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It’s too late for Dad

Our Dad will never be the man we want him to be.

I am now 23.

Growing up, I always remember my Dad shouting all the time. The house was always loud and he would be constantly stressed. He is Mediterranean and that hothead demeanor really does exist. The hand movements, everything always too exaggerated and well.. just loud. My Mother could be loud too, although in recent years, since leaving my Father, she is much calmer so I don’t know if that is down to her being able to live the way she wants and being heard by her second Husband. Dad is still really noisy.
 

We used to have to spend every other weekend at our Dads and I remember feeling exhausted when we got back to my Mother’s. Being with my Father was just really tiring and dramatic. My brothers and I couldn’t argue with him, he always had to have the last word and be right. In the end we gave up. There was no point in trying to have an opinion with him. We would speak about problems with our Mother, not that she could even solve them if they were ever to do with Dad as he would just ignore her pleas or rant at her. He would get really aggressive with us too and we would regularly get a smack if he was losing a verbal battle, especially with my youngest brother as he was really argumentative.  

It was one summers evening when everything in our childhood changed. I am the eldest of three brothers. I was 15 at the time. I think I remember my Dad just being awful to us all for quite a long time, maybe even a year or two. He was always stressed and shouting, but this was much worse. In the end, my Mother screamed at him to leave and he did. He just left us. I don’t know where he went, but we didn’t really see him for a year. He would sometimes come to school to see us, but that was it for around a year.  

Mum was upset as he literally cut money off to her. She was left with nothing. She hadn’t worked for around 16 years as she had been a wife and Mother and given up her career in accounts. When we were children and we saw him he would tell us that the reason Mum didn’t have any money was because she had thrown him out of the house. He always played the victim but we all knew, as that time, he was lying. Why would a Father be doing this? Why was our Dad behaving in this way? It was all so confusing. My dad was really wealthy and we had had an amazing childhood full of ski holidays, trips abroad, restaurants, members of private clubs etc… suddenly we had nothing. Mum was left literally selling her jewellery and anything she could get her hands on to make ends meet. We would go to a shop with her where she would even sell her clothes to make a few pounds to pretend to us that everything was ok.  

My Dad pretended he was poor and blame my Mother for that too. At the time I don’t think I knew what to believe. Mum didn’t need to say anything as we could see for ourselves what was happening. We had to leave our house and ended up living in some terrible places while Mum tried to piece our lives back together. We knew she had to go to court and in recent years I have been able to read all the court papers which are in the garage. I am astonished with what my Mother went through and by the things my Dad did to my Mum even though we were in her care. How she didn’t end it all, I’ll never know. She is one brave woman. She would sometimes break down and cry, but on the whole she was determined to get our lives on track without the man we call Dad, but she never stopped us seeing him. Not once.  

She tells us now that she never wanted us to ever say that she stopped us knowing our Dad and she is right. The best thing was that we DID see him and learn about exactly who he was. No frills. We saw him for who he really was. We lived through his games with our Mother and saw how he treated her for ourselves. He would say he had no money yet take us out for dinner. It wasn’t clear at the time, but looking back all the pieces of the puzzle have slipped into place. In the beginning he was the one who stayed away from us, but then he turned it into a court battle and I have even seen the papers where he wanted to take us away from Mum.  

There is absolutely no way we would have wanted to leave our Mum and it really hurt me to see that he tried to do that. My Dad took my Mum to court for various stuff around 21 times. What I can clearly see now is that he was just bullying her and using the courts to do that. Eventually Mum met a lovely man who helped her, she was doing ok on her own, but that little bit of support really helped her and us move on. Basically, he ended up finding us a house etc.. and I have a great deal of time and respect for this man. He made Mum smile again and he helped her to set up a business and have a lovely life. He is the man I wish to be. He has his own children too. He did the right thing when their marriage fell apart. He made sure his children and ex-wife were going to be ok. The main thing was the children. If their Mum was ok, they would be ok.  

My Father is a very wealthy man but hid all his assets to avoid my Mother getting anything. The battle went on for years until my Mum gave up. She just wanted to get on with her life. Dad’s battle to not give anything to Mum led to at least 4 years of our childhood being ruined. If he had only done the right thing, we would not have had to witness the things that we had to. We had to go to the jobcentre when she signed on every two weeks, watch her selling all of her belongings and ours when we had nowhere to go. She had no money to give us a birthday party or buy us a cake that first year. I will always remember my younger brother crying but there was nothing she could do at that time. When my Brother was crying at school, one of the teachers baked him a cake. We didn’t have an oven at that time, or my Mum would have done that.

My brothers and I talk about it sometimes and we remember the things Dad would say, blaming it all on my Mother. Divorce when you have children, is not a time for blame. It’s the time to sort things out to ensure that the children are ok and keep living the life they are used to. She did nothing wrong apart from wanting to leave the emotional abuse. She was not to blame.   People split up, but he should have ensured she was ok and that was where he went wrong and lost all the respect of his sons. We were in his care as he was the worker and he just left us. He gave up his work so that he didn’t have to pay any maintenance for us. To this day he has never given our Mother even 1p. He has a wealthy family so still doesn’t actually work. His family fund him, which is probably part of the problem with him. He has no desire to be a success in his own right. He was not interested in our needs, all he cared about was getting revenge on my Mother and punishing her. It was like a relentless campaign.   There are boxes and boxes of court papers and statements and I have read his lies. He must have had so much hatred running through his veins.  

He didn’t consider us once and he wasn’t man enough to rise above his anger with her and just ensure that she was ok because of us.

  If he had no money, then fair enough, what could he do? But he had got money and that makes my blood boil. I will never treat my own family like that. I asked him recently to give my Mother some money and apologise to her. He refused.

Now I am in my 20’s I still see my Dad, but I don’t feel like he is a real Father to me because I see him as weak and nasty for what he did to us all. By hurting my Mother, he damaged the relationship he could have had with me.

Now, my Mother is a successful business woman in her own right and she tells us that she didn’t want his money anyway, but she should have been helped, because at the end of the day, they were married and we were “their children”. For my Father just to run away and then play a game with my Mum which affected us, was just disgusting. I speak to my Father but I can’t look him fully in the eyes. He is an embarrassment to me. I don’t think I knew fully what my feelings towards him were until the last year or so. I remember being 17/18 and feeling embarrassed to see him. I didn’t want to introduce him to any of my friends and I didn’t feel proud that he was my Dad. There was always some kind of cloud around him that I didn’t like. I now understand that I just have no respect for the man. I have had some counselling as I was angry with my Dad and didn’t know why.

Now I can understand my feelings I can move on. I am just pleased that I have an amazing woman in my life who is not only mine, but my brother’s role model too. Our Mother.  

My Dad swans around in his fancy car and clothes and thinks he was clever leaving my Mother with nothing. I think he is sick. I will never get over what he did to her, the Mother of his Children. It was truly wrong. I love my Dad in a strange way, but it’s the respect that gets to me. I just don’t have that feeling that I really think I should have. I look down on him and can’t really bear listening to him so I just see him in very small doses. I still don’t think he regrets what he did. He’s not that type of man. He just thinks he was smart doing what he did. My brothers and I will look after our Mum as she gets older, but my Dad, well… he’s out on his own so he gets a taste of his own medicine.   Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

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Keeping your children happy during divorce

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