April 12 - Daddy's Big GIrl

Some days it seems like it just can’t get any better, and one day a few years ago was one of those days. It wasn’t about anything happening to me or for me. It really didn’t have anything to do with me at all. But the events of the day reaffirmed my faith in everything that I have come to believe, everything I do, and everything I truly know. This day was a day when a little girl’s heart began to heal because she stepped into her new role as a conscious adult, making choices that would truly satisfy her needs, rather than remaining trapped in a prison of the past and engaging in addictive behaviors to make the pain “go away.”

A dear friend of mine had been sexually abused as a child. She had remained silent about this horrific time in her life due to the threats and demands of the abusers. The saddest part to me is that the abusers were those entrusted with her care by her parents. As a result, the little girl thought she must have done something very bad to be treated like this. She grew up trying to hide what she perceived was this bad spot inside of her by trying to be very, very good, and doing everything well. Her behavior was impeccable, while her insides were jumbled confusion. But no one would have ever guessed that by looking at her from the outside for she made extraordinary grades, held high offices in organizations, and looked like a model of success in today’s world.

But the secret continued to eat at her heart. She had tried to quiet the longings with secret addictive behaviors, but since they had never been able to satisfy her unmet childhood need for safety and true connection, she eventually stopped participating in them. We discussed the emptiness she now felt at length...what would she need to fill that spot in her heart? It took a while and a lot of tears to finally reach that which she truly wanted. One of those things was to make the world a safer place for children today and another was a close relationship with her father. There was one step that would bring her closer to both, and it would take a lifetime of courage to do it.

First, my friend wrote to two influential people that she knew to try to help her identify some possible opportunities to make a difference in the area of sexual abuse of children. She told them her entire story. She was willing to break the silence and let others know, but what about her father? He didn’t know of the abuse, and she was afraid of what his reaction might be. Would he believe her? Would he be mad at her? Would he turn away and be gone forever?

She didn’t feel she could let him find out by picking up a newspaper one day and reading about her there. She tossed and she turned. After many excruciating days, she decided to mail to him a similar letter to the one she mailed her friends. And then she waited for a response. She waited and waited, imagining her worst nightmare. But in the process, she accessed old hurts, old pains, old tears. Eventually, she felt better prepared for whatever was ahead, and soon thereafter she came home to discover a message from her father on her answering service. She tried to call him back and yet was relieved when she reached his answering system as well. She was both excited and terrified. She kept trying to call him but with no success. She wanted to talk to him, and yet she sighed with relief when she could not reach him. Eventually she came to realize that she was unconsciously calling at times when he would likely be out! Fear comes disguised in many forms.

That morning she decided she would really try to reach him… and she did.

The conversation they had was a truly sacred one. This is an almost eighty-year-old man, a man who has never been comfortable talking about feelings or love. Yet somehow he was able to communicate to her that he was there for her and he would support her in every way he possibly could. And he answered the question she had always carried in her little girl’s heart...had he known what had happened to her and looked away? The answer she heard was that he had not, that he absolutely had no idea at all. He could not save her then, but he wanted to do whatever he could now. He also told her how proud he was of her, how proud he always had been, and what a wonderful job in life she was doing. In one miraculous conversation, Daddy’s Little Girl grew into Daddy’s Big Girl.

Instead of fearing that he would leave her, she now knew he would support her. Instead of still believing that she was bad and horrible, she now knew that he had not known about the abuse and would never have tolerated it if he had. Instead of feeling that because he had worked so hard and was away a lot it meant he did not love her, she learned how proud of her he had always been and had only wanted to be able to provide the best for her. She got her life back in one telephone conversation.

Her dreams came true when she broke the silence of abuse. Had she remained silent in order to quiet her fear that her father would not understand, she would have actually created that nightmare with her silence. Yet when she opened her heart to being vulnerable and sharing what she needed, her heart and soul were at last satisfied with her father’s understanding.

What do you hesitate to do because you fear your dreams cannot come true? Does your hesitation deny the possibility of those dreams becoming a reality? Are you willing to discover what your true needs are and take steps to satisfy them? Is there someone you would like to connect with in a new way? Are you willing to become truly vulnerable? What do you actually create if you don’t? Will you open your heart and soul to some new possibilities? Would you like to get your life back today and feel truly satisfied at last?

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