Forgiveness has been on my mind lately. As I wrote about forgiving the individual who accidentally ran a stop sign that resulted in the death of my mom and sister, I started to think about my relationship with my Dad and my step-mom.
For the first time in my life, I realized, that while I love my Dad fiercely, I do not forgive my Dad. I simply do not forgive him for everything after the car accident.
Let me be clear, I do not NOT in anyway blame him for the car accident. He was driving my families car, but I have never and will never hold him responsible for the car accident that he had no control over. That is simply not what I mean.
But, I’ve realized that I do not forgive him for many other things.
I do not forgive him for staying at my now step-mom’s home until 3 or 4 am multiple times a week while I sat at home in what once was a very active big family home by myself.
I do not forgive him for making and breaking more promises to me as a teenager then I care to count.
I do not forgive him for neglecting me as he put my step-siblings ahead of me “because they were younger and required more attention.”
I do not forgive him for yelling at me after his wedding for not being happy enough for him at the wedding.
I do not forgive him for calling me a bitch one multiple occasions when he was frustrated with me as a teenager.
I do not forgive him for forgetting to pick me up after my high school trip to Europe.
I do not forgive him for not being there for me when I needed him the most as I was actively grieving the loss of my mom and sister and family as I knew it.
I do not forgive him for taking each of my siblings on trips with him when they graduated from university but instead just paying for my flights to go on my own because he was too busy.
I do not forgive him for forgetting my birthday last year for the second time in my life.
I do not forgive him for saying no to us when we’ve specifically asked them to join us for an important adoption event that we wanted to share with them.
I do not forgive him for not even trying to work with our schedule and even talking to me about Christmas.
Simply, in the days, and years after the car accident I do not forgive him for continuing to treat me as a second thought and a problem he’s stuck with.
As I realized this, I also realized the reason I have not forgiven him is that I see all of this as his choice. I could forgive the guy driving the car because I believe he didn’t mean to hit them. I cannot forgive my Dad because I see all of this as an ongoing choice.
I realize rationally that a lot of these things were probably the result of how he was grieving. I realize he likely turned to my step-mom and her kids because that’s what he needed, but in the process he chose to turn away from me. I acknowledge that we grieved in different ways in the immediate aftermath of the accident, and that probably just made the situation worse. I also am happy for him that he found happiness again with my step-mom.
But, I also realize he was the parent and he made choices that resulted in my neglect and feelings of abandonment. The crux of all of this is that I see all of his decisions since the accident as just that – decisions and choices. Intentional decisions and choices which all coming from the very man who helped instilled in me the power of choice and taking responsibility for our actions. It doesn’t make sense in my rational brain that he chose to stop taking an active role in my life and chose to do all of these things. And I know that when I cannot make sense of something I really struggle to accept it.
I cannot seem to be forgive and therefore accept all of the years of hurt that I’ve endured and still do, because I see most of it as a direct result of choices he made. And as a responsible adult with at least an average cognitive ability, I cannot rationalize that he made these choices and still continues to.
And realizing this, and articulating it for the first time ever, has made me realize that maybe that’s part of why I just cannot let go of the hurt. Maybe that’s part of why I continue to hold onto the Dad I once had. Maybe that’s why I am struggling so much to truly accept him for who is he today.
I’m in absolute awe of this realization. There is no doubt in my mind that their is significant power in forgiveness. But, I’m also stuck and I have to admit, I have no idea how to move beyond this. Yet, I also know I need to. I may never have the father I remember from my childhood, and I know I will never again be a daddies little girl, but I do want to be my dad’s daughter in some meaningful way. I want a relationship, but I have to figure out how to accept that it will probably never be the relationship I really want. And I know forgiveness is going to be a big step in that direction.
If you like this post, please feel free to share and please click the follow button on the side or return to myperfectbreakdown.com to follow my journey.