“When you finally learn that a person’s behavior has more to do with their own internal struggle than you, you learn grace.” ~Allison Aars
I’m writing this to say thank you for the trauma you caused me since I was born. You might be thinking that I’m being sarcastic, but that’s far from the truth.
Allow me to explain the reasons why I am so thankful for your pain and suffering in my life. Please understand that I am sorry.
Dad, I want to start with you because you’re no longer living. I know you’re now able to see the pain you caused.
Years of depression followed the events that I saw between your mother and you. Because of the fear that violence might occur again, I couldn’t have friends in our home.
This made it difficult for me to make friends and stayed with me through many years. It also taught me to pretend everything was okay and that we had a “good” family. Living a lie taught me how to be a good person.
I believed that my depression was a sign of something wrong. It was me that made you so uncomfortable around us. Falsely, I believed I was not loved.
Your portrayal of being the victim in all of life’s situations taught me that others are always to blame for anything that goes wrong in life. You taught me how to hate yourself.
The explosions of anger taught me that’s how you handle life. I used to lash out at people, and then pretend it didn’t happen, for years. I lost many friends and romantic relationships as a result.
I felt shameful about your drinking habits in public. Not until I got much older, did I realize I shouldn’t be ashamed of something I had no control over.
Your inability to be there during my teens led me to seek unhealthy, negative attention from men. You shamed me when I tried to return you in my early twenties.
With every new friend or relationship, I felt so anxious. I knew at some point I’d be asked about my family.
Because I was emotional unhealthy, I attracted unhealthy people. So, explaining how my alcoholic father wasn’t in my life was never received well.
The shame I had was only increased as I was told, “that’s your father. Forgive him. Let him be in your life.”
It brings back such sorrow. It brings back all those times that I tried to reconnect with your throughout my 20s. Each time I had high hopes that you’d changed, only to be let down further each time.
To say I had “Daddy Issues” was putting it lightly. Those “Daddy Issues” showed up in very harmful ways. You made it difficult for me to interact with authority men at work. I don’t even have to mention again how much you affected my dating life.
Now, it’s time to address Mom and the trauma she caused. Also, I’m going to tell you how the two of you as a unit, also caused a lot of my trauma.
Mother, there is so much I can say to you about the emotional and deep pain that you have caused. My father was the cause of many of my troubles. The older I get, the more I realize you’re responsible for more of my pain than Dad ever was.
Since I was just talking about the trauma Dad caused me, let’s talk about how you handled that. Your example taught me how to make it seem like bad things have never occurred. You can pretend that everything is fine and, no matter how it turns out, you won’t talk about it.
Fear, shame, depression and anxiety caused by this were more than any child should have to endure. You also dismissed me when I said that I had been depressed since I was a teenager. Your response was that I had nothing to be depressed about and “to get over myself.”
All of that was incredibly painful, but there’s much more. The worst pain was your inability to show affection and love me. Still to this day, even after having done so much healing, I’m still uncomfortable if somebody tries to hug me, other than my husband or baby.
I learned from you that it was not easy to show people how difficult life can be. Instead, act like we have a good life and that we’re the perfect family. I cringe just even typing that because it’s far from the truth.
As you know, because I’ve told you many times, marrying the man you chose after the divorce was also incredibly traumatic. You were the priority and not I was happiness.
When I was teenager, my mom took care of me. Even with all our problems, my mom was still there for me. I felt like I had been thrown aside by him. I was abandoned by you. You were busy making him happy so I had the freedom to do what I wanted.
That was my idea of fun. Now I see how uncontrollable and unhealthy I was. I was free to do what I pleased.
I’m still amazed that you married another alcoholic, but you refuse to acknowledge that. He hates me, your whole family and even more. To escape his childish tantrums, I remember having to put my nieces in pajamas and no shoes.
He was responsible for many of my most important life events. I could continue to list them. He hated me, as I said. I even remember you saying, “If you ever make me choose between him or you, I will always choose him.”
It still causes me such pain and sadness. Being a mother now, I can’t imagine any circumstance where I’d choose anybody over my child. But I can see the difference.
Mom and Dad, it’s now time to talk about how your unhealthy, dysfunctional marriage caused such pain. You and I have never seen love.
My observation was that you two were becoming further apart. It was clear that you did not attempt to heal me or get help from the trauma you caused.
Instead, it was to forget all the unpleasant stuff. No matter how difficult it may seem, you should never talk about it. When I attempted to talk about my struggles and feelings, I was labeled as “dramatic” and “ridiculous.”
Parents should instill healthy love and good relationships with their children. Yes, I’m aware that very few parents actually do that.
This brings me to my gratitude for you and your family. The trauma you created is something in which I’ll forever be thankful.
Yes, you wouldn’t think that based on all that I have written thus far. I’m just asking that you bear with me.
For years, my anger and hatred of the world drove me mad. Behind all that anger, there was depression. I believed that I wasn’t worthy of love and that I couldn’t be loved.
Because of my trauma from childhood, deep healing was necessary and I required years of therapy. This was in my twenties.
It took me many long and hard years to complete this process. I’m so grateful for the pain you caused. Your inability to help me gave me direction on how I should do things.
I have stopped the generational trauma. Your teachings have shaped my life.
I see clearly the suffering you both went through as I work on my healing. You hurt me because of that pain. So, I’ll address you both individually for that.
You are so loved and appreciated by me, Dad. Your father was an abusive alcoholic, I’m sure. Your father poured so much of his never good enough stuff and those feeling of not being enough on you. This left you drowning in your insecurities.
Your father was probably a horrible person. That’s probably how you learned to hate yourself, as I did from you.
Your true soul identity is a person who loves unconditionally. Your real soul was compassionate and caring.
You drove a young girl from soccer camp to your house, which I still remember. I always thought it was strange that you drove me home from school before dropping me off.
Now I understand why. Her home was in an unsafe area, particularly at night. Only a car was possible for her to play soccer.
Although you took the risk of driving your daughter home, you made sure that I was safe. You are a loving person. That is what I love about myself.
You were an alcoholic because of your childhood. Sadly, you didn’t learn a better way. You did the exact same as what was shown to you.
It may seem odd but thank you for the life you chose resulting in my “daddy issues.” That was a beautiful gift that I needed.
Without that, I wouldn’t have married a loving, emotionally healthy man. Also, I wouldn’t have started my healing journey. Self-love would’ve never existed.
As for the childhood trauma you had, I know now you’re at peace. I know you’re proud of what I’m doing in life to heal the generational trauma you left and helping others do the same with my work. Keep in mind that this generational trauma is not going to continue.
Mom, it’s taken a lot more time to have gratitude for the emotional pain you caused. That’s probably because that pain is more recent and still occurs.
But I see now the reason you did what you did. It would prove too hard for you to accept reality. It would be impossible to accept reality.
Also, I’m aware that your mother was unable to nurture and show you affection. You truly didn’t know how to love me in a healthy way.
I know that you’re not well emotionally. That’s why I feel such compassion and love. I’ve been there. It’s miserable.
Mother, I know you believed your image to be the most important. Your behaviors to “protect” your image were simply your way of trying to prove to yourself and others that you were happy.
Because of the trauma I suffered from you both, I learned how to live a happy life. I saw you both so unhappy and it made me realize that I desired more.
Your pain resulted from many amazing things. The two things I’m most proud of in my life are results of learning to do things in a different way than I was shown.
One of the biggest challenges I faced was finding a loving, emotionally supportive, and available husband. Fortunately, you two gave me a blueprint for what I didn’t want.
Many people follow in their parents’ footsteps when choosing a partner. Because you both showed me how unhealthy marriages can ruin your life and I was able to do a lot more healing with my family before we decided to be married.
My deep gratitude to you for your emotional pain led me to make a commitment to myself. I’d never have a child until I was in a good place with the ability to be a loving, nurturing, emotionally available mother.
Without that pain, I’d have never known how to meet my child’s emotional needs. There would’ve been no knowledge of what my baby needs from me.
For me, that’s the most beautiful gift you could have given me. It is possible to raise a child who feels unconditional love and acceptance.
It is possible to feel intense sadness and anger at times. However, I’ll continue to do my healing work that allows me to come back to this place of gratitude for you both.
You will both be able to see the love and gratitude that I feel for you. Your soul level is clear that you love me. Both of you struggled to do that. You were so lost in your traumas that you didn’t know how to heal.
You are truly amazing for allowing me to live this wonderful life. Not only was I able to heal, but I’m now able to pass that on to the world through the work I do and raising my baby.
It’s taken me many years to say and truly mean this, but I wish you both peace and love. Both of you deserve it.
I am certain that you didn’t intend to cause me this pain. Also, apologies aren’t something either of you’ve ever been capable of giving.
That’s okay. You know that your trauma is too much. But I will forgive you.
Let me conclude by saying that I love both of you. Thanks to you, I have a happy and wonderful life. That’s not something many can say.
We are grateful for your hard lessons. You are the reason I was created. Thank you for being who you were or weren’t to me.
This was what I needed to be able to sit with you in love. Both you and I deserve forgiveness, as well as gratitude.
Mary Beth, a mental health blogger and licensed counselor, is Mary Beth. Her goal is to help readers heal childhood feelings of not being enough. Find out more. Her goal is to help readers heal the Not Good Enough Stuff that makes them feel inadequate and not good enough. This will allow them to live in peace. Mary Beth is a writer about generational trauma, boundaries and inner children. Visit Not Good Enough Stuff to see more of her writings.
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Tiny Buddha published the post Dear Mom and Father, Thank you for Years of Trauma.