Tag Archives: parenting

Of bad mothers and husbands: Part 5

There’s no denying dad’s his mother’s son; he’s a chip of that cold block. Nonetheless, he made the conscious decision to be mean like her. Interestingly, dad’s mother always thinks mom’s the one who controls dad. Recently mom called dad’s step-dad to find out how she was doing after being discharged from hospital, and he took the liberty of telling her what dad’s mother has been saying.

Apparently, she thinks dad is too tight –fisted, because of mom’s control. I laughed a little when I heard that, because truth is, she focused too little on her last born, to notice the bad habits he was picking up along the way. Truth of the matter is, dad is naturally stingy. That’s the version of him I’ve known my entire life. She’s only noticing now, when she’s almost turning a century old, because she’s in need of his money.

She didn’t let him and his siblings call her ‘mom’ when they were growing up, because she never wanted to feel old. Dad has always referred to her by her first name. It’s only nowadays he’s reluctantly easing into calling her ‘mom’, because she’s evidently old. Even we, couldn’t call her ‘grams’. The way I see it, she spent most of her life focusing on material wealth… ‘loving’ those she thought had money. Therefore in that regard, my family is nowhere close to being loved by her (Not that I care…).

Dad’s mother has made very many mistakes… very many, if you ask me, because she focused on trivialities. Like the woman from the South Korean drama I mentioned in Part 1 of this post, even she, denied her only daughter the chance to marry the man she loved because he was a young broke man. Little did she know he would later become so wealthy. Her daughter on the other hand, never got married. Worst part about all these is, she’s not learning from her mistakes. Nonetheless, I know bad as she is, dad made the choice to be a bad husband, and father.

Turns out, he didn’t forget mom’s birthday. I only learnt the Sunday after mom’s birthday, that when he was out drinking on Friday night, he called mom to wish her happy birthday. That means, the entire time he was causing havoc he knew he was doing that on a day that should have at the very least, been a happy one.

Last week Tuesday (two days after mom’s birthday) was his birthday. He wasn’t home, but I bet if he was, mom would have treated him to a nice birthday dinner. She’s the forgiving type. I’d say her ‘forgive and forget’ nature is what holds their marriage together, because I do not think anyone else would have been that tolerant. So yes, his mother wouldn’t get ‘mother of the year’ award, but him being a bad husband is a choice he consciously made.

The whole of last week, mom was unwell. While she didn’t say much, I could tell dad’s heartless conduct on her birthday had affected her. One thing I know for a fact, is that mom really loves him, regardless of all his shortcomings. Sadly, he doesn’t seem to feel the same way about her; and that bothers her, even if she doesn’t say it out loud. The sadness in her eyes tells it all.

Of bad mothers and husbands: Part 3

The early memories I have of dad and his mother when I was a child, entail dad travelling upcountry to visit her, and every time he came back home, he and mom would always fight. At the time his mother was constantly inciting him to leave her and remarry, and since he was so desirous of her love and acceptance, he would try to cause havoc, maybe hoping it would culminate in a divorce. I usually blame her for the miserable childhood my sisters and I had; for being the evil force behind my family’s tribulations.

Nonetheless, I don’t blame her entirely because I always remind myself, dad had the chance to make a different choice, but somehow he still chose to follow his mother’s misguiding advice. She may have been the proverbial tiny red devil seated on his shoulder telling him how to make our lives a living hell, but truth is, he made that ultimate decision to follow suit.

Three weeks ago, his mother called him, saying she was unwell. When she asked when they would visit, dad told her to talk to mom about it. When mom took dad’s phone, dad’s mother was asking why mom never calls. So mom told her she calls, but she never picks up. Obviously she denied it, but thankfully mom had recent call logs of outgoing calls to dad’s mother that were never picked up. She had no choice but to apologise. Mom told her she doesn’t hold grudges, and as such, she forgave her a very long time ago.

About two days later, they went to visit his ailing mother after finding out from her husband that she’d been admitted in hospital. They were in the company of dad’s only sister. He had refused to go, but mom insisted it was the right thing to do. So he’d agreed, albeit hesitantly.

When they got there they found one of my uncle’s ‘wives’. From what I gathered, dad’s mother was on full-blown diva mode, specifying the fancy hospital she wanted to be taken to, regardless of the fact that she’s always disliked dad because he’s not as moneyed as his brothers (now deceased). I couldn’t help but wonder how in her skewed thinking, she imagined dad would raise funds for such a facility, given that she’s always assumed he’s a hopeless pauper his entire adult life.

The irony of it all was that she’s always considered him and her sister indigents, yet now, that her golden sons are deceased, she was demanding the fancy life they were treating her to, from her impecunious children. In utter contempt, she told them unfeelingly, that since her rich son was no more, she considered this particular wife (one she previously despised when her said son was alive), her ‘son’. Whatever was left of dad’s fragile heart shattered into a million pieces.

“Why would she say that when I’m still alive?” He asked mom when they came back a day later, looking awfully wounded. “My mother just loves money!” The thing with dad is, when he’s happy you feel the happiness radiate from him; when he’s angry, the violent outbursts could scare the life out of someone; and when he’s hurt, he looks entirely broken, that one forgets all the hard times he’s put them through. That night he looked broken.

I would have cried for him that night, were it not for the memories flashing through my mind of the beastly animal he turns into when he feels he’s the one wielding power. Mom and my big sister just pepped him up, telling him not to mind his mother’s awful treatment. Much as I pitied him, I knew it wouldn’t be long before he was the one dishing out the cauldrons of bile.

Sadly, I was right. Last week but one he kept calling mom, making demands (not requesting) of things he wanted her to do in preparation for their trip to see his mother. It’s worth noting that in his typical tyrant fashion, he did not seek her consent. He just assumed they would go, because he’d said so. Mom on this other side was wondering why he’d be so thoughtless, insisting they visit his frosty mother, on her birthday.

Of bad mothers and husbands: Part 2

My maternal grandmother taught me what kindness means; to love with an unselfish love, and to never judge or condemn anyone. Since she died in 2013, I’ve always felt grandmother-less. Funny, or sad thing is, my paternal grandmother is alive and kicking, but when I think of her, I’m not overcome by any feeling of warmth, or affection. I just feel very indifferent towards her. Reason being, she’s the reason mom was never accepted by her in-laws; she was shunned the day dad took her home, because she was poor.

As if that was not enough, even after they got married in church, she’s always been trying to remove her from dad’s life; and as an extension of her unfounded hatred for mom, she’s always hated my sisters and I because we’re the progeny of a poor woman. She never took time to know us, but somehow she still detests our existence. How is that Christ-like?

Whenever I hear dad talking about her, I get the impression he yearns for his mother’s love. He’s always trying to get her validation, but somehow, it never comes. I pity him. Seeing as dad works out of town, mom went to visit him about a month ago, and she stayed there for two weeks. Normally I don’t trust mom to be in safe hands when she’s alone with dad, I mean, it’s one of the reasons I developed an anxiety disorder in my teenagehood when I was away in boarding school; I always feared he’d harm her.

Owing to that, I made a point of calling mom every day, just to check on her. On the days I was too busy to call, I’d ensure my small sister did. Most of the days she sounded happy, but on other days she’d be sounding so disgruntled, saying how dad was acting up. For instance, at night he’d be drinking with the music blaring so she couldn’t sleep.

However, one afternoon she told me of a heart-rending conversation she had with dad. Though she did not delve into the finer details of that conversation, she told me dad almost cried, while telling her how he was so sure his mom doesn’t love him. I know he’s right because out of him and his three siblings, two of whom are now deceased, his mom loved his two older siblings more. In case you’re wondering, she did not love them because she thought they were virtuous. Nope! She just loved them because of their fat bank accounts, and deep pockets.

In that regard, her second son, may he rest in peace, was her favourite. Weirdly though, he left very many baby mamas (‘wives’) and children, some of whom were being introduced to the family during the wakes. The mother encouraged his promiscuity, because if he was a bachelor, she would get to benefit financially, from his lack of obligations to any wife and kids.

It is no wonder, consequent to his death, she’s one of the aggrieved parties in an intestate succession case, claiming a share of his estate; not just a small percentage, but a huge chunk of it. When my dad was almost tearing up talking about his mother, mom comforted him, telling him God always finds a way to balance things because He gave him a loving wife and children, to make up for his mom’s shortcomings.

I silently wondered if dad would have turned out different if he’d accepted his mother’s preferential treatment of his siblings sooner. He’s been in denial pretty much all his life, until recently, when he couldn’t ignore it any longer. She was being too obvious about it.

Of bad mothers and husbands: Part 1

My maternal grams was a very kind woman, God rest her soul in eternal peace. I have very fond memories of her; whenever we visited her, she’d let me sleep in her bed because I was named after her. That’s not say she loved me more than she loved my sisters; on the contrary, she loved us equally. When she smiled, she had this warm, calming vibe, that was the epitome of sincerity and good heartedness. Even when she admonished someone occasionally for something wrong they’d done, it was never with malice, or to belittle them.

I know she was a wonderful woman because somehow she managed to see dad’s goodness. Even when he erred majorly, she treated him with so much love and warmth. To date, dad loves her. Every once in a while, he will say something nice about her. For instance, there was this day mom and I were watching this South Korean drama, and there was this dramatic scene, where a woman was about to slap her daughter because she’d just brought home the man she loved to meet her parents.

The woman’s main bone of contention was that her soon-to-be son-in-law was a webtoon artist; a profession that’s apparently considered lowly by the moneyed folks. Ergo, this woman just couldn’t bear the thought of having one for a son-in-law, because he would be the sole, painful reason she’s gossiped by her fellow rich women during social gatherings.

Dad, who was on his annual leave, was just seated there scrolling through his phone, and he just happened to look up when that part was playing. Seconds later the show ended, and I stood to leave. As I walked to the kitchen, I heard him tell mom, “Your mom never treated me like that. My mother, on the other hand, treats me like that to date. She’s a very materialistic woman”, he sighed dejectedly. It broke my heart to hear him say that because I understood where he was coming from.

He ran away from home when he was only a teenager, I think, because he could not bear to live with his overly strict mother. Being strict is not unheard of when it comes to parenting; I mean, mom has raised my sisters and I by instilling that fear of her wrath in us. Thankfully, I got to a point where I realised it wasn’t her wrath I should be afraid of, but God’s; and that’s been my guiding principle to date. With dad’s mom, it was cruelty masqueraded as strictness.

When she cooked meat, dad wouldn’t get his serving unless he said grace to her satisfaction. I know she grew up Catholic, but later on changed to Protestantism subsequent to her divorce, seeing as divorces are frowned upon, and the church doesn’t allow one to remarry, unless the marriage has been annulled, under Canon Law. When she got saved, she ditched her ‘party girl’ habits and adopted this strict religiousness, which I’ve always found problematic since I was a child; it’s hard for me to reconcile her ‘saved-ness’, with all the wicked things she does.

My understanding of getting ‘saved’, is that one accepts Jesus as their personal Saviour, and as such, they abide to live by the teachings prescribed in the Bible; New testament especially, where Jesus outlaws some teachings from the Old Testament, like the law of Moses encouraging ‘an eye for an eye’.

Being a Christian means to be a follower of Jesus Christ; to be guided by the precepts of Christ; to be Jesus-like. Tithing, fasting, attending church services and reciting prayers isn’t to be Christ-like. On the contrary, it is how we conduct ourselves when it comes to our treatment of other people, with respect to Jesus’ greatest commandment: to love God with all our hearts, and to love our neighbours. This is the hallmark of Christianity. Anything contrary to that is just hypocrisy on heels.

Kids have never failed to imitate: Part 3

Now back to these girls with the makeup, my sis and I started discussing two different scenarios of how the issue would possibly end up when they retired to their respective homes later in the evening:

First scenario: after asking their parents to buy them makeup, their parents would readily oblige, since they wouldn’t want their kids to suffer any embarrassment among their friends. Better yet, they wouldn’t want their children to find other alternative means of acquiring the same; say stealing, or trading in sexual favours with older guys so they can get money… etc.

Second scenario: After asking their parents to buy them makeup, some parents would refuse; since not all parents would consent to buying their children makeup owing to their young age. It could also be because they do not have money to spend on such ‘cosmetic’ things, as my dad would bluntly have referred to such, implying that there are more important things in life.

In such a case, depending on how desperate a girl is, she will find alternative means of acquiring that make up. The parents will be lucky if their daughters are complacent like my sisters and I were. We always wanted things that felt basic like bikes, but our dad was too stingy to buy them, and our mom too impecunious to afford such.

We also contemplated how much power and influence that ‘cool girl’ with the lip glosses wielded, over her younger friends. Seeing how awed they were by her, they would take everything she said as ‘Bible truth’. If she told them it was cool to take drugs, they would do just that just so they can also seem cool. Furthermore, if she said it was cool to have sex, that’s what most of the girls would aspire to do.

The way I see it, it takes a certain level of maturity for someone to realize being ‘cool’ isn’t ‘all that’… and as it is, most kids haven’t gotten to that level of realization. Who can blame them? That’s just how the cookie crumbles.

The thing with children, is that they may not listen to what older people say, but they will surely imitate what they see around them. For instance, I wanted to become a nun because I grew up around them. In the same vein, if a child grows up watching a sexual worker who is very successful, that’s what they will want to be.

Like I mentioned previously, children are essentially very innocent. For the most part, they will only see the best in people. While majority of us might be here judging people because of the lifestyles they live that do not conform to our ‘moral norms’, children will see the good-hearted nature of the person, and as such will want to be just like that person.

Such was the case in the movie, ‘The Executor’ starring Markiss Mcfadden and Mischa Burton, where a young boy and his mom are in a shop, when a young man bombs the shop, subsequently killing the woman. His troubled conscience prompts him to adopt the orphaned boy.

As the little boy is growing up, he chooses to become an assassin as well. Clearly, this boy opts to follow in his adoptive guardian’s footsteps, not because he doesn’t understand the nature of his job, but because he likes the guy. This is what happens with children; they imitate what older people do, and as such, it is the people they interact with, who play that vital role of shaping their destiny.

Let’s talk about sex

How much is too much when it comes to children’s knowledge about sex? I’m under the impression some parents/guardians avoid this topic at all costs, but when you look at the happenings around us, the situation needs to be addressed. As the world is battling coronavirus, and all the untold hardships it has brought upon us, one of the glaring cons is that children have stayed out of school for longer than they should have.

You know some of those old sayings we so often take for granted? Some are proving hard to ignore; for instance, ‘An idle mind is the devils’ workshop’. Children are at home, and as it is, statistics show the number of underage pregnancies have rapidly increased.

These, have been attributed to gender-based violence, where girls are being defiled by male relatives; in some instances some naïve girls are being lured by wealthy men, who are promising them the things their parents/guardians cannot afford…then there’s the larger majority, who are just experimenting, of their own volition because they have so much time on their hands.

The latter is my bone of contention. Thousands of underage girls are getting pregnant…Question is, what are we not doing right? Something had me thinking…majority of guardians/parents are afraid of having the ‘birds and the bees’ conversation with their children; either because they are too reticent, or because in some cultures sex is one of those taboo topics everyone should avoid, except when discussing it with peers.

I’ve watched several movies on various local channels, where basic kisses are censored. Ever watched a Hallmark movie? They are the most family-friendly…they have a very intriguing storyline, which has relatively harmless love scenes. Methinks, the amount of kissing and nudity in these movies is too minimal to be censored.

Thinking of it from a child’s perspective, it feels like one of those instances where I’m watching my parents kiss…and as one would expect, it’s not one of those raunchy moments which scream, “Get a room!’ It’s the subtle type, which doesn’t focus on the physical aspect, but the intense love behind that kiss.

So, begs the question, should we bury our heads in the sand, pretend kids know nothing about sex and let things continue spiralling out of control? Should we let our innocent children get derailed by all the misleading information from their fellow friends, or the misleading pornographic content that’s easily available online?

When looking at a child, it is easy to dismiss them off as naïve, but I beg to differ. Just think of how old you were when you found out about sex. The difference between adults and children is, the former have a good amount of information to help them make informed choices, whereas the latter are still in a stage where they’ve got relatively little information that’s relevant, and ballooning curiosity.

I’ve interacted with children a lot, and one of the things I’ve picked up from my interaction with them is that a kid as young as five, has heard about sex from some older kids…problem is, the information they have is skewed…and that is where, in my humble opinion, parents/guardians should step in.

As a lawyer, one of my areas of expertise is children and the law, and as such, I could use pages expounding on the legal aspect of this conundrum. For starters, anyone found engaging in coitus with a minor should be charged with statutory rape…

However, the greatest challenge is that most of the teens are having sex with their fellow teens. In most jurisdictions, a child is anyone below the age of eighteen. So if both are minors, engaging in consensual sex, who should bear the criminal liability?

In the few years I’ve studied law, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learnt is that law does not solve all problems. The implication of this is that we need to find non-legal solutions and nip the problem in the bud. When I was a child, the one thing parents and teachers kept repeating was, ‘True love waits’.

From what I gather, most teens engage in coitus due to peer pressure. A kid who wants to appear cool needs to have sexual experience, because this is all kids are talking about nowadays…and the internet isn’t helping either. The way I see it, it’s about time we grabbed that bull by the horns.

Let’s have this conversation with kids…let’s tell them point blank of all the repercussions of teen sex…let’s not wait for them to collect misleading information from the internet, from peers… Let that vital, life-changing information come from a place of love…let’s teach them, that true love waits!

Alternatively, there’s the issue about safe sex education. If they cannot wait, there are safe ways of doing it. I know for most parents/guardians this might be unnerving, because children are angels, whose innocence should be protected. However, avoiding this topic is only worsening things.

The only way a parent/guardian can know the options available to them is by talking to their kids and gauging their position with regards to matters sex. What’s obvious, is that silence is not a viable option; because while we’re busy ignoring this, hoping our kids are still little angels, they are busy having sex…

 

Mommy Issues

I know a bad relationship when I see one. Be it a romantic one, a filial one, a fraternal one or even a fiduciary one…and this is not because I’ve received any formal training on matters relationship. Overtime I’ve just learnt to look out for the red signs in relationships… I guess because I’m afraid of getting hurt by people.

In light of this, I know the relationship my sisters and I have with dad is bad; because every time I feel we’re only kept together by money. I’ve delved into that matter in previous posts but for the sake of clarity, with regard to this particular post, I’ll explain it again.

Dad is our primary provider, because we have not gotten jobs which pay well enough for us to become fully independent. Due to this, we put up with a lot of hurtful treatment from him as he always does things for us half-heartedly. Yesterday, my small sis was saying, “Dad is like the devil. He never gives anything for free, and always comes to collect”. I was, and have been of the same opinion for a very long time.

See, he and mom went out shopping to replenish house supplies for the month, and they came back happy. However, shortly after they arrived he went out to drink. When he came back home he treated us to his usual drunken rumblings, with the music playing so loud, an outsider would have been tempted to think there was a religious crusade taking place in our house, since he was listening to gospel music.

He always makes us feel like we need to give up something for his ‘generosity’. From experience, he seems to revel in our misery, therefore whatever he knows we hate, he’ll gladly do it, just to spite us. For instance, yesterday when he went to the bathroom I went to the living room and turned the volume down. Sadly, when he came back, he turned it up again. I didn’t bother to reason with him because I knew we would only end up arguing; and nowadays I don’t really have the strength for that.

When the music was still playing, I heard him talk to someone at the top of his voice. I knew it wasn’t mom because they had argued a short while ago. So I figured he was on the phone. What caught my attention was him saying, “I love you” to the person on the other end. My curiosity piqued, I literally started eavesdropping…

‘You’re the best mom in the whole wide world,” I heard him say. So it was his mother. As I mentioned at the beginning, I can tell a bad relationship when I see one…and in that regard, dad’s relationship with his mom is a very unhealthy one… toxic even.

When addressing her he and his siblings call her by her first name. When I was young I found that odd since from my upbringing, I had been told children should address grown-ups respectfully, and this entailed using ‘titles’ if there were any; mom, dad, aunt, uncle, Mr, Mrs… ergo, hearing dad call his mom by her name felt like sacrilege. With time I learned she had asked her children not to call her mom. It’s sad, I know. Apparently she was afraid the tag ‘mom’ would prejudice her as it would make her appear too old.

She had prohibited us from calling her grandma as well, so as we were growing up we always had trouble calling her during the rare occasions we met. Eventually, after high school my sisters and I decided it was about time she stopped living in denial, so we started calling her granma. I couldn’t fathom calling her by her name; it just felt wrong. Sometimes she would ignore us, but I guess she noticed we were not going to relent…she stopped fighting it.

From what I’ve gathered, dad had a somewhat difficult childhood. His mother was too hard on him, that at some point he ran away from home. Unfortunately, he still craves her validation to date. She has tried so many times to break him and mom up, since she’s always wanted a rich daughter-in-law, yet dad doesn’t/has never tried to defend his marriage.

When we were young, she would summon him constantly and every time he came back home, he and mom would always fight. She was filling him up with resentment towards mom and he didn’t care to resist the influence. Her latest stunt to split them up was in 2015, when she came here accompanied by her other children. They had come to whisk him away…

My sisters and I gave them a piece of our minds…they had not seen that coming. Since then I haven’t seen or heard of any such attempts. Now what bugs me about this whole situation is that, dad fails to realise he is still holding on too tightly to the past to let himself enjoy what he has now. God gave him a loving wife, who in spite of all the misery he puts her through, still remains faithful to him.

Furthermore, my sisters and I try so hard to make this miserable relationship we have with him amount to something beautiful, but he’s always pushing us away. He always chooses his mother and siblings over us. He refused to move on completely. Now we’re all grown up, and about to move out, yet most of our memories with him are sad ones. He refused to embrace this future/present that God gave him.

We would have had a very happy life, but he chose to cling on to his past, hoping that someday his mother would give him the love he so desperately craves.

 

 

Cons of sowing too many seeds

Sure, God did command mankind to multiply and fill the earth. However, there’s the saying about everything having pros and cons. Off of the top of my head, there’s that advantage of parents being able to leave legacies through their children especially where one child doesn’t amount to much, at least one of the progenies will amount to something…

Now to disadvantages; the way I see it, there’s more to parenthood than just donating egg or sperm. Generally speaking, anyone can conceive; but only a few can actually become parents in the real sense of raising their kids.

There is this uncle I have. He’s a well-known serial dater, who practically sires children with every woman he talks to. Last I checked, he had seventeen known ‘wives’… I would say that’s a case of polygamy at its best; and as for the children he’s fathered, well those ones keep popping up like ads when you think there couldn’t possibly be more.

His first ‘legit’ firstborn (the one we all thought was his first born) is just a coupla years older than me, but as days pass by, more children older than him keep appearing. That obviously means he started following God’s order to Adam and Eve, “go forth and multiply”, when everyone clearly thought he was only sharing his life with one woman.

Interestingly, his older children have already started their own families yet he is still siring more children; some of who are now younger than his grandchildren. But that’s hardly a problem. Nonetheless, one of the common factors is that for all his children he’s been an absentee father. Now that’s where the problem lies.

Ordinarily, he lives with a woman for a while and when the children are barely ten, he takes off and moves in with a different woman, leaving a very disgruntled family behind. Such is the life he’s lived since before I’ve known him. Unfortunately, karma is finally catching up with him.

A few months ago, his ‘legit’ first born and his wife, welcomed a baby boy and while my uncle hoped the baby would be named after him, my cousin refused. Such was the case when his second born and wife also welcomed a son. Saddest truth, is his children do not want to be associated with him. Furthermore, the women he has been cohabiting with recently, have also sued him for child maintenance.

As if that’s not enough, he’s been sick for a long while and he has got no one to take care of him. None of his women are willing to be associated with him. I find it sad that he’s got so many children but he’s all alone and lonely.

Luckily he was able to get a nurse, who’s now taking care of him…and though it definitely isn’t my place to be saying this, there has been rife speculation that he is already romantically involved with her. So it’s not hard to imagine how that story will end.

Looking at my uncle’s life, I’m more convinced it’s not about the number of children one sires, but the number one raises. Parenting is more than just conceiving and giving birth to babies. Proverbs 5: 15-19 says, “Be faithful to your own wife and give your love to her alone. Children that you have by other women will do you no good. Your children should grow up to help you, not strangers. So be happy with your wife and find your joy with the girl you married”.

Emotional scars: Part 2

A few weeks ago on Deutcshe Welle TV, I watched this show about women who, in an attempt to get past horrifying incidents of domestic violence which had left their bodies awfully scarred, had gotten tattoos to cover the scars. Therefore in place of a burn or big scar, one would have a beautiful tattoo. Though I’m not a psychologist, I can say getting ‘rid’ of the marks sought of speeds up the healing process.

Now with regard to that, I found myself wondering, what would happen to people whose scars are not physical but emotional? For instance, last Sunday I was talking to my big sister and she seemed to have this evident revulsion for all matters dad. Late last year she had developed this habit where she’d stay in her room the whole day, in an attempt to stay away from him.

This went on for weeks until dad, in one of his rare glimpses of responsible parenthood, asked mom about her whereabouts. He actually sounded concerned, and that happens rarely. He told mom he didn’t support that because if she went on like that for a while longer, there was no telling what she could do to herself.

Eventually, mom talked to her about it and after seeing how concerned dad was, she stopped ‘locking’ herself in her bedroom and even started talking to him. They didn’t just dive straight away into the buddy-buddy pool but their relationship improved remarkably.

However, to my horror, last week I realised she was sliding back into that habit. When dad’s around she’ll avoid all the places she knows she could bump into him. While I don’t quite think it’s the best solution, I sought of understand why she’s doing it.

I had a talk with her about it and she told me dad is the one person in her life who has ever made her contemplate committing suicide. Therefore avoiding him works for her because if he doesn’t see her, he just might forget she even exists and he won’t have to think of all the hurtful things to say about her when he’s drunk.

See, when dad’s not trying to be a good parent, and that’s who he is most of the time, he makes someone feel very uncomfortable when they are around him. He’ll just sit behind a newspaper, purporting to read it all day, and he might not say a word unless someone starts a conversation. From what I’ve gathered over time, he usually spends that time observing everyone, making his own little condemnatory mental notes.

It’s only when he’s drunk, or has only had a little to drink and is pretending to be drunk that he starts yapping, complaining about everything and everyone. He’s been doing that since I’ve known him and I abhor it.

To be fair, I’ll just give him the benefit of the doubt and say maybe there are times he has meaningful complaints, like this one time we were all busy and didn’t get time to pull down the Christmas decorations until February.

Nonetheless, my problem is how he raises those issues. He’ll go fill up on some dutch courage before he starts venting. Worst part is, he always does wicked things deliberately with the sole intention of hurting us. For instance, two weeks ago he suggested we should visit his mom the next day and we all agreed.

Seeing as we were supposed to leave very early, we thought we would use that Friday evening to prepare for the trip which had been suggested on such short notice. Disappointingly, he went to drink at around five in the evening and he didn’t come back till around three in the morning. By then we had all cancelled the travelling plans since there was no way we’d be going to his mom’s with him drunk.

When he came in at that very ungodly hour, he started shouting as usual but since we were all asleep, he figured he would force mom to have an audience with him. Though his loud monologues had woken her up, she didn’t say anything. When he saw she wasn’t flinching or acting all agitated, he just walked to their bedroom window, opened it, and started shouting, apparently addressing the neighbours who cared to listen.

Though I didn’t hear everything because I willed myself to fall asleep so I wouldn’t hear him, the things he said were very offensive, and not to mention hurtful. In a nutshell, he said mom must be a witch because she spends so much time in prayer… (I’ve always thought praying is a good thing). And regarding my sisters and I, he said he didn’t understand what we were still doing in his house.

Like I’ve said before, maybe sometimes he has genuine concerns, but the way he brings it all up is what really hurts. I’ve never told him, but my reluctance to get married stems from this overwhelming fear I have of ending up with someone like him. He’s subjected us to so much misery, and though he’s clearly oblivious to it, I have an anxiety disorder to show for it… I have suffered from depression…and peptic ulcers…

Since I do not like dwelling so much on the past, I always try to find things which will cheer me up so I don’t get sucked into my own negative thoughts, which have become a constant companion. That’s what living in constant anxiety does to someone…Always waiting for something to go wrong…

If someone was to judge my sisters and I from our physical appearance, we look healthy and ‘normal’, because we don’t have physical scars to show for the pain and anguish we’ve been through. However deep down, we’ve so many emotional scars. That’s why I find dad’s sentiments awfully erroneous; physical scars are not the only indicators of suffering.

Height of Addiction

This weekend has been an intense emotional roller coaster, both for me, my mom and my sisters. A lot has happened, and it all stemmed from one misguided action… so basically what we’ve been experiencing is some sort of domino effect.

This past Friday, I was working on some school assignment in the evening when mom received a call from a friend. It was an urgent call. I could not hear what he was saying from the other end but the worry in mom’s voice made me guess all was not well. When she got off the phone, she came to talk to me.

Apparently, the friend had asked her to go get dad because he had been roughed up during a bar brawl. He’s been on his annual leave for the last three weeks and all he’s been doing is bonding with his favourite beer bottles. That’s all that seems to matter to him, sadly. That day he had left home early in the morning to go to the bar and he had come in around 2.00am drunk after spending the entire Thursday afternoon out.

As she asked me to accompany her to the bar dad had gone to, she sounded horrified. We did not know what state we were going to find him in so the anxiety was overwhelming. By the time I changed into decent clothes, mom had already left.

When I caught up with her, she was already with dad, who was sitted on the co-driver’s seat. My jaw dropped when I saw him. His clothes were all ruffled and muddy and he had this huge bleeding bump on his forehead. His left eye was red too. I had never seen him in that state before. Worst part was, he was so drunk so his words were coming out slurred… and at the time he seemed so calm and composed. It’s like he wasn’t aware of what was going on.

Seemingly, he was in some state of utopia where everything was all rosy. To mom and I though, it felt so humiliating. This was the head of our family; my father, and mom’s husband. A wave of anger engulfed me and at that moment I felt so much hatred towards him. He was tainting our family’s image; subjecting us to public ridicule.

Initially, I’d accompanied mom so we could drive him back home since he was clearly not in any position to drive. However, another one of mom’s friends had volunteered to drive him back home before I got there. After starting the car for him because he could not locate the cut-out, I stepped aside so he could reverse the car.

Some lady who was watching asked mom and I to get in the car but I refused. There was no way I was going to be seen with dad after the drama I imagined he had treated people to. I was so mad at him. Some guys, who I also imagined had witnessed the whole scuffle, advised us to take him to hospital first. That gave me chills, because I thought, guys fight all the time, but they don’t always go to hospital for it; unless it was serious.

This had me thinking that he might have suffered some internal injuries, God-forbid. Problem is, he was looking so unkempt. He had to get cleaned before we started displaying him in public again. So mom and I advised that guy to drive him home.

Since the bar wasn’t a long distance from home, mom and I just walked back. When we arrived we found dad standing outside the car. He couldn’t even walk unaided. Therefore, mom helped him up the steps as the friend was leaving. At first I had ignored him but mom called me to go roll the car windows up.

When I started going up the stairs, I noticed bloody footsteps and I panicked, wondering what part of dad’s body was bleeding. I got to the house and I told mom about it. She hadn’t even noticed it. A few hours later, dad’s leg was still bleeding and he didn’t want to be taken to hospital. His forehead on the other hand seemed like it had been stung by bees.

Exasperated, mom called his brothers, hoping they would convince him to go to hospital and eventually, he agreed. We learned from my uncle that our 3-year old nephew was suffering from acute pneumonia and had been admitted in hospital. My sisters and I decided to kill two birds with one stone: accompany dad to hospital and visit our nephew.

We left the hospital around 4.00am Saturday morning after tests, including a CT scan showed he was ok. Due to that disruption, now the school assignment I was working on is still incomplete and I feel so inconvenienced. Every time I keep thinking this was totally unnecessary and could have been avoided.

Dad on the other hand is home with a bandaged foot and forehead and he won’t say what happened to him. He says he fell down, although some people say he got into a fight. We don’t know how he acquired his injuries. All I know is that this has caused my family great humiliation. His siblings suggested it’s time he went to rehab but that won’t work if he is unwilling.

Since I’ve known dad, he’s always been best buddies with the bottle; and as we grow older, his love for the frothy liquid seems to grow alarmingly, while everything else crumbles. Though he won’t admit it, I can tell he’s already addicted and him quitting will take a miracle. After everything I’ve witnessed, and felt these past couple of days, I would advise anyone to stay away from alcohol. It has caused us so much pain and humiliation, and this could have been avoided altogether if dad could make better choices.