In the last several days, I’ve done a lot of thinking about my correspondence with Ed. I’ve noticed that he seldom answers my questions, and he almost never addresses what I tell him directly – I’m talking about the kinds of things no father should ignore. He has not inquired about my sister, his daughter whom he has not seen in more than thirty years, and he will not address the reality of his criminal past, the rape charges, with me … this even after I told him exactly how this time in his life affected me.
Thirty years ago, I exited his life for reasons well detailed on this blog – and I never looked back. I never really thought about what he would do, or what had happened to him; he destroyed his family and in so doing made my childhood a living, breathing nightmare; I just wanted him far away from me.
I’m not bothered because he has a family – a wife, step-son, step-grandchildren – I actually hope he has learned to value the people in his life and treat them as he should. I am not vindictive … I didn’t want anyone, even Ed, to spend the rest of their life alone.
But people are not replaceable. I am not replaceable. He spent the first eighteen years of my life fucking it up – literally, and when the mess he made was too big to clean up, he just went out and acquired new people. Was I his Starter Son? The one he could screw over then kick to the curb? Sure, I did the walking away, but what choice did I have? What choice had he left me?
He has said he didn’t know why I simply stopped talking to him, I don’t believe that. What follows is an excerpt from a note I sent him earlier in the week, a note he has not yet responded to:
I don’t know how you would raise me today if you were given the opportunity to turn back the hands of time, but I’d like to think it would look nothing like it did. You once asked me – I think I was about sixteen, if I thought I’d been fairly treated by you as a child; the question caught me completely off-guard – I wasn’t ready for it in any way, so, to end the conversation, I lied and said, yes. The truth is this: by that point in time, I was already having nightmares and flashbacks of the beatings, and I had already seriously contemplated suicide. Ironically, I actually felt guilty for lying to you in that moment – like I had done something wrong. I don’t believe, and haven’t for a very long time, that you’d have asked me that question if YOU believed you had been a good father.
This isn’t something any man who loved his child could or would ignore. And he was there … he knows what he did to me, and he knows it was wrong.
Ed lost his son because of choices he made and his own morally bereft parenting. He has never known his grandchildren because I had to protect them from him – even if I had found some way to interact with Ed personally, I would never have left him alone with my children. The man he calls his son is not his son. The grandchildren he claims, are not his grandchildren. He threw away any chance at knowing those relationships when he beat his children and raped his daughter’s friend.
I struggle with impunity – Ed has done things no man should be able to do with impunity, and yet, somehow, he has managed.
This all began, this blog that is, when I discovered that Ed’s biography at work was untrue; the son he claims, the only child he claims to have, is not his child. After everything this man did to me, and everything it caused, not to be recognized was just too much for me. I was his helpless, vulnerable victim throughout my childhood – to be utterly disowned after the hell he made me live left me feeling well beyond worthless – and it confirmed what I had always known; I never mattered to him. And now he had forgotten all about me. You can’t just drive your children away and then replace them like they never existed. What kind of man does this? What kind of man doesn’t recognize how wrong this is?
When Ed reached out to me about five weeks ago, one of the things he said he would do is update his bio on his employer’s website – he said it would take about two weeks for the changes to update … to date there are no promised changes. It’s easy to say the words, “I’m sorry,” but I’m really not seeing any evidence of remorse.
Out of concern for his step-grandchildren, I let his step-son know about Ed’s past, and Ed has shared with me that his step-son was angry, and his step-daughter-in-law was concerned. I’m sure that could not have been easy for any of them – but Ed has told me all is well now; he sees the children with and without their parents present all the time, and that my notification to his step-son: “made me (Ed speaking) confront the “who I was” to the “who I am” in front of them.” The thing is, he hasn’t confronted me with that yet – and I’m becoming a little wary of what that might mean; he was a salesman in his first life, with his first family, and the thing he sells best is himself – and he could, in those days, be anyone he chose to be in order to close the sale. He was a Master Manipulator …
Shouldn’t he, at the very least, address how the rape charges and his going to prison affected me? Shouldn’t he respond in some way to knowing that at sixteen I was suffering nightmares from, and flashbacks to, beatings he gave me? Shouldn’t knowing I had already contemplated suicide make him feel something? I’ve been patient; I suggested we try forming a new bond and reconnecting somehow before we take on the tough issues, but wouldn’t you think addressing my feelings – not the issues themselves – would further that approach; help us to reconnect and bond?
He talks to me, but he doesn’t say anything.