Somewhat my fault or all on parent?

Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2021 08:52 pm
Back story.... My father died last year. My mother was his second marriage out of 3 that all ended in divorce. My mother and him divorced right before she gave birth to me because he was an alcoholic and also got caught cheating. I have a half sister from his first marriage. She is 12 years older than me. I never remember my mother talking bad about my dad. She simply didn't say much at all unless he called which was rare or it was a holiday. His family is huge. Like really huge. I do remember always going on holidays to my grandparents house. I also would stay with my cousin who was 2 yrs older than me a good bit for a couple of years. I didn't have a room at my dad's house. My sister didn't either I guess. I remember there was another bedroom but that was just it. A spare room. I have maybe 2 memories of being at his house. Never spent the night. No memories of us ever doing anything like going out to eat, going to the movies, going fishing. He had a nice camp on the river my whole life that he went to religiously. I've never been. He would call every now and then. The older I got, the contact with his side of the family grew smaller and smaller. I was a teenager. I didn't even want to be around my mom hardly ever, much less people I really didn't feel a connection to. He was there for my graduation, birth of my daughter a year after I graduated high school, I just don't have any memories between major life events or holidays. Eventually by the time I was maybe 20 there was little to no contact. He would call maybe 2x a year, I never answered. Fast forward to today. I'm 32, went no contact for years and years. With the whole side of the family. Not just him. It's hard to explain it's just like the older I got starting around 12... it just felt awkward. I felt like the step child at all events. Which my grandparents were really good people but I just didn't have that connection with them. I have felt like a terrible person for most of my 20s feeling like it was my fault and I was the reason for everything. And now that he has died I feel completely different. Like I was the child, everyone else was the adult. Never once do I remember anyone talking to me about anything to do with WHY things were the way they were or reaching out to me to see what was going on. It was always my fault. Well you should talk to your daddy, you should go see your daddy, you need to call your sister. My sister was a grown woman when I was a pre teen and teen. I have no memories with her either except when I was really really little and her and my dad would come visit at my moms. Come to find out years later I was told that my mom wouldn't let my dad take me off anywhere alone because he was such a bad alcoholic and had been in several bad wrecks. I don't blame her! I don't even know what type of validation I'm looking for but I guess just wanting to see if I should have done more or tried to have a better relationship with all of them. It's so bad I literally have dodged them in public for years because they either don't speak at all or do speak and are jerks. But now that he's dead, I feel angry at myself for feeling like it was my fault all that time. Am I wrong?
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Reply Tue 20 Jul, 2021 10:06 pm
You know, what I've learned in life is that 'family' is the people who care about you, who are interested in you and vice versa. They could be teachers, neighbours, colleagues, friends... isn't that what 'family' is all about - a sense of connection, of belonging?

If there's a disconnect in your 'bio family', maybe it's them... a little dysfunctional. The way to move on as you live your life is to find 'family' people and create your own.

Never worry about what could have been/should have been... because it isn't and it wasn't.

Think positive and go forward and never mind those who don't/won't/didn't/can't understand you. Your life is all about YOU and what you make of it. Stride on ahead.

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Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2021 06:16 am
One of the most “freeing” feelings I got was when I could forgive my parents for their parenting flaws. This happened after I found out how they were raised and realized they didn’t learn healthy parenting because they never had a good model to follow.

You sound like a bright and sensitive person- and a survivor! Plus you seem to recognize toxic persons.

You don’t need their validation or need to please anyone’s needs. Choose who you want to cultivate friendship with and let the others simply fade away.

Someday you will see that your childhood wasn’t always good, and it wasn’t always bad.
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2021 06:39 am
Adding to both the good comments above, these people are strangers to you. Yes, there is a blood connection but no life connection. You don't have shared memories, holidays together, vacation adventures, etc. Your sister might have been the adult, but you were a complete stranger to her too. There is no fault here, no need to assign blame. (OK, your father gets some blame for not being there, but he's gone and there is no value in holding that grudge.) Live your life with those you love, be nice to strangers but don't worry about it.
Reply Wed 21 Jul, 2021 11:37 am
I guess that's my hang up. I do have memories of holidays. More so when I was little. My mom thought it was important that I go. But that's really it when I was little. Holidays. Me and my friends used to stay at my dad's house in high school but he wouldn't get home from the bar till 1 or 2. I did have a surprise sweet 16 party at his house as well. He was at my graduation. So I do have memories. But besides major life events, nothing in between.
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