Lily Collins struggled her entire teenhood trying to make space for herself in her father's life full of troubled relationships.
Relationships are not perfect! It takes two people making continuous efforts to stick together through thick and thin for it to work. But it is also important to know when to let go. When you are in an unhappy relationship, it not only affects the partners but also the children. In fact, messy relationships and divorces can have a lasting impact on a child's mind and soul; so much so, that they might inadvertently carry the baggage of their past throughout their lives.
Actress Lily Collins has been very open about her father's troubled personal life and how it left deep wounds on her. She had even gone on to confess that many of her deepest insecurities were due to her tumultuous relationship with her rock legend dad, Philip David Collins, better known as Phil Collins.
"There was a terrible disconnect that grew between us. Many of my deepest insecurities stem from my issues with my dad," she wrote in her book, Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me, as per Vanity Fair. According to Mail Online, she was seven when her mother Jill Tavelman and Phill Collins parted ways after a bitter divorce. Seeing her parents fall out of love and part at a tender age must have left her distressed and anxious.
To make things worse, she found herself face-to-face with the ghosts of her past when Phil Collins could not save his relationship with third wife Orianne Cevey. The discord between the couple, separation and subsequent divorce brought back memories from the time she saw her mother and father break their relationship. This not only pushed her towards a perpetual state of fear, but she also started suffering from anorexia and bulimia; a lot of which, she believes has to do with her troubled life as a child.
“My life felt out of control. I couldn’t handle the pain and confusion surrounding my dad’s divorce and I was having a hard time balancing being a teenager with pursuing two grown-up careers — which focused heavily on how I looked,” The Sun quoted her as saying.
"My throat burned and my esophagus ached," she has explained. "My periods stopped for two years and my life was out of control. I was terrified I had ruined my chances of ever having kids," she added.
She also longed for her dad’s attention and praise and felt she “wasn’t doing enough” to win it. She rarely saw Phil and she said, “He may have still been alive, but most of the time it felt like he was gone.” reported The Sun.
Lily's plight as a teenager sums up the mental, physical, and emotional wounds divorces leave on children. Seeing their parents struggle to keep their relationship together leaves the children insecure and worried about their present and future, they might also go so far as to blame themselves for the discord in their home.
Fast forward, Lily is now a Golden Globes nominated actress with some hit movies in her kitty like The Blind Side and Stuck in Love. But she could only come to peace with herself after she decided to forgive her dad. She acknowledged her pain and her dad's mistakes to allow herself to heal.
"I’m learning how to accept your actions and vocalize how they made me feel. I accept and honor the sadness and anger I felt toward the things you did or didn’t do, did or didn’t give me," she wrote in an open letter to her dad.
"I forgive you for not always being there when I needed and for not being the dad I expected," she said, according to Mail Online. "I forgive the mistakes you made. And although it may seem like it’s too late, it’s not. There’s still so much time to move forward. We all make choices and, although I don’t excuse some of yours, at the end of the day we can’t rewrite the past."
Gradually, the cracks in her relationship with her dad have started to fill and she also took a step forward by wishing her him on his 67th birthday. "Happy birthday dad! Thank you for inspiring me to be a creative spirit, to express myself boldly and bravely, and to stay determined and focused amongst the noise," Lily wrote on Instagram. "I love you to the moon and back again. You’ll always be one of the brightest stars in my sky. Sending a massive hug and kiss your way."
We could all probably take a leaf from Lily's book on life and grief and learn the healing power of forgiveness!