things i've tried to tell you a thousand times: an open letter to my father

Subject: things i've tried to tell you a thousand times: an open letter to my father
From: k.
Date: 22 Feb 2022

i know you think that i'm mad at you for the years of abuse and emotional turmoil that you put me through, but i'm not. i'm mad at myself for not recognizing the abuse sooner.
i've tried for a while now to forget certain things--the fear i felt when you'd shut me up in my room while you drank with your loud, loud friends; the disappointment i felt when you'd ghost me after i changed my entire schedule for just an hour or two with you; the fear i felt when you would leave me in parking lots all alone. all alone. anyways. i've tried to forget, but i can't.
i got a phone before anyone else in my grade. everyone thought that i was cool or spoiled or rich--i wasn't. i wanted to explain. i wanted them to know what you'd done; wanted them to know that you would drop your six year old off at home alone because you had somewhere else to be. that she had panic attack after panic attack after panic attack because she was all alone in a dark, dark house. that sometimes you would leave her for an hour--at least it seemed--to see your friends because her mother didn't think she'd be safe around them. her mother was right. the mother you call controlling and crazy and sick was trying to keep me safe. she has never stopped trying to keep me safe. she knows what it's like. we both have a relationship with you that no one else will ever have to have. me, your daughter. her, your ex-wife.
i know about the divorce. you don't know that i know, but i do. i know that you cheated on mom. no one will tell me, but i'm quite sure i know who you cheated on her with. i was never supposed to know, not really. wasn't supposed to know any of it, but the way i learned to survive the life that was built and burned and chosen for me was to be secretive and sneaky and scared and curious and i was. i found out.
remember when mom called you and asked you to come over? i was sitting right next to her while she was on the phone. i remember. "d., i need you to come over. k. cut herself. no, no, intentionally. d., please, she needs to see that we can coparent. please." she begged you to come. she didn't know what to do. no one did. what are you supposed to do when you find out that your kid has been hurting themself? sure, i get that. but, i, you, and everyone else involved know that you don't act like nothing happened. you don't refuse to come. i'm sorry that i'm a lot to handle. i think i have to be a lot to handle. otherwise, i disappear, and i just got back. i don't want to disappear again.
you know, i really can't understand you. you're one person that i can't even empathize with. you're incredibly predictable but incredibly unpredictable all at once. it scares me. you scare me. counseling helps, but i'm still so screwed up from you. i hope that in the impossible scenario in which you were to come across this, that you know who wrote it. you know what you did. you know what you do.

you know that no matter how hard i try, i can't hate you and you're so pleased by that. i don't deserve the pain that you've caused me.

your daughter,