Sorry, but I hate Father’s Day

Father’s and Mother’s days are always difficult and I struggle to find the words to explain why.  I hate sending those cards, celebrating their parenthood, or expressing my love and appreciation.  That is the opposite of how I truly feel.  Rather than show love, honour and respect, I have only been aware of the opposite.  However, to keep the peace and quash my unreasonable guilt, I dutifully send the first card that comes to hand, as long as there are no sloppy –dishonest – words.

I could never hurt either of them by letting them – or anyone – know how I truly feel.  It is an incredibly lonely feeling of deep shame to hold so much contempt and lack of care for any paternal bonds.  As a matter of a fact, those bonds have never existed.  They were only ever play-acted to meet their expectations/needs – my sister and I should be grateful for what we had.  They were consistently drumming into our tiny minds that they were the best parents ever.  “Your mother knows best” was a favourite saying along with “children should be seen and not heard” and “You deserve all (the abuse) you get” mentality.

They might have seen some logic pattern to their explosive and heavy-handed actions, but to a small child, there is often no awareness of what exactly they did wrong.  I remember some of the beatings coming from nowhere.  What it did was make me mistrust and loath them even more.

But, there was more to it than the beatings.  It was more to do with my sense of belonging, of being wanted.  In my previous post “Splitting and childhood trauma” I wrote about how Mum would scream in my face “You fucking wee bastard, I wish I had never had you” whenever I broke her very thin patience.

I have this vivid image etched in my memory.  I am about 5 to 6 years old and I’m on the living room floor playing quietly (woe betide us if we made a noise).  This was one of the better days.  Mum was in a good mood, I could always tell by the shape of her eyes and mouth.  There was always a deep longing to get along with her, maybe a child’s need to feel true parental love and acceptance.

I can almost hear the little boy utter those very tragic words, “Mum?”

“Yes?” she says with a smile

Was I a mistake”? (Meaning a mistake of birth)

Well” She says, looking away and shrugging her shoulders indifferently “You weren’t a mistake, but you weren’t planned either

How can a little boy get such an idea into his innocent mind?  That was an adult term.  It wasn’t an observation of a toddler.  I must have been overhearing her say I was a “mistake”. 

From a very early age, I was never at home.  In the 60’s, children were safe from the harm of traffic and many of the dangers we are very aware of today.  As young as 5 years old, Mum would get me ready in the morning and I remember the eagerness to be outdoors, far away from them.  She would open the door and off I went, sometimes disappearing for a couple of hours or more.  Eventually, I came under the clutches of a paedophile.

This was the pattern of behaviour right up until I left home at 17 years old (although I did start to get myself ready in the mornings!!).  I could never bear being under the same roof.  Some days/nights there would be heavy rain and freezing cold winds.  I recall feeling great jealousy and resentment towards mates because they actually WANTED to spend time at home watching telly with their parents.  I would roam the streets and had a couple of hidey-spots that would shelter me from Scotland’s miserable weather until it was curfew time.

I cannot remember ever feeling a sense of love and security and grew up with this weird idea that they were not actually my parents; that I was secretly adopted.  That gapping void was difficult to comprehend for a child/teenager.  It is not something I have been able to fill as an adult.

Therefore, I feel great shame and guilt for harbouring my secret true feelings about them and that is why I hate Father’s day.

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11 thoughts on “Sorry, but I hate Father’s Day

  1. borderlionblog

    I’m sorry to hear about the abuse you had to go through as a child. I can understand your feelings about Father’s Day – I feel similarly. I was in a psychiatric hospital over Father’s Day last year. I can’t help feeling that that’s fitting somehow. Take care. x

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you Borderlion. Somehow it is comforting to know people have had similar experiences. It sort of lessens the guilt….. justify’s or reinforces the anger.

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  2. Cate Reddell

    So much of what you say here makes so much sense to me, unfortunately. Especially the bit about being (not being) a mistake, Something I heard over and over across the years.

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  3. myspokenheart

    I am sad to hear your reasoning here, and yet I understand and feel that you should not feel ashamed… but perhaps rather relieved that you are able to explain why. It is an assurance that you can be different than that.

    Personally I am indifferent to Father’s day. I have never met my father, yet have been told that he knows about me but that means very little. So for me there is a hollow on days like Father’s day because deep down there is a longing for something that I have never felt or experienced and never will. I suppose to some degree you likely feel that too, perhaps that is why you hate it, because there is anger and resentment in that you never received it when you should have…

    Every child needs and deserves to not only be loved but to truly feel loved… I am so sorry that as a child you didn’t receive the love, care and nurture that belonged to you…

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    1. Cat Post author

      Msh…. Thank you for commenting. What you say is accurate. I can also feel that hollow. The dislike for father’s Day is anger and resentment for not having what every person longs to experience

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  4. Bourbon

    I used to believe very strongly that I couldn’t let my parents know how I really feel about our ‘relationship’. To finally do so by my silence and estrangement took a very long time because of the mammoth amount of guilt I had to work through to get there. I can relate. Xx

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  5. elisa

    Its appropriate time to make some plans for the future and its time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!

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    1. Cat Post author

      Elisa, I do apologise but I have just noticed your comment hidden away in my spam folder. Until tonight, I didn’t realise there was a spam folder!

      Thank you for reading and commenting, it means a great deal

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