Confused And Abused

I don't remember loving my father. I don't even remember liking him. All I remember is fear, that has now given way to overwhelming digust, anger, and pity. The worst part is, the culture that I grew up in makes me guilty about it. Respect and obedience; those are the cultural imperatives that come with being raised in a Chinese household. Although obedience came easily with the fear, the respect never existed for my father, who, as a father, should have been the single most stable figure in my life, yet now I realize is the most unstable. Rage, guilt, ultimatums, blame, and the ever-present feeling of "stepping on eggshells" - these he brought into the home, slowly breaking down my mother, my brother, and me. My mother is now a ghost of the confident woman she once was, verbally pummeled into submission. My brother is a confused facade of strength asserted violently on the playground, when underneath it all, he's just an insecure little boy who desperately needs a positive role model. My father would scream at my mother, taking every possible opportunity to emphasize her flaws and mistakes, not making any effort to hide his rage in front of his children, and even using us to take shots at her. It was the worst when he would have a fit in the car, slamming the gas pedal, swerving back and forth. My brother and I would be convinced that we were all going to die at any moment, and at the same time confused that our mother would just sit there like a stone.

My mother tells me that he just has problems. She tells me his father was like this too. Okay, fine, I get it. So now my brother is condemned to treat his future family this way too? Since when did this become acceptable in any culture?

When the tears dried up, when I became too numb to cry anymore for my mother, I ran away from my problems. I became a shell of my true self the second I stepped through the door into the house. Somedays, I wouldn't even speak to him. Because I knew that when I did talk to him, he would be listening just to find something to call me "stupid" on. He had me convinced that I was an irresponsible teenager, even though I was a straight-A student and volunteering president with no history of drugs, alcohol, or even a boyfriend. Boyfriend? Ha! My self-worth was entirely too low to even consider that a boy could even like me. But that's another story.

They say that your view of God is defined by the way you view your father. God is merciless, critical, vengeful, hateful, absent. I feel my faith slipping away everyday, but that's no surprise, since it was built on a weak foundation by a father who would drag his family to church every Sunday morning to keep face, often right after unloading his rage at home. I simply am confounded by the trust people put in God, and frustrated with myself that I can't love unconditionally like they can. 

Maybe I'm a little appreciative of my turbulent childhood, because I can know that when I become successful, I'll have gotten there by my own strength. Yet, all my life, I will have to live emotionally crippled, always struggling to think positively, and confused about how to love and be loved. Even now, in my freshman year in a premed program away from home, I'm only beginning to find myself again. And everytime I see a family as it should be, my heart will break, because it's something I have never known. And somewhere down the road, if I get married, I don't want to have anything to do with my father. I can't even stand being in the same room with him, let alone having him walk me down the aisle. The part that makes me hate myself is the guilt that would come from ruining my family's "face" in the ever-critical eyes of the community, a violation of the curse of a cultural mindset, if I ever abandoned him for the sake of my own mental health. So I'm stuck.

What I can share from my experience is that physical abuse isn't the only kind of abuse that can damage you for the rest of your life. And it's NOT ok for a father to hurt or endanger his family in any way. There comes a point when even "hate" isn't strong enough of a word.


I hate my father. I hate him and I hate myself for it.

Skylarke Skylarke
18-21, F
3 Responses Mar 15, 2010

I can relate to you in every single aspect of your story....except that i'm not an straight A student =P.<br />
I too come from an asian family....I never felt guilt for not respecting him or loving him...because I understood really early on that he deserved neither. However I was also at the same time putting on a tough exterior...I kept giving him second chances, thinking that he's not THAT bad after an 'episode' has died down....thinking that I should pity him instead of hating him (he is getting old with no real acomplishments in life...his brains have gone to waste and he knows it...) - but everytime he proves me wrong, as soon as the thought of him improving creeps into my mind he shatters it again.<br />
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Its ridiculous, my faith in God. I was in a youth group for a couple of years but i never really 100% believed and loved God unconditionally like my friends did....and I know this is because I could never 'forgive' God for giving me such a that draws a symbol of a cross across his chest fast as lightening before every meal (not even a proper prayer!) and dares to call himself a devout catholic in front of other's fake.....and ofcourse, hasn't even gone to church in YEARS or read the bible or anything probably for longer.<br />
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But anyway, don't feel bad about hating him, don't punish yourself. It was his job to be a good role model and supportive figure to you - and ofcourse to make sure you didn't hate him. Since he is neither of those things, it's only natural for you to feel this way....I say let your anger run free and vent all you can here! Best wishes!

My father drags us to church every sunday too; he is like a fake Christian.

Don't hate yourself - I'm in almost the exact same situation. I'll post about it shortly. :)