Last year I made a phone call to my father after not speaking to him for nearly three years. It went well at the time. I forgave him for the abuse in my childhood. However, few months later I found myself having a breakdown about it and I haven’t called him since. Two steps forward, one step back.
I was talking with a friend yesterday about that, and he pointed out that having an amazing relationship with my father is automatically tied to the fact that I have already done the hard part of forgiving him. I hadn’t really considered that until today. And now I am feeling like that might be something that I want.
How do you move forward from a place like that? How do I draw boundaries that will keep me safe, but maintain the openness that it will take to have a real relationship with my father? How do navigate a positive relationship with my former abuser as a feminist trying to heal and let go of the past?
It’s really painful to be faced with the choice of either shutting my parents out because it’s too hard to have a relationship with them, or embarking on the possibility of being hurt all over again. Of course, there’s a third possibility: that it will be different if I make it different with intention. Either way, the bottom line is that I want more than just not talking to my parents in order to cope.