It began before I was born

Personal Stories

I have a lot of stories but it seems that they come to me slowly one at a time. I think about years that are really faded now that I’m older. I wish I had started writing my stories down a long time ago. It seems that they come to me when I’m journaling, I’ll be writing about my day and then it somehow turns to my past. For some reason it seems that I can’t choose which story to tell, I have been working on gathering some facts about my biological father since I started the blog.

Looking For My Father

I checked to see if I could find his death certificate. My mother and stepfather have passed away, and I know that is why I finally felt comfortable enough to start telling my stories. I wanted to assure myself my bio dad also had passed so that there would be no chance of hurting anyone’s feelings. My respect is really only for my bio father’s feelings as he was not involved in my upbringing and only saw me a hand full of times after my stepdad came into the picture.

The Last Time I Saw My Father

I was 17 when I remember seeing him last. I had my son and stepson with me and it was Easter I believe. I met him at his childhood home with my grandmother as the host for the event. My father and I sat down and talked about the life and relationship that we missed having together. I knew a little about him and although the history wasn’t really good I felt a lot of affection for my father. I felt a bond to him I never felt for my mother or the man who raised me.

I Look Like My Father

I looked like my father and was built like him. He is six foot four and I’m just about six feet. I am thankful every day that I’m tall and was strong most of my life. I was raised to work hard and to pull through anything, mind over matter. But my dad is where I got my size, looks, and intelligence. I am so grateful for his genes. Now my father also passed down some mental health issues. He was bipolar and suffered from schizophrenia. He had some very disturbing incidents which I will talk about in just a bit, but the severity of his problems did lead him to being committed most of his adult life at Patton, an institute for the criminally insane.

Patton The Institute

I had actually seen him at the facility one time when I was younger. My grandmother had taken me. Of course, my stepfather and mother were not aware. I would expect that a child seeing their father in an institution at about the age of eleven would be traumatized. I really could see that being the case, but it wasn’t my experience. I knew exactly why he was there, and the story that my mother divorced him for. She claimed to be fearful for my safety.

My Mother Never Made Sense

I never was able to reconcile that statement from my mother knowing the atrocities she allowed to happen to me and in some cases invited to be done. When I sat across from my father though either at the facility or on that Easter day I only felt love from him. And I do believe I felt more love for him than I ever felt for either my mother or stepfather. Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away before we were ever able to have another visit.

When My Grandmother Passed

With her passing, I lost her and my link to my father. Patton has been changed to something else and my father bounced from halfway house to facility till I finally lost track. I believe that I’m his only child as I was never able to find anything in the county records to indicate otherwise. I don’t think my father ever stayed out of lockdown type facilities long enough to form any relationships. So there really wasn’t anyone for me to track down in order to get more information, and by that time I no longer lived in that area.

Hard Memory To Retell

I have been setting the scene of this story for so long because this is one of the harder memories for me to share. I’ll tell you now why I had concern for my father’s feelings. During the visit with him, we sat down and talked, this was the one and only time we were able to have a conversation like this. He asked me during that visit about my mother. He truly seemed concerned about her well being. I knew that he met her in high school, they where classmates.

All American Couple

My father was on the football team and my mother was a cheerleader. It seemed that from the stories I had been able to get from various relatives that they both did well in school and where well-liked. It seemed that they both came from religious families and where the all American couple. My grandparents bought them a house when they married and my mom a brand new red Cameron. I think my dad was the only person who saw the change my mother went through that led to her later behaviors. He told me about how they were happy in the beginning and he thought they would have a marriage like his parents that had lasted till the end just like my mom’s parents.

It Didn’t Take Long For My Mother To Change

He said that it wasn’t too long after they married that he felt the drinking and drug use started to change them both. For my dad’s part, it seemed to unlock mental illness he already had hiding beneath the surface. In my mom’s case, it seemed that it brought out some very undesirable traits. He described situations where he would come home from work and she would have several men at the house. She would be drunk every day and showed no interest in either college or working. I knew this already about my mother. I don’t remember it in detail, but I was told when I was young I had a habit of calling every man dad.

My Mother Had Virtually No Parenting Skills

Apparently, my mom had no hesitation in taking me with her where ever she partied. During those nights it was common for her to find a man she liked. I know that to be true because for years I would have breakdowns as a child with memories of stuff I saw as a child. My father also let me know that it was a common rumor that I was the child of a friend of theirs. I also heard that as a child. I believe my mother wished that to be the truth. When that particular friend passed away my mom took it pretty hard.

Might Explain My Mother’s Disdain

I, however, am very obviously my father’s child as I look just like him. That may have led to some of the animosity that my mother had for me. My father also shared with me how much he regretted everything that happened that led him to being incarcerated in the mental institute. He told me how much he loved both me and my mother. He seemed very heartfelt in his sentiment for us both. He showed me his arms, and each arm was a name. One was my mother’s and the other was mine. These were done years after he was divorced from my mother and done while he was incarcerated. This was made especially touching to me because my father remarried a very nice woman who by all accounts was only sweet to my father.

Tough Questions

He then asked me if I was cared for growing up. I wish I had the maturity of time lived on this planet that I have now, but back then I was brutally honest. It was something I prided myself on but didn’t realize the damage it could do. So I broke down and told him it was horrible. I told him my stepfather was a monster and my mother did nothing to protect me and in fact not only allowed the abuse but at times suggested it. I was just about in tears and just really feeling all the years of depressing treatment I lived under and thinking how much different things would have been if this man had been around when I was growing up.

Even Tougher Answers

I recognized my mistake immediately when I saw my father’s face fall. The look of anguish on his face told me this man loved me and he was the one person I was missing in my childhood that would have protected me. I wish I had given him a gift that day and reassured him I had been fine. But I was too young and full of anger and rage to recognize what I realize was the obvious answer to the question he asked me. It’s time now for me to tell you why my father wasn’t in my life. It was during the time with my mother that she found her one and only love, drugs and alcohol. He also started to partake, but unlike her it wasn’t his calling.

Predetermined Path

Unfortunately though it did change his life forever. It seems and this is from a child’s memory but it seemed to bring out what was probably going to come out eventually anyway, but may have been rushed to the surface. He started to see and hear voices and people that where not there. It seems that during the last year with my mother he had started to describe events that included people who where not real. I must have only been a few months old when he heard voices that told him something was coming and it was evil. He blocked all the doors with him and me in their home and it took rescue workers to get us out. I can’t help but think this was somehow for shadowing of the future because the only person due at the house that day was my mother. In the end that was what ended my parents marriage.

A Life Missed

My father moved on and married a lovely women that I remember very vaguely meeting. This was prior to my step father moving in with my mother and ending my visitation with my father. The only memory I have of her is the one visit, and it was my birthday. They had given me a fluffy puppy, I believe was black and white. I never did see that puppy again after that day. It must have been not too long after my visit that my father’s demons surfaced again and this time they told him a different story. This time they told him that his wife was a danger. They told him to stop that danger. My father truly saw these beings and heard their voices the same way you would a friend during a lunch time meeting.

The Voices Told Him To Do It

So when he got the message that she was a danger, he believed it. This led him to take action to stop that danger. The way he did this was to stab my step mother in the chest several times. It was unfortunate and I understand the reason he was sentenced to a mental institution. My father never did recover completely and even after serving his time was never able to stay on the right side of the law for any length of time. I mourn his life as much as his death. I guess it’s a testament though to the care I grew up with that I never feared my father. There was one incident that occurred after he had been in Patton for a few years when he actually escaped.

A Last Attempt

I was in kindergarten at the time and my step father had already moved in. The shift in my mother happened only a few weeks after my step father moved in so I was already miserable with my small life. I’m not sure where he was headed that day but it was in the direction of where I lived. I always imagined he was coming to rescue me , which is probably why I never blamed him for my life or was afraid of him. Who knows the truth but maybe in some way I think it helped me to think someone cared enough to save me.

Information about Patton State Mental Facility

‘The Insane Asylum’: The First Twenty Years of Patton State Hospital

It is a quiet Sunday afternoon on the outskirts of Patton State Hospital, the sprawling mental health complex that seems to stretch on forever along an economically depressed road in San Bernardino County. The hospital employs over 2,700 people, and provides treatment to thousands of forensically and civilly committed patients.

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2 thoughts on “My Father Was Criminally Insane”

  1. This is a dramatic story. I can’t imagine the impact it has had on you. Writing about it might help others though. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you. Yes writing these stories are a process. I generally have to go back a few times to work on them. It becomes very emotional.

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