This particular song has helped me immensely over the past year or so, working to heal myself, not just of the past 20 years, but of things from my whole life.
Unfortunately, neither my father nor my ex-husband quite understand the process I’m going through. None of this is about blame. None of this is about ruining a man’s reputation, or punishing him for actions done in the past. And none of it is asking for any kind of form of amends. None of it is about making them “earn” some form of specious forgiveness.
This is about examining the facts of the events of my life, and trying to look at my perspective of those events, and figuring out what I can do to heal the wounds from those events, whether those wounds are because of my chosen perspective of the time or because of choices that either man, or both men, made.
The reality is both long term romances in my life – my ex-husband and my current boyfriend – are in some ways very similar to my father. I’m not saying that either one repeats who my father is, just that there are some particular similarities.
My ex-husband exhibits frankly an exaggerated version of almost all of my father’s negative traits. But I was enough enmeshed in my love/hate relationship with my father to define some of those negative traits as positive ones. It has taken years, and a certain amount of distance, to allow me to take a more balanced view of some of those traits. I’m not saying that my ex doesn’t have some good points, but they are hidden under a lot of other things.
My current boyfriend, on the other hand, who I have been with now for over two years, exhibits many of my father’s good traits, and a few of his bad traits. No one is perfect, but I know that my boyfriend tries very hard to be good to me.
And that’s really why the song above works for me, even though it is talking about her child’s father and contrasting him with her own father.
My boyfriend did do those things. He did pick me up, piece by piece, from the ground where my ex had abandoned me. He wanted me, after years of me begging my ex to want me. He filled the holes that my ex dug in my soul. He tries to take care of me as much as I’ll let anyone take care of me. I don’t have to earn the love he gives me, unlike with my ex. My boyfriend helped me to see that I have worth in my own unique self, not just worth based on what I can do for or be to other people.
And yes, he restored my faith in men in general.
Don’t get me wrong, my father is at heart a good man. And I do love him dearly. But, our relationship became toxic a long, long time ago. I will never turn my back completely on my father, like I have on my ex. But, I will limit the damage he can do, whether he realizes he’s doing it or not.