My ex used to complain about his dad. He had a lot to say about him. His dad lied. Lies. His dad beat his older sister and brother. His dad had them living in fear. He still feared his dad. His dad was a user, seeking always what he could get from others. He hated his dad, said he couldn’t wait until he died. He also said, sometimes, “poor Daddy.” And, close to when he attacked me, he said he admired his dad’s disciplinary techniques. Actually, that was the day before he tried to kill me. Scared the shit out me.
My ex also complained about his dad and his dad’s crap. Stuff. Old, dusty, used crap that he kept around his house and made a big show of giving as gifts to people. He gave me two old chipped plates once. He shipped a box of old used toys and random items to us for the kids for Xmas and then made a big show of being hurt when my ex didn’t thank him.
My ex hated that about his dad. How cheap he was. The shit he gave as gifts, with grandiosity, expecting deep gratitude from others, expecting indebtedness.
When my kids come home from their monitored visits with their dad, they usually bring home stuff … often items I left behind when I fled our home.
Old McDonald’s Happy Meal toys collected during our time together. A purple and silver case for glasses. Old bath toys, worn and perhaps even with still a little dried out mold in the creases.
On the occasions that he has bought them things, he demeans them. He gave them each some electronic bugs for Xmas, new ones. The kids came home calling the gift “crappy” and “cheap.” I spoke to them. It is not ok to speak like that, to be ungrateful for a gift, to insult someone’s having given it.
But Daddy said it, it is how Daddy described the gift, they said.
My ex and his father. So broken. So deeply sadly broken inside, so vulnerable and scared that they have to give crap or call what they give crap so that should anyone insult a gift, should anyone actually be ungrateful, they can retain their sense of power. We gave crap consciously. We give crap and don’t give a shit.
My kids, being kids, love the gifts. They don’t care.
I wonder if he sees it, though, my ex. I wonder if he sees how he is his father. Broken, sad, violent, dangerous men.