A thought to my Dad
Dad fucked up with me when I was very little. He was young, and stupid. Younger than I am now. He drank too much and let his unhealthy emotions spread to our family. He wasn’t involved with me much as a toddler. I can only remember really unhappy and negative moments from early childhood with dad. He messed up. He focussed entirely on all the wrong things. And when he was mad he took his anger out on me and mum. Not physically, but mentally. Dad also didn’t think I was his. He was an extremely insecure and anxious young man. How could he possibly father a child? Obviously Mum was cheating on him. Like he was with her.
You won’t believe the amount of trauma we take through from our childhoods into adulthood. Children are like little sponges; absorbing information regardless whether it is said directly to us or not. And it won’t matter if we’re too immature to properly absorb what has been said, we’ll still take it in and mull it over with the tools that we have at the time. It’s difficult as a parent to keep adult talk away from them because they are always in the vicinity.
Through my early childhood between the ages of five to ten Dad was non-existent. He was like this thing that we talked about but he wasn’t really there. This negative entity that spread forth hatred and spewed bile and anger. But I never saw any of it. Mum told me. The image of the man she had created loomed in my head like a rotten corpse, I hated this man. I didn’t want to be associated with him at all. He couldn’t be my father, I was such a nice boy. Nice boys didn’t have horrible Dads.
My Granddad on my Dads side died on the eve of my 10th birthday. 1990 I think it was. He was a man that walked the same path as my Dad. Us Baxter’s have that trait, we are so susceptible to addictions. I think it’s a trait that’s passed from Father to Son but not to daughter. I see it in my Son now. At my Granddads funeral my Mum met my dad for the first time in five years. She told him how well I had been doing in school, how my grades were top of the class and she would always have raving reports. She told him that I was growing an awesome friend circle and that I was finally settled, and above all I was happy. But, I still needed my Father. This is when he stepped up.
Dad had a busy lifestyle. Between all the working and drinking and womanising he had to make some time for me amidst the blur. And he did. Once per year on my birthday he would visit me and take me somewhere. Sometimes abroad, sometimes to visit England. It would always be with another family. And usually I’d more than likely be meeting them for the first time. Dad always introduced me to new weird and wonderful people. I remember feeling jealous. Jealous that they can recount an entire month with my Dad whereas I could not. I remember wanting more, feeling jealousy and anger for those that had him in their life but I was only able to see him once per year. It hurt. But like any decent human being I was old enough to know not to blame things that I couldn’t change. It was hard.
My Dad was a total tosspot in essence. He drank to excess, he married women and then would keep more women on the side. He didn’t feel “secure” until one woman was back home, barefoot and pregnant whilst he was off gallivanting with another one, or three. And the lies. Jesus those came thick and fast. I’m not entirely sure if he let anyone near to him, ever. I mean properly near. You know? The times when you expose yourself to a partner that’s hidden away to the rest of the world in your secret bunker. And only that special someone with the key has access to that top level clearance of your mind.
He would happily tell me of his exploits with women, who he was married to and the bit(s) on the side he would have. I don’t think it was a game to him, more so a way of life. It’s all he knew. In a sense I feel glad that I was exposed to this. It made me aware of things I don’t think other people are exposed to or even aware of. They always say children mirror their parents but luckily I had a strong mother that drilled in to me that following my Dad would lead me to an early grave.
I looked up to Dad during my teenage years, I can remember viewing him as the golden father. He would shower me with expensive gifts and take me to far off lands; yet once per year of course. I guess that was his way for excusing the lack of time he spent with me. Even now as I write this I feel a burning sensation to have had more time with him as a child, to get to know the man he once was.
Dad helped me through an incredibly tough time when I was 17 years old (I will link that story when it’s published somewhere else next Friday). He helped me out of a rut. Back then I was stagnating. I had found the internet and it was becoming a serious addiction. To me the Internet was like an escape, a dreamers escape in a floaty pie in the sky world. I had imagined up a whole new life for myself, that I was this awesome someone when in reality I wasn’t. Just drunk old Raymond. I had found IRC. I had finally accomplished what every drug addict or alcohol induced rough sleeper had always wanted. Escaped. Truly escaped into another world.
And Dad smacked that out of me. Probably a good thing too.
At 19 I finally moved to live with my Father after a very long discussion with myself about “being someone”. I’ve always wanted to be someone, get recognised for my accomplishments and do good things. My Dad offered that opportunity when he asked me if I wanted to come and work with him in his Computer business. It was a start. It was a start to being the person that I always wanted to be. I weighed the consequences of leaving 14 years in Scotland to start an absolutely new life in England and I was always one for taking risks, so I took it.
It was a culture shock to be honest. Dad had a whole new life planned for me. When I first came to live with him the very next day he took me to a woman’s place and said this is your new lodgings Raymond. Just like that. Only told me in the car as we rolled up to her house. To be honest the thought scared the absolute shit out of me because I was in no way ready for the level of self-reliance it takes to live on your own. I wasn’t. I just wasn’t. I could feel the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, you know? That burning flame that wants you to lash the fuck out? But as usual I suppressed the savage beast that rested in the fire pits of my stomach and lived to survive another day.
It was strange living with another person, and hard. It had came as such a shock. I needed a bit more training in this whole living on my own stuff. I think if Mum knew what was in store for me she would have spent a good few months helping me get my head around stuff. But Dad. He was a fucker. He thought Mum sugar coated me too much and I needed a bit more tough love. Dad was old school. Stiff upper lip! He dropped me smack in the deep end. Didn’t tell anyone his plans. I hated him. I’m now angry as I write this!
I couldn’t cook much, I didn’t know how to properly wash my clothes, I had no idea about paying rent – I learned a good damn few lessons there! We never stop to think as teenagers how much is done for us on a daily level. This was a massive wake-up call. Even as I recall this I still don’t think it was a good plan. You just can’t go to a teenager – there you go. Now you’re on your own. Have fun. And that’s what happened to me. On my own for a good three years. I still needed family that cared around me, some form of love and affection and most importantly connection. I had none of that. Nothing.
To be fair I wasn’t the best house-mate either. I must have drove my house-mate insane. The things I did, the things I tried to pull off. Doesn’t bear thinking about actually. I’m cringing as I write this because I know there are things I did and got up to that I’m very embarrassed to tell. I wasn’t very mature at the time. I was kind of like a little boy in a man’s clothing. I can remember walking in so drunk once that I fell down the stairs at least 5 times trying to get up them.
Dad didn’t have much to do with me for those three years. At the start I worked for him but he found a way to let me go after a few weeks. He couldn’t afford me. I think it was because the Job Centre wouldn’t let him have me on New Deal. This was the new government scheme for kids that have been unemployed for over six months. That was me. So he couldn’t afford me. Let me go. Like some piece of shit. I felt let down and betrayed. He was supposed to protect me. I was stuck. Stuck in a strange country in a strange town with no money and no job. I had a house though. But I had to find money to pay for that!
I was trapped. To be honest I felt like just crawling under a rock and hugging myself in the fetal position and rocking back and forth crying. But it worked out in the end.
By the time I was 25 Dad had lost everything. He had spent his pension, lost his home, didn’t have any chance of employment because of the alcoholism and stuck with his disabled wife in a house they didn’t want. They hated the ground each other walked on. Any minuscule spark that I once saw from him was extinguished.
My life became worse after that. Dad was always a man for moving his troubles onto other people. His favourite hobby in his past was blaming a bad day on me. He loved doing this and I hated it. He didn’t just all out blame it on me though; he would start picking at my faults, delving into the blacker side of my dark past and bringing it forward for the world to see. I despised it. I wanted to fucking kill him. But on a scale of 10 to repression I was the main male cheerleader for the repression team and I would usually shrug it off. Although it killed me inside.
For several years he would always phone me, check to see if I was doing OK but make me out to feel a fool in the same sentence. It was hard. I stopped answering the phone to him. He didn’t half try though. And it used to get to me. His talks would send me into a spiral of self despair, or worse, anxiety. My soon to be wife would always notice it. She told me. You’re a different person after you’ve spoken to your Dad.
My Dad died in the end. April 2011 just before his birthday. And yes I did make my peace with him eventually. I was with him on the very last day he was of this earth. I can’t quite explain the feeling you have when one of your parents die. It may be worse for you, or better. But I remember toiling with the idea of the deciding moments between life and death. Those essential moments before you’re not for this world any longer. What enters your head, if anything? That I was going to die at some point in my life. It scared me. I was an emotional wreck.
But as time passed a beautiful thing happened to me. I changed beyond all recognition.
Please read “My Path to Change”