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Healing from Parental Abuse


Here are excerpts from a client’s letter showing her triumph over trauma from a highly abusive father. I hope her growth inspires you to continue on your path to healing.

“I finally get it. I get that my father is incapable of loving me, feeling empathy by putting himself in my shoes, caring about my feelings, etc. I see that he is sociopathic and a malignant narcissist and it feels so very painful. I see that I have believed the lie that I am not worthy of being loved as he continues to put others needs over mine. I see that I have believed that I was crazy, wrong, a trouble maker, too sensitive, etc. I see that I have been abused. That my mother was abused and afraid and numb and couldn’t protect me. I see how I have been codependent in my relationships with men and friendships with women and my sister. 

My eyes are wide open to the truth and I am feeling the pain. I am so determined to focus on the truth about myself (not the lies I have been told about myself) and stop being codependent with people. Codependent behaviour seems so ingrained though, and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed at how much it is going to take to change. Awareness is the first step to change though. 

It still feels so painful: my reality is that I will never be loved by my father. I don’t want to play the superficial game with him and that is what is required to be in his life. I just won’t do it at the moment. I just get so triggered when I talk to him and he is so very disrespectful, treats me like I am scum, undermines what I say and believe, etc. Why would I want that in my life?

The reality is that my father is how he is and not how I want him to be. He never will be. And I can protect myself from his abuse by not interacting with him. At the end of the day, he doesn’t care anyway. That’s the reality, and reality bites. But I would rather live in reality than the deluded world of a narcissist or false beliefs that I am a piece of shit undeserving of anything good – at least I see that is not true now. This is growth. I just feel kind of scared, a bit lonely and fragile – and in pain.”

I replied to my client that feeling loss can be healing and I know that she will be alright because she has what it takes. And I hoped her grief and pain would slowly dissipate and eventually be replaced mostly by indifference toward her father, along with some sadness about what she didn’t get from him and compassion that, although he did the best he could, because of his own horrendous childhood, it was far from enough.