My father moved out or our house for the first time during my first year of college. He moved into an apartment in the town he worked in, about 25 miles from our home. He lived there for about 4 months. Then he had second thoughts, and it was around the holidays, so he and my mother “reconciled”, and he came home. Merry Christmas everyone!
I don’t know how long he was he stayed that time, because after Christmas I went back to school. He moved out again, and this time, moved in with his girlfriend, Ann. His problem with this relationship was that Ann had two small children, 7 and 4 years old. My father had two in college and one in high school. He was torn, he loved Ann, but really did not want to raise another family. This lead to a large amount of conflict, unfortunately, for all of us. There was also the age gap, he was 45, and she was 27. Only 10 years older than me. She was 10 when my father was having his second child….
I was dealing with the mess my father left behind, my mother. I would come home from college on weekends, and she would just sit and sob. Of course when she found out I had known that Dad had planned on leaving, it did not sit well. It created a chasm in our already strange relationship. Mom had never really “liked” me. She had always felt that I was competition for my father’s attention and love, but I was all she had during this terrible time. So she took the comfort where she could get it.
I can’t really say how many times my father moved in and out. I wasn’t there for a lot of it. I can remember him using our home as a hotel. He would have a fight with Ann, and storm out of their apartment, and come back. He would let himself in, get into bed with my mother in the middle of the night, and surprise us at breakfast. Sometimes, he would sleep on the couch in the den. I do know that when he was home, he was either shitfaced, or passed out from having had too much to drink.
The craziest (loosely worded) part of all of this was that Ann would call our house looking for my father the morning after one of these events. My mother would invariably answer the telephone, and actually hand the phone to my father. As a teenager, this emotional triangle was too confusing, and honestly too fucked up for comprehension.
I used to ask my mother why she didn’t change the locks, and not allow him access. After all, he had chosen to move out. Mom got very angry and screamed at me, telling me, “I don’t understand”. She was right. I didn’t understand then, and I still don’t to this day.
My father had two women, and could not choose between them. He was attending counseling with my mother, but would leave the sessions to go back to the apartment he shared with Ann. During this time, he had changed jobs, and was relocating to another state. He took both Ann and my mother house hunting, on two different weekends. I was the one who ended up telling my mother what was going on. I did not want to see her leave her job, friends and home to move to a new state just to have the drama continue.
The last episode in this ongoing drama played out while I was home on winter break. I was invited to my boyfriends house for dinner, and had accepted. When I arrived home, the front porch light was off, this was always and indicator of trouble. As I entered the house, my father was sitting on the stairs,waiting in the dark, another ominous signal. He started screaming at me. He wanted to know why I hadn’t been home for dinner, as that was “Family time”. I was never one to back down from confrontation, so I gave it right back to him.
I told him he had a lot of nerve. He was the one who had been gone for two years, had installed a revolving door on the front of our house. He was in, out, in, out. I told him he was miserable to be around, mean, and nasty. I said that none of us wanted him there, so he should pack his bags and go back to Ann,as it was obvious that was where he wanted to be.
An hour later, he did.
He packed and left.
During our loud confrontation, my mother hid in the laundry room. I am sure my father must have spoken to her about him imminent departure, but I was not privy to that conversation. Later, after I had gone to bed, my mother came into my bedroom and had a complete breakdown. She began screaming and yelling at me. She asked my why I made him leave, and why I had to say what I said. It was a very ugly and painful scene.
Dad moved to a new state with Ann and her little children, my mother began sleeping around like the town whore, and I went back to drinking, drugs and added a huge dose of therapy.
It took me 15 years to reconcile all of my crap with my father. I finally found a therapist that gave me the best advice ever. She said, you don’t have to have a relationship with your father that causes you pain. If he were your neighbor, and you didn’t like him that much, how would you treat him?
That is where we are today, I talk to his wife, but rarely to him. It no longer bothers me, and obviously doesn’t bother him.
My relationship with my mother is another story. She is a nasty, bitter drunk. She tries to suck me into her dark hole every time we talk, but with my new found sobriety, I find that I have more tools to deflect her negativity with.
I also have lost a lot of time, and have drank a lot of wine to fill the emotional holes that were created by these relationships. I never thought that it would be easier sober.