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Gabriel8

Why did I make excuses for my father? (The Truth)

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   I just had a thought that helped me start to make sense of some inconsistencies in my understanding of my father, who recently passed away: If a battered husband or wife told me about how their partner actually loves them, would I know better? If so, why do I continue to make excuses for my father, who abused me? 

   My father abandoned me repeatedly, which is a serious form of abuse (neglect). Why do I continue to perpetuate the myth that he loved me "in his own way"? Because, like the battered husband or wife, I have been in denial. 

   The behavior of my father was always in conflict with his words. He told me about how he loved me in ways that felt genuine and beautiful, and then he said and did things that were completely at odds with those words. To make sense of this incongruity, I told myself that he loved me "in his own way", or "as best as he could." Yet, the schism between what he said and what he did remained

   My wanting to believe that the father who raised me loved me is completely natural and understandable. It once helped me to feel worthwhile and lovable. Now it serves no other purpose in my life than to keep me from experiencing the true connection and love of the people who I now choose to have in my life; my friends. 

   I know that the reason why my father didn't love me was not because of anything that I lacked; but rather because he was incapable of loving another, as he did not love his own self. He wasn't what I would call a "bad" person, but he certainly wasn't healthy. And while I wouldn't label him as bad; he made many bad choices; the worst of which was to be part of bringing a child into this world that he was not capable of protecting and loving. 

   If there is one job in this world for which people who aren't suited should not apply, it is that of being a parent. 

   I've long felt this way; and expressed this sentiment to my father, as an adult. When I did so, he told me I was being cruel and cold-hearted. I believed that lie for a long time; that I was a mean, cold-hearted person for feelings and expressions of anger about things that were legitimately very wrong. I persecuted myself for my supposed "crime" of speaking up about abuse and neglect and the umbrella issue of family dysfunction and denial. I believed what I was told by the people who supposedly loved me: that I was bad (not that I had said or done something bad, but that I was badness itself). That, I know now, is shame; which is not ever okay. 

   It has taken me thirty years to remember what I always knew, but didn't want to believe. I can now say with certainty that I am not a bad person, and that my father did not love me. To others, this may not sound like something positive or empowering. To me, this is the fulfillment of the one thing that I've always wanted: The Truth

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