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This is a moderated blog is a project of the Ruth Institute. Have a story to share? We're listening.
First, I never knew my biological father. But the pain from that didn't come until later. My mom's husband was there for me from birth until age 8. He was my dad. There is video footage of me telling him I loved him, so perhaps I sincerely did. But my memories of him now are of disgust and not feeling safe in his presence. There's a chance that's due to brainwashing from my mom. Anyways, I have not seen this man since he gave up custody of me ate age 9.
They divorced because he cheated on my mom. All the time. He had fertility issues so apparently he thought he could sleep with anyone he wanted because there wasn't a chance of him impregnating anyone. When they divorced we moved into a small, but nice townhouse. My "dad" moved into a disgusting townhouse across the street that should have been condemned. Every weekend my sister and I were supposed to go to his house to spend time with him. But he didn't do anything to entertain us. We were just forced to be there. He bought us game-boys so we could entertain ourselves. There was never any food. I remember surviving on circus cookies.
My mom's house was much better, much cleaner. Her balcony had plants. His balcony had a rotten out floor-board so we weren't allowed on it or else we would fall three stories down. But my mom was so busy that she couldn't cook real food. Her food was better than his, but it was still mostly lunchables, pizza—anything that we could open and eat on our own accord, or microwave by ourselves.
One day our dad was supposed to give us a present—a big screen TV. He asked for the keys to the apartment so he could drop it off and install it while my mom was at work. She agreed because she didn't want to see him if she didn't have to. He made copies of the keys and later in the week broke into our apartment and supposedly raped my mom.
She was dating a guy at that time and they very quickly moved in together. He came to her rescue and protected her from her ex-husband. He married her and adopted my sister and I. He seemed great.
The thing is their whole marriage was based off of having a common enemy. They didn't build their relationship on mutual love, companionship, understanding, or anything truly positive. In the 16+ years they've been married, the only way they've been able to maintain a connection is by creating enemies that they can bond in the effort to destroy. When we moved across the country to get away from my first dad, he became less of a threat and then my SISTER became the common enemy because she wanted to still have a relationship with the only dad she ever knew (she was 14 when they divorced). They bad-mouthed her day and night because she resisted the disposal of her father.
After she became an adult and moved away there have been a string of other common enemies: The Home-owner's Association, our local immigrant community, ME.
I've always had an aversion to my step-dad. I could tell that he was attracted to me physically. Every time I would stretch or dance in the house he would comment on my body parts. He would walk in on my in the shower for bogus reasons. I could feel his inappropriate stares. To defend myself I gained a great deal of weight and tried hard to make myself unattractive. For this my mom ridiculed me. She was embarrassed of my appearance.
My mom has recently been pressing me as to why I am so ungrateful and unloving toward my step-dad. Finally I told her that I thought he was creepy and he made me uncomfortable and I will NEVER have a loving father-daughter relationship with him because at my core I loathe his company. I outlined why. She told me she thinks I'm fabricating every event and episode.
I'm having her second grandchild in a few months and we are not on speaking terms. They changed the code on their garage so I can't come in. My little brother won't speak to me either. In fact he often makes fun of me to my face—clearly regurgitated language that his father (my step-dad) taught him.
Its extremely frustrating when I see friends of mine from intact families achieve outrageous success in arenas I have just as much talent in. The support they've received from their parents... I can't compete with it. I'm poor, uneducated, and very much burdened compared to my peers whose parents have remained married.
And they're oblivious to their privilege.
They vote for policies that undermine the family and call me names for suggesting people should behave themselves for the sake of their kids.