The Letter Every Bad Father Should Send Their Adult Children

First and foremost, I’m sorry. I am so unbelievably, beyond what words can express, sorry.

I should have told you that and everything that follows a long time ago.
I make no excuses. I made more mistakes than I can count. I have a ton of regret, but what’s killing me the most is that you’re still paying for what I failed to do:

I failed to make you understand how truly amazing you are.

I have no right to ask this of you, but I want to try and make you see that my actions were never a reflection of your worth. My choices were the result of not facing my fears, not reconciling my insecurities, and not treating my sickness.

My selfishness had nothing whatsoever to do with you and yet it hurt you countless times. Again, this doesn’t excuse anything I did or didn’t do. I just need you to know that as fucked up as things are/were…it was never because you weren’t enough.

On the contrary…you’re the best person I have ever known.

I watch you from afar and here’s what I see:

You play small. Unlike me you take the high road but you favor safety too much (that too is my fault). You work hard but you’re so afraid of being like me that you don’t take risks. Here’s the truth:

You are incapable of being like me. You are the opposite of me…but that is not freedom…that’s your fear of becoming what you hate dictating your choices.
You’re fucked up about that too – hating me. I don’t know why you wouldn’t.

I do.

The cost of not hating me is that you hold it in.
Occasionally you take it out
but only on yourself.

You fear being selfish and so you are selfless.

You find yourself at yet another crossroads. You favor the familiar because you see less chance of failing. I should have taught you that it’s okay to fail, that you just get back up and try again. You gave me a thousand chances.

How many have you given you?

I get it. You have good people in your life and you fear disappointing them. You have responsibilities and commitments. You struggle to have faith in yourself. This too is my failing. You deserved to have two parents who were rock solid in their belief of who you are and what you can become.

You compensated for my weaknesses. You took on roles and obligations that should have been mine. You continue to do these in your adult years. It was honorable as hell, but it has to stop. In failing to take care of you; I did not teach you to take care of you.

You give too much and take too little. You ask for nothing and hide how you feel. Stoicism is unhealthy. It cripples you. I should have taught you that not only is it healthy to lean on those you love – it is also necessary.

Please set yourself free. Please listen to those who praise you and recognize your worth. They are teaching you what I should have. Stop brushing off compliments – hold on to them. Embrace friends, mentors, and father figures. Stop waiting for me and stop turning away from the opportunities before you.

Most of all – stop trying to prove your worth and recognize that you’re only trying to prove it to yourself because it wasn’t taught to you.

Invest in yourself as I should have. It’s time to parent yourself. You are more than good enough, more than deserving, and at this point…you’re the only one who can do it.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.