I remember the last time that I held your hand; I was 10 years old and had just been taken into care by my foster mum. You came to my new foster home and promised me that you were always going to keep in touch, that you would never stop seeing me no matter what. But you did and at the age of 10 I learned that my biological parents, who I was meant to call mum and dad, were not always going to be the ones to kiss me goodnight and hold me in their arms when things got tough. You blamed me for getting put into care, telling social services that I had exaggerated the extent of the abuse that I had faced at the hands of your wife and yet you were there, you saw with your very own eyes all the things that she had done to me. The names she called me, the lies she made me tell, the beatings I would get. I loved and still love you with all my heart but I wonder if you too blacked out memories from the past, because they were too painful to confront head on. After all no father wants to admit that he lost custody of his little girl because she was abused by his partner or openly admit that he could have done more to prevent the abuse.
I was six years old when SHE came into our lives and within mere weeks, she had moved in with us and was taking charge of the household. The abuse started off quietly at first, a few comments about my appearance and intellect but over time the abuse got worse and secure in her knowledge that she had entrapped you for good, she began abusing me in front of you. She alienated you from seeing all your friends and family and turned me into her own personal Cinderella, before your very own eyes this woman who you had seen as the ‘one’ became a monster, engorged with the fruits of my labor. Do you know how many times I cried myself to sleep or how I was so scared of what she might do some nights that I would lay awake with my eyes open in bed, so that she couldn’t hurt me when you were sleeping? One of the most painful memories of all was not the physical beatings or the names she would call me, even the mind games she would play with me were nothing in comparison to this event. I was seven years old and had come home to the news that you had married my abuser and the worst part of all was that I had not been invited to my own fathers wedding, his own daughter barred from the ceremony.
It was at that point that I realized I had lost you and when she gave birth to my sister P, the abuse got worse. I was barely functioning and when I came into school bruised and swollen, teachers immediately guessed what had been going on. That day that she beat me so hard that my head was swollen to twice its size you told me, in fact begged me not to say anything. But I did, I told the truth because I thought that they could make the abuse stop but it would be three more years before I was rescued and taken into care at the age of 10. I want you to know that despite what happened, I never blame you for any of the abuse, because I know that she was and continues to manipulate you too. It saddens me that you never got to see me grow up or that it took my aunty getting cancer for you to speak to her again. Look at what this woman has done to you, she controls your every move and stops you from seeing your own daughter. Even your own children, my step-siblings don’t even know that they have another sibling and that is the hardest part of all. Sometimes I wonder whether they will find out the truth and come looking for me, if they do I will tell them the truth. Not because you are a bad father, you are not,but that their mother treated me badly, because she wanted my dad all to herself.
I have tears in my eyes as I write this and it is not because I am upset about being abused or all the events that came after but because I miss you more than words can tell. I will never call anyone else my dad because you are still my father despite everything and I will never say a bad word about you because you are not a bad person. I gave you a second chance to be my father and you do what you feel you can. I have not seen you in 13 years but you still take the time to call me when you can, because in spite of my step-mums actions, I know that you still love me no matter what. I know that you can never have the strength to go against E’s hatred against me and even have my name saved as someone else on your phone. I know that she tracks your calls and I pity that you are stuck with someone as controlling as E. To you she may seem like the most amazing woman on Earth , after all you love her and that has to count for something right? But she is not who you think she is and behind those rose tinted glasses, I know that you are scared too. Of what she might do if you ever left her, of who you could turn to if things went tits up. I don’t want you to grow old surrounded by noone but her and your kids, I want you to to back to your roots and embrace the family that have always been here waiting with open arms. Because we still love you, no matter what.
I remember the last holiday that we had together, in Madeira where you are both from. I was 10 years old and we went out there for the Christmas holidays; I was scared of what she might do to me when we were so far from home that I begged my Aunty, your sister who lives in Madeira to let me stay with her while we were out there. She saw the scars, the scratches and the bruises and realized that the woman who you had promised to love until the end, had beaten me without remorse. She got in touch with social services and within a month of returning back home I was finally taken into care. But the damage was already done, do you remember what happened to me when I was out in Madeira, when my Aunt had an appointment to go to. How I was there out in the sea and you scolded me for almost drowning, as if it was my fault. Did you not see her out there in the water trying to hurt me, how she continued to hurt me time and time again and you still stood by and did nothing? I know I remember and the nightmares I had would plague me throughout my Tween years.
When I first went into care, you came to see me at first and we had supervised visits at your house where social services would sit in, to make sure that I would not get hurt. But she did hurt me, that fateful November night she ran after me screaming obscenities and threatening to do awful things to me. From that moment forth, I was never allowed in your house again but for a few months after you would come to my Foster Mum’s house and we would cook together. You were and still are a chef and those wonderful few months where we would bake and cook together, before going for a blissful stroll would make my heart burst with happiness. I thought that you would do the right thing and leave her but you never did and within months I was told that you could ‘never come and see me again’. You were the first guy to break my heart and the one man that I have truly ever loved, I still love you but it took me a while to accept that I might never see you again and it hurt.
At the age of 23, I am in a far better place than I was back then and I want you to know that I am ok, in fact I am finally at a stage where I could consider myself to be happy. I have been battling depression and anxiety from a young age and while it is partially rooted in the abuse, it also stems from being bullied so I don’t want you to ever blame yourself. At the end of the day, things happen for a reason and if we are ever meant to meet again we will but for now I will hold on to the memories of what we shared, in the short 10 years that we had together. How you kept strong when my mum left us in the middle of the night when I was 2 and a half, how you would treat me like your special princess that you said I was or how even now, though my memory of what you look like is fading, you still call me and that is better than nothing. This Father’s day you may be surrounded by your wife and kids, but I want you to know that I still love you just as much as they do because absence makes the heart grow fonder.
I love you Dad, forever and always,
From Your Daughter Ana x
Have You Ever Dealt With Abuse or Trauma?
Shop The Look
*contains affiliate links