Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How it Feels to Forgive an Abusive Father

By Molly Silvanic

One of the most difficult situations in my life has always been my relationship with my father. It’s hard for me to talk about it, think about it, or even remember it. I usually just avoid thinking about the situation altogether. That changed, though, when I wrote my Flip Your Script stories. Somehow, I thought I would be able to write about my father without feeling anything. I figured I would just write the story and not feel anything. I was so wrong.

While writing Part One of my flip, “Cracked But Not Broken,” I was angry. While writing it, I pictured everything in my head and it brought back all the pain that I had once felt. Surprisingly, I could remember every detail, as if it had happened yesterday. I remember him being drunk and me trying to leave. Honestly, if I had known it would have made me recall all the pain I felt, I might not have written it. Typing the words became harder and harder; the scene in my head continued to play for like a week after I finished writing it.

When I began writing Part Two, I was still angry at my father. I continued asking myself, how can I write a flip for the first version. He doesn’t deserve the paper or the words! How am I supposed to know how he felt? How can I possibly step into his shoes? I sat and stared at the blank screen for about an hour until I decided just to start with a setting. Once I had the setting -- a dark cold hallway in my father’s old house, I could picture my father in this hallway. I knew he would have to be drinking because it was so rare that I would ever see him when he wasn’t drinking.

As the story began to unfold, I realized that I did understand my father more than I had thought. I understand why he was so angry at me and my family because he was alone. He was trapped in his house by himself without his son, his daughter, or his wife; his only way to cope was through the alcohol. That alcohol is what brought his madness, his sadness, and his downfall.

After completing these two Flip Your Script stories, I am not going to become “Daddy’s little girl.” However, I did give my father a phone call though. He answered and told me he missed me and wanted to see me. He told me he was proud of everything I was doing my senior year at SUNY Albany.

Do I want a relationship with my father? Yes. Do I forgive him for everything that he has done? Yes. Will I ever be able to forget the pain and abuse he put my family and me through? No. I do not know if I will ever be able to forgive him enough to establish the kind of father-daughter relationship that other loving families enjoy. 

Writing these stories, however, has helped me to understand why my father drank and why he was so sad. God has helped me to forgive him for what he has done. Being able to understand my father’s actions has helped me find forgiveness to him. I no longer am haunted by the memories of my father; now they are just painful memories that I understand will forever haunt him. 

Molly Silvanic graduated from the University at Albany, State University of New York, on Sunday, May 20th. She will enter a master's program in Education in the fall.  Part One of this Flip Your Script appeared on Thursday, May 17th. Part Two followed on Monday, May 21st.  For more on the Flip Your Script exercise, and the way it empowers writers and helps them find empathy and forgiveness, go to the Happiness class blog. For other Flip Your Script stories, go to the Search function on MyStoryLives, and type in Flip Your Script.

No comments: