On my birthday, I received an email from my father. Like any time he contacts me, my reaction was a mix of panic, sadness, and guilt. However, this time was a little different. In addition to those emotions, I felt a powerful need to reply to him. I have been doing a lot of thinking about our relationship lately, and I have always struggled with the fact that there were good times and I really do love him and miss him. So I replied to his email.

One of the reasons I feel more comfortable having contact with him at this point, after two years of no contact, is that I feel stronger in being able to assert myself and protect my boundaries. Growing up, I never really learned how to do that with him. With others, yes. I am very strong in protecting myself. But he somehow had this hold over me, where even though I could clearly articulate to myself what was wrong, I could never tell him for fear of being guilted, called names, or other emotional abuse (threatening suicide, etc.). I feel that I am much more able to stand up for myself now and to say when things are bothering me, rather than letting them pile up and boil over much later.

I have decided to keep the contact limited to email for now, and he does not have my phone number. This is because I feel more able to express myself to him in a productive and emotionally healthy way in writing after I have had time to think about anything he says. I believe that my father has a personality disorder, and is truly limited in his ability to have healthy emotional relationships and boundaries. This is not his fault, but it is also not an excuse for him to behave poorly. I am trying to keep in mind the fact that he is doing the best he can to get his needs met and does not mean to be hurtful (and I truly believe that. He is not a malicious person.). At the same time, I need to make sure I don’t end up caving to his maladaptive emotional strategies because I don’t want to hurt him. His emotions are his responsibility, and if he feels hurt by what I have said he needs to tell me in an appropriate way and then take care of himself.

I am cautiously optimistic about healing my relationship with my father. This should be interesting. At some point, I would like to be able to tell him about my sexual abuse because I wonder if he would have any insight into what happened or why it might have been. There were a lot of adult parties that happened at his house when I was a child, and I have a suspicion that it occurred at one (or many) of those events. I can’t seem to get any information other than body memories and wallpaper, and this is very frustrating. At the same time, I don’t want to push it if I’m not ready.

My idiot therapist was late this morning to the point where there were only ten minutes left of my appointment, and she still wanted to meet. I rescheduled instead, because why would I pay my fee for only ten minutes? So I’ll be seeing her next week, not that I’m looking forward to it. I really need a new therapist, but I have no real time to invest and she prescribes my medications, so I think I’m just going to stick it out until I graduate.

On another note, I know that these past few nights have been very difficult for many people who have experienced trauma and abuse. I hope that everyone was able to remain safe, and if you had to do some “unhealthy” things to cope, please know that this is okay. Never feel bad about doing what you need to do in order to take care of yourself. Love to everyone.