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HowlingWolf

Problems with my Dad, Advice?

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To really understand what is happening, some background information is needed, so forgive me if this is rather long.

 

My dad and I used to be very close when I was little. My parents are divorced, and when I was 12 my dad decided to try to get custody of me. It was an ugly custody battle and there was a lot of other things going on such as my mom's mom passed away around the same time. I could only imagine the pain she must of felt loosing both her mom and her only child at the same time. She didn't hide how she felt which was heart wrenching for a 12 year old to watch. While she wasn't the best mom, she wasn't the worst either, so I told my dad I did not want to go through with the custody battle anymore. I saw my dad as a strong role model, and my mom by herself, hurting. I couldn't leave her. He tried to tell me it was because she kept begging me not to leave her alone, and while she didn't control her emotions in front of me, those words never came out of her mouth. Never. It was how I felt, and he refused to listen. Choosing sides was just wrong, and no one would give in. That started the complications between my dad and I. He started telling me how I choose her over him. How I always stood up for her. There were times I did, but I am not the type of person to let two people I care about talk nasty things about each other in front of me. I also often warned him whenever I found court papers in my mom's room for her going after him for more child support. I often snooped looking for them so I could tell him. I worried about that stuff with him since he ended up filing bankruptcy.

 

Well, we still saw each other quite often. It was bumpy, but we still maintained some kind of altered relationship until he married his third wife when I was 13 (my parents divorced when I was 4). She hated me. She told me she hated me. I had trouble since I was 7 with mental illness, mostly anxiety until I was 12. The anxiety caused me to stop eating when I got stressed to the point of being hospitalized and picking at my skin causing scars. I was often reminded at how disgusting the scars looked and that I looked diseased, as one example of how they talked down to me. This drove a wedge because what depressed 13 year old would actually want to be around that? By the time I was 17, my dad found out I was cutting and tried for custody again, but I refused to go with him. He humiliated me by demanding an emergency court order, showing everyone my cuts in the court building against my will. I was in such a dark place then. My senior year was a nightmare, worse than any of my family knows. That's when I started the drug abuse, which my mom found out about later. I ended up saying mean things to my dad. I let out a lot of pent up anger and so he decided to back off. When I asked him to come to my high school graduation he refused. He also tended to blame me for things my mom did. For example he tried to give me an old car he had when my truck broke down and my mom told him to go die (my mom was taking medication that made her aggressive and loopy for a couple years). I was sent to my room during the argument (I was 17). He blamed me for that. My mom told me he wasn't giving it to me, that he was trying to sell it to her. 

 

That kind of broke the rest of the relationship we had. Those were some of the major events anyway. I've tried making contact with him after a little time went by. He often would complain to my grandparents how I never would contact him. I didn't very often, but I made a few attempts at phone calls and text messages, hoping he would do the same in return, but that never happened. I was never sure if I should try more often to expect him to start a conversation first, but talking to him and meeting up with him is always so difficult. He is not always very friendly to me. He still says things like, you don't want me in your life, you always side with your mom, you don't need me to things more like: you are a nightmare to be around, and even recently, I hope your baby doesn't have your horrible personality. So making these attempts is difficult, but I do every once in awhile and I suppose that is not good enough since he goes to my grandparents and tells them how I don't want him around. I've also caught him lying a lot lately. When I found out that I was first pregnant, I wanted an abortion, and I thought talking to my dad and including him would make him feel important and needed. So I did, but I did so making him promise not to tell my grandparents who mean the world to me, that I would tell them when I am ready and wasn't going to until I knew what I was going to do for sure. He ended up telling them and told me that he told them Christmas Eve. At the time he told them, I was still thinking about not keeping the baby, and almost didn't. If he had told them that and then they found out what had happened if I didn't keep the baby.... I don't even want to think of what would happen. I felt so betrayed. I had also told my mom by that point. Her and I have become closer since not living under the same roof. She finally let me 'grow up' so her controlling side is gone. She also came off those meds that made her aggressive, and I couldn't be happier with that. My mom handled the news very well and was nothing but helpful and supportive. She got me to go see the doctor for the first time and paid for it out of pocket since my insurance hadn't kicked in yet. Yet, my dad lied to my grandparents after I told him this and told them how she took it terribly. I never told my grandparents I knew he lied to them, but I did tell them what the truth was when they asked how my mom took it. 

 

For awhile, I thought I was so fed up with him at this point. I never confronted him about any of that. I don't know how, nor do I think it is a good idea. I think the best thing to do is try to talk to him more and make him feel more involved, but even after all of that, he still complained. I'm not sure what else to do at this point. He doesn't tell me anything and gets angry when I get upset over certain things he says. He responds to any emotional response with things like, I should of known better than to talk to you about stuff like this, with a harsh attitude. Like he is angry at me for certain topics being too difficult for me to discuss. So when I try to talk to him about specific things or even in general, he gets very angry and defensive at me and I end up in tears, making him more furious with me and yelling at me. I've learned just to try to make contact, but like I said, it doesn't usually seem to go well and some how I end up getting hurt most of the time when I try to involve him or talk to him. I've even gone to visit him while he was on a short term job in the same state as me (2 hours away), but he never came to see me once, or even ask to. Most recently, I invited him and his girlfriend to my baby shower that my best friend is throwing. Instead of telling me he is too busy with his new job, his girlfriend (who is younger than me, which is difficult for me to accept, but I have been), sends me a message to let me know for him. 

 

The only thing I can think of is to take more of a stand and put more effort into trying, but it is so hard to try any harder when he acts this way to me.

 

Thanks to anyone who actually read all of this.  

 

 

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I think it's sad that he has treated you this way.  At this point, I just have to ask, why bother with him at all?  I think you keep trying because maybe if you try hard enough, he'll turn into the father you want him to be.  Like you're trying to earn his love.  I've never really seen where that works, though.  Yet, if you let go, there is a grief process associated with that, that could be hard to face.  

 

I recommend that you think about what you really want from him, and then think whether or not realistically he's able to give it.  

 

Just my 2 cents.

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I think that the relationship with you Dad is far to involved and complicated for anyone on the interwebs to offer you truly meaningful suggestions.

 

In your place my goal would be for everyone--you, Mom, Dad---to sit down with a qualified therapist and work through all the anger and angst.

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Odetta- You are right in that aspect. I am hoping he will be like he used to be. It was like that once before, and part of me wants it to go back to that way. I keep thinking I must of done something to really hurt him to make him act like that, that maybe if I try harder he will stop acting the way that he is. I don't want to throw in the towel until I feel like I've given all I can. However, I have to ask myself when do I reach that point, especially since he doesn't make any sort of effort or at least stop with the negative comments and show some more kindness to me. 

 

Indigo 'n dye- I cannot get everyone to sit down together. My parents would literally try to hurt one another. It would not be a safe environment for anyone. They have been divorced for almost 20 years, there is no point in them talking to one another. I have talked to my mom about our issues, and we have moved passed that now. As I have said, my mom is doing much better. Between her realizing that I am struggling with mental illness, being hospitalized, her no longer taking those meds, and just flat out talking, we are doing well and I have never been happier with her. I've tried talking to my dad the same. It ended with him screaming at me and putting me down. Talking is out of the question with him. I either do something with actions, not talking, or walk away. As for the therapist, I cannot physically force someone to go, and he would not go. I can't even talk to him normally, let alone convince him of something like that. 

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It hurts a lot, but sometimes you have to move on from people completely. If they are refusing to treat you respectfully, and there is no sign right now that they ever will, removing yourself from the whole situation is best. Continuing to pursue this relationship with your dad is getting you nowhere and just causing more pain. This might be a short term severance, his attitudes and actions could change drastically at some point, but it could also be a long one. It would all be up to him, really, because you have tried and put a lot of effort into mending the relationship. The ball is in his court now.

 

In the meantime you still have your mother, and it sounds like she has become very special to you. Spend your time nurturing that relationship instead.

 

It is hard to turn your back on a parent but sometimes a person has no choice. We are raised to think family first... but I think the devotion to family members we are supposed to have does not take into account toxic relationships. Why should a person shower love on someone who knowingly hurts them and returns none of the affection? Being family shouldn't be an excuse for getting away with cruel behaviour. The old fashioned ideal of loyalty and love towards family is great for some people, but for others it can be extremely harmful and one sided.

 

I wish you the best in this. It sounds like a really tricky and painful situation.

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HowlingWolf,

 

My relationship with my Dad has never been great, as long as I can remember. It was better, once, to where we had things in common and could laugh together, not just laugh at the same time. A month before I was hospitalized (this May), he and I had a falling out. Prior to our falling out, there were two lines neither of us had crossed: we had never given up on one another, and we had never physically struck one another. Unfortunately, during our argument, he made a statement to the effect of, "I give up on you." I went to stay with a friend and was hospitalized a month later. When I returned from the hospital, I was diagnosed, medicated, and had a father who was interested not only in reconciliation, but in taking part in support for me.

 

The point I'm trying to make is this: sometimes it is necessary to separate for an extended time from someone to force them to think. Whenever I listen to "Breakfast After Ten" by Blue October, it makes me think of that separation I had to make from my Dad. I was in a manic state when I made the decision to call his bluff, pack a bag, and leave the house, but the events that followed showed him I was willing to live on the streets if necessary, rather than live with him. That was a huge wake up call for him; my wake up call came when I walked into the hospital and had my first experience with a hyperverbal psychotic schizophrenic. :blink:

 

You may need some time apart. You may not have to write off your Dad forever, but that may be what it takes. To say it will suck is like saying World War II was a schoolyard fistfight. I'm emotionally disassociated (it's difficult for me to feel emotions), and I cried leaving my Dad, even though I was madder than Hell at him and he's been emotionally and verbally abusive to me. Your Dad isn't likely to change, but all you can do is what you can do for you. Ask yourself: is it beneficial to my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health to continue in this relationship, or is it better for me to leave and move on with my life?

 

Remember, it doesn't have to be forever, but it may need to be forever. You're in my thoughts and prayers, and I truly wish you all the best, whatever you decide.

 

Sincerely,

 

Crod

 

P.S. Why I wrote this as a letter, I have no idea.

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You seem to keep on giving him opportunities to fail you. Why are you surprised anymore when he does fail you? Why keep giving him one more chance to hurt you?

 

I think you should stop making failed attempts to bond with a grown man who acts like an adolescent. Focus on keeping yourself physically and emotionally healthy and safe. Not on how to coax your father into another nasty encounter.

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I have an in-general good relationship with my dad.  He's always there for me.  When I was little we were close, especially because by the time I was seven, my mom had three other kids in two years (twins and my sister), so there were lots of times I went with my dad places and Mom stayed home with the kids, as we called them.

But he never wanted me to touch him.  In the car, it was don't touch the driver--which was him.  At home if we were sitting on the couch watching tv and I accidentally touched him, he would say--don't do that, don't touch me.  And them he would rub his arm or whatever, like to rub it off.

The only touchy feely thing he did when I was little, that I remember, is tuck me in at night, and let me kiss his cheek.

Even now if he hugs me, I feel like a big sack of potatoes, not a person.

 

And we've never had emotional intimacy.  When I talk about my feelings or dreams I have at night or anything emotion related to my mom, he make it clear with all this crazy body language that he wants me to stop.  If I don't, he just goes in the garage or their bedroom.  I've had to work really hard with my therapist to accept my dad's love the way he is capable of giving it and not expecting him to love me how I want to be loved.  It's hard though. And when I see a movie or tv show where fathers and daughters actually hug or put their arms around each other and tell each other the truth about what is inside them, it makes me cry.  I want that, but I will never have it.  I don't even feel like I know my dad in a deep way.  And he doesn't know me that way either.  My mom says it's his way of coping with all the bad things that have happened to me.  And she's probably right.  And I don't want to take his coping mechanism away from him.  But it still hurts.

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I think what Crodentia said hits the mark; "Remember, it doesn't have to be forever, but it may need to be forever." You might need to step away from your father and let him handle his own thing. If he complains to your grandparents, he complains. Your father seems to have a lot of pent up anger from his divorce, and has lashed out at you and continues to do so. He is acting like a child who has had his favorite toy taken away, and you don't need to deal with that. You don't have to write him off, but reaching out to him is just giving him opportunity to hurt you. It sounds like he needs to see a therapist, but ultimate that and changing his behavior will only happen when he realizes his behavior isn't okay. Leave the door open, but don't go driving to bring him back. I am sorry that you've had to deal with a a nasty divorce; but focus on yourself & your child. He is making himself miserable, so don't let him drag you down with him.

 

Maybe one day he'll take a step back & realize what he's been doing. Or he may never do that. It's a difficult thing to accept but letting that go & accepting that is out of your control will help you so much. Again, I am sorry you've had to deal with this. My thoughts are with you.

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