It’s funny — when I look back on my childhood it was happy. I remember playing with my cousins, having loads of mates, going to private school and having every gadget I ever wanted. I had grandparents who I would stay with often, and they loved me dearly, no matter how crazy I drove them.
I grew up with my mom, stepdad and grandparents and was initially an only child. My biological dad wasn’t around, I don’t even remember him living with us, I believe he was gone before I was five. He had no time for me. At all. He threw money at Mom but as for anything in the way of presence, love or affection he wasn’t there. He and Mom hardly saw each other but he was sent regular updates on my growth and events in my life. My stepdad took me everywhere with him and became the only person I regarded as my real father.
The Biological lived in London with his family — he had a wife and three children that I never knew. I always remember at a young age that he had a nice car and on the rare occasions he would come to see me I would always be so excited. I don’t remember him ever hugging me or feeling comfortable around him, because I simply didn’t know him, he just bought me things I wanted. He never came across as the affectionate type, or that he cared for me at all.
I was never told anything bad about him in younger life, but he was just someone who showed no affection or care for his children, of which he had seven — that we know of — including the three from his marriage. I remember one time in particular; I was told to get ready as I was being collected to spend some time with him. I was approximately seven years old and very excited.
I remember getting ready; I wore a beautiful flowery dress, Mom did my hair and I made sure I was ready for the designated time. I was thinking “Any minute now I will see his car come down the hill and it will be a day of fun”. The time came, 1pm…..then 1:30….. 2pm…….then 2:30… and so on… until at about I realised that he wasn’t coming, something my family had worked out hours before. My nan was a very beautiful and proud woman; she loved me dearly and always put my feelings first and I am told by my dear aunt that I was a light in her life after she had been very ill. She suffered with various health issues and had a new lease of life when I was born. Nan was furious at having to endure watching me sitting at our beautiful bay window in our large front room looking out for a car that would never appear. That day has always stayed with me. My extended family never liked him due to all the turmoil and stress he put them through, although I knew nothing of this until I was an adult. He is a man who has no regard for anyone but himself, a complete and utter narcissist.
I was ten years old when my grandmother died. It was awful; she was well known in the local community, the funeral was huge. I remember looking up in the big beautiful church and seeing a sea of black; people were lined in the aisles and outside the church. We had seven family cars and my beautiful Nanny stopped the traffic.
The Biological came to the funeral and sat near where I sat with my mom and dad. The congregation sang hymns and read beautiful things about my awesome nan. Then it came to the viewing, when everyone gathered to pay their last respects. At the age of ten, as you can imagine, it was difficult to go through the loss of my nan and the funeral. It was all a bit too much and I moved away crying. I was pulled into the arms of someone but I didn’t look up. It was The Biological. I then felt another hand pull me away and I remember seeing my dad, looking at The Biological with complete disgust. That is the only time I remember a hug from my biological father (even that was just to piss off my dad), but I remember no conversations with him or him taking me anywhere.
Life went on. By my teenage years I had still hardly seen him. I only really heard from him at Christmas or birthdays. To be honest in my teens I had toughened to it, so it never bothered me much. I blocked him out and put on a face that I didn’t care. When I turned 18 he showed his true colours. Mom called him, to remind him it was my 18th birthday and his reply was…”AND?!” In my later years Mom has always been honest when talking about her interactions with him. She told me about this particular conversation and my response was “ok”.
I lived with the realisation and completely shut him out from my psyche. My response was dry, blunt and full of conviction. That was it, the beginning of my emotional guard — if your own father can act that way then how the hell could I trust anyone? I continued to grow, I had fun; at 18 I had a fantastic job, made silly money and was successful. I had great mates, went on loads of holidays and had a great life. I met my partner and moved out at 19. A few months down the line, I had reports from Mom that The Biological was upset that I had moved out and wasn’t happy with my choice. My response was “f**k him!” He had odd moments when he would want to send money or buy things — one of which was a car. It hurt to refuse, the car was fire! However, my pride would not entertain him or his money. In my twenties I got married. It was a huge affair, over the top, beautiful and very expensive. It was a dream day. It didn’t even enter my head to pick up the phone to The Biological to walk me down the aisle. Why would it? I had a REAL dad to do that.
So I had half-a-lifetime without the biological and was quite content; until 2017 when, out of nowhere, Pandora’s Box was opened. I was contacted by an older sister from my dad’s side who found me on social media and wanted to connect. She seemed nice, I had never spoken to her before although I knew of her. We talked for a few months and got along great — still do. She lives in the States and had lots to tell me about our father. It was nice to connect with someone who understood, who felt like me, who was living with the same effects from the same man. She told me that I had an uncle who was desperate to connect with me and wondered if I would be open to it.
My uncle, The Biological’s brother, was lovely and he made a conscious effort to make me feel like part of the family. He said he disagreed with his brother’s behaviour and that if I needed anything I should let him know. I avoided some messages — in truth it was a bit too much; but after a while felt I was being rude. So in July of 2017, after speaking to family, I responded to a text inviting me to a barbecue in the park. I wondered “why not have it at home, why in the park?” but when I got there, I realised — there was loads of them, it was like a carnival! All family — I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many people they had to apply for a permit from the council to gather in the park. I arrived with my partner and our children. My uncle came out of the crowd and gave me a massive embrace. At that point I still wasn’t sure how I was feeling. It was surreal, a rollercoaster of emotions. We were offered food and drink and were made to feel very welcome. My children played with other children who in fact they were related to. They were unaware that we were going to a family party as, like me, they had no idea who these people were. I didn’t explain as it would have been more confusing to them than it was to me.
We were having a nice afternoon, but it turned sour when I saw The Biological stood behind a table where the food was laid out. We caught each other’s eye and all I could see in his was fear and anger. I was assured that he wouldn’t be there and I think he was under the same illusion. The atmosphere quickly turned dark and uneasy. It was a very uncomfortable moment in my life but I didn’t want to run. I stood tall with my little family. From afar I could see that he was having words about the trickery with my uncle, who was obviously not impressed at all with his reaction. There was a huge row between the siblings and The Biological stormed off. I haven’t seen or heard from him since. The drive home was a blur. I went straight to Mom’s and when the kids went upstairs to play with my sister, I cried my heart out. The funny thing is that I don’t actually need him to love me. Acknowledgment at least would be something; but for me the biggest kick in the stomach was that he ignored his grandchildren. He had never before laid eyes on them, yet he still had it in him to ignore all of us. I vowed that day, I will never give him that chance to hurt my children like he did me my whole life.
I am now at a point where I am indifferent. That year was tough and affected more people than just me. Will I ever speak with him again? My truthful answer is I don’t know. Since starting my journey I have learnt to accept the things you can’t change. I think for me the hurdle was letting go, accepting that you can’t change the view of others, you can’t force someone love you — even if they have the same DNA. I’ve learnt that I have trust issues and am always waiting for someone to leave or reject me. I have come to understand that letting go and learning detachment techniques are extremely important for my growth and well-being.
Soon after all this occurred, my uncle tried to get me to talk to him; at that point I was completely against it. Now, I’m not rushing to find him and play happy families, but what I have done is build on my own self development and forgiven The Biological. After lots of inner work, I have finally let go. I have many people in my life who I love and trust, and they are in my corner. I would be lying if I said that I don’t still have work to do. I absolutely still have a tiny part of me that has fear looming; but the difference now is that I have clarity and understanding. Now I am free.
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Originally published at https://www.empathtoempath.co.uk on January 9, 2021.