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acoa daughter seeks to forgive

I have no idea how to do this!  My father is a raging alcoholic and my mother has been sober for 25 years.  SHe's my rock. But my father is now my issue. I have always loved him unconditionally even thru his anger and abuse.  Now that I have a 2 year old, I am going through therapy.  AGAIN!  I have realised that I am VERY ANGRY with my father and the lack of parenting that I recieved as a child.  I am working with my counselor and am in the process of writing a letter to my father to let him know of my feelings. But I am still so very angry with him and don't know how to let it go.  My anger is affecting my marriage with my husband, who has been very patient with me.  But I'm tired. I'm tired of letting this affect my life. my question is......  How do you forgive someone who doesn't even know they've done something wrong!  How do I start to "let it go"
I'm sure there is someone else out there who has the wisdom of forgiveness. would you please share it with me?

signed always hopefull
5 Responses
Avatar universal
Oh, I can so relate to how your feeling.  I'm very glad that your seeking therapy to help you find your way through this.  My father who I loved so much growing up and yes even now, although we both have lost our way in regards to our relationship, is very much an alcoholic for as long as I remember.  I have come to learn over the years that I cannot change him or his choices.  Yes, I have blamed him lack of support and being there for me (his only child) for much of my low self esteem, bad relationships and all the things that kind go along with alcoholism and an absent father.  Your letter is a good idea, for you.  It's important that you tell him how you feel.  No it very well may not change anything about him, but you will at least be able to know that you have got your feelings off your chest.  I think the most important thing for you to do, is to realize that people like you and I do have to take control of some point.  Yes, growing up in this kind of environment with that type of person, whether they are there with you or not affects us greatly.  However, there comes a time when we have to realize that we can no longer let that control what we do with the rest of our lives.  Meaning, we cannot let the past control our future.  We have to let go and learn from it.  It's not fair that we had to go through it, but once we know the damage it can cause and can continue to cause if we don't take charge, then it would kind of our own responsibility for letting it.  Forgiveness for the past might not happen.  What we have to do is ACCEPT that it happened, and do our best to move on from it.  Break that cycle of letting it control what we do, how we do, and why we do...otherwise, we will letting our own families..(like your husband) have to suffer for things that they also...do not deserve.  Good for you for in realizing that enough is enough and may you find your way to your own best solution...for you!
Avatar universal
P.S.  Always try to remember that Alcoholism is an illness.  Although everyone around him may see it, he very may well not see it as an issue..or anyone else's business for that matter. (my dads saying) Only he can fix it, we can't, and he very well may never fix it.  So we can only accept he is who he is and continue to try to love what it was that your do love him for.  My dad is an alcoholic who always chose his alcohol to me, my mom, seeing my daughter his grandchild the day she was born, but...he helps American Vets, he helps disabled people through work with the American Legion (yes its were he drinks) but he has his good things...even if its not me
544292 tn?1268882668
I understand. I really do.

My Father was a powerful, strong, amazing man in many ways. He was also angry, scary, depressed, unable to express emotion and an alcoholic. I'll never forget one day talking to a friend who happened to have the Big Book of AA in his hands. My friend was is also an alcoholic and I said, "I wish my Father had tried to get help." My friend answered, "How do you know he never tried? Maybe he went to a meeting? Maybe he tried to see what he was doing." It made my hysterically sad, like as in instant tears, the thought of my Father trying to help himself out of the bottle in the basement of a church somewhere.

Because he's dead. From pancreatic and liver cancer which is code for; "He killed himself with booze."  I found out about his diagnosis and knew he'd be dead in 6 weeks. I was only wrong by a couple of days. My Father emotionally and physically abused my Brother and myself when we were young. My Mother denies that she was ever hit by my Father. I find that extremely hard to believe. She also minimizes the beating with Dad's leather belt that we got. My Father was about to turn 51 when he died. He died post surgically of a heart attack. Due to the Cancer.

I wasn't there. My Brother wasn't there. I was 27 when he died. My Mother had divorced him and he lived with a woman who could very accurately be described as a Narcissistic psychopath.

How did I heal? Slowly. By telling myself the truth about my childhood. Many people won't tell themselves the truth about what happened in childhood. That's why your own child is triggering all the anger. Because the issues are there.

There's three books that helped me, "It'll never happen to me," By Claudia Black. "Drama of the Gifted Child," By Alice Miller and "Facing the Fire," By John Lee. The last book deals exclusively with the emotion of anger. It's not light reading. But it gave me an idea of how to rid myself of old anger. Stored in the right side of the brain ... encased in blood is most traumatic memory. Lots of people have no access to it.

EMDR which is a form of therapy for Post Traumatic Stress, is also amazing. It is time limited, meaning you do it a maximum of ten times. It is the only form of therapy approved by the Veteran's Administration.

It took me years after my Father's death to forgive him in a true and deep way. We had no relationship at all from the time I was 19 until he died. I don't regret that; because I can't change it and I had very serious reasons for distancing myself. Forgiveness is not condoning abuse or neglect. Forgiveness is for you. It rewards you, not the person forgiven. It also doesn't bring the past back.

I can now claim my Father's gifts. Which were many and wide ranging. Before I forgave him, it was like he did not exist at all. Now I see how much of Him is in me and instead of scaring me or making me sad, I am glad that he gave me the traits he did. He was a sad man, and many many other things as well. Like all of us!

I hope this helps. I do know how you feel.

Love and Healing,
401095 tn?1351391770
Dont know if this would help at all...just made me think of this..was a long time ago...right after my divorce...a patient..nice man dying with cancer whom i had become friends with due to frequent hospitalizations which happens in the last year or so...we were talking and i was telling him about my husband and i arguing over tax issues...in the midst of a divorce at the time...a painful divorce to say the least...he told me i had an awful lot of anger...and he was right...he said i needed to forgive him...I am like how?...he does not deserve it...he said "U dont even have to tell him that u r forgiving him....u forgive for ur self and ur own wellbeing as anger is a weight on ur shoulders that u will carry with u and drag u down....i thought he was crazy...but i thought about it and I did...i forgave my x but never told him....but i let it go and came to peace with it...many found it strange...especially my mom who holds onto things like concrete...thought it meant i still wanted him back...carrying around that load of hate and anger was alot and i was not hurting him one bit...he coulda cared less...i was only hurting myself by not forgiving and moving on...ur dad will always be with u till he is gone...he probably loves u to the best of is capability....forgiveness can be a selfish thing sometimes and not a favor to someone else...but a favor to u..this is what i found out
Avatar universal
My first thing I can only find the words to say is, wow.  What a powerful and enlightening post.  Thanks for the book suggestions, I do believe I may pick one of those up for myself.  I'm sending you thoughts of strength and compassion through your own jouney.
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