A Response to "Developmental stages of expunged fathers"
[The original article to which the
following is a response]
Walther part of the problem with your advice to Bill is that you
don't completely understand Bill's situation in the spiral of catch-22's
has been placed into by the legal system. Its possible you presume you
and you have the advice, part judgement and suggestions of others who
have not completely read or understood all of the legal and other
horrors so you make unfair and compounding negative assumptions.
It might also be that Bill's other problem might be that flight or
might take place at the risk of never ever seeing his children again-or
having a chance of seeing them. And then having to live with that memory
well. You might consider that Bill is fixed in place by an
obsession with seeing justice done-not only for him, his children and
reputation but also for the thousands of Fathers who are similarly
Through it all it maybe Bill is recognized and appreciated as a leader
man of substantive credibility and action even while he struggles
the depths of depression. It could be that he does what he can and works
hard as he can for others because his own situation is so impossible to
fight or even address legally. He thinks only of the fight and the
and how to attack it rather than his own welfare.
I know a Bill like that too and he gets emails from people telling him
are proud to know him. Others write in from all over the country asking
assistance and advice. And he gives it freely even with his own
difficulties. This Bill I know does it because he can and because he
he must. And because he says "to hell with the system" I won't work for
Its not the first time people have engaged in economic protest.
And it is almost definitely a possibility that Bill is not disabled
Well not officially anyway. What he deals with behind the bureaucracy
recognition of official disability is another story. And he thus doesn't
even get a disability cheque to eke out his existence (or "make it
any fashion he likes. It could be that he never has even applied-even
you mistakenly think he has. Or should. But mostly I think its probably
because it creates more problems than it solves.
Maybe it is that Bill can't move continents-or cities-or provinces as
as it sounds either. Social, legal and other economic factors stand in
way there too perhaps. Telling Bill that he should ignore the tyranny
oppresses him is a an acknowledgement that this tyranny can not be
and that one must work within it to survive. Much like telling an
Dutchman in 1940-45 the same thing. Yet some still fought and died in
terrible circumstances against impossible odds. They did it because they
to. Morally. Its also like telling Bill that living in occupied France
that same time period is not going to help him so he had best move to
France and just get on with it.
Nothing is ever the way it seems to others who live on the fringe and on
second-hand information. Sometimes people just don't want to understand
Bill. They just know how they personally would do it-while never having
experienced or understood what Bill has had to live through. Selective
participatory judgement. That is the easiest part of all for those who
Bill is a "user". Its so easy to say it. It makes Bill's critics feel
and celebrate their own good fortune and position at the expense of
who now has to deal with criticisms and untruth from his own peers.
Bill is not getting a fair shake.
I know I have stood in judgement of others before many times with people
like Bill and I have so many times never really understood the life
realities and the position. I have found myself wrong too many times now
ever criticise and make recommendation. Now it is that I will first
their shoes before I ever do that again. Bills story motivates me more.
[Jim is not his real name. Although that response by "Jim"
contained no sign-off line, I show the fictitious name here to make it
easier to read what follows now. - WHS]
It must be mentioned
that by commenting on my perceptions of "Bill's" circumstances, "Jim" is
in reality writing about his perceptions about himself and about how my
perceptions of "Bill's" circumstances don't match the self-image "Jim"
has of himself. My response
to "Jim's" observations
Back to Mail for Fathers for Life
The White Rose
Thoughts are Free
Posted 2003 12 17