I used to love and respect my dad. I used to think he was principled and strong. I used to think he loved me.
Much has happened, and these happenings have taught me many things. Several of which is that all of the above were illusions. Figments of my imagination. Fantasy and dreams.
Recent experience has revealed not only the present but the past. One of the saddest realities I have had to confront in my adulthood is that my father has never loved me. I won't bore you with my long list of remembrances that prove this point. I don't have to prove anything to you. I am only stating that it has been proven to me. I will sum up my realizations about my dad to you, though, just in case it may resonate in your own experience.
The only person who really matters to my dad is himself. Yes, he has worked hard for years to provide for his wife. And himself. By providing for his wife, he can claim this as proof that he loves her and has done his duty toward her. This works for her. There is little more she expects from him. Provide for her in the manner she has become accustomed to and the uneasy truce between them can be maintained. The symbiosis of their relationship explains everything to me about my dad's relationship to me. It was never about me. I have been an attachment to my mother since I was born. He would have never married my mom except that she became pregnant with me. All I have ever been to him is a representation of duty and responsibility. He did for me because it was simply the same as doing something for his wife. It kept her "happy", it met her demands, it shut her up. Which brings me to my first statement that the only person who matters to him is himself. He only pleases his wife in order to "keep the peace" so he can live his life in relative calm as well as pursue his own interests and live his own life. They live separate but parallel existences. It is a business arrangement. A little bit of mutual back-scratching, then they go about doing what they do for themselves. Both are locked in a perpetual pursuit of their own agendas. Separate agendas.
There is no human alive who doesn't fashion some code of conduct that convinces themselves they are "righteous"...i.e. that they are "moral". Some fashion their moral code according to an objective source, such as the Bible. Others just make one up as they go along and construct their code according to their subjective and perverted feelings and ideas. My dad lives by the moral code of the mobster. No matter how angry he may get at my mother, no matter how loudly he may condemn some behavior of hers to her face, no matter the long emotional estrangements from her....let some "outsider" (everyone is an outsider to those two including their children) come along and dare to contradict or attempt to hold his wife to accountability in whatever form and his mobster code of conduct is immediately visible. No one else is ever allowed to "dis" his wife. You make her unhappy and HE is unhappy. You will be yanked on as hard as possible by him in order to bring you back into line and make his wifey happy again. I see this dynamic as yet another iteration of his dedication to his principle of selfishness. If the wife is unhappy....she makes him miserable, too, because she cries, she rages, she whines, she mopes, she sinks into depression, she tortures him with her misery. He sees the only "moral" thing to do is to make her happy again whatever the human cost may be to the "outsider". No one else matters. There is no claim for redress, accountability, or justice that he will admit to be valid. The mobster code of "la familia" applies only to the two of them. The rest of us can rot in hell.
I see my father as Igor to my mother's Dr. Frankenstein. He is simply the club she wields to keep the rest of us in line. She has used him this way for as long as I can remember. I used to believe her lies about how much he loved his children, about what a strong and principled man he was, about how deserving of respect he was. Time and experience have been my teachers. He is as evil as she is. While she abused me with almost impunity, he turned his eye. He has NEVER stood up against her to protect me. Not once. When finally, as an adult, I appealed to him to hold her to account for her evil deeds just once, his refusal was absolute. This proved to me that his claim that had he known how she abused her children he would have intervened was a complete and total lie. He was being asked to intervene now, in the present, for a deed he witnessed himself and admitted for a short while she was in the wrong, and he refused to do the right thing by his family. His dedication to himself....and therefore to his wife....are set in granite. He is immovable. Not any part of his soul is moved by the importunities and pleas of his extended family. No righteous claim can find redress in his court of appeals. His integrity was surrendered to his evil wife many decades ago. He demands from the rest of us a similar surrender of integrity in the name of peace and family. It is a vile thing to behold.
I have no father.