A love letter from a daughter to her father.
Unresolved emotional wounds from our childhood affect our adult relationships. This short story shows you how I used a special technique to heal the relationship with my father. That helped me heal the hole in my soul so I could feel whole. And that helped me create healthy relationships with men in my adult life. You can use this tool to heal a variety of childhood wounds that keep you stuck in unhealthy patterns as an adult.
One of the things that I am most thankful for is that I healed my relationship with my dad before he died. That went a long way towards healing the hole in my heart so I could feel whole.
I always wanted a daddy who would play with me, pay attention to me, and adore me. I wanted his help in school and support in my career. My dad was the strong silent type, and I was the soft touchy-feely type, and I didn’t know how to tell him what I wanted when I was growing up. I didn’t see anyone else talk to him about their feelings either. There seemed to be an unwritten rule in our family, “Don’t talk to dad about how you really feel.” So I kept my pain bottled up inside. My body became rigid with muscle tension, and I drove myself to succeed to try to be like him. Maybe then he would relate to me. I wasn’t satisfied unless I bested my last accomplishment and even then, the underlying insecurity would quickly bob to the surface like an inflated beach ball.
In my mid-thirties I realized that I needed to heal the empty hole in my heart. I didn’t have the courage to talk to Dad face to face yet about how I really felt. The following imaginary dialogue flowed from my pen as I attempted to connect with his spirit. Along with other therapeutic techniques, dialogues like these were instrumental in helping me gain enough courage to approach Dad and have a real conversation. The act of writing brought about a cathartic healing experience.
My hope in sharing this story is that you may decide to write your own dialogue. Get quiet and go into the privacy of your inner sanctuary. Ask for coaching or counseling so you can develop this skill. You can develop the skill and courage to have a real live authentic connection with your dad (or your mom).
Benita: “I love you, Dad. That’s the first and last thing that I want you to know! I’ve always loved you and wanted your love, and never knew how to show it, and ask you for your love. All I ever wanted was your love, your recognition and approval. I never knew how to ask for it.
For thirty-six years, a veil of silence has separated our hearts. Oh, the pain I feel from that separation! Thirty-six years of never having the closeness I wanted with you. Not one time have we touched heart to heart. Heart to heart! I’ve wanted that closeness so much. I’ve been so afraid of showing you who I really am and what I need from you.
Dad, I lost myself. I gave up myself to try to be like you. I walked away from my Authentic Self. How I hurt!!! Tears of anguish cried … and cried … and never cried.
“Be strong,” I told myself. “Don’t show him you’re hurt. Don’t be vulnerable. He won’t understand. Nobody will!”
Voice: “I will. I will”, a voice cried out!
“Who are you?”
“I’m your Authentic Self. I’m the you that you thought you threw away. I’ve been here all along. I have watched you suffering, and shed your tears with you. I have walked the path of your pain with you. I have always been here with you, dear one. I have always been here with you. You were never alone. But you couldn’t feel me or hear me because of your pain. I couldn’t get through to you, like you couldn’t get through to your father.”
Benita: “Dad, I am knocking softly, longingly at the door of your heart. “May I come in?”
I asked hesitantly … awkwardly … cautiously.
“May I come in, Dad? May I? Will you let me in?
I love you, Dad. I love you! I love you so much!”
Dad: “Come in, my daughter. I love you, too, and I have never known how to show you. I have been imprisoned within these walls for so long. Sometimes I didn’t even see the bars. They were invisible to me, and I couldn’t even see you. All the years of never knowing you. I have missed so much. So much joy I have let slide by, never knowing what I missed. My daughter, my precious daughter, you are my light and my love. I thank you so much for loving me … for coming into my heart. For opening my heart … after so many years!
“Do you know the times when you were a little girl, and I wanted to show you my love and affection? I looked at you with such love and wonder and joy. But I never knew how to show you. I wanted to, but something always stopped me and held me back. I felt so awkward. I didn’t know what to do with you. You were a mystery to me. I just didn’t know what to do with you. So I did the only thing I knew how to do. I worked. I worked for you … to love you and support you and provide for you. I was so proud of you. I didn’t know how to show you, but I was so proud of you! I didn’t realize I was in a straight jacket, cut off from my feelings and from you. All those years I lived, not ever knowing I was contained in a box. I thought I was alive, but I couldn’t move or breathe or feel my heart. I didn’t even know. I am so sorry … for you and for me and for our family. I never knew your pain.
“Why didn’t you come to me sooner?! Why didn’t you do whatever it took to get my attention? Why did you let me go on like this? I am so sorry. My dear, dear family. I love you so much!
“Come to me, my daughter. Walk with me and let me hold your hand. Let us walk and talk and share and know each other in a way we never have before. Thank you so much. You have brought me life. You have given me back my heart. I will be eternally grateful.
“Thank you for your courage to talk with me. I acknowledge your strength. You confront me with your tears and longing and love. I hear you. I see you. I feel you. You have come through your fear and pain to reach out to me. You are a brave soul.”
Benita: “I acknowledge your courage, too, Dad. I have always known your love and light and wisdom, even if it was only on an intellectual level. I have admired and loved you for so long. And I acknowledge my own prison and straight jacket. I never showed you how I felt. I was so scared just like you, Dad. Just like you. Mom always said we were alike! I love you, Dad.
“Thank you for giving me life, for having me be your daughter, and for being my father. We’re in this together. I’m so proud of you! I love you, Dad.”
Dad: “I love you too, my daughter. Thank you so much. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this gift you have given to me … the very precious gift of your love.”
Benita: “I want to make a difference for you, Dad! I love you so much!
Author: Benita A. Esposito, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor.
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Copyright 2011, The Esposito Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. ~ Einstein