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To the Parent Who Never Showed Me They Loved Me

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Dear Dad,

Can you believe it’s been 18 years since we last talked? If you count an 11-year-old me telling you over the phone in hysterics I don’t want anything to do with you anymore “talking.”

You’ve missed out on so much of my life, a life you believed I would never achieve. I’ve spent a large portion of my life juggling between mixed feelings about you. Do I hate you? Miss you? Forgive you? I wonder if you’ve ever thought about me, or did the drugs and alcohol deteriorate your brain so much I’m just a distant memory?

I wish I could tell you so many things. How many countless nights I spent growing up wondering why you did the things you did. Why you neglected me to the point I was terrified of being alone with you or even in the same vicinity as you. Why you would cause arguments for the sake of it, why you would claim I wasn’t your daughter and why you would never show me the love a father is meant to show their child.

It may be 18 years since we last talked, but it feels like yesterday you were still in my life. Memories still flood my mind at any given time of the day, the smallest things can trigger me into remembering the pain of my childhood. You had such low expectations of me, without saying it to my face, it would show in your actions as well. I’m writing now to let you know, actually, it went the other way. I healed from what you inflicted on me, I moved on and grew up. I learnt to accept what happened wasn’t my fault and I paved my way for a successful life — without you. While you may have ruined my early years of life, I made sure you wouldn’t ruin my later years of life.

Did you ever think of the long-term consequences of treating your child poorly? Your last memory of me is me as a child, you will never get to see the adult version of me. You will never get to see what I made of myself, my accomplishments, my milestones. Instead, you live with the fact your children resent you, you will live with the fact it’s your own fault. When the day comes you seek forgiveness, you won’t get it because that ship sailed long ago.

I just want you to know you achieved nothing by not loving me, but I achieved a life free from a toxic parent the moment I said goodbye to you. I think we both know who came out on top here.

Best regards.

Getty image by finwal

Originally published: February 25, 2021
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