To The Stepfather I Didn't Want Or Deserve, But Desperately Needed

To The Stepfather I Didn't Want Or Deserve, But Desperately Needed

I would like to say I am sorry.
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I never planned on my parents not being together and I certainly never planned on having a stepfather. The idea of seeing my mother love someone other than my father brought tears to my eyes.

When you entered my life, I hated you without even getting to know you. In my eyes, you were attempting to fill the place of my father, and that broke my heart.

My sadness came across as anger and I took it all out on you. I had no interest in making things easy for you, I resisted your presence with everything I had.

My mother was my best friend and to have someone else competing for her attention brought out the worst in me.

For that, I would like to say I am sorry.

I cannot believe you stuck around despite the fact that I made your life a living hell. You never ran, you stayed and loved my mother through it all, you even showed love for me despite how awful I was to you. I guess that is when it really hit me… you weren’t a monster at all.

You were a kind, patient, loving man who was ready to do anything to make my mother happy.

You were consistently there for both me and my mother, on our best days and our worst days.

You gave me the fatherly advice and guidance that I did not ask for but desperately needed.

You blessed me with not only your presence in my life but also the presence of your children.

I don’t know if I could survive a day without any of you, you are my family now and forever. I never thought that such a happy ending could come from a painfully hard situation. I want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You have taught me how to be there for those who need you, how to be patient, and how to love with no limitations. My life has been enhanced by your presence and I would not change that for anything.

Thank you for being the stepfather I did not deserve, but desperately needed.

Cover Image Credit: Carlie Konuch

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Blocking Toxic Family Members Can Be Just What You Needed

It isn't an easy choice but it can be the most rewarding.

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I haven't written for the Odyssey in quite some time due to this large issue in my life that I feel some people may also need to hear. Watching your parents go through a divorce can be difficult in itself, but what about having to remove one of your parents from your life at the same time? It's something I don't think many people could imagine doing. However, sometimes you are forced into the position between choosing what is best for your mental health or what is expected of you. For me, I realized that I needed to put myself first.

I realized that I am my own person. How I present myself and how I act and what I choose to believe in is how the world perceives me. I was faced with a parent who did not let me be who I am. The way I thought had to be in line with theirs. What I openly spoke about had to be in line with that parent's thoughts. This also, in turn, meant I had to revolve how I was perceived to the world around that parent's family. I had to abide by these societal norms and do what someone else expected of me. I realized that was ludicrous.

This parent was also abusive. They were toxic and manipulative and I could not stand idly by and just take that from them while also trying to become an independent young adult. I was forced to sit and watch one of my parents transform into someone I didn't recognize anymore. I had to watch them ignore any kind of reality checks and continue to feign innocence. I watched one of my parents mentally manipulate people I once called family into believing lies. I kept my head down and shut my mouth and kept taking the abuse. Now I'm at a point where I can confidently say that I am no longer afraid.

I was forced to cut ties with a parent that raised me, cared for me, attended school functions, fixed toys, bought me my first phone. I was forced to chuck out priceless memories for my own sanity. I could not sit idly by and allow myself to endure one more second of lies or abuse. I had to stand up for myself for once in my life and I blocked most of my family. I blocked cousins, aunts, uncles, and godparents. I changed my phone number that I had since 6th grade. I gave no warning and disappeared from my family's lives. Do I have regrets? No. I would do it again if I had to because I am so much stronger than sitting there and taking it.

I will have one less parent at my college graduation, which I am fighting so hard to achieve. I will have one less parent at my wedding. My future children will have one less grandparent. I mope in these thoughts but then I have to remember the other side of things. I will not have an unsupportive parent at my graduation and instead will have those that were there every step of the way. I will lack someone who was toxic at my wedding. My future children will never have to face the same abusive, toxic situations that my parent put me through. It was a difficult decision to make but one that I know in my heart is worthwhile.

Cutting a family member out of your life is difficult enough but cutting a parent is unimaginable. However, no one deserves to go through abusive situations. It shouldn't matter who the person is; if someone is treating you less than you deserve to be treated, they have no use being in your life. You should always be your first priority. You should never have to endure something for the sake of others. I am here to tell you that you are more than that and that cutting out a family member could actually be the best thing for you, even if it's incredibly difficult. I did it and I'm still here. It made me realize who my real family was, and there will never be enough thank you's in the world to show my mother just how much I appreciate her.

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