I’m an adult now, 18 years old, and I want to forgive you before I continue wasting my time with anger. I’m tired of feeling bitter, I’m tired of the residual pain I feel tampering with my life and with my relationship I have not only with you, but with the rest of the family. When I was younger, I never gave myself the time to process how you treated me. After living on my own for a while, I’ve thought about it. That process is not over, and it may never be, but I’ve thought about it enough to try and let it go.
I was already insecure in middle school when everything started. I was eleven, and you know that mom didn’t raise me to show any feelings. My thoughts were supposed to be suppressed and I needed to fight my own battles. I know you didn’t agree with that parenting style, but you weren’t around as much so she got to choose. I was quiet. I didn’t tell you about my struggles or day to day life. I was taught not to, but you got angry anyway. It has been seven years, and I can still remember the things you said to me back then. Trying to get me to talk to you.
The day you told me that I was not the daughter you wanted was the day that broke me. I remember sitting helpless in the back of your car as you said in your calm voice that I was a disappointment. That I didn’t love you and I could never be what you wanted me to be. I was twelve, and to this day I don’t know what you hoped to get out of belittling your twelve year old daughter. You yelled when I didn’t tell you what was going on, and you yelled when I did. You told me that I was filled with self pity and I was selfish. You didn’t want me to ask for anything from you so I never asked. When I did things without telling you, I got lectured and belittled until I just stopped participating in life at all. As I got older and became independent by fifteen and a half, you told me I was immature, when my maturity was the only part of my personality I was still proud of. When I took over the parent role after mom moved you told me that I didn’t do enough to help and I was ungrateful. I felt trapped. Every decision I made was the wrong one and I dreaded being at home but I couldn’t get out without dealing with more emotional abuse.
Things have gotten better, I’m sure you’ve noticed. Recently you seem less stressed out, and I am happier. I watch my words less, but we still don’t have a relationship at all. I’m still insecure. I still have trust issues. My relationship with my boyfriend is suffering because of that and my relationship with mom hasn’t healed either. Because I never knew what reaction I would get from you, I feel like I never know what reaction I’m going to get from anyone. You hurt me deeply and I’m not sure when these scars will go away. I need to start now.
The positive changes I see in you and in myself tell me that we can both move past who we used to be. Like I said, I’m not better yet. I know you still feel like I’m not the best daughter, that maybe I’m ungrateful sometimes but I hope you can see that I’m trying so hard to change.
I can’t erase what happened. I can’t erase the emotional abuse and I can’t erase the fact that I ignored you throughout my teenage years. I can’t ignore it either, as so much of who I am is surrounded by this cloud, but I want to understand it. I have been able to see that you acted that way because of stress. I know that it was from my sister’s mental illness and you transitioning to being what is essentially a single parent. I know you were expanding your business and stressing out because you had to stop doing what you love. I know you hated coming home after working all day to a daughter who was afraid of you. I finally can understand this, and I hope you will be able to someday understand my side of things as well.
I’m done being bitter. I want a father figure in my life, I need a parent in my life. I am tired of playing the role of my own guardian because I’m only 18. I want a positive relationship with you. I want to stop feeling like I have no family. I want you to be happy again, like you were when our family is whole. I want to be able to take the bags from under your eyes and give back the moments you missed when you should have-could have been raising your daughter.
I am forgiving you because I think we both need the family that we’ve been missing out on over the last seven years. I hope you can forgive me too.