It took me almost four years to even write that word with any true emotions connected to it.
And the emotions I am battling with right now are so conflicting, and big, and confusing – I have come to realize I need to just let this be a little while and see how it settles. I am wearing myself out trying to definitively figure out how I feel.
Come along for a moment – I’ll give you a peek at my struggle.
My Father’s Abuses
When I first presented to therapy I felt no anger at all. Not towards anyone who who had abused me as a child; that is how disconnected I was.
The emotional and mental abuse, the neglect, and the abandonment did a lot of damage to my sense of self and my sense of worth. Probably more so than the actual sexual abuse I endured.
My father called me a liar when I spoke up, he betrayed me to my abuser for talking, he told school officials I was a storyteller, and he gave a sworn deposition to the defense team against me at the trial.
Had my grandfather not killed himself, my dad would have taken the stand to testify against me when I was 15 years old.
When I was a child, the ways he would punish me cut to my core. He didn’t beat me, he didn’t just ground me – no, I got the silent treatment for days at age 12, or my room completely trashed in his rage. One night he locked me out of the house by duct taping the lock, I was 11 years old.
Mother vs. Daughter
As his daughter I am so crushed. This pain runs so deep, it catches my breath. I cry often thinking about what I deserved as a child vs. what I was given.
That is because the mother in me can’t wrap her head around how a parent could do what he did.
My father was only a couple years younger than I am now, at the time this was all happening. I try to find compassion for the life he came from to understand who he was, but I have a history of trauma too –
and I would NEVER betray my children the way he betrayed me.
When Anger Becomes Justice
No one was held accountable for the abuses against me. My grandfather’s suicide ended the trail and any form of literal justice I had a chance at. It scattered my family and left me feeling like it was all for nothing.
I was retraumatized by the trial, the betrayals, the suicide.
All I have, to hold anyone accountable for the pain of my childhood is my anger. It is the only justice I have.
Stuck In My Hurt
I am so tired of hurting so deeply. It is exhausting to my very spirit – but if I let go of this pain he has caused me, it feels like I am invalidating it.
I have to pay honor to this pain, constant homage to it’s place in my life, don’t I?
If I just let it go – did it really even happen?
It is such a big part of who I am – if I don’t have my pain – who am I?
Letting Go vs. Forgiveness
As I accept and examine my emotional needs of justice and validation of my childhood, I am forcing myself to ponder what forgiveness would mean to me.
I really am so tired of being angry. Equally tired of hurting so deeply – and I am beginning to understand what letting go can mean for me.
Right now I feel that letting go and forgiveness are very different and both perfectly acceptable things to do as part of my personal healing journey – it’s up to me to determine which one fits, and when.
I don’t have forgiveness in me for my father right now. That’s okay. I don’t have to forgive him.
But I do think I am ready to let go of some of this hurt. It is not my burden to carry.
The Journey Countines
I have a tendency to think ahead, to my own peril occasionally. As I write this piece I feel myself doing that with forgiveness.
Feeling the discomfort with making a decision to be indecisive right now and okay with that – wondering what I will think of myself and forgiveness in a couple years as my healing continues.
I know that deep down I understand now, more than ever, that forgiveness is about me, it’s for me, and it doesn’t forgive the abuses against me –
Even though I feel a pull and a want to get there, I am just not there. Which is perfectly okay.
My healing is not over.
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