Lately I’ve been remembering how much I loved my father, the same man who sexually abused me. In ten years of healing, I have gone through many phases of anger and grief, beginning with grieving my image of a happy childhood in a normal family. I have worked hard to listen to my inner child, believe her body-memories, and learn how to take care of her.
It was important to build my own world based on my knowledge and apart from my family’s myths. Just now in writing my memoir of recovery, I’m writing about exactly that turning point where I learned to distance myself psychically from family and create my own reality. It was wrenchingly difficult.
So now I’m going around the spiral again, closer to being able to hold both feelings—the pain and anger in response to abuse and the love I felt both before and after. My father was a fascinating man—smart, interested in all kinds of people, a wonderful teacher, boyish and curious (and of course, irresponsible and self-centered). What a terrible loss that he made me withdraw my wholehearted love from him.