Monday, June 17, 2013

Undercover Agnostic: (Update 13) Post-Father's Day Thoughts

Of course, yesterday was Father's Day in the US, and churches often take part in ceremonies honoring fathers. The church I am undercover in (hopefully only for a few more months), is no exception to the tradition.

The singing was done by the male members of the choir, and one of them, who recently become a father himself, and is an avid comic book fan, went up onto the podium with both him and his infant son in Superman capes. (I suppose he was saying he was "superdad"). It was rather amusing to watch.

Father's Day is a much easier holiday for me to celebrate than Mother's Day, my feelings about Mother's Day are worse than my feelings about Christmas. To me, it's even more hollow, and joyless, and I don't like the expectations that are upon people to celebrate it joyfully like everyone else does.

Father's Day makes me grateful for my father, especially after I just finished a guest post I wrote for the blog Confessions of a Heretic Husband. The post isn't up yet, and the time of the writing of this post, I'm still awaiting word on when it will be published. It was one of the hardest posts I have ever forced myself to write.

I'm not going to give away much of what is in it, but it talks about my last 5 years, the time since my infamous nervous breakdown. I spill it all, and what I have had to deal with from my mother. Let's just say that emotional abuse doesn't stop when you turn 18. There's details of my life which I have felt too humiliated to talk about until now.

That post made me grateful for my father. As bad as my life has been with my family, it could have been worse without him. You see, on the surface, my family seemed like the typical fundamentalist family when it came to gender roles. My father worked full time as a mechanic (until he had to go on disability when I was 14), and my mother was the stay at home mom, homeschooling me. What people didn't often see was that the roles were truly reversed.

My mother was the dominant, angry, abusive one in the family, and though my father didn't get the physical abuse that was dished out to me, he got just as much of the verbal abuse. My mother considered him just as worthless, and just as much of her property as she did me. My father often played the role of mediator, trying to run interference between my and my mother, trying to talk sense into her and me both, trying to diffuse the situation.

My father was also the more moderate one in the family when it come to fundamentalism, he believed what he believed (and he can still be somewhat homophobic to this day, he isn't perfect), but he also believed in letting people live their lives. He wasn't an angry, in your face fundamentalist, and still isn't. He taught me a lot of things, moderation, respect for other people, and most importantly, love.

There were times where he could be frustrated with me, like any other parent, but he never made his love conditional. He never believed the lie that my mother believed that my depression was all my fault, he knew better because of his own experiences with mental illness. He believed me when I told him about the panic attacks, because he had them before, he accepted me for who I am.

Even when I did something wrong, he was forgiving, and if anything, that is one of his faults, he's too forgiving. He can be in denial sometimes about the way my mother is, and why she does what she does.  I guess he's in denial somewhat, because he feels that he needs her, and can't leave her due to his various health conditions. It's hard to see him like that, such a strong man, in denial about his situation, and what he puts up with from her.

He was there for me all throughout my life, and looking back, my life would have been much worse without him, I wonder sometimes, if without him, how much farther the physical and emotional abuse would have become, it's something I really don't want to think about, but I have to wonder. There have been times, now that I'm in the process of moving out, (closing date is this Thursday), that I have thought about trying to persuade him to divorce her, once I'm set up in my new house, he deserves better than the life he has now with her, I feel like I owe it to him, but I don't think I could ever convince him to do it. I hope someday he will change his mind.

I'm grateful that I have him in my life, and if I still believed in a god, I would thank him for him.

I know that since I keep this blog secret from people in my personal life (and besides, both my parents are not fond of computers and will probably never get on in their lifetimes), that he will never read this, but I'll say it anyway, I love you, "Shorty".


  1. I didn't realize that your mother mistreated you and contributed to your malaise. I'm sorry to hear about what you went through, and relieved that your father was a loving, stable influence in your life.

    1. That was a fast comment, have you been watching my Google + feed? lol

      Yes, I've talked about her before, and the way she is. if you think this is bad, just wait for the guest post on Heretic Husband, there's details in there that I've felt ashamed to tell anyone.

      I only wrote it, because I know the only way I can move forward is if I confront my past.

    2. I logged into my Blogger account just a few seconds after your posted this, so we had good timing.

      I will wait for your post at Heretic Husband, and I hope giving voice to these experiences helps you heal.

  2. Wow, at least it sounds like your father will accept your coming out and your relationship will only get stronger. Good luck with the move and good luck with your dad. Broken relationships are never good for children and from a personal level I can associate with that.

    1. I think he will be surprised, and somewhat disappointed (some parents take rejection of their faith as a rejection of they way they raised you), but he will come around, mom probably won't.

  3. You know, I have a policy with my own family (mom,dad,sis) that took me a long time to suffer through to figure out: I'm sorry you're messed up, hope you get a handle on that. Never. Ever. Going. To. See. You. Again.

    Best decision I ever made. My kids will never have to deal with that mishegas.

    Good luck, man. Once again, congrats on the house.

    1. Yeah, my mom actually did the same thing with her family about 13 years ago, they were rather screwed up too.....

      After I'm on my feet, I'll have to lay down the law, respect me, treat me like an adult, or get out of my life.

  4. A friend of mine went through something somewhat similar. Her mother was very dominering, evangelical, abusive, and commonly used guilt (and violence) as a weapon. Ironically (or tragically) her mother was having an affair with the pastor of their church for years. Several years after my friend graduated college, her father had the courage to finally file for divorce from this psychopath. Both my friend and her brother have had a lot of issues with drugs and depression. But you could see a major turn-around after their father told them of his plans to divorce their mother. The family environment became much less toxic and their relationship with their father really blossomed. I hope the same for you, maybe your father will finally tire of that kind of tyranny and you will be able to reassert the kind of relationship you both deserve.

    1. I hope he will eventually, but I think that the more likely path is that I will end up having to separate myself from them. :(

  5. My dad is much easier for me to deal with too. Without my mom we never would have gotten into fundamentalism, and it was my dad who pulled the plug and said no more. He's still very evangelical, but he listens to me, and doesn't think my beliefs will put me in hell. It was also my dad who let me go to college; my mom was very fearful for me to go. My mom is okay with me as long as I stay out of her friends lives, keep quiet/ don't ask, don't tell etc. If I came out as an atheist - and especially to her friends as an atheist - just as an example, I just don't know if she could handle it. But I try to accept my parents in their faults as much as it hurts because I know I'll fail my kids in some way too.


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