It is generally accepted that adult children are easier to survive the separation of their parents. But even at 20, the departure of a father can leave such deep wounds that it will take many years to heal. Psychologist Olga Khodaeva tells what she went through before she was able to forgive.
I’ve been meaning to write about this for a long time, but I couldn’t. It is impossible to write when every word aches inside, you sob and cannot stop, you scream for the hundredth time: “Dad, how could you?” Yes, it’s not easy right now. But I feel that I am ready to tell what I have come to since my parents divorced.
Psychologists say the older the child, the easier it is for him to accept the divorce of his parents. I am not sure.
I remember the day my father left. How she opened the door of an empty closet in her parents’ bedroom, and everything inside broke off. It was as if a metal needle had been thrust into his head: “He didn’t even say goodbye.” I felt cold and empty, then I began to burn with unbearable resentment. “He left”. I, like a lost puppy that was thrown out into the street, sat on the floor near an empty closet and burst into loud, childish tears. Then I was 20.
I loved him. My father was the main man in my life. I was proud of him. In many ways, he was a support, she could count on him. I remember how long I was sick at school and missed a whole quarter. The teachers refused to study with me: large volumes in a short time. Dad prepared me for the test in a couple of nights, and I successfully completed the quarter. He saved me when I got into trouble. For one of the offenders, he ran barefoot for several blocks in order to catch and punish.
The only desire then was to return everything
Dad idolized mom. He always said so. He gave baskets of flowers, fulfilled her wishes, tried to make us all feel good. And I was happy and loved both. But something broke in their relationship. In an instant, I lost it all.
The only desire then was to return everything. I understood that the relationship of my parents could not be restored, but I wanted to return our relationship with him. After all, he said, before leaving, that with us, daughters, everything will be the same as before. But all these years we practically did not communicate. At first it was painful, sometimes unbearable. I was hurt by any stories, films, references to the relationship of fathers and daughters, especially if they were similar to mine. And there were many.
I was angry, offended, crying, I didn’t understand: “How could he exchange his own daughters for another woman?” Scolded him, said a bunch of hurtful things. Haven’t spoken to him in over a year. And she even once said that I no longer have a father. And then she mourned. I wanted to forgive him. But I couldn’t.
The theme of the father has become a key one in working with a psychologist. I released the anger and resentment that bubbled in me, cried out the hidden pain, splashed out the accumulated tenderness and love. And only after that I realized that the one whom I so sought to return no longer exists. No, my father is alive and well, thank God. But this is another person that I don’t know yet. He made a choice – to live with another woman whom he fell in love with. He had a son and a new family.
Yes, I’m still his daughter. But I am already almost 40, and I know that another person will protect me and help me – my husband. Well, or myself. I feel better. Pain, anger and resentment subsided. Disappointments and hopes are gone. And if we consider forgiveness as liberation, then I forgave my father. But I no longer need to return anyone anywhere, but I want to be in other relationships. With husband, mother, sister, friends. I still have warm feelings for the image that I loved, and I would like to know more about my father. Find out what and how he lives now, what he dreams of, with whom he is friends. But we rarely talk.
It may seem to someone: how sad, the happy ending didn’t work out – they didn’t hug, didn’t throw themselves on each other’s necks and didn’t live as one big friendly family. Yes, I got it wrong.
But I was able to be completely honest with myself. I sincerely wanted to return my relationship with my dad, I lived to the fullest all the feelings that covered me. And thanks to this honesty, I came to an adult, more conscious look at the relationship with him. As a psychologist, I understand that any loss requires acting out, that is, the expression of all the feelings that rise in connection with the loss. It is difficult to make an adult decision, to make a conscious choice without living through the loss: cry, grieve, suffer, get sick and even fall in love. This is necessary for our inner child, who was abandoned, offended, deprived of his father. It doesn’t matter how old he was. It is important that someone at this moment provide support, just be there to tell him through tears: “How could he exchange his own daughters for another woman?”