Post # 1
I’m going to apologize up front for the long post, but I’m struggling and feel I can’t pick myself up.
Background: Mom and Dad were married 26 years and went through a nasty divorce when I was 25 (finalized about a year ago). Dad decided almost 10 years ago that he doesn’t want to contribute to the family anymore (separated his bank accounts, stopped paying house-related bills, didn’t pay for college funds, etc.) His rationale was he works hard for his money and his money should be his alone. Mom was pissed off and the downward spiral began. He slept in the master bedroom, she moved to the couch. He never once asked her what was wrong and would just go about his own business and social agenda. By the time she filed for divorce, they weren’t even on speaking terms. Outwardly, he made it seem like he was the greatest dad and husband and bragged about me and my sister, but never came to any school events or even graduation.
Two Years Ago: When the divorce papers arrived, he said he disagreed and did not want to go through with the divorce. I got an angry phone call the same night saying he was going to commit suicide and would rather be dead than be divorced. He then fled the country and was unreachable and untraceable for more than a year, during which time the divorce was fianlized by a judge as abandonment.
Now: He started calling and texting me a few months ago, always from different numbers, saying he was back in states and wanted to talk to me. I was beyond angry and demanded answers for disappearing and then suddenly wanting a relationship. After a few days of texting back and forth with no real answers, he disappeared again (possibly out of country). He just got back in touch with me a few days ago. His texts this time are just so out of line, like he is lashing out at me for all the mistakes he has made. He paints a skewed picture of how my mom, sister, and I are all liars and ruined his life. He lied to our extended family that I’m already married (I’m not) and that I’m a doctor (I wasn’t accepted and have a great job and have moved on now). Everything he tells others is to make himself look good, even if it’s complete lies abou others.He now says he’s going to settle in another country and buy a home there, but still doesn’t believe he abandoment his family in the states. He says he’s found religion now and that we will all be judged for our mistakes, but basically he has done nothing wrong. He thinks I should respect him because he is my father, but I can’t even hold a rationale conversation with him.
I’m at the point now where I want to cut off all ties. He’s not being reasonable or understanding to the fact that he just walked out on us. He will not be welcome in my life, my wedding, or my future children’s lives. I’m trying to find the courage to tell him that and not feel like I’m a horrible person. Is that completely out of line? I have always been forgiving, but I just don’t have it in me anymore.
Post # 2
- Wedding: April 2017 - Hogarths, Solihull
Not the easiest thing to do, but I told my Dad to F*** Off and never speak to me again. He was a dick. DNA does not mean family.
Your Dad sounds as bad as mine – he blamed everyone for his own failings. He tried to get back in touch with me a couple of years ago and I tried, I did. He berated me for not wishing him a Happy Father’s Day but then didn’t wish me a Happy Birthday 2 weeks later. I wished him a Happy Birthday in the January and… nothing. Zip. For someone who wanted ‘to rebuild our relationship’ he certainly didn’t try very hard.
So, I deleted and blocked him. My brother still sees him, but has been instructed not to breathe a word of my engagement. As far as I’m concerned, my Step Dad is the only Dad I need.
It’s tough, but severing toxic ties is the best in the long run xx
Post # 3
I’m sorry you are going through this. Without getting into detail, I have also been spending the last week considering cutting off ties with my dad for different, but surprisingly similar reasons. (These reasons have been building over years, but recent events have brought it to a head).
Your situations sounds more extreme than mine and if I were you, I would likely cut off ties. I haven’t decided on my situation yet, but I have thought a lot about what I will say and feel the same as you (I kind of know it needs to be done, but fear “ripping off the bandaid” of actually telling him). I plan to send him an email because my father doesn’t digest verbal communication well (manipulation, lies about it later, etc), so I’ve decided on email for a “paper trail” of sorts. I plan to explain some of the issues very generally – there’s no reason to get into details, becasue he doesn’t see or understand the issues – I also will let him know that I do not want excuses or explanations for these things at this point. I understand that he doesn’t really see the things he’s done in the same light as other people, and I understand that different people think and perceive things differently and I respect that, but I have to make a decision for my mental health and well being which is to cut off ties. I will be clear that I’ve thought about this for a long time and do not wish him any ill will, but there is no room for discussion.
I know it will be very hard for you and I am thinking about you (fellow penguin!). I know how difficult it’s been for me to wrestle with this over the past several weeks (and really years, but coming to a head recently) – your situation is much more extreme than mine and I can only imagine the emotional toll of it all. Taking this step will be difficult, but if you feel that your life and the lives of your family/future children would be significantly improved by going through with it, then I think it will be worth it in the end.
Post # 4
Is it possible he’s mentally ill?
If anyone in your life is making you unhappy move on. Regardless of who they are life’s too short. x
Post # 5
He’s poisonous. Cut him out of your life. . . the fact that he’s a relative doesn’t change anything.
I’ve done the same thing with my parents. Best decision I ever made.
Post # 6
Your dad sounds a lot like my bio father – not wanting to contribute financially to the family, thinking his money should be his to do what he wants with, bragging about his kids to make himself look good but not being involved, etc. I cut ties with my father when I was 17 and have never looked back, when someone is that toxic sometimes it’s the only option. It’s not always easy but when I made the decision to let go it felt very freeing and it is such a wonderful feeling not to have to concern myself with his behaviour.
Post # 7
I cut out a parent because of toxic behaviour. We (family) highly suspect NPD. My narc radar is always up because of this and I realize there’s going to be bias in my case, but read this
and even if I’m wrong, toxic assholes don’t belong in your life regardless of how you’re related.
eta sorry; there’s a really good book called “toxic parents”. Really good read. Really helped me with the guilt and justifucation stuff. Spoiler alert: you have no reason to feel guilty.
Post # 8
I second Toxic Parents recommendation. Great book – very helpful
Post # 9
You are well within your rights to cut him (or any toxic person) off. It does not make you a horrible person. It makes you self-aware and one who looks out for her emotional/mental health.
For what it’s worth, he sounds like he may have some sort of mental illness.
Post # 10
Just reading your post made me sick of your father. Id cut ties with him in a heartbeat.
Post # 11
As a previous commenter asked, I also wonder about an undiagnosed mental illness. The irrational behavior, the complete absence of self-awareness, disappearing multiple times,… and your father’s behavior and choices seem to be getting progressively worse and more reckless.
It does not mean that you have to stay in touch or be in a relationship with your father, but how about encouraging him to get a check up with a mental health professional?
Post # 12
“I’m trying to find the courage to tell him that and not feel like I’m a horrible person.
” — If you WANT to tell him and think it will make you feel better, of course you can. But you don’t have to. When someone is that disrespectful, hateful, and manipulative, you don’t owe them any explanation. I would just silently cut the ties and block him from any means of communicating. He is unlikely to be swayed by anything you say and will most likely just say more hurtful things or try to guilt you into keeping in touch.
You aren’t a horrible person for excusing someone like this from your life. He’s a horrible person for putting his own daughter into this position. It’s hard but it gets easier and the guilt becomes less as time goes on and you realize how much better your life is without the lies, stress, and drama. Best wishes.
Post # 13
THANK YOU all so much! In a weird way, just hearing that others have faced a similar situation gives me hope that this will all be ok. I need a few days to calm down and think over it and then I’m thinking about cutting all ties for good.
@stephisaur – I totally understand trying, like really trying to make it work, but I’ve given up hope that he will change.
@HappySky7 – thanks for the article and book recommendation. I think getting over some of the guilt will be a major milestone is putting this behind me for good.
@KBelle12and @thethreadofariane – I recently started considering mental illness too. He’s too wrapped up in how perfect he is to even consider a psych eval. Even if there was some underlying cause, I’m not sure it would make me forgive everything else he’s done.
@Daisy_Mae – thanks for the change of perspective! Not having to say anything or try to rationalize an explanation may be the way to go.
Post # 14
I’m glad you’re feeling hopeful. No contact is very hard. I have not only lost my abuser, I have lost my entire family. It was necessary but it is not easy. I hope you seek a counsellor to help you through this. Mine sure helped me. Good luck to you.
Post # 15
I agree with Daisy_Mae, you need to think abut what is best for you, not what is best for him, and in this situation I don’t think an explanation is necessary, as it will probably just fall on deaf ears. My vote is for quietly severing ties and going on with your life and your healthy relationships. Best of luck, Bee.