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  • Writer's pictureLydia Lampert

Daddy Issues

Everyone has a story to tell. I met a gentleman while I was in the hospital that heard me talking about my blog, and he approached me to see if I could help him write his life’s story. Of course I told him I would, so we got to work forming an outline. We swapped email addresses and phone numbers when he was discharged and I do have all intention to help him, but it got me thinking. Why don’t I write my story myself? It’s not like I don’t have one to tell.  Personally things are very raw for me, but as I am getting ready to begin trauma therapy, I thought maybe I would write the first memory of trauma in my life.

It began with my father.  When I was about five years old, I was helping my dad rake up leaves in the front yard so we could make a mountain of leaves for me to jump into for fun. As the day was coming to an end, I forgot to put my rake away. My Dad got so mad he locked me outside on the front porch in the dark and told me to think about what I did wrong and to see how it felt to be forgotten. He would not let me re-enter the house for what seemed like hours to a five year old. I was scared, cold and left, abandoned in the dark. I remember crying and crying until my mom finally won the battle with him and let me back into my home.  As unstable as I may have been throughout the years, I can’t imagine ever doing that to any of my children. I ponder frequently what was wrong with him. How do you do that to your little girl? And the worst part is he never apologized or hugged me to tell me he loved me that night. Instead I was sent to bed without dinner and probably cried myself to sleep.

One New Year’s Eve our family was at a friend’s house and all the other kids were going to go for a walk and he would not allow me to go, so like a typical teenager, I rolled my eyes.   Guess where I spent the rest of New Year’s Eve? In the corner, in front of my friends, crying and completely humiliated. I swear he got off on it.

He also would force me to give him back rubs. I can’t believe I am putting this on a public form, but it completely disgusts me. Here I was at 14 or 15 years old having to rub and massage my father’s bare back and it always had to be for at least an hour. The goose bumps are covering my body and the taste of my morning coffee is coming back up into my mouth as I write this.  I had to straddle his back down by his butt and rub and massage away because I had “strong hands.” It repulses me.  And God forbid I said “No” for I would face unbelievable and inappropriate punishments.  To this day, I can still feel the coolness of his skin squeezed by my fingers and I regress back to that young lady praying the minutes would move faster and fighting off the feelings of self disgust because I knew this was wrong on so many levels. I would never tell my friends or anyone. I carried this secret for years and years, for fear that people would think I was weird or disgusting, but in all actuality, it was my father that was disgusting and inappropriate. In today’s day and age I’m sure he would have been arrested for some form of child endangerment or investigated by DYFS, because although I was never molested by him, I feel that what I was forced to do, was a form of molestation. He had a wife who could have done this for him, but instead forced me.

No wonder I have had issues with men my whole life.  Your father is the person you are to look for love, affection, and protection. Although he was present in the physical sense of the word, emotionally, his soul was empty and his heart was cold.  I’m sure he was mentally ill. You never knew how he was going to behave or what his mood was, and to grow up in a home such as that was traumatizing. His words were so harsh at times, and he loved embarrassing me in front of my friends. The worst part was that he was also a good looking, charismatic man, whom everyone loved, because he was smart, witty and would tell stories that would have people falling off their chairs. He would help anyone. That was the man the world knew. So of course everyone loved him.  No one truly knew the monster we had to live with behind closed doors.

He delighted in making me the target of his cruelty. To this day, I have no idea why, and he’s dead and gone now, having passed in 2006, and having not spoken to me in over seven years prior, but yet, he haunts me from the grave.  What he did to me shaped me and my behaviors and my refusal to allow a man have power over me.

Did he ever beat me? No, but his behaviors damaged me beyond imagination, even into my adulthood.  When I was in the hospital a year after I lost my baby, I stupidly reached out to him. My parents were divorced and when I started to tell him why I was in the hospital, he interrupted me to enlighten me with more of his crazy, irrational wisdom on me.

He stated, “Well good luck with the witch doctors. You had better figure it out because no other man is going to love you, let alone accept you grieving over a baby that was not his.” Once again I was shattered.  And, I have blocked a tremendous amount of the trauma out, but that is enough for now. It’s all I can remember anyway, right now, and it’s upsetting enough.

After he passed away, I had to fly to Florida to identify his body. I was a mess, and of course overridden with guilt because we hadn’t spoken in so long. I felt awful that he died alone. They escorted me to the morgue, pulled his bin out and told me they’d give me a few minutes. As I wept, I leaned over and kissed his forehead which was cold, just like his back used to be.

When I left the morgue that night, I had a dream in which he came to me and said, “It’s over. It’s okay.” If only that would have been the truth, because those words were coming from a liar as far as I was concerned. And how dare he tell me it was over and that it was okay, as if I was the one who did him wrong? I truly hope he rests in peace, because he obviously didn’t live in it.

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