An Open Letter To My Psychologically Abusive Father

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Three weeks ago, I had gotten into an intense argument with my father. We have never gotten along and he has been a bully since I was a child. This argument though, in which he told me I was hopeless and a failure, was the last straw. After our argument, I packed my things and left the next morning to stay with my friend back at college. Later that night, I wrote this letter to my father. I have tried to convey these feelings with him only to be sent away, shut down and ignored.It wasn’t until I read the Thought Catalog article, “Why A Toxic Parent Is Not Better Than No Parents At All” that I realized I’m not the only one in this type of situation. I hope this letter helps others evaluate their own experiences with psychological abuse and that they realize it can get better by stepping back and taking control. Edwin Louis Cole said, “You don’t drown by falling in water; you drown by staying there.” You are important and valuable, and don’t let anyone else tell you differently.

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An open letter to my father.

Dear Dad,

I’m not going to bore you with the bullshit. I know I’m not the lean, athletic, lady-killer you always wanted. I know that you think my dream of being a journalist and working for a magazine is stupid and I should just work in sales like you do. I know you cringe every time I sing Britney Spears in the shower and become embarrassed when you see that most of my friends are girls.

I also know you’ve thought about the fact that your son might actually be attracted to boys. I know you’ve told me how homosexuals are “despicable” and that I shouldn’t be such a “sissy.”

But guess what Dad?

No matter how many empty wine bottles you throw at me. No matter how many times you call me a fatass, or a loser, or a pussy — I am still the same person. No matter how many times you scream at me and tell me I’m useless, I am still a human with feelings.

I know you won’t accept me and I don’t expect you to either. You have strong beliefs about how a man should be, and you most definitely have the right to think what you want to think.

But if you think that through all the shit you put me through you can continue to bully me without any explicit reasons — you could not be more fucking wrong.

You have no right to tell me I’m doing nothing with my life and that I’m a failure, when for some stupid reason, everything I’ve done has been at your request. I got on the Dean’s List, I obtained a job on campus and became an executive officer in not one, but two organizations, and I made a strong group of friends. I accomplished everything you told me to do and then some. All of these things I did under some false pretense that they might make you the slightest bit proud. Of course, you were not pleased. You’re never pleased with me so I don’t know why I should feel even be hurt from this whole ordeal.

I came home for the summer with the idea that I would be able to find a job, take my online classes and everything would be fine. That is what you wanted, and foolishly again, I went against my heart telling me to stay at school and did what you desired. I tried so hard to get a job, I filled out applications everywhere but was instead met with rejections after rejections. With half of the summer gone, there was no way anyone would hire me for one month, even the temp agencies said they didn’t have anything for me. You knew I was doing everything I could but you tried to bring me down instead.

Day after day you would make snarky remarks and stabs at me. You would even talk about how much of a failure I was to friends and family and I would hear your words come back around. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” does not apply here; you threw me back in the black hole I finally escaped from.

It was bad enough you made me hate myself back in high school for my weak social life and the fact that I was overweight. Everyone told me that I just needed to not listen to what you were saying because you were “stressed with work” and you “weren’t happy with your marriage” at the time. Your hateful words tainted my brain and made me depressed. I would cry out for help only to be put down by you telling me to “get over it and be a man.”

You destroyed my self-confidence. Every night, I prayed to God to not wake up the next morning. Every night, I cried myself to sleep because nothing could save me from this personal Hell I was living. Every night, I would stare at the bottle of sleeping pills in the kitchen cabinet and contemplate swallowing the 27 blue capsules it contained.

Yet through all of this I would always find ways to forgive you without even an apology. We would not speak to each other for over three weeks and for some reason I always came back only for you to destroy me a month or two later.

When I finally left for college, I thought it would be over. I thought that you would finally be happy to not have to see me every day and that I could make you happy from four hours away. And I honestly thought I was finally doing this until I came home this summer.

This time though — this time you’ve done it. You have officially disintegrated what was left of our relationship. I will not allow you to make me feel like I don’t deserve to live any longer. You always demand respect because you “are my father” yet you can’t seem to realize respect is earned and not deserved. I used to have a lot of respect for you but now my tank is empty. I’m drained. Because of you, I have a hard time trusting men in general (which makes life especially hard, because you guessed it — I’m gay) and I’m wary of my friends’ fathers because I am afraid of what they might think of me.

You’ve explicitly told me I am not your favorite child in the family, and I’ve been upset over that. All I wanted was for you to treat me as a human being. Well I’m done feeling sorry for myself and beating myself down. Like I said, I know I’m not the son you wanted, but at this point I don’t give a damn. While I may never know the true reasons why you’ve continuously pushed me down rather than bringing me up, I hope it was worth it. I hope it was worth every insult because as I sit here in my friend’s apartment four hours away because I never plan on coming back; if that is what you wanted, congratulations.

– Your son. TC mark

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