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Remember, You Don't Owe Your Abusive Father a Father's Day Visit

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Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

They used to call me his mini me. I had his deep dimples and looked like there was no question that he was my father. I liked that. I used to anyway.

I was a freshman in college and spring break was coming up. It was time to go home for the break. My parents wanted me home. They missed me. I sat on my friends’ bed in her dorm room and told her under no uncertain terms did I want to go home for break. She was confused by this.

She asked “What is so bad about home that you do not want to go there?” At that moment I blurted out that “My father is abusing me.” She was as shocked as I was at my response.

Far as I know, before that moment I was my father’s favorite and I believed he took good care of me. As the days followed I was inundated with memories of childhood sexual abuse.

I talked my parents into letting me go on break with my friend to her house. So, my going home was put off until summer.

I do not completely understand how repressed memories work. I just know one day I was not fully aware of my abuse (I knew growing up something was wrong and I needed help but I could not verbalize it) and then I was flooded. I took myself to the student counseling center and signed up with a counselor. She was nice and a good listener. They say you do not remember more than you can handle. I do not know who made up that lie.

Every year Father’s Day comes around and we all fall in line. The day is so commercialized that we all just buy a card, pick up a gift, give a visit or call and post his picture on Facebook with a few kind words. There are many dads that do not deserve such celebrations, but peer pressure is high to celebrate him, and he feels you are obligated to do so.

I do not celebrate Father’s Day. I love my dad and miss him very much, but he is toxic, a child molester and he tortured me for 20 years. I have not seen or spoken to him in 13 years, and it is the best thing I ever did for my mental health.

You do not have to feel obligated to celebrate a man who harmed you in any way. You can be brave enough to say no this year. Do not let society, your siblings or your mom guilt you into sending a card or making that visit. No one is owed any bit of your peace of mind. I understand how hard it is. I still made visits even after I remembered the abuse before I finally broke free. Your peace of mind should take precedence to all. You do not need to feel bad or obligated to put aside your feelings for the sake of someone else’s. You are important and deserve to take care of you and your inner child.

Find a father figure if you need one and celebrate them. If you are a single mom, celebrate yourself on Father’s Day.

Remember you owe no one.

Stay Mighty Strong!

Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash

Originally published: June 4, 2021
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