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Day 10 Unsent Letter to My Father

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by MSZ812, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. MSZ812

    MSZ812 Well known member

    I had a great relationship with my dad, until about the age of 13. Until that point, he was a superhero in my eyes. I always wanted to be around him. I would follow him everywhere. Most of my fondest childhood memories involve me and my dad. I vividly remember one weekend when I was about 10. We were replacing our backyard fence, a big task because of the size of our yard. During the two day project, there was an air show going on about 4-5 miles away at a local decommissioned base. As we worked in the hot sun, we got to see all kinds of fighter jets zip past our yard from only a few hundred feet above us. It was awesome. It's the kind of bonding experience every parent and child want, especially between father and son.

    My parents began fighting when I was 13 or 14 years old. The loving household was no more. I was angry with both of my parents. I didn't understand what was going on, why they no longer got along. They didn't tell us anything. I would overhear tidbits of the problems during arguments: money, you're not the person I married anymore, you're the one who didn't listen to our counselor, etc. I wouldn't find out for a couple years what sparked the issues with them. I was going through my own changes. Puberty. I've heard it's normal for a young man to start seeing his father differently as he grows up. I started seeing all of the flaws in my father. He was hard-headed, impulsive, and pretended that there was nothing wrong with his marriage other than the fact that my mom was always upset with him. He didn't take responsibility for his actions or words. When my parents eventually separated, my dad continued to deny that he had changed. He refused to get any more marriage counseling. The onus was on my mom to take him back with no conditions. And that didn't happen. The divorce was rough, and both parents wanted my siblings and I to pick sides. I felt a great responsibility to protect my mom, as the only "man" left in the house. I definitely carry some resentment towards my father. I was just a kid and wasn't ready to step into that role. He never taught me to be a man. And today, I feel it. I'm not married, don't have children, and am struggling to find a fulfilling career. I've been scared of relationships ever since my parents divorced. Scared of hurting and being hurt. Scared of becoming my father.

    I have a good relationship with my parents today. My dad lives in another state, but I'm able to see him 2-3 times a year and we talk on the phone regularly. He has apologized to me for that whole time period. I've never spoken to him about all of the emotions and hardships during that time, only in generalities ("the divorce sucked"). I'm very resistant to sharing my feelings, in general. I'm working on it. If I could tell my dad one thing about that time period, it's this: a large part of being a good father is being a good husband. It's important for a child to see how much his dad and mom love each other.

    - Matt
     
  2. lylylys

    lylylys New Member

    Hi Matt,

    I feel so sorry for you. My parents began arguing a few years ago, and at the moment my dad has left our house. Sometimes when I am wondering what is the main emotional cause for my symptoms I think it is this tension at home. The problem is, that I cannot just ignore this feelings, or put them into perspective, because the fighting between my parents is still going on (I think they will divorce within a few months or so). That makes it very hard to get rid of my symptoms.

    I understand your feelings towards your father. What I find one of the most difficult things is that I want to have a father to be proud of, and I simply cannot because of what he has done and does.
    Don't you know another man who can be example for you? When I am desperate and fearing that I won't know how to be a good parent I often think of my grandfather, who certainly was (and still is) a good father.

    I wish you all the best!

    (sorry if my english isn't perfect, as I'm a Dutch girl :) )
     
    MSZ812 likes this.
  3. MSZ812

    MSZ812 Well known member

    Thanks for response! It's always been a touchy subject for me, but I know it's important to address it. The hardest part was the arguing between my parents. I heard someone say that it's better to be from a broken home than in a broken home. Looking back, that was true. As much as I'd like for my parents to still be together, I couldn't imagine them staying together in the toxic environment leading up to their separation. I hated every minute during that time in my life. I rarely make the connection between the decisions I've made since the divorce to the impact of the divorce. These journal exercises are making things much more clear for me. I see that my resistance to relationships stems from not wanting to turn into my father. I can see that my low self esteem is tied to my father's absence. I can see that I've repressed emotions ever since the divorce and it has led to TMS today.

    I'm truly sorry that you are dealing with similar problems. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. Stay in touch with your day-to-day emotions and make sure to find someone in your life that you can vent your feelings to. Those are my two regrets. I bottled it all up, pretended to be the strong one. Good luck to you!

    -Matt
     

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