A while ago, I wrote an Instagram post about the relationship with my dad.
I decided to repeat it in this blog. It was such a breakthrough moment for me. A moment of deep healing.
The truth is that I never had an awesome relationship with my Dad. And I certainly didn’t talk about it much. It remained for most of my life as this pocket that was left undiscovered and/or examined. For years, it was easier to use the label of “dysfunctional family”. Who knows if this contributed to an early eating disorder or if there were other factors? Either way, this inner family turmoil was very challenging. My point in sharing this is to look back on this piece of my own story through eyes of compassion and understanding rather than remaining stuck in my own feelings and pain.
My parents passed in 2007 and 2008 in the Netherlands. My father fought a colonial war in 1947. He was sent at 20 years old, right after the torment of WW2. He had no choice. My dad was sent there with no training and malfunctioning equipment passed down by the English military. In some cases men were wearing suits with bullet wholes still in them from prior use. Most people don’t know about this dark mark in Dutch history, since it was never spoken about and it was also left out of our school’s curriculum. My dad was never able to talk about his story. He had PTSD and was dependent on medication to cope with anxiety, stress and nightmares throughout his life.
This is where I’ve had to heal and forgive myself for my part in our strained relationship. At the time, I was not willing to listen to him. I was angry and hurt that my dad couldn’t connect with me as a youngster and I punished him (and myself). Fortunately, my husband did listen, so he is able now to tell me stories, which mean so much to me now. Now I am able to look at his life and hardships with love. My dad didn’t know any better and I have since forgiven him for not being the dad I wanted or thought I deserved. I also have forgiven myself for not being the perfect daughter. My truth is that I love him! And included in that love is every piece of his experience and struggles to cope in this world.
Let that all out with a deep breath!! Healing this chapter of my life was a huge personal victory and sign of growth. In a few years, I am planning a trip to Indonesia with my husband to revisit where dad was!
What I’m really hoping to impress upon is my gratitude for taking the time to set things straight and make things right while you can. Don’t let your stubborn ego rob you off today.
Going deeper into all this. I realized that my Bulimia really was rooted into early childhood. Food for me was love. I felt so terrible alone. I felt so without love. I felt abandoned. Just letting myself feel that pain again, really helped me heal.
Be strong. Be Bold. Be Brave. And Feel.