(Updated Dec. 25, 2021; January 16, 2022)
The following personal account is true. It occurred almost 20 years ago and is a snapshot, a blink of an eye, in the history of a family—my family—destroyed by divorce. From the beginning of the event to its completion, it may have taken 45 seconds to unfold. The consequences of this 45 seconds, though, was catastrophic and life changing for my family and myself.
This is my personal recollection of that tragic event as viewed through my eyes and my understanding of what happened. There were no cameras that recorded the scene, no official investigation called afterwards to record the events, take witness statements, or anything else that would preserve the thoughts, memories, or in any fashion allow the moment to be frozen in time so that, years later, all could view the event through an unbiased lens of an objective perspective.
Almost 20 years have passed since that forty five seconds changed the destinies of my children and family. After such a long amount of time, all who read this should understand that, as much as I want to be objective and truthful in my recounting of these events, my thoughts as well as my memories are my own. To be fair, the recollection of my family members who were a part of this situation, who saw and heard what happened with their eyes and ears, should also be considered before any final judgement is rendered on the right or wrongness of what took place.
Most likely, no final judgment can realistically be rendered. So why tell the story? Because my other family members need to hear my side of the events, to view the situation from my eyes, my perspective, and my understanding of the entire scenario in order to correct the false conclusions that have become permanently lodged in their memories.
Realistically, too much time has passed to be able to assert, “This is exactly what happened.” It was traumatic for myself as well as for theirs, and as such, perhaps none of us can recount this story in a purely objective, rational manner. It would be impossible at this point.
I’m aware that what I recount is only one side of the story: my side. There are four other sides to this story representing the views of my four other family members who were also part of this event. As long as everyone understands that my view of what happened cannot possibly be the entire story and that their recollection of the story and recitation of the events as they experienced them must be considered to obtain a more complete picture of the event, I have done my duty.
It is remarkable how one single, 45 second event can help shape, distort, define, or cloud an entire lifetime. A false or skewed recollection of such an event, if it causes division, separation, or alienation between those who participated in the event, requires a correction that aligns with what actually happened. Thus, the injection of truth, or simply the honest perspective from the other person, can transform that memory and perhaps bring needed healing and closure.
Often in my life, simply hearing the other side of a story radically changes my viewpoint on that event. It can cause me to make a 180° change in my verdict of that opinion. An example of how transforming our beliefs can become by simply “listening to the other side” is here and here. This is why this particular story can have life-changing consequences for my children who remain firmly ensnared in the grip of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and Parental Alientation (PA).
And not only for my own children, but this true story can help other children and parents who have similarly been victimized by PAS/PA by providing a real life example how the alienating parent—the one seeking to create a division between the child and other parent—effectively uses a terrible event to drive a wedge between the family members exposed to the event.
In this previous post, I took a deep dive into an allegation made by my youngest daughter, Aimie (not her real name), during a flurry of emails between us: the first in December of 2014 and the second in December of 2021. As usual, all names of my daughters are pseudonyms to protect their privacy.
In this post, I want to take another thorough plunge into an allegation that she shared during both of those emails.
Here is the first allegation from 2014:
“And you were a good father?…How about the time I watched you twist her [Angie’s] arm and push her up against the railing simply because she was listening to music you didn’t like and argued with you about it?“
Here is the one from 2021:
“I will list reasons why you’re a horrible person and why I want nothing to do with you:
-I remember you pushing [Angie] against a rail and twisting her arm backwards just because you caught her listening to a CD you didn’t approve of…”
Here is the backstory:
I shared in the last post some background of the home I built for my family in Rio Rico. What I did not reveal was a small, detached office I also built on this piece of property within twenty feet or so of the house.
Why I built this was for my need for privacy and peace and quiet away from the oftentimes noisy and chaotic environment of my home life. My wife was born and raised in Mexico in an extremely poor family, and though they were wonderful people whom I liked, their culture is exactly opposite from the way I was raised.
My family was poor as well, but education was emphasized by my biological father and getting a good education was important to him. My oldest sister, Pat, was the first to obtain her university degree.
Also, when my parent’s divorced when I was a child, my mom worked at a bank, during the night shift, after regular banking hours doing bookkeeping. Thus, she had to sleep during the day and my brothers and sisters (seven of us) were forbidden to make a peep or we would catch hell from her if we woke her up.
We had to learn to walk on eggshells; not an easy feat when you are kids, but somehow, we managed it, mostly, I believe, by playing outside. When we came indoors, we had to behave like mice.
I grew up this way, being studious and learning to be quiet. But beyond this, because of the incredible abuse we all suffered as children, each of us, I believed, developed an array of phobias and even mental illness.
One of my sisters was so mentally and emotionally damaged she went into therapy for years. One psychologist said children who went through such extreme abuse were similar to soldiers coming back from combat and being diagnosed with “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).”
Now in my early 60’s and looking back on my life and brutal childhood, I realize I too, have emotional, mental and psychological debilities I have inherited and suffer due to my adverse childhood experiences. I might not be able to properly deal with overly stressed situations in my life and may react to certain stressful situations in less than ideal fashions. And this is the main reason, I believe, I crave peace and quiet because I do not do well in highly stressed, noisy, and chaotic situations.
My older sister Pam and I have spoken at length concerning this. If you called her and asked, “What are Roy’s two favorite words?” she would immediately reply, “Peace and quiet.”
Even today, I live a lifestyle of peace and quiet with as little stress as possible. When I do play music, it is usually quiet, contemplative, or classical with the occasional rock song thrown in. I can sit by myself all day and night, and I often do, thinking, reading, watching a movie, or sitting outside looking at the mountains enjoying my beloved—and needed—peace and quiet.
As noted aboe, it’s not that I prefer peace and quiet, I need peace and quiet. Of course, if I have to, I can successfully operate in a noisy, stressful environment (like living in a house full of boisterous and fun loving children), but I need to eventually escape and retreat into solitude.
This is why I built the office. It was tiny, 10′ x 10′, 100 square feet and I wired it for electricity. I loved it. Inside was my desk and computer, landline phone, an AC unit, a small window I could look out at our wooded property, and a mattress I could crash on. It can accurately be described as a modest “man cave.”
This is where I also conducted my business: creating bids, invoicing customers, making appointments to do bids, etc. And especially when I was talking to customers on the phone, the last thing I wanted was a group of screaming kids being heard by them in the background…very unprofessional.
My ex is Hispanic, and that culture is opposite from the way I was raised. It was not unusual for me to walk in the house after work and have the kids watching tv at high volume, my ex talking on the phone, and Mexican music blaring in the background. It was nutty. Then, her family and friends visited on a regular basis, bringing their kids over, and the whole situation was simply too much for me to handle for any length of time.
My kids and wife loved this environment. Now, I knew I was screwed up even then, and I did not want to ruin their fun by being a wet blanket when her family came over. But I could only take so much of this, and there came a point where I felt resentment with her family always coming around—uninvited and unannounced—which is typical for Mexican families. Thus, the need for my own quiet space where I could retreat into peace and quiet was mandatory.
I believe that office postponed our divorce by at least several years. If I had to live in that chaos without having my own “alone” space, I would not have survived as long as I did.
This is one of the many reasons why it was a mistake to have married my ex. Our cultures were too different and I could never adjust to that crazy, loud, “Let’s PARTY!” attitude. Knowing what I know now, I would never had married her.
My daughters knew my office was off limits to them as a play area. They never left their toys in there or used it as a playhouse. It was my personal, private space that, unless I opened the door and invited them in, they did not consider it as a another “play area.”
This is not to say they never came in because they did. In fact, some of my fondest memories was when Angie, our eldest daughter, and I played “Doom” on my computer together. We did this for hours and really got into it. I thought it was great and so did she. Our two other daughters were welcomed in there as well, but again, it wasn’t a place to sit around and watch t.v. (I had no t.v. in there anyway…couldn’t stand it in that specific space).
When I was gone or not using the office, I usually kept it locked with an extra hidden key on a nail that I would use if I didn’t have my normal keys with me. My kids and wife knew where this key was.
As Angie got more into her teen years, we started experiencing your typical rebellious attitudes and behaviors. I’m not going to go into details about this, but suffice to say, we had our issues with her. And for some reason, Angie and I began to butt heads more than what she was experiencing with her mom.
This, I believe, was due to the fact I was far more of a disciplinarian with her than my ex was. Angie could not get away with behavior and attitudes with me as she could with her mom. This in itself created problems because my wife and I were never a true team with our kids; they often played us one against the other: “Just because Dad says no doesn’t mean Mom will” kind of nonsense.
Compared to myself, my ex is very liberal. But there came a point in time when the music that Angie took a liking to was so foul and disgusting that even my uber liberal ex uncharacteristically put her foot down and told Angie that no, there was a certain kind of music she would not be allowed to listen to.
Music CD’s were all the rage back in the 1990’s. Angie somehow came into possession with one of these forbidden music CD’s that my wife told her she couldn’t listen to.
One day, while I was at work, Angie, without my permission (according to my memory), unlocked the door to my office and went in to do her homework. It’s possible I gave her permission to do that because I didn’t care if she needed some alone time to get schoolwork done. As long as she respected my space and didn’t abuse the privilege, I don’t think I minded her using my office when I was gone.
I knew how crazy and loud it could get in the house, and since Angie was a decent student, if she needed a quiet area to study or do her homework, she was welcomed to use my office.
But not, at any time, to use my computer to play her foul music forbidden by her mother and certainly not permitted by me. I was “hand in glove” with my wife in this decision.
I came home from a long day’s work, pulled into our driveway, got out of my truck, and I think, made a beeline to the office. Aimie and Michelle, both about seven and eight respectively, were playing out in the yard, possibly near or on the basketball court I had constructed for Angie.
I heard loud, demonic music blaring out of my office, behind the closed door, and immediately my blood pressure shot through the roof. I knew what was up and I was mad. Not “losing control” mad, but mad that Angie was in my private sanctuary listening to forbidden music and abusing her privilege to be there, thus disrespecting both my wife, myself, and violating and polluting my sacred space.
I walked up the stairs onto the small porch to the office and turned the doorknob. Locked. Another bad sign. I either knocked on the door or used my key on my key ring to unlock it, and opened the door. Angie was taken by surprise.
Instantly, I pushed the eject button on the CD player on my computer tower, the tray opened, I removed the CD from the tray, and threw it out the door and onto the street. I believe I had the satisfaction of hearing it shatter into pieces.
I told Angie, “Get out.” She knew she was in hot water. She had all kinds of homework papers scattered on my table and started collecting them into a pile.
“No,” I said, “Get out. Now. Go into the house and leave your stuff right where it is. Leave now.”
Angie can be stubborn, and she refused to listen to my order to immediately exit. She continued to gather up her stuff and I said it one last time, “I told you to get out—now.”
I tried to raise my daughters in the following manner: I would tell them once to do something, expecting them to obey what I politely asked them to do on this first request/command. If they failed to respond, I might think, “Maybe they didn’t hear me for whatever reason, so I will give them one more chance,” and I would repeat myself, a bit more firmly but still politely.
There would be no “third time” before some type of discipline would follow. Maybe they would have to go to their room, stand in a corner, or whatever, but I expected them to respect me as their father and do what I asked them on the first, or definitely by the second, request.
Why I did this was to avoid the insanity of having to repeatedly, over and over, ask my children to do some specific task..like clean their room or bathroom. This is a game many families play, and children, if allowed, will run their parents around and around in circles before they get around to doing what those parents asked them to do. I never had the patience for this type of nonsense, disrespect, and game-playing.
Angie refused to obey me so I grabbed her arm, firmly without injuring her, and lifted her out of my chair. I would help move her out of the office since she appeared to need it. Instantly, she reacted like a wild thing and went nuts, like I had touched her with a hot iron.
In a whirlwind of motion, she started to fight me, throwing punches and acting like a maniac. Now this surprised me because at this point, I don’t believe she had ever acted like this to me before. It was weird and out of character for her.
This happened almost 20 years ago so I forget the details, but what I remember is we physically struggled. Angie tried to kick or knee me in, well, my private area, the quintessential “no go zone” of the male anatomy, the most sacred and protected part which separates and distinguishes a man from a woman.
Let’s stop for a minute and take in what I just wrote. My daughter tried to kick or knee me in the nuts. She was about 14 or 15 at the time. Angie was a well built, athletic, strong, and weighed in, I’m guessing, at about 115 to 120 pounds. Not an ounce of unnecessary fat on her, this kid was in shape. And she was aiming for my balls with her foot or knee.
I knew it was “lights out” for me if she scored a direct hit. No question about it. She was absolutely out of control, like a whirlwind of fists, arms, and feet. I warned her several times, “Angie, you need to stop…now.”
She refused to listen or even slow down for a breath. Now, I never beat my kids. Yes, they received their well deserved spankings but never did I treat them one time like my dad or stepdad treated me. Nothing even close. I loved each and every one of them and, to be honest, I hated to spank them. They were my precious daughters and it really bothered me when I had to give them a good swat or two on their butts.
Though I was mad at Angie, I was in total possession of my emotions. I was not acting in rage, nor was I out of control. In fact, thinking back on those awful moments, I was surprised at how collected and calm I was with my emotions. It was like time slowed down and we moved in slow motion.
It is important for me to clarify I never hit Angie or, at this point, took any offensive type actions, like throwing a punch at her, slapping her, pushing her, grabbing her around the throat, etc. Outside of when I grabbed her arm because she refused to leave the office when I told her to (which, I guess, could be considered an “offensive” type action) and was going to compel her to leave, all my actions to this point were defensive: blocking her punches, trying to deflect her kicks, perhaps trying to grab her arm(s) and holding them to stop her from punching me, etc.
As I mentioned above, it was never my intention to “hit” or “beat” my children and I never did this. I never “lost it” or flew into a rage or acted like a maniac or got out of control and beat them like my dad and stepfather did to me. I always knew they were little girls—my little girls—that I loved and always wanted to treat as such, with tenderness and love.
By now we had moved completely out of my office and onto the little front porch. Angie, still moving like a wild thing with all her limbs in motion and trying to make contact with me, was given one more chance to stop. “Angie, I’m telling you one more time to stop this or I will stop it for you.”
By now, my two little ones were watching this scene, I think, from the basketball court I had made for Angie: poured concrete with a nice hoop on one end that she loved to toss her basketballs through. It was right near the office. I don’t remember if I even noticed them because I had my hands full with a raging, out of control Angie.
After this last warning, Angie still refused to stop and didn’t slow down for a second. Still thrashing like a banshee and myself, being concerned for my unmentionables, I needed to bring this to an instant conclusion.
I spun her around, and with her now facing the deck railing with her back facing me, grabbed her right arm, pulled it behind her back, and with my left hand, pushed her head and shoulders over the railing, pinning her now immobile body halfway over the railing. She was completely helpless and could not move because I had her arm painfully behind her back and her upper body bent over the railing. She was going nowhere—fast.
Problem solved and my manhood was safe.
Suddenly, my wife comes flying out from inside the house and arrives precisely at the same moment I have Angie pinned over the railing. She goes berserk, screaming at me to let Angie go. Clearly, she thinks I’m killing our daughter or something similar. She may have pulled me off Angie, but I don’t remember.
The problem, of course, is my wife did not have the benefit of the all important but necessary benefit of “context.” She arrived on scene after the critical 45 seconds or so that occurred in the office and out on the porch. All she saw was my pinning Angie over the railing and seeing me with Angie’s arm behind her back. Maybe Angie was crying out or whimpering…I don’t remember.
All I know is that my ex was so flipped out, so insane at that moment, so out of control, looking at me like I was the murderer of her child, that I knew reason was not going to prevail in this situation. Maybe she was screaming at me, or crying, or both; again, I don’t remember, but she certainly took Angie’s side and never asked me, “What in the hell just happened?”
I got in my truck and left because I knew nothing good was going to come from this situation. I was right. I figured she would call the police, so getting out of sight would save me from spending an unwanted night in jail. I stayed away for several hours to let things cool down, but I think I knew it was over between us. My thinking proved correct: she kicked me out of the house without asking what happened and, if I’m not mistaken, went down the next day and got a restraining order against me.
Before I continue, it is important that I explain my feelings on what happened with Angie. It was horrible, obviously, for both of us. For me, as her father who dearly loved and cherished her, never would I have imagined or wanted something like that to happen between us. Certainly at this point in our relationship I had lost patience with her disrespectful and disobedient behavior, but I still loved her and that love remains to this day.
Am I proud of what happened that evening? Certainly not. It’s dreadful, humiliating, and embarrassing. I wish it had never happened. I had to hurt my daughter by pulling her arm behind her back and shoving her over the railing in order to stop her attack. I’ve never wanted to hurt my daughter, and to this day, I regret what happened, regardless of whether or not my acts were justified. It was a “lose/lose” for all of us but certainly did not have to end this way.
And what did this do to Angie? How has it affected her 20 years later? Does she still think about it or have regrets? Has it tweaked her mind in some way? Did it give her nightmares? Has it caused its own set of psychological and emotional problems that she struggles with, even to this day? I can only imagine and am saddened because we never talked about it, never had the chance.
Looking on the bright side and trying to find any possible positives out of this, I’m proud of my daughter in this respect: you don’t mess with her. She’s clearly a fighter and a tough cookie, someone you would want to have on your side in a rough situation, and I’m confident she will not be a victim from some abuser desiring to hurt her. I wish she had not fought me, of course, but I can overlook this and would have been more than willing to have discussed it and simply moved on with life. I don’t hold it against her and am thankful one of her kicks did not find its intended target.
One of the problems in these type of situations is how quickly they can unfold. It’s not like studying for an exam where you can spend weeks in preparation. Here, you are wholly unprepared and reason, logic and the all important virtue of wisdom and hindsight is missing; there is simply no time to properly evaluate and weigh each of the available options you have to deal with in these kinds of situations. Thus, mistakes and missteps are guaranteed to happen, as the story reveals.
Would any of us have done exactly what we did back then if presented with the same scenario? Undoubtably not, but such is life and the oftentimes unfortunate consequences of not possessing the benefit of retrospection and hindsight when we face such issues.
A favorite book of mine is titled, “A Time for Love,” written by a priest, Eugene C. Kennedy. I first read it, I believe, when a student at the University of AZ. At this specific juncture in my life, I was continually reading any piece of literature that discussed romantic love and deep friendship.
Though I can’t remember where or what circumstance this book came into my possession, it has made a profound and lifelong impression on me. I wore out the first copy and purchased my current copy years ago from, I believe, Amazon.
Here is a quote, and though specifically written to couples, it has meaningful application and advice to individual members of a family:
“Unless understanding is regularly exercised, the failings only pile up, clogging the communication, and breeding the poison of growing hostility that have the power to kill love off. People who love each other know that there is a lot about each of them that needs understanding. That is one of the chief things they look for in each other. If lovers do not have this sort of understanding for each other, then the days of their love are numbered. Understanding is a very powerful ingredient in human relationships; it is as indispensable to man’s survival as water and food…” pg. 130
I can’t count how many times I have read and re-read this above quote throughout my life; it is solid gold, among the best advice I could ever recommend to people in relationships governed by love. It teaches the importance of understanding one another, to try and see things from the eyes and perspective of our loved ones, to get beyond the “what happened” and seek to understand the “why it happened.”
I never learned some of the necessary details of that night. For example, I’m thinking I heard that one of our little ones (I think Michelle), when they saw Angie and I struggling on the porch, ran into the house and told their mom I was hurting Angie. Maybe both of them did, but I’m not sure.
There is no question that, for especially Aimie and Michelle, what they witnessed was horrific. It’s regrettable and horrible. What I do believe is they did not witness or hear the words exchanged between Angie and I in the office. Nor do I think, at their young age, did they comprehend their older sister was aiming for their dad’s balls in that fight. I honestly don’t believe my two young ones knew, at that point in their understanding, that men have this unique part of their anatomy. This knowledge would only come years later, so, of course, they had no conception of what I was dealing with or how critical it was for me to stop their sister from an act that would have seriously injured me if I had not taken action to stop it.
Then, a combination of unfortunate circumstances quickly followed each other in rapid succession. My ex freaks out, fails to either ask or wait for the whole story to be told, immediately sides with Angie, does not seek out my side of the story, and makes an immediate false judgment: I was physically abusing Angie. Period. End of story. Nothing else mattered.
In the couple of hours (it might have been longer) while I was gone, we can visualize the emotional turmoil happening at the house. Crying, weeping, sobbing, hysteria…it must have been a real scene of frenzied, frightened emotions.
One thing I was certain of: I was doomed. My ex acted as the judge, jury and executioner of the event that night. I was guilty of physically attacking—perhaps even trying—to murder our daughter. No other perspective would be allowed or considered. There would be no debating the issue, no desire for understanding, no hearing my side, no potential for forgiveness, nothing.
To this day, I do not believe I ever discussed the events of what happened that early evening with my ex. She didn’t want to know, did not care to know, and that was that. Case closed.
Because of this knee-jerk reaction, the events of that evening were no doubt magnified tenfold. A myth began and would only increase in intensity and evil as the years passed: I was transformed into a monster, maybe even frothing at the mouth with my eyes shining with a green, demonic glow as I cackled with glee while forcing Angie over the rail.
Angie, of course, in the retelling and remembering of the myth, would be screaming at the top of her lungs, begging for mercy and her life, while I forced her arm with such brute force behind her back her two sisters could literally hear her bones crack like popping popcorn. Perhaps, even, almost 20 years later, Angie still does not enjoy full use of her arm. So do myths grow and find deep roots.
And why did I do this? Why did I pull Angie out of the office and beat her to a living pulp, all the while screaming like a possessed maniac? Because Angie, quietly doing her homework in the office, accidentally and without realizing what she was doing, pushed the CD player button on my computer and this odd music that Dad hated started to play. And where did this CD come from? Who knows! What does it matter? He hurt Angie without any reason because he is an abuser and that’s just what he does…abuses people for no reason!
That event ended our second marriage. It was the coup d’état that finally resulted in the abusive father being removed from the family.
Reflecting on what happened and what could have happened
A. My reactions
Twenty years have passed since this event. Looking back, what would I have done if presented with the same situation? Reflection and time presents an opportunity to learn wisdom, and here’s what I may have done if the “tape could be rewound.”
One question I have, and perhaps have already answered above, is, “Did Angie have my permission to be in my office at that exact time?” I postulated that, yes, it’s possible, and her presence in the office, doing her homework, was not a problem.
If true, the issue of whether or not I should have allowed her to collect her paperwork and other things scattered on my desk before she I ordered her to leave arises. Was I wrong to insist she immediately leave without collecting her stuff?
This is debatable, of course. If she was not supposed to be in the office at this time doing her homework, and if she should have called me first and asked me my permission to use it, this might influence my opinion on how I answer this question.
I might be splitting hairs here, but splitting those hairs are important to me. And, for good or ill, we have to accommodate and take into consideration why people act and think like they do if we wish to treat them and their actions fairly. Simply bleating out, “You were wrong and should not have acted that way!” certainly doesn’t help situations like this.
If Angie did not have my permission to be in my office, this changes things for me. Her presence in the office was then unauthorized at all points and times and whatever she was doing in there never should have been done in the first place. She violated both my trust and my sacred space by using my hidden key to obtain access, and whatever she was doing was secondary; she should not have been there. Period, discussion ended.
If this is true, that she did not have my permission to be in there, myself immediately ordering her out without collecting anything of hers was, again, in my eyes, perfectly acceptable and not up for debate. A thief breaking into someone’s home and accidentally losing their wallet in that burglarized home can certainly not be expected by the homeowner to be able to retrieve his personal property at a later date. This is my thinking.
The crux of this matter for me, though, is this: obviously, Angie wanted to collect her homework before leaving the office. I did not want her to do this at that moment because she was engaging at that moment in behavior—listening to the forbidden CD—and I wanted her out of my space—immediately. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Get out. Not the time or the place for any adolescent negotiation with a father angered by her disobedience.
If this situation happened when I was Angie’s age and the same circumstances occurred with my own dad, what would I have done? Well, there is no question what I would have done: I would have literally sprang out of that office, like a grasshopper on steroids, the instant he told me to, never pausing for a nano-second to collect any of my stuff and hoping I could get out of there without him beating me as I left. And it would have mattered naught if I had permission to be in there or not: the fact I was doing something forbidden by him was enough to convince me I was in hot water and that I was wrong.
Thankfully, I’m not my dad, nor did I ever treat my daughters like my dad treated me and my brothers and sisters. But if I was like my dad, this dilemma would not be up for discussion. Right or wrong on the part of my father, we did what he said without asking questions. It made life perversely simple in many ways.
But since I love my kids and desire to be the best dad I could possibly be, was I wrong to not let Angie get her stuff? Better put, did I lack wisdom on my insistence she immediately leave without collecting her homework?
I believe I have to answer “yes.” I was hasty and should have let her collect her things. Whether Angie was obligated to obey me (and I stand on the point that, yes, she should have obeyed me and left the office without collecting her paperwork) or not, extending grace to my daughter at that moment would have been a better option. And it certainly would have prevented our physical altercation.
So, I regret my decision on this point. I was both right and wrong. I was expecting my daughter to follow the letter of the law but failed to understand she was best treated with the spirit of the law, which was to extend her grace even in an ungraceful, disobedient act of rebellion on her part.
And to my daughter Angie I can humbly and sincerely say, “I’m sorry. Your dad could have handled this situation in a different manner. I hope you can forgive me.”
If I had allowed her to collect her homework, she would have spent a few moments in doing so, left my office, went into the house with a humble spirit (she knew she should not have been listening to the CD and knew she was wrong doing so), and later, after allowing some time for things to cool down, her and I could have had what might have been a productive father/daughter discussion over this. Perhaps her mom would have joined in this discussion and all of us would have benefitted from the conversation.
And her two younger sisters would not have had to witness that terrible scene which happened on the porch.
And her mom would then not have had to come outside and seen me pinning our daughter against the rail, freaking out, and kicking me out of the house.
Though I am convinced that my marriage would still have ended in divorce this second time because some other situation would have reared its ugly head which would then have been used by my ex as an excuse for divorce, my family would have gained some additional time together.
And who can tell what subsequent trauma, what other bad choices Angie would make, that might never have happened if I had remained in the house and a part of her life, acting as a buffer between her and who knows what person or situations she would eventually be influenced by for evil?
B. Angie’s reactions
There is no doubt Angie has been psychologically and adversely affected by this event. She would either be inhuman or a perfect clone of her mom not to be unduly affected by what happened that day.
It’s possible that Angie lives with incredible guilt, believing she was the cause of her family splitting up a second time. Though Angie is a lot like her mom in many unfortunate ways, I believe she still possesses a human soul and has not sold herself wholeheartedly to the devil. There remains a soft spot in her heart.
But, she has to take responsibility for her actions because, the facts are, if she had not been blasting the music from that forbidden CD on my office computer, our altercation would, of course, not have happened. Angie has to realize, and I believe she does, that she knocked over the first domino that resulted in all the other ones falling in tandem. This has to be tough for her to handle.
And no doubt she has also thought what she could have done to prevent this from happening. She probably regrets listening to that CD. In fact, she may hate that kind of music now and wonder, “What was I thinking? Was it worth it?”
She no doubt regrets not obeying me when I asked her to leave the office. Certainly her homework was not worth fighting with her own father in a pitched battle. She realizes the futility of thinking she could have successfully fought off her older, stronger, more street savvy dad who had been in fights before and knew a thing or two about protecting himself.
She must realize, on some level, that raising your hand(s) in a a violent manner against your own father, absent a compelling reason like self-defense, shatters a sacred bond between them. This is a line that should never, ever, be crossed.
She knows that trying to kick me in my privates was also not a good idea. It’s a great idea if you want to protect yourself against a man who is trying to rape or harm you, but women must realize they need to land their first shot and score a direct bullseye the first time they decide to use this defense tactic.
If they fail, the man may well do anything in their power to protect themselves, because all men, and I mean all men, know that this shot to our groins has the capacity to incapacitate us and cause us agonizing, severe —even life threatening pain and possibly leading to death. We value and protect this portion of our anatomies more carefully than the family jewels of the Royal Family of England could possibly ever hope to enjoy (thus the humorous reference to the phrase, a man’s “family jewels,” has perhaps come into being).
There are lines, as noted above, which none of us should cross in our lives, especially with parents. Once sacred lines are violated or crossed (like trying to kick your dad in his balls), something is lost between those two people. The yawning divide that opens between them is so great that, in many cases, can never be brought back together. Honor and sacredness has been violated, and it takes an awful lot of love, contrition, and humility before there is any hope of repairing that injury.
Unfortunately for my daughter Angie, she crossed those lines on quite a few occasions. Could we have healed from this? Yes, but again, we never had the chance. I do not believe I have spoken to her about this since it happened. I left our home on or around the next day and we have only spoken with each other face to face since then maybe twice; at the most, three times. Three times in approximately 20 years—if that.
One of the many problems daughters face today in dealing with their fathers is they are not raised to respect us. Of all the problems dads and daughters face today, I believe this is the main problem between them. The majority of women do not understand that without having a constant, daily display of respect for their fathers, manifested in any number of ways, they will never get to know or enjoy their fathers as they might.
For example, children who don’t immediately return a text sent to them from their father, or fail to respond to an email sent from them in a timely manner, or worse, never respond at all, are examples of total disrespect for that father. This is so out of the norm that it requires no explanation: it should not be done—ever, except for some obvious reason: “I was on an airplane, dad, when you texted and didn’t see it until we landed” or “I forgot to bring my phone to the gym and never knew you called until I arrived back home.”
Angie could not possibly learn this vital truth being raised in our family dynamics. Since my ex had no conception of this, or, since she hated me with such intensity that the thought of treating me with respect was the furthest thing in her mind, all three of my daughters, have little understanding of what it means to respect their father. And the fact that I believe my ex possesses a narcissistic borderline personality disorder certainly does not help.
And though I love my daughters, I’m doubtful we will be close even if we reconcile one day. The best I can hope for is to have a shallow, casual relationship with them because the respect they once had for me is long gone. It was difficult enough in our family dynamics when we were still together because their mother never truly respected me and thus rarely modeled proper respect for her daughters to emulate. After our second divorce when the alienation process began, their respect for me was the first thing jettisoned.
It’s a tragedy because, for them, disrespecting me is normal, their default mode, the normal way they treat me. It is so perverse and disgusting, that again, it requires no discussion to show how abominable this type of behavior is. To think they, or any women with such upbringing, will have happy and successful marriages lacking this all important ingredient for respect for their husbands, is denying reality. Only a true miracle will prevent each of them from ending up like their parents: in divorce.
And most healthy minded men can’t abide this type of behavior. Though I miss my children, I certainly do not miss their disrespect. I’m content and happy not having this in my life, and frankly, will not allow it to be a part of my life again. Much will have to change on their part if there is ever to be a hope of reconciliation.
For Angie to have even considered kicking or kneeing me in the balls is prima fascia evidence she had little respect for me. When you think through this entire bit of insane thinking and behavior, it is almost impossible to grasp. Never once, in all of my life with dealing with abusive men, did I consider kicking my dad or stepdad in the balls. And let me say, I had the right to think this way and the right to have kicked them in their nuts with such force that it would have literally killed them. Yet the thought never entered my mind.
But Angie did—and tried. What does this tell you about how she was raised by her mother? What does this prove how she thought of me as her father? Or towards other men in her life, for that matter? All I can suggest is that, in my family, there was serious dysfunction occurring at countless times in all manners of circumstances and on all levels. Because if you can try to kick your own father in his testicles just because he told you to get out of his office for listening to raunchy music and then grabbing your arm because you refused to obey him, you have some serious mental issues and need long term therapy.
(Interestingly, I know a man whose twelve or thirteen year old daughter did kick him in the balls. This happened about a year ago [today is January 16, 2023 when I’m adding this particular story to this post]. It was one of the worst experiences to ever happen to him and his family. The negative fallout and emotions from that event was, and is, severe, consequential, and long lasting.)
If Angie did what she was told, we would not have tangled on the porch; it’s that simple. She would have obediently gone inside the house, to her room, realized her error, and, probably within several minutes, I would have collected her homework and brought it into the house.
I don’t think I would have walked in her room to give it to her because I know myself better than that. I would have been upset with her, not wanting to see or talk to her for awhile, went back in my office to cool down, think things through, and probably a couple of hours would pass before I felt calm and collected enough to talk with her. Going to her room, I would have evaluated Angie‘s attitude, hoping she would have been in an embarrassed and apologetic frame of mind for listening to the CD and violating my sacred space with that kind of behavior. If she was in a humble and contrite frame of mind, we could have patched things up, learned some valuable life lessons, hugged, and moved on with our lives.
I knew her mom would give her the homework I brought into the house. That was a no-brainer. Angie’s homework would have been promptly delivered to her and Angie would not have hardly missed a beat in finishing it. It would have been an excellent opportunity for Angie and her mom to discuss the impropriety of her listening to the CD in my office, disobeying her mom, and all the accompanying and related problems associated with such behavior.
Of course, it might be that, even today, Angie feels justified in what she did. She may think to herself, “That animal was attacking me and I would have done anything to stop him from harming me. And how I soooo regret not taking him out with a well placed knee to his balls! As a matter of fact, he should be grateful he doesn’t talk with a squeak after what he tried to do to me!”
And you know what is sadder than this? Her mother probably agrees with her, maybe putting this kind of thinking in her mind. She probably consoled Angie, hugging her close, when she brought her into the house, with Angie hysterically crying in her typical bouts of drama, “He tried to kill me!”
“It’s ok, honey! He will never sleep another night in this house again! We’re done with that beast! I will protect you and your sisters from that psychopath and he will never have the chance to harm you again.” This scenario would not surprise me in the slightest.
Conclusion: I see truth in this: both Angie and I made mistakes that night. We could have handled the situation better, with more wisdom. Both of us, being naturally hot-headed, overreacted in some capacity that night (her more than myself, I believe), and those missteps poured gas on the fire instead of dousing it with a bucket of water.
C. My ex’s reaction
I can imagine what happened in the mind of my ex when one or both of our daughters ran into the house and told her what was happening outside between Angie and I. I’m assuming, of course, that one or both of the kids went and told her what was happening, but I could be wrong.
Assuming I’m right, and knowing my ex and a mom’s protective nature towards their children, she was rightfully concerned with the report she heard. Her “mama bear” instincts immediately kicked in and she was ready to take whatever action was required.
And there is something else that I just learned today (Christmas Day, 2021, during another edit of this particular post), while watching this video from Dr. Childress:
At approximately 5:03, he talks about the childhood trauma experienced by the “alienating parent,” or the parent that is causing a separation to occur between the children and the other parent (the “targeted parent,” myself, in this case).
And if it is true, as I suspect, that my ex was abused or traumatized when she was a child, it is possible that, arriving on this scene, she suffered some type of mental flashback to when she was young and it released in her such horrific memories of her abuse that she simply flipped out over what she understandably believed was Angie being abused like perhaps she had been.
All I know, as mentioned above, was her instant reaction of near insane, over the top, proportions. But if my suspicions are correct of her own childhood abuse, I can understand her reaction.
It would be interesting to know exactly what my daughter(s) said to their mom when they raced inside the house to report what was happening. Did they say, “Dad is fighting Angie!” or “Angie is fighting Dad!” The distinction, though subtle, is critical to how the brain of my ex received this bit of distressing news.
I believe it was reported as “Dad is fighting Angie!” Why I say this is because how all three of my daughters have turned against me today and how, for the last almost 20 years, since after our second divorce, they want nothing to do with me.
In other words, the hidden, behind the scenes and as yet unrevealed process of Parental Alienation was already being implanted in the minds of all three of my daughters, well before she kicked me out of the house and filed for divorce. In Angie, that process was well on its way to maturity, while with my two younger ones, it was nascent and would take more time to fully develop and bear the bitter fruit it one day would.
But whatever was told to my ex by our kids, it entered her ears, passed into her brain, and was computed as “Dad is fighting Angie!” or “Dad is beating Angie up!” No question about this.
I say this with some authority because my ex and I were never that close. My previous experience in other relationships proved this to me. Honestly, she was a cold fish. Though we shared the occasional intimate times together, sometimes in deep conversation, the connection was never deep.
It was rare that we spent hours and hours simply enjoying each other’s presence, hanging out, laughing and giggling, staring deeply and lovingly into each others eyes, and engaging in bearing our souls to each other and plumbing the depths of each others personality and the mysteries of our place in the cosmos as a couple.
To be fair, this may be in part because of our language barrier. I met her in the border town of Nogales, Mexico, and her English, though light years ahead of the few words of Spanish I knew at the time, was rudimentary at best. We often had to use a Spanish/English dictionary in our early dating days to be able to adequately communicate.
But though she was a fast learner and her English skills advanced at a rapid pace, even when she became proficient in English, I knew we lacked a certain depth to our relationship. But I chalked this up to our language and cultural barriers and, once again, failed to take heed to yet another warning signal in a long string of others.
(Here is one small, but interesting, insight. As I wrote about in another post on this blog, I’m somewhat of a romantic—or used to be. I was fascinated, and eagerly read, greeting cards in grocery store sections or bookstores that had mushy love poems or sappy friendship themes. Several of my prior relationships with other women were marked by our sending each other these type of cards.
I had a suitcase full of these kind of cards, love letters, photographs, etc. from past girlfriends that I carried with me whenever I moved from one place to the next. During our first marriage, my ex discovered this suitcase I had in a storage facility I was renting. She destroyed everything in that suitcase without asking my permission. Nothing was left. Another of the many disturbing warning signs concerning the maladjusted mental processes of my ex I failed to recognize.
I cannot remember one single card that she ever gave me, for anything: not for my birthday, Christmas, Father’s Day, or even some random one letting me know she loved and was thinking of me. Not one. A real cold fish.)
The closest we ever came to real intimacy was, interestingly, two times: both of them before we married. (Recall that I married her twice and she divorced me twice.) Even as I write this, a light bulb turns on: was she setting me up, employing the age old con of feigning intimacy for the sole purpose of roping me into marriage? Jaded thinking, certainly, but worthy of consideration.
When she saw me pinning Angie over the railing with her arm behind her back, and because she had no idea what had happened 45 seconds prior to this, I understand her reaction at this point. She wanted to protect our daughter from what she mistakenly believed was some bizarre attack against her on my part.
I may not have perfectly known my ex at that point, but I knew her well enough to know that I was caught in an impossible predicament. Though I can’t remember the details, I must have seen the crazed look in her eyes and the contorted facial expression when she came between Angie and I that convinced me I needed to leave the scene ASAP. I knew there would be no rational thinking on her part in this situation.
But she didn’t have to react that way. Some wive’s love their husbands so much and have such a deep and intimate relationship with them their first reaction would be, “Angie is fighting my husband! I have to go out there and protect him.” A fanciful bit of thinking on my part, perhaps? Anything is possible.
She was aware that Angie was passing through tough times: rebelliousness, disrespect for her elders, interest in boys, issues with me, maybe all related to the fact Angie was transforming into a woman and had hormonal difficulties. And she knew Angie could fly off the handle and did not always have control of her emotions.
So why, when she went outside, did she not at least consider, like at other times, Angie and I were having yet another issue because of her disobedience? I was not in the habit of coming home from work and picking a fight with her, or at any other time, so why would this particular incident be any different? She would have to know, based on her prior experiences with Angie, that these problems originated with Angie and not the other way around.
I’m not faulting my ex for over-reacting when she saw Angie and I on the porch. She may well have been concerned for Angie’s safety, and, over-reacting, believed I was intentionally hurting her. I also mentioned the possibility her reaction was triggered by the memory of her own possible childhood abuse. But when everything calmed down, she would know there was another side to this story that needed to be told, but she never asked me. And the important question is, why? No doubt there could be several reasons.
Twenty years later, one of those long forgotten missing parts of the puzzle may have just fallen into place: was this a providential event dropping into her lap that would provide her a compelling reason to once again exit the marriage, to provide a cloak to hide the true reason, that she had found greener pastures in another field? The pieces fit.
I write this because, while living in Tucson after she kicked me out (and, I believe, had filed for a restraining order against me, one in a long series of others she would file against me in the coming years), I received a strange call from a female realtor in Rio Rico.
She introduced herself and basically said, “Roy, do you know your wife is fooling around with a local builder here in Rio Rico? Everybody knows about it but you.”
I was stunned! In fact, I was so shocked I immediately discounted it. The conversation was brief and this realtor provided no additional details—just the quick bombshell, we spoke briefly, and the conversation ended.
I have repeatedly stated in this blog (my “Divorce and PAS” section and other posts) that I’m a fool. This is a confirmed fact, and though I’m not proud of this debilitating deficiency in my character, it’s true; I have to live with the reality. And typical of my foolishness in dealing with my ex, I tried to find and focus on only the positive aspects of her character.
What I should have done—and now regret—was to investigate this report. I should have written down this realtor’s name and number, and after thinking over the conversation when my mind cleared, called her back and sought more details.
Maybe I would have confronted the builder, or asked this realtor for someone else who could verify and collaborate her accusation. What proof did she have for such a terrible and serious charge? Did she have pictures? Letters? Anything? But I didn’t, and this was a mistake on my part because it left gaping holes in an important part of the mystery of why my ex did the things she did. It left pieces of the puzzle with vital missing parts.
Slowly, as the information began to settle in my mind, the little thought I gave it caused me to doubt whether or not one of our three daugther’s might actually be mine. And which one did I suspect? Aimie.
Why Aimie? She does not look anything like me but is almost a carbon copy of the way her mom looks—or used to look, when I first met her. Now, in her late 50’s, suffice to say the “bloom is off the rose.” Our eldest, Angie, and especially our middle daughter, Michelle, look enough like me that proves (I hope) they are mine.
Also, out of my three daughters, Aimie was the least like her sisters, both in appearance and personality. She was more excitable, mischievous, intense, creative, etc. A lovable and adorable little girl just like her sisters, but different, even in her facial characteristics.
I will never forget one of Aimie’s most unusual character traits that, even now, amazes me. When she was little, no more than six or so, while we were living in Rio Rico, her and Michelle spent much time playing together outdoors. They were loving playmates, best friends and always together, being only a year or so apart.
We had lots of native trees on our property, and there were medium sized mesquite trees that lined one side of the driveway near my office. The kids loved to catch lizards on one of these particular trees, and this is where I witnessed, on several occasion’s, one of Aimie’s unusual personality traits: she had the patience of Job and the focus of a stalking lioness.
Like a spider, she would patiently wait for a lizard she spied on the trunk of that tree to catch it. Lizards, as some know, when they see someone, will scamper to the other side of the branch or trunk of the tree where you can’t see them. If you walk too quickly to get a look at them, they run back to the other side, always out of your sight.
To catch one, you have to adopt one of several tactics: either wait for the lizard to step back into view (which never seemed to happen because they have far more patience than a human), or you must slowly, step by imperceptible step so as not to alert the lizard of your movements, move to the other side of the branch or trunk to make your grab (and gently and precisely enough so you don’t cause them to lose their tails).
This is not an easy thing to do because I’ve tried it a number of times myself. I’ve been successful, but it’s challenging. Even as a grown man in my 40’s back then, I have to admit, I enjoyed the challenge of outsmarting those lizards to harmlessly capture them before letting them go.
I watched Aimie in her love for catching those lizards and to this day stand amazed at her unusual patience and ability to stay on target in this pursuit. She would stand like a statute, immobile, like a cheetah scoping out her prey before making the big pounce. And what makes this so unusual is that she would persist in this hyper-concentrated state of focus for such a long time—for a child of six or seven! Her ability for such single-minded and intense focus to accomplish a specific task, seeing it thorough to completion, was incredible for someone at her tender age. And I believe she caught more than her fair share of lizards.
“If one should think it worth his while to write my life, I will give you a criterion by which you may judge of its correctness. If he gives me credit for being a plodder, he will describe me justly. Anything beyond this will be too much. I can plod. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.”William Carey
And the humorous part of this is her patience was so intense and focused that, inevitably, her lizard hunting partner, Michelle, grew bored of the hunt and would soon leave the scene and do something else, leaving her little sister alone to focus on her prey.
Back then, though, during the early days of the divorce, with the suggestion planted in my mind by the realtor, previous unimaginable thoughts took possession of my mind. Could one or more of my daughters actually not be mine? The possibility was unfathomable, but still, it might be true.
Suddenly, I saw Aimie through “new eyes.” And I thought, “I love her, but, she doesn’t actually look like me. Is it possible…?” And so I had to consider that, years ago, the possibility of my wife having an affair behind my back and myself being clueless about it. And if that realtor was right, was this something in her character that I never noticed?
There was, indeed, evidence my ex was not the woman I thought she was. When she divorced me the first time, I had a best friend, Gene, who became seriously interested in her. I did not know this interest he had in my ex at that time until, one day when I called her at her apartment (we were apart at this time and living in separate places), my ex’s mother answered the phone. I heard a man’s voice in the background. Stunned, I asked her who this was and she told me Gene, taking a shower.
Taking a shower? My best friend? I went into a tailspin of emotion and rage, because I knew something was not right with this scenario. So incensed was I at Gene that I went to the place where he was staying and waited outside for him to appear. It would not have been a pretty scene and he refused—wisely—to come out.
I remembered, though, one time when Gene, myself, and my ex met for lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Mexico. I believe this was when she and I were first dating. When she walked into the restaurant, all dolled up and looking pretty, his mouth literally dropped open: he liked what he saw and I puffed out my chest with his approval of this beautiful senorita I was dating.
Never did I imagine, though, this best friend would, several years later, be taking a shower in her apartment and giving her “foot massages.” He admitted to doing this many years later because I specifically asked him about it; it always bothered me and I confronted him.
But, he assured me “this was all that happened.” Like a fool, I believed him; better yet, I wanted to believe him because I could not handle the alternative. In all reality, he was no doubt rubbing a lot more than just her feet but would, of course, never admit to such.
Though he apologized for what he knew was the inappropriateness of his actions (he knew I still loved her, that we had our daughter Angie, and that I longed to reconcile with her, which we eventually did), I now believe he was lying. And did I forget to mention Gene has been married, I believe, five times to five different women and always had a problem keeping his hands off the ladies? “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire…”
I petitioned the court for permission to have a DNA test performed on Angie. That motion was granted (one of the very few of the many I submitted to the court) and it was confirmed she was mine. That was a relief.
I admit such thinking concerning Aimie was twisted. But that’s life in the divorce lane, and as insane as it is, that’s the way it goes. In retrospect, looking back on all the years with dealing with my ex, when all the pieces are put together in this part of the puzzle, the picture that comes into focus points to only one conclusion: I had good reason to doubt her commitment to fidelity in any relationship and am convinced if I knew all the backstories of what she did while we were married, I would be in for some real eye openers.
Looking back, I’m glad the test was done because Aimie and I have not seen each other in almost 20 years, the longest stretch of time for any of them. Unfortunately, she seems to possess the strongest and most intense feelings of hatred towards me that is so overwhelming and bizarre that, if I had not confirmed with the test that she was indeed mine, I would highly doubt she was now.
All this twisted sickness, the devastating losses experienced by all of us, this ruination of multiple lives, the death of an intact, nuclear family, could have all been avoided.
Though not overly willingly to place most of the blame at the feet of my ex, I’m forced to. Could I be wrong in the way I’m looking at things? Of course. Wiser minds than what I possess might look at this situation, read what I have posted on this blog site, interview my ex and all three of the children, and come back and say to me, “Roy, this was all your fault. You made mistakes you shouldn’t have made and now you are reaping what you have sown.”
Fair enough. Another lesson I’ve learned in my life is that I’m usually wrong, so this is a conclusion, if true, I’m willing to accept. But it would require some serious convincing, with the producing of much evidence to the contrary of what I have seen and experienced. And if and when this necessary evidence is presented, I stand on my beliefs.
In concluding this section on my ex, there is no question in my mind that her knee-jerk immediate reaction to the unsettling scene that she witnessed that day, though understandable with what her eyes saw and having no benefit of being a first hand witness to the all important 45 seconds beforehand, I cannot fault her too harshly.
But what I can find fault with her in, and say this with the strongest possible condemnation, was her failure to hear my side of the story. Worse, and heaping more fault upon her head, she did not care to hear my version of the events and was not interested.
This refusal to provide basis fairness—hearing both sides of a story—speaks volumes. There is so much wrong in this it would benefit from a post of it’s own, examining all the consequences and reasons for that refusal.
But now, almost 20 years after that event, one thing is clear: the way my ex thinks, the lack of critical thinking and other relational skills she obviously lacks in her tool box of problem solving know-how, was a recurring common denominator in our marriage that ultimately contributed to its demise.
Worse, this same erroneous way of thinking is predominant in all three of my daughters today, hindering their abilities to correctly problem solve critical issues in their own lives. This is evident in how they have handled an almost 20 year span of absence with myself, refusing, for a myriad of reasons, to take into consideration the way their own father has viewed so many of the events that happened to their family and to recognize without my input, they are missing the other half of the puzzle problem. You can’t complete a puzzle with half of the pieces missing.
As noted above, I’m now inclined (and I could be wrong) to believe that my ex used this unfortunate but fortuitous event (for her) as a convenient excuse to end our marriage for a second time. My reason for this is because she had another relationship developing on the side—or the hope for one, and this would be the perfect opportunity to “drop one branch and pick up the other,” a strategy that seems to be particularly suited to women on the prowl or desiring to “jump ship.”
Even if I am wrong in this, it does not change the obvious fact that no normal person, no woman who allegedly loves her husband and sees the value in their relationship and for their family, who believes in her own wedding vows that promise to “love and to cherish, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part,” would end that partnership without first giving the husband his “day in court.” The first reaction of a loving and healthy couple’s partnership is to seek healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation whenever conflict arises between them and their family members.
Her “over the top” reaction to this sad and unfortunate incident between Angie and I was absurd, and “where there’s smoke there’s fire” is an appropriate way of viewing this situation and understanding there is much here that remains hidden beneath the surface.
Of course, the real possibility that my ex suffered some type of childhood trauma of her own figures prominently in this sad picture. And I must admit, if I discover one day she was sexually, physically, or psychologically abused as a little girl or teenager while growing up in Mexico, there is little doubt this would change the way I look at all the hell she has put me through for decades.
I understand what it means to be abused; I was when I was a child. I was never sexually abused like my sisters, but I can still understand the traumas a child goes through.
If my ex went through severe childhood trauma, this would release some of the anger I carry for her to this day—maybe most of it. Though she would not receive a complete “pass” for what she has done to our children and myself (there is no excuse for her behavior), I would understand more than what I have been able to for decades.
I’ve come to the point in this long, sad saga of my family history that leads me to this inescapable conclusion that me ex has indeed suffered some type of trauma in her childhood. I don’t know for sure, of course. But all the signs unmistakably point to this conclusion.
I have an older sister, Lisa, who I have not seen for years. According to Lisa, she was sexually molested by our dad. And out of my other sisters, Lisa has had the greatest issues in dealing with her troubled childhood.
It got so bad with her I had to cut her out of my life. I tried to help her but nothing got through. She would call me on the phone (probably drunk or on drugs) and leave the most hateful messages. I couldn’t take it any more.
But I could never be mad at Lisa because I know what she went through, the insanity and abuse of our home life, the terrible damage she suffered as a child. And though I had to put a stop to her abuse that she directed towards me by no longer answering the phone when she called, I would forgive her in a second if she called and apologized.
I tell this story of because I might feel the same way toward my ex if my suspicions are confirmed that she was abused. I’ve always been a defender of the maltreated, the bullied, the weak and the helpless, and I think I might look at her in a different light—maybe.
It certainly would not solve, answer, or heal all of what she has done in the past—not by a long shot—but I could extend more mercy to her than is possible now.
D. The reactions of Aimie and Michelle
There is nothing they did wrong, nor anything they could have done better. They are 100%, both of them, innocent of anything that happened that day. Every action and reaction was the result of two innocent little girls being exposed to a violent situation they never should have experienced.
If I could find fault in them, it would only be this: they have both failed to seek out my version of that fateful day. I do not fault them for failing to do this while they were children—they were under the influence of their pathogenic mother.
But, since this situation has been brought up by Aimie twice in the only two times we have had the little contact we have had in almost 20 years, clearly it a memory that continues to haunt her to this day.
And though the recollection of this specific event is fairly accurate as she stated them in her emails, they are missing the critical, all important context of what happened in the office between their older sister and myself.
In other words, I do not believe Aimie and Michelle were on the porch or near enough to the front door of the office the moment I unlocked the door and went inside to hear any of the conversation that went on between Angie and I.
Nor do I believe they witnessed the first portion of the approximate 45 seconds or so of the altercation that occurred inside the office but only the last few seconds of the altercation on the porch. Again, their memories are missing the all important context of the entire scene as it unfolded.
And as mentioned above, they were too young to understand why I did to Angie what I had to do to protect myself.
One vital ingredient to this story will always be missing to each of my family members involved in that scene: because none of them are males, they will never know the primal and visceral level of self-protection that comes upon a man when that part of his anatomy is threatened or targeted in a physical altercation.
Perhaps, though, they might equate it to being raped. Since I’m not a woman and can never understand that (though, in actuality a man can also technically be raped but I’m not certain there can be an absolute comparison between both acts), I’m inclined to think we might find understanding, at least a little bit, for why I acted in the way I did.
Here is what I hope can help women in this discussion that might bring needed clarity. I know of no “extra” protective device that women require when they engage in any form of contact sport that men require: a “cup” or jockstrap.
And if women don’t know what this is, here is a helpful link.
Men wear such protective devices in various sports: football, if you are a jockey, baseball, and probably other sports where that area is at risk. Do women have such protective devices? I don’t think so but I’ve never heard of their use in women’s sports. But women play football and baseball the same as men, correct? Then why don’t they were a “cup” or “jockstrap” like men do?
I think I’ve made my point and this is precisely why understanding is critically important in deciding so many issues. Unless my ex and my daughters have sought to understand why I reacted in the way I did during that altercation, they will forever be missing one of the single, largest pieces of this puzzle that could complete the picture and a part of the reason for my actions that day.
But if they or any other female reading this react to what I just wrote and exclaim, “What a jerk! He’s using this as yet one more reason for him excusing his violent, vicious, and unacceptable behavior! A typical man…” then I’ve made my case and there is no further need for discussion on this point.
Also, Michelle and Aimie must realize that their recollections of that time, so many years ago, are prone to manipulation, both by their own memories and that of their mom and older sister.
Their own memories were from a time when they were mere children and those times, as we all experientially understand, cannot necessarily be relied on to recall with 100% accuracy. Time causes details to be forgotten, events to be skewed, and specific memories to be altered. I would think, that in the least, they would have to realistically think, “This event happened so long ago that I have to at least be open to the possibility that my recollection of them might be skewed on some levels.”
They would also, in their more reflective moments, consider that those 45 seconds (and totaling even less time than this since they did not see all that happened) will undoubtedly be skewed by what their older sister and mother perhaps may want them to remember.
If Angie has never come to the point where she has realized her fault in this mess and stubbornly places all the blame of it on me, then naturally, she will emphasize to her younger sisters a version of the story that will paint her in the best light, conveniently omitting any details that would highlight her culpability.
And dittos for their mom, who will spin this event in only one way: I am a beast, an abuser, a violent criminal wacko, a man so out of control he would attack his own daughter, causing her injury and emotional trauma for the rest of her life. I would suggest that whatever recollections my ex might share with them, all of it should be taken with a grain of salt. In other words, her memories will be biased and not based on fairness or justice of what actually happened and cannot be relied on. I would not receive a fair trial if she was the presiding judge.
Outside of Aimie and Michelle who did nothing wrong in this situation so no reflection of their actions are necessary, what does this mean for myself, Angie, and my ex wife?
And without splitting hairs and assigning any percentages (for example, Roy was 25% at fault, his ex was 30% at fault, etc.) of blame, I believe I can confidently say all three of us were at fault. Honest reflection would admit this.
Nor do I believe it is necessary to engage in any hypotheticals such as, “Well, if Roy had let Angie collect her homework, maybe him and his ex would never have divorced…” because such can be persuasively argued by each of us against the other.
It doesn’t matter because, as noted above, the marriage would have ended at a later date anyway. Any “better” decisions made that day would have only bought a bit more time before the ship would have sunk anyway; the critical undergirding of the vessel required for a long and prosperous journey through decades of troubled waters—love and commitment— was never there in the first place: the ship was destined to sink.
I noted in my previous post my views on marriage have dramatically changed. My trust and reverence for the institution has shifted and I no longer believe it is a viable, smart, wise, or healthy option for many American men.
Though not wishing to repeat my reasons I mentioned there, it has become clear to me that, in our fractured, screwed up society overwhelmed with generations of dysfunctional individuals, some—perhaps many—should stay single. I wholeheartedly believe I am one of these people.
I say this because my track record is abysmal. Two failed marriages, multiple previous romantic relationships that for one reason or another miserably failed, and a twisted upbringing all have finally convinced me that I am not equipped for marriage; I lack the necessary tools and ingredients to enjoy a successful marriage.
I’ve thought of what I think is a good analogy: I’m not a brain surgeon, and if I worked at a hospital, say as a groundskeeper, and if there was a patient scheduled for a critical brain surgery necessary to save her life one afternoon when I was working, if the surgeon slated for that operation was unable to operate on her, would I be qualified to take over for him?
Of course not, and in a similar fashion, I realize I lack the necessary tools, education—even personality—to have a successful marriage. And too many failures confirm the truth of this observation.
I also believe I failed to raise my daughters to think critically, failing to provide them with the intellectual tools needed for them to properly and rationally evaluate any situation without relying on subjective emotions and feelings. They needed me to teach them how to gather the necessary evidence to make sound decisions and then use that information and evidence to come to proper conclusions on any difficult or perplexing matter.
And I have suffered the consequences of that fateful and detrimental lack of intellectual training in the science of critical thinking in my daughters education for almost 20 years. The fact that they cannot allow themselves to step into my shoes and see events from their fathers perspective is one of the most glaring and frustrating deficiencies in their way of thinking.
My excuse is that a reliance on, and an understanding of, the all importance of critical thinking was a concept not fully developed in my own mind and way of thinking until later on in my adult life. One cannot give what they don’t possess, nor properly teach what they don’t fully know and understand themselves and fully mastered for their own use
And as described in another post, though I was trained as a journalist early in my life, it was not until I acted as my own attorney through the very divorces my ex put me through that I learned the importance and additional tools of critical thinking. Slowly, as my thinking matured, I began to put these principles into practice with my own decision making and thinking processes.
Interestingly, as I also have gone into some detail in other posts on this blog site, all the many years I spent on university and college campuses speaking with students and being immersed in a learning saturated and intellectual environment, was a fertile seed bed for the concepts of critical thinking to be planted into my own mind.
I failed my daughters in this critical area and now look back with deep regrets. Though each of them are educated with at least two of them obtaining college degrees and my youngest trained in art schools, I don’t believe any of them understand the all important concept of the necessity of critical thinking. For this failure, I ask their forgiveness and hope they can forgive me.
For Aimie, who twice in the past seven years listed this memory as a reason why she no longer wants to have anything to do with me, I offer it to her and her sisters as a window into their father’s perspective on what happened that fateful day.
My hope is it might give them pause to reconsider that their memory of that event is incomplete, that there is “more to the story than meets the eye.” And in this new perspective, perhaps healing, understanding, and closure may come into their hearts.
Perhaps it will cause them to rethink the entire incident and view it differently, enough so that maybe they would be willing to email, text or call me and say, “Dad, we just didn’t know this side of the story and we have wrongly and too harshly judged you for all these years. Can we sit down and talk?” And my response is one they already know in advance: of course I would, anytime and anywhere.
I believe their memory of this tragic event may have, after so many years, been twisted so that what they thought happened never happened at all. In other words, I would be curious to sit down with Aimie and Michelle and ask, “Tell me your memory of that day. Go through, step by step, every moment you remember and let’s see if it agrees with what I remember.”
Is it possible their memories are completely different from mine, in whole or in part? That they are believing a heavily manipulated bit of half-truths their mother wishes them to remember, a particular slant that emphasizes certain aspects of it but leaves other ones conspicuously absent or de-emphasized? Yes, it is possible.
In a prior post in the “Divorce and PAS” section of this blog, I made the point that, since my ex has lied to our children repeatedly in the past about me, nothing she says can be trusted. Each of my three daughters faces the unsettling reality that everything she says today and in the past requires verification through critical thinking and fact checking. Everything.
Thus, whatever memories concerning this event falls into this same category of the need to check, not only their own memories, but in particular, what their mother may have told them as a “let me help you fill in the blanks” with the way you think you experienced what happened almost 20 years ago as small children.
Years ago, I broke up with a long term girlfriend I had, who I knew from our high school days, after we reconnected after my second divorce. We got along fairly well until I found out she was cheating on me behind my back (is there a pattern here?).
But the lies and deception on how she hid this other relationship from me was so carefully concealed from my knowledge for so long that it did a number on my emotions when I finally discovered the hard evidence of her betrayal: from texts back and forth from her lover on her own cell phone.
After I told her to hit the road (remember, betrayal is a line, once crossed, I can’t return from; it ends the relationship), she continued to hound me for months and months. Because we had gotten along so well when we dated, I was tempted to give her another chance. (She actually got down on her hands and knees and begged me to forgive her. All a part of her con, I assure you.)
But I couldn’t. Why? I knew I could never trust a single word that passed across her lips ever again. If we reunited, I knew I would forever be second guessing everything she said and could never trust her. I couldn’t live in such constant doubt and this was no way to have an intimate, trusting relationship with someone.
I finally had to block her on my cell phone. This was years ago and I have never let down my guard with her and have no desire to reconnect.
I tell this story to illustrate the conundrum my children have with their mother: how can they ever trust a word that comes out of her mouth? Like me with my ex-girlfriend, they can’t.
I’ve never lied to my children. Never. In fact, I never thought about doing so. For what reason? It has simply never crossed my mind. Unfortunately, because of the lies of their mother and other unsavory characters in their lives, they think my nose is ten times longer than Pinocchio’s. Everything I say or ever said to Aimie, to her, is a lie. Everything. It’s beyond tragic. I could be—literally—the Lord Jesus Christ and still Aimie would not believe a single word that came out of my mouth. And this is one of the many reasons what my ex has done to them is criminal in nature.
There is an old saying, “Democracy dies in darkness.” And so does the truth, which is why it is necessary that all sides of a story as important as this one has been to my family history be examined in the light of all truth. This means, if my side of the story has not been told from my perspective, neither Aimie nor Michelle, including Angie, has ever understood what happened that day with their eyes opened to “all the truth” of what transpired.
I will close with this story, taken from the book I have previously quoted from, “A Time For Love.” The author, Eugene C. Kennedy, evidently liked this story as much as I do because he quoted it from a book he read and included it in his:
[He] sat among peasants in a village inn and listened to their conversation. Then he heard how one asked the other, “Do you love me?“ And the latter answered, “Now, of course, I love you very much.“ But the first regarded him sadly and reproached him for such words: “How can you say you love me? Do you know, then, my fault?“ And then the other fell silent, and silent they sat facing each other, for there was nothing more to say. He who truly loves knows, from the depths of his identity with the other, from the root ground of the others being, he knows where his friend is wanting. This alone is love (I and Thou, New York, Charles Scribner‘s Sons, 1958, p. 248)