Fathers And Their Sons

The History of The Damaging Relationship With My Dad By Aaron B.

Story Contains

To all my IRL friends: I am cool with you reading this but I would far rather be able to tell you in person if you are curious! I love sharing. It is important to not only talk about our lives but to be able to do so casually. When these events stay in our head they become monsters, something to fear. If we treat them as casually as anything else, they become understandable, conquerable. It’s not healthy to treat things like a dark secret past. We all have tough shit to deal with. It doesn’t own you or define you. So read my story. If you want, please ask me about it. And, if you want to share with me, the floor is yours. We’ll both learn something. I hope we can laugh at it too.

I haven’t seen my father since my parents split up, and it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. This is the story of how my Dad abused me throughout my childhood, up until the divorce. It’s pretty damn sad how many people share this story.

I am going to sum up the history because it doesn’t interest me and is only needed for context. My father has anger issues. He could get angry about seemingly anything for any reason, and his anger was often wildly out of proportion to what he was mad about. He would scream and yell at me and make me feel small. In fact, that was my coping mechanism. I compacted myself and put myself far into a corner (not literally) to escape his explosive outbursts. I also stopped being myself at home, because sometimes that could result in him getting upset. So for 18 years I was mostly a small, held-back version of myself.

I should touch on physical abuse. It didn’t happen often, and wasn’t extreme, but it’s part of my experience. And yes, saying it wasn’t ‘extreme’ doesn’t make sense because any abuse is already extreme. I am trying to avoid typing specifics because it makes me uncomfortable. [I am about to talk about physical abuse. I don’t go into much detail, and it isn’t terribly violent. Nevertheless, a warning.]

Sometimes if, according to him, I did something deserving of a higher punishment, he would tell me to go ‘pick out a belt’. This means go into his closet and grab one of his belts so he can ‘spank’ me. Although I usually have a hard time making decisions, I don’t recall having much issue deciding which piece of leather I preferred to be hit with. And while it certainly was painful, I could get over the pain. Mostly it was just incredibly humiliating. I wonder how he felt while doing so, or if he felt uncomfortable wearing those belts afterwards. I remember wondering why my Mom didn’t stop him. Looking back, I understand the sad reasons why. And I certainly don’t blame her. She was also a victim.

Other than the belts, I only recall one instance. There are likely more, but I don’t remember. The emotional abuse greatly overshadows the physical, because it's not getting hit that bothered me. It was the why and who. The meaning behind it. The fact that my Dad thought it was okay to do that to me. I also want to mention that even as a kid, I knew how he treated me was wrong. I couldn’t articulate it, but I recognized how unfair, unjust, and unkind he was. I hear that a lot of kids get confused and assume that this is just how all parents are, or something like that. Which is sad, but that’s not how I thought about it.

Good lord, I really meant to keep that short. I wanted to get past the history because, interestingly enough, I don’t care about it anymore. I am past it, I have a good understanding of how it molded my behavior, and I am leaving it behind.

Honestly I find myself almost bored trying to tell this story. Part of it, thankfully, is that I am very removed from it. It’s been 6 years since I saw him, and I am really proud of who I have become in that time. And despite regular abuse, I don’t feel that affected by it. I think I was very fortunate with how things went after the divorce, we got really lucky. My Mom managed to get a job and an apartment for us. I am kind of in awe of her actually. I can’t imagine being in such an abusive relationship and finding the courage to get divorced. Not only that but handling everything from selling the house, packing all of our things, and taking the next steps. I’ll have to ask her how she did it.

Let's get to the good stuff. Like I said, the divorce, while scary at the time, was the best thing that ever happened to me. After being afraid of being myself for so long, I really started to form. I found that I am passionate about art, which gave me purpose. I started succeeding in school, which made me proud. I grew and learned a lot about myself, much of which had been hidden for so long. I went to therapy and really started understanding how I operate. I realized that I am actually more confident than I thought. Right now, as I type this, I am doing really well. My Dad not being in my life allowed me to finally take up the space that he denied me. I am so fortunate that not only was I given the opportunity to do so, but also that I took that opportunity and really did something with it.

I also think it is incredibly important to add this part. Although he was a bad father and his abuse is unforgivable, he is also a victim. His father was awful to him. We can call these people monsters, we can damn them to hell, but the reality is that they are human. I don’t wish ill for my father, I actually hope the best for him. I hope that he comes to terms with the abuse he received, and the abuse he gave out. I hope he doesn’t hurt anyone else, and that he becomes a good person. I hope he makes up for his actions and forgives himself. One day, I think I will reach out to him. But right now I am okay.

I appreciate you reading this. This paragraph and the first paragraph were written months after I first wrote this story. Reading it now, there is some awkward phrasing that may be confusing, but I decided not to edit it too much. I want to reiterate: If you want to ask me anything, or if reading this makes you feel like sharing, I would be overjoyed if you brought it up. Just say ‘hey I read your story, can I ask you about it?’. Hell, bring it up in front of everyone, I don’t give a darn! The more the merrier I say.


To all my IRL friends: I am cool with you reading this but I would far rather be able to tell you in person if you are curious! I love sharing. It is important to not only talk about our lives but to be able to do so casually. When these events stay in our head they become monsters, something to fear. If we treat them as casually as anything else, they become understandable, conquerable. It’s not healthy to treat things like a dark secret past. We all have tough shit to deal with. It doesn’t own you or define you. So read my story. If you want, please ask me about it. And, if you want to share with me, the floor is yours. We’ll both learn something. I hope we can laugh at it too.

I haven’t seen my father since my parents split up, and it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. This is the story of how my Dad abused me throughout my childhood, up until the divorce. It’s pretty damn sad how many people share this story.

I am going to sum up the history because it doesn’t interest me and is only needed for context. My father has anger issues. He could get angry about seemingly anything for any reason, and his anger was often wildly out of proportion to what he was mad about. He would scream and yell at me and make me feel small. In fact, that was my coping mechanism. I compacted myself and put myself far into a corner (not literally) to escape his explosive outbursts. I also stopped being myself at home, because sometimes that could result in him getting upset. So for 18 years I was mostly a small, held-back version of myself.

I should touch on physical abuse. It didn’t happen often, and wasn’t extreme, but it’s part of my experience. And yes, saying it wasn’t ‘extreme’ doesn’t make sense because any abuse is already extreme. I am trying to avoid typing specifics because it makes me uncomfortable. [I am about to talk about physical abuse. I don’t go into much detail, and it isn’t terribly violent. Nevertheless, a warning.]

Sometimes if, according to him, I did something deserving of a higher punishment, he would tell me to go ‘pick out a belt’. This means go into his closet and grab one of his belts so he can ‘spank’ me. Although I usually have a hard time making decisions, I don’t recall having much issue deciding which piece of leather I preferred to be hit with. And while it certainly was painful, I could get over the pain. Mostly it was just incredibly humiliating. I wonder how he felt while doing so, or if he felt uncomfortable wearing those belts afterwards. I remember wondering why my Mom didn’t stop him. Looking back, I understand the sad reasons why. And I certainly don’t blame her. She was also a victim.

Other than the belts, I only recall one instance. There are likely more, but I don’t remember. The emotional abuse greatly overshadows the physical, because it's not getting hit that bothered me. It was the why and who. The meaning behind it. The fact that my Dad thought it was okay to do that to me. I also want to mention that even as a kid, I knew how he treated me was wrong. I couldn’t articulate it, but I recognized how unfair, unjust, and unkind he was. I hear that a lot of kids get confused and assume that this is just how all parents are, or something like that. Which is sad, but that’s not how I thought about it.

Good lord, I really meant to keep that short. I wanted to get past the history because, interestingly enough, I don’t care about it anymore. I am past it, I have a good understanding of how it molded my behavior, and I am leaving it behind.

Honestly I find myself almost bored trying to tell this story. Part of it, thankfully, is that I am very removed from it. It’s been 6 years since I saw him, and I am really proud of who I have become in that time. And despite regular abuse, I don’t feel that affected by it. I think I was very fortunate with how things went after the divorce, we got really lucky. My Mom managed to get a job and an apartment for us. I am kind of in awe of her actually. I can’t imagine being in such an abusive relationship and finding the courage to get divorced. Not only that but handling everything from selling the house, packing all of our things, and taking the next steps. I’ll have to ask her how she did it.

Let's get to the good stuff. Like I said, the divorce, while scary at the time, was the best thing that ever happened to me. After being afraid of being myself for so long, I really started to form. I found that I am passionate about art, which gave me purpose. I started succeeding in school, which made me proud. I grew and learned a lot about myself, much of which had been hidden for so long. I went to therapy and really started understanding how I operate. I realized that I am actually more confident than I thought. Right now, as I type this, I am doing really well. My Dad not being in my life allowed me to finally take up the space that he denied me. I am so fortunate that not only was I given the opportunity to do so, but also that I took that opportunity and really did something with it.

I also think it is incredibly important to add this part. Although he was a bad father and his abuse is unforgivable, he is also a victim. His father was awful to him. We can call these people monsters, we can damn them to hell, but the reality is that they are human. I don’t wish ill for my father, I actually hope the best for him. I hope that he comes to terms with the abuse he received, and the abuse he gave out. I hope he doesn’t hurt anyone else, and that he becomes a good person. I hope he makes up for his actions and forgives himself. One day, I think I will reach out to him. But right now I am okay.

I appreciate you reading this. This paragraph and the first paragraph were written months after I first wrote this story. Reading it now, there is some awkward phrasing that may be confusing, but I decided not to edit it too much. I want to reiterate: If you want to ask me anything, or if reading this makes you feel like sharing, I would be overjoyed if you brought it up. Just say ‘hey I read your story, can I ask you about it?’. Hell, bring it up in front of everyone, I don’t give a darn! The more the merrier I say.


Aaron B.

Aaron loves art, Tagpro, frisbee and twitch emotes.

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