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Hoffman grad Michael Herbert
Hoffman grad Michael Herbert

By Michael Herbert

“NO, no, no, no, no!” – Why was it so emotional for me to tell someone “no” who was begging “please”? I was in so much emotional pain just saying no. Was it because I never say no? I feel obligated to help those in need, yet I have to get angry to say no and end up resentful of being asked in the first place. If they just hadn’t asked, I would be all right. I love saying yes to what I want to say yes to. If it’s shiny, pretty or glows, I just love to say yes. I say yes to the beauty of it, I feel warm inside. But no seems dark, hurtful, and angry.

“Daddy please” still gets me choked up. The word ‘Daddy’ has never rolled off my tongue before 2014. Fifty-five years and I never said Daddy. I was begging for his love and I didn’t know it, and all he said was NO without a reason. Just No. No! “Daddy, please, why don’t you love me, why don’t you care? I just wanted to feel what it was like to be loved by you, to be taught by you; I wanted to be with you.”

“Daddy, please, I want you to hold me, and hold tight. And all you said was ‘No,’ and all I said was ‘Daddy, please,’ and you just said ‘No.’”

“Daddy, please tell me you love me. Daddy, please tell me I’m a good boy.” And he just left, without a word except for “No.”

And then it was my chance and I said, “No, No, No. I don’t want you, I don’t love you, leave me alone,” and he did. But he came back and again I said, “No, No, No.”

And I loved him, but I didn’t know and he didn’t know, and now he is gone. I can’t hold him, and he can’t hold me. My Daddy never got a chance to love me and I never got a chance to love my Daddy. So I’m sorry, Daddy. Please know that I love you and I know you love me.

Hoffman helped me understand that my original abandonment became a part of who I learned to be for 54 years. I would never get close to people. I always stood at a distance. Love was never accepted and was something I could not give. I was afraid of being left alone, so I adjusted to living my life alone and that was the way it was going to be.

Now I have a fuller life and accept and enjoy the love of others. I put myself out there to show my love. Sometimes I’m testing people, and other times I’m just living in it. I’m at peace with my relationship with my father and know that he is proud of the man I have become, and he can see how loved I am.

1 Comment
  • Lisa Zahn


    01/19/16 at 10:06 AM

    This is such a powerful story! Thank you for sharing it. There are so many ways to look at the “daddy, no” exercise and your perspective speaks to me, and probably a lot of people.

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