pater non familias

That slime-bucket who calls himself my father (although he is not, except in the most biological terms) has contacted my sister again, and she has agreed to resume contact. Mum told me about it last week, but I guess I have avoided thinking about it, and I’ve certainly avoided blogging about it. In fact, up until Hayley and Mum mentioned it to me again yesterday, I had forgotton that my sister had spoken to The Prick (as he will be referred to henceforth).

As they say: Denial is a river in Egypt.

I guess that I have been pretending that the news about The Prick doesn’t affect me, that it isn’t partly why the depression has struck so hard over the last week. But, of course, it is.

But before I go into that, I should give you a run down on ‘the situation’, as I see it.

The Prick was an abusive, violent, alcoholic bastard, who kept a gun in the house for the sole purpose of threatening my mother’s life and ‘keeping her in line’. She told me that he used to ut pressure on her jugular until she nearly passed out, and that she had to keep a knife in her bedside table with which to defend herself. For myself, I recall the constant fear we lived with. Two particular occasions come to mind. Once finding my mother hysterically sobbing on the bed with a black eye, and attempting to comfort her. Another time, he had been drinking after work (I think it was a work Christmas party) and became violent towards his mate, wanting to brawl. What did they do? They put him in the back of a ute with about 6 men holding him down and drove him home. There they left him for his wife and daughter to contend with. I hated him and them for that.

We left him when I was about five years old and before Hayley was one, so she has no memory of that time. Mum wisely decided to move from QLD to NSW, in the hope that being interstate would prevent him hunting her down. Although this was a confusing period for me as a child, my most profound memories are of profound relief combined with fear that he would somehow ‘make us pay’. He did eventually track us down, but Mum was able to apply to the courts for a restraining order and sole custody. Amazingly for the time, the courts took his threats to kill and/or harm her seriously in light of his previous violence, and she got what she asked for. He was ordered to pay maintenance for my upbringing until I was 18, and for Hayley until she reached the same age.

I don’t recall if he had visiting rights. What I do recall is that from the time of the court order, I received only one letter from him. I do know that the maintenance payments stopped almost immediately, and he was suddenly not contactable and no-one knew where he was.

Let’s turn the clocks forward to just after Hayley’s 18th birthday. Mum received a mysterious letter in the mail from a woman who said she was a friend of The Prick, and was writing on his behalf because he was so glad to have finally located his missing daughters. Tell me that the timing of this letter was not fortuitous for The Prick, since he was no longer legally bound to pay maintenance. In any case, this woman asked that Hayley and I phone him, as he was a poor, sick old man with very little time to live.

At this time, I was open to resuming contact with him, and Hayley was curious about her father, so we agreed to call him and were given his number. I experienced a tumultuous range of emotions; eagerness to talk to my dad, fear for what he had done and was capable of, curiosity about him, anger that we did not see or hear from him for 16 years until his conveniently-timed letter, and, most of all, guilt. Nevertheless, I rang him quite a few times and talked. His conversation was almost entirely about himself, except when he was slagging off Mum. He did not once – ever – ask me about my life, what I was doing, how I was faring. He also assumed I had been too young to remember actual events, and told some whopping great lies.

I can’t remember how long we were in contact, but eventually I decided to break it off. Damn it! Who did he think he was? Did having spurted some sperm 23 years previously somehow give him some magical right to walk back into my life as if nothing had happened? He did not in the least care for me; he only cared for the ‘notion’ of me as a possession. His daughter. Like his car. I was to step into my role of dutiful daughter, be Cordelia to his Lear. I wasn’t having a bar of it.

Hayley decided to cut of contact with him shortly afterwards, but then in 1997 he turned up again — this time in person. John and I were living in New York then, so we asked Hayley not to tell him anything about me other than that. Mum also asked that Hayley not tell him her address, either. The Prick told Hayley a bunch of malicious lies about Mum, tried to bully Hayley and was generally overbearing. Mum and Dad (That is Alan, my step-father) had just moved, but they heard from their old next door neighbours that The Prick had turned up at Mum’s old house, and had begun yelling verbal abuse and threats at Mum, whom he thought still lived there. He threatened to kill both Mum and Dad. The neighbours, I think, called the police, and Hayley told him soon afterwards that she didn’t want to see him again.

So, as I said, he has resurfaced again, and so has the anger and depression. I do not want to see him. I do not want him to know where I live or my phone number. I do not want anything to do with him. Despite Hayley’s assurance that she won’t tell him, no matter how hard The Prick pushes, I am still fearful that he will just ‘turn up’ like a bad penny, either at Christmas or at Hayley’s engagement party next year. I particularly asked her not to mention where I work, since it is a large company with a nation-wide switchboard.

Hayley really doesn’t understand the reactions both Mum and me are having to the news that she is in contact with The Prick again. She doesn’t understand why I choose not to have him in my life. She and Mum have been fighting over it all week. Not that Mum is trying to stop her – not at all. Mum is just, like me, concerned that The Prick will turn up and create a scene. He is more than capable of it, as evidenced by his last visit. I have considered applying for an AVO, but don’t know if that is possible in this case.

Hayley believes that we need to give The Prick a chance. But, in my mind, he deserves no chances. For my own mental health and well being, I refuse to have him in my life.

It’s nearly 4am now, so I will blog more about this another time.

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