It’s Father’s Day here in Australia. That’s a little difficult for me.
When I was 17 years old, after being on the receiving end of one of his drunk and abusive tirades, I told my father he had a choice: clean up his act or he’d no longer have contact with me. He decided to leave my life. A few months ago, having decided to conquer fears, I made contact with him again. He said that he never remembered that conversation. I said that it was an important conversation for a 17 year old to have, one that I had both on the phone (admittedly, he was drunk) and one the following evening in person.
A few weeks ago, after meeting him again for the first time in 20 years, I was yet again on the end of a drunken phone call. I was told all manner of abuse: I’m not good enough; I’m not a good person/daughter; I’m not open enough in connecting with him; his friends have closer relationships with their children, why doesn’t he; why didn’t I call/message more; why wasn’t I getting in contact every day; why was I so confident; I should allow him to be more confident; why was I treating him like a stranger; didn’t I know that I had really hurt him, both then and now; was he even my father. In fact, he screamed “AM I YOUR FATHER?” at me at least a dozen times before I reached critical mass.
No one deserves abuse. Physical, mental, or emotional, it all leaves heavy scars. I often stress and worry about not being in contact with my parents. Sometimes, I feel a stigma about being a child who is not trying hard enough with difficult humans who happen to be her parents. But then I remember that I’m 37 years old now, and I don’t have to accept abuse in my life. EVER.