I Am Writing a Collective Memoir About Daughters of Absentee Fathers
My father abandoned me when I was 12. I am writing a collective memoir of other women's stories about their absentee fathers. I'm interested in hearing stories of women who have defied statistics-- women who have risen above the abuse and neglect they lived through and are not in abusive relationships, a drug abuse lifestyle, etc. Women over 18, college graduates, successful businesswomen, stay at home moms with supportive husbands, etc who are willing to share their story, please contact me.
Here is my story:
My parents were never married. They had my brother when they were around 30 years old and my twin sister and I 15 months later. Our father moved out when I was 3 to a larger town about 30 miles away. They had split custody of us, and he soon found another woman with two children around our ages who he eventually married.
The three of us did not get along well with our father for most of our childhood. He was never physically or sexually abusive; instead, he emotionally abused us by constantly speaking ill of our mother, among other ways. Also, he was racist and used his Christian beliefs as a weapon against us because our mother raised us in a secular home.
At age 12, I got in an argument with him about my mother's new boyfriend-- my father got angry that I was talking about him. During the argument, I told him that I didn't want to talk to him ever again. He took my words to heart and never spoke to me again. He continued a relationship with my brother and sister and he became a taboo subject-- he drove a rift in between myself and my siblings. My sister got in a similarly petty argument on our 16th birthday and he cut off communication with her as well. Our brother talks to him every now and then, but my father will disappear for about a year at a time. My sister and I have written letters and e-mails with no response.
The hardest part of our situation is that our father, his wife and her adult children live seven miles from us. My mom and step-dad run into him at the store often, and there are certain stores and areas of town we don't go to because we're afraid we'll have an awkward meeting. Our step-siblings have two different fathers who are also absentee and they are high school drop-outs, drug users and one is a teenage parent. My siblings and I are in college on the dean's list, moving into successful careers, even though life with a single mother was hard and we lived in poverty. I guess that proves we were better off without him as a daily presence in our lives.
It is our choice as adults to make our own happiness. Our family is only our family as long as we wish them to be-- even if I try to get in touch with my father again and start our relationship again, I will never please him. People are in your life for a reason, and likewise, people leave your life for a reason. If he didn't care enough to stick around during your adolescence, you don't deserve to have sleepless nights, tracking him down and asking him to love you.