Dear Dad

Posted: March 26, 2015 in Life and the Pursuit of Balance & Happiness

Dear Dad….

This letter isn’t for you. It doesn’t matter anymore if you know how I feel as your deteriorating mind might not even be able to comprehend the words I want, or more so, need to say. Maybe I should have written this years ago, or have said the things that have been weighing on me for so many years. Maybe you might have been sorry, although I doubt it. Maybe you might have apologized, although I doubt that as well. Maybe it might have been good for me, given me some closure, helped heal some of the wounds that never did close. 

But I didn’t, and here I am many years later writing this letter. But not for you. This letter is for me. It is to bring me closure, for me to get these things out of my heart and into words. No, this letter is not for you, for it is too late to correct the wrongs that have been done, to mend the broken relationship that we dysfunctionally share. This letter is for me, in hopes that I may, at last, find some peace.     

I cannot pinpoint the beginning, when you first began using words as weapons, because there was no beginning- it just always was. You threw your cruel words like punches flying through the air, landing on young hearts with a heavy thud. There were no physical bruises, no marks to indicate the abuse which was inflicted. My scars were hidden, for only me to see, to feel, to live with, to remember. Stupid, ugly, dumb, useless, trash. I, at the age of 5 or 6, was all of these things, because you told me so, and you, being my father, had to be right. As the years passed some of the labels changed, while others remained the same. Stupid, Slut, whore, useless trash, tramp, retard.  I, at the age of 10 or 11, was all of these things still, because you said so, and why would my Dad tell me this if it weren’t the truth. 

You told me so. Everyday damn day. And I believed, and I changed. There is an impact left by words that lingers long after the word has been spoken. Unlike the physical signs of abuse- the bruises and bumps and cuts and hand prints- these marks don’t fade. They aren’t temporarily a mark on your skin, but permanently a mark on your soul.  

But that’s not all, Dad. When I was lucky enough to not be the target of the words used as weapons- the heavy words like a fist taking your breath away, the sharp words like blades, piercing your skin, and the unexpected words, when the world seemed normal but suddenly I did something wrong (did I breathe too loud, laugh too much, smile too bright?) and the whip of your voice abruptly brought me back to reality where nothing was normal- I was still the witness of your cruelty as you tore down the one person in the world that I could trust, the one person that gave a damn, the person who, whenever possible, took the verbal beatings herself so I wouldn’t have to. My Mom was, and still is, your vocal punching bag, and that is harder still then filling the role myself. 

My entire life I lived in fear, in dread, and in shame. Fear of the next attack, dreading going home at the end of the day, ashamed of what I was, because, if you said I was all of these terrible things, than I had to be, right? What was it about me that made it so damn hard to love me? What did I ever do to warrant the verbal attacks endured my entire young life? Was I not smart enough, not pretty enough, too loud, too outspoken? Did you ever want me, plan to love me, as a father should? 

The thing with words is they convince; heard enough, they are easy to believe. As the years passed and I grew up, I fell under the curse that came with these words- poor grades, seeking attention and affection in all the wrong places, drinking, drugs, cutting, breaking the law. I allowed myself to be sucked into an existence where nothing mattered except not feeling. I drank to numb the emotions, smoked pot to try to numb them a little more. Bad boys offered revenge, all boys offered attention and short term love, and I took it, endulging in the male attention I had craved my entire life. Cutting became a release, school wasn’t important, and rules were made specifically for me to break. 

Those years of rebellion are long since passed, and I am now a parent myself. I feel that I owe you a thank you because, I’ve learned so much about parenting from you- what not to do that is. I’ve learned to never use words to words to punish, hurt, or intimidate. I’ve learned what it means to love with my whole heart. This I learned from my mother, who did the loving of both parents, making up for the love I didn’t get from you. I’ve learned that children are a parents greatest treasure and not the burden I obviously was to you. I’ve learned to let my children be who they are, because whoever they choose to be is perfect. I’ve learned this from never being enough for you. My children are shown love, pride and acceptance- things I never knew. They are pushed, supported and encouraged and because of this are confident in their skills and talents- all things I wish I had known. They need not ever fear me, ever view our home as a place of misery. They are hugged and kissed and told regularly how wonderful they are. I might never have been good enough, special enough, perfect enough to meet the unknown expectations that would have earned me your love and pride, and it has made me the parent I am today. A good one, who adores her children with a love that knows no bounds, because she knows all too well the hurt, shame, insecurity, and fear that comes from never being loved for who she is. I owe that to you. 

So as I write this letter that you will never read I think of forgiveness. I think of closure and moving on. Forgiveness will never come. In order to forgive you, you would need to be sorry and there has never been any indication of remorse on your part. But I don’t need to forgive you in order to find closure and to move on. All I need is the love that I had missed for so many years, and I have that now. Not from you who should have loved me and cared for me over the course of my life, but from the family I have created for myself since- my children. And Dad, I take pride in the fact that I will never be the kind of parent to them that you were to me. I am so much better, so much more, for now I know that your words were just that- words- and while they have warped and shaped my life in so many ways over the years, they can no longer hurt me. You can no longer hurt me. I no longer have any reason to feel ashamed but you, Dad, always will. 

Your Daughter 


  1. bipolarwhisper says:

    Very very well written post. big hugs.


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