My father was my first and longest abuser. He still is verbally abusive to myself and the children. It is why I walked away several years ago… I needed to save myself! I couldn’t save myself with daily abuse from him!
My family works in a strange way that I believes allows him to control the lives of everyone around him. He bullies people with money and emotional support.
- If I don’t like what you are doing then nobody in the family will talk to you anymore.
- If you don’t attend a church then you are a heathen and the family will disown you.
- If you don’t listen and follow my direction/advice then you will have no family.
As an adult it is a difficult line to walk.
After a long time of deliberation I decided to write him a letter with some questions I have let linger.
This was the email:
I have spent a significant amount of time outlining and drafting a letter to you because I have some brutal questions and would appreciate some brutally honest answers.
Since I left my husband I have come to be my own person. I take care of 5 kids alone and although my older kids are adults I still participate financially and emotionally in everything for them. I have started to do a good job at self-care not only as it relates to mental health but emotional and physical as well. I believe in the past several years, but primarily the past 2 years, I have continued to become more of an amazing human being. Although I know at this point, in my 40’s, that you are not capable of seeing me, I do think it is important that I tell you how great of a human being I continue to become.
With my personal blurb about my spectacularness out of the way I will get to the meat of this email:
I have a limited amount of questions and if you do not ever answer them for whatever the reason I will understand that as well. I do however believe that expectations, emotions, and needs not expressed cause resentment towards the wrong person which is a big reason for this email. If my questions make you angry at me I will understand that as well although I do think that would be very telling about your own feelings not so much about my questions.
Why have you continued to have relationships with men who have abused me and my kids?
I am unclear how physical abuse towards my self and children is in part my own fault.
Why were you unwilling to take pride in me the way that you took pride in your wife, and other kids?
When you looked at me what did you see? (nitty gritty honest no soft blows because of some worry about my response)
Do you feel that how you abused me changed my life trajectory?
Where you abused the way I was abused by you?
Do you think you loved me unconditionally?
Did you resent me? Resent my struggles? Resent how I needed you and needed you to love me?
Did any part of you find appreciation for the fact that I grew into an adult who didn’t want to participate in the mental warfare that goes on in the family? (for example: lie to this one to cover for that one, talk badly about this one to keep this one happy, sneak behind someone to keep this one out of trouble?) A family is only as strong as the weakest member and lies between family make a family weak and unhealthy. (I can understand not being completely open to strangers but I couldn’t ever understand or live with being dishonest with the people you are supposed to be closest to…)
My truth… my perspective on my life and where we are now:
I was an abused child. It made me feel emotionally neglected and unwanted at time so when someone showed me love/kindness I leached onto that like it was air. I lashed out every time someone who “loved me or was kind to me” hurt me or ran from me. The pain in those moments was unbearable. Your mom, the only person who I felt always loved me unconditionally, passed away and it killed me! It hurt me differently than it hurt you. I looked at you and believed you were the “loved” person. She always defended how you hurt me. She always defended how you chose something or someone other than me… even when I was a kid she defended how you physically hurt me. Every child deserves at least one person who loves them unconditionally even when everything hits the fan. She expressed her pride towards me relating to my life. Was she always proud, NO! I know she was not always proud but she always stood beside me the best she could.
So to clarify, I was NOT an easy child to raise. I know I was headstrong, defiant at times, needy, hurt, scarred, I know that I was for so many more reasons not a piece of cake.
As I watch my parenting with all of my children and how it has changed and stayed the same I can say with all my heart that I have amazing children! They all know I am the person standing next to them. They know that if they fall I will stand with them while they are picking themselves back up. They know if they are making the “right” choices (for them not me) I will help them reach the top of the mountain!
I also believe that you didn’t love me unconditionally and I believe it was because you didn’t know how. You didn’t know how to love me while you were alone! You didn’t know how to be a single parent and then you didn’t know how to prioritize me when you weren’t a single parent. I believe that you did and still do resent me. I believe I represent what you had to give up because of my existence.
I am the person I am today because of all that I have been through. I do not even have the ability to resent the accident I was in because that would deflate the person I am today. Everything has built upon the decisions made, good and bad.
I was hurt and angry going into adulthood and that made things between us worse. I couldn’t keep stuffing “myself” into a box and letting you dictate my feelings. I needed to be a person with feelings and interests as well. I was so hurt and wanting to be loved by anyone that could see me from a different view. I believe that you haven’t ever really “seen” me and that made me so very angry and resentful towards you. The older I got the more enraged I became towards you because you just refused or couldn’t really “see” me and who I was becoming. Half of the things I have accomplished and am proud of you don’t even know about because I believe you cannot or do not want to see the real me. All of the “family” I have in my life has really seen me at my worst and my best. I have told them all my horrible childhood moments when I punched holes in walls as a teen, when I told you fuck you and walked away, when I totaled tons of cars in high school. I live a life of being honest with the people I surround myself with even if it makes me look/feel bad.
As a mother I am angry, frustrated, and hurt that you threw away all of my children several times now and I allowed you to do that. I opened all of my children up to you walking away from them like mom walked away from me. I let them love people that I was unsure would chose them over a fight. I teach them that you don’t have to always like someone but if you love them you can politely interact without having to open up to them. Not all relationships are what we want them to be. That does not mean you throw children away because you don’t want the parent. You chose to be polite, say little, and love the children. That is why my exs mom, and I are still so very close 20 years later. She chose the kids! She and I didn’t always get along. There were multiple times we didn’t want to speak at all but the kids needed her, they wanted a grandmother! We did that for them! Every child deserves all the love they can get to surround them and help them see life from different perspectives and learn about more than the 4 walls they are growing within.
I still do not think I would want a relationship with any of my biology except for my 1 aunt but I want a better grasp on the questions I am asking you. I continue to work on myself and things about you and our father daughter nothingness causes me to want the answers about things that still linger with the thought: I have never gotten truthful answers when I asked some of the questions.
I would like us to take a few moments and really answer those questions. I believe it will help me in my life progress.
His reply was abusive and then when I didn’t reply to his abusive reply he sent more emails asking for forgiveness.
How do you forgive someone who still blames you for every moment of your childhood and has never made an attempt to forgive you! I was the child! He tortured me constantly and constantly tells me that I was abused for good reasons and should have learned from it! He brings up every childhood mistake I ever made and demands I continuously apologize for it all! As an adult he broke my door down to beat the hell out of me because he didn’t like my life choices!
With all of that I don’t think I need to forgive him. I forgave all of it long ago but it still causes me life pain! It changed the path of my life! My spirit was broken, my emotions were destroyed and had to be learned as an adult, my body was damaged, my heart was crushed! I never learned how to be emotionally healthy or okay within myself! Those are all things I have had to learn with the help of therapists and medication. I pray all the time my brokenness didn’t really emotionally damage my children! I know it changed all of my relationships! I had such a hard time being in a relationship that wasn’t abusive!