I know a lot of my audience has complex family situations, and I wanted to share my response with you all for a couple of reasons.
1. To reinforce to myself that it is ok to be hurt
2. It is ok to feel like you didn't get what you needed from a relationship
3. It is ok to let that relationship go when them time is right for you
4. To tell you, if you're going through a similar situation, that it is ok. Feel what you need to feel.
I completely acknowledge that you have no animosity in writing this. You know what though, you may not remember but when my niece was born we sat in the hospital cafeteria and I was in tears about the relationship that I did or did not have with Dad because he wasn’t there for me when I needed him. You know what you said? “Well you just need to get over it”. That is a bloody hard thing to hear when I’ve been mourning the loss of a relationship I should have had with my Dad for the past 20 or so years.
For years before that, I had received the occasional birthday card, always written by you. For years, I was called for my birthday on the wrong date. For years I was a sad little girl who didn’t have a relationship with my father. When I was 14 I wrote a letter to him saying that he needed to be more involved in my life and that that he was the adult. The love needed to come from him. I was just a kid. The thing is, I am now an adult, 20 years on from that letter. I haven’t needed Dad in my life because he hasn’t been there for me for the special occasions, but I sure as hell wanted him there sometimes to fill the role of Dad. It wasn’t up to me as the child to ring and say "guess what Dad, I’m doing this". He has a telephone, and I have had the same number since 1999. Hasn’t changed.
I have two children of my own now and I would walk over a bed of nails, a river of lava or face a firing squad for them because I love them. THAT is what you do when you have children and you love them.
You have no idea how often I have cried about the things I have missed out on by not having a Dad around. Let me list a few.
- Graduating primary school
- Passing my music exams
- Playing in my band
- Having a father daughter dance at my debutante ball
- Graduating Year 12
- Learning to drive
- Joining the Navy
- Graduating from Officer training school
- Graduating University
- Deploying overseas and receiving care packages whilst at war
- Having my father walk me down the aisle
- Having a father daughter dance
- Being around to visit my firstborn
- Being around to meet my secondborn at all
- Talking about my business and how it makes me happy.
These are just a few off the top of my head. I know I’ll be criticised for not inviting him to half of those things, but the thing is, in order to be special enough to be part of those things, you need to be around, you need to put in the effort from the start and as I said when I was 14, he was the adult. It was his job to make the effort. Now that I’m the adult, I can take control over the things that make me happy in my life. Unfortunately being around you both makes me feel awkward and uneasy, as if I am in a room with strangers.
So when I spoke to that family member who relayed our conversation back to you, I never said that Dad was a terrible person, I simply stated that he was never there for me when I wanted him to be, and that’s the truth.
I hope you can find your own peace in that and understand. I have no interest getting into a further discussion about all of this. It is what it is, and I have had countless hours of psychological help to help me deal with it. I don’t want to reopen old wounds.
All the best,