Oh how I wish I had the email his father sent him in the first several months I knew him.
He had already told me about his strained/non-existent relationship with his father, who lived in some extremely remote area in South Dakota. He said his father loved his ex-wife before me and blamed him for it ending. The indication was that his father was a flirt and thought his ex-wife was attractive--which I found disturbing, obviously. He told me that he'd tried to tell his father about how abusive she was, about how she'd thrown a wine bottle at him and broken his ribs, how she'd stomped on his foot and broken toes. He said he'd even sent his father the hospital record to prove it. But his father believed she was provoked somehow and that he was at fault, that he deserved her abuse.
After he met me, he said he'd had a rare conversation with his father, that he told him about me. The father didn't approve, however, because I had a child. His father had called me used goods. He thought his son could do better, and should try to get his ex-wife back. Clearly I wasn't on his level or caliber, having had a child with another man. This was something to be looked down upon.
I was incensed. This man didn't know me! Who the hell was he to look down his nose at me? Parents of guys I'd dated always loved me! To be written off like that without so much as a conversation was hurtful. And, it wasn't anything I'd ever seen before. My parents have always been warm and welcoming to those I'd dated. I just didn't get it.
Then he told me about his father.
He had been a pilot in the Air Force. Then he flew for American Airlines. He was a ladies man. He cheated on his wife, my ex's mother, more than once. He was degrading and belittling to her. He eventually left her for a younger flight attendant whom he married and also degraded and belittled. He was aggressive and horrible to his two older sons...but supposedly never to my ex, his youngest son. But my ex saw how he treated his family and others in his life. He saw him lose good friends and alienate this family.
It was never clear whether there was physical abuse to my ex's mother, or to the younger flight attendant, or to the brothers. But it was clear that at the very least, emotional abuse was rampant. Although it was never called that either.
It was just that his father was a raging asshole. The term abuse was never used.
My ex said he wasn't like his father. He said his sensibilities and sensitivity were much more like his mother. That he was docile and kind and nurturing. Like her.
I believed him.
Back to the sociopath email. At some point within the first several months--after the phone conversation where his father had rejected me--he showed me an email he had sent his father. He went to bat for me. He stood up for me against this man who had just strong opinions about a woman with a child who was dating his son.
The father called him manipulative. Divisive. A person who does things for others only as a means to get something in return. A person without conscience and empathy. A user. He said he wanted nothing to do with him.
He was describing his son as a sociopath.
You know what? My ex called the email PROJECTION--that his father was calling him those things because that's what HE really was.
Remembering that email makes my head hurt.
Was the father really abusive? Did things really happen the way I was told they did? My ex certainly emulated his father, often bragged about his professional achievements and personal conquests. So is the father a sociopath, too, and his son followed in his footsteps?
My guess? Yes. Absolutely.
Love and Support for Kate Ranta and Family