Sunday, April 14, 2024

DEAR CHRISTINE: 30 and still hurt by dad’s actions


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Dear Christine,
I never thought I’d ever write to you, but here I am, a 30-year-old woman, still haunted by the past and wondering what to do.
My problem goes way back to when I was a child, but it’s fresh in my mind like yesterday.
I remembered the nights when I would be in bed praying that my mother would not have to work because it was at those times that my father would make passes at me.
Mum worked at a restaurant and had to work shifts some days. My father never had sex with me, but he would touch me on various parts of my body whenever he felt the coast was clear. I could not tell my little sister, neither could I confide in my two brothers. I do not know why I became his target.
Each minute alone with him was like a big punishment.
I could not tell my mother because I feared breaking up what appeared to be a happy, well-to-do, respected family.
The touching and rubbing himself on me continued until I was old enough to answer him. Boyfriends were never welcomed, yet he never reacted in like manner when it came to my sister and her friends.
Eleven years ago, as soon as I got my first job, I left home.
Christine, I prayed for that time to come every day. I wanted to get away from that prison – that place that confined me and made me sad.
One day when I could not keep it to myself anymore, I confided in a former teacher, who told me I must never let my mother know, as it would break her heart.
I never did. I suffered the humiliation in silence.
Here I am at 30, and the fears and years of abuse are still a part of my life. While no longer physical, there are emotional scars and phobias.
I went through a period where I hated all dads.
I felt that all were alike and were having relationships with their daughters. I never fully knew a father’s love; neither did I have a real father-and-daughter relationship.
Christine, I am on the threshold of getting married and all those things from years ago are bothering me in a fresh way. My mother has spoken about my father giving me away, but, Christine, I do not know if I can allow that.
I would rather have a quiet wedding without the formalities.
I keep thinking that maybe my husband would turn out to be like my dad. What if I have a daughter and that happens to her?
Christine, I do not know who to talk to.
Can you help me rid myself of my fears?
– UR
Dear UR,
Any kind of abuse – physical, mental, verbal, emotional or sexual – hurts in some way or the other, and can leave some deep scars.
Since you never really dealt with your situation, or received counselling, it remains fresh in your psyche, and unless you deal with it, it will control you to some extent.
It would seem that even after reaching adulthood you are still not in a position to talk your situation over with your dad.
I suggest, for your sake, that you do. You need to tell him that what he did all those years really hurt and let him know exactly how you felt. Do not hold anything back.
After you’ve said what’s in your heart, turn around and forgive your dad. I’m sure that’s not the answer you expected, but until you forgive him, you will live in misery. After you’ve truly forgiven him, release him, and move forward with your life.
I’m sure that your husband-to-be is not a replica of your dad, and whether or not you share this part of your life with him is a judgement call you alone can make.
Do not let the past control or determine your future. And if you feel the need to seek professional counselling, don’t be afraid to go that route also. It can also help in the healing process.


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