My Father Failed Me

Thoughts Over Coffee ☕️ with Surviving Childhood Trauma. Join me for a cup of coffee and some real talk about complex PTSD and trauma healing and recovery.

February 1st was his birthday; he would be 72 if he were still alive. I often wonder what, if any, our relationship would look like now if he were still here.

I was 25 when he died of a stroke. He was 54. His deathbed was the first time I had seen him in eight years, and it was also the last time.

At the time of his death, I was still very disconnected from my childhood, and from him. When he died we lived thousands of miles apart and were only a couple years into reconnection and repair of our relationship. When I was 14 he estranged himself from me in response to my leaving him to go live with my good grandparents.

He was, after all, one of my primary abusers. 

He was also my father.

He Failed Me, Repeatedly Throughout My Life

As I heal, I find myself continuously revisiting my thoughts and feelings about this man whose decisions, actions, and inactions set the stage and contributed to my childhood of trauma and abuse.

He protected his pedophile father – to the point of his willingness to testify against me in court. 

He was my hero as a child, I didn’t understand. I couldn’t comprehend his failures as my parent. 

When I made the connection a few years ago and identified him as an abuser it rocked me to my core. I suddenly realized that his abuse: his neglect and emotional abuse through my childhood, his abandonment when I left, and his betrayals before, during, and after the trial – it all fucked me up more than the physicality of the sexual abuse I endured.

I was raging pissed at him; I hated him more than anyone or anything in the world.

But that rage and hatred has calmed.


Reconciling the Reality of Who He Was

Now I remember good things too. I also recognize the cycles of generational trauma in my family that swallowed him up. My grandfather was a monster – and my father grew up with that monster for a dad.

I think sometimes he tried, but ultimately he failed himself and he failed me as a father. He didn’t even try to be better than where he came from.

I still struggle to reconcile my disgust for him with the compassion and childlike love that I have for this man who injured me deeply; a man who didn’t protect me, nurture me, or love me the way I needed as a child.

I grieve for him, I wonder what could be, and I still sometimes struggle with the idea that my compassion is somehow letting him off the hook. But I can’t stop my feelings, I can only sit with them.

One day at a time.

On goes the journey 💪🏻❤️‍🩹🔥

Looking for Ways to Connect With Other Survivors and/or Receive Support as You Heal?

Survivor’s Circle Peer Support Groups might be just what you need. 

These small groups meet on alternating days of the week via Zoom. In these groups, survivors connect, share, and support each other through the ebbs and flows of healing. Attend a session and experience the magical healing that happens when survivors connect and support each other through shit only we can understand.

Hi, I am Shanon and I am a trauma informed, trained, and Certified Peer Support Specialist in the state of Wisconsin. I am also a survivor with years committed to my own trauma healing after being diagnosed with (C) PTSD due to childhood abuse. Additionally, I have a professional and personal history of community facilitation and peer work.

I specialize in helping survivors like you make connections between real time experiences and past trauma wounds, identify and communicate boundaries, create self-care plans that work, navigate big emotions and trauma responses, reparent your inner child, and embody your own self-worth through the healing process with confidence and personal empowerment.

These support groups and 1:1 peer support sessions should not replace professional therapy; they will however provide additional support and information.

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