How my Dad taught me to be angry all the time, or how to teach your kids how to be angry all the time.
I remember my Dad pointing to a breadcrumb on the table and saying there are millions of atoms in the smallest crumb I could see, I remember after failing to teach my 5 year old younger brother to recognize yellow he dumped the yellow bowl of Cheerios on his head, mostly I remember my father’s anger.
He was always passionate about something from the way other drivers obeyed the rules of the road to perceived slights to his authority. His anger came out in everything he did.
-He framed a closet in our first house. Something upset him and he threw a 2x4 through the newly hung sheetrock.
-My mother upset him over something. He had her on the couch choking her until I came up and slapping him said in my best 5 year old anger to not hurt my mommy. He stormed out and drove away.
-From my earliest memories, my Dad was a horribly aggressive driver. Often screaming “Fuck you Fred”, his pet name for other drivers,. He always took turns very fast, passed people uphill on two lane roads in the dark, around corners. The road between his parents’ house and where we lived invariably went through Noel Missouri. This road was two lanes, carved into the side of very steep cliffs, always at night, always hilly, always would have someone driving at a reasonable speed to slow us down and anger my Dad. I would handle this by sitting white knuckled trying to keep my eyes on the road looking for danger until I realized I was of no use in this situation. I then began curling up on the floor board of the back seat with a blanket over my head to try and stop thinking about how dangerous this situation was. This part happened while I very young, possibly 5 years old, every time we drove to my grandparents home.
-Responding to what he rightly perceived as me bullying my younger brother, my Dad picked me up over his head and body slammed me on the living room floor. Maybe 6 years old. N. 28th street.
-After telling me I couldn’t string Christmas lights in the bookshelf, I did anyway because I thought it would look nice and he would like it. He grabbed my hair and pulled me up the stairs to my room holding only my hair then whipped me with his belt. Maybe 8, Wallace court.
-My Dad said he had mentioned he wanted me to sweep the leaves off the cement back porch. I had never been tasked with this before and did not do it. At 11pm I was woken up by my Dad whipping me across my back, butt and legs with his leather belt. I was wearing only the white brief underwear we commonly wore to bed. After sufficiently punishing me and putting me into an extreme degree of panic, he sent me outside with a broom to sweep wind-blown leaves off the cement back porch. It took only a few minutes. 9 yr old Wallace court.
-He didn’t want the next door construction site to use our water, so he cut the water hose into 1 foot pieces and brought it over to the foreman in a box, looking for a fight. His finger was crushed and had wire wrapped around it so the pieces would heal together, this left him with an index finger with a bit of the wire sticking out the tip constantly pointing. In a bar he became upset with someone and punched them with that hand. 12 years old, Louisville.
-I was failing multiplication and had a skewed view of the importance of math at the time I was 11. My Dad whipped me, then put me in a room for an hour with the 1–12 multiplication table and said if I didn’t have it down in the next hour he would whip me again then give me another hour to correct my failure. This would repeat until I learned multiplication. I was only whipped twice. 11 years old, Louisville.
-My parents fought a lot. I was never able to discern who started or caused it. However my Dad became angry easily and often. At night I would hear them screaming at each other. It made my stomach hurt. I tried the hide under a blanket thing like I did when he drove but it didn’t help there either.
-My mother had just made dinner and brought it to the table. Dinner was often uncomfortable when Dad was angry. Whatever it was that angered him I have forgotten. I am sure it was a disagreement with my Mom. He picked up a ceramic bowl holding the scrambled eggs Mom had made and threw it across the room at a high rate of speed. It exploded like a bomb, glass fragments and egg everywhere, only a few feet from me. This scared me very much. 11 yr old, Lousiville.
-He became angry at his girlfriend who he had slept with while married to my mother and his best friend’s wife and while driving punched out the windshield of the car (actually got his hand all the way through the glass), while it was moving.
-My next youngest brother were in a canoe side by side with my Dad and youngest brother on a small river float trip. The sun was behind my Dad, I turned to him and squinted my eyes to see him. He leaped out of his canoe grabbing me by the head. He pushed me underwater and rapped my head against a rock, then only holding my head threw me back in my canoe. He told me no son of his would ever look at him that way.
-While returning from a New Year’s eve party with his nieces, after leaving me at 13 in charge of 11 children, he came home very drunk. Talking insensibly and very aggressive, he put me in a headlock in front of everyone. No one stopped him from choking me, he eventually loosened his hold but maintained the headlock for 20 minutes or so. When I escaped crying I ran outside into the night and promptly got lost for 2 hours in the unfamiliar neighborhood. Returning I found my father asleep on his host nieces bed with his pants around his knees. He had urinated on her bed then fell asleep on the same bed.
-When driving back with my Dad from the funeral for his mother (Oklahoma to New York state), I asked to stop to call my girlfriend who was kind of along the way, perhaps a 5 mile detour. He agreed. We stopped, I called from a payphone, she wasn’t home. I returned to the car to say I would just continue with him back to the house. He became angry and peeled out of the gas station, shifting from 1st to 3rd before we were out of the parking lot. We had his 17 year old pregnant stepdaughter and her boyfriend in the car as well. I asked him to please let the kids out then he and I could accelerate into a bridge as far as I was concerned. Or he could stop, or he could talk about his feelings, or any fucking thing else but he was going to let the kids out right fucking now, however the fuck he chose to go about it. He did slow down. An hour later, he mumbled the only apology I have ever received from him about anything. I was thirty something.
-Getting whipped by my Dad was made up of a few steps. One I was made aware it was coming usually. Two he was very angry and scared me with the overt hostility on his face before he touched me. Three he would grab me by a wrist and pick me up in the air. Four he would unbuckle his heavy leather belt with one hand pulling it quickly through the loops. The sound is distinctive. Five he would begin striking me with the belt typically between the middle of my back and my knees. Sometime with clothes on, often only in my underwear that was my common uniform. Six depending on how angry he was I would be struck 10–20 times with a force great enough to leave welts and bruises. Only occasionally would the impact draw blood.
-Being struck by my Dad would usually include an open hand or whatever he was holding at the moment. This was usually a knee jerk reaction due to how he perceived my insult/ignorance/lack of attention. Typically would number less than 10 strikes, 30 minutes of verbal direction before and after.
These are significant pieces of my past that shaped the person I am. The distance I have come from the delusion this is normal to semi lucidity is huge. I have had to redefine myself so many times I have lost count. There are parts of my past I emulated these behaviors, I am too ashamed to think about now.
I am always angry, about everything, all the time, every single day of my life. Some of it helped me when I had to work through tough times while in the military or in the war on everything my twenties and thirties became. Rage was a huge asset then. It has taken a large portion of my life. I don’t trust or respect authority. When I do react to authority, I have to fight the urge to cower to them or undiluted hostility with no grey areas. I am bad at relationships. I am hyper sexual. I am hyper aware of my surroundings, other peoples moods, unable to relax and get drunk in public or just hang out with a group without identifying the first person/threat I will mitigate if the situation merits it.
I am angry with how he treated me and the effects it had on my life. I am angry how he hurt my brothers, my mother and others. I am angry no one stood up to him for us ever, except once by my 90 year old great grandmother that I experienced directly.
This began as a list of things I remembered. I don’t know what it is now. But it needed to be written down once. I have been diagnosed with PTSD. I will not be surprised if during treatment it was due to this man.
These are things that came to mind over a day and a half between tasks at work. I am positive there were many more. I have no idea where, how or if this information is relevant. I kind of want the reddit light to shine on my little piece of darkness and get some thoughts.
I am not seeking pity and have coping skills now, for varying degrees of coping. I have just never spoken of this with anyone other than those involved and to a lesser degree each of my three ex wives.