The Huntsman




I realized something important this morning.
I’ve had an emotional week; doing a lot of work around my
dad. And in doing more exploration this morning, I found something new.
On Wednesday, my therapist asked me what my vengeance needs
to do to feel complete, better, satiated, heard. I paused, as it took a moment
to see something; My vengeance wants for my dad to suffer as I did, to
acknowledge and atone for his abusive and neglectful behavior. But, I saw just
then, this is something my vengeance cannot have. It wants something it can’t
have, and so, I said, what it needs, really, is to stop hunting.
It was a moment of clarity for me, to see that this thing
that I’ve wanted so badly, have twisted myself and my relationship to the
world, god, myself in order to bring to fruition, is a fool’s errand. It is of
non-consquence. It is a quest that cannot be completed.
So, I have to help my vengeance to let go. Let go of the
quest for punishment and retribution, and to accept. Accept that surrender.
This morning, I saw more than this. Behind and beyond my
vengeance is something else. Because, what my vengeance wants is for my father
to recognize his brutality, and to change it. It doesn’t and won’t stop at
acknowledgement; I want change. I want him to heal.
I want to save my dad.
The fantasy follows as such: Because of my intervention, my
father realizes his wrongs, deeply acknowledges them, atones by being
remorseful and by taking actions to
right himself, to heal his hurt places. Because of my actions, because of my
anger, my father lives. My father is saved. Because of my indignation, he gets
I “like” this new uncovering. This deeper layer of meaning
and intention behind my anger, because it fits with me, with who I am, and my
motivations. With how I tried to behave with my mom, but that took a much
different form. I wanted to do the same thing with my dad; the flip side of the
coin – love/hate. Save her with love; save him with hate.
In both cases, I have been unsuccessful. Mostly because it
is not my job, and I am not capable of saving or changing anyone. My mother
changed because she decided to. My mother didn’t kill herself because she
decided not to. It wasn’t me.
My father will or won’t change regardless of my actions.
It’s time to stop hunting… but I realize only now that I have been like Snow
White’s Huntsman: plotting to kill, but really intending to save.
It makes my heart grow a few sizes in my chest. It doesn’t
change that I have to stop my quest and accept that my life is to be lived for
me, and not in order to align with or rebel against my father’s ideologies. But
it does change how I feel about myself. About my motivations. And, actually, it
does make it a little easier to let go.
In the end, I love my father deeply; so much so that I have
made a life’s work of being what he has wanted or not wanted me to be. I
realized this love this morning.
My therapist said on Wednesday that it sounds like there are
three versions of my father: the good dad (sports, camping, teaching me how to
swim dad), the neglectful dad, and the angry shaming dad. The rub is that I
can’t know who is on the other end of the phone when I call; I can’t direct
dial the good dad.
But I can choose to let go of saving the others. 

2 thoughts on “The Huntsman

  1. To further the analogy, what if your dad is the evil queen, and you, the huntsman, have been showing him the animal's heart, trying to appease him while also trying to do what you know is right? But it doesn't work, right? Just using the fairy tale to explore other possibilities of your psyche, (and maybe taking it too far). -JSG


  2. No, that tracks , too. bit maybe vengeance itself is the evil queen? for years aiming to satisfy it, but also looking to thwart it? Fairy tale Freud, they call me 😉


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