October 20, 2004

"And to Him, We No Longer Speak"

For the morbidly curious, the "private feedback" to the previous post is as follows:

Your amoral, manipulative, misogynist father has a point of view, too. A point of view you don't have the decency or guts to recognize. Who took you to your first musical? Who bought you your first book of Shakespeare (over your mother's objection)?

I never tried to be the perfect father--just a whole lot better than mine. You and Tony, who have had the benefit of many good role models, exposure to art and literature, and the freedom to develop as individuals, never seem to have acquired the basic human virtues of compassion and forgiveness. Not the decency to attend you grandfather's funeral or to return your grandmother's love. Neither of you has had the decency to respond to my efforts to reconcile our differences. You fancy yourselves good people who will save the world by virtue of your own high standards, but you're incapable of returning the love of those who loved you most. Real men!

I've never seen such self-righteous hypocrisy.

Good night, sweet prince.

I'd leave this as an "I rest my case" for the Real Man debate, but there are a couple of things worth pointing out here. Note that nice touch of gratuitous poor-put-upon-male in there ("over your mother's objection"). Note the mention of compassion and forgiveness from a guy who sued his twenty-years friends and neighbors over the rights to a strip of driveway, "not ground enough and continent to hide the slain," causing rifts that will never heal. Note the mention of "decency" from a man who tried to use his wife's private sexual fantasies as evidence in his divorce case, and denied a grieving daughter access to her late mother's personal effects. "Self-righteous hypocrisy" is especially funny after all that.

While we're at it, it's worth noting how he cut off helping to support me in college when state law no longer required him to do so, which should give you some perspective on just how deep his Real Man fatherly devotion runs. And that's not even touching on his constant, palpable disapproval - of the time I devoted to the theatre, of my queerness, of my hobbies, of anything that wasn't in the service of Getting Ahead. Don't be fooled - if we had "freedom to develop as individuals," it was very much in spite of his best efforts, and because my brother and I had the good sense, eventually, to learn to ignore him and listen to the role models who'd earned our respect.

These last may seem like small failings, and probably alone they would be; certainly many parents worthy of love share them. But it adds up - the solipsism, the creepy head-games, the willful disinterest in his family's lives unless something benefitted him, the constant martyrdom. And I might well have even forgiven all that, if not for his cruelty, his vengefulness, his willingness to make people suffer because they won't play the game his way. I won't trouble you with more of the gory details; all you really need to know is that, unless you've proven your loyalty to him, all conversations, all relationships with him have the feel of his rant above. He talks a good game about love, but no kindness from him ever came without a price. You see it here: I was so good to you, see how you repay me, you owe me. It's Pete Seeger's shorter "Greensleeves": I gave thee this, I gave thee that, and yet thou wouldst not love me.

Those of you with a lot invested in what a nice guy I am, assuming you're out there, may want to cover your eyes now.

Dennis, once and for all, go the fuck away. You and your nasty guilt-trips aren't welcome in my life, by this backdoor or any other, and if you come back and pull this poisonous nonsense again you'll get ignored like the troll you are. If you ever had a chance at redemption and reconciliation, you sure blew it now. (What, this was supposed to convince me to come back? Or just be some penance-and-grief-inducing revelation? It worked as neither.) You've shown me that you'll never comprehend how deeply you hurt me and my loved ones, or why you're not wanted - that you just don't get all that you have to atone for. If I hadn't done so clearly enough before, I denounce you: Liar, adulterer, sower of discord, pathetic, misogynistic, self-centered sociopathic petty tyrant. You're not my father any more, and honestly, you never truly were. I'm here to disabuse you of the notion that a well-timed orgasm makes you a parent, because Heaven knows that's about all the effort and sacrifice you ever truly put into it. For all your claims of everything you did for me, my life is fuller and richer and happier with you out of it. You didn't even leave enough of a mark on who I am for me to hate you; you're not worth the effort. Mostly I just don't give a shit about you, and maybe that's the most fitting repayment of all.

(So why, then, do I drag this out in the open here? Well, for one, this whining manipulator deserves to be exposed to the world for what he is, especially when he comes onto my blog (not having taken the hint at any time previously) and makes a fuss about how wronged he is - and any of you who might have wondered why I want nothing to do with him now have some concrete, right-from-the-bastard's mouth evidence. And too, to draw a contrast between his twisted model of what a family is - what he needs it to be - and the one I'm surrounded by here. You folks are "the ones who loved me the most," and you're the family I truly cherish, the ones I'd lay it on the line for. You earned it, and that is clearly a thing he will never, ever understand.)

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