Single Sisters Speak Out

The Modern Life of the Single Sister

The “Deadbeat Dad” takes your questions (or non-questions) November 18, 2009

Filed under: Single Sisters On... — inkognegro @ 12:03 pm

For those of you late to the party….the source material.

I realized that perhaps 7 days was too long to wait to address the questions at hand in the comments.  The internet being what it is, in seven days no one would care what my answers to the questions asked (or not asked). Many Thanks to Cuzzo for giving me her day to address some of the issues that arose in the post.

 

Jara asked an particularly necessary question:

“Why is it so easy for men to leave their own biological kids to then take care of the next woman’s kids (bio or not)?”

The easiest thing to do is to feed the children in the house.  They are there.  The needs are evident.  There is no need to navigate out of state banks and money orders and blah blah blah.  Hell, they just eat what you eat.  You don’t even have to LIKE those kids.  All you are is a border who happens to sleep in the room with their mother.  (eww…THAT sounded horrible…Let me go shower). Of all the decisions that I made, moving away to Texas isn’t it.   Moving away to Texas into a dysfunctional situation that impacted my ability to make decisions that were best for MY children is far and away the biggest mistake I made.

Cuzzo Comments further: My dad was not around but maybe in the past 2 years or so (since I’ve had my son) he’s been very supportive and more like a parent now. Granted I’m all grown up but I still like that connection of being daddy’s little girl. He never expressed remorse though, not to me anyway. He has congratulated my mother, in those or maybe more words, on a job well done.

My children are still years away from that part of life, but I can see the allure from here.  When I got married the first time, my father ruined the marriage he had just started (his SIXTH, which is a WHOLE OTHER POST) to make sure he got to MD from CA to see his namesake grow up.  He passed away suddenly and rather unexpectedly of a brain aneurysm days before he was to make a trip back east with wife #7 (!) to see the first born child of his only son.  (that’s right for those of you scoring at home. My father’s line at death read the following:  Wives: 7, Children: 1, Grand-children: 1)

 

 

Sunnydelyte21 said: My dad is a deadbeat.. he tried giving me excuses as to why he wasn’t there..but I shut him down. When I tried to open up to him at age 24..he tried to treat me as if I was 2 or 3 years old. We don’t get along because we are too much alike. Which is crazy cuz he has been around since I was 2 or 3.

One of the great unavoidable errors absentee fathers make is that children get frozen in time.  Whether absent in the physical, or in the mental and emotional…your children become suspended in whatever space they were left in. This is the magic of nostalgia.  If your father unplugged from you at 2-3, you will always be 2-3.

Harry Chapin Says it best

 

 

Athena Nike: Not knowing the whole story I am quite concerned that you were comfortable leaving your children to your all but sexually capable ex wife. That is a strong component to the marital relationship, but would you have separated if she was screwing you crazy but your kids went to school everyday looking like who shot john?

Whenever Folks delve into the demons in their life in a futile attempt to grasp onto whys and wherefores, invariably details get lost.  I made the mistake of choosing a latent thought I have been pondering and highlighting it as though it was the final straw.  It wasn’t.  It was a straw I was pondering for reasons that a blog post could never do justice. I will simply say this:

People break up.  People fall out of love.  People wake up and find out the person they committed their lives to is a figment of their imagination and that the person next to them may be a hell of a person but will likely drive them to a life of misdemeanors and felonies of varying stripes if they remain this close to each other.

I don’t associate intimately with people who lack the necessities to be good parents.  at all.  Men or Women. I just don’t.  There is no prospect for me to conceive a child with a woman who has a proclivity for being a wack mother.  I’m just not wired that way.    I got 99 problems, being a poor judge of parenting skills ain’t one.

 

 

 

LP: Personal responsibility is so very important and you’ve clearly taken that path. But in all of your essay, I’ve not really seen mentionned the impact/effect you think being an absentee father might have had on your children. It seemed that the importance was placed on whether or not the mother and ex-wife was able to do it. While she might be excellent at being a single parent, it doesn’t necessarily solve the problem of the missing parent from the child’s perspective.

If my own history is any indication, the jury is out on the net effect of our divorce vis-a-vis the children.  I didn’t really grasp what was happening to me until I was damn near thirty and in the midst of repeating the mistakes.  Part of that is a result of not having closure with my own father as the result of extended period (six years) where he pretty much completely abdicated the lion’s share of his responsibility.  by the time I got a sense of what he was feeling and dealt with my own feelings I was balancing those feelings with my own fatherhood and marital situation.  My sons are eleven and eight.  When we spend time together, we focus on cementing our relationship and building trust, because the time is precious.  I am in tune enough with my sons to know that they are unique individuals and their effects are different because of who they are and how I relate to them.  I am conscious to deal withthem in away that enhances our relationship.  Only time will ultimately tell the tale.  I don’t think they even know yet.

 

R4P had more of a comment than a question: You already know you’re trifling so I guess there’s no need for me to point it out. You took a coward’s way out and your children’s mother and your children will suffer for it. The only person you made the right/easy decision for was yourself.

Sigh.

Trifling.  Cowardice.  Right/easy.

In light of such a certain feeling, there is no need for me to attempt to persuade or inform. You have confined me to a box that men in such situations belong in and that is your right.

However frank and unflinching you think your assessment is, it is a teaspoon of water I can add to the buckets of frank and unflinching assessments handed down by those who lived this story…

as opposed to the 600 words you read.

And THOSE assessments are merely buckets of water on the head of a drowning man who spends the rest of his parenting experience attempting to keep his head above water in the ocean of self-doubt and self-hatred that he created when he was separated from his Family.

Your teaspoon is but the cherry on top of a very Unpleasant and very large sundae, but thank you for your contribution.  I am sure it appears more appetizing now.

And a few words on your choice of words.

Trifling: This is one my mother’s favorite words.  I know it well.  I’ve lived it a time or two.  I will probably live it again before long.  I don’t embody it.  If I did, this shit wouldn’t be so fucking hard.

Right/Easy: There is NOTHING easy about Writing this, to say nothing about LIVING this.  But those who toss about words like right and easy don’t have time to see if the object of their scorn actually feels what they claim.

Cowardice:  Cowards live a life ruled by fear.  They let fear make their choices for them.  If I was a coward I would let my bi-weekly check handle my business and go on about my own.  Or I would just keep my head down and KIM in peace.  I damn sure wouldn’t be explaining myself and my decisions to someone who has already condemned me to trifling cowardly niggadom after 600 words.

I will take any more questions on this subject at my email address, david.inkognegroATgmailDOTcom

See y’all on Thanksgiving.

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22 Responses to “The “Deadbeat Dad” takes your questions (or non-questions)”

  1. Deesha Says:

    All of your words on the “deadbeat dad” subject hit home, because I had one, but this:

    “Whether absent in the physical, or in the mental and emotional…your children become suspended in whatever space they were left in. This is the magic of nostalgia. If your father unplugged from you at 2-3, you will always be 2-3.”

    The next-to-last time my father and I really “connected” was when I was in elementary school, and so thankful for any crumb of time or attention he could give. When he would keep his word and pick me up on weekends–and not just drop me off at his parents’ house–he would take me to bars or to his current girlfriend’s house. A common greeting upon my getting into his car was, “I got a new girlfriend. I’m going to take you to her house.” Generally, I liked the new girlfriends–if they weren’t junkies. They doted on me; one even talk me to shuffle a deck of cards.

    Anyway…that’s how we “bonded”. Needless to say, that isht grew old and my resentments at his neglect, financial and emotional, grew deeper. By the time I was 19, I was over him. He tried to connect once: “I got a new girlfriend..” I laughed in his face. He continued, proudly, “I got me a white girl.”

    Yeah.

    So. Fast forward a decade and a kid of my own. He tries to reconnect again. This time, he’s married (not to a white girl) and has settled down. He’s a new man. His in-laws love him to pieces. I can’t stand that they don’t know who he had been to me. I cut him off.

    Fast forward another kid of my own and my mother’s stage 4 breast cancer. She has one request of my dad: Make things right with me. She has one request of me: Let him.

    He does. I do. He’s there to witness the signing of her will in the hospice rooom. He cooks me fish, grits, and cat’s head biscuits every Sunday that I am in town while my mom is transitioning. We never talk about the past. It didn’t see to matter at the time.

    My mother passed away August 13 of that year. My father died of a massive stroke right after Thanksgiving.

    I’m glad we got to heal, in a fashion. I miss what could have been.

    I wish peace and healing for you and for your boys, in all the times and ways that you need it.

    ~Deesha

  2. LP Says:

    Thanks for letting us privy to what must be a very difficult and important subject to you. I appreciate you taking the time to reply and answer our concerns/questions.

    I will reiterate it again. I don’t have much experience with the subject at all. And all my views/opinions/questions come from the sheer ignorance of the topic at hand. I think I understand a little bit more of where you are coming from (or I read between the lines more so) but I may have more questions. I’ll probably direct them to you eventually.

    All in all, thanks for sharing your experience and I hope the right decisions for the moment end up being the best decisions in the long run.

  3. LP Says:

    @Deesha,

    Thanks for sharing your story. It is a very inspiring one. Hope you and your are doing well.

  4. I’ve written many a blog on how men should be fathers, mostly because my father was a wonderful one to me. i have no children. and as excited as i am to have them, despite having a template that was the relationship between my father and I, I worry about messing up with my kids and at the same time with my wife. but one of the many things my father taught me was that you ease your uneasiness with your efforts. execute and regardless of the outcome, you will be able to look yourself in the mirror and stand proud and tall.

    at first read, a portion of both the blogs (a minor portion) seem to solicit some sort of sympathy. perhaps, empathy.

    i at first chose not to comment on yesterday’s because i didn’t want to show any sympathy for the author. i don’t necessarilly think this was the authors intent or goal, but i also think we must be purposely callous in regards to those things which have become ills in our community. ignorance, early pregancy, fatherless homes, domestic abuse, etc. we should be so callous that we create a culture that is so unaccepting of it that those who are reared by said culture are fearful of exhibiting such behavior.

    it is (just a tadbit), refreshing, to know that men in these situations, in all their machismo, do hurt, do feel, do understand the impact that their decisions create.

    i don’t feel the author needs further chastising. i only ask that he execute.

  5. LP Says:

    @Robert,

    i also think we must be purposely callous in regards to those things which have become ills in our community. ignorance, early pregancy, fatherless homes, domestic abuse, etc. we should be so callous that we create a culture that is so unaccepting of it that those who are reared by said culture are fearful of exhibiting such behavior.

    Totally agree with that!

  6. Brneyed1 Says:

    I know what it’s like to have a REAL deadbeat dad. I didn’t meet my father until I was 20, and that was PURELY accidental. He and my mother literally ran into each other in a store. She convinced him that he “might want to meet his daughter.”

    I’ve always known–based on the whispered conversations and side comments of relatives–that I’m an “oops kid.” That didn’t bother me…still doesn’t. It’s a fact of many people’s lives. What bothered me was that my father knew I existed, but never attempted to know me.

    It wasn’t until I met him at 20 that I got his side of the story, which is (of course) different from my mother’s version (so basically I don’t believe either of them). But one thing he did tell me was that he didn’t really have any interest in being a father. Oh, he did TRY to be “dad” once we met, but it was so awkward, clumsy, and uncomfortable, that I told him to just stop. I wasn’t interested in having a “dad” at that point…at least, not him.

    Not sure where I’m going with this or why I felt the need to share it. I do want to say that I wish more fathers (“oops” or otherwise) were as introspective as you.

  7. inkognegro Says:

    LP and Robert:

    Before you two posse up a calvary of the callous, I’d advise you to be mindful of the fine art of loving the sinner and hating the sin. My sons have the best possible result out of a bad situation precisely because of a family environment where I was allowed to be present to fix my mistakes.

    We must not act as though every absent father is some poor no count negro who couldn’t be counted on to piss a straight line if the fate of the world hung int the balance.

    There are eight million stiories in the naked city, and you will swear none of them will be you until it is you.

    I’d hate to see that calvary of the callous on your ass, cause they aint gonna wanna hear about your mitigating circumstances.

  8. Firstly, I want to say that after reading some honest responses yesterday and then ink’s response today..I’m glad that honest discourse prevails. If something doesn’t seem right in the state of denmark say so. I respect it on my blog and i think anything less is disingenuous.

    In my opinion personal blogs are formats for people to challenge motivations, assumptions, ideals and even passions..and you really get to see whose in it for arbitrary co-signs, whose in it to push buttons, or whose driven by personal growth and development.

    ..and some days i hit all 5 of them bad boys at once..im human. LOL.

    I really feel like the post was deeply revealing and honest…I disagree somewhat with the “callous” comment JW made.

    Because when you make something such the social ill where its not ok to even say..”I fycked up and this is how I’m going to fix it”, you have people who never speak on it”.

    Where ink “falls short” in the post in my estimation is this statement “the jury is out on the net effect of our divorce vis-a-vis the children.” Im confused at the jury being out. There is no doubt in my mind that kids miss things without fathers PERIOD, be it how they respond to a relationship demise to their ability to co-parent. That net effect is ever present in the vary post ink wrote.

  9. inkognegro Says:

    CBG – the only reason the jury is out is because I am not absent. I am ver much present and have been for the vast majority of their lives. The net effect is nebulous because the question of am I around enough, does my differing parenting styles and ideology sow confusion in them as they live dual lives in two states. To speculate on the net effect is basically guessing, because there is so much left to know.

    Also, honest discourse is a choice often made by the author. I could easily act all hurt up and offended, and fight fire with more fire, but what good does that do other than make me feel better?

  10. “the only reason the jury is out is because I am not absent. ”

    but you were. I was three when my parents separated and I remember EVERY single detail. I remember birthday parties with him. I remember his house as a kid. EVERYTHING.

    So why don’t you think your kids might come to a similar conclusion about you being present in their half-siblings lives and missing for some time-on or off-briefly-whatever the details?

    On top of which -on some basic levels we are our parents-in more ways than i care to admit. Are their any similarities between your dad and the way you briefly handled your situation..i won’t point out that i noticed at least one.

    “Also, honest discourse is a choice often made by the author.”

    Hey its what bloggers sign up for…when you hit “submit”. You open up your very being to comments…i don’t think there’s much choice in it..other than deciding to have blog.

  11. sunnydelyte21 Says:

    That’s what I told him. But I think we will always have that problem until he realize that I’m a grown woman with a child of my own.

  12. re: “We must not act as though every absent father is some poor no count negro who couldn’t be counted on to piss a straight line if the fate of the world hung int the balance.”

    first, my “callous” charge was not limited to absent fathers. i know there are plenty a mitigating circumstance that may explain why things happenED.

    secondly, the premise of loving the sinner while hating the sin is a altruistic and more importantly REACTIVE approach. After a sin is committed, there’s very little reason to shun the sinner (hence the “i don’t feel the author needs further chastising”). . . however, if shunning the sinner encourages those yet to make the same mistake choose otherwise, i say show no pity for the sinner in hopes that it PROACTIVELY discourages such behavior in later generations. we can not continue to address our issues after they have become an issue.

    my charge for being callous toward our cultures/communities ills isn’t to reprimand reactively. I want our futures to be brighter and that requires that we act now for tomorrow versus focusing on forgiving someone for yesterday.

    so in essence, my charge for callousness isn’t about your past at all ( again . . .”i don’t feel the author needs further chastising. i only ask that he execute.”) but maybe there’s a reader, who isn’t taking necessary precaution to not get some breezy pregnant not because of the financial burden it will bring upon him but because of the harship it will undoubtedly provide to his unborn seed, that will see the callousness we give to you (or others who are in your shoes) and choose to do otherwise. . .that being said . . . .

    you are a bad,bad,bad man!

    LOL. Just kidding. Thought I’d offer some jest in this convo.

  13. inkognegro Says:

    RW: I believe this can transition us to a more solutuions oriented place in that a debate has to be held on how to truly prevent/minimize fatherless situations. Lil pokey getting the girl down the street pregnant and a marriage failing are totally different circumstances that need totally different focii. Acting like they are the same problem because the net result is the same is like treating a gun shot wound and a heart attack the same cause both the patients have chest pains

    CBG the choice extends beyond just clicking submit. I made the determination to blog in 2001 but only recently was I able to address the things I do the way I do and avoid the kinds of firefights I’ve seen. Your comment is a prime example.
    I have a tendency to minimize the net effect of my absence as a coping mechanism to avoid savaging my own self-esteem. Despite that, when you hit me with even a measured rebuke, there is a choice I have to make. Do I lash out defensively to protect my ego? Do I active own the criticism and certify it as valid? Do I just let it go and move on?

    The choices I make determine the tone of the comments section, imo.

    That said, you are exactly right in how I have embodied my father in my choices. And not just the ones that deal with family. My oldest son is already treading similar ground and I am commityed to doing whatever necessary to have him fully informed of the paths his grandfather and I took.

  14. “Your comment is a prime example.”

    I’m not exactly sure what this means..anyhoot..

    “Despite that, when you hit me with even a measured rebuke, there is a choice I have to make. Do I lash out defensively to protect my ego? Do I active own the criticism and certify it as valid? Do I just let it go and move on?”

    I don’t really think its about rebuke at least not for me. You said you weren’t absent. But your previous blog suggested otherwise. If we are our parents..I know at times I’m a creek without a paddle..not really but sort of. I guess the beauty is in some sort of acknowledgment.

    Ultimately we all make choices, we atone, we right wrongs, another day gives us a chance to try again.

    HONEST discourse (with ego or without) gets discussions going. We learn about motivations, forgiveness and being better than we were yesterday. Thats where I was going…

    you can’t honestly think that “confessions of a deadbeat” was going to get you some type of… love song and dance..

    but hey..people read minds on this blog..particularly mine LOL..so fyck it.

  15. LP Says:

    We must not act as though every absent father is some poor no count negro who couldn’t be counted on to piss a straight line if the fate of the world hung int the balance.

    My agreeance with RW is moreso to the fact we should NOT let those things happen in the first place if at all possible.

    Instead of trying to treat the gun shot to the wound and the heart attack, why don’t we implement measures that reduces the likelihood of a heart attack and a gun being shot happening? Sure, there will still be cases as such but they will be the exception rather than the norm. And if saying and aknowledging that being an absentee parent is not ideal for kids make a few more men and women think twice before going down the path of creating a family then we’ve accomplished something even minimal…

    Besides, there is a difference between co-parenting and being an absent father. And based what you’ve talked about yesterday, you consider yourself more of the latter than the former. You don’t have to share a house to be a good parent to your kid… It’s all about involvement, willing to sacrifice things for said child (who didn’t ask to come) and loving them as fiercely as possible. That can be done from everywhere, whether in the same house, the same state or the same continent.

    Great discourse.

  16. inkognegro Says:

    CBG ay-man.

    LP – I wrote this piece from the vantage pt of one who has been on all sides of the fatherhood fence. I’ve been out I’ve been in I’ve been absent I’ve been present I’ve been a step father (informally) I’ve even been a foster father (informally). I know this beat personally. I don’t view myself as a deadbeat dad by any stretch, although I treat myself as one on occasion.

    The next step is to speak honestly about what to do about this.

    That should be interesting

  17. Jaci Says:

    Great post as well.

    I’m afraid I’d missed out on a certain comment from yesterday.

    I’ll say this …. I think it is great that you can admit your shortcomings, long comings… comings at all where your children are concerned.

    Your gonna need those handsome boys in your old age!

    Might as well raise em right!

  18. Big Man Says:

    Ink

    Good to see you are still writing.

  19. sunnydelyte21 Says:

    “My oldest son is already treading similar ground and I am commityed to doing whatever necessary to have him fully informed of the paths his grandfather and I took.”

    Yes, please make him aware.

    My daughter’s father is following the cycle his father left. He lives in the same town as I do and just lack the common sense to break the cycle and get to know his daughter by being in her life.

    He spent very little time with her. I called him yesterday to see if he was planning on doing it again. He said yes, but he has to make time. He always to busy for her, yet he has time for his other kids. I told him he needs to break the cycle. I can’t stand my dad and I don’t want her to be like me.

    I told him even if he can’t visit her in person he can still call and talk to her.

    Is there any advice for me?

  20. Bekaboo Says:

    On the subject of deadbeat dads…I am the mother of three girls, their father is a deadbeat, an alcoholic, and an abuser. I finally got out of the marriage and was granted custody of my girls. I recently found out that my life expectency has been cut short and need to find out if anyone can tell me how to keep my girls from going to their biological father. As one last grasp at controlling our lives, he is refusing to rescind his parental right. I just want to die knowing that my girls are safe and taken care of.

  21. tik tok Says:

    i had one too… he owes 65,000 in child support , doesnt talk to me and turned gay after words. Apparently he can offord to donate 700 dollars to glbt foundation but not child support.

  22. alain smithee Says:

    My experience has been a bit different.

    My family court judge thinks that ALL non-custodial parents are ‘deadbeats’ and gleefully locks up ‘deadbroke’ parents while refusing to enforce non-custodial parents visitation rights.

    I am also now estranged from my children because the psychiatrist that my ex-wife keeps dragging my daughter too has convinced my daughter that her brother, mother, and I are all ‘toxic’, while my son has told me that I’m not the father he deserves while parroting his mother’s belief that I didn’t pay enough ‘child support’ to support both her and the kids.

    I know that I did everything humanly possible to to stay in my children’s lives, but it seems like the only thing that my ex-wife and my family court judge think that I was good for was a support check and being allowed to visit with my children at my ex-wife’s whim.


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