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Well here it goes I am not a parent I am a 26 year old daughter that has ceased communications with her parents. My father via facebook messaging would like to know why I have "dissed" him... actually here is the complete message: "Hopefully before I pass away I get to see and or hear from you again. WTF is the matter with you. What did I ever do to you to cause you to dis me like you have. Thanks for the MEMORIES..." This was written by a 53 year old white man. Where would I start? The physical abuse as a young child which became less frequent after my parents separated when I was twelve. The catching my father cheating on my mother several times as a child including accidentally walking in on him screwing another woman on my parents bed and on the living couch or that that's what kept me up some nights. The constant lies he would tell me as a child especially forcing us to hang out with the women and making us call them aunt so and so...I could go on and on here. He tried to kill me when I was twelve (figured I'd throw that one into the mix too.) I don't know if he just conveniently forgot about these things as he has mellowed out in his older age... but do I tell him these things...I guess the beatings are an obvious one, but I know he has no idea he used to wake me up at night and the times where he would disappear for hours into the bedroom with other women...I'm wondering if he thought I was too young to know what was going i tell him I caught him doing these things when I was younger, I don't think I can, I think I'd rather just not talk to him and leave it at that, because what happens if I do tell him these things, I don't know what his reaction will be, If my kid told me that I would probably have to kill myself. Do I tell him the reason I don't want to have kids is because I don't ever want to treat another person the way you or mom treated me or my brothers. Really what do I tell him or should I just keep ignoring him


James Crist Replied: You have been through a lot and it is quite understandable that you would want to cut ties with him completely. The hurts you have suffered are not easily forgotten. Some people do change and are able to take responsibility for their actions. His reaction to you today, however, is to try to guilt you into responding, and to blame you for the problem. This suggests he hasn't changed much. And while you didn't have the ability to protect yourself from his behavior as a child, you do as an adult. However, he did ask what he did to deserve this. If you decide to tell him, his reaction will tell you all you need to know. If you decide not to, you will never know if you missed an opportunity to work through the pain and start to heal. Holding on to anger and hurt may end up hurting you more than it does him, and you may want to seek counseling to help you work through these issues. I think it could help a lot. On the other hand, you have a right to protect yourself from hurtful people, including your parents. If you do decide to tell him, perhaps you can start with something like this: Dad, you asked what you did to cause me to distance myself from you. I have many hurtful memories of things you did when I was younger. If you really want to hear them, I can tell you. But if you're just going to deny that anything happened and get mad at me, then I won't feel comfortable telling you.
Posted On 2009-11-02 22:51:04
Amy and Charles Miron Replied: First, let us say loud and clear that we're soooo sorry for all your pain. You mentioned the beatings, and in our opinion, physical abuse is in some ways easier to manage sometimes, than emotional and psychological abuse. A physical bruise has a predictable cycle. First it's black/blue and purple. Then, with time it turns greenish, then yellow until it finally heals. Psychological and emotional pain is often much harder to handle because it doesn't follow a predictable pattern. But let us be very clear that it (and you) can heal!Sure it's hard, but you learned how to do hard at a very early age.

We'd really hope that you would choose to get some professional counseling to help with the healing process. The right counselor can help you to sort out all of the many feelings you have surrounding your early experiences. You deserve to take good care of yourself, and finding the right counselor may be a part of that.
We can't begin to tell you how much we admire your strength, kindness and compassion...even to those who didn't show you those things. You should be very proud of yourself. It sounds like you are the very kind of person who would learn from the pain of their childhood and grow into a loving, sensitive and appropriate parent. You may want to re-examine your decision to not have kids some time later in your life, rather than close that door permanently. Sometimes, having parents that aren't those things can serve as a great model of what not to do.

It sounds to us like you are a woman with know, that person who does the right thing simply because it's right. It's pretty amazing that you worry about your Father's reaction and fear that had it been your kid telling you these things, you would have to kill yourself. Some counseling might help you to understand that you are not responsible for your Father. We strongly believe in speaking from the best in you to the best in matter what they do or don't do.

This is a tough decision and we can understand your struggle. Our best advice is to understand that you're writing your own personal history that you will be living with for the rest of your life. Make sure that you're doing what you believe in your heart of hearts to be the right thing, no matter what the person on the other side does. You can't control your Father. But you can control you and what you make of your life now that you're in charge of it. Just think...who's shoes would you like to be wearing in this situation. We'll bet that your feet are a lot better off in the long run. Now why not get some support? A good therapist can make the long run a lot more supportive; something you certainly deserve. While the decision to answer your father is yours and yours alone, the guidance and support of an ongoing counseling relationship could be invaluable. No matter what you choose to do, know that the two of us think you're pretty darn special.

Posted On 2009-10-19 21:56:03
Dr. Tom Greenspon Replied: Thanks for reaching out for help under these awful circumstances. Whether you decide to keep your father out of your life, or to confront him with your feelings and with what you know, there are two important things to remember: you need support, and any conversations with him are not likely to lead to his changing. From your report of his messages, he is angry, he blames you, and he is in complete denial about what he has done. Responding to him would be a way for you to speak your mind and maintain your sense of integrity, but not a way to change him. He will most likely be angrier and more resolute. The choice is yours, but I would look for a group that meets to extend support to adult survivors of childhood abuse. Call some hospitals or churches or women's centers to see if they can suggest one. Talk to the group about the decision facing you, and get their perspectives and their experiences. Incidentally, you may not have learned about caring parenting, but you do know, from direct experience, about the importance of maintaining a safe environment, with empathy and affirmation, for kids. There are parenting skills groups out there that you can go to; don't give up on raising kids just yet.
Posted On 2009-10-19 16:11:18
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