This was the day when my world fell apart. I was only 7 years old. It was early summer. My father was away for 2 weeks with his band and I was waiting for him to come home. My 10 year old cousin was over at our house that day. I remember my father approaching so we ran outside to greet him. I was so happy to have my daddy with me again. After he went inside the house, my cousin and I played in his car. She opened the glove box and found an envelope with pictures. I thought those were our family pictures so we started looking at them, only to realise those pictures were of him and some blond girl (she was 16 by the way) at the beach. I felt so broken. At that time, it was my dream to go for a beach holiday with my parents, but my dad never wanted to go on any holiday with me and my mum. Seeing the pictures of him and another woman broke my heart. I felt so betrayed and couldn’t believe he took a stranger for a holiday instead of his family. From that moment everything is hazy. I remember lots of tears, and my mum and my dad shouting at me like it was my fault. After this day, my childhood was over. I felt like a zombie and don’t even remember much. The same summer we moved out and the divorce had started. I remember being in the car with my parents and they were asking me who I wanted to live with. I was so confused, I didn’t even know what divorce was. None of my friends were from divorced families and I felt so different. Even in the new town. All my new classmates were from functioning families and I was the outsider.

Fast forward, my father never stuck to his schedule of having me for the weekends and if he showed up I’d end up with my grandparents. Shortly after he moved to a different country and didn’t even try to keep in touch. He really messed me up, but despite all of this I tried to connect with him when I was 16. We maintained some kind of relationship for a few years – although he was mostly absent and I ended up spending time with his girlfriend and looking after their kid. I realised that he never cared about me when he asked me to pretend that I was not his daughter in front of his girlfriend’s family and kicked me out because I visited my grandmother (whom he didn’t speak to). That happened on my 20th birthday. I don’t have any happy memories with my dad, only him pushing me away because he was too busy playing guitar. I spent my teenage years proving to him that I am worth loving only for him to tell me to pretend that I am not even his daughter. It really damaged me and it will take a long time to heal.

I am 25 now and it took me many years to realise that the reason why I wanted to have a relationship with him was only because I idealised him in my head. It had a huge impact on me as a teenager as I was constantly looking for love. On some occasions I got involved with older guys. My dad was my role model – he was very promiscuous and I thought it was cool. So, I thought if I followed in his footsteps, I would find some sort of happiness. Now, I do regret many things. Thank God that I realised early on that this wasn’t the way to go and that I found my husband who has been by my side since I was 19. Without his support I really don’t know where I would be now.

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