If you’ve been reading my blog for any period of time, you should know about my dad. In September, I wrote about missing him. In December, I wrote about how I felt I was cheated out of a father. In January, I wrote about his first contact with me since November 2007 and how I needed to let him know how much he had hurt me through the years. And on February 8th, I posted the letter I sent to him.
The letter was written in a way nicer tone than he deserved. While I let him know how much he had hurt me, I still left the door wide open for reconciliation. And with his reply later that month, he slammed the door shut, locked it, and threw away the key. In his e-mail back to me, all he seemed to do was take the parts he didn’t like and dissect them down. And, once again, all the blame fell squarely on my shoulders. He’s the best at twisting words around and making you feel like you did something wrong.
At that point in time, I was so wrapped up in school and my internship and just trying to keep my head above water. I didn’t have time to deal with replying to him, although I knew I had to reply. So I kept putting it off until I decided to send him an e-mail back on Father’s Day. (Spiteful? Yes.)
But he beat me to the punch by forwarding the e-mail to me Thursday night. I wrote the letter Saturday morning. I got up early and just wrote and wrote and wrote. Every time I would glance at the e-mail he sent me, my blood would boil and my hands would start shaking. The things he said in there were just plain awful and he showed no remorse or love for me.
On Monday, he sent me an e-mail with the subject header: “Where’s my phone call???????” This is what his message contained: “Well, I have not heard from you and I figure you were so pissed off you probably don’t want to speak to me. Well, I’m trying to move on. I’ve BEEN THROUGH A LOT these past 10 years and all my fault.”
Yes. He was moving on from me. I read this on my way out the gym and couldn’t stop the tears from falling on my way back to my apartment. To be quite honest, I’ve never really let myself cry over him. As open as I am on this blog, my emotions and feelings are locked up so tight to the outside world. I don’t talk about my problems with other people and even my mom has a tough time getting me to talk. It was the first time I let myself cry over the loss of my father.
I called my brother when I got home and read him the e-mail. He talked me down from the ledge. He’s really the only person in the world who can understand what I’m going through and he’s helped me to see that Dad is wrong about me and that I am special and worthy. After talking to my brother, I added a few paragraphs to my letter and sent it off to my dad. I haven’t received a response and I hope I never have to speak to him again. He has been the most negative force in my life and I’m better off without him. Now I just have to figure out how to go about that, how to put my dad in the past, and live my life without his nagging voice telling me I’m not good enough.
I’ll probably be blogging about this more, because it feels like my dad just died. In a way, he did. Our relationship died. I felt sick after sending the e-mail, but also empowered because I said what I wanted to say and didn’t back down from anything.
For your viewing pleasure, here’s some of what I said to him:
Being loved and having unconditional love are two completely different things. There were times I felt your love. I hold on tight to those times because they were few and far between. When I was younger, you were awesome. It was only as I grew older that I realized what I needed to do to grab your attention and keep your love. A child should never feel like they should have to do a dance to get a hug from their parent. I felt like I was walking on eggshells around you, trying to do my best to impress you but always falling short.
It was in spite of you that Mark and I never touched a cigarette or a drug. It was in spite of you that we didn’t turn into alcoholics. It was in spite of you that I’m not the mother of multiple children. It was in spite of you that Mark has managed to have a normal, functioning relationship with his girlfriend where he has never even thought about doing things you did to Mom. (He’s only 23 and he’s double the man you will ever be. One of his goals in life is to be nothing like you and he’s doing a damn fine job at that.)
Mom has been more than a mother and a father to Mark and I. She has been our sounding board, our support system, and our friend. She has done everything she can to make us happy. She has taken out loans to keep us afloat when you weren’t giving us child support. We moved into a two-bedroom house for 3 years where her “room” was the living room. She gave up so much for us that to even think of you trying to take credit for how we turned out makes me want to vomit. You didn’t help at all. You hindered. And it was only by her love and support that Mark and I grew up to be functioning members of society. We have never been to jail. We don’t have a criminal record. We don’t drink or smoke or do drugs. We both have steady jobs. We are doing everything in our power to not turn out anything like you.
I can’t even fathom telling a child of mine I’m “moving on” from them. You have to be a pretty screwed-up person to think about severing the relationship with your own flesh-and-blood. And, sure, your life hasn’t been easy. (But who ever said life was easy?!) But YOU are the one who stole money from your mother, abused women, gambled away every penny you made, stole money from your brother, attacked your brother, stole his car, etc. You play the victim card so well but YOU DID THIS TO YOURSELF! Stop being such a victim and start taking control over your life. Be a man for once.
I’m ready to move on from this relationship, but it’s still hard. It wasn’t easy writing these words and it was even harder pressing the “send” button to give it to him. But he needed to read these words and I needed to say them. This is one story that won’t have a happy ending, but in time, I hope to discover and explore my own means of finding a happy ending.