I am not the appropriate person to unload to about how much my father sucks. I lived with, and largely in fear of, the man for 18 years. Unlike you, I did not choose to be in that situation. Go complain to your friends. Go get divorced. I don't care. Just because I am by far the most mature person in our family (scary, that) does not mean I can be your biweekly emotional support.
While we're on this topic, I really didn't need to know that he was so disappointed in me being born female that he walked out of the delivery room. I've always known he would have loved me far better if I had been male. I've always known that part of his disappointment was that your son has been a complete slacker, far overshadowed by his female sibling. Seriously, though. Who tells their kid this?
You are, by and large, a good mother. You've worked hard to keep a roof over our heads and food on our plates. You even took a second job to send me to private school when I was bullied at our friendly local public school. Don't underestimate how much I appreciate all that. At the same time, I'm not sure about this...what is it, a guilt trip?...about staying with my father all these years "for my brother and me." Do you know how many nights I prayed that he would finally leave for good? How much better the evenings were when he stormed out and didn't come home for a day or so? Do you know that my brother, Dad's little carbon copy, plans to be surgically sterilized (is that the right word?) because he's so terrified he'll treat his children like Dad has treated us? All this time, you just keep trucking along, throwing parties, going on your "girls' trips," and then coming home to patch up the holes where your spouse threw my brother through the fucking wall. I just don't understand. Meanwhile, you accuse me, however gently, of planning to ruin my own son's life by expecting him to help set the table or pull weeds in the garden. I'm supposedly depriving him of a childhood. If I can get him through childhood without trying to kill himself as many times as I did, I'll call it a success, thanks.
I have a loving husband. He has his faults, but he is a good man. A good husband and a good father. I made him promise just after we started dating that he'd never turn into the monster my own once-loving father became. He doesn't understand; Dad's always wanted to impress him, conform him to his will with good-will and charm rather than with sheer domination. You might like to hear that I've unpacked the emergency kit that was in my vehicle for so long. You know, the one you were too busy to ever realize was there. The one that had everything I needed in case I needed to make a run for it--the camping supplies and food rations, the cash, the hair dye and totally not-me clothes, the contact info for people from Maryland to California. It's gone now, and I don't fear my father anymore. I've escaped. I will not be drawn back into his grasp, nor will I allow him to become so comfortable around my son that he can do to him the things he did to my brother and me.
Except I don't know what he did. Was it abuse? Sometimes I found myself wishing he'd hit me just a little harder so that I could be sure. I mean, he didn't hit me often--he saved that for your son, who swung back--and when he did, he knew how to do it so that it wouldn't leave a mark. I don't know if you can call the remarks and the way he made me feel lower than dirt "abuse." Maybe if he'd hit me more, I could've told someone and had him locked out of our lives forever.
I love you. I do. And I understand that there aren't many people you can talk to who really understand; Dad's a very different person to those who don't live with him. To those he doesn't feel the need to control. But this has to stop.
Your daughter, not your pal