This is between you and me. It is my hope that you will hear what I’m saying without placing the burden on our children to make you feel better, to reassure you that you’re a good person, good father etc… That would be unfair on them. They have had a lifetime of conditioning on how to keep dad happy. Say what dad wants to hear, avoid anything that will make him go off the deep end … again. You are proud of the relationship that you have with our children today, as though it is some sort of affirmation of your worth as a father. However, your relationship with them is a reflection of their characters and ability to forgive you, despite the emotional abuse you inflicted on them – and I’m proud of them for that. Obviously, they don’t know every sordid detail about you – and I would like to keep it that way. You are, after all, their father.
I blame YOU for breaking up my family. I blame YOU for the fact that our daughter refuses to speak to her brother. Your selfish, self-centered, narcissistic behavior pushed us into the arms of the JWs. Do you have any idea at all what we went through? Do you even care? One day we were getting ready to go and start a new life in New Zealand, and the next we’re worried about being harmed by the psychotic boyfriend of your latest squeeze. That is what made me decide to divorce you – something I should have done years before – the fact that your sordid little life of depravity and self-satisfaction put me and our children in danger.
You abandoned us in the worst way. You left us vulnerable. No wonder the welcoming arms of the JWs looked so attractive. They picked up the pieces of our lives that you had so selfishly smashed. The children were viewed as “fatherless” in the congregation and given special attention and the reassurance they needed that your behavior was in no way their fault. They were taught to show you respect as their father, even if you didn’t earn that respect. The JWs were our support system when we needed support, because you abandoned us. That is why I have found it so hard to leave the JWs, despite the fact that I disagree with their doctrines. And that is why our daughter clings to what she sees as a safe haven. It was a safe haven compared to the stress of living with you.
I can still see her staring out of the dining room window waiting for you time and again. It was heart-breaking, and even more so because you were seldom on time, pitching up two or three hours after the arranged time. She just stood there and waited. I never said anything to you at the time, because I knew if I put you in a bad mood you would drive like a maniac, with my precious child in your car. In contrast to your lack of interest, the Witnesses made our children feel special and wanted, and they kept their promises. To our daughter being a Witness means following all the rules, which includes disowning her brother, even though it hurts her, and she knows it hurts him and me.
For the first fourteen years of our son's life he had to deal with a father who was not interested enough in him to offer him a decent role model to look up to, or make an effort to provide a safe and secure environment. You were not interested enough to find out why he needed therapy. Or did you know deep down that YOU were to blame and you didn’t want to face up to that? I believe that you are to blame for his lack of self-esteem as a youngster and teenager. It is difficult to feel worthwhile when your father is a bully. For the first nine years of our daughter's life, she had you to deal with - your tantrums, threats, verbal, emotional and even physical abuse. Do you know what it’s like to comfort traumatized children who have been forced to leave the house in a panic because we were afraid of you? Do you have any idea at all what that did to us? Do you even care? Not too long ago there was a child in our complex who would throw tantrums the way ...... used to, and she said that she wouldn’t be surprised if the father in the home is abusive and that’s why the child is acting up. Turns out she was right – and it provided me with some insight I could have used years ago. She wasn’t the problem – YOU were.
My single biggest regret in my entire life by far is that I allowed the JWs to influence my actions to the extent that I shunned my son. Although he says he has forgiven me (and I believe he has) I cannot forgive myself for that. You once asked me what kind of a mother I am that I could do that – and you are absolutely right, no mother should ever, ever turn her back on a child. My actions (which went against my heart and mind) literally made me sick, and were my motivating reason for leaving the JWs. I am so proud of him for where he is now – despite his parents. I believe his strength of character and love for his wife has a lot to do with that.
You accused me of turning the children against you. Didn’t you see that you did that all by yourself? They are both very intelligent and perceptive people. They saw where your priorities lay. When you married ........, it was their choice not to go to the wedding. I left it up to them to decide. ..... told me that it is too hard to see his father marry someone else. It’s like we were some kind of laboratory experiment where you could say “Oh well, I screwed that one up. Never mind, I’ll just try again.”
That “just try again” has turned out to be …and again… and again… and again… revealing the flaw in your character. But at the time it was hard for the children not to take your abandonment personally.
There are many other observations they have made about you over the years, and many bad memories they have - and I would always tell them that no matter what you may be doing, I believe that you love them and they should believe that too.
Although it was a very difficult time for me personally, the end of our marriage was really a relief. Walking on broken glass is soul-destroying. When I look back at the years, I can’t for the life of me think why I stuck with you as long as I did. Maybe I loved you at the time – I can’t really say why though. You betrayed me so often that I know of, and who knows how many times I don’t know of. And you were hell to live with. Thankfully, that’s in the past and I enjoy the peaceful life I have now.
Sadly, I can’t see a time when our children will be friends again – and for that I blame YOU.