My name is Sherman
When I think back on my upbringing, I mostly see my mother. What an amazing woman she was. She worked hard for her sons and in her spare time she always tried to give us attention. My father, well, he was more often absent than present. And when he was there, he mostly shouted. Whatever we did, everything was wrong in his eyes.
I don't really know why he was angry so often. My mother was sweet and good-humored but she changed when he walked around the house. She then became quiet, she made herself small and always looked with a worried look. She corrected us in a soft voice, afraid we would be a nuisance to him and it would escalate again into loud shouting or a harsh tap. I always saw the disgust in her eyes when he hit us. She was no match for him and me, yes me neither. Still my stomach turns when I think back to how he sometimes hit her too. Then I hated him and at the same time I was terrified of him. When I got older and also started thinking about a relationship, I resolved myself to do things very differently.
'I wanted to do things differently. In my family, I want to take on the father role, but I don't succeed. Everything I try is not good enough. I feel like a failure!'
When I get home, I see my wife and daughter sitting in the living room. I am tired. It was a long working day. Her icy gaze says enough and I feel my stomach contract. Even before I can change clothes to take a shower, the tirade about why I didn't get groceries begins. I try really hard to do everything right but it doesn't matter what I do. Nothing is right. It hurts me when she scolds me and calls me a worthless father who doesn't take care of his family. She does it on purpose, to see how I react.
'Anger, helplessness and frustration fight for priority. I don't want to feel this and I don't want to live with each other like this'.
Why the rejection? I undertake another effort as I walk to the shower. 'Shall I cook tonight?' Her look says enough. I close the bathroom door behind me. Powerlessness wins out over everything else I feel. Her reproaches are destroying me.