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Found My Dad


dB-Paradox
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(This will be long, just to warn those who don't like long posts.)

 

In the last week or two, I've become quite interested in searching for my biological dad.  He died when I was 4 years old.  He himself was only 26 years old.  I knew, from stories told by my mom and then later, my uncle, that he wasn't a nice man.  But I think there will always be a blood connection that draws me to my dad.  I wanted to find pictures of him since my mom didn't have any, and I have had no connection with my dad's side of the family in years.  In fact, I first met my dad's brother when I was in my teens, and then again when I first got married.  He is the only person on that side of the family that I have ever met, and for good reason as I'll outline later. 

 

Anyway, in previous years, as my curiosity peaked from time to time, I would do internet searches for my dad to see if anything would show up.  Pictures, information, anything!  I have never had any success until last weekend!  I searched ancestry.ca for any names matching, and I had to guess when he was born.  I got a hit, and had to sign up to view it (which is totally dumb).  However, ancestry.ca does allow you to try for free for 14 days.  After that, there are various options, such as monthly or annual memberships.  Anyway, off topic....I signed up, and for the first time in my adult life, got to see pictures of my dad!  This opened up more questions for my mom, which led me to meeting my uncle again just this week.  I hadn't seen him in about 15 years or more.  He had about a dozen or so pictures for me, and I was very grateful! 

 

So....my dad.  A bad man indeed.  No, a good man who did bad things.  In fact, my uncle described him as having this much good in him (finger and thumb about an inch apart) and having to overcome this much bad (hands about two feet apart).  He could never let the good in him shine when the bad was out.  What kind of things did he do....well, he was first and foremost a power monger.  He was also a sex addict.  You know where this is going!  Even after he married my mom, he continued to rape women.  Several women!  A serial rapist, I suppose.  But even before the rape, he was a violent person.  My uncle described all of his brothers (himself included) as violent people.  It ran in the family, as he said.  My uncle describes beating the snot out of a man when he was a young man, "literally smashing in his face" and then said that "all it would have taken was one more punch, and I could have killed that man...but I just couldn't do it".  Then he goes on to say, "your dad was the kind of man who COULD have, and WOULD have delivered that final punch."

 

However, my mom describes my dad as a wimp.  He was not confrontational with other men.  Only IF he could get the upper hand, would he have been able to deliver that final punch, she describes.  But he was not a wimp when it came to her and me.  Lots of punches, lots of kicks.  He taught us fear!  But it would only last for about three years for me.  The abuse started when I was about a year old.  My mom remembers the first time he punched me, I was 11 months old.  You know what happens when a dog tastes blood!  So began the normal day-today abuse of a power hungry man.  He would not only beat us, but he was in the habit of killing animals.  Killed the family cat by strangling it with a rope, a German Shepherd by choking it to death, and put another dog in the oven (apparently to dry it off). 

 

All the while, still raping women, my mom describes how he would leave work just to go looking for women.  Other times, it was leaving the house to find them.  But the last time was his ultimate demise.  A woman showed up at our house.   My mom was babysitting for this woman, but went into labor and so my dad had to finish babysitting while my mom was taken to the hospital.  Now, it was just me and my dad at home with this woman's little one.  She came to the door, my dad said "he's sleeping upstairs in the bedroom" and he followed her.  After he finished his act, and she ran off with her child, he knew what he did was wrong, and he took me downstairs to the basement and together we hid.  I wasn't quite three years old.  The police came, and found us.  Took me to a children's shelter, and took him to jail.  The Canadian justice system is slow, so after he got out of jail (which wouldn't have been for more than a few days?) it was nearly a year before his trial and before he was sentenced to five years in prison.  But what do you think he did in that final year with our family...yup, more abuse!  LOTS more.  In fact, my mom said that he believed that he wouldn't get convicted of rape, probably because he had gotten away with it so many times previous.  For him, it was life as it was before.

 

When the trial came, my mom testified against him, and told the court about the abuse as well as the rape.  She says he looked over to her and mouthed something to her.  I think something along the lines of killing her?  But it gets better!  After he was finally incarcerated, he wrote her letters telling her that after he got out, he was going to kill all of us.  But he didn't last long in prison.  Shortly after being incarcerated, he was found hanging in his cell.  He was in a cell with other rapists, but I bet few (if any) of them were also child and wife abusers.  Among his possessions was a request to be put in 24 hour lockup because he felt his life was threatened.  Personally, I think it's best he didn't ever get the chance.  Because if he was here today, I probably wouldn't be.

 

After all is said and done, I still have that little four year old boy inside of me longing to see his dad.  I find myself defending my dad, by saying he was diseased with an illness he couldn't control.  As much as I believe he wanted to be a good man, it's the monster inside that always won.  Or, as my uncle said, he had this much good in him, but THIS much bad to overcome.  My uncle also said that the violence was in the family, and I will ultimately have some of the challenges my dad had.  While it is true that I have a terrible temper at times, I have never abused my wife or children.  Not physically, anyway.  Sometimes I find myself yelling uncontrollably, but I can usually catch it and stop it.  As far as physical violence, I have only taken my anger out on inanimate objects, and never directed at anyone.  Smashing plates, punching car windows....stuff like that.  Breaking things, mainly.  I did hit my wife once about 15 years ago, but it wasn't hard, and I've never done it since.  I'm not proud of it, but at least I do understand perhaps where it was stemming from.  And I've NEVER raped a woman.  And now that I'm past my sexual peak, I don't think I'll have to worry about it in the future, either.  However, when I was in my early to mid 20s (after I was already married), I used to leave the house at night, or sometimes after work, and go looking for willing women to have sex with.  When my mom told me (just this week!) that my dad used to do that, it sent chills up my spine, for I had no idea at the time that I was doing nearly exactly the same as my dad had done.  It's scary how we can follow in our parents' footsteps, even if we don't know our parents!  It solidifies in me even more, the power of genetics.  The good news is that I'm now 39 years old.  My dad was 26 when he died, which means that I'm now writing my own life!  No more footsteps to follow in!  Except my mom's of course, and she was (and still is) a hero!

 

So there it is.  My dad.  I think inside, I still love my dad, but I am ever grateful that I didn't have to endure his violence longer than I did.  And I'm sorry for people who DO have to endure such situations for much longer.  Or worse yet, never make it out of those situations alive...

 

Attached are two photos with my dad.  The first is my mom and my dad on their wedding day (by this point, my mom knows she's making a mistake, but feels it's too late to leave)  The second is my mom, dad, and me. 

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I am glad you got some closure for the whole thing.   Suffering that kind of abuse at such a young age is just unthinkable for me.  It is strange how we cling to our biological connections even when we are conflicted about it.   Losing a parent at a young age, no matter the reason, triggers all sorts of psychological complexes that take decades to overcome.

 

I think it is awesome that you seem to have forgiven him while at the same time being able to learn from his mistakes.   Others may think you shouldn't be so kind.  That kind of violent behavior and sex addiction is definitely something more than just someone being a "bad person."  All too often, we demonize such people to the point we no longer see them as human.   Some may be incapable of change, but there are usually tragic stories behind characters like that and we forget that if we had been raised the same way with the same genes, we probably would have turned out the same way.    The good news is that it sounds like you have started to break the cycle of violence that ran in your family and helped create such personalities.   

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Attached are two photos with my dad. The first is my mom and my dad on their wedding day (by this point, my mom knows she's making a mistake, but feels it's too late to leave)

Hard to tell with the big smile and how happy she is to pose with him.

 

I'm glad you got to see those photos. I'm really glad you and your mom got out of that situation and that you were able to learn from what he did and still find peace with it.

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Thanks, pandora!  I'd like to think I've broken the cycle!

 

Flockoff, it does look like she's comfortable with him, but it's an obvious facade. She did try leaving him once, but he found her.  She said, never again would she try that!

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Well yeah, I mean I was making a dry joke about the first pic. Her eyes are down and it's hard with the resolution/size to tell if she's smiling at all.

 

Sorry she couldn't successfully run out. It's too bad that even today running away isn't a failsafe plan.

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Congratulations on not being a violent douchebag.  It's got to be disturbing to find out all that about your dad.

 

I know from experience that you can't get away from genetics.  My dad was never violent- to us at least- but he's had more than his share of mental and social problems.  As much as I love him, I can only conclude that he's a maladaptive dumbass who consistently sets himself up for failure despite (or because of?) the best of intentions.  As much as I've tried to learn from his mistakes (and those of my older brother who has made many of the same ones), I see more and more of him in myself the older I get... and not in a good way.  Maybe I'm destined to be a crazy old man too... completely unable to relate to the outside world.  I guess all I can do is watch and learn.

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I completely missed your joke, flockoff!  lol!  And yes, it is too bad that even today there are not safer options for victims of domestic abuse.

 

Rank, I think we ultimately choose how we will end up.  Even if genetics will determine what challenges we ultimately must face, it's still up to us to do something about it.  I told my mom over the phone that my dad seemed to have no control over his actions.  She said, "He had  a choice...the choice to get help".  So while we can't get away from genetics, maybe we can still have some control?  But I know how it feels to lose control and that feeling of not being in charge of what's going on.  It indeed is frustrating when I see people who can manage their anger like a peanut butter and jam sandwich, all the while I need to be CONSTANTLY watching mine. 

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I hate to hear about abuse like that.  Good on ya for breaking the cycle.  I hope that the pictures will help to bring you closure.

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My own experiences with my father (34 years with, 1 year free now), were never positive either. I didn't interact with him very often on a good level, but when I did, he was either angry, whipping me, wanting to be left alone, or manically happy. He IS a very bad man, and there are times I wonder how different I would have turned out if on one of the nights he walked out pissed off that he never came back.

 

I do understand  the curiosity of who your father was. I still have that feeling come over me when I see pictures of the bastard that fathered me from his days in Vietnam or early childhood. I think to myself," Was he always the horrendous asshole that I know today?" I search his smiles, the sparkle in his eyes, and portrayed demeanor in his poses for clues to who he "might" have been. I look to see if there is something good in this individual that I somehow didn't have the opportunity to experience in my own experiences. Probably so I renew hope that he isn't such a wasted piece of flesh breathing the same air as me.  Maybe it is my own 4 year old child within wishing for a safe person in my life.

 

How on earth I am supposed to glean this from simple pictures I can't say, but there is that little spark of hope in there. Eventually I will quash it.

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and there are times I wonder how different I would have turned out if on one of the nights he walked out pissed off that he never came back.

 

I've also wondered what my life might have looked like if I could have gone back in time and killed him myself just after I was conceived, thereby not ever being subjected to his abuse.  But then there's the genetic angle again...

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and there are times I wonder how different I would have turned out if on one of the nights he walked out pissed off that he never came back.

 

I've also wondered what my life might have looked like if I could have gone back in time and killed him myself just after I was conceived, thereby not ever being subjected to his abuse.  But then there's the genetic angle again...

I wonder if you had just enough exposure for it to be programmed in your mind as WTF is this guy's issues, but not exposed long enough to go all out psycho like him.

 

Personally, I am pre-dispositioned for physical and verbal anger. I was exposed to both of these forms of anger since I can remember. My earliest memory? I was probably like 4 or 5, and I am prying all the little colored crystals out of one of my mom's favorite brooches...and I was ANGRY. I have gotten away from destroying material things since I was probably in my mid 20s. Didn't stop my physical tirades though, and verbally, I have a loonnnggg way to go. Much of this behavior though I witnessed firsthand the first 15 years of my life while being growing up at home. My thought that anger is an issue genetically. My paternal grandmother tried to drown her sister! BUT, I don't think the way I decide to express my anger is genetic.

 

The same probably for your similarities with your father's hyper-sex issues. You could simply just sit back and masturbate 20xs a day. You could buy a whore every night. You could have multiple wives/girlfriends. You could have gone around raping women. Expression is on you, desire is genetic, imo.

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desire is genetic, imo.

 

 

I think you are bang on!  There's definitely some truth to the statement, "I come from a long line of _______________"

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Wow.

 

You are resilient and strong. Though your father was a horrible person it does not mean you are going down that same road.

 

My father was insane and a brutal jerk. He was probably a victim of circumstances (heredity; disease; upbringing). So, I should be able to forgive him, right? Having a hard time with that. Abusing children is pretty much unforgivable.

 

I worry about the genetic legacy. I have a sibling who is nuts and I directly attribute it to the abuse he suffered at the hands of his own father. Two others are kind of Borderline Personality Disorder-ish and you never know what will set them off - sometimes it takes literally nothing and they are off on a tirade. But usually they find a way to blame all their problems on whoever is nearby.

 

I worry about my son as it seems to be the males who are the most messed up. Whenever he is talking about whatever it is that interests him and he gets too far into it and it starts to be hard to follow his thought process, I am careful to try to bring him back. I really worry about when the testosterone starts to kick in. I look at him and think, with great sadness, about how my brother at his age was being regularly brutalized, and the injustice of it all. I also look at my son and remember my other sibling at this tender age and how nice he was - and how nice he is not, not anymore: he is the kind of person who is a bit loser-ish (sorry for the harsh assessment) but has found his purpose in life by being in some sort of extremist hate cult. Incredible.

 

Man, congratulations to you on rising above. I have a feeling you have unusual perspicacity (hey, now that's a $10 word!) that your father had absolutely none of. Thank you for sharing your story. There are a lot of people out there that could benefit from hearing it, have you ever considered that? Writing your story, being a motivational speaker, counseling?

 

All the best to you.

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Thanks, madameX.  I don't consider myself particularly resilient or strong.  After all, I barely remember anything from those years.  This is more my mom's story to tell than mine.  I do realize that my brain will have stored all that information, and it will have ultimately shaped how I view life in later years, but I can't FEEL one way or another about my dad.  I can, however, feel one way or another about the STORIES of my dad.  And to be completely honest, I still have fantasies about going back in time and meeting my dad, picking a fight with him, and laying him flat on the pavement!  But what does that serve?  It only makes the 4 year old inside of me a little more scared...scared of ME!  Then, I imagine going back in time and meeting my dad, having him pick a fight with me, and just standing there as a man of steel, as his punches only end up hurting himself, as his knuckles start to bleed, and he eventually runs off in humiliation.  Now THAT serves me better!

 

As far as your father, were you a part of his life for a long time?  I think that makes a huge difference in how you will think of him.  I only had four years with my dad, and they were my first four years, so I can remember only bits and pieces.  You may have a much harder time forgiving your father due to knowing first hand what he was like.  I'd probably be in the same boat as you if my dad were alive today, or even if I knew him into my teen years.  As far as your son goes, I think genetics is a wonderful thing as time goes by.  Not to mention that your son is a creation between you and your partner, and has very little to do with your father, unless of course you worry that you carry much of your father's shitty genes that will have been passed on to your son.  All you have to do is ask yourself who you are most like...your mom or your dad.  And I think this was my saving grace.  I am more like my mom, and on through my mom's side of the family (not only do I look more like them, but I also act more like them).  I have *some* of my dad's genes, but not predominantly.  My daughters will have some of my genes, and some of my wife's genes, and my dad's genes may be hidden somewhere in there, but they are much more diluted.  I don't think you will have to worry about your son, unless you worry about yourself.

 

As far as your last paragraph, I had to look up perspicacity!  lol  Thanks for all your kind words, and I may very well indeed write a story.  I have a ways to go first.  I just changed my last name of Facebook to reflect my dad's to help along the closure process.  (I was later adopted by my mom's new husband, a REAL dad to me!)

 

To show the genetic link between my mom and my dad and I, and my mom and dad and my brother, I'll attach two pictures.  The first one is of me, my mom and my brother respectively, all about the same age.  The second one is between me, my dad and my brother, also about the same age.  You'll quickly see how much I've taken after my mom, and how much my brother has taken after my dad.

Dan Mom Matt.jpg

Dan Rich Matt.jpg

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dB: What horrible experiences you have had to live through. My heart goes out to you. It's good you are now able to talk (write) about it. My awareness of your kind of experiences suffered by far more people than most of us could imagine was one of the important factors that caused my disbelief in god, and rightly so. Good luck to you.

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dB: What horrible experiences you have had to live through. My heart goes out to you. It's good you are now able to talk (write) about it. My awareness of your kind of experiences suffered by far more people than most of us could imagine was one of the important factors that caused my disbelief in god, and rightly so. Good luck to you.

Being fatherless was a big contributing factor for me.

 

To the OP, so sorry to hear of this... It sounds terrible.  If anything I can relate to wanting to see your father.  It's something I've struggled with in the past but have somehow had the strength to forget about it.  Unfortunately, for my dad.  He's not really a part of my life... I rarely think about him... But I think that's been good for me.

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If your dad is still alive and not really a part of your life, I think that's even a sadder story.  Sorry to hear about that.

No, he never was a part of my life. He died in 97 and we never met.  Ironically, the year I got married.  As a little boy, at times there was nothing more I wanted than to see and know him... But at other times, sadly, being fatherless was normal as I was surrounded by friends who also, were fatherless.  We were decent kids, but didn't have much direction.  Granted, it's tough (or nearly impossible)for a mother to step into the role of a father. 

 

But I must tell you... The most interesting people I've met and naturally am eager to know better, had the most fucked up childhoods.  They look at life differently... They generally question more and are more liberal ( in their thinking )and deeper thinkers and most certainly are better fighters in all aspects.  People that had a supportive family and the resources to provide them a stable home to live in and study in and to send off to college don't impress me.  FYI, I didn't know what breakfast was until I moved out on my own.  Eat 3 times a day?  The fuck?  That's crazy!  I just starved until lunch time.  That was normal. =) 

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Hi dB-Paradox,

Wow, there are certain things in what you and some others wrote here that resonate with me, too.

I totally understand your desire to want to know more about him - and that you can feel love for him - despite the bad stuff. I also understand the uncomfortable questions that can come up WRT genetics and family history... And all the "what ifs."

 

I guess I just want to emphasize that you are your own person. I like your mom's idea that we all have a choice, which includes the choice to get help if we need it.

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