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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Kate* Offline
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Decisions About Dad - September 19th 2021, 11:08 PM

I've considered going no-contact with my dad. My therapist is of the opinion of "Give him a chance, he's your dad." And I'm at the point of "He's had 33 years of chances, and I'm over it." As of right now I have low-contact. Basically, contact is on my terms and it's extremely rare. When I say I'm over him, this is what I mean.

My therapist agrees he has narcissistic tendencies. I know the term gets thrown around, but when I was describing him to her, she said it first. He is extremely judgmental of literally everybody on the planet, but as an only child, I grew up thinking it was just me. But, none of his strict expectations ever apply to him because of some excuse he manages to come up with.

He is in denial of my medical conditions that can be easily proven, and I get the sense he doesn't believe in my invisible disability. Even before having any diagnoses, I have NEVER been good enough for him. Every single thing about who I was, what I did, wore, believed, the job I have etc. was and has always been wrong. And every comment I make is met with a snide, sarcastic or dismissive response. (Well, why don't you do this? when I actually do, It's because you don't do that, etc.) He'd ask for my opinion just to tell me what was wrong with it. He constantly made comments about my (at the time, perfectly healthy) weight, while insisting I wear clothing that made me "look like a girl" essentially skin tight and revealing. My present for my 15th birthday was a makeover and a new outfit, and the stylist couldn't figure out why I wasn't enjoying myself.

When confronted, he throws actual tantrums that scare the crap out of me. He claims he's never had the urge to hit a woman, but there was one time I was ready to call the cops because I was sure he was going to hit my then stepmom. The next morning her words to me (unprompted): "I got out of one abusive relationship, and walked right into another one." He did the same over the phone with my current stepmom years later. If I hadn't been across the country, I would've called my mom to come get me. The last time he was here, I had a full year of notice and I dreaded it. Once he got here I was so anxious and nauseous, I could barely eat. I used work as an excuse to limit the time, and it still sucked.

While not a deadbeat by any means, he wasn't consistent with child support. And when he built (yet another) new house from the ground up, he took money out of my 529 (college savings) plan to pay the mortgage. He told my mom that by the time I needed that money, it would be repaid; it wasn't. Now, legally he IS allowed to do so, with tax implications and a 10% penalty,

I realize most of this happened years ago, but it speaks to the pattern in his character and behavior.

So, this year for Father's Day, I decided not to acknowledge him. Since this has been our relationship, and he denies, plays victim, and throws epic tantrums sometimes with the silent treatment, every time I try to tell him any of this, I excused myself from the social expectations, and let myself acknowledge the truth. A month later, I get a Facebook message from him telling me how "hurt" he was... For some reason, I felt like the truth might get through this time, so I told him (again) and he APOLOGIZED, and said to give him a chance, he can "do better." Who the f*** is this and what has he done with my father?! But, after he went off on my mom (about unrelated political crap) on Facebook, I'm reminded of how he can be, and I'm not sure I can trust him to actually change.

Sorry this was so long, I think I just needed to put it all in one place.


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Last edited by Kate*; September 20th 2021 at 04:39 AM.
   
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Re: Decisions About Dad - September 20th 2021, 04:42 PM

Hi Kate*,

I want to start off by saying that as someone who has a father who is similar to yours and have had therapists say similar things (acknowledging the dys functioning but suggesting I should just put up with it and give more chances...to which I exclaimed "chances don't grow on trees!" i understand how frustrating it is.

I think the first thing is that a good therapist puts their own persobal feelings of what excrptiond should be made for family aside and focus on the client's goals. That said, what is your long term goal? Some people want a break and return with limited contact and boundaries especially if there are kids involved who have good relationship with the grandparent (though in some cases there's more abuse and dysfunction that the kids experience directly). Others go no contact knowing it will "make waves" from family members but they know they don't plan to ever return contact and know this may mean losing other family members as well who wont respect the decision. Another thing people do is try to develop friends who are like a chosen family and have those kinds of events like fathers day etc with a new way of seeing it (ie: celebrating non biological father figures or fathers who broke the cycle of dysfunction and serves as a role model etc) And there's the fact that you have 2 stepmothers and one biological mother whom you can potentially deepen connection to...i mean I don't know your situation so I'm just throwing ideas. I don't know if this is for most people who go no contact but I find that I'm often longing for a family, a home, someone or somewhere that I can say "these people have my back no matter what". I have found temporary homes but none seem to be truly consistent and lifelong. I think that we can redefine family based on our goals so that our needs are still fulfilled without the toxic unhealthy stuff that can come with family you're born into.

I hope this is a helpful. Know you're not alone and that others are right beside you trying to figure it out too.


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Re: Decisions About Dad - September 20th 2021, 05:41 PM

Hi,

I am so sorry that you have been going through all of this with your father. Our parents should always look out for us when we are growing up, also help us out when we need it and never put us down. When they are putting us down all of the time and not helping us out with something, it is not a good feeling to have. You always want to do what is best for you, so that you are not getting upset or this keeps happening and it brings you down so much that you are hurting and you don't know how to be okay.

You have every right to not want to be with him now and also when it is Father's day. A lot of people do not get along with one or both parents or aunt's and uncles or grandparents or siblings and they do not talk to them anymore and they are children, teenagers, adults and elderly people.

No one should ever be put down. It really hurts us when this is happening and those people do not care about how it is hurting us. When it is Father's day, you can go out with friends to a movie or getting ice cream or out to eat or doing something else so that you are not thinking about what day it is. When you have time try to find something to help you get your mind off of this for a while, reading a book for a while or drawing or painting or writing or calling a friend or something else that you enjoy doing and hopefully this will help pick you up. I hope that you will be okay soon.


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