A Letter To My Emotionally Unavailable Father
I know that you will most likely never read this, and even if you did, I know you'd somehow compare your childhood to mine and tell me you had it worse and to get over it, but I'm going on 25 now and it's been almost a year since we last spoke, so there's some things I think you should know in order for me to grow.
Do you remember when I was little, seven, to be exact, when I moved with you, and you used to be a great dad. You'd play hide and seek, and take us to work with you, we couldn't wait for you to come home from work every day, so we could play again.
Then suddenly that went away, one day when I woke up, you stop playing, I started living in a household where you existed and that was it. The only memories I have with you past that age are of you yelling, since that was the only time you'd even talk to me. We would pass each other, and you didn't know what to say, so you didn't. I don't remember you ever coming in my room in the morning on my birthday to wake me up so excited I was turning a year older, something I do every year with my own children, in fact, I never remember one year that you personally wished me a happy birthday at all.
You didn't hug me, you didn't talk me through my first heartbreak, we didn't go anywhere together or play games, you didn't come to my school for events or to cheer me on, you didn't tell me I could do anything I wanted, or encourage me ever. You never told me I was beautiful or taught me self worth, you never spoke to me at all unless I was in trouble for something. as a little girl and teenager a relationship with you was the only thing I longed for. You'd tell me how lucky I should feel that you pay the bills, something that I'm supposed to do for my own kids, something I could never hold over their heads. Why was I so hard to love? When was I too old for you to speak to? When did you decide you couldn't be my dad anymore?
There's so much more wrong with my childhood that I don't want to include here because my intentions of this letter aren't to degrade you, or make you feel like a horrible person, I was told my whole childhood that you just didn't know how to be a dad, that you couldn't bond with us since we got older. After I moved out, I never received one phone call or text from you, not on my birthday or even just to check on me.
Now that I have children I understand, I understand that I will never understand you, but I want you to know that I won't carry your burden, because my kids will know their worth, they won't be degraded and told they'll never amount to anything. I know my kids will make mistakes, but I will never throw them out and I will always be their biggest fan.
I tried to explain my feelings to you in the past, but I finally accept that you'll never understand what you did to me as a child, how I had no self esteem and didn't understand love until I met my husband who has worked effortlessly repairing the broken girl you left behind, the one who showed me what a father should be by loving my children unconditionally, actually loving them. you will never apologize or be sorry for neglecting me emotionally. Because in your eyes, paying the bills was enough.
So, I forgive you, for being physically there half my life, and for being emotionally unavailable all of it.