After I heard the news, I felt both intense compassion and rage towards my father simultaneously. It’s really hard to explain because I can’t remember feeling such extreme polarity before. How can I still feel compassion towards someone who is so easy to justifiably hate?
He was a horrible father. He was the role model of what I didn’t want to be as a partner and parent. He hated us and called us stupid. I never felt like I was good enough. I never felt like I was enough of anything. Smart enough. Brave enough. Happy enough. It’s hard to feel like I was never enough, unlovable, despite my best efforts.
He tormented us. He laughed at our fears. Even worse, he taught us to laugh at our siblings shortcomings and fears. If we laughed, we wouldn’t be targeted next. We were pitted against each other for sport. How could there be unity? Most of the time it was safe to pretend not to care. I’m sorry I did not comfort you, brother, while you cried. I was just a coward trying to survive.
My dad is a depressed man. He lived a life of regrets. I see that now. He wasted his life in front of the TV screen, not playing ball with his kids. But I always felt calm if the TV was blaring when I came into the house. It was the silence I feared most. In the silence, I never knew if I would find him dead. Do you know how scary it is to feel that fear as a child?
He often flew into rages over nothing. He was abusive, but he is still my dad. When I was a child I hated him and wanted him to burn in hell for all of the things he did to hurt us. But now I feel pity for the mess he has become.
I had to see him one day after it all happened. My mom hasn’t been well and needed me to give her a ride to the doctor for tests. After the appointment, I sat down with my dad. It was mostly small talk, the only real conversations I ever had with my dad.
I felt a lot of stress leading up to our visit. What would I say? Would the rage or compassion come out? I had to be wise with my words, but was coming up blank. Should I tell him what a fool he is? Should I tell him how some of his actions hurt me? Should I scream and yell at him like he did many times to me?
Instead I told him I loved him as tears poured down my cheeks. He told me he loved me too. I said I was sorry. He asked why. I said I was sorry that it had to be this way. This wasn’t what I would have chosen.
He looked sickly, like he lost a lot of weight. He is already in hell. That is what you get when you live a life you regret. What good would heaping a few more coals be for someone who is already burning in hell? I felt pity towards him. I never wanted to see him burn. I just wanted him to be a dad to me.
I don’t have any regrets over how I handled the situation. More than anything, I don’t want to live a life of regrets. I don’t want to be like him.
I don’t want to be his daughter, yet I am. My compassion rages.
2 thoughts on “Compassion rages”
Was just catching up on your last few posts. Looks like you have been going through a lot of hard stuff. Praying for you. I”m glad to hear you plan to run another 50k. Last year I cut back on running to try to ‘help my family’ and all I did was hurt myself. Some of them will take a lot of time to get better. I have to take care of myself. You , too! You matter. And God really does love us.
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Thanks! Yes, it’s almost impossible to help the ones we love when we are running on empty. But it’s a struggle all good moms face. I want you to know that I’m praying for you and your family as well. I hope your daughter and family retains full health soon.
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