The obstacle I faced and still continue to face is that of my father. I cut all communication with my dad when I was a senior in high school after years of emotional and mental mistreatment and no longer have any relationship with him. Growing up I couldn’t really see or understand how and why the way he was treating me and my siblings was not right because to me, it wasn’t the sort of stuff you would see in the movies. My father never hit us, never even came close, and his emotional abuse was not the type that registered as abuse to me. But the way he acted towards us, the emotional and mental games he played with his children were that of a different kind. I came to realize as I got older that what he was giving us was not love. He was giving us his anger- all of his unresolved issues and insecurities- he was portraying that on to us, on to me. I was becoming angrier, I didn’t know why he wouldn’t love us or why he was never proud of our accomplishments. I saw him, and I saw who I was becoming, and I made a decision to put an end to it.
I’ve been really good at separating my experience with my dad and all the different areas of my life. The only thing I have realized is that I have some trust issues in relationships- friendships and otherwise. The hardest part of this whole experience was learning to realize that I am enough. I see people, or my friends, or anyone with a great relationship with their dad and it still stings a little because I can’t help but think, why isn’t my dad like that? Why was I not enough for him to love? In the years after cutting my relationship with him, my self esteem issues were through the roof. It didn’t affect the way I acted outwardly (socially/academically etc.), but on the inside, I was so hurt. After going to college and meeting new people and having new experiences, I really came into myself and gained a confidence that wasn’t there in highschool. I had to realize that my dad’s issues had nothing to do with me at all, and that I was in fact, enough.
In order to manage these issues, I went to therapy for a while, but honestly, the biggest way I overcame this challenge was by just simply being. Right after I ended our relationship, I was so hurt and sad, and mostly angry. But as time went on, I realized that there was nothing that I could do. And actually, nothing that I wanted to do. I had to just live my life. And in doing that, I learned so much about myself and my interests and really grew as a person. My mom and my siblings have been so helpful, we are all so close. We talk about my dad a lot, and we all help each other with our feelings.
I haven’t shared this on social media because I didn’t think my situation was special. Everyone goes or is going through something, and in terms of life problems, I didn’t think mine was particularly extreme. These things are so taboo to talk about, it’s like saying ‘hi’ to someone on the street, you don’t actually tell people how you’re doing a majority of the time. It is even worse on social media. I think what prevents people from posting about these things is being vulnerable, because it’s hard, it requires you to admit that there is something wrong and it opens you up for acceptance and rejection from others. If I were to share this on social media , I think I would share a picture of me and my mom, and maybe add in a caption and brief explanation of why she means so much to me, because she is more of a dad than my real one was. For people who don’t know me I think it would be a little confusing, but overall nothing too overwhelmingly crazy. If I were to share it, though, I think it would be well-received because the people I surround myself with are amazing.
I’ve only talked about it to people in person because I feel that as something so personal to me, it requires you to know me for me to share it. I also feel that sharing something like that on social media makes it impersonal. What I feel is more effective/healing, would be talking about it. Even if it is a room full of random people, I think that is better than the internet.
To someone experiencing something similar, I would say that it is hard facing the reality of stuff like this. I remember wanting so bad to believe in my father, and desperately trying to make any sort of excuse for him/giving him so many second chances. But when it comes down to it, you have to know what is best for you, and what is going to make you happy. Sometimes, even though you love someone or better- because you love someone, the best thing for both of you is to walk away.