At the end of a four-hour visit with my stepfather on Father's Day, as I was leaving, I hugged the man who raised me, told him Happy Father's Day, that I loved him, and handed him a Father's Day card with the two letters I had written addressing the abuse I endured, the results that abuse had on my adult life and the things I am doing to take my life back. It was a relief to hand over the Father's Day card with the letters inside, but I have to admit that it was writing the letters that was the most meaningful part of the healing process for me.
I also, for the first time in my life, sent a Father's Day card to my biological father on Father's Day. He was never a part of my life, and for the first time ever, I didn't resent that in the least. I also found during the visit with my stepfather that I didn't have to be hateful or rude to him either. As I expected, he did and said some things that caused my blood pressure to begin to rise. But I was able to stay present and protect myself when the conversation started to go in directions that made me feel uncomfortable. I said the Serenity Prayer when faced with observing things that were none of my business, but nonetheless uncomfortable, and changed the subject without yelling or screaming or even getting angry.
The program worked for me -- I was able to ask for prayers before that big day came and I felt the thoughts and prayers of the people who were supporting me. I was able to get away some time in the morning before I met my stepfather and spend time in quietness and prayer. I used the phone to connect to program friends and support, both before and after.
I am most pleased that for the week before Father's Day, the focus of my vacation was not on delivering those letters -- but on having a good time and enjoying the friends I was with. By staying present with them, I understood that I have no secrets from the people who I care for most. They know me and I don't have to hide anything. I can be me, without shame. And because of that, I had a lot of good laughs. Likewise, I have learned who I can trust with the most private details of my life and who I cannot. Not trusting someone with private details doesn't mean I can't care for them or love them. I am just setting boundaries that help me to feel safe. It feels good. I feel good.
1 year ago