What My Father Taught Me…

‘In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present…’ – Francis Bacon

One can always make the best out of a bad situation. As I continue to walk down the path of self-love, I recognise the lessons disguised within the difficult times. I harness those teachings and with all of my strength and willingness, I use them to develop the person I am now and who I am becoming. 

I am going to be blunt in this post because honesty and vulnerability are beautiful things. My sister and I had a terrible childhood and adolescence. We grew up in a household with a sociopathic, narcissistic and all-round bad tempered father. He treated us and our mother very badly; leaving emotional scars and cracks until one day he left and we haven’t seen him since. I’m not going to delve into the details as that would take a significantly long time. What I do want to share is what I ultimately gained and learned from this life-changing experience:

1.) He taught me the only real thing to fear is fear itself… 

I may not have ever truly known fear if it wasn’t for my father. His constant screaming and threats ensured that I would have a nervous breakdown at the young age of 13 and not be able to leave my room. At the age of 16, I listened to him threaten to kill me over the phone and I heard my own voice pleading with him not to do it. Anxiety is a familiar companion and one I know all too well. It has been the worst and best thing to ever happen to me. It taught me resilience. It gave me the skill to appreciate anything and everything I come into contact with. It presented me with the courage I didn’t know I had and it drove me to do more and be more so for that, I thank you Dad. 

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2.) He taught me a very distorted view of anger… 

When all a child witnesses is aggression from her father and silence from her mother, she grows up not understanding a very normal emotion: anger. I had to teach myself that it was okay when people had an argument or disagreed. Past boyfriends saw me running for the door every time we had a fight because of course, I misconstrued their temporary annoyance for something much larger. Now, I am in a wonderful relationship with a man that shows me how to express emotions in a healthy way. I found the balance I never had growing up and this will allow me to pass it onto our children. I get it now Dad. 

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3.) He taught me the beauty that is freedom…

Whenever I would walk two steps in front my father, he would growl ‘Bec’ and I would have to step back in line with him. He didn’t allow me to be a curious child that just wanted to explore. Sure, my sister and I saw the world at a young age due to his job at Qantas, but the holiday’s always came with such tension. I saw beautiful places from the inside of a cage (not literally) and became more and more anxious of the outdoors with every step I took, knowing he was monitoring me. When he finally left and I began to master my anxiety, I took off like a jet plane. I backpacked by myself through China. I ran wild through Vietnam & Cambodia. I explored the East & West of the U.S. I took hold of any and every thrilling opportunity I could. Freedom cannot be truly appreciated unless you have been restricted. Dad, your iron grip made me such an adventurer. My entire world has never been the same since you let go.

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4.) He taught me the importance of having an identity…

A narcissistic father always takes the spotlight. The children sit in the dark audience, unable to speak or form their own characteristics. When our father finally left, my sister and I were free to blossom as individuals. Unfortunately, that meant we became quite possessive of our interests. We had to be known by certain things. It caused competition, arguments, jealousy and insecurities. I look back on this now with so much understanding. Two children that weren’t given permission to shine would undoubtedly struggle with their identities later in life. With this knowledge and compassion, we no longer need to be defined by things. We know who we are and that is two unique, special women that make the world a better place every single day just by being them. This journey to self-realisation has been a struggle Dad but what a liberating feeling it is to love myself unconditionally and without judgement.

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5.) He taught me that the best families laugh and talk openly… 

I cannot remember a night at the dinner table that wasn’t tense and devoid of life. I couldn’t wait to finish my food so I could hide in my room. I spent so much of my childhood at my best friend’s house admiring the light-hearted communication between parents and children. They were able to express themselves however they wanted and no topic was off-limits. I am generally a very open person and so affectionate. Ask me anything or give me a hug and I’ll be happy. Some of the best moments I’ve had are the ridiculous conversations between my mum, stepfather and myself as we ate dinner together years after my father was out of the picture. It is how I envisioned family life to be. Dad, my children are going to be so full of love and light thanks to you. You showed me exactly how a family should be and therefore they will make nothing but wonderful memories. I’m so excited to hear everything they have to say.

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6.) He taught me that I am worthy of the deepest, most sacred love…

I wasn’t loved by my father and therefore didn’t recognise true love from a male. My young adulthood consisted of going after anybody that paid me the slightest attention whether I was interested in them or not. I used to have the mentality that I had to take what I could get. It wasn’t until my second nervous breakdown at 22 that I began to discover my own self-worth and that anybody I chose to invite into my life or my bed was incredibly lucky. I began to turn away from male attention; determined to live the rest of my life alone unless I found somebody that was worthy of me and I of them. Boom! Without warning, in he came and my life has never been the same since. He is going to be the most wonderful husband and father this world has ever seen. Dad, you could’ve walked me down the aisle this year had you been a different person. I don’t blame you, it just makes me sad that you don’t understand genuine love but at least I do.

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7.) He taught me to do everything the hard way…

I could’ve thrown down completely during my teenage years. I was so emotionally confused, insecure and anxious that nobody would’ve blamed me if I had turned to a life of drugs, alcohol or promiscuity. Can you believe, at the age of nearly 27, I have never touched a single drug, been so drunk that I’ve vomited or had a one night stand? I’m not judging those that have but I refused to go down that path even in the most darkest of moments. There was always a little fire burning inside me that told me to keep going no matter how hard. I have cried until I was gasping. I have shook from panic attacks so intense my bed rocked. I’ve thought many times that the world was better off without me but I never gave up. The hard way made me unbelievably strong. Nothing can topple me. Nothing can silence my heart or crush my spirit. Dad, you’ve built a machine. Watch me go!

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8.) He taught me most importantly that I don’t need him or his love to feel happy, fulfilled and complete… 

A sociopath cannot love, therefore it is illogical to expect it from them. I am beyond loved by my family, Francis, friends and those around me. I read a wonderful quote the other day: ‘life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.’  Dad, you don’t need to say sorry or tell me you’re proud of me. I am proud of me. My approval is the only thing that truly matters at the end of the day. Some people can overcome past damage. I am living proof of this. You obviously weren’t strong enough.

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There is always light in the darkness. Our pasts do not define us. Every single day we are given the choice to be the best person we can be. Every time we look in the mirror, we can choose to greet the reflection with love or hate. Every moment that is difficult is an opportunity to grow. Nobody is coming to save you so you have to save yourself. If your parent was not a particularly good role model, do not become a victim of this. Make yourself into the best damn role model you can be for yourself and those around you.  Learn from them. Find that light in the darkness.

 If I could say anything to you right now Dad it would be: ‘Thank you. Life truly is beautiful…’

Peace & Love xoxox

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6 thoughts on “What My Father Taught Me…

  1. This is such a beautiful and emotional post, Bec. So brave of you to share your past. Very happy and proud of you for coming through hard times at home and standing strong today. Sometimes the ones whom we think are the ones closest to us are actually not that close, and it can be hard to admit that if we’ve lived with them all our lives.

    Your dad sounded like an overbearing figure when you were younger, and I’m sorry to hear that you felt scared in his presence. He probably had his own personal issues he was dealing with and had a reason to act out like he did all the time. But no one deserves to be treated like they are less of a person, and no one deserves to live in fear because of someone else’s actions.

    I sympathise with your story. Growing up, my dad was the dominant figure in the family and everything he said was supposedly right. I still remember all the shouting he did towards my mum and the house would go silent, and coming from a culture like mine we were taught to put up with it. And we still do. Things are not as bad but the shouting still happens from time to time.

    Your story is very inspiring, and I wish you and Francis all the best. From the photos I’ve seen of you on here and on your Instagram, each photo of you together is a great photo but more importantly, the two of you always look very happy together ❤

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    1. Hi Mabel! Thank you for the lovely message, it means so much to me ❤ Your words are so encouraging and kind. It certainly has been difficult growing up with an overbearing figure like my father but I try to view all the positive outcomes that come out of a bad situation. I'm sorry to hear your father was quite dominant too. It seems to be cultural but I have found it common in a lot of families too. I am very lucky to have found such a supportive partner in Francis. And I look forward to seeing you tomorrow evening for dinner! ❤ xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and for reading my story. There is always so much to gain from every experience whether good or bad 🙂 at least I am smiling now! Have a lovely day! x

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  2. This was sad but beautiful to read Bec. You’ve grown (and continue doing so) into a beautiful, strong young woman. You should be so proud of yourself for seeing the light in all that is dark
    x

    Like

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