Letter to my Dad

Subject: Letter to my Dad
From: Sophia
Date: 13 Mar 2019

I don’t remember a time before you and Mum divorced. I do, however, remember you introducing me to the woman who would eventually become your new wife. It was only a few months after you left our family home that you brought along this new, super keen woman. When you are young your gut is very keen and the feeling I got was pure and instant dislike. She was all over me. Forcing it. Pushing you. Pushing me. Never openly of course. Subtly and in a soft and calm voice. So subtly it would take another 25 years for it to all come to a head. Her control. Your submission. You didn’t like that I didn’t like her. You turned off all your care and love for me and left me high and dry. It would probably have been better if you had actually absented yourself. Instead, I got to see you in body and voice but not in spirit. The best parts of you were and are gone. Replaced with her robotic persona. I recall you having a “meeting” with me when I was eight where you both sat me down and explained that you were to be married and that you would not be spending any more time with me alone. We were to conduct ourselves as one, happy unit. Apart from it isn’t happy, your Dad leaving your home and then you being shoehorned into a new, badly fitting situation. I would have given anything to spend some time with you alone. Anything to have the chance to ask what your favourite food is or have a father and daughter stroll. Instead, you allowed this woman to stand right in between us. She speaks for you. I imagine you know that. Maybe you even found it annoying in the beginning when you still had a voice. It must be so relaxing now to not even need to speak as she does it all for you. Suffocating our bond. Extinguishing your love. I knew you had stopped loving me. Ages ago I knew as my canny old gut told me. It was after yet another time where I didn’t agree with her evident manipulation and had dared to speak out about it. Young and naïve and not able to play her very elegant game. She is so clever Dad. She manages to seem so unknowing and innocent whilst moulding situations to fit her aims. That’s why you’ve had to move churches, then villages. Her own family don’t speak to her as she’s ostracised them with her know it all attitude that appears if you dare to disagree with her plans. The sadness is overwhelming when I see how she has managed to influence our own family. The family which I remember from being small enough to walk under the kitchen table. Acting like a damsel in distress coupled with the many ailments she has concocted over the years has enabled her to slide into a place of pity with the people who I share blood. She’s fantastic in her methods. She is a gossip. My grandma heard her using me as news on the bus when I was a teenager and I confronted you both about it. She denied it. You took her side. You always take her side. She undermines me as a mother. She couldn’t have her own children so I think she saw me struggling mentally when I had mine as a single parent. She decided that was a perfect chance to swoop in and take her prize. You didn’t expect me to fight the illness, did you? I think you both thought I would give in and eventually die, as so many people do. Then you could have had my child for yourself. I apologised for not dying, to you. Apologised, for being alive. That’s where she’s got us to. Got me to. You’ve become a horrible person Dad. You don’t take care of my son in small but perceptible ways. I can see the ways because I care about him so much. You remove safety features from the car. You let him use the internet without restriction. You let him burn in the sun. He was so afraid from the things he has seen whilst in your care during his unattended time that he couldn’t sleep tonight. He didn’t want to tell me as he thought you would be in trouble. How could you ever be in trouble with her behind you? You can’t. She goes into victim mode. Acts like you, like righteous and sanctified beings. No one at your church can stand you. I know that because one of them told me. As though the secret of it was such a burden that they were desperate to unload it. Because I am not like your wife, Dad. I don’t invite gossip like she does. She revels in it. She loves any drama. Especially if it involves me as she can add it to her pile of evidence that she will one day try to use to get me sectioned. Don’t worry, I have made plans with the family who genuinely care about me in the event you or she decide to do that. Do you know how it feels making plans to counteract your own Dad’s actions before he’s even taken them? That comes from a place of pure terror. That her greed to control my son would cause her to try to get rid of me. Fear. She’s so cunning. You are just knackered I reckon. You drink like a fish these days. Has all that red wine blocked her out? The shitness of it all? Maybe if she had ever bothered to get a job you wouldn’t be facing a miserable retirement. Her pulling her own weight financially instead of spending her time messing up your combined life would have been ideal wouldn’t it? She’s got nothing to do. You can tell as she just writes a load of rubbish all over social media and posts photos and videos of my son. That’s why we are in this mess isn’t it Dad? I didn’t like that she had posted photos and videos of my son for people to see who I don’t know. It is called safeguarding and both you and she do not seem to understand the magnitude of it. Why would you? You didn’t safeguard me. You don’t. I asked you to ask her to take the photos down. She didn’t. She thinks its personal. It’s not. My dislike for her has existed without issue for years and years. Why would I rock the boat over that now? No, the truth is she is dangerous. Her stupidity and her pretend naivety won’t wash with me though. Because posting photos and videos of my son without my permission and for an unknown audience was a boundary I wasn’t going to let her cross. She didn’t take them down the second day. So, I began the process of complaint. I knew it would end up like this as neither of you can be wrong. You didn’t like me raising an issue with her behaviour. You didn’t like having to think. To get involved. You called me names. Loads of names. You really are not in control of yourself after all these years of being her willing puppet. You pulled down my career, my personal choices, the fact I don’t have a partner. You said things I won’t ever forget and won’t ever forgive you for. All to protect her desire to show off using my son, on stupid social media. I am so glad you told me you don’t care about me. That you choose her. I really needed to actually hear it. It will set me free from seeking your approval. It explains so well where my crippling lack of self-confidence comes from. The roots of some of my pain. Because you only ever protect me in the most basic level, in public. In private, when it counts, you are worse than nothing for me. You actually join in. So, I am removing myself from your reaches. Also, from hers. You can keep up the charade that you are fantastic people in the tiny circle that you keep. Because they have no reason to challenge you and if they do you will just reduce that circle further. They can’t kick you out of the church as that wouldn’t be godly. But I bet they wish you would leave. Showing off isn’t Christian. Pass that on to your beloved from me. You don’t have any old friends. I can see why. I am going to be the person I already knew I was now Dad. Free from your condescending silence. Your patronising ways. Constantly making me out to be someone I am not. Somehow, through all your lack of love, I actually ended up being a really nice person. A really strong woman who can protect those she loves. I will be so happy to not have to keep up the pretence that I can tolerate her. I can’t. I will love who loves me back. Not you. You haven’t loved me for a long time. I am taking up that mantle myself. If you wish to see my child you must accept the responsibility of not pretending to be dumb and actually protecting him. From the sun. From bad people. From whiplash across his neck. Because he will not be dealt a shoddy hand like I was. He will be protected well and properly and taught the extremely high value of himself. Because that is what good parents do.