Tuesday, September 5, 2017

I Was Never Good Enough For My Dad

Written By Don Shetterly

I used to hate having to go get tools for my dad.  My older brother would treat me the same way as my dad treated me.  They were too freaking lazy to go get the tools themselves and so I’d have to trek all the way to the barn where we had them.

Of course, the tools were never where they said they were.  Of course, they didn’t know how to properly identify them.  So, I would have to guess and hope I brought the right one back.

Most of the time I failed.  I would be berated with the following statements:

"You don’t have any common sense." 
"If the tool would have been a snake, it would have bit you." 
"Can’t you do anything right?" 

Those and many more statements filled the void around me.  They made me nervous.  They caused so much anxiety in me.

If my dad got real mad, he’d pick up a shovel, a garden hoe, a board or anything else within his reach and beat me with it.  Minor infractions meant that he would just kick you, and I mean physically kick you. 

Afterwards, I would get blamed for not putting the tools away in the correct spots.  There were no “spots” for the tools, only general locations.  My dad would never return things back to where he found them, but it was always our fault.  Then we’d have to clean up the barn all over again, only for the scenario to repeat.

I remember one time in college, I had come home and changed the oil in my car.  I put things back where they were supposed to go.  Days later I get this letter from my dad.  Now, my dad could barely put words together to form a sentence on paper and hardly ever sent a letter to anyone.  This letter was blasting me for how irresponsible and immature I was because I left his “garage” a mess.  It wasn’t me that did that.  It was someone else, but of course I got blamed.

Fault in the smallest of things...

Nothing I ever did was good enough for my dad.  He would find fault in the smallest of things.  Even in the music that I created, I can still remember him criticizing me because it had mistakes in it.  His anger fumed at me when I replied to him, “but how can it have mistakes – I’m just creating it?”

When I bought my first pickup, it wasn’t good enough because I didn’t ask his permission, even though I was out of college, working a good job, and paid for it on my own.  He thought I should get his approval first.  It did not matter that I got the best deal I most likely ever got on buying a vehicle.

When I got tired of waiting on him to help me build a hay feeding bunk for my sheep, I finally just did it on my own.  The sheep needed it badly and day after day, he kept telling me he was too busy to help me.  No, it wasn’t perfect, but it worked.  He could only criticize me and it for every little flaw that he magnified in his own eyes.  Nothing was ever good enough for my dad.

When I would play the piano in high school choir events, he would gloat that I was his son.  It wasn’t that I played beautifully.  It was about how I was related to him and he made sure that he was the focus of the event to everyone that knew us.  His responses to me in private though were nitpicking how much he hated the music I was given to play.  This was from a man that had no concept of music, but he sure was a critic.

When I tried to go to college, he was all for it if I got a good paying job and it was more of a hands-on trade.  Yet, my dad resented the money I was offered for my first job.  While in college and for years after, I would hear that I was nothing more than an over educated college idiot.  No matter how humble and true I was with people, my father resented that I was doing better than he was.

Jealous of me...

I dealt with my older brother and my dad being completely jealous of me in everything I did.  They expected someone to walk up and hand them what they needed.  I, on the other hand, worked my butt off to get what I needed.  I was well known and successful for my hard work in the area where we grew up.  I never had to look for work.  It always found me.  Regardless, though, I had to deal with the never-ending jealously by my dad and older brother.  Anything I had, they thought they should have, even if they did nothing to get it.

I’ve been called so many names.  I’ve been hit and beaten so hard.  I am not sure how I made it this far in life.


I always try to stay humble and be who I am.  However, that was never enough for them and it made my life hell for many years. 

In recent years, I’ve started to really come to terms with that, but I would be lying if I said that none of what I had been through with my dad and older brother did not impact everything I do to this day.

It is my goal to keep reminding myself that they were the bullies in my life and because of their own shortcomings, they felt threatened by me.  However, that is their circus.  It is their dysfunctional issues.  I no longer desire to own them.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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