Why do I hate my dad? Well, there are many reasons why I hate him. I'm just not sure where to start. I hate his short temper, how he always bursts out of nowhere and starts yelling at me. I hate the way he talks, as if he has gone through everything, as if he knows everything, as if no one else has ever faced anything like he’s had to go through. He's wrong. He knows nothing. There are billions of people out there who have faced hardships in their life, they learned millions of things, and probably also came across things that my dad learned and has kept as good experience and knowledge for himself. However, what they learned and he did not is how to use words to solve problems. What distinguishes my dad from other successful people? Well, it's that tendency to use violence to solve every problem.
The memories of my dad yelling at me, hitting me, swearing and screaming at my face when I was younger, are still very vivid in my mind. There are probably so many more other things, but that's all I know, or at least remember about the past that is starting to reappear in my present. I guess that's just the way he is: hot temper, arrogant, violent person. That is my dad, and he will probably never change.
I go backward from other people who learned that money is important, but then later on realized that it's not as important as they've always thought. But for me, I thought money wasn't important. I thought money couldn’t buy you everything. I realize now that money is important, and it is the only way that can buy me a ticket out of this oppressive, restricted world where the only way I was taught to solve a problem is violence.
It’s hard seeing other families being loving and supporting to one another, while yours is not. It doesn’t seem fair. And you know what? It isn’t fair, and it’s okay to have strong feelings about it. It’s okay to hurt. Wounds from family members take a long time to heal, but the good news is….
It’s funny you wrote this letter now, because I’ve been reading a book about this very thing. It’s called, Life’s Healing Choices, and it has eight steps to help you overcome hurts from the past. And you know what? It’s working.
Let me share with you something I’ve learned from my own experience:
- You can’t take personally your father’s mistakes.
- You can’t control him.
- You can’t fix him, and you can’t change the past.
But you can forgive.
Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting about what happened and letting your dad “off- of-the-hook” for his actions. It means letting go, so when you think of the past, it doesn’t hurt you anymore. It means letting go, so you can move forward. It means not holding onto that experience anymore, allowing the emotions of it whip you around and strangle the joy out of you.
It’s not easy to forgive. It’s painful work, and I found it helpful to get a friend to go through the steps with me. She helped me pray through the process, and provides support whenever I feel vulnerable. I’m smiling right now, because I know how good it feels to finally let it go and not have those horrible memories going through my mind. You can have this freedom, too. You can.
You can also set boundaries.
Not to punish, but to work toward a healthy relationship with your father. And if you have to, love him from a distance in order to keep yourself emotionally safe. Depending on family customs in your country, this may or may not be an easy thing to do. If you can’t get physical distance from your father, perhaps you can find a safe place in your home to use as a refuge for when you need to get away from his violence.
It sounds like you love your dad and wish for a relationship that’s filled with respect, love and support. If he didn’t change and you did, would that be enough to make this loving relationship happen? I don’t know. But I do know this: It would make you feel better.
And I want you to feel better. I want the pain to melt away from you so you can enjoy your future.
I'm hoping you find a way to work through this hurt and emerge on the other side. Find a book, a class or a friend to help you. You won't regret it.