Phoenix

Not very sure I want to let my absent father back into my life

23 posts in this topic

I thought I'd share this here because it's been on my mind and my conscience a lot and I appreciate the insight and commentary I get from everyone on here. It's also somewhat related to the topic of relationships as the way we experience relationships with our parents has been shown to directly effect the way we experience love relationships in adulthood. And I have definitely seen this cause & effect in my life; via some unfavorable and unhealthy relationship circumstances I've lead myself into at times.

So 
I have one of those fathers who happened upon fatherhood. He was never really interested in more than money, hot rods, beer and sleazy women. Before the divorce he never really payed attention to his wife and kids then after the divorce... did the "weekend visitation" thing for a short time in which we (my siblings and myself) were exposed to porn and other trashy scenes and people... then slowly disappeared completely for years, no support or visitation. He vanished and moved out of state to start a new business, leaving behind 3 kids and a single mother with little job experience and no college education to fend for ourselves. Thank fully I have a morally and intellectually strong woman for a mother. It was difficult but we made it by through the years.. We struggled but we grew up with reliance on each other and building independence in ourselves. I'm a grown woman now with a career and independence and now a few months ago, that father of mine contacted me through a short letter in the mail and gave me his contact information asking if I'd correspond. I waited a while, but did. I don't tell him anything about my siblings when he asks... they want nothing to do with him, understandably and I don't feel he has a right to know what's going on in their lives. I correspond with him in relatively short conversations on casual friendly terms (about music usually), infrequently over text messages... regarding him as a distant relative or friend I suppose. He thanked me for allowing him to be in contact with me.
See, now his business has failed, his most recent girlfriend has left him and he's alone with nothing... which usually results with the sort of path he chose for his life.. we (my family and I) predicted that. Part of me wants to correspond and be in touch, because my compassion and/or my desire to know him in some way, I suppose, gets the best of me on occasion. This would continue to be with limits of course ( i don't consider him a father). But much of the time I remember what it was to grow up struggling much of the time and not understand why he didn't care about us.. I remember what he put my mother through, how unfaithful and selfish he was. And I wonder why I am in contact with him again. Though my mother is aware and just wishes that I do what is best for me whether that's knowing him or not... I still feel that I am being untrue to myself and my family by doing so and want away from the mental/emotional conflict it's causing me. I recently changed my number due to some (unrelated) issues I was having with the last number, and I've not given the new number to him. I don't think I will. I think I will move on with my life with out him... I think it's wrong to feel guilty about doing so. He made his choices to do what made him happy, now I suppose I am evermore entitled to do the same.

It's sort of a Cats in the Cradle (Harry Chapin) circumstance really, but somehow I'm finding it's morally conflicting to me. I'm wondering now what others' thoughts on the matter might be.

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Just cut him off. You have no need to feel guilty, he abandoned his family a long time ago. It's like when I was growing up and tried to grow closer to my father and all he wanted to do was go drinking beer with his buddies. In the end though he chose drugs over his family and I have no reason to feel guilty if I don't communicate with him. He wasn't there for you.

Actions have consequences, people shouldn't think everything will be fine and dandy just because they suddenly decide to try to grow closer to you and it isn't sincere, treating you as just a last resort which is extremely disrespectful and hurtful. That they think so little of you that you are just their last resort. That isn't right. He made his bed, let him lie in it. You have no reason to feel guilty. You can forgive him so you feel better yourself and don't feel burdened, but don't hurt yourself over someone who clearly never felt anything for you. It is a waste of your time, and a waste of your energy. Direct your energy towards positive goals.

Those are my thoughts anyway, to me family is not blood. Just because we share some DNA means nothing to me. To me, if you are there for me, helped me through my bad times as well as my good times and are always there for me, you are not a friend to me, you're family.

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You know its funny...I'm in nearly the exact same situation. I'm eighteen and my father's a trucker who goes all over the country. I don't like talking to him. I don't like having him around...despite the fact that I know he's my father, I can't be myself around him. He's a stranger. Its foreign to me to even say, "Hey, dad," when he's around. Its pathetic...something I'm hellbent on making sure make sure my kids don't go through.

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Remember that forgiveness and getting rid of any hate from your heart is key!!! Holding grudges or hate or any type of feeling that you repress is like poisoning yourself because the only person that it hurts is urself. Remember that you can forgive a person but it doesn't mean that you have to be 2 peas in a pod with that person after you forgive them. Follow ur heart and think long and hard about any decisions you decide to make. Best of luck :)

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My dad is a P.O.S. that was very physically and verbally abusive to my siblings and me and now he has a lot of cognitive/mental problems. My family and I don’t care about him, or help him after what he put us thought.  Why should we spend more time, money, and have to deal with him more? People like that have made their choices; they didn't care about their family so why should families have to put up with their crap again?

 

I would say go on without him, you don’t owe him anything. 

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Remember that forgiveness and getting rid of any hate from your heart is key!!! Holding grudges or hate or any type of feeling that you repress is like poisoning yourself because the only person that it hurts is urself. Remember that you can forgive a person but it doesn't mean that you have to be 2 peas in a pod with that person after you forgive them. Follow ur heart and think long and hard about any decisions you decide to make. Best of luck :)

 

It seems to me she has forgiven him so I'm unsure why you felt a need to write this. It's always easy to tell others what to do when you're not in their shoes dealing with what they are. It's also very judgmental. 

 

You may think what you said doesn't warrant my response so please allow me to explain why I think it does. I have found that some people are always so intent on telling others how they should deal with injustices that were placed on them. When you forgive someone, you're right, it doesn't mean you have to be two peas in a pod. But it also doesn't mean you have to maintain any contact with them, either. You know?

 

I'm grateful to God that no great injustice was done to me that I have to wrestle with such issues. But I've always found it a bit odd when others are so quick to tell others how to deal with something they know nothing of: Someone else's situation regarding an injustice done to them. I've also pondered whether forgiving someone else is always the enlightened choice. For example, if someone, God forbid, murdered someone you love and not only was never sorry for what they did but went to the grave happy that they did what they did, would forgiveness be the right response?

 

I also assume that you can let things go without forgiving someone. That is, you don't have to focus on it but you also don't have to forgive. I can't prove this, but I always felt it more of a myth than reality that you can't let things go without forgiving.

 

As to what I think you should, do, The Sparrow... Did he ask for your forgiveness? I could see forgiving him being wise and enlightened if he is actually sorry for what he did. In fact, that is what I think would be the right thing to do but I get the impression you did that. If he isn't sorry, then I will just say I don't know what the most enlightened thing to do is. I am not qualified to answer.

 

But the question about maintaining contact.. again... no idea. I have no idea the specifics of your situation. It would be, in my humble opinion, presumptuous for me to tell you what to do regarding this considering I don't have all the facts.

 

Best of luck to you. 

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IAG what was the whole point of your statement?

 

 

Even better why did you go through the hassle of writing 6 paragraphs?

 

 

 Only to cite your own opinion on what you would do, and then retract that statement saying " I don't have all the facts." 

 

Cause last I checked All I told sparrow to do was to follow her heart and not to make any irrational decisions........

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IAG what was the whole point of your statement?

 

 

Even better why did you go through the hassle of writing 6 paragraphs?

 

 

 Only to cite your own opinion on what you would do, and then retract that statement saying " I don't have all the facts." 

 

Cause last I checked All I told sparrow to do was to follow her heart and not to make any irrational decisions........

 

Yes, I did end up giving my opinion for some of the things. It's the way you said it that rubbed me the wrong way. You said it more like a self-righteous admonition than actually trying to grasp what she said about her situation. It struck me as very self-righteous.

 

Here's the thing... I've seen this before... someone asks for advice on an issue and people jump to telling them why you must forgive, etc. 

 

It's kinda like this:

 

"My whole family has just been murdered."

 

"Oh, well, you should have forgiveness in your heart! That's what you should do."

 

It's hard to articulate, but the way you said what you said just came across me as self-righteous and insensitive.

 

Now, I could be completely out of touch about the above... but I'm just speaking my mind.

 

The six paragraphs wasn't a hassle at all... This is a forum where you discuss things; that's what they are designed for.

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Why you mad bro?

 

If I have come off as "angry" then I apologize to you. I'm really just commenting on something I've seen... People telling horror stories of what has happened to them and the first response out of someone's mouth is, "You must open up your heart and forgive who has done this to you," always struck me as amazingly insensitive and self-righteous.

 

That's all I'm saying. Just speaking my mind. I'm always open to discussion and criticism. If I'm way off... then I invite anyone to point that out to me. But this is a concept that I've seen and I believe it's worth recognizing.

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Do what you feel is right for you, if your father is not going to be a positive addition to your life then its best if you cut him off, both my parents were Messed up. My dad wasnt in my life and I had a shitty abusive step father who wasnt any good either and unfortunately I had to be strong and cut off my mom (which was hard in the beginning because she raised me) but it was the best thing that I did for myself and her. Being away from abusive people made me realize who I am( strong) and who I am not (weak)and I was able to clear my mind to discover myself along the way.

 

Now my mom has gotten better she is trying to be a better person but I keep her at arms length my father is in the same place I have a very limited relationship with them and it will probably stay that way. Not everyone has a perfect, nice, family and family isnt always a good thing so you shouldnt feel bad about removing toxic people from your life family or not if they are bringing you down in any way remove them, it'll be better for you in the long run well thats my opinion anyway.

 

...btw I hate when the dead beats do the whole "oh hey how its going :) I just came to stop in on your life and "Father" you today but when you need something the most  :superwaiter: Im nowhere to be found because well...Im probly out screwing a bunch of chicks aaaaand thats more important at the moment so yeah good luck with life, see ya in a few years"- nothing angers me more then loser idiots with children  <_<  

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AIG

 

So what you would prefer someone to say is "Yea hate him, let the dark side consume you, be as evil and as wicked as the person who did you wrong. Cause hating someone is going to get you so far in life and offer you peace right? Or wouldn't you rather just move on with your life and forgive that person? Cause then again they have to live with the consequences of their actions..........

 

 

Sparrow please excuse us for hijacking your thread,

 

you know I only wish the best for you :)

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AIG

 

So what you would prefer someone to say is "Yea hate him, let the dark side consume you, be as evil and as wicked as the person who did you wrong. Cause hating someone is going to get you so far in life and offer you peace right? Or wouldn't you rather just move on with your life and forgive that person? Cause then again they have to live with the consequences of their actions..........

 

 

Sparrow please excuse us for hijacking your thread,

 

you know I only wish the best for you :)

 

People are entitled to their opinions. And, no, I would not prefer people say what you have said. I had issue with the way you said what you said. The first thing you said was a moral admonition that struck me as self-righteous. And as I've said before... I've seen horrific things happen to people looking for advice and the first thing out of their mouth is something like "You must forgive who raped you." 

 

I often think forgiveness is the best path. Though I'm skeptical of it always being the right response. 

 

I think the gist of what I said has already been covered and that I need not say anymore.

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Guys, let's not get out of hand or I'll have to lock the thread. Phoenix is asking for advice and I believe everyone so far has given their two cents with the best of intentions. Let's try to keep it that way, please. 

 

BTW, welcome back Chef :)

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Cut him out of your life, doesn't matter if he's your father or not. If he was that selfish in the past, he wouldn't have changed and won't. My moms an alcoholic piece of shit and I don't speak to her anymore, wonder if she knows how much I hate her.

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I wish I had a chance to comment on this thread before it got so sidetracked and muddy but I hope you will look past that. When I read this it almost seemed as if I could have wrote it and it sounded very hauntingly familiar to my own life. I want to thank you for having the courage to share this with us and seek advice and encouragement. As I have said I can empathize with you greatly; however I will never seek to say that our anguish is the same since no one persons’ anguish is the same. On that note I will share a little about my own story and hopefully you can derive some advice from my experience with this problem. Ultimately the decision though will be a tough one you will have to make on your own.

 

My father left me and my mother when I was 10 years old. I still remember to this day the harsh way he treated me and my Mom during that time of separation. I will also never forget what he said ‘I am not going to live the rest of my life this way’ and he walked out. In years since there have been numerous problems, pains, and hurts brought about by this whole process. But my father did come round and wanted to reunite our family much to the excitement of both me and Mom.

 

But the real problem was my Mom and me wanted it to work to change and were willing to sacrifice, however this was not the case with my father. The greater problem that made most of this worse was he could not be trusted. I still believe to this very day even in spite of everything and almost naively that my father still loves both me and my Mom and part of me feels maybe he just doesn't know how to show love, real love. But years passed and each time my Christian compassion and desire for a Father would welcome him back into my life at each chance; even though my parents had divorced and think I knew better. But some child like naivety told me that this time we could be friends and it would be better if I forgave him. This was partially spurred on by the fear and guilt he placed inside of me saying ‘The way you treat me, our relationship, you wait it will be the same way with your kids.’

 

One day I woke up and realized what I had known all along was true that nothing was ever going to change unless I changed. I realized then that I couldn't even do what I had done before in keeping my father partially in my life at an arms distance because even then he could still poison me and my Mom. So decided to cut him out entirely once and for all, no more would I let him poison me. I set up a final boundary line and I have since held to that line (Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend). I still have forgiven my father but I did that more for myself  and out of faith then I did for him and I still have left him out of my life.

 

Look this is never an easy decision when it is dealing with family but sometimes I feel that we are under the impression that all family is good for you which isn't true. Some family can hurt you and even ‘poison’ you. I still sometimes struggle with the guilt of my choice to cut my Dad out but I don’t regret it and I wouldn't change it. So my advice would be to think long and hard as to whether your father is a good part in your life. Also if you choose to forgive him do it for yourself not to invite him back in unless you feel he deserves that. Neither is an easy choice to make…

 

I will dedicate my life to making sure that my kids never have to know the meaning in there lives of Henry Chapman's ‘Cats in the Cradle’ like I have. But I am afraid my soundtrack for the relationship with my dad is set to Atmosphere's â€˜Yesterday’   :( 

 

Semper Fidelis

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I am also in a very similar situation with my mother, I understand exactly how you feel with the compassion and all. I say give him one last chance -- however, do keep things how they are now, separate from the rest of your family and remain practicing caution. I think that way you will not feel bad later on for not giving him a second chance, wondering what could have been. it's in his hands now to make p for it, if he fails, just make sure you don't have much to lose as a result -- in my case with my mother, I would lose the rest of my family, and she is not worth that. Everyone messes up, some more more than others, some more harsher than others, but people can change.

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I have been blessed with a close relationship with my father, Phoenix, so while I feel like I can understand your feelings because of how well you described them, I cannot say I have ever stood in your shoes.

 

I have no specific advice, other than what others have given. I am happy to hear that it sounds like you have already personally taken steps to forgive him; not because he deserves it, because he doesn't, but because you deserve to not let this eat at you or weigh you down.

 

Should you keep in him your life though? That's your call, and whatever you decide will be the right choice because this is your life, not mine.

 

Here are some questions to think on, to help you as you make your decision. You needn't answer them here; just consider them for yourself. I hope they help you make a decision you feel good about, whatever that decision happens to be!

 

- If you do not maintain some form of contact with him, what will you answer when your kids ask about their grandfather?

- If you maintain contact, what will your boundaries be? How will you contact him? A phone call on holidays? Monthly dinners? You send him the occasional postcard? Friend him on Facebook? Email? You call him only when you want to, from a blocked number? He can only contact you in emergencies?

- If you do not maintain some form of contact with him, how will you feel when he dies?

- If you do maintain contact with him, how will you prevent the bad things about him from infecting your life?

- If you maintain contact, do you imagine your relationship with him ever getting stronger, or will it simply stagnate?

- What will make you feel happier, keeping him, or keeping your distance?

- Does talking to him help you move on from the wrongs he has done in the past, or does it just make you think about them more than you would without him being around?

- If this was happening to your best friend, not to you, how would you advise her?

 

Honestly, I can see advantages and disadvantages either way. You are the expert here, so I believe that whatever you decide will be what you need. Also, if you do one thing, and it is not working for you, you can change your mind. Best wishes, whatever you choose.

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I say cut him out of your life for good. I don't believe that just because he is your father, it automatically means that you have to love and respect him, or even like him. If a parent has done a horrible job at being a mother/father, then they have failed their child and don't deserve their loyalty or even acquaintanceship, as far as I am concerned.

 

I don't think you should allow your father into your life at all. Keep your new number to yourself. Life is too short to share it with people you don't love you and care for you and treat you the way you deserve to be treated.

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Boundaries.  Boundaries are a life skill.  Boundaries can be used for your father and everyone else you encounter in life.  I like how Jordan used the word "poison".  People can be toxic just by their words, their subtle verbal abuse.  I view selfishness as a disease.  Like, "hey, they have a problem."  And I treat them as if they have a personal problem.  I feel sorry for them and yet I don't stand around waiting for them to hurt me.  Unfortunately, no one can cure someone else's problem of selfishness.  They are like a leech.  They'll suck the life out of you because they are waiting for you to fix their problem.  I don't know if all this applies to you, Pheonix, but just my personal perspective on life.

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I feel I offer the best advice on this because I went through the same thing. its funny you latterly just described my relationship with my father for most my life but do to the encouragement from my current significant other i called him up on valentines day last year it's the best thing I've ever done I'm not going to lie it'll be hard in the beginning but if you gain a relationship with him it will be worth it myself dad did a lot worse thigh than you mentioned but he's pretty good dad even Considering he's old and not in the greatest health i don't know how much time I'll have left with him but I'm glad I got to rebuild our relationship i talk to him every day now I love him a lot and it's helped heal some old scares :) please do it and let me know.

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Wow. Thank you so much everyone for your replies. <3
Your own personal opinions, similar experiences, and projections into the future consequences of not disassociating with my father, were very reassuring, and exceptionally helpful to me. I truly appreciate everyone's input. you all had very good posts in reply to my issue. They helped me realize that I should have more confidence in my own jurisdiction and my decision to disassociate with my selfish parent.

Love & sincerity,
Sparrow

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It sounds like he doesn't deserve another chance with you. If you did talk to him obviously it would be his priviledge and you're right he doesn't deserve to know about your siblings. If you do decide to talk to him you could always send letters or Facebook messages or something without adding him that way he doesn't have your number. It could be that type of situation some of us get in when we cut out our friends when were dating someone then start talking to them again when we break up with the person. So, if you do decide to talk to him see if he's still talking to you when he gets another girlfriend or whatever. But perhaps he is rethinking his choices and finally growing up and regretting his choices. In any case, keep your expectations low so you don't set yourself up for disappointment should you decide to talk to him. Good luck!

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