I am a thirty-two-year-old woman. Ever since I was a child, I have hated the man who says he is my father. I don’t know him and I’ve never seen him. From what my mother told me, he didn’t want me to be born. He asked her to have an abortion because he didn’t intend to become financially responsible for me.

Knowing this has been difficult to accept. I have lived in constant torment from that feeling of pain and hatred. I feel that I cannot forgive him and, even though I know that it is not for me to refuse to forgive, I cannot forget that I was the daughter that he rejected.

Dear Friend,

We don’t know how old your mother and birth father were when you were born, but their mistake was caused by passion and a lack of self-control. Neither of them planned for there to be a child as a result, and your birth father was not mature enough to handle all the implications of being a father. He probably was young and unable to provide for a family. Obviously he should never have had sexual relations with your mother or anyone else without the commitment required by marriage.

Movies, television, and even billboards make it seem perfectly acceptable to have a physical relationship with someone without the benefit of marriage. The men and women (and sometimes boys and girls) who believe that sex is just a recreational activity often find themselves in the situation that your mother and birth father encountered.

Women and men often handle unexpected pregnancies differently. Women are more likely to immediately fall in love with their child to be, while men don’t experience the day-to-day feeling of having a child growing inside. Therefore, it is much easier for men to walk away without feeling anything. As a result, many children, abandoned by their birth fathers, grow up with the same torment that you have suffered. Those birth fathers are too self-centered and immature to do otherwise.

Does it sound like I am justifying your birth father’s behavior? Not at all! He was wrong to have an intimate relationship with your mother, he was wrong to ask for an abortion, and he was wrong to leave your mother alone. There is no way to know if he ended up being sorry, or if he regretted his decisions. But that doesn’t matter now.

What matters is your life, your feelings, your happiness. As long as you continue to see yourself as a victim of what your birth father did, you will continue to be unhappy and tormented. Will you let him ruin your adult life as he ruined your childhood? Do you really want to give him that much power over you?

Hate and unforgiveness hurt you, not him. Those negative emotions can actually make you physically sick. Don’t let him hurt you again!

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ said, “If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”(1) So pour your heart out to God in prayer. Tell Him about your pain and anger. Ask Him to heal your heart. And tell Him that you do forgive your birth father, and that you want Him as your heavenly Father to forgive you, as well. If you don’t feel better immediately, do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Sooner or later your feelings will match your decision.

We wish you well,

1 Mt 6:14