When Your Father Breaks Your Heart,
Words will never be enough to tell the world what your pain is. They don’t teach you how to heal yourself from this kind of trauma.
My heart does this funny thing when I read stories of people talking about their relationships with their father. My heart falls into a pit, and mentally I’m trying to fish my heart from this pit and place it back beside my lungs. It always evades me. All I have is this empty that I don’t know what to do with.
I have daddy issues. I write this and I laugh a little because I am just coming to terms with it, and it’s so obvious. (And painful). He has been the subject of my many tweets, blog posts, poems and unfinished novels. And the object of my many tears too. Like a lover that died too soon, I can’t seem to get over him.
Someone remarked that “You want him to change. Stop wanting him to change. That is the source of all your disappointment”
When I tell the story of my father, it’s ritualised. It’s like I’m trying to exorcise a demon from my body. And maybe I am.
When I was younger, I was torn between hating and loving him. Once I dreamt he died and I woke up crying. I wanted to simply hate him. I didn’t want a father who slapped me around a day before he drove me off to school and cried before he dropped me off. I wished to God he’d pick a battle. I wanted a father who could simply hate me and let me hate him in peace. One that didn’t cry at the hospital when I was admitted and then brought me back home to tell me I was a burden.
It’s difficult to talk about him to anyone else. It’s difficult to admit that my dreams for a father will never come to fruition. It’s difficult to admit to myself that this man has abused me and is self aware to know that these things cause me harm. Sometimes when I recount the stories, I am distant from them.
“Did he really do it? Did I provoke him? Did he mean it that way?”
I tell the stories, but it’s like a distant memory, one I’m not too sure of. I don’t want to believe that this man broke my heart. It goes against everything I’ve been taught to know. The people that birth you DON’T hurt you.
The last time I prayed about my dad, I asked God to let me stop feeling anything for him. Hate was too much of an emotion. I want a cold indifference that will still waters.
The first time I said “I think I hate him”, I wasn’t expecting to feel like I had been waiting to say it for the longest time. Like I had been waiting to give myself permission.
Maybe the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that I don’t owe anyone an explanation for the kind of daughter I am, or the kind of father he is.
There have been many other lessons. I know I am better than the things he has said about me. I am worthy. I am not nothing. I am not a burden. It’s so hard for me to believe them most days.
Somedays I know my father is an anchor trying to drown me.
I am still learning to swim.