An Open Letter To My “Father” on Father’s Day

Deceptive. Manipulative. Controlling. Those are just a few of the words that could be used to describe you. I’m not going to go on a rant about your extensive character flaws since everybody who knows the truth about our relationship can figure those out. However, there are two words that I do want to say to you.

Thank you.

Thank you for teaching me a magnitude of things the hard way. Since I’m old enough to date, thank you for teaching me that I deserve to be with a man who’s going to treat me with love and respect instead of slapping me around and telling me that I’m not allowed to cry because it’s a sign of weakness.

Thank you for showing me the red flags of a controlling person and a potentially abusive relationship so that if I encounter a person of that nature, I can run before it’s too late.

Thank you for showing me that once I find said man who treats me with love and respect how NOT to raise my future children.

Thank you for showing me to be very careful and put a lot of deep thought into the person that I marry someday because if that person is a toxic one, (like you) my kids are going to be the ones who will suffer the consequences and I’ll be damned before I allow that to happen.

Thank you for teaching me how to use the comments and attitudes of my haters as motivation to work hard and pursue my dreams.

Thank you for teaching me that success doesn’t get handed down to you but you have to be headstrong and devoted to achieving your goals in life.

Thank you for showing me that I’m stronger than my circumstances and that what I’ve been through with you does not define me. I can’t help that you chose to put it out, but I’m not going to choke on your second-hand smoke.

I don’t want an apology because it would be empty. In addition, actions speak much louder than words and you’re too far gone for a second chance. Rather, I want you to know that I have learned, through your negativity, to see that little ray of sunshine peeking through the clouds. You didn’t raise me (thank God…) but even though you tried to pick me apart piece by piece on your visitation weekends, a strong woman came out of it. Believe me, the way I am today didn’t “just happen.” It took me years of counseling, mental hospital stays (and yes, suicide attempts), pushing people away because I didn’t know how to treat them and a group of people staying by my side through my childhood and adolescent years to show me the right way to do things.

So I guess I can sum this up by saying that, even though I used to resent you for throwing me out of your life when I was 11, that was the best gift that you could’ve ever given me because, at that moment, you allowed others to come into my life and help me repair the pieces that you broke. ¬†Thank you for stepping aside and allowing me to become the person I am today.