As much as it pains me to say it, sometimes, my dad can be a fucking asshole. What the hell is it with some men that think they can say and do whatever the hell they want with complete impunity? That’s one of the things I don’t miss about being home, witnessing my dad go on one of his assholish tirades like a spoilt brat. On the flip side, I’m glad I’m here when it happens so I can interject where possible, and act as counsel to my mum when it’s not.
A trait that is common to many husbands in our parents generation and beyond, and especially more so in unions with traditional dynamics such as that of Asian and certain European cultures. Basically any domestic partnership where the man is made to feel that he is the king of the household, this shit has a higher chance of happening.
My take on the whole situation is that assholes are assholes because the people around them continue to let them be assholes. It’s simple. If you don’t let someone get away with murder, they won’t. People have to be called to task for the things they do which are unacceptable. The longer it’s left, the more this behaviour is accepted as the status quo, the harder it is to change.
Again, my dad. I love the man. I love him so damn much. He’s my dad after all, and me, his spawn. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel like punching him in the face from time to time when he’s acting like a raging lunatic. Sadly, his behaviour is not uncommon. As much as I would love to label it the “Grumpy Old Man Syndrome”, that is not the case at all. Being that these unfortunate traits of his have always been present, and only now that he’s even older and his fuse shorter, are examples of them showing more and more often.
Sadly, I see this trait echoed in others around me too. My grand dad, my father in law, and fathers of people I know. Traditional unions whom through most of their years have been geared around an uneven power balance. Though some of the women, like my mum, are now older and have decided they won’t take their bullshit anymore, all these years of letting the men get what they have resulted in this road to repair being a long and frustrating one.
Last night I said to my mum “You know I love dad very much, but I don’t know how you didn’t walk away from him all those years ago.”
I liken these men to being like an attack dog. One the dog gets so fired up and sinks it’s teeth into something, nothing in the world can make them let go. You can kick it, punch it, or even shoot it. It will not relax it’s grip. And that’s the same way these men are. No matter how small the complaint, no matter how insignificant, unfair, or unwarranted, the moment they latch their anger to it, there’s no stopping them. They’ll just complain and go on and on and on and on…. even when you walk out of the room and they’re by themselves you can still hear them raging on and on and on.
Criticism is nothing more than sheer unappreciation. I’m not talking about feedback, or constructive criticism. I’m talking about griping and nit-picking over small details. In my dad’s case, it could be anything from my mum’s cooking to the way she did something. Small little insignificants which end up in a full blown tirade because he just can’t accept, or that he just can’t let go. It’s pure unappreciation of the things that my mum does of which she doesn’t have to. Like cooking. She doesn’t have to, but she does. So just shut the fuck up and eat it and if you’re going to give “feedback”, be civil and polite about it. Not whinge like you’re a retired 5 star chef who knows better.
Men over the years have always complained about women nagging. Justifying cases of spousal abuse (not my dad) by saying “She just wouldn’t shut up”, or “she just didn’t know when to quit”. Well the door swings both ways sunshine. Apparently, some pigs also themselves don’t know when to quit. In fact, it would probably wouldn’t surprise me if these instances far outweighed that of the woman’s nagging in these relationships.
They love hypocrisy and double standards, always countering any rebuttal and deflecting it with timeless chestnuts such as “That’s completely different” or “Don’t turn this around”. The more you point out the flaws in their logic or rant, the further and harder they combust.
I still remember being around the age of 12-13 where I swore that when I was old enough and free of my dependence on him, I would take his bullshit no longer. I’m sure I posted much detail on this before. And since our last huge fight when I was 19 where we didn’t speak for 2 weeks, he’s never got off his rocker at me again. When he does, I shut him back down very quickly… in a respectful way of course.
Unfortunately my short years of playing a submissive role to him pales by comparison to the much longer duration of which my poor mum has had to do it. Which makes it all the more harder for him to alter his behaviour now that she’s standing up to him.
I believe things will change, they will just take time. Men, in many cases, need their wives a lot more than their wives need them. It’s just sheer and complete arrogance which prevents them from realising that. The sooner they do, the sooner they come to appreciate and not take for granted all that is being invisibly done for them, the better off their marriage will be.
And so I told my mum just what I always tell my female friends. Do not take any bullshit from your partner. The groundwork has to be set for the future that you want. You cannot just accept the present and hope that your ideal future will just materialise, because it won’t. A relationship is no different from the equality and democratic freedom that humans in history have fought so hard for. If they had accepted tyranny and slavery, then we would still be living under that iron fist.
But they fought, and they won. And the same is no different for all of us. The longer you wait, the harder it is. Whether it be your boyfriend, father, or husband, the innate assumption of male dominance has no place in modern society. It’s a disorder that needs to be crushed. Looking at my mum now, and seeing her strength and confidence, even if not her energy, grow each day, is so refreshing and inspiring to me. And I can only hope for the day where all women in the same position do the same.
Another awesome thing? She’s teaching my grandmother to stand up to my grand dad. And it’s working. There is a strong difference between fighting for the sake of it, and standing your ground. No matter what we do, it always has to be respectful, and our intentions always have to be pure. Never spiteful, never vindictive. Our actions should never be to intentionally hurt, but only to inflict change.
You are not your bigger paycheck. You are not your greater physical strength, or your testosterone fulled overbearing personality. You are not your lineage, blood line, title, or status.
I was just speaking to a girlfriend about relationships in which people simply marry out of security and safety. And I remember telling her that the best measure of a man is what he is when everything external to his heart has been stripped away. If you strip away all his wealth, assets, connections, family. If your man has lost absolutely everything in the world, and all that remained was just that of which beats in his chest, would you still love him more than anything else in this world, and he you? That’s the question we all have to ask ourselves.
My dad… a great man whom always sacrificed everything for his family. Whom loved us more than anything else in this world. Whom would willingly give his life for those he cared about. Pity he’s also a short-tempered chauvinist pig.