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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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Angry I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 6th 2012, 06:49 PM

This morning, a police officer came to my front door. He explained to me that my father was found trespassing in the apartment of a 24 year old college student. My mother and he have been married for more than 30 years.

He apparently admitted to stalking this poor young woman for over a year, and they've arrested him. He has had no direct contact with my mother yet, and she is in utter disbelief, completely inconsolable.

I am shocked. I am horrified. I am embarrassed. I don't know what to do or what to think. He is such a sick man, following around this person just four years older than me, and neither my mother nor I ever saw it.

Please... I could use any advice. I am off on spring break for the week, and I can't contact my university counselor. I am so upset that I'm nauseous... anything would help.




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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 6th 2012, 07:01 PM

ohmygosh, Jamie, how awful! I completely understand your shock here! In a way, though, it's better to be shocked than being the victim, at least whatever demons he's been struggling with didn't affect you and your mom. Until now.

Like any great emotional shock, it takes some time to let things settle and become accustomed to the new reality...that your dad is capable of such deviant behavior...and the sense of betrayal that accompanies such deceit.

Talk with each other and offer support and make a plan about how to address it with other family members..and ultimately, him.
   
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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 6th 2012, 07:27 PM

Thank you for the support. It's especially hard because my mom and I don't have many others to rely on, and it's never been more apparent until today. She feels her whole life has been a lie, and I don't think I can handle this myself just yet, so my support, while of course there, is certainly not as great as it would be if I wasn't dealing with this myself.

I just cannot fathom why a sane human being would throw away everything to stalk a poor college girl who could have easily have been his daughter's friend! Sick, sick, sick...




I've never been afraid of the highest heights or afraid of flying high.
I've never been afraid of the wildest fights, not afraid of dying.

I guarantee you'll miss me, 'cause you changed the way you kiss me.
   
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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 6th 2012, 07:37 PM

Your dad obviously has been struggling with something for a while. But, IDK if he meant to 'Throw it all away', this isn't about you and mom, it's about him and some weakness he's had for a long time. If he wanted to make a choice he could have. Him keeping it a secret sorta indicates that he cares for the two of you, he just couldn't control this impulse inside. No one chooses things that are clearly toxic (and illegal!) over stability and true love. It is, in it's purest form, an issue.

You make it worse for yourself if you somehow think he had some control over this and what happened was a choice. Yes, he obviously got into the car and choose to go there, but the impulse underneath it was probably irresistible, which is more about him and that weakness (which he's probably had for a long time)..rather than some statement of his feelings...and life..with you both.
   
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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 6th 2012, 09:11 PM

I understand, I guess, but I'm having trouble recognizing him as such a troubled person. He's my weird father, but I never, ever imagined that he had such problems. It's frankly scary..




I've never been afraid of the highest heights or afraid of flying high.
I've never been afraid of the wildest fights, not afraid of dying.

I guarantee you'll miss me, 'cause you changed the way you kiss me.
   
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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 7th 2012, 12:15 AM

I know, Jamie. It's the shock, you're in shock. Give yourself some time. We rarely see people we care about doing really disturbed things in secret. We think we know them.

You DO know him, he's been your dad all this time, and your shock indicates he's also been probably pretty consistent about it, too. Try to keep that in mind.

People struggle with things privately, secretly. Your dad obviously struggled with stalking, there's a reason he's been doing this, it's a sign of disturbance. I'm not justifying it, but it helps now with the shock to try to put it into perspective also from his vantage point. He needs some help with this.
   
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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 7th 2012, 03:28 AM

Thank you for your help, Dr. Bobby. Your advice, along with that of a phone counselor I talked to, has allowed me to kind of relax a little, I think, to deal with the issue as it stands tonight. The horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach has improved, and I was even able to calm my mom down a little.

What you've said is simple, and what the other counselor said was simple too, but you know, it just kind of... helped me put things in perspective.

My father is home now, and he's claiming that some of the things they're saying aren't true. I haven't spoken to him myself yet, and I don't think I'm ready to. I'm afraid that seeing him face to face might ruin the little progress I've made.

I might update this thread later with issues. Please don't close it just yet, mods. Thanks.




I've never been afraid of the highest heights or afraid of flying high.
I've never been afraid of the wildest fights, not afraid of dying.

I guarantee you'll miss me, 'cause you changed the way you kiss me.
   
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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 8th 2012, 02:21 PM

I have not been able to speak to the man yet. Does anyone have any opinions as to how I can deal with trying to even do that? I can't avoid it forever, since we still live in the same house.




I've never been afraid of the highest heights or afraid of flying high.
I've never been afraid of the wildest fights, not afraid of dying.

I guarantee you'll miss me, 'cause you changed the way you kiss me.
   
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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 9th 2012, 12:56 AM

Hey there, Jamie!

I'm sorry that you're dealing with such a difficult issue, but I'm glad that you've managed to make some progress over the past couple of days. =) Are you finding it difficult to talk to your father because there are still unanswered questions, or things you would like to say to him? If so, then I would sit down with him and get what you need, whether it's hearing "his side" of the story, telling him how crappy he's made you feel, or asking, "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!" Don't hold all of this inside - you have the right to confront your father. Once that's off your chest, you may find it's easier to navigate your relationship with him and determine how much contact you'd like to have with him.

If you're not ready for "the talk" yet, I'd take small, small steps. Start by just being in the same room as him... then work toward making some eye contact with him... then asking him simple (not personal) questions like, "Could you pass me the salt?" Finally, once you've reached a point where you can stand to be in the same room as him and make "small talk," you may feel ready to have "the talk."






   
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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 9th 2012, 06:36 PM

Jamie, I think it might take some time for you to be able to talk with him, give yourself some time. It's a goal, something to work up to. You're still in shock and with him now being at home, it makes it that much harder.

Here's a thought: If talking here and with the phone counselor was helpful, consider getting some therapy IRL. It helps to get it out and get some support and perspective from others, it's settling. That's the first step in treating shock, to get soothed.

I'd also talk with mom, she's going thru this, too, so the two of you can not only support each other but you can also come up with a plan or strategy on how to deal with dad.

Lastly, since part of what you're dealing with now..that sense of being in free fall...is a lack of control, it might be a good idea to communicate with dad (either with words or maybe note) that you need to talk with him about all this, but not just yet, and you don't want him to talk with you about it (or anything) until then. At least you'd be addressing that sense of vulnerability.
   
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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 10th 2012, 05:28 PM

Thanks for the input, Robin. I think that's probably how I'll have to do it, step by step.

Dr. Bobby, I think I will starting looking for a therapist, at least for one session, just to see if I can get my head back on straight.

My mother and I have been communicating very much about what has gone on, but she believes I need to start talking to him soon, based on some "compassion" I'm supposed to have. Thing is, I'm so angry that I struggle to even pretend I feel compassionate for my father's plight. I understand that mental illness is tough for sufferers to deal with (he has already made an appointment with a psychologist), but I'm just too close to it to feel rationally.

Today, the article about what happened showed up in the newspaper. I'm back to feeling pretty mortified, and I'm actually scared that some vigilante-type will bring harm to my home, as they've given our full address in the article. It was really a rotten thing for that "journalist" to exploit my family even more by giving out our home address so publicly, but I guess public information isn't really disputable.




I've never been afraid of the highest heights or afraid of flying high.
I've never been afraid of the wildest fights, not afraid of dying.

I guarantee you'll miss me, 'cause you changed the way you kiss me.
   
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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 10th 2012, 06:00 PM

Thanks for the update, Jamie. So far, your plan sounds good, having a talk with a therapist is a good idea.

There's a lot going on, and there are a lot of conflciting emotions here (not helped at all by that press report ), you can be both 'Compassionate' and angry at the same time.."Compassion" isn't measured only by what's inside, it's also determined by behavior, how you express it. So, as long as you aren't intentionally saying or doing things to hurt or punish him (which you don't seem to be doing), then you're Ok. You might want to mention this to mom..her perspective here is also as the wife, mother and adult...and let her know what you need here (perhaps her support for the process you need to go thru to straighten this all out inside).

I still like the idea of taking some control here by at least letting him know that you will talk with him about this, but that you need more time, and you need him to respect that.


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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 10th 2012, 06:15 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by roller♥coaster
Today, the article about what happened showed up in the newspaper. I'm back to feeling pretty mortified, and I'm actually scared that some vigilante-type will bring harm to my home, as they've given our full address in the article. It was really a rotten thing for that "journalist" to exploit my family even more by giving out our home address so publicly, but I guess public information isn't really disputable.
This is almost as disgusting as what your father did to that young woman. I know the article can't be retracted at this point, but there may be a way to 1) minimize the possibility of angry protestors showing up at your house, and 2) give you a chance to put your thoughts and feelings into words. This is just an idea, and you absolutely do not have to pursue it if you don't like the idea... but why not contact the newspaper, telling them you're the daughter of the man they wrote about? Explain that, by posting your family's address in the newspaper, they're inviting people to not only attack your father, but attack the innocent family members who are still struggling to deal with the news themselves. Tell the newspaper that you would like to reach out to the community, to give the daughter's perspective, to help people see that this isn't just about a sick man who needs help - the family suffers as well. Who knows, maybe it can be a piece that essentially says, "Mental illness affects everyone, so if you know someone who needs help, get them help, both for their sake and for yours." Once people see that they'd be hurting you and your mom by visiting your home, sending hate mail, etc. they'll be much more sympathetic and back off.






   
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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 10th 2012, 08:31 PM

You know, I would love to write a response as you've suggested. I should probably ask my father's attorney if that would be unwise with respect to the investigation before I do anything, but it's certainly something I'd do. I could not believe my eyes when I saw it in ink this morning. I haven't received any phone calls or gawking passers-by yet, but if any harassers do appear, I will definitely take it up with the authorities. I understand freedom of the press, but I absolutely cannot believe that this is okay in any way, shape, or form. It's legal harassment, and it's not even relevant to the case, considering that NO crime was committed here (and the items that were confiscated from my home did not belong to anyone but my parents and are therefore not relevant either).

Yeah, I haven't done anything to further harm the man, and I won't. I've tried explaining to my mom essentially what you've said, that a confrontation would probably make things worse if I'm not ready to deal with it yet, but it's still apparently not something she understands.

I might write some sort of note, then. It's probably the easiest way of communicating at this point.




I've never been afraid of the highest heights or afraid of flying high.
I've never been afraid of the wildest fights, not afraid of dying.

I guarantee you'll miss me, 'cause you changed the way you kiss me.
   
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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 11th 2012, 06:05 PM

Jamie, the goal here is to feel better and figure out a way to deal with the current reality. So, even though the news report was remarkably insensitive and potentially places you and your family at risk by not just reporting on the news, but also identifying your location...that same lack of regard for the obvious would be at play should you decide to express yourself directly to them. So, at the very least, yes, you should bring this to the attention of your dad's attorney, he'll take the proper steps to ensure your privacy and safety.

The very last thing you need now is to express yourself in the hopes of reestablishing some sense of integrity and get the opposite...the way to avoid that is to carefully consider not just your feelings, but the probable consequences of some action. And in this case, you've rightly decided on the correct course.


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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 13th 2012, 07:32 PM

That's also true, I suppose. I cooled down about the news article after it seemed that few people read it, but this afternoon, two separate local news reporters came to the door. No one answered them, but obviously they're both developing a story for broadcast. Plenty more people watch the evening news than those who read the fifth page of the local section of the newspaper.

It's really hard not to feel like these people are continuously violating my privacy just as badly as my foolish father did to that poor young woman. I have an overwhelming sense of "it's just not fair."

Update:
The news story aired on one of our local news stations. It showed my father's picture, but they fortunately did not show my home or give our address out in the broadcast. I'm still terrified of harassment either way. (I did have a little bit of a perturbed laugh at the article they posted about it on their website; it shows photos taken from my father's collection, and all but one them are of his old girlfriends circa late 1960s. One is even of my mom at a young age, and here they are as if they are pictures of random strangers! Journalism and police work at its finest, I know!) It feels so surreal that this situation is happening at all. Moral support is necessary.




I've never been afraid of the highest heights or afraid of flying high.
I've never been afraid of the wildest fights, not afraid of dying.

I guarantee you'll miss me, 'cause you changed the way you kiss me.

Last edited by roller♥coaster; March 13th 2012 at 09:56 PM.
   
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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 14th 2012, 01:49 AM

Jamie, you're right, it's not fair! You deserve to be seen as a victim here too..not a 'news story'.

Did you contact your dad's attorney? He might be the best person to respond to this intrusion and help you out.


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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 14th 2012, 03:28 AM

Thank you. I appreciate the sympathy more than anything in this kind of situation. It, for some reason, makes me feel human again, as if I've become some sort of convenient descriptor (ie. "husband and father") instead of a whole person with thoughts and feelings during this ordeal.

I haven't spoken with the attorney directly as of yet, but through my mother who posed some questions to him for me, I've been told to keep entirely quiet to the press. He also told us that in the event that news people are too pesky (ie. blocking us from leaving the house in attempt to get a comment), we can tell them to leave our property, since noncompliance would make them trespassers.

I've made some kind of breakthrough of another kind. I've spoken with my father for the first time in a week. I feel a little relieved, even though I haven't even scratched the surface as far as my anger goes. Do you think it's okay to save my personal anger and such to be expressed at another time? Even in spite of every ounce of rage I feel toward him, I feel like we're better off being allies at this point, at least until things settle down.

Because of my university classes, I'm stuck here for sure until the end of April. My father's arraignment is in May, however, and we've been discussing sending me to my aunt's house for a week or so during that time. Do you think that would be helpful, too?

Thanks again for all of your help, by the way, Dr. Bobby.




I've never been afraid of the highest heights or afraid of flying high.
I've never been afraid of the wildest fights, not afraid of dying.

I guarantee you'll miss me, 'cause you changed the way you kiss me.
   
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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 14th 2012, 02:45 PM

Jamie, I'm glad this is helpful

I think you can and should do anything that makes you feel better (within reason!). So, if that means waiting to talk more with dad, fine. Going to a relative, fine. Your responses to this trauma have been spot on, you've shown really good judgment...which is impressive in it's own right, but more so given how upset you are. So, I say do what feels best, you're not someone who seems to do reckless things. Just check it out with mom beforehand.


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Re: I... don't know what to think. I'm terrified. - March 14th 2012, 03:12 PM

Thanks a lot. I like to think I'm pretty realistic, but it's hard to tell what that is right now from my own point of view!

I made a phone call to a psychologist's office to see if I can get an appointment. I had to leave a message, but I'm hoping she calls me back fairly soon. I really wish there were places to go to that you could just walk in and pay by the hour, kind of like the drop-in writing tutoring center I work at at my university.

I'd like to think the worst is over now, but I just have a terrible feeling in the pit of my gut. I'm going overseas to visit my boyfriend in July (we know each other in person and all; it's just an LDR), and that just CANNOT come soon enough!




I've never been afraid of the highest heights or afraid of flying high.
I've never been afraid of the wildest fights, not afraid of dying.

I guarantee you'll miss me, 'cause you changed the way you kiss me.
   
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