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Intentionally choosing to not continue relationship

Discussion in 'Family, Friends and Relationships' started by sofie, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. sofie

    sofie Banned Member

    My entire life my relationship with my dad has been very tough. He was occasionally mildly physically abusive but primarily the issue was emotional abuse and absence from my life other than being a physical presence. It has been hard because of how it always played out, I was the problem and not my father. The problem, in my family's eyes, was that I blew up or reacted to his baiting me and not that he was baiting me. When my parents divorced, my relationship with him got slightly better, mostly because he moved 15 hours away so our interactions were minimal and rare. A few years ago they moved back to be near my nephew, their only grandchild, and things have been horrible since then. A year prior to them moving back, they stayed with my now-husband and me for five days and during that time my now-husband saw the manipulation, the passive-aggressiveness, and the 'teasing' about things important to me that my dad does endlessly. My husband was the first person to EVER validate how I felt about what my father does and says to me.

    About a year ago, I tried to start working on my relationship with my dad. He and I had dinner, talked thins out, and agreed that we would work on our relationship more -- just him and I without my stepmother inserting herself. A few weeks later it was Christmas time and after six left messages and four sent emails, he finally sent me an email to tell me that he changed his mind and wanted to go back to seeing me only rarely. Honestly, I would have been fine with that had he not handled it the way he did -- ignoring my phone calls and emails, especially over Christmas, was very hurtful and it felt like my stepmother was involved in this change of heart. At that point, I told him I did not want him to contact me again, period. That I would contact him when and if I decided I was ready to continue a relationship with him. I thought I would give it a year and just after Christmas this year I would try to start talking to him again but here I am and I just do not want to do that but have been struggling with guilt and pressure from my mom and sister about reconnecting with him.

    So, long story short, yesterday I saw my psychologist and talked out the entire relationship with my dad -- I had not talked to him about my dad before so it felt really good to finally talk about it. I told him that I did not know what to do at this point. He asked what positive things my dad adds to my life (none that I could think of), what negative things he adds to my life when he is in it (anxiety, anger, etc), and then he asked this -- "Without any pressure from anyone else, if you did not consider anyone else's opinion on this, what would you want in terms of a relationship with your dad?"

    Instantly I said "I wouldn't want one at all"

    His response floored me -- "Then that is what is right for you"

    And just that easily I had someone telling me that it is okay to not try to have a relationship with my dad, ever again, if I choose to....

    I am still not entirely sure WHAT I will do about this long-term but it is pretty unburdening to know that I do not have to do ANYTHING about this now or ever. That sometimes it is ok to end or not try to continue relationships when those relationships are causing a person so much pain. EVEN IF IT IS A PARENT.

    I still have the guilt and sadness about this to deal with.....part of me thinks I 'should' try harder with him even though I have truly tried VERY hard with him.

    What are other people's thoughts on this? Am I horrible to consider not going any further with my father?
    just_done and Jenumbra like this.
  2. JmpMster

    JmpMster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    I left home when 17, and the number of times have had direct contact my family since is low single digits. Many people tell me about the guilt of not seeing family and of a need to maintain contact- I have been told by a few people "you will feel better if you start talking to them. Umm... I do not feel bad and i do not feel guilty at all so , no, I would not. 7 years ago my mother died and somebody got hold of me to let me know. I thought that I should go to the funeral and that maybe I had made a mistake to lose those many years so went up. Within 6 hours I remembered clearly why I left and and the next day, before the funeral even, I got back in my car and drove 500 miles back home and not tried again since.

    You cannot choose who contributed to your DNA, you can absolutely choose once you become an adult who you want to contribute to your life. And you should make those choices based on what is best for you. You do not owe parents for raising you , that is an obligation they incur based on their choices , not yours. I also happen to believe the debt to children is over at the time they are old enough to legally care for themselves. You are nto saying like so many that you want him to support you and do it differently - you are saying that he is bad for you and you want nothing from him - by now you certainly are old enough and seen it often enough to decide if that is best and you are within your rights to make that decision. People telling you "should do it because" are not the ones that need to suffer the consequences, thank them for the ir opinion and make your own decision. I can only tell you is is 100% possible to go without a relationship with immediate family and that it does not have a negative impact on my life at all. The only times my having severed ties with family has had negative impact on my life is when I got the notion I should try to "give a chance" due to some arcane belief that contributing DNA, or meeting the legal obligation of not having let me starve when I was a child incurs some lifelong obligation on my part in anyway.

    Do what you decide is good for you and let the fairytale beliefs of how important family is for your long term well-being be for the people that had the fairytale families.
    just_done and Jenumbra like this.
  3. sofie

    sofie Banned Member

    Thanks, Ben -- it is good to hear this from someone who has experienced it first hand. Especially the part "you do not owe parents for raising you, that is an obligation they incur based on their choices, not yours" -- I have never considered it like that -- always hear the reverse that we should be grateful for our parents raising us.....brought tears to my eyes to hear it stated that they made the choice to have me and that does not mean I am forever in debt to my dad.
    JmpMster likes this.
  4. just_done

    just_done New Member

    i completely agree with everything your psychologist and NYJmpMaster said. your first and only obligation is to yourself and your health, and you have to do what is right for you. i don't want to parrot all the things that NYJmpMaster said (and said much better than i ever could), but your father is your father because of his choices and you owe him nothing. a "good father" will have earned your love and respect, and those would have fostered a desire for an on-going relationship, but because it would have been a good and healthy thing for you. it sounds like he did just the opposite, so the best thing for you is to cut all ties with him. it is not your responsibility to "try harder." you have given more than he deserves.
    JmpMster likes this.
  5. Tear

    Tear Well-Known Member

    Hello, Sofie.

    I also had a bad relationship with my father during the last years. He is also abusive and he never listens to me or tries to understand me. My parents are divorced and I'm currently living with my mom, living my father behind, cause he yelled to me a lot and couldn't live with him.

    Now, I don't talk with him at all, but I'm wondering the same thing as you, so should I try to get closer to him because he is my father and he is lonely? I don't have a job right now, I am trying to figure out my life, I've been/still am depressed and anxious and he can't understand that.

    I think I will still talk to him, but not right now, after some time.