Gestalt Goodbye to My Abuser

(Gestalt Goodbyes include appreciatons,  resentments, and regrets.)

Things that I appreciated  about you, Daddy:  your encouraging me to write creatively; your encouraging me to draw; your teaching me and coaching me to play tennis; your intelligence and lively mind; your sense of humor , and the day I left my homework at home and you chased the city bus downtown to give it to me.

Things I resented  about you: your lack of work ethic; your lying in bed all the time you were home; your sense of entitlement –it seemed you thought the world owed you a lot that you really didn’t deserve; the way you treated Mother; your molesting me; your scrambling my mind with conflicting messages about sex and life; your lack of insight into your problems; your being willing to subject the family to your alcoholic lifestyle; your insising I return home when I had the chance at a much better life with my maternal grandparents; you frightening me when you straggered through the house.

Things I regret: that you remained a weak victim of your father’s molestation; that you suffered and did not become a father I could respect;  that you gave up on yourself and tried to live your life through me. I’m afraid that covers it all. Goodbye to you and all that.

Reprinted from FALLOUT: A Survivor Talks to Incest Offenders.

About Nan Mykel

I used to think I would be a child prodigy, but then I got old. Formerly I had fantasies of rubbing elbows with cultural and academic leaders but that did not come to pass because I did not become a cultural or academic leader or any other kind of leader, for that matter. I am not even an "Alpha Dog," a term learned from a friend who had to become "Alpha Dog" in order to influence her own pet. (When gazes lock, she never looks away.) For years I expected to become a published author, but in passing I could not avoid the fact that I had little to contribute to the world's bulging dumpsters. I'm embarrassed to report that I also considered my primary process artistic productions powerful, rather than mildly neurotic. Which is not to say that I disrespect myself, only that I am beginning to doubt my potential for making a mark on the world. If I focus on strict self discipline I may be able to keep my garbage removed on a weekly basis, to keep the kitty box changed, the clothes cleaned, the dog watered, fed and walked, but that just catches me up to the starting mark again. When writing I physically grapple with words, wrestling them from their indifference into attempted chunks of awareness. I sit heavily on my chair; I breathe in artificially cooled air; my ear drums note the tap tap of the keyboard and the steady uninterrupted sound of the air conditioner, What is that sound? The roar of the ocean from 30 yards away...Inside, my thoughts are are balls in an electronic game machine, bouncing hither and yon from lever to lever. I am a little grim and intent until I recall a dream related by a black man in the prison where I once worked. He said that when he was a small boy, back home, he dreamed he was standing on his front porch pissing, and that he suddenly found himself pissing stars...
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2 Responses to Gestalt Goodbye to My Abuser

  1. I’ve been trying to write a letter to my father too but stuck with the good things and felt guilty that I felt sad on my own behalf and not because he’s gone. I had a thought that one isn’t really ”allowed” to have to one’s parents even if one of them was abusive. Felt free. I think I’ll do another one and be more honest this time. It’s important.

    Like

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