Father’s Day

I always have an issue with father’s day. Not that I am adverse to people celebrating their dads, in fact, quite the opposite. Dads should be celebrated. Well, let me clarify…GOOD dads should be celebrated. It’s easy to become a dad. Any guy with a functioning reproductive system can do it. However, it is not easy to be a good dad.

I did not have a good father. Not even ok, or even sub-par. I would have been lucky with ‘jerk’. No such luck. Roy Ferris was an outright horrible human being. Period. He was a sociopath to the extreme. He was dangerous and violent and manipulation was his M.O. If that sounds angry it’s only because it’s in writing and you don’t have the sense of my tone. I don’t have any serious feelings about him anymore. I did for years (he died over a decade ago). Gawd, I was angry. At him, at my mum, at his family, whoever I could blame. Why was he such a horrible guy? Did me and my brother do something? Did we deserve this? And Mum, jesus, how did you choose this creep?

I spent many years toiling over these questions. And dated cruddy guys as a result. Then finally, I got over it and saw it for what it was. It happened over years of talking and reflecting that I realized the truth of it all. I am a firm believer that people try to do the best they can most of the time. They do their best with the tools THEY were given. My dad’s childhood was terrible itself. He was a very sick man. He loved my brother and I the best he could. Did he fall short? HELLS YA! Miserably. Utter failure. Should never have had kids. F’d my brother and I up something fierce. But he couldn’t do any different. He didn’t know a better way. He didn’t see how horrible he was because the glasses he wore in life were not those of a well and stable human being.

So, what do you do with that, right? No one to blame? WHAT?? No! Scary at first because you want to hang onto your anger and pain like a security blanket. I could hang onto the damage but who would have benefited? Certainly not me.

I think Father’s Day bugs me because deep down that little kid in me feels ripped off. All these wonderful things people say about their dads. Posting pictures. Great memories… I don’t have those. But you can turn any negative into a positive, it just takes the right angle. Everything is a learning experience. EVERYTHING. I wouldn’t be who I am without Roy Ferris having been the sperm donation for my presence on this planet. I know who I am. I have wonderful qualities and success in part because of him, so I choose to celebrate those now instead of pointing the bitter finger of blame.
Here’s why I mention this. I think some people feel weird on mother’s day and father’s day. Like they have to have great relationships with their parents and if they don’t they are bad people. Not everyone gets along with their families, and just because Hallmark has created this day for them in order to make money, doesn’t mean we have to put those feelings aside and make them perfect.

I have no problem telling people that my dad was a heel. Just because he is related to me by blood doesn’t make him a great guy. And he wasn’t. And I’m ok with that.

Is/was your dad a wonderful guy? Great! Rejoice. I’m glad for you. But if he wasn’t (and this goes for mums, too), it’s ok. You are not alone. Not by a long shot. Surround yourself with people who love you and treat you well. If your family are not in that category, you don’t owe them anything.

Be well.


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15 Responses to Father’s Day

  1. Danielle says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I was a daddy’s girl growing up but when I was a teenager, things changed. I don’t know why things changed, and I spent far too many years thinking I’d done something wrong. That it was my fault. That I’d done something to make him angry or to make me … unlovable, in his eyes.

    We’re okay now, but I’ve also lowered my expectations. The fact that our relationship felt so … superficial used to bother me, but now … it is what it is. We’re never going to have what we had when I was little, and maybe the only reason we had what we had when I was little was *because* I was little and didn’t know how to look any deeper. It took me a long time to learn to be okay with that (and, not gonna lie, it still hurts sometimes, but it doesn’t eat me up the way it used to).

    • samferris says:

      That sounds painful. I don’t know the situation so I can’t speak to that but I can say not to take it personally. You have no idea what goes thru his head. It’s not about you. A parent’s love doesn’t ‘lessen’. Bur make sure your self-esteem comes from you, not your dad. Make sure not to let his change in tone change your validity.

  2. Julie says:

    Well put Sam! I have issues with the Hallmark holiday, Valentine’s Day. On Feb14th, 1980, my Mom told me that her and my Dad were divorcing. Now as divorces go their’s was a good one, they remain friends. However, the idea of that day and all it’s schmaltzy crap about love is lost on me. I’ve been married for almost 28yrs, it’s not an awful marriage but it ain’t too good either. I often wonder how much better my life could have been if I’d have had a healthier attitude towards what love means. I’m trying to do better, my kids say I deserve it.

  3. Danielle D says:

    My mom and biological father got married when he came back from nome. They lived upstairs & downstairs same building . She was 5yrs old & he was 10. They got married when she was 17. She had me 8 days b4 her 19th B-day. They broke up when I was 9 months old. She got remarried few months after her & my Dad met. When I was 8 they told me he wasn’t my real father! But said joe may be my father . But your my Daddy. My Dad died a year later when I was 9. My mother thought it would be good for me to know him have that father figure. Oh Lord was she wrong. You can tell he wanted nothing to do with me. So he was in my life maybe 6-7 times. He told me when I went to visit him when I was 36 yrs old that he looks at me and see’s my mother and he can’t stand her. What a great guy right? My mother passed away around that time and figured I’d reach out to him. It’s was a very big mistake to me thinking maybe this man grew up and would want a relationship now that I was a women. But after what he said about my mother. I walked away never to look back. My mother never spoke bad or Negative about him. Just told me one time you need to find out for your self. Point is there is a difference between a father. And a Dad. And I was very lucky to have this man love me as if I was his very own. He was everything a dad in my opinion should be. I’m lucky to have the happy memories that I do remember. And I feel nothing at all for the one that did give me life. Thank you for your story

  4. Sam, your words describe my dad to a tee !! I didn’t even fathom in my mind that there could be another entity lke him on this planet. 48 years later and 58 for my brother and we still have wounds and scars so deep that we still cringe at the mere thought of him. He will be dead 25 years this Oct… Thank you for posting what you really feel, most people wouldn’t have the cahones to do that. you are an incredible woman , and you should be proud of who you have become.; I have always vowed NEVER to be like him, and to this day, I never have. He has in part made me the person i am today, loving, compassionate, caring , giving etc… because his excitence showed me true evil on earth and i vowed, never ever to let that hate into my heart. God speed Sam. Debbie

  5. Cherry says:

    Thanks for posting this. I always said that I spent the first 20 years of my life being programmed by the parental units, the next 20 trying to figure out what happened to me, and now in the next 20 I am finally getting my sh*t together. I have relatives (the blood related ones) and I am blessed to have family I have met along my journey. I am grateful for the experiences my relatives gave me as it has made me who I am, but I love my family. Thanks Sam!!!!

  6. Paula says:

    That is super sad, but it is good to not hold onto tons of anger from it anymore. Sounds like you may have turned some of the negatives into positives. My family has been dirt poor for years and at times not the most supportive but I learned a lot from them. Not only things to do, but also what not to do… I appreciate my family but I know I sometimes wish things were different. Mothers Day and Fathers Day are two holidays I recognize out of habit, but I like how you called them Hallmark holidays for the purpose of making money… Lots of random holidays are like that. I think that is why I care less for holidays and, the way I see it, if you wanna recognize someone for something then skip the holiday stuff and choose a random day of the week to make someone feel special… One of my best friends taught me that way of thinking. Unfortunately he passed away in Afghanistan, but I still carry a lot of the encouraging words he gave me to this day. It can be true that some of the best people you meet aren’t always your blood.

  7. My father was an absentee one. He left us when I and my brother were infants. I only met him once, when I was a teen. Thirty seconds and he was gone. I spent a lot of time pretending that I didn’t care about him. “How can you care about something you never had?” being my favorite rationalization.
    But the truth is it hurt. A lot. Especially since he went on to father, and be a real father to, several other children. I know it wasn’t our fault. For whatever reason, he left. And, for whatever reason, he couldn’t/wouldn’t be there for us, in any way. Took me a while to come to the conclusion that that failure is on him, not me. And not my brother.
    The question “why” haunts me sometimes. I’d like to know. Was the guilt so insurmountable? Was it easier to pretend we didn’t exist, so he didn’t have to face his failure? I’ll never know. He died more than ten years ago. Any dreams of talking with him, resolving the past, the possibility of any kind of answer died with him.
    Writing this post, I realized that at some point over the last few years, I’ve come to a kind of acceptance. I’m not mad at him anymore. I wish things could have been different, yes. But it is what it is. Life is too short to waste worrying about a question that can never be answered, at least not in this lifetime.
    Wow. I almost sound like a grown-up. 🙂

  8. Dawn says:

    Great blog, and the replies were interesting to read as well.
    Not much for me to add. Dad’s a raging alcoholic that I haven’t spoken to in 13 years. Mom? Full of putdowns for me and an emotional/financial leech, but she’s really good to my kids, so I have to put up with it. Guess I should mention hoarder, as well. Yes, just like the show.
    I had to live with 2 abusive alcoholics myself before I realized I deserved better. My children will NEVER be exposed to that. I want to raise children who truly believe they are worth it and not the emotional misfit who expected nothing more then ‘okay’ that I was for 25 years.
    At 45 I’ve finally realized that yes, they could have been a LOT more supportive to me, but they have their issues and it’s time for me to stop making their issues mine. I had to decide to not make their issues and mine into my children’s issues.

  9. Pat Moore says:

    I totally understand anger towards Father’s day. I lost my dad to cirrhosis at age 50 when I was 17, a senior in high school. He was sick for a long time, my entire teen years I spent helping take care of him (lovingly, not begrudgingly) as my mom worked. He was a hard working and loving father who’s drinking caught up with him, who was taught ‘you’re not a man unless you drink’. I felt ripped off; my friends then had dads who’d go to the beach and try to surf or go out shrimping… my dad barely had energy to shower. That anger turned to aggression after he died; I became more protective of my mom than I should have, my tastes in men varied; and sense of duty would often override good judgement. I always had to feel in control of situations. It took MANY years, having a family of my own (so much for keeping control!) and going back to college (yea!) to finally let go, as you said, of that anger – for being forced to grow up too fast, for being dedicated to family when it didn’t mean crap and not having a dad around to help “finish” teaching me what I needed to know to be a good adult. He didn’t see me for Prom, Graduation, meet my husband or see his grandsons, as I felt he should have been here to see. After 25 years I can finally visit his gravesite without fear, without guilt – and most importantly without pain – as his daughter in all my failures, successes and Irish temper. It was my dad who left me a legacy of unconditional love (pain, sacrifice and poorness) as I have come to know it; without him I would not have gotten my first horse nor kept them all these years. I still get mad easily, but I would be worse off if I didn’t have my Arabians and all the experiences of horse ownership brings. Those experiences helped me socialize, to be part of a community and to think for others than just myself – so, Dad didn’t really leave me after all…

  10. spnfans says:

    You’re going to make a great therapist – your ability to work through your own ‘stuff’ and to see others clearly as a product of theirs will be a huge asset. (I say this as a psychologist and professor who teaches others to become counselors – I’ve recommended your blog to quite a few people.) Also fyi, the book we wrote on Supernatural and its fans that we interviewed you for a few years ago is finally coming out – would love to send you a copy and hear your thoughts. Thanks for the words of wisdom 🙂

  11. Anne says:

    Great post, Sam. It’s hard to talk about parents like that but you have to do it or you come unstuck.

    I understand the damage caused by sociopath parents. My father has a severe case of Narcissicistic Personality Disorder. That’s a sociopath who really really REALLY loves themself. They think they’re the best thing that ever happened to the world and they can readily imitate sanity in public, like any other sociopath. The only positive about NPD’s is that they’re terrified of prison so their violence can usually be controlled by that fear. My father knows there’s something wrong with him and always has, but he’s always chosen to avoid treatment and that sent my mother to her grave 20 years ahead of her time. I know now his disease is not my fault and his behaviour has always been about him. But my little sister still believes it’s her fault he’s such a monster and other members of the family follow his orders and help him damage her even to this day.

    On absentee fathers who turn out to be duds, I often wonder how my uncle’s daughter feels about her father. He got her mother pregnant in the 1960’s then ran away. I’m afraid that summed up his whole life: he was probably an alcoholic already by that time and went on to die at 50 of alcohol poisoning, but not before the police had him made a ward of the state, took away his firearms license and banned him from every single bottle shop, pub and gambling establishment in the state. But if his daughter never knew anything about him or was never told the truth, I suppose she must still be wondering. If he agreed to meet her as an adult, it would only have been to get money from her to buy alcohol.

    Best wishes, Sam and all children of dreadful parents.

  12. ickyemy says:

    My family settled into an area of Colorado Springs called black forest about twenty years ago. We all had to evacuate our homes during the fire last month. My dad didn’t take it very seriously. He was taking video of the fire after the reverse 911 call told them to leave. He wasted time packing frivolous items, like a surfboard. He went back into the evac zone before they had any kind of containment on the fire. I was so angry with him I didn’t see him on fathers day. And guess what they did for fathers day? Had a fucking BBQ in a pre evac area of black forest while a wildfire raged out of control a mile away. My dad is not a bad guy and the thing I hate the most about growing older is that i know the day is coming when he won’t be around anymore. But for the love of god, sometimes I wonder if the man has a brain.

  13. Ralph Tieleman says:

    Hi Sam , my Dad was pretty strange and emotionally isolated but I miss him more than I thought I would after he died. What are you doing now ? I used to hear you on Shore fm.

  14. All you’ve just written I can tell about my mom…Except her childhood- it was nice, my granparents are awesome. But my mom…that’s why I prefer not to remember about Mother’s Day… It still gives me a great wound into my soul. I think i’ll get rid of that crushing feelings only when I become a mom.

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