I’m grateful that I responded and didn’t react. That’s growth. For the first time in my life, I didn’t respond in anger. I listened. I listened to my father say these things about me, and I was able to come to peace with the fact that I am finally choosing myself. If my father wishes to be stuck in his ways, so be it. I don’t need to be present in his life to continue witnessing his self-destruction and willingness to make everyone else miserable. There’s no peace in that relationship.
In later years, I would ask my father why he’d make such a choice. I grew up looking at photos in my grandmother’s house – our school photos sitting side by side and thinking, how could he ever deny me when I looked just like him? My father says this was never actually a thought of his – He says he made the decision because he was doing what I now know absent father men to do – continuing to deny his responsibility – now in the financial sense, and to make the woman out to be the offender.