It's just an envelope

Thursday morning. It's been sitting on my coffee table for at least a week now. The colorful lettering is a dead give-away that it's from him - my father. Not Daddy but rather the man who donated half of my DNA. The longer it sits there, the greater the power it has over me and I know that. And it still sits there.

I brought this on myself. I wrote him a Christmas card and asked him to call me. Flippantly, with no expectations. But he did - four times in 24 hours - and I was paralyzed. I never answered and I promised myself that I'd call every day after that, but I haven't.

I'm so afraid. So. Afraid. Everything that is messed up within me can be traced back eventually to him, to his leaving, to the way that he treated me before he left. Why do I let men treat me like garbage? Because he did. I learned to eat when I was upset at the hands of my mother after he left. No one talked to me about how I felt or gave me ways of working through how I felt. I'm not sure if it was because I was 5 or because no one talked about feelings back then, but it's left me really messed up about uncomfortable feelings and how to deal with them.

I have this feeling that this card and the man who wrote it are the Rosetta Stone for many of my negatively charged emotional energy. If I could open it, I'm almost certain that it will release lots of the stress and anxiety I'm feeling right now. And still it sits there, mocking me with its inoccuous exterior. "Happy Holidays" the Postal Service imprint says. "Bah humbug," says I. I make a small tear in the back flap, then another. Then I put the envelope back on the table. One more tear and it's open.

Surprise, it's a card of his own design. (Wouldn't that be cool (being artistic enough to create your own holiday cards)?) I hold it for a few moments before opening it to find a completely hand-written note from him. From my father. He mentions the phone calls he made. He says that he welcomes the opportunity to "catch up" with my life. (You wouldn't have to catch up if you'd put my needs ahead of your own 30-some-odd years ago!) He talks about my grandparents, how ill they are, and says that "the end is probably near" for them. (No duh, does his think I don't care?)

How can I be nearly 40 years old and be so completely transported to 5 years old by this man??? I have the World's Best Stepfather, I was so cared for as a child, adolescent, and adult...I lacked for nearly nothing, and yet this man has so much power over me. Why? Why, why, why, why, why???


You're lucky you had a great stepfather. Perhaps you should hook up with you father and have some closure of some kind or move on to building a better relationship with him.
You need closure. Write him a letter and tell him what you told us. If he refuses to own up to the sins of his past, or makes excuses (there are none, by the way), or tries in any way to 'guilt' you into having a relationship with him, then let him go. If he apologizes and seems genuinely contrite, try to forgive him.

Either way, you are under no obligation to ever see him again, or communicate in any way. But I think it's important that he know, in no uncertain terms, exactly what he did to you and exactly what you think of him. Once you've let it out, it will be gone, and you will be free.
Alda said…
Denise, what a moving post. I think many people can relate to what you say - I certainly can. Despite what the previous commenter would have you believe, there are no black-and-white solutions ... life is both infuriating and beautiful like that. However, I'm sure with the right support, you can become free of the power the past has over you. Seriously - take it from one who's been there. You're in my thoughts.
Rebecca said…
Wow, I hope you find some of the answers you are looking for Denise.

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