to the father who broke our hearts before any boy ever could
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to the father who broke our hearts before any boy ever could

i can honestly say i am grateful to you

to the father who broke our hearts before any boy ever could

i've spent most of my life trying to prove to those around me that i am worthy. whether it be my parents, my siblings or my friends, i have never been able to convince myself that i am worth something.

i grew up in a broken home. your definition of a broken home may be completely different than mine, but parents who divorced when i was three and siblings who hated being near each other makes up my definition.

like i said, i was three years old when my parents split. i have no memories of my father living in my home. i have no memories of the divorce or the problems that came with it. to me, divorce was normal. i was shocked every time a friend told me their parents were happily married. that was an unfamiliar concept.

i was lucky, for awhile. although my parents didn't want to be together anymore, they were civil enough for the weekends with dad and the school nights with mom to be normal and unproblematic. my dad has always worked swing shifts so our visitation was never consistent. but both my parents worked together in these times in order to allow time spent with each of them.

i remember my parents being able to look each other in the eye. they could joke with each other, have small talk and be in the same room. i can't say the same anymore.

i looked forward to going to my dads. he was always the fun parent, the one who let friends stay on school nights, allowed us to stay up past bedtime, eat whatever junk we felt like. on the other hand, i always felt guilty any time i used his weekends to stay at a friend's house. he always told me he wanted to spend time with me when he could but as i got older, my desire to spend his weekends with my friends became more important.

mom's house was home, but you would never catch me referring to it as that in front of my dad. he always got angry any time my siblings or i would call it home. but mom's house was home. all we had in our dad's house were empty dressers in our rooms. we brought clothes from our mom's house every weekend we spent with him.

i considered my dad my best friend for a really long time. he always made me laugh and he never ditched plans with me like my friends would. he always told me what i wanted to hear, even if it wasn't always true.

almost all of the memories i have with my dad include my brother as well. and most of those memories are good ones. my brother and i never got along when we were younger and thankfully that has changed since then. but we have an older sister too. she stopped coming to my dads for a long time. i never knew why, but my dad never hesitated when we asked: "she is too good for us now," or "she's too cool to hangout with us."

during this time, my mother always encouraged my sister to visit my dad. she thought it was important for her to have a relationship with her father.

but because my sister still didn't come back, i developed anger and resentment towards her. my dad made me feel bad for him because she didn't come over anymore. it took me years to find out that he had bullied her until she refused to come around again.

this has become one of my biggest regrets. i missed the most important time in my life that would have been used to form a bond / friendship with my big sister. things were always awkward between us and we never knew how to have a conversation.

it took 18 years of my life to develop a relationship with my sister that was sturdy enough to maintain.

i do not hate my father, but i will never forgive him for that.

about the time i started high school, my relationship with my dad changed. we disagreed on things and that often led to fights, over text mostly. some fights were small and resolved quickly. other fights, i was told to leave him alone or he would tell me "i'm done" and we wouldn't talk for weeks, sometimes months.

i spent most of that time feeling guilty for not reaching out and that would lead to me doing just that. for over 2 years, i continued to give him chances. we would make up and then be fighting again within a month. for a long time, i walked on eggshells, never mentioning anything that pertains to my mother or my life outside of my dad's house.

my sister and i still did not get along well during this time. she had not had a relationship with my father consistently at this point. she is less forgiving than i am and she always will be. sometimes, i get jealous of that.

for years, i spent as much time as i could at my dad's house because i knew he would get mad or upset if i didn't see him often. i struggled to balance high school work, college credit classes, rehearsals/practices, extracurricular events, and a social life with my friends, while also trying to balance the remainder of my time between my two parent's houses.

it has been almost 10 months since my father cut me out of his life. his last words to me that day were "i'm done.. it's over.... leave me alone"

i never responded to him that day, which happened to be Valentine's Day of 2019. i had run out of hope for the relationship that we had. i had run out of forgiveness. i had run out of the energy it took to be near him, trying not to say anything wrong.

my life since that day has not been easy.

for a long time, there were days when i wanted to reach out to him, to forgive him and start over. but those feelings never lasted long because i had instilled in myself the ability to recognize our relationship for what it is:

broken and unmendable.

even though my father took the relationship i could have had with my sister, i can somehow thank him for cutting me out this last time. because it brought my sister and i together. it has been almost 3 years since our dad ended the relationship with her, Christmas 2016.

although we never got along as children, my sister and i are closer than ever. i stay the night at her house most weekends that i am off work, we go shopping and see movies together, we can count on each other for everything, big and small.

i know i have a forever friend in her.

my sister has found a man who loves her and treats her right, despite the examples she's had throughout her life. she married him this year and my mom walked her down the aisle. she bought her first home and is a momma to 3 little fur babies. she is happy.

i have also found a man who treats me better than anyone ever has. he has kept me sane for the last 5 years and has supported me 100% in every decision that i have made. he has shown me what true and unconditional love is.

i am now almost 20 years old, finishing up my first semester of the nursing program while also working a part-time job as a health care aid. i have seen the good, the bad and the ugly in every aspect of my life. i have been let down, disappointed and cut off, but i have always come out stronger.

i am proud of the woman i am and the woman i have yet to be. i am proud of my relationship with my boyfriend and my relationship with those in my life who care about me.

i have an amazing mother, grandmother and grandfather who all play a huge part in my life and love me unconditionally. i have a family who supports me and friends who pick me up when i am down.

i have a boyfriend who always puts me first, like no one else does. one who always shows me how much he loves me and who knows me like no other.

i can thank my father for the brokenness i feel on days when my insecurities eat me alive. i can thank my father for my inability to trust in those people around me who are here for long haul. i can thank my father for my slightly impaired relationship with my brother because he will always have that relationship that i don't, and that is okay. i can thank my father for the limited time i get to spend with the one stepbrother who has always loved and cared about me.

but most of all, i can thank my father for showing me exactly the kind of parent i WILL NOT be.

and although i have been blocked, deleted and forgotten about in my father's eyes, i am recognized, appreciated and loved in the eyes of those who matter.

and at the end of the day, i am stronger because of the damage he has done.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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