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My Father's Abandonment Made Me Consider Suicide at 6 Years Old

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My Father's Abandonment Made Me Consider Suicide at 6 Years Old
4 min read | Apr 2022

My Father's Abandonment Made Me Consider Suicide at 6 Years Old

It took a long time for me to separate my father from the trauma he created in my life.

Doña Barbara Speaks / Millennial / Undisclosed / Digital Marketing and Sales

The last time someone asked me about my biological dad, I was at a fundraiser party and holding a spicy margarita in my hand. “How is your father?” The question was simple, and anyone but me could have answered it. But in my mind, I thought: How would I know about the man who chose to leave me and not talk to me?

My biological dad is still a vulnerable subject for me, even though I’ve tried to avoid it for as long as I could. There is always someone who asks about my parents, not because they purposefully want to touch on my pain but because family is always the go-to small talk subject. At that moment, I felt sad, angry and heartbroken. I hated that his memory made me emotional. It made me feel stupid to cry over something that happened so many years ago. I hated that it affected me. 

The word in itself —“dad”—was a constant reminder of the love I had lost. My colleague, the one who had asked me about him, worked in IT and was bad at social cues. For that reason, he couldn’t read my sadness, thereby making it easier to hold in my tears. 

“”

I Considered Suicide After My Father Never Showed Up

I excused myself with my colleague and rushed to the ladies’ room to cry in peace. I looked at myself in the mirror, and I noticed my mascara had become undone and my eyes were weary. At 25 years old, I remembered a time 19 years ago, when I was in front of a mirror with a knife close to my heart, committed to ending my suffering. I remember I felt unworthy of love because the most important person in my life, who swore to protect me, broke his promise and my heart.

It was as if I was 6 years old again. As if the pain of losing my dad never left me. So I closed my eyes to remember how I almost ended my life after coming home from school. I chose to relive that painful moment because my therapist had advised me in previous sessions to not avoid my feelings. So I returned to the time when my dad had forgotten to come celebrate Father's Day at my school. It wasn’t the first time he’d promised to do something only to break his word. 

All the other girls had their dads right next to them eating cake, playing and taking pictures for the yearbook. I was the only one alone. I left early, hoping no one would ask me why my dad would never show up to these events. I knew if someone had asked me, I wouldn’t be able to fake it. I would start crying. 

I got home early before my mom arrived from work. I rushed inside the house, locked all the doors and shut all the windows, and then I sat down in front of our huge living room mirror. I meticulously looked at all the features on my face and began pointing out things that could be wrong with me and that would make my father’s absence reasonable. 

After a few minutes of holding the knife, I began crying, thinking about how horrible it would be for my mom to find me in a pool of blood in the living room. I sobbed, hoping no more tears would come out. I didn’t want my mom to lose me. After all, she had lost my dad, too. We had both lost him. I was so absorbed in my own pain, it became easy to overlook my mom’s. It took me a few hours to pull my emotions together.

“”

Therapy Has Helped Me Accept My Last Name

I’ve only confessed this once, to a priest in high school. Otherwise, nobody knows about it. I began using my mom’s maiden name rather than my biological dad’s last name, which made me feel powerful and less ashamed of my history. For once, it felt like I had control over my life. Until seventh grade, when my math teacher said, “Next time you don’t add your real last name, I will give you a zero.” Being the good student that I was, this came as a bucket of cold ice. 

My dad’s abandonment also affected my relationships with men who were my age and those who were interested in me in a romantic way. I avoided having any relationships or allowing myself to be attracted to men. My reason lay in fear of being hurt by them. I would only let myself be with those who I knew I wouldn’t fear losing. 

The last time I talked to my dad was about two years ago. He sent me the most painful words I have ever read. I still keep the screenshots of the messages but I don't go back to read them. For a second, I doubted he was my dad. The last communication I have from him is an email insulting me for choosing to help his ex-partner with my two younger brothers at a difficult time. He said I was only their "nanny" working for his ex for money. He wrote I lost all values, morals and loyalty by choosing to stay at her side. To me there were no sides, I was supporting my two-half brothers. 

After some therapy, the fear of getting hurt and taking on my biological dad’s last name and looks became easier to digest. Avoiding the subject has always been my coping mechanism. I even postponed writing this essay several times because I didn’t want to relive the pain that comes as a result of thinking about my dad. 

Forgiveness is about letting go of grudges but in my case, the former also applies to people. I chose to distance myself from my biological dad. I am happier since I made the decision.

I may have his nose, eyebrows and captivating smile, but I do not have his heart. I love him, but a good person wouldn’t repeatedly and intentionally hurt their loved ones. My hope and goal are to prioritize my mental health. For once, I want to stop looking at the past with tears in my eyes so that the next time someone asks me, “Which one of your parents do you resemble?” I can reply without a knot in my throat and without feeling unworthy that “I look like my biological dad.”

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