During the past few weeks, I have received a flood of correspondence from people telling me that they identify or are touched by my story. So much so that I have not been able to respond to every one, but please know I do see them and am extremely moved.
The journey I am on with my father on the show was in no way planned or scripted as some have questioned. It was sparked by some statements he made during that infamous 70th birthday lunch. After that lunch I was advised, even insisted, by several well-meaning strangers to do one of two things -- tell him off or never speak to him again. But, I knew neither one was the way to go for me.
Telling my father off would only have me doing the very same thing to him that he had done to me all of those years. All it would do would be to put him on the defensive and prove me the ungrateful child who had not grown up.
Cutting my father off was a strategy I took when I was in my early 20s and allowed me to establish my own life separate from him and other members of the family who were connected to him. But after 17 years, I had matured significantly and was able to reunite with him (and the others) when he was hospitalized with a nearly-fatal heart incident.
After the lunch, I recognized I had some demons of my own the needed to be exorcized. I began having nightmares that brought me back to those horrific times of my youth. So rather than running from those monsters, I put my own training to use and decided to face them. I called my dad and asked him to meet me to talk, but before we did, I went to a therapist so that I could get help in strategizing my approach.