Note: This letter to my dad was written almost two years ago. It was a timely psychology course assignment, but one that would seal my declaration for years of freedom from emotional and mental bitterness. The topic and research were my choice. Post this assignment, my memories of my dad are currently healthy and good ones. Therefore, I would like to share it with you—in two parts. It is my sincere desire that someone from the blogging community or otherwise will be able to benefit from this rare, but potentially helpful missive.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let
God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and
pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2
Dear Father God,
Thank you for my life and the life of my parents. As you are aware, momma’s doing well. Thank you for her health and strength. Even though daddy’s with you now, there are things that I would like for him to know through this letter regarding a father and daughter’s relationship. But in order for him to see this letter, I would like your permission and acknowledgment of my petition for you to open up the curtains of heaven so that he’ll be able to read it.
The purpose of this letter Father God is to let daddy know that I am doing well as an adjusted daughter, wife, mother, grandma and professional student. So, in the meantime what I’ll do is patiently wait until I hear from you.
Good morning Father God, thank you for your answer to my petition in the dream that you gave me last night and for filling daddy in with all the details. Now, I can proceed with this letter.
Hi daddy, oh how I sorely miss you and love you so much. You’re always in my heart and I just want to thank you for the last three years of your life. Those were the most indelibly poignant and best memories I’ve incurred in our relationship. It’s been three years now since your homegoing service, and I’m at peace knowing that you are abiding in God’s Everlasting hands. Oh yes, I’m doing well and am very content with my life. As you already know from what Father God explained to you, I feel that writing this letter is an important step in my journey of reclaiming my complete mental and emotional health. Not only that, your grand children and great grand children, as well as my husband is benefiting from my choices, growth and wholeness.
Daddy, I want you to know that choosing to be whole wasn’t easy. Allow me to delve back, not to find fault, but as an observation beginning with the mid stages in my adolescent development. Afterwards, I will follow-up with conveying situations that impacted my personality as an individual. I believe that it was during that course of my life that I realized the dysfunctional interpersonal relationships in our family. As you know, this painful experience of interpersonal behavior and interaction was very hurtful for all of us, but especially in our relationship as father and daughter.
Perhaps by assigning names to, using psychoanalytic theories and conceptualizing or describing different events, you can better understand, like I, why certain types of influences and behaviors emanated from me—my personality. I wish to share with you how certain negative behaviors as a dad and which existed in our relationship, transacted to me.
To begin with, around the age of 13 or 14 I really needed to feel belong to and I especially needed the intimacy from you. These needs that I was seeking were representations of emotional bonding. Researchers for example, refer to this type of emotional bonding as the Attachment Theory. Basically, an attachment theory involves the emotional bond one has with another. It’s an exchange of comfort, care, and pleasure with one another. Developmental psychologists maintain that there are three patterns of attachment. They are referred to as the secure, anxious or avoidant attachments. The secure attachment style describes an individual who feels secure, comfortable, and safe in a relationship. An individual who feels lack of proximity, insecurity, and absence of attachment in a relationship is considered anxious. Another attachment style and the last one, the avoidant, describes an individual as being somewhat uncomfortable and gets nervous being close to others in a relationship, as well as having difficulties trusting others . According to these studies daddy, I would describe myself as being anxiously attached.
To further explain by using another example, my siblings and I weren’t really that close. If I had it my way, we would’ve played together more, laughed a lot and wouldn’t have fought so often. That may’ve seemed normal to you or perhaps describes a typical family, but my emotional connection lacked proximity and was negative. There was little motivation and it felt as if the joy experienced in my early childhood stages no longer pervaded the atmosphere. I believe that’s probably where I experienced the first feelings of emotional detachment.
Daddy, I know that in heaven there are no misunderstandings, but for the record there were occasional positive sibling connections too. However, I seemingly remember more disharmonies between my siblings and me. To add, research studies suggest that humans need to “have a pervasive drive to form and maintain at least a minimum quantity of lasting, positive, and impactful relationships whether familial or sociocultural”. As for the need for intimacy and according to theorists in psychology, this theory is the motivation which humans seek in relationships . Your closeness, warmth and communication were really what I longed for from you, as my first love. Lack of the above paternal facets, father-daughter exchanges, and working three jobs would, unbeknownst to you, affect my identity for many years to come.