A Formidable Man

Yesterday would have been my father’s 93rd birthday. He has been gone for ten years now, and although it doesn’t sound very kind, I really don’t miss him. He was a cruel, mean and bitter man, who made our family life a misery for as long as I can remember. There was nothing charming about him at all ……

My Father was a formidable man; Mum called him difficult
She was right; love was never on his radar, and we knew it
He made sure we knew it, day in, day out, speaking cruel words
Any self-esteem I may have had was smashed to smithereens

He earned very good money; yet kept us all short
Our food was scarce while he dined like a king
Our clothes from jumble sales; his, only the finest
Holidays were non-existent; he jetted around the world

Meals were taken separately; us in the cold kitchen like servants
Him in the comfort of the warm living room, waiting to be served
“Are you coming down for dinner today, daddy”, I was sent to ask?
“NO!! Go down in the kitchen with your mother,” he yelled

It was like we didn’t exist in his world; our company was not required
He preferred the cricket while puffing on his stinking pipe
Balkan Sobranie (only the best), drinking scotch and eating peanuts
He stank of pipe ash and alcohol as he demanded I kiss him goodnight

I lay in bed alone in the room above the kitchen – filled with dread
Waiting for the screaming and shouting to start, the bangs and thumps
I clung on to my teddy, called Peter, and cried with fear, face in the pillow
I knew Mum would make excuses for her bruises and cuts in the morning

She wanted to protect us from the worry, fear and distress
It might have worked for the little ones – I knew better
She told me she’d fallen off a chair changing a light bulb
She had a cauliflower ear – lost her hearing in that ear

He died in 2012 – a grand funeral; kind words abounded
His friends in high places said, “so sad, such a lovely man.”
“His family will miss him greatly.” Feeling guilty, I felt nothing
Who was this man these people spoke of?




(Photo by Ron Lach : https://www.pexels.com)








41 thoughts on “A Formidable Man

  1. So awful, Ellie. Years ago, a friend of mine made a very simple statement that has stuck with me. “Just because they’re family doesn’t mean you have to love or even like them.” Be kind to yourself, Ellie. ❀

    1. Thank you, Penny. That statement is so true – I’m glad you shared it with me. I hope you are well and looking forward to the holidays. Take care of yourself Xx πŸ’“πŸŒΌπŸ’“

  2. Oh Ellie. This is so sad. What a despicable human you had as a father. I’m so sorry to know.
    He doesn’t deserve/didn’t deserve you guys.
    You are not him. You owe him nothing. So don’t feel bad about how you feel about him.
    And he lived that long!

    You don’t have to love him.

    1. Thank you for your kind and understanding words, Selma. Perhaps, I should have added that the ‘grand’ funeral was paid for by my father’s millionaire girlfriend. My father left every penny he had to her and her grandchildren, and not a farthing for us, my Mum, his children or grandchildren. He was unbelievably callous. I’ll never think of him with love. He didn’t deserve it. Xx πŸ’“

    1. Thanks, Granny. I rarely talk about my father – I don’t have any happy memories connected to him. It just happened to be his birthday yesterday, and that got me thinking and writing about him. Love you Xxxx πŸ’–

  3. Awful people are incredibly two-faced. They receive accolades while they treat people who can’t do anything for them like dirt. Glad you no longer are subjected to his abuses.

    1. Thank you, Tamara. I have to say I’m glad he’s no longer here, either. He convinced everyone that he was the world’s best husband and father whereas he was quite the opposite. Xx πŸ’“

      1. I’ve known people like that. Some aspire to be just like them and so seek favor, they have their own agenda. Others see who they are and fear them. They have no right to occupy real estate in our heads!

      2. Thanks, Tamara. I know just what you mean. My father had an adoring millionaire girlfriend about five years before he died. She thought he was just the best thing on Earth. It was the girlfriend who paid for the costly and extremely grand funeral. My father had left us destitute so we couldn’t afford to do anything or contribute in any way. I guess he would have had what they call a ‘pauper’s funeral’ over here without his girlfriend’s money.

        Fortunately, I don’t think about my father very much these days. I was just triggered by his birthday yesterday for some strange reason. It’s the first thing I’ve written about him for years and years. Xx

      3. I understand about those old milestones. They have a way of resurfacing old garbage. Breathe through it. He has no power over you anymore.

    1. Thanks, Brit. Thank you for your email. It’s very kind of you. I will reply tomorrow as I’ve been so busy with writing and appointments today. It’ll be lovely to connect with you. Xx πŸŒ·πŸ’•

  4. Of course you don’t miss him! He wasn’t a father, he was just a sperm donor who hung around to abuse his family. I’m so sorry you had to live through that growing up…sorry for your siblings and mother too. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been.

    1. Thanks, Ann. You are quite right. That’s all he was.- it was pretty grim much of the time. Thank you for your sympathy. My sisters and I have all had mental health issues during our lives (hardly surprising!) My Mum had two ‘nervous breakdowns’ as they used to call them. Thanks for caring. X

  5. I don’t think my dad ever abused my mom. But he sure as shit beat the f out of me many times. He was a bully. Worst part was he was a biology teacher in a high school, and I was too young to understand anything, and thought I was broken, and I was wrong, when all his students praised him to me. That bully hid his abuse very well, and nobody was the wiser, not even his co workers knew what a mean vicious man he really was.

    1. That’s dreadful, Brian. What a nasty man your father was. I’m sorry that you went through all that pain and trauma. Children who are abused very often blame themselves (including me) for what’s happening to them because they’re too young to understand that it’s the abuser who is at fault 100%. Abusers always find ways of hiding their crimes. My father built made-to-measure state-of-the-art kitchens for the rich people in the area. They all thought he was wonderful, charming and friendly and spoke of him highly. These abusers are b*stards. Take care, Brian x

  6. Oh, Elle! I am so sad to hear the horribly sad story of life with your father and the abuse he meted out to everyone in the house! Life is definitely not always fair! I am so glad that this type of behavior is getting the media coverage it deserves and that it is getting prosecuted! I’m hoping life will lead you to the happy path you so deserve, My Dear!! πŸ˜’πŸ˜’πŸ’•πŸŒΉ

  7. It’s incredible the masks that people put on for others and the cruelty they can inflict… I hope you can find peace over time with his passing.

    1. It certainly is, Simon. My father was very well respected amongst his friends, business colleagues and family outside of our home life. It’s been ten years since he died. I can’t say I miss him as he put me and my Mum and sisters through hell. He was a great liar and actor (without the stage). Hope you are well.

  8. This is a great piece of writing. Descriptive, atmospheric, disturbing, compelling, raw, and emotive. Simply outstanding. I am sad about the story content, and you, the principal character, but the narration is outstanding.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind and appreciative words, Andrew. It was a painful piece to write, but I’d been thinking about it for quite some time. It’s been sitting in my drafts folder since last June. On the anniversary of my father’s birthday this week, somehow, it seemed like the right time for me to express my thoughts about him. Thanks for reading this piece, Andrew. Hope you are well.

  9. That’s awfully sad! I have seen and heard of many such men. I am glad that you have made peace with the fact that there is absolutely no need for you to miss him. This is a raw, beautiful piece, Ellie.

    1. Thank you so much, Aaysid. I’m glad you liked it. It was painful to write, but also cathartic to get it out in words. I don’t miss him, although I do wonder, sometimes, what made him like that in the first place. I don’t know much about his upbringing, so I guess it will be a question that has to remain unanswered. Thanks again, and I wish you a very Happy Christmas (if you celebrate) and a wonderful New Year. Xx πŸ’•

      1. You are right, Ellie. Most of the times, it is a broken person who ends up breaking others. Your words are always raw and beautiful! More power to you. Thank you. Have a great new year!❀️🌸

  10. Wow. What a truly awful man. I’m glad you are able to share these things and let out the pain behind them. I hate that he hurt you and your mother and allowed you to think it was normal to be treated so badly. I want to grab little Ellie and Peter, wrap you in a blanket, and smuggle you to my house so you can eat cookies and drink milk in front of the fire. Sending you so much love!!!

    1. Thanks, Bridgette. He was an awful man to grow up with. He did a lot of emotional damage to our family. I so love you saying you could grab little Ellie and Peter, wrap them up and take them back to your safe house. That’s just so beautiful and such tender words. What a wonderful thought. Very much love coming your way, too. Xx πŸ’

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