• Giustina D'Elia

The Father Wound: P1

Updated: Oct 15, 2019

With father’s day being celebrated not too long ago, I felt compelled to share my own journey with the father wound.

It took me 26 years to find my father. Words are not enough to describe the painful confusion of looking your father in the face at the same time your body is frozen, drained from all feelings and your heart is beating in your guts trying to say his name.

After a series of devastating losses on all levels of my life over the last few years, the universe was giving me opportunities to put my life into perspective pretty quickly and very harshly.

I found myself homeless twice in two years, having lost all of my possessions along with the career that I had just started to build.

During this time I made the choice to move back home with my mother and grandmother. You see, I left home when I was 16, so to return home at 36 felt like I had failed at life. I was suicidal, I was depressed, and I was also determined to do whatever it took to get the fuck back up.

I’m self-reflecting by nature, almost to a fault, and I was adamant to figure out what was going on. Why this was happening? What was I supposed to be learning and doing? I consulted my tribe of tarot readers, astrology chart advisors, the moon, the sun and the stars. One of the many lessons that was kicking me in the face was the realization that I was still that 11 year old girl my father abandoned on the stoop 26 years ago and that I had been waiting for him to come back this whole time.

I had spent the last 26 years waiting, terrified to step into my life. Desperately trying to find the words that were holding my life hostage.

So on Christmas Day I did what any human who was searching for their father would do and I Googled him along with his wife. I found an address. It was a Christmas miracle. This wasn’t the first time I tried to find him.

In January 2019 I went on a road trip with my best friend, and I confronted my father. It took him a moment to recognize who I was. For 45 minutes I was able to say all the things I couldn’t say when I was 11 years old, sitting on the stoop in shock 26 years ago. He was defensive, he was angry, he apologized.

We cried.

The only goal I had set was for me to finally get off of the stoop, and take my life in my hands so I could move on with my life knowing that I did everything I could to be different from the people who raised me.

For the next 3 months he made sporadic efforts to call me, to see me, to help me get my life back on track. I was grateful and also trepidatious to allow this man full access to my life.

One day we went for a walk, and he made a comment about how he likes to live a simple life in comparison to others who he feels tend to complicate things. He was also drawn to a picture on my fridge and couldn’t stop talking about how silly it was. I didn’t take this picture, I found it on the internet, photographer unknown. It was a picture of a naked woman crawling into the mouth of an alligator. To me it represented fearlessness. A willingness to risk death for the transformation of life. He wasn’t a fan of the picture and kept referring to the concept as “weird.”

As we were walking, everything in me came to a sudden stop. “How has anything about your life been simple?” This question came flooding out of my mouth but the intensity had been building. Out came more questions, questions that had gone unanswered for 26 years. “Why wasn’t I invited to your second wedding?”, “Do your children know that I exist?”, “Where were you?” I watched this man blame everyone including me, deflect all responsibility and avoid all accountability from the selfish choices he had made and continues to make that negatively impact his children.

During this conversation I found out that his wife’s family was unaware that he was married with children when he started dating her. And that is why I wasn’t invited to his second wedding. I was 13 years old when he got remarried. His wife was aware that he was married with children when they got together though. To protect their dignity and shame, they made the choice to hide his children from her family and hide his wedding from his kids.

As far as I know, his whole side of the family including my grandparents, who I maintained a relationship with up until recently, have been protecting his double life filled with lies.

The children he has with his current wife still don’t know that I am their older sister. As I tried to grapple with the mind fuckery, and visions of them eating Sunday night dinner together with this huge secret in the background I became enraged with the fact that I had to go and find my father, and if I hadn’t done that he would still be living his double life with ease and no accountability.

So my sassy self and I said…

“With all due respect, you are living a lie,” and then he preceded to tell me that I’m dwelling and that I need to let it go and that he only wishes the best for my life.

What a heart breaking joke of clarity. All of a sudden every relationship, every toxic, unavailable, avoidant, abusive, irresponsible, co-dependent man that I had attracted into my life made sense. Ahhhh this is why. My father is the biggest fuck boy of them all.

As we walked back to my apartment, I had nothing left to say. I got my apology, I got my answers. I finally understood that none of what happened to me was my fault but it is now my responsibility how I choose to live the rest of my life and who I will allow into it. I got myself off of the stoop. I walked into the mouth of the alligator. I fucken did it.

He left. I found him. I faced him.

I have not seen my father since this day.

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