Today is one of the days I hate the most; Father’s Day. Why do I hate Father’s Day? My father was one of my abusers. Ages 12-14 my father sexually molested me. Of course it started long before the actual physical touching ever began. My entire childhood was a grooming process. Being “daddy’s little girl”, the special treats; these were all designed to keep me quiet once the physical molestation began.
I have never had normal sleep patterns. I wake to every little noise or movement. I am afraid to go to sleep. I’m afraid to take showers because my dad used to come in and watch me.
I hate Father’s Day even more since he has become elderly. His health is declining. People in our lives still look at him as this great man who could never do anything so bad as to molest his daughter. And I am placed in a position of caretaker. No he doesn’t live with me. I’ve put him in an assisted living home and I only go see him once every few months when he needs something. I can’t do more than that. I won’t do more than that.
Every Father’s Day I struggle. Do I pretend or do I ignore the day. Every year, I pretend. Until this year. This year, I sent him a text wishing him a happy father’s day. I didn’t call him. I didn’t send him a card. I didn’t go see him. He wasn’t a good father. He was a sexual predator. He doesn’t deserve a happy father’s day.
Do I feel guilty? Of course part of me does. I am not a mean person by nature. But I have hit my limit and I can no longer pretend. I cannot pretend either of my parents were good or were parents at all. They were horrible. They messed me up so bad I don’t know what it’s like to be “normal”.
It has taken 47 years, but I am finally stepping out of the shadows of my past. I am building a great life for myself, for my kids. I’m giving my kids opportunities and support I never had growing up. As I sit in my very own living room typing this out, I realize I am happy. I have two amazing kids. I am defining the relationships I have with my family members, or the lack of relationship. Those are my choices to make. Those are my rights. I am happy because I am finally not afraid. It is the most amazing feeling in the world.
So I have decided for every Father’s Day going forward, it will not be about the man who people call my father. It will be about me, celebrating my freedom from that man, from his abuse, and from the injury he inflicted on my psyche. So it is no longer Father’s Day for me. It will be now and in the future be known as Survivor’s Day for me. So to all you out there who were also abused by your father’s or father’s figures – Happy Survivor’s Day. Go celebrate yourself!!!!