Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

May 14, 2010

brutal war vet dad

Sierra's father was at war in Vietnam when she was born so she has to accept what her mother tells her about him being a very different person before he was sent away.

"For all the time I've known him my dad was a brute - and not just a brute but a killer," says Sierra.

"I don't mean the people he killed in the course of the war," explains Sierra, "but the people he allegedly killed or maimed or threatened to kill in civilian life."

"Mom blamed his behavior on the war - and that's why she never left him," says Sierra, "but as I grew up and met more kids born to Vietnam Vets I could see that my dad's behavior was not typical - in fact he behaved nothing like the other dads who were mostly very gentle."

"Even though mom denies it, I believe that there must have been something evil in my father long before the war," sighs Sierra. "How else could the so-called nice guy my mom married have turned into a monster? "

"It's possible his experience of Vietnam was more terrible than anyone's elses," says Sierra, "but I still don't think that's a legitimate excuse for how he treated us."

"He terrorized my brother and I - and my mother," explains Sierra. "Hardly a day would go by without one of us being physically assaulted, tortured or threatened with a throat slitting."

"At nights it was very bad but it was also horrible when he would take us out in the car for a drive somewhere and threaten to kill us all in a car smash."

"He would deliberately drive up a hill and then take the car out of gear and let it run crazily backwards," says Sierra. "My brother and I would sit in the back terrified and crying while my mom would try to find the break and he would laugh like a mad man."

"He drank a lot and smoked dope but I don't know whether substance abuse in itself would cause such behavior."

"When his boss at the factory died in suspicious circumstances dad got questioned by the police," says Sierra, "but they never pinned it on him."

"We know better because dad boasted that he had booby trapped the guy."

"Several other people died around dad in similar suspicious circumstances but he evaded every inquiry."

"We lived in constant fear - not only of our lives but of those around us."

"He was even more brutal towards animals," sighs Sierra.

"I brought home a stray dog one day and because it howled throughout the night dad slit its throat."

"I will never forget waking up that morning and finding the dog dead."

"As far as our material life was concerned dad never wanted for much and neither did we," says Sierra. "He was involved in drug dealing and stuff like that."

"Mom was more concerned about the stuff he brought home than the people he was killing," sighs Sierra.

"I suppose she feared that by accepting stolen goods she would be classed as an accomplice - but it never stopped her from using the stuff."

"At one time he had five stolen cars on the front lawn."

"We moved around a lot - never staying in one place long - so dad was never reported by concerned neighbors for assaulting us or for stealing stuff."

"Dad's brutality finally caught up with him when he was seen knifing a guy outside a bar," says Sierra.

"I was fourteen and my brother was twelve when dad was sent to prison."

"My brother and I didn't cry but mom did - she still blamed his behavior on the war."

"The legacy of a childhood lived with a brutal father includes nights when I wake up at the slightest noise - fearing my father will lurch through the door with a hammer or a knife in his drunken hand - and days when I refuse to drive up hills - fearing the car will slip back - but it also covers such things as not wanting to have children and not even wanting to have a pet."

"After seeing that poor little dog with its throat slit I couldn't bear to have a pet."

"I sometimes wonder whether the evil that resided in my dad is genetic," explains Sierra. "If I had too much to drink or if I smoked dope, or if I got sent to war, would I turn out like him?"

"Or, when our government teaches men how to kill, is it unleashing something terrible in some men that they can never control?"

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