER forget this) “if you want him and your future children to do without, then go to court.” The implication being that we would be starving one kid to feed another part time kid.

    We were crushed.

    Now that I think back, I know this lawyer gave us shitty advice, but what did we know?

    Fast forward a few years and a judge in Alberta used a custody case to make a point. He not only raised the father’s monthly support payments, he also charged the father with thousands of dollars in back support to coincide with every raise he had gotten retroactively. Ouch. My wife and I talked about it at the time and hoped that would never happen to us and our now 3 children. We didn’t know where my daughter was because they kept moving, even out of province. We would hear things through the grapevine once in a while, but we weren’t allowed to know where she was. Even the child support people made it clear they could not tell me where my daughter and her mother was.

    On her 18th birthday, the support order against me was done. Soon after, I found her on Facebook and reached out nervously.

    It took her a while, but she responded with only one request. That she should be allowed to call me “Dad”. Oh my.

    We chatted here and there over the next couple of years, I let her set the pace. She moved out west, within a 12 hour drive from us and we continued to casually chat. We exchanged phone numbers and were getting to know each other.

    I never disparaged her mother. She asked me why I left and I told her that I never left, just that some decisions were made for me that prevented us from being together. I was kind and respectful.

    Last summer my wife, our daughter and I planned a road trip to her city. She agreed to meet us with her boyfriend at a coffee shop. I saw her for the first time since she was 3. My wife and her hit it off and they talked and talked and talked, while I sat there grinning and practically shitting my pants in nervousness. At one point my wife went to the bathroom and my daughter asked me why I was so quiet. I told her I was in awe of her maturity and intelligence and beauty (she looks like me) and I was just soaking the moment in. She liked that. Afterwards, she texted me and said she couldn’t wait to meet the rest of her siblings, my sons.

    My wife got in the car after that and started to cry. “she was stolen from you and that’s not fair.” My wife went on to say she regretted that the boys weren’t there so that my daughter could plainly see I’m a good dad and not some deadbeat. Having the whole family in front of her would have made the lies she grew up being told very obvious.

    A while later we were texting back and forth and I said something I shouldn’t have. I asked if she had told her mother that we were talking and had even met. She said no. And I told her that she should because keeping secrets was a bad thing and her mother should know what’s going on.

    Soon after, the texts dried up. I get no response from her at all. Not when I send her a message for holidays and birthdays. Phone calls go unanswered. I think we can all guess what happened.

    So, it’s not all hopeless. She did want me, us, in her life before and she’s still quite young. Someday, I hope she decides I’m worth pissing off her mother for.

    Sorry for the extremely long post, but your story struck such a nerve with me, I had to say something.


  3. boteotu June 15, 2014 at 15:00 #

    Reblogged this on Blogger at the Edge of the Universe..


  4. Michael June 15, 2014 at 15:25 #

    Shane – I am so sorry and salute the class you showed through the years. Perhaps she will reach out some time, maybe when she has her own child. But as a dad you have to do what dads do: difficult things. You may find that some day your daughter not only looks like you but acts like you. Hang in.

    My story is not as as hard as yours by far and turned out better. My ex did the same shell game with my 2 young children. I got the same advice from my lawyer in the 90’s but went to court anyway only to have my ass kicked. I got to drive 18 hours on a weekend to see them for a couple of hours, if there wasn’t an activity planned for them by their mother. They barely knew me and it was the deepest humiliation of my life by far.

    Fast forward to their 20’s and they both moved to my city. They couldn’t live with me (it would be a betrayal of their mother’s narrative!) but proximity turned into calls, into meals, into help, into relationships I never dreamed I would have. Father’s day is thanksgiving for me.

    Shane – you are a father. It’s not the ties or cards that say it. It’s you doing the right thing for your daughter. Thank you.


  5. Shane June 15, 2014 at 15:39 #

    See, you were willing to get your ass kicked in court. I wasn’t. I wasn’t prepared to have my family impoverished over her custody. Of course, that’s just rationalization isn’t it?

    I lived in abject fear of her mother going back to court for 15 years. If she decided she wanted more money, like a lot more, she could have done it. But there was this unspoken agreement it seemed like. I stay away from my daughter, and she won’t put my family into poverty.


  6. Jim June 15, 2014 at 17:08 #

    Michael. Shane.

    Reading stories like this always makes me rejoice over having never married or having kids. These cunts have the power of Adolph Hitler over their families thanks to a sick, twisted political ideology (and it’s weak, mangina enablers) that views men as just disposable utilities. I’m sorry you guys and your children have had to endure this.


  7. Joe June 15, 2014 at 17:33 #

    I congratulate you on your rediscovery. I wish my father had been like yours JB.

    My dad was sick, an alcoholic, and that sickness was (most of the time) non-violent. The incident that ended my mother’s marriage to him was unfortunately not non-violent. He pointed what (he thought) was a loaded firearm at my mother. She thought she had unloaded it, but she wasn’t sure. She filed for divorce a few weeks later, when he refused to give up drinking. Looking back on it, there wasn’t much she could do. She should’ve known better, he came from a family of alcoholics. At the time though, it was considered a family issue at worst, and most of the family was ‘happy’ drunks. They held jobs and paid the bills, so they weren’t ‘bad’ drunks.

    Even after all that, my mother NEVER bad mouthed him once. She made me, literally made my brother and I, go to visit. We were a little afraid of him, because he had turned mercurial after remarrying. In the end we drifted apart, but I gained my musical talent from his side of the family. As my mother said, I was 50% of him (well, not scientifically exact) and half of all that was good and bad came from him.

    Even my grandmother, after sending my brother and I out of the room, chided my grandfather (my dad’s father) after he was bad mouthing his own son. ‘Thats their father, and if you cut him down, you’re cutting them down.’

    My dad was far from perfect, all my presents and birthday cards were because of my stepmother. She squirreled away money (eventually he was drinking, literally, ‘Beer’ no label) for all the kids to get something. Still, he did help me in some ways, especially when he was close to sober. He was never completely sober, he’d have started to detox, but close to sober I could see what I got from him. He was incredibly smart. He could tear an engine apart blindfolded. He could shoot bows and rifles like the marksmen he was in the navy. He could play guitar, piano, and trumpet.

    Part of me wishes he had found a way to stay sober. He died drunk, and I still remain torn about his death. I kiss the dad I could’ve had sober, and still feared the dad I had most of the time as a drunk.


  8. storyshtick June 15, 2014 at 18:23 #

    Don’t mean to pry into your family’s personal business, but you left me wondering how your brothers turned out and if they also reconciled with your father. Beautiful story, hope your happy years with him last a long time.


  9. Borepatch June 15, 2014 at 20:54 #

    This is such a beautiful post. Thank you.


  10. nrjnigel June 15, 2014 at 21:58 #

    The story I have isn’t mine to share. But thank you those who have. Just as JB’s story most aren’t simple and easy . This is the true evil of the forces ideology . To reduce such things to simple sound bite politics. What are needed are principles and morals . To take each circumstance on it’s merits within a framework . Not a punishment for members of a gender .


  11. Amanda June 16, 2014 at 01:16 #

    You see the last one of the feminists on twitter: End the Father’s Day.


  12. TinCan Assassin June 16, 2014 at 01:22 #

    Ma’am, thank you for this post. It’s the only hope I have. My wife left me on Memorial day and took my daughter to another state. Then filed a Restraining Order on me. I’m fighting it, but I’m afraid I will never see her again. I write my daughter letters that I cannot mail. I started that yesterday. It’s been 21 days. I was there when she was born, I held her on my chest when she cried, and now I can’t protect her.I can’t wish her a happy birthday.

    I need hope, ma’am. That maybe one day I will see her again….


  13. Shane June 16, 2014 at 02:21 #

    That Sir, is heartbreaking.

    Sending along all the good karma I can muster.


  14. pukeko60 June 16, 2014 at 07:51 #

    Just post it every year.

    And yes, I am in contact with my daugther, though her mother took her back to Canada before she was a year old. I gave her away at her wedding.

    Her first question when she contacted me was why did I not fight. I replied the courts would not let me — Kiwi fighting in the Canadian courts in the 1980s — get real.

    And her social worker looked at her and said “Your Dad is right”.


  15. Elusive Wapiti June 16, 2014 at 10:27 #

    What a sad but beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it JB.


  16. Relysh13 June 16, 2014 at 14:04 #

    This was so wonderful to read. Thank you for sharing. It’s beautiful.


  17. cheesetrader June 16, 2014 at 17:07 #

    hell yes….what a great ending from which so many beautiful beginnings emerge


  18. sapperlott June 21, 2014 at 14:39 #

    Interesting to read that your old man is from Germany. What’s his german family name?

    You probably meant Stuttgart instead of Stugart. In that case it would be interesting if the agricultural college he went to was the one in Hohenheim. Greetings from Stuttgart 😉


  19. judgybitch June 21, 2014 at 14:47 #

    I believe that is correct. He grew up in Schwabisch Hall, which is a lovely little town.


  20. sapperlott June 21, 2014 at 16:52 #

    Yup – that’s not too far away. Never been there, though.


  21. Texas Tea June 22, 2014 at 01:55 #

    Beautiful story, well told. You are one Strong Woman. So glad you have found your Father and he has found you.


  22. Antipater July 18, 2014 at 04:53 #

    Hello. I found your writing very endearing, I think that it was very heartwarming how you forgave your father, but he does seem like a very good man.

    As a side note, this paragraph disheartens me: “[My college boyfriend] proposed marriage, but ultimately, he was far too compliant and mild, and I was disconcerted by his willingness to acquiesce to what I wanted, even though I never wanted anything bad. I could trust him to treat me with the utmost kindness and care, but I could not lean on him. That was impossible. I declined his proposal and moved on.” I find this particularly hard to understand in the fullest.

    If a partner is expected to be caring for that partner’s love-interest, then would not doing what they find heart-warming be necessary to keep a good relationship? I am sorry my dear, but you are fooling yourself and if you gave him such reasoning, it is far worse than any friend zoning or the Nice Guy who is nice only to have sex—it’s the nice guy who is nice and caring for you. Whatever reason you had not to marry him, that was not it. It was clearly chemistry or you felt that it was just not the right marriage for you—which it seems not to be, given the fact that you disposed of the kindness on the basis it was too kind. It is fine that you did not want to marry him, but it is not fine that you gave such a lackluster reason; it quite simply was that you did not love him. He seems like a very good piece of relationship material, someone who can put another ahead of them self, but in something as dear as marriage, love is more necessary.

    Thank you and I hope that you take no offense—I just find that paragraph disheartening, unbecoming of you, and just wrong (it clearly was not the reason. I am a heterosexual male and I would marry a guy who was like that and whom I also felt mutual feelings for). Please do not explain that away illogically; it was obviously not why you did not marry him.

    Have a nice day.


  23. judgybitch July 18, 2014 at 23:10 #

    Honestly? I didn’t trust myself to be a good wife to him. He would not have challenged poor behaviour on my part. He is a good man. But he was not willing to correct me.


  24. Kevin March 3, 2015 at 20:22 #

    This is a wonderful story. I’m recommending it to a lot of people. There is much to learn here.



  1. Repost for Father’s Day: First I feared him, then I loathed him, then I forgave him and now I take care of him: the story of my Father and me | - June 15, 2014

    […] Repost for Father’s Day: First I feared him, then I loathed him, then I forgave him and now I take… […]


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