My Parents did the Best they Could According to Who

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Dysfunctional family relationshipsMy Mother made me do a lot of housework and dishes when I was a teenager. I cooked supper almost every night from the age of 13 years old.  I didn’t get allowance. I didn’t acknowledgement unless it was because I was grumbling against being the one that had to do it all.

But that is not what I am talking about in my blog when I talk about dysfunctional family relationships and mother daughter relationship difficulties.

I am not blogging about how life was unfair because my mother took advantage of me, didn’t let me stay for after school events because she needed me to cook and didn’t give me an allowance. That was a very minor part of my difficulties.  Although those were the resentments that I could recall easily, those were not the real roots of the problem.

The real roots of the problem were much bigger than that. The real roots of the parent child dysfunction were about things that I could barely remember and the things I could remember ~ I couldn’t think about long enough to really comprehend the truth that they pointed to. There was lots of confusion to work through first.

My mother used me as a magnet to attract men when I was as young as six.  My father watched her do it without saying a word. I don’t think that my parents did the best they could. When I was seventeen, my mother took me to bars with her where we got “picked up” and hit on by business men who were looking for some action.  She put me in danger.  Those are the kinds of things that leave a real mark.  My mother taught me my value was in how Men reacted to me. That doesn’t sound like “doing her best” at all.

My mother advised me that losing my virginity was a small price to pay to get everything I wanted in life. I was seventeen and being groomed by a 32 year old multi millionaire when she told me that.  She was really interested in the “millionaire part”.  Instead of realizing or being concerned about the danger I was in, she only saw the benefits that she might have if I had a relationship with him. I can’t see how that shows that my mother did the best she could.

And speaking of my being a “virgin” She didn’t believe that I was a virgin anyway… she had been publically accusing me of being promiscuous since I was 16.  She had been accusing me of flirting with her boy friend’s since I was 14.  That doesn’t sound to me like things a person who is “doing the best she could” would say to her daughter!

Those kinds of things leave a mark.  Self esteem doesn’t grow in that environment.  My parents didn’t do the best they could.

I have been labelled as a difficult daughter ~ selfish and self centered and those statements cut me deeply and they kept me trying harder. I wasn’t difficult when I was going out to bars with her, helping her pick up men.  I remember this one time; this married man took me out to the lobby with him to make a phone call home to his wife.  He had his arm around me and rubbed the small of my back, while he told his wife that he missed her and loved her and asked about their children.

Where the hell was my mother while I was leaving the bar with this guy??  We were in a hotel bar. He was staying in the hotel. Why did she let me walk out of the bar with him? Was that BEST for me?

I was seventeen and these men were in their forties; married with kids! These men were away from home on business, hitting on an underage teenage girl who had been snuck into a high end bar by her own mother. What the hell was my mother thinking?? Well it is obvious that she wasn’t thinking about me.  I don’t think I was the difficult one. I don’t think I was the one who was selfish and self centered. She knew I was a minor. She knew the drinking age was nineteen where we lived. She knew how old and how married those men were. I wasn’t the problem here. I was the disregarded and devalued one. I don’t see how I can agree that my mother did the best she could! How could that have been the best she could do?

It isn’t my resentments about doing all the dishes and cooking and not getting any money, that is at the root of all this.   It isn’t about her not going to parent teacher interviews, and not mentioning post secondary school or the fact that she never listened to me. Although these things are true, it isn’t about not getting the shoes I wanted or not going to the school dance or any of those “normal teenage resentments”.

It goes way deeper than that. It took me years to realize that having all the emphasis on all the wrong things was getting in the way of my healing. I thought it was me. I thought I was deficient. I thought I was a failure as a daughter. I thought that I needed to change. But it wasn’t that at all. When I looked deeper, to see where the foundation of this difficult dysfunctional mother daughter relationship really had its roots, then I started to see a different picture.  I’d put all the weight of the relationship on my shoulders. I was filled with guilt for things that had been “DONE TO ME”.  I believed that I was a bad person because she said I did something to attract these men. I believed that I was bad because I stole my clothes and forgot that I stole them because she wouldn’t buy them for me. I was 14 years old.

And where was my father while all this was going on??  My father ignored me. I can’t say that my father did the best he could. Very simply, the message he communicated to me was that I didn’t matter.  He was emotionally unavailable, emotionally absent (and when my parents split up he was physically absent too) and disinterested in me and that communicated some very difficult messages for me to accept.  He often mentioned that he paid child support. I guess that is all he thought he had to do as a father. He communicated that child support was the BEST he could do. Ouch.

I also believed that my emotionally and psychologically sick mother was too weak to carry any of the burdens of being a mother and in justifying her that way I believed that my mother did the best she could. I wanted to believe it. I HAD to believe it. The truth was too painful to face.

But my mother didn’t do her best. And the fact that she had fragile mental health or the fact that she came from a dysfunctional family and had abusive parents herself did not lessen any of the damage caused to me and that damage had to be faced. Emotional healing didn’t happen for me until I faced where I got broken in the first place.  And although I can’t change the past, I can face it. I can stop lying to myself about it.

Writing about this hurts. It makes my chest hurt. I have a lump in my throat. It has been devastating to face this stuff. This is my mother I am talking about. These were my parents. They said they loved me. My mother said she wanted a daughter more than anything. She said all the things that I think daughters would love to hear.  But the reality of it was very different.  The truth was not in those words. The way she showed that love was not love at all. We were the definition of dysfunctional mother daughter relationship.  There WAS NO relationship and there was no love. Her actions proved that. And her actions also proved that she knew better then she pretended to know. I can say the same for my father. My parents didn’t do the BEST they could.

How can I say and why should I accept others saying to me that my parents did the best they could? It is clear to me that they did not. I am not talking about perfect here. I am not talking about having “too high of expectations” of my mother and father. I am talking about being taken to bars and being offered to men and stealing my jeans while my mother bought evening gowns and diamonds for herself and my father built a new life with a new family oblivious to what was going on in my life and showing NO interest in me.

And actually, I am more upset about the fact that it got blamed on me, that I was labelled as the difficult one, the emotional one, and the over reactive one ~ than I am about the things that happened to me.

Today when I hear people say that their parents did they best they could, I wonder…..

Please feel free to share your comments and feedback. Please remember that you may use any name you wish, your identity is safe unless YOU want it known. You may change the comment form any time you wish.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

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277 response to "My Parents did the Best they Could According to Who"

  1. By: Beth Posted: 29th July 2014

    A story from my past!
    When I was 5 years old, my mother placed my life in grave danger! It was very early one cold winter day and the frost was hard on the ground. My stepfather was a truck driver and he was home that day. My mom didn’t go to work and I guess that she was playing hooky in order to stay home and have sex with my stepfather. They came up with a plan to get me out of the apartment so that they could be alone.
    My older brother had already left for school; he was in first grade. My mom told me that he had forgotten his lunch money and she told me to go and take him a quarter. I got myself dressed and set out on my mission. But, being a 5 year old, I forgot to put on my shoes. Or, maybe, I did not have the cognitive ability yet to be aware of the fact that I needed to be properly dressed for the freezing cold morning.
    I set out in a hurry because of the importance of my mission. I was very determined to do what I had been told to do.
    I had to cross a very dangerous and very busy two lane highway to get to the school, which was about 2 miles from our apartment. After I crossed the highway, I had to walk down a two lane road, past a mile of four-plex apartments where many poor people lived. These were subsidized housing apartment for the poor. Housing that we had once lived in.
    There was frost on the ground on that very dark overcast winter morning; it was bitterly cold. I crossed the highway and made it half way to the school when a bus came driving up the road toward me. The bus driver stopped her bus and made me step up on the stairs. My feet were so cold that they were hard and the stairs hurt my feet. I am sure that I was in danger of frost bite. But, never-the-less, I was intent on my mission and I was very upset that I was being detoured.
    Then the bus driver did the craziest thing that I can imagine, she stopped the car behind us and asked the male driver to take me home. How unthinkable that would be now! She made me get into his car and asked him to take me to my apartment. I remember how scared I was because I was not doing what I had been told to do.
    The man was a nice guy and he drove me home. He was even brave enough to walk me up the stairs and knock on the door. I remember seeing my mom peering around the corner from her bedroom through the glass window pane in the top of the door. She had been in the bed with my stepfather and wasn’t dressed! It took her a few minutes to slip her robe on and get to the door. My feet were so cold on those hard cement steps and the cold cement porch. He waited there with me until my mom came to the door. I don’t believe that he didn’t say much at all. I believe that he pointed to my bare feet and mumbled something. I remember what my mother said to me. Instead of speaking to him, she looked down at me with anger and contempt and said, “I told you to put your shoes on!”
    This is one of the stories that I think of when I remember how valueless I was to my mom. Sex with her abusive husband was more important than my life!

  2. By: Amber Posted: 29th July 2014

    Beth, how terrible that you were put in such a dangerous situation, and by your own mother! It’s getting me mad just thinking about what she did to you! I don’t know how long ago this happened, but she would be in a heap of legal trouble in today’s world.but whether it was 15 years ago, 25, or 50 years ago, what is striking to me is the utter disregard for the well being and safety of her own child. You deserved so much better. And you are valuable regardless of whether your mother was able to see it. Sending you healing thoughts, Amber

  3. By: Beth Posted: 29th July 2014

    Amber, Thank you for your kind words, they are a healing balm. <3
    We all have our stories and I have heard some that are far more horrific than my own. The most difficult part of healing from this kind of abuse is that it is not so obvious. My bones weren't broken, I didn't go to the hospital, this was not a beating and there were no bruises. Nobody saw this for the abuse/neglect/maltreatment that it was. Nobody called DSS, nobody brought me hot soup, and nobody cared. It was difficult for me to know that this was abuse.
    This is the kind of abuse that is difficult for the victim to identify. So, I walked on the frost with no shoes on… what is the big deal? Do you know what I mean? Many people might sluff this off as a minor infraction of thoughtless parenting. If there were not many more of these kinds of stories, along with the more obvious forms of abuse, I might not have thought much of it myself. But, it was an event that was burned deeply into my memory that I could not forget.
    I was a child who slipped through the cracks. I didn't have the marks to show my abuse, at least not where anyone could see them. And, I would have been afraid to tell anyone anything about my home life. Besides, when I was a child, I had no idea that some parents were nice to their children. And, I didn't know that I was being mistreated.
    Around the age of 12 years old, I began to have the cognitive ability to start seeing and understanding the difference in my home life and the lives of my friends. I began to see parents that really cared for their kids. That was when I began to get angry and I stayed that way for most of my life.
    I would like to excuse it away and believe that my mom was just young and stupid, but she treated me that way for my entire life. Gosh, it hurts! I have never loved anyone as much as I loved my mom. I was so vulnerable and fragile.
    Now that she is dead, I am beginning to heal in a deeper way than I ever knew was possible. Now that I am not hurting for her attention, love, and care every day of my life, I am turning my attention on my healing. Now that I am not pouring out my love for her every day, I can turn some of that love back to me! <3

  4. By: Carolyn Posted: 29th July 2014

    I too have been told how my mother did best she could. I was always treated different than my other siblings. Growing up I had a lot of chores, do whole family’s laundry (even dad’s underwear) and clean, cook, watch over younger brothers and never ever hearing “you did a good job or I am proud of you”. Never allowance either. Just expected. Other siblings had only one chore whereas I had many. I was considered the pretty one but never felt like I was. No one ever said “hey you look nice”. It was always derogatory comments. When my parents divorced i was just told that I was like my dad and not to talk. It’s like I lived there but my mom didn’t talk to me. Like something was wrong with me and there wasn’t. I was good student, followed her rules, did everything right while the others did wrong stuff it was me who was treated like black sheep.
    It’s sad that the behavior emotionally between my mother and I is still so dysfunctional and unhealthy. I was sexually abused as a very young girl by a trusted family dentist and after few years of saying how terrified I was to go to dentist and even saying he choked me once because I cried too much nothing was done. I was unable to say then about exactly what was happening but I told of my fear of going and the choking and how he said he would get my mother if I didn’t stop crying. I told her this and nothing was done. I had a breakdown few years ago and the horrific memories flooded back. I told her but she says she remembers nothing. Who knows. How can you do nothing when your child tells you someone choked her. And then make her go back to same dentist. Or when I was 14 I was very sad, probably depressed and the school counselor suggested I see a therapist. I went once with my mom and after in parking lot she said “thanks a lot for wasting my money” and we never went again.
    I moved out on my own at 19.
    I’m a survivor and it’s an everyday process to have self esteem and be happy. I’m happy to be alive. I have 3 children. I am blessed with a good therapist. I’m so glad you all share your stories. From reading them, finally I know I am not the only one and I’m not alone, not crazy.
    Thank you.

  5. By: Greg the Explorer Posted: 30th July 2014

    As a parent who kidded myself that I’d ‘done my best’ for my children, it came as a groundbreaking turn in my own healing and that of my children, to acknowledge that I’d failed them. We have been able to build on that, but it will never be what it could have been.

    Although I knew I’d failed my own children it was only recently and in fact possibly finally with this article, that I’ve been able to acknowledge that my own parents had not done their best.

    Our personal history does not free us from having to do our best for our children.

    I am now doing my best.

    I wish I’d started and continued in that manner.

    Thank you for your words.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 30th July 2014

      Hi Carolyn
      Welcome to EFB ~ This is the thing that I will never understand ~ how can they do nothing? And there are millions of us who have been hurt this way. I have found that validating my own feelings and knowing how wrong it all was, has helped so much.
      Glad you are here!
      hugs, Darlene

      Hi Greg the Explorer
      Wow, it is always so terrific when a parent comes on here and tells a story like yours!
      Thank you so much for sharing here and please feel free to share your insights often! I didn’t do this to my kids either and I am willing always to try harder and to think about ‘what is best’ as a parent!
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Amber Posted: 30th July 2014

    Beth, I grew up thinking something was wrong with me, because although I fell victim to hard slaps and the stinging belt, most of my wounds were emotional and unseen. I think emotional/ psychological abuse is underplayed because it’s invisible to the eye. But I can speak firsthand that it is very very damaging. As I’ve written on here many times, my mother was primarily an emotional abuser. She hated females and I was treated far differently than my two brothers. More chores, treated as inferior, called ” ugly” stupid awkward, not bathed enough, hand me downs, dirty stringy hair, basic needs not met. One thing that was triggered this week was that she refused to purchase my high school senior picture because she said it was ugly. She proudly displayed my two brothers pictures in the living room though. What triggered this memory was that I went to my reunion this weekend and on the name tag was that very picture she called ugly. I looked at it closely from ” the other side of the fog” and my reaction was, there is nothing at all wrong with this picture. I had a nice smile on my face and it was kinda cute. It certainly was NOT ugly. But it also made me ask, how much hatred could a woman have for her daughter that she didn’t want this picture? This might seem like a minor incident to some, but I can tell you the damage and the feeling of rejection went very deep for me.

    Another thing, Beth, about not knowing we were abused. Because we were so young and the only family life we knew was our own, we tend to think that that is ” normal “. It was only when I got older and into my teens and depending more time at friends’ houses that I felt that things were so much nicer than at my house. People actually talked to each other at meals, and my friends parents would ask me about school and my life; something my mother had no interest in and infact considered it an annoyance to hear about anything I was doing. I also tried to excuse my mothers behavior away because she had a bad childhood. But wait a minute, MY childhood sucked too, and I treat my kids well. If I could manage to to the right thing for my kids, why couldn’t she?

    My mother is deceased now too. And there is no chance that she will see the light and miraculously start to love me. But I realize now that the no chance of those things ever happening did not come about from her death; there was no chance of it happening ever! It is sad, it hurts, but it is not my fault. It is not because something is wrong with me. It is all about her. And though it hurts, there is something freeing about realizing this.

  7. By: Amber Posted: 30th July 2014

    Carolyn, I am sorry you were abused by your dentist and then forced to return there. How horrible when you try to tell a parent and are not heard and no action is taken. If my kids ever told me something was wrong I would investigate immediately. I did this with my sons soccer team when kids were bullying him, and ended up telling off the coach who was doing nothing about the situation, and removing my son from that awful team. People have to take it seriously when their kids say something is wrong. Kids don’t make these things up ” for attention” or any other reason.
    I’m glad you are a survivor. Stay strong and keep moving forward. That is what I am doing.

  8. By: Karina Posted: 30th July 2014

    Wow this article could not have come at a more perfect time.
    I went NC with my stepmother last week. After 26 years of belittling, degradation, humiliation at her hands, I finally found my spine and said enough. In the persuing argument she said I should be grateful for all that my father has done for me.
    I replied the following in an email. ‘There is nothing in the world I wouldn’t do to defend my child’s happiness. There is no mountain I wouldn’t climb to make sure he knows every day that he is loved, respected, wanted and above all, cherished for who he is. That is every parents responsibility to the children they have, by blood, by choice or by marriage. And I do not expect gratitude from him for it. I’m not doing him a favor, it’s called UnCONDITIONAL LOVE.’
    Thank you Darlene. For helping me find my courage to finally see my own truth. I deserve happiness as much as everybody else if not for any other reason than because I am a human being.

  9. By: Connie C Posted: 30th July 2014

    Wow…the most used phrase to explain away abuse:

    “Your Parents Did the best they could” HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!

    Like the blog says, it was when I really examined that statement and understood just how false it was…that is when I realized just how much I abuse I lived through as a child. Being the 9th of 13 children who grew up in extreme poverty these are some of the things I came up with as to why my parents did not do the best they could:

    I never remember once being tucked into bed and read a story
    I never once remember either of my parents telling me they loved me
    I never once remember either of my parents telling me I was special in anyway at all
    I never remember either of my parents making a big deal that I got straight A’s on my report card
    I remember stepping on a needle that broke off in my foot. Three days later my mother realized I was limping, had the other children hold me down while she performed surgery to get the needle out of my foot…she succeeded and then promptly got up and walked away! No comfort, no hugs, no “I’m so sorry I had to hurt you, but the consequences of not getting the needle out would have been worse.”

    These are just a few of the things I realized when I realized that “the best they could” was nothing more than a lie. Someone doing the best they could would not totally ignore their child and not give a damn about anything their child does, says or feels.

    Another great one Darlene. Thanks.

  10. By: Moving Forward Posted: 16th September 2014

    I have a list of hated lines and the “they did the best they could” is one of those. When I break down for seemingly no reason(I found that my parents’ stupidity was to blame), people would shut me up by saying that. I now understand why, thanks to this blog and several others who care about the abused child. These people have suffered such abuse and are clearly held back by it today. Yet, they are the first ones who say this line and strongly hold that they owe their “poor” parents care and love. It makes me very sick.

    No, my parents did not do their best. They subscribed to a religion that they never tested or researched, put us into a bubble world, homeschooled us so that we wouldn’t learn science or be around gay people and cut off every member of our large family because they all stood up for my brothers and I. They were lazy, blaming everyone else for their issues and taking credit for things that they had no part in. They claimed to love me, but treated me so badly. I tried killing myself at age 13 due to the horrible emotional stress and they made me work to regain their “love” and “trust” after it. They sent me to christian therapy because the church advised them that the real therapists would just lock me up. That was a lie. The so called christian therapists told me that I had demons and all that I loved were evil. All my art and things were destroyed. I had written journals about the real reason I wanted to die which included not feeling worthy of living, being neglected and feeling as if I didn’t matter. My dumb, unquestioning parents allowed the leaders to take my journals and “interpret” them for my parents. Demons and not getting enough bible shoved down my throat(which was one of the reasons I wanted to die in the first place) was the cause. I have just recently allowed myself to be angry for that injustice.
    Out of all the people who came to my hospital bed to talk about irrelevant,stupid compliance stuff, only one said something that will stay with me forever. She said “Until you are safe, pretend and play the game. Be a good girl. When you are on your own, safe and secure, run fast and far from this foolishness.” I have no idea to this day who said that to me, but I have done just that. I finally dumped their shitty asses and their cruelty at age 30 last year.
    It’s been a hellish 1.5 years dealing with this stuff, but honestly, I wouldn’t trade the progress for anything. I could not be paid to go back to that life. I know why I felt so depressed and suicidal. I don’t believe in god, have always been very inquisitive, I like males and females and love the beauty of science. I am a very feeling person. All of this, I was never allowed to be. The best they could do?! I can’t imagine shutting a little precious girl down like that. I can’t imagine making it so she can never make any friends. I could not imagine telling her that everything she is, is evil. I can’t imagine not dealing with all this shit my parents put on me. They knew they had been broken as children and did nothing to fix and work on themselves except lazily “pray.” They never wanted to do the work because it was too hard. They did everything BUT their best. They claim to have sacrificed so much for us, but we never asked for such a life. All we wanted was to be loved and validated as human beings.

    They will never be allowed in my life after I have done all the work to set myself on a path of goodness. They don’t deserve it. They can continue just as I left them, moaning and whining why god won’t save them from all their problems since they raised us “right” and according to their church teachings. They put something not proven in priority to a flesh and blood human being trusted into their care. Now, let’s see this precious being of theirs give them love, warmth and kindness. Let’s see their bible give them hugs and kisses. Let’s see their beliefs that they literally beat into me take care of them when they are old. Yep, I am still mad about it. It’s about time too.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 16th September 2014

      Hi Moving Forward
      Welcome to EFB ~ It makes me mad too. No matter how often I see / hear this type of family dysfunction, and I know the damage it does and how hard it is to overcome it, it just upsets me so much.
      Thank you for sharing,
      hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Nikki Posted: 18th November 2014

    My mother was very mentally ill and beyond that narcissistic. My father carried out her every whim. My mother was sexually abused by her father for many years until she married my father at 18 and left. When I was about 9 all of this came to head for her and the dam in her mind that repressed everything broke. That’s when the physical abuse started. The mental abuse was my entire life. My father was so distraught over my mother that he willingly believed everything she told him as far as why I deserved to beat daily in our basement with every object imaginable. At least, that’s what I think anyways. There are so many incidents that my mind tried to hide from me. I used to disassociate during the beatings. I had to, to survive. When I wasn’t being physically hurt I was called every name you can think of. Loser, whore, bitch, slut, worthless, stupid…. One day my father beat me within an inch of my life with a metal pipe. I was hospitalized and put in a foster home. My father was arrested but it was called an “isolated incident” because of his clean record and it being the 80’s. I lost myself in drugs and alcohol from 11yrs old to last year at 37. By the time I was 20 I had a pretty severe drug problem. My depression got worse and worse over the years. Last year I tried to get sober to keep my marriage to my partner of ten years. She was over it and couldn’t take my drug addiction anaymore despite how much she loved me. After two days of being sober for the first time in over 20 years, something in my mind just snapped. I literally felt it and I could not handle it. All the things I had been self medicating and running from came to the surface full force. I tried to kill myself and landed myself a few weeks on detox in a mental institution. After that a few months of intensive outpatient treatment. Turns out I was suffering from PTSD for years but had numbed myself so much I didn’t even know it. Also a few years ago I cut off all ties with the people who call themselves my parents. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Now, I am proud to say as of last Saturday I am 11 months clean and have started facing my past. I am also a full time student majoring in psychology. I plan to be a substance abuse counselor. I know I’m a little late starting college at 38 but hey, better late than never right? I decided to become someone who will help others going through what I’ve been through. Not just for them but for me as well. Turning my shitty life experiences into a positive is vital for me. Because if I were to think all of the abuse I endured was in vain then I wouldn’t be able to continue climbing out of this hole of self worthlessness and misery. I started volunteering for the National Runaway Safeline which was life changing for me. I take phonecalls from kids who are homeless, runaway, or in crisis. In a way it’s kind of like giving my inner child a big hug. I was a runaway many times as a youth and at times even homeless because living in the streets or in abandoned buildings was, to me, safer than living at home. To help troubled kids is so theraputic for me. I did 6 months of marriage counseling with my partner to learn how to communicate again. I lost 60 pounds and gained a little bit of self esteem. More than I’ve ever had. And I maintain it with weekly therapy, antidepressants, support groups, and loved ones who support me. I know I’m lucky. Not everyone who has lived how I lived for so long has a happy ending. And I am truly grateful to have been given this chance at an actual life. I will spend the rest of my life returning the favor and trying to help others in need.

    • By: Judy Posted: 22nd August 2017

      This story is so inspiring! Thank you for this.

  12. By: Nikki Posted: 18th November 2014

    Also, Darlene, I forgot in my post above to say thank you for this blog. It has been wonderful to read your inspirations.

  13. By: Carlos Posted: 14th February 2016

    My father almost left me when I was little, as Mom could no longer stand him (Damn it why didn’t he!?). But he felt the need to ensure that as I was growing up, that I would not have to experience being called a bastard by the kids at school (We originally lived in the Philippines prior to moving to Australia, where things like children not having fathers were the talk of the town). So as a result, he decided to go back to my mother even if their relationship was already doomed. He also told me that he worked hard to get himself out of fast food to get into a more prestigious job, so that I wouldn’t be ridiculed at school (Me or you?) in situations where I had to communicate what my father’s occupation was to my fellow students. Okay back then I kind of felt a little grateful for his efforts, but not to the point that I would be giving him the “Best Dad ever” treatment. But I was generally cool with it. However as the years went by, my thoughts on his decision to return to my life started to change. I mean okay that was quite honourable of him, but why did he have to shout at me, call me stupid when I couldn’t hammer a nail properly or perform a roundhouse kick to his standards, talk about my shortcomings as a son to other family members, hit me unnecessarily, give me meaningless apologies, constantly pit me against my younger sister and cousin, make decisions for things that I wanted to do as well as compare himself and his hardships to me, to justify his bullshit parenting? This person who he hurt so badly just happens to be the same one who he wanted to return to after being rejected.

    The things that other people within the family would probably cover up for his actions via the words from the article: “He dis what’s best for me” or “He did the best that he could” The only supposed thing that I chose to see as the best thing was his decision to come back and see me grow up throughout the years. Strangely enough though, as a result of the scars he has left, I can’t help but also ask: “Why did he even come back?” I mean it’s not that I didn’t want him to, but I wasn’t expecting him to torment me either! As I am writing this, I can’t help but feel like the answer to this question, if ever there was to be a right one, was the fact that he wasn’t returning for me but for him. My father has communicated that Mom could be difficult at times, which in some occasions has made him feel inferior. Perhaps there was a little bit of me in the picture in his decision, but it sucks to even consider or accept the fact that it was mostly leaning towards him. My participation in this whole “honourable act” of his is that he wanted me to elevate him via his efforts to change and succeed. He wanted to feel superior through me via his criticisms and disciplinary actions. What he couldn’t get from my mother, he wanted to get from the one person who he also severely crushed in the process. Thanks for coming back Dad? Are those even the right words to say?

    Whatever happened to those words that you wrote on my 21st birthday card, telling me that I fulfilled your dream of becoming a father? What the hell did that even mean? That I have fulfilled your dream of giving you a chance to be able to parent me the way that you weren’t, yet you still failed anyway? I honestly don’t know anymore and I probably don’t even care either. But do take into consideration that I now know how to separate what was good and bad about you. Yes coming back into my life was what you thought and what I chose to believe as an action that could be justified by the words: “You did the best that you could” But that’s already history and that can no longer be enought to eradicate all of the misery.

  14. By: Michele Posted: 9th February 2017

    My mom did the same thing with after school activities. I had to cook dinner almost very night. If my dad liked what I cooked, my mom got mad at me. I tried it to fight her but I had to help her. My dad didn’t stand up for me.

  15. By: Tundra Woman Posted: 13th February 2017

    My very short response to “they did the best they could is “NO. They did what they did.”

    Do you think for a second if I had said, “Mom, I did the best I could on my Geometry Regents exam” that would be acceptable? How ’bout, “I did the best I could when giving you advice as a 7 or 8yr. old on whether or not you should divorce Dad?” Or maybe, “I did the best I could to take care of your adult whims, demands, withstood your endless withering criticism and physical and emotional abuse without understanding why you did those things?” Hmm. Maybe this, “I did the best I could not to loose bladder control when you would literally “spank” the piss out of me-for what I have no clue?” Or what about, “I did the best I could” while testifying honestly in court after I had begged you not to drag me into your divorce? How come that wasn’t good enough? Because you couldn’t force me to lie, to violate my own conscience to allow you to use me as nothing more than a Tool in your insane Scorched Earth War against Dad? Oh, that’s right-a Tool is an inanimate object. And you had no conscience. The subsequent beating and endless haranguing was so very worth it to me: I didn’t become like so many others, suicidal or existing in a state of anomie in sacrifice to your moral and ethical bankruptcy.

    So I call bull shit: No, this is not about “I did the best I could!” It’s about being accountable for your pattern of behavior over decades. It’s about expecting a child to meet your demands while ignoring the reality the child is not ABLE in any way to do so.

    I “did the best I could” to be a “good girl” and “good adult” and faithfully kept all your secrets for decades-until I didn’t: I finally understood what that phrase meant by refusing to cover for you and your relentless abuse, neglect and continuing to enble you to paint yourself as a pitiful, put upon, victimized martyr. I refused to live in your delusional world of an endless grandiose pity party. I simply stepped away and watched you pull a decades long temper tantrum until your physical death. I didn’t “have to do” anything but allow you to unmask yourself. And in this I certainly can agree, you did-“the best you could.”

    I made a conscious decision to live in reality. Reality is like gravity: In the end, gravity always prevails.
    And so have I.

    • By: Judy Posted: 22nd August 2017

      Wow! Thanks for writing this, and I see so many similarities with my story as well. You are strong!

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