for me

I knew it was going to hurt.  I knew this day would come.  I knew that once I did it, I would be saddened because of it.  I knew that once I got my "closure," I wouldn't believe I actually went through with it.  I knew, I just did.

Photo by Manuel Inglez on Unsplash

When I decided that I needed to look after myself and end relationships that felt toxic to me, I knew deeply that the relationship between my father and I would cease.

He is the last person I wanted to end things with.  Never in a million years would I have thought that I would need distance from him.  When requiring this for myself, I knew my father-daughter relationship would be severed and that it would most likely include my mom and brother.

It's a package deal...all of us or none of us.  The unit with the missing piece was because of me.  I have to live with that now.  I have to be okay because I made this decision for me.  I never said it would be easy.  I never said it would be quick.  I tried to make it a process, but it just wasn't meant to be that way.  I wanted to do this in steps, but you can plan things out when the plan is already set.

It was a surprise probably to them - my parents and brother.  This is not how things are supposed to be.  We pretend like everything is okay.  I was raised to keep up appearances, so I know they will need to show me as the one who left...the one at fault.  Or they'll say I was manipulated into this decision.  Here's the thing, though, and I only realized this a year ago or so....

You know when you talk about your childhood or how you grew up with a friend?  You mention things that you've talked about with your dad or things he said to you or how it was growing up.  You know, the normal stuff - the conversations and "life lessons".

Then your friend says:
"um, that's not normal" or,
"no, that's not right" or,
"are you sure you're telling me that right?" or,
"why would he share that with you?"

Then you're embarrassed because you've said too much.  No one understands the relationship you have with your dad.  It's special - we talk about everything in great detail.  We're close.  That's how fathers are with their daughters.

Nope.
Not true.

He may never have touched me inappropriately, but the things he would talk to me about were not appropriate at all. Maybe with a son?  Maybe with his son he could talk like that - form that type of bond. Not with a daughter...never with your daughter.

Maybe he could have talked to his son about those things.  Oh you know, it would be totally normal.  Stuff like how to please your spouse, wondering if you enjoyed relations with my spouse...you know, things like that.

Or maybe, just maybe, his son would've been okay to hear about his exploits during marriage and how his wife didn't want to do it anymore so he had to go find it somewhere else.

Or hey, it's okay to ask explicitly about all the details about my abuse from the multiple family members because it would help my mother's psychiatrist to understand my mother's mental state.

Or, oh wait!  His financial worries and his wife's mental breakdowns and anxiety attacks? Oh yeah, I can take care of that for you, Papa.  Sure.  All daughters do these things for their fathers.  Right?

No.  Wrong.  Never did one of my friends share this type of relationship with their fathers.  So when I receive a message from my dad saying that he understands that I don't want anything to do with him, but that he wishes me well?

Well, I take that shit and run!  I stop what I'm doing and take that "I hope you're happy now" and leave.  I don't look back.  I only look forward.

I move forward...

Was I manipulated into this?  Heck yeah, I was.  But not in the way they all think.  I just jumped to my own conclusions.  I saw how family was supposed to be, not what I thought it was supposed to be.  I witnessed my friends' relationships with their fathers and ached for the same.  I see how my husband is with our daughters and never, ever would he think it would be acceptable to raise his daughters the way I was.

My father taught me so much.  The absolute and most important lesson was to look after Number One before anyone.  You looked after yourself before anyone because you are more important than anyone else.

Well, Papa...guess what?
I am.

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