My life

My relationship with my father was a constant battle between
love and loathing: I was the true meaning of the phrase
“Daddy’s Girl” and worshipped the ground he walked on. I
would always go to him for advice and help and trusted him more
than anyone. Yet he was an aggressive alcoholic and I hated him for
what he had done to our family. I have an older sister and a twin
brother, and I felt that his drinking had stifled our enjoyment of
childhood. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I wished
him dead. Until one day, after our normal family dinner, he
announced he had cancer and would die within six months. I cried
for two days solid and blamed myself for tempting fate.

Six weeks later I was called from lessons and sent to see my dad
for the last time. Watching such a strong, fiery man become so
helpless and feeble was heartbreaking. I felt powerless.

The hardest part was the confusion I felt afterwards: part of me
was glad he was gone, and I hated myself for it. I was devastated,
but I felt I had to play the part of this pitiful, fatherless child
who had lost everything, just to satisfy the people around me.

A lot of the adults around me began to treat me differently than
they had before: everything they said seemed more scripted and it
always contained a note of sympathy, which really bugged me.
I’ve always been an enthusiastic pupil and would happily join
in with discussions or group work, but suddenly teachers seemed to
shy away from involving me as if somehow what was happening to me
had lessened my abilities, or limited my mind. My one release was
my group of friends: they understood I was still the same old

A year on and I’ve come through a part of my life which
has helped me grow into a young adult and understand myself better.
And I’ve finally stopped feeling guilty about my

Thinking about my dad no longer confuses me: after talking to
people about it, I now know that love and hate are essential in
every strong bond.

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