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A letter to… my angry father

When I was a child, I had a recurring nightmare in which I and my two brothers were little pigs running scared through the woods near the family home. You were a roaring T-rex. We would race to the edge of the lake and swim to the island in the middle, where a stegosaurus – our mother – protected us.

In real life, you ruled my childhood home like a tyrant, always moments away from blowing up and filling the house with fear. You once hit me so hard I wet myself, and for years, after school, I would sit on the floor of the shower, weeping. School wasn’t a welcome break. My crippling insecurity and timidity made me an easy target for violent bullies.

I do not blame you, but I want you to understand how your actions affected me; those years spent hiding in my room listening to the shouting. I always wondered why I have these inexhaustible reserves of anger; why I am desperate for approval and recognition; why being ignored fills me with such anger; why I have hated for so long. Now I realise that it is because of you.

Perhaps part of it is that my life has not turned out the way I expected. Perhaps if I were happier, this wouldn’t be an issue. But now I understand the root cause of my problems: growing up in fear.

You mocked me for seeking the love and care of my mother. You saw it as weak. Your mother died when you were six – and no, I can’t imagine what that was like, and no, I don’t know how hard it was.

What I do know is that you have never dealt with it, never sought help. Your deep feelings of loss and hurt come out at night, during family dinners, and instead of addressing that trauma, you blame yourself: you hate, you spit and you rage.

Now I am not that scared little pig. I have defied all that was thrown at me. Yes, I, too, have passed that hate on, and it is to my deep regret. But I have also worked hard to address who I am, what my faults are, how my actions affect those I love, and the question of why I have led such a rootless, chaotic existence since I left home.

But you have not done the same – and never will. Now I see that you are that dinosaur, screaming on mountaintops for the love that was taken from you all those years ago. I only wish you could have the guts to admit it, and allow yourself to be happy.

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Source: TheGuardian