An Open Letter To A Father, From The Daughter You Left Behind

Photo: Yupa Watchanakit / Shutterstock
woman sitting on bed

By Natasha Pyper

Sometime before I was born, you decided you didn’t want to be around for me.

You did not know me and you had not seen me, but you had already made up your mind: I was not to be yours.

My whole life growing up, I was raised to do well, meet a great man, get married, have kids, and then, I would be part of a happy family with my children; but I knew better.

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When I was younger, my elementary classes would make Father's Day cards, but no one knew just how much that hurt.

The first time you actually met me, you cried, telling me you wish you had been around but you feel like it is too late now.

And sure, I may be 22, but I have so many more years to live. You decided on my behalf that it wasn’t worth it.

I remember meeting your friends; their exact words were “I didn’t know you had a daughter.” It was as if, in that moment, I had never existed.

My family members would tell me, “it’s his loss, and it’s time to move on. You don’t need him anyways.” And I guess a part of what they said was right.

I didn't need him; I wanted him.

I wanted him to want me, and I wanted to be daddy’s little girl. I wanted that chance. I wanted my biological father to accept me and I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t.

The truth is, when you are left by a parent, you wonder why time and time again. You wonder what is wrong with me? You become afraid, because if someone who is meant to love you unconditionally won’t, who really could ever love you? Who else would leave? Why would anyone ever really stay?

You can say what you want to get me to move on, to convince me that it shouldn’t hurt, but it does. And it will. While yes, I grew up with father figures and eventually got an amazing step-dad, it still hurt.

We are told early on that our parents will love us unconditionally, every day, for the rest of our life and you did not. You let me down, you chose to not love me, and you abandoned me.

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People dismiss and regularly spit criticism that “they must have daddy issues.” When did it become okay for society to judge someone based on the personal problems? When did being left by a parent become a joke?

We now live in a society where single parents are the norm, but does that make it hurt any less? No.

Truth is, everyone can sit and remind me that I don’t need him, but when I was little, I did. People can say, well he is just a sperm donor. No, he wasn’t.

They can say he doesn’t know how to be a parent. He does. They can say he doesn’t know what he’s missing out on. He does.

The truth is, behind every person who was left by a parent is a child who will be sad. Someone who just doesn’t understand what is wrong with themselves some days.

We wonder, if I can’t fit in with my family, where do I fit in? And yes, we may seem strong on the outside, but we are hurting deep down on the inside, and no matter what you say, that pain will always be there.

To all of my fellow friends, the ones who have been left: it is okay.

We just can’t dwell. I wanted to learn little life lessons from him, and as it turns out, I did. He ended up teaching me the most important things, without ever even being here.

Yes, I am afraid of being left by anyone who walks into my life, but if they do leave, I will survive.

I learned what it was to be strong in a situation where someone who is meant to love you, does not. I learned what it meant to be brave.

I learned that he truly has missed out on so much of my life, and that it is okay to feel that hurt it brings, no matter what people tell me.

Most importantly I learned what type of parent I will be: I will be there.

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Natasha Pyper is a writer and contributor to Unwritten. She writes on topics of family, lifestyle, and relationships.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.