This is not intended to be a sad post however some readers may find it distressing.
For me this post is a positive step and one that I am proud of.
It took a long time for me to reach this stage in my life.
The Sperm Donor.
& The Early Years…
It has been a long and hard battle coming to terms with that fact that my real dad doesn’t want to know me. I am a part of his life that will remain a secret forever. I was so young when I found out the truth about who my real father was. It was firework night and I was 9 years old. My Mum was waiting to tell me when I was old enough to understand and rightly so, but her ex had other plans. After saying something nasty about my mum I asked ‘If you hate my mum so much, then why did you two have me, now you are stuck with us?’ He then dropped the bombshell that he was not my dad & that everyone was in on the joke but me. I was not mentally prepared to process all the emotions that I was left feeling that night and instead of spending the night as planned, I wanted to go home to my mum. I questioned everything for a long time. ‘Who am I? Am I adopted? Is Mum my real Mum? What about my Nan, is she pretend too? How could they do this to me? Why don’t I have a daddy? What is wrong with me?’
My Mum had to deal with that alone too and she was only young herself. I remember seeing Dr Scott when I was little(A child psychiatrist) he was nice to me, but I just bottled everything up instead of being open and I put on my brave face.
‘I can cope, at least I still have Mum’.
As I got older I felt like I had this hole in my life that only my Dad could fill. I spent time looking for him on and off over the years convincing myself that once he met me he would change his mind and we would have that father daughter bond that every girl needs in her life. I hoped that I would get to meet my brothers and sister and we could be a semi-normal extended family. I craved this complete strangers love so badly and for a long time it was all I could think about.
‘How can anyone not love their own child after all?‘
So at the age of 16 during a girly sleep over with my friends I got a call out of the blue from an unknown number. I still remember the call like it was yesterday. “Hello is that Terri?… It’s *******” My heart stopped, I panicked, I cried a lot & then I handed the phone to mum. It turns out that Gary had dropped a note through his door unexpectedly with my name and number and the words ‘call me’. I think he felt guilty about what happened on Firework night all those years ago, but I will never know.
I should have known when he asked me to meet him in secret in the middle of the night at a lay by in Embankment that things were not going to go as I had dreamed. It was such an anticlimax. I hated him so much for leaving me & yet I was desperate for him to love me all the same. He talked about his other kids and his life in Essex and I didn’t say a word, I just cried and listened. He told me that his wife & kids could never find out we met because it would ruin everything he had. The only thing I managed to spit out at the end of that night was ‘Do you ever think about me’ to which he replied ‘everyday’. He phoned me a few times after that but I never saw him again and he disappeared as quickly as he was found.
A woman’s early relationship with dad, who is usually the first male object of her love, shapes her conscious and unconscious perceptions of what she can expect and what is acceptable in a romantic partner. (Psychology today)
Abandonment issues, Anger & Depression.
I spent a long time battling emotions of wanting to ruin his life by turning up on his door step and demanding to meet my family & keeping quiet because I didn’t want to put his other kids through a traumatic experience and make them question everything they know. I went through my teens dating guys who were no good for me and being desperate to be loved by them. I stayed with people who cheated on me, made me feel worthless, guys who put me down and guys with nasty personalities. Why? It sounds so silly doesn’t it… I didn’t know it at the time but my fear of being abandoned again meant that I shut up and put up on multiple occasions. I put on a brave face and made out that things were great, I would make excuses for their vile behaviour or blame myself for their actions, I would be controlled and mentally beaten into submission because I couldn’t bare the thought of being rejected again.
Anger, depression and feeling a lack of control over my life played a big role in my teens & 20’s. My step dad and I used to fight like cat & dog, I use to scream “I hate you, your not my dad” whenever I was told to do something. I would get so angry at things and stew on them for days and I could never figure out why. Don’t get me wrong I know that most teenage girls are angry at the world, but this was next level. The pain I felt internally would not subside, I felt like an unlovable failure. I could not understand what was so wrong with me and no matter how much my family tried to make me feel loved it was not enough to fill the hole I had inside me. I had a spout of eating disorders and self-harming (because I could control those) and I really put my mum through her paces. *Forever sorry – Love you* External pain felt much easier to deal with and the cuts were a welcome distraction to take my mind off of how I really felt.
A good deal of our anger is motivated by a desire not to experience the distressing emotions of hurt and fear. It’s by now generally agreed upon that anger, as prevalent as it is in our species, is almost never a primary emotion. For underlying it are such core hurts as feeling disregarded, unimportant, accused, guilty, untrustworthy, devalued, rejected, powerless, and unlovable. And these feelings are capable of engendering considerable emotional pain. It’s therefore understandable that so many of us might go to great lengths to find ways of distancing ourselves from them. (Psychology today)
Therapy & the light at the end of the tunnel.
It was only when I started therapy in 2016 in my late twenties that I began to understand why I was such a fiery ball of rage. Subconsciously I was scared of being abandoned and rejected. I used to push everyone who was close away, that way it was my choice, I had control over who came and went. I never dealt with the hurt & rejection that I had buried so deep inside of myself for all those years ago. Anyone who made me feel even slightly abandoned, not good enough, not important, not wanted or not heard would feel the wrath of my anger. The backlash of my temper tantrum was a lot less painful to deal with than dealing with the primary emotions that lay buried deep down.
After countless tears, regular therapy sessions, opening up for the first time, being honest with myself and finally filing my emotions in their correct cabinets. I have been able to learn and re-programme myself to be able to cope with and recognise my emotions for what they really are. I am a far less angry person and I can recognise that sometimes my anger goes deeper. It’s going to take a lot of practise. I still have to ask myself all the time ‘Am I really angry or am I hurt, If I am hurt, why am I hurt’.
I still get anxious all the time, for example: If Dave doesn’t text me back straight away… or if he gets mad at me… I worry that he will leave or break up with me over the smallest of things. I get anxious to meet new people in case they don’t like me or reject me. I hate going to places I don’t know in case something bad happens and I am out of my comfort bubble. I am learning to accept that my past plays a part in those emotions and I have a word with myself, face that fact and move forward.
I accept now that I can’t change the way my father feels and at this stage in my life I don’t want to. I have finally accepted that it is what it is and just because he abandoned me doesn’t mean everyone else will follow suit. I no longer feel a desire to get revenge or hurt him. I just want to put this behind me and enjoy my life. Some people want to be in my life because I bring them joy and happiness and reaching this point has finally filled the gap that I had for so long. I still have moments of self doubt, insecurities and tantrums but I am learning to deal with those feelings and talk openly about how I feel instead of lashing out and retreating.
That hole was something that only I could fix & in order to do that I had to accept the hand that I had been dealt and learn to love & trust myself and those around me. Which I am now starting to do 🙂 I have a much greater understanding of who I am, what I need and how I work.
All those years of searching and I had a father figure right under my nose & I just couldn’t see it. My step dad John has been in my life for as long as I can remember. He came with me the night I might my father, my Mum & John were the ones who comforted me when I cried. He has been there through every break up and loss, through every accomplishment and goal. He has been the one to shout about how proud I make him, he has been the one to pick me up when I fall & he always has my back despite our difference. He took me to my first football game, my first holiday abroad and he bought me my first decent car after being told my current one was not safe to drive, he took me to concerts and danced with me at weddings and he was the one who threatened to break my bf’s legs if they ever hurt me. We haven’t always seen eye to eye but I just know that if I needed anything, he will be there for me. I had that daddy-daughter bond the whole time.
A dad is someone that is there for his children. A dad watches and actively participates in their lives. A dad helps them grow up, raises them, nurtures them, attends dance recitals and baseball games and is present….A father is something else; a father is more of a biological term than a role or relationship. A father is a the birds and bees version of a parent. They are a reproductive assistant, if you will. Fathers need only contribute the biological components necessary to produce the child. After that, their role and obligation to the child is over. (Psychology today)
So I just want to wish my Dad A Happy fathers day
Thank you for always being present no matter what I put you guys through.
Without you I wouldn’t be the brave woman I am today!
I also want to wish a Happy Father’s day to my Mum.
Because for a long time she played the roles of both Mum & Dad and I wasn’t the easiest kid to deal with. You deserve a medal and if I turn out to be even half the woman you are, I will consider myself a great success.
And to my father, the sperm donor. I thank you too.
Without you I wouldn’t be here today making them both so proud.