I’m used to being abandoned. I’m used to being disappointed, let down, led on, and pushed to the side afterwards. At first, I was naive to it. I didn’t think people were intentionally trying to hurt me, but after awhile it started to feel like a casual joke. It was something that I just simply expected without much explanation. Why would anyone stick around and be there for me? First, it was the two father figures in my life — biological and adoptive. Maybe “father figure” is a bit lenient and generous to call the guys who were too selfish or cowardly to be there for me when their daughter needed them the most. Others were people who drifted into my life, embracing this grand entrance, and I thought that they were significant. As time progressed and disappointments turned into something regular, I stopped caring. I gave the people who abandoned me too many chances each time they came around. It’s like I never learned, because no matter what, I continued to see the best in people and believed in multiple chances. I had my heart broken and my soul burned. I felt like an idiot or a fool and I wanted to erase all of the precious time spent with those who took me for granted and walked away like it was the easiest thing in the world. Little did they know I had a huge heart, and I had so much love to give. Little did I know — they didn’t deserve any of that love. They didn’t deserve all my stories, all of my accomplishments, or getting to know the amazing, resilient person I was becoming. I was only resilient because of them and all the stupid letdowns they threw at me.
I’m not going to throw myself a pity party, though — that’s not what my plan is in writing this. It’s just a little reminder to myself, and to others, that the world isn’t full of terrible and selfish people like this. Not everyone is out to get you, to hurt you, to abandon or ignore you. It’s still taking me so much time to figure that out. Today, I am still in the process of accepting that; it’s so hard.
The first one was my biological father. He pretty much left me when I was a baby. Even though he came to visit me or take care of me in agreement with my mother, he might as well have just walked away from the moment my sixteen-year-old mother announced that she was pregnant. What was the point of him sticking around anyway? He didn’t genuinely love me the way a father should; granted he was an immature eighteen-year-old but I feel like it wouldn’t have made much of a difference if he was a full on adult. I only remember blurs of him babysitting me, playing with me, and going over to his house where his mother and sisters lived. Honestly, I don’t recall too much. When I was probably five-years-old, I stopped seeing him. My mom had a new boyfriend and my little self believed that her boyfriend was my real father — not the other guy who I hardly saw. Soon after, my mother’s new husband adopted me and I took his last name. I legally became his daughter when I was seven years old. My biological father signed over the rights to him, and he just stopped seeing me. It didn’t matter to me, though. I didn’t know him. I might as well have thought he was a stranger. His excuse was “I knew he would be a better father to you than I could ever be.” As if that was supposed to make me feel better. He probably wanted to dispel most of his guilt.
Life with my mother, adoptive father and myself went wonderfully until I was about twelve. My adoptive father got into some drugs, drinking, and probably — though this was not established — mental issues. He would harass my mom most nights, and I would have to listen to him yell at her, listen to them fight, listen to him bully her because he was jealous of her great job and her success. He would try to diminish her self-esteem and he would win. I would stand by my bedroom door with it cracked just slightly, or above the staircase and listen to him curse her out. Honestly, I don’t remember what he did to me, but he was just mean. He was a mean person and he transformed from a loving father figure into a terrible outsider. I formed a newfound hate for him, writing about how I loathed him in my journals, saying I wanted him to disappear, and praying that my mom and him would divorce so he could leave us alone. When I was thirteen, they did end up divorcing and I felt this calmness surround me. Still, I legally had to visit him on the weekends. He had custody of me for about two years until he felt like I was just a burden. When I went to visit him at his new place, he wouldn’t spend time with me; he wouldn’t talk to me; he wanted nothing to do with me, or so it seemed. I didn’t have my own place to sleep, so I slept on the living room couch. Hell, even his girlfriend and her bratty daughters had their own place. Whenever I came over, I felt like a stranger — so incredibly alone and uncomfortable, like I didn’t belong. His girlfriend eventually got pregnant with his first biological child and I felt replaced. Even though I hated him, deep down I wanted him to pay attention to me like he did when I was small and he was a good father to me. He used to love me and now that was gone. One day, he told me that I didn’t have to come over anymore. Just him saying that proved that he didn’t give a shit about me — I haven’t spoken to him since I was fourteen, even though I still obtain his last name.
By the time I got to high school, I started to form this jaded outlook on people, specifically men. My biological father didn’t want me, my adoptive father didn’t want me. I struggled with depression and anxiety, and my self-esteem would usually hit all time lows. I was a teenager who was slowly becoming her own worst enemy. At fifteen, I met this boy who ended up being my first boyfriend. I thought he was my first love, actually. We dated off and on for about five years; in those five years, he broke up with me probably three times. Notice how I say “probably” because I’m not too sure.
Throughout the relationship, or whatever the hell that toxic period was, he would constantly blame me for the way he was feeling, or put it all on my depression and anxiety. He wouldn’t take responsibility for anything and, ultimately, made me feel incredibly ashamed and guilty for the sadness that I obtained. When we were nineteen, he broke up with me for a third time, saying “I feel like I’m your therapist.” That’s when I felt more like a burden than anything else. That’s when I felt like I really wasn’t worthy of being loved, but rather...abandoned. Once again, I was made to feel inadequate, unlovable, and that everything was my fault. He was inconsistent, cowardly, and seemed to lack any sympathetic bone in his body. He would leave without saying anything. It was at that moment that I felt as though I truly didn’t deserve love.
I began to truly believe I was worthless and nobody wanted me, no matter how much love I continued to give. No matter how hard I tried or wanted it, I would never be the girl who got her happy ending, or who could be wanted by anyone. I was convinced that something was wrong with me.
The fifth and final time I was disappointed by a man was once again by my biological father, except this time, it was different. I wasn’t a naïve little kid with no insight as to what was going on. The summer that I was twenty, I moved in with him. I could finally reconnect with the person who wasn’t in my life for so many years. Little did I know the kind of person he truly was as the summer went on. It’s a blessing and a curse when you are empathetic and give people one too many chances when they are least deserving of them. I remember the way he made me feel ashamed and guilty for having a mental illness, that my depression and obsessive thoughts were more of a “burden” to him than anything else. I vividly remember him saying “If I raised you, you wouldn’t be so damn sensitive. Don’t get sad, get mad! Get mad at the world! It’s easier.” The day that he went into my room and read my journal was what really did it for me. That was the place where I let my innermost thoughts that clouded my mind escape onto paper and he had intruded that safe place. He told me what I wrote was disturbing, disgusting, and that I shouldn’t have been writing about it. It was in early August when this occurred, and two months prior was this incredibly terrible build up of growing resentment towards him and even fear. At twenty, I was still so unsure of many things in my life; but I was certain that my biological father was a close-minded, hateful, and selfish person who had hurt me multiple times throughout my life. That was the last time my birth father would ever disappoint and hurt me. In fact, that was the last time I would ever let any man ever hurt me again.
I’m in a relationship right now. I told myself I wouldn’t get close to anyone ever again, completely certain that I would just make it on my own, because it’s easier than being abandoned or let down. But when my boyfriend came into my life, I couldn’t resist. I took this leap of faith and fell in love. I couldn’t miss this opportunity, because he is that amazing. I surprised myself. But to be honest, I love him so much that it scares me. I want nobody else but him, but I have this irrational fear that I’m going to get hurt again. He gives me absolutely no reason to believe that, because he is the best thing that has happened to me — he has restored my hope in people. I am not trying to put him on a pedestal, but that’s the truth. Still, my past catches up with me, because it’s imprinted on my mind, on my memory. I’m scared I’ll get hurt again if I remain vulnerable. I tell him this, and he’s patient and understanding. He always tells me that he has no reason to hurt me and that he isn’t going anywhere. I don’t want him to think I’m using these fears of abandonment from my past as an excuse, because that’s not it at all. I am genuinely afraid and I blame the shitty men in my life, who ruined that outlook for me. It’s tainted and a little bit more than messy. But this man is the first honest, authentic, and strong person I’ve met. He’s the real deal,and I love him with all of my heart.
My point is, not everyone you love is going to hurt you. I still think that this is just a dream or make believe from time to time. Sometimes I look at my boyfriend and go, “You’re not real. You’re a hologram, or a robot,” in a joking manner. He’ll laugh and tell me that this is not a dream, that he is not a robot, and that this is certainly 100% real. I guess I’ve spent the majority of my life being abandoned or forgotten by people that I started to expect it from everyone else that came along. Whenever I would give someone the benefit of the doubt, they’d disappoint me. And it’s not just the father figures in my life, it’s been certain family members from my biological father’s side, trying to get in touch with me and then screwing me over or making me feel inadequate, or other people in my life, non-related. Once you taste let downs for the first parts of your life, you begin to expect it forever. But I guess that’s not how life works, is it?