5
   

Should I cut my father out of my life?

 
 
Ailuros
 
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2020 01:42 pm
My father was absent until I was a teenager. Then he stepped up to the plate and was great after my parent’s divorce. He was there for me anytime I needed him, in whatever capacity that may be. Though he’s not in touch with his emotions, he was good at listening and trying to understand things from my perspective. He even apologized for not being there for me as a kid. His parents pretty much raised me though.

Through a series of events in his personal life, he became very depressed, starting drinking a lot, and screwing up things at work. I was in my twenties at that point. Then his manager decided to help him get back on track. She came off as very charming in the beginning though my one brother insisted she was horrible to him. I never saw it though, and thought that at least my dad wasn’t drinking anymore and was happy for him.

Then I ended up having to temporarily move back home due to a breakup when I lived in a city hundreds of miles away. It was during the 2008 recession, and finding a job was difficult, especially one that would pay enough for me to have my own place. I did the best I could but during the three months I was there, I would still help out in whatever way I could. I’m a self-sufficient person and hate relying on anyone for help unless it’s an extreme circumstance.

As soon as I moved in, I learned the side of her that my brother told me about. She was a obviously a narcissist with sociopathic tendencies, and I had become a threat to her. She didn’t live there, they were still only dating, but she wanted me out. In front of my dad she would be super nice to me, but when he wasn’t around she was awful. I tried to tell him about it, and he refused to believe me and labeled me as ungrateful. He then told me that she gave him an ultimatum, that she wouldn’t marry him unless he kicked me out. So he did, and he told me that. This one act alone was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back with my family. We were broken.

He eloped with her and, for the most part, cut everyone off except my one brother that had never seen the awful side of that woman. She had him change the locks after I moved out. I never understood that one. I never did anything that would warrant that. So I saw it as a message. We barely saw my dad after that. Maybe once or twice a year for holidays. And we weren't allowed to meet her kids. They would have separate holidays for them but over the years we found out that they were getting expensive gifts while we got trail mix for Christmas, which was never the case before.

She did become nicer to me the further he pushed me away though. So when she would only have to see me for a couple of hours once a year, she could tolerate me. And I would just scream behind a smile the entire time for the sake of “family".

Now it’s been years. I’m 37 years old. I’m getting married next year, and we will be starting a family immediately after. My dad doesn’t know this. I reached out to him a few days ago and asked him if we could talk face-to-face just him and me. He said he had to think about it and get back to me. I don’t understand what has to be thought about. He didn’t even ask what it’s about. At this point, I’m pretty disgusted by this apparent game that's being played.

A couple years ago he sold the family land my grandparents gave him and bought a house in her name. Put everything in her name if he were to ever pass (he is not in good health either). My grandparent’s legacy will go to her, a woman they despised.

I was going to read him a letter I wrote asking him to be my father again as a last-ditch effort but at this point I want to email it to him and say nevermind. If he wants to be in my life or his grandchildren’s lives, then he will need to go to a family therapist with me because I can’t stand the mind games she has him playing with me. But my mom keeps telling me to give him more time and I don’t want to upset her.

I don’t know what to do. I’ve seen a few therapists since he married her and they all said the same thing, that I should either confront him or let him go. At this point, I don’t see how it would be possible to have a relationship with him. And I don’t want her in my life at all. And definitely not my children’s lives. I wouldn’t trust her. I can guarantee she would be cruel to them, and I’m a mama bear type. There’s no way that is going to end well if she were to pull that crap with my kids. I wouldn’t even let that woman hold my child.

I guess at this point my real question would be, how do I go about getting closure on this? Just leaving the ball in his court and never saying anything isn't an option. It's not how my mind works. I need closure and to be able to appropriately grieve the final loss of my father. I want to send the email and just let it all behind me, but I don’t want to upset my mom or potentially other family members. Several people in my family like to pretend things are okay when they aren’t just for the sake of appearing like a happy family. But I value the quality of my relationships more than the idea of “family.”

I’ve tried to explain this, but it seems to go over my mom’s head. Please help. This was a significantly shortened explanation of something that’s been going on for over a decade. My dad isn’t my dad anymore, and I don’t believe he can be that person again because he essentially sold his soul to this woman. Oh and he did start drinking again after they got married and got so drunk around me twice that he was crying saying how much he wished he didn't screw things up with my mom. So I know he isn't happy.
 
jespah
 
  5  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2020 03:11 pm
@Ailuros,
Ailuros wrote:

.... I need closure
No, you don't.
Quote:
..... My dad isn’t my dad anymore, and I don’t believe he can be that person again ....
This last sentence is the only one that matters. Period, end of story.

You don't need to contact him or tell him off, etc. any more than you need to contact my dad.

Closure is overrated. Getting your last licks with him is just an ego gratification thing, nothing more.

Ghost him, like you would with some guy you dated once and never wanted to see again.

Let. It. Go.
Ailuros
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2020 04:10 pm
@jespah,
I appreciate your response. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. I wish it was. If I were an only child and didn't have to deal with the remainder of my family, whom I would like to stay in good graces with, I would easily have just never reached out to him. I reached out to him mostly at the request of my mother. Eventually it will be the holidays and then my wedding. Then my family will be asking me why I'm not speaking to my father and if they find out that I ghosted him, then I will have to deal with another situation that I really don't want to. I'm trying to figure out how to deal with the situation, without upsetting the rest of my family who doesn't understand why I won't just keep pretending like everything is normal. They don't mind elephants in the room. I do.

Also, whereas I understand that ego does come into play with the email option, that's a very small part. I wouldn't be telling him off. I would be telling him why I feel the way I feel and that if he would like to have a relationship with me then I need there to be a mediator (family therapist). And at that point, I wouldn't need a response because I don't believe he would ever do that. I mean, maybe he'll never call me back and it'll all just be on him. I'd prefer that but if he does call and I don't answer, then I have to answer to the rest of my family eventually. Also, email option gives a paper trail. I don't know. I know I can't make everyone happy but I'm trying to do whatever I can to cause the least collateral damage to those I still want in my life.
chai2
 
  4  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2020 04:18 pm
@Ailuros,
Ailuros wrote:

I appreciate your response. Unfortunately, it's not that simple.


Yes it is that simple.

Let other people talk about you, it gives them something to do. If it wasn't you, it'd be someone else.

If they all want to pretend everything is normal, why bother with them either. Don't be held hostage because "they're family"

Life for yourself, and not these people whose biggest threat to you is "they'll ask questions and talk about me"

Screw that. If they have the balls to ask, you have the balls to tell them you're not going to talk about it, and walk away.
Ailuros
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2020 05:19 pm
@chai2,
At this point, I just wish I wouldn't have even humored my mother and stuck with my original plan to just never speak to him again. I told her I wasn't inviting him to the wedding and she said to call and give him one more chance. Then he did this, which made it more complicated and painful. It just gave him the opportunity to hurt me one more time. So at this point, yeah, I'm just done. I won't pick up if he calls. It's not like talking to him is really going to change anything. It'll probably just make things even worse. And when it inevitably gets brought up by other family members, I'm just going to say I don't want to talk about it. Since they don't give a crap about how I feel anyway.
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2020 05:34 pm
My concern is that you seem to be the only one except for maybe one brother that "sees through" your father's wife.

The anger over getting assumed "2nd tier" Christmas gifts also strikes me as off.
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2020 06:02 pm
@Ailuros,
Ailuros wrote:

At this point, I just wish I wouldn't have even humored my mother and stuck with my original plan to just never speak to him again. I told her I wasn't inviting him to the wedding and she said to call and give him one more chance. Then he did this, which made it more complicated and painful. It just gave him the opportunity to hurt me one more time. So at this point, yeah, I'm just done. I won't pick up if he calls. It's not like talking to him is really going to change anything. It'll probably just make things even worse. And when it inevitably gets brought up by other family members, I'm just going to say I don't want to talk about it. Since they don't give a crap about how I feel anyway.


Keep in mind none of these people are doing any of this "to you" Everyone simply wants the world to work the way they want. They aren't even aware of this. It's just how they are.

But it's powerful that you know that. So you can live your own life without harming others. Any hurt feelings over this they bring on to themselves.

I mean, how dare you live your own life?

I get that you need to talk this out somewhere like here. Better you tell strangers how you're feeling and work it out in your mind, than to involve them.
No matter how well you think you phrase it, don't fool yourself. To them, you're the problem. That's not true.

0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  5  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2020 06:28 pm
@bobsal u1553115,
bobsal u1553115 wrote:


The anger over getting assumed "2nd tier" Christmas gifts also strikes me as off.


Bob, this is a common thing narcissistic parents and other relatives do to "punish" you.

Not just at xmas. They are very skillful at this complying with the "letter of the law" so to speak, but in a way that sends a clear message what they really think.

Quick story.
I was a young adult, late 20's. Living in another state (which meant I "abandoned" the family). One xmas I received from my mother a piece of jewelry. We've never been on good terms, but this gift astounded me, and made me hope for a better relationship.
It was a gold chain with a V shape made of diamonds. Not so small to be called chips, they were just large enough to really be called stones.

I called and thanked her sincerely, saying how beautiful it was. She said in a few different ways how it was her pleasure to get me something special like this, and how she was glad I liked it, When I said it must have been expensive, she replied "Don't worry about it" BTW, she was very financially secure.

I wore it often with pride. Especially when I was dressed up to go out, I felt it was really attractive.

Fast forward a couple of years. I briefly dated a jeweler. On I think our 2 date I wore the necklace. Halfway through the evening he said I looked really nice, but why was I wearing that cheap piece of jewelry? Confused, I said it was a gift. Didn't say from whom, and I'm glad I didn't. He laughed and said that whoever gave it to me must not think a lot of me, as he said it probably cost about $15. (this was back in the 1980's)

I felt like I'd been gut punched.

It was the first of many things I eventually put together about her.

When dealing with a narcisstist one side effect is people telling you you're making something out of nothing, or imagining things. You're not. That's what the narc counts on. That no one will believe the things they've done or do.

See, that's the thing, I could give many other examples, but even today, the feelings towards that would be "wow, she's really holding onto things. It probably wasn't bad, and I don't know the other side."

So, the intelligent person just puts all that in the past, but doesn't forget the lessons. However, at times when someone like the OP shares like this, I think it's important to let him know that he's not alone, and YES, it really did happen.
0 Replies
 
Ailuros
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Sep, 2020 09:16 pm
@bobsal u1553115,
Um, they all see it. They all agree with me as far as what is wrong. I even said my grandparents despised her. Even my mother worked in the same building as the woman for years. She even did the same thing to my mom where she would pretend to be nice if my dad were around but then as soon as they were alone, my stepmom would just stare at her when my mom said hi but not actually verbally acknowledge her. They just don't agree with how I won't put up with it. I'm sorry I gave you the impression otherwise. And I don't care about money. But it's weird when your family Christmas suddenly changes as an adult at the request of a new stepparent but then they buy lots of gifts for their own adult children. I don't want a bunch of gifts. I'm not that kind of person. Our Christmas was never like that anyway. It's the principle, not the money.

Even though my mom wanted me to try to reconcile with my dad, she still said that I shouldn't have anything to do with my stepmother. She specifically said she understands and would expect everyone to also understand if I only invited my dad to my wedding and not my stepmother.
Teufel
 
  3  
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2020 05:41 am
@Ailuros,
Just look at the time you are wasting on this. Look at these posts you have made, look at all the pointless angst.

Myself I come from a hugely wealthy and totally stable family. My father was superb; he's now dead. Since he died 20'ish years ago I cut all ties to my mother and my siblings ... because I simply do not like them.

Your choice is indeed simple. There is no grey area because you control only ONE thing .... that is what you do.

So you either walk away ... or stay and live with it. There is no 'good' answer, no super compromise that you want; it does not exist and never will ..... not ever.
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2020 07:11 am
@Teufel,
Right answer!
0 Replies
 
justaguy2
 
  4  
Reply Sat 12 Sep, 2020 07:48 am
@Ailuros,
While my situation is a little different to your situation (my parent's aren't divorced and therefore no "wicked witch" to speak of), I do know what it's like to have to cut ties with family. I haven't seen my father since sometime around 2013/2014, and don't have any interest in seeing him again either.

My father was almost never there when I was growing up, and was like a ghost that popped in for a visit when he was actually there for maybe 3 months of the year, or maybe 6 months of it, if I was lucky. He'd pretend like he had always been there, thinking that he could have the same relationship as someone who WAS actually there for at least most of the year. Looking back, I didn't even know who he was as a person, I really didn't. To cut a much longer story short; I moved out of home as soon as I could (I think around 17 or 18 years old from memory), as I just couldn't live there anymore and would likely be dead now if I'd stayed there any longer (no joke). So I basically didn't have any contact with anyone from my family for around 6 years after I moved out.

Then I made the mistake of reuniting with them, including my father. It was fine in the beginning, but when they realized I wasn't just going to do anything they told me to do and be the person they wanted me to be, well, things weren't fine anymore. I also realized that my father hadn't changed one bit (yes, pretty stupid of me think there was any possibility of that happening in the first place, I admit), he was still a hypocritical, arrogant, racist heap of ****. This is why I just can't stand people who want to be hypocritical, racist and alike. As there IS a difference between just not being prefect (who is?), and willfully and knowingly being a racist, hypocritical piece of ****. And like the woman you speak of, around others, he'd act like a completely different person.

So while it's hard to have to cut ties with him for good AFAICS; I have to face facts, he is never going to change, and as others have noted above, I do have a choice as to what I can do. So the only viable option I can see, and as hard as it is to have to do, is to just cut him out of my life and move on. I wish I didn't have to, but the facts are I have two choices: 1) put up with a hypocritical, racist asshole, knowing that isn't someone I want to be myself and how wrong it is. 2) cut him out of my life and move on. I've thought about those two choices many, many time over now, and the latter of the two is the one that always seems the best one, as difficult as it is.

So yeah, I understand how you feel, I really do. But particularly given what jespah and chai2 have said above, and what I was thinking anyway, it really has put things into focus for me (and thank you jespah and chai2 for that too Smile). So hopefully you can make a choice that you can live with, best of luck. Smile
0 Replies
 
redlady
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2020 03:02 pm
@Ailuros,
Hi Ailuros, After reading your post, I believe your father just doesn't want to have a relationship with you; he's moved on, so let him go. You are grown now and should consitrate on the good things in your life and stop wasting your time thinking about him. I have been in similar situation as you. No matter what accomplishments I made in my life, he was very criticle of me. I'm the youngest out of 5 kids and the only one who graduated from high school, went to college, basically did almost everything right, he kept calling me bad names and accusing me of things I never did and mistreated my son. He was hurting me a lot, so I cut him out of my life for many years. Years later he was old and I was in his neighborhood and decided to visit him just for the hell of it. He was very happy and friendly with me, I was friendly, and he was acting in a way that i never seen before, he seem to be relieved that I was there and really liked my husband saying what a good guy he was, almost as if regretting thinking so badly of me. I guess he didn't know how to say he was sorry. When he died, I felt nothing because I had stopped loving him. I'm not saying that you should do the same, but you are never going to enjoy your life if you keep focusing on him. Just by him saying he will think about it, should have been a clear enough message for you to drop him. I can tell you love him and that's ok for you, but at some point you are going to have to protect yourself from getting repeately hurt by him.
0 Replies
 
 

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