Please help me stop feeling so upset all the time. I don’t know if I can do it alone.

by

Need to go back and reread all the comments you guys wrote about cutting off contact with your parent – particularly when you have children. To be honest, I was surprised there were so many other people in ‘my’ situation. Pleasantly surprised – not that I’m happy anyone else has a fucked up parent, but that the struggle I go through is not on my own.

TMD and I are in debate right now.

Blondie, my younger sister, just called. She mentioned that she had said to dad (makes me feel queasy to even write ‘dad’) that he needed to be the bigger person. He said he had not sent the babies anything for Christmas yet.

Hi, it’s February. What are you waiting for, the anniversary of their first Christmas?

Blondie said he said, ‘Well, Existere hurt my feelings.’ I think this is because he felt we didn’t really want to see or spend time with him. Well, why would he expect we would? We have not had a positive relationship since I was 13 or 14 and caught him cheating on my mother. Even before then, he was an abusive drunk who often moved in and out of our house. He hit me, he hit my mother, he ruined our family. (Thank god that family ended, though, because in Bear – my step-dad – I have found the father I always wanted.)

He wanted us to drive two hours to his house in massively snowy conditions with TWIN INFANTS and stay with him for a few days. Yes, like I want to pack up crateloads of shit, drive through a blizzard, and spend time away from my real family and friends to stay with people who I have no positive contact with.

Why would he feel he was owed that? I feel I went out of my way to meet with him, even offering the idea that he rent a hotel room so he would have a chance to spend quality time with his first grandchildren. His response? To yell at me, to tell me he couldn’t take a day off work, to tell me his partner wouldn’t be coming at all. Then to meet us for a short lunch, paid for with money he has stolen from us. Classy bastard.

We are debating all of this, and part of me thinks, What the fuck is wrong with me that 2% still wants to hold back, to give him another chance? How many chances have I given him? How many chances am I willing to give him to break the hearts of my sweet children?

I wrote this but did not send –

Sorry to hear your father died, but I do not understand why you did not tell me this has happened.

As a parent, Snort and Coconut are my priority. Every action I take impacts them. I cannot imagine a time when I wouldn’t bother to let them know something this monumental.

I think because they are my priority, I am also thinking about whether contact with you is good for them. This was their first Christmas on this planet and you did not even give them cards. I do not want them growing up the way I have grown up – you always sending my birthday cards late, if at all, etc. Never calling, never visiting, never offering any support in any way. They deserve better.

As their parent it is my job to protect them from hurt. They do not need a grandfather who does not take even a day from work to meet them, who doesn’t send anything for their birth for months, who does not acknowledge Christmas. They are too little now to feel rejected and confused, but they will not be babies forever.

So I suppose I am taking the responsibility you never did and trying to protect my children.

The bit in bold was added later, and then I thought, Fuck, what if the impossible happens and he offers to come visit? That is my worst fucking nightmare.

TMD said it sounded like I was saying, ‘This is what is wrong, and this is how you need to fix it.’ Leaving the door open, in other words.

So then I wrote this:

I have been thinking about what is best for Coconut and Snort, and I do not think you are it. Please do not contact us in future.

…But did not send it. TMD thinks the best option is to just never respond if he does bother to call. She does not like confrontation. To be fair, this is pretty much what happens anyway.

My sister gave him an ultimatum and suddenly he joined Facebook, flew out to City By The Sea to visit her, etc. I have given him ultimatums and they did not work. I do not want to give another one. I have cut off contact in the past and it did not work longterm, he just ignores that I have asked him repeatedly to leave us alone. But I always feel best in the months or years that I do not have contact with him.

I think he blames me for everything. He immediately put everything onto me – I didn’t go out of my way with the babies to see him, etc etc. He fails to accept responsibility for anything, or even understand why sometimes things are his fault.

To just ignore him feels to me like I am letting him win. Like I am giving him the easy way out – ‘Oh, she never calls. She never visits.’ It also leaves the door open because he wouldn’t know that contact was cut.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I am brave enough to really try to end it, and that is because of the babies. If they were not here, he would be out. The only reason he ever got back in is because he was so interested and supportive during my pregnancy.

Fuck, fuck, fuck.

Help me, even if it is only to say that you wouldn’t know what to do, either. Or to offer a virtual hug. Or to, you know, compose the email for me.

I don’t know why I am concerned about letting him feel he’s won. The reality here is that neither of us wins. The reality is how to shield myself from the hurt that is here again, because now he hurts me times three.

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19 Responses to “Please help me stop feeling so upset all the time. I don’t know if I can do it alone.”

  1. halfadozen Says:

    I understand the urge to have the last word. To get it all out, to say it all, and then to walk away feeling satisfied. Only thing is, its not satisfying at all. I know, because I have been there, done it too. Its strange, but I actually don’t think there is any fix, quick or otherwise, to this kind of pain. Its deep, its psyche altering, it’s the kind of thing that changes you. But the hurt doesn’t go. Cutting him off means you won’t have to confront it, but the 2% of you that wants to try and heal it will still ocassionally mourn. Nothing you do or say will change who your father is. Its all about your prespective and where you are at in it all. That’s all you CAN change.

    I am so sorry you have to go through this.

    I don’t have any advice other than to be gentle with yourself and don’t put pressure on yourself to make decisions about forever. Do what you need to, what is best for you and your whole family, and if things change one day, so be it. I wish I had some wise words, or some kind of answer for you. But all I can extend, from over here (in what I imagine is Country C from your posts) is some big hugs…

    • existere Says:

      Everything you have said really resonates. I want to write more, but need to think about what you have said. The bit about not putting pressure on myself to make forever decisions seems a possibility full of relief. Thank you.

  2. Tia Says:

    I love you. I would just leave it. Either way he is going to play the victim. Sometimes it gets to the point where anything you say or do is rendered useless. Just stop trying. Hope this helps.

    • existere Says:

      It does, because it is useless in terms of him. He does not respond to things. I guess the person I worry about is me, and what feels non-useless to me. TMD reminds me of how bad it was the last time I tried to cut him off – writing a letter full of all my hurts and pains, and then how long I waited for the response that never came. I think that made it worse.

      Thank you.

  3. P.S. House Says:

    I want to comment. I don’t want to let your post drag up all the horrible things I could say towards my own family because thats not going to help you feel better.I think that you should know though that struggling to cut off toxic people, especially when they’re your family, is tough. It’s easy to slip back to enabling them again and that can just make you feel bad about yourself. I also think you need to be able to see this as just that: your father’s choices. For me it has been easier to just realize that those people will never meet my bare expectations, and at some point if he is going to change then it will be obvious because he will start treating you like a daughter. Extricate yourself while the babes are little and then at least he will stop disappointing you. Then if he continues being the way he is it won’t affect you. If he changes you will be able to see it because he’ll make a real effort.
    Beecher

    • existere Says:

      YES. This is what I did before – had no expectations of him, and therefore had no disappointments. I think it’s because he got so much more into my pregnancy than I expected that I felt a change was coming? And so felt let down when it didn’t. Though on reflection I think maybe I really involved everyone in my pregnancy because I was so excited,and perhaps he wasn’t as active as I remember?

      Thank you.

  4. PottyMouthMommy Says:

    heh… I was bad… I took the easy way out and just never contacted my father again.

    I don’t care if he thinks “she never calls, she never visits” because HE doesn’t try either. And HE’S supposed to set the example for ME.

    On that note as well, a confrontation would solve nothing, except to allow him to “make” me feel guilt for my decision. So, I avoid it. I can’t feel guilt for protecting myself and my daughter from his crap by doing nothing. I kind of think of it like, I wouldn’t call a burglar to come and rob my house- why would I call someone who’s just going to abuse me?

    I hate that I’m not alone in this sort of thing- I would wish anything but on my worst enemy. *sending virtual hugs*

  5. Kristin Craig Lai Says:

    Dealing with people like this is one of the biggest challenges we can face, even more so when we become parents and are concerned about the well-being and happiness of our kids. So first I want to say that with the loving and supportive home that you are providing to your kids a negligent grandfather may hurt them some but it will not hurt them the way it has hurt you. You and your partner are the most important people in their lives and that foundation you are building will carry them a long way.

    Second, it is really easy to get caught up in the drama, guilt and anger of these toxic relationships. The energy we spend going over and over all the ways they were wrong or childish or hurtful winds up hurting us more than anyone. So, here’s the question: what is in your control and what isn’t? You clearly have no control over how he behaves or feels or reacts. When he gets defensive or abusive that’s on him, not you. All you can control is how much time you give him and how much emotional energy you invest in the relationship. I can’t advise you on whether or not you should cut him out. All I can say is look around for your inner caretaker and do what you need to do to take care of yourself and your family. HUG!!

  6. Gliding through motherhood Says:

    **hugs and hugs**

  7. Tatiana Says:

    I ignore my father. He gets no response from me, period. If he does send anything for Maia, it will be returned. He has been given chance after chance and proven that he is too immature and hateful to handle them like a responsible adult. My sister tried recently to welcome him back into her life and you know what he did? Sent her an email saying how she’s always been his favourite and he’s so happy she’s coming back to him. That’s how fucking stupid people like this are, Existere. They’re not worth it. They are not worth being in our children’s lives.

    • Tatiana Says:

      Meanwhile, he was leaving comments on my blog & other blogs I write for telling me that I’m ugly, I’m stupid, but hey, at least I made a pretty baby! WTF?

  8. Anna Says:

    First {{{hugs}}}. Then just look after yourselves and your babies. I’d normally hedge this around with lost of diplomacy, but I think fuck him and his trying to dump the blame for things on you. He’s not worth the effort and he’s proved that again and again, which is because of him and who he is, nothing to do with who you and your sister are. Trying to cut him out has been ineffective and I would imagine painful, iterating all the reasons for your choice, so not worth bothering with again. If he turns up, see how you feel at the time. That 2% will always be there, but most of the time it’s be silent and you can get on and enjoy your lives without having to think about him. More {{{hugs}}}

  9. catsandcradles Says:

    Hi. I realize I’m a total stranger, but I came across your blog a couple of weeks ago, and have been working to catch myself up with it since. Anyway.

    I wish I had some profound advice on how to make it all better, but unfortunately, I don’t. I’m very lucky to have a great relationship with both my parents, but I have a lot of friends who are in situations a lot closer to yours. (I wish I could fix everything for them, too.) One of my good friends has a mother who, though never physically abusive, has always been very narcissistic. My friend said that she’s recently come to the conclusion that she can’t expect her mother to change, but she can change her expectations for her mother. All my friend has any control over is how she reacts to her mother’s behavior. So how do you want to relate to this man?

    Believe me, I understand the desire to make him know what he’s done, and what a shitty person he is. (Because he is.) But it sounds to me like he’s never going to acknowledge any of it, and is just going to continue to be the bastard that he is. So I think if it were me, I might be tempted to just condense it down to something like “Due to your recent behavior, as well as your long history, I have been considering what is best for Coconut and Snort, as well as myself. I do not think that you are it. Please do not contact us in future.” Even if you told him why, I don’t think it would make a difference, because he’s not going to hear it. He’s going to blame it all on you, regardless. And that sucks, but it is what it is. If he were the kind of person that might listen to the longer letter, maybe you wouldn’t need to write it, you know?

    And maybe for a while just ignore him if he does try to contact you. Block him from your e-mail, refuse his letters unread, whatever. I think Halfadozen is right, in that you don’t have to make forever decisions about this. There is the possibility that he could change. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but I acknowledge the possibility. And if he really does, then you can re-evaluate the situation. In the meantime, though, I think you are all much better off without him in your lives.

    And I’m sorry, it sucks. I offer virtual hugs. (I’m a stranger, but I swear I’m not really creepy.) I hope some of that is at least a little bit useful.

  10. Jess Says:

    I agree with what others have said – I don’t think you should confront him about it. If he wants to think ‘she never calls, she never visits’, so be it. I’m sure he’ll think that’s a damn good excuse for not being a father-figure. I can’t say much because I have a good relationship with both my parents BUT I don’t reckon there’s anything you could really say to him that would make him change. Obviously you’ve tried it before with the ultimatums you’ve mentioned & it didn’t work so what would make now any different? If he doesn’t understand it already, I’m sorry but I don’t think he ever will.

    So.. No, I don’t think there’s much use in sending an email saying ‘go away’, etc. Like someone up above said, who knows, maybe one day (one far away day, I’m guessing, from the way you talk about him) he’ll change. Maybe he’ll crawl out of bed one day & realize how horrible he’s treated you. Until then, I think you should just take it one day at a time & ignore any attempts from him to contact you or your family.

  11. saralema Says:

    So, so sorry you are in pain.

    You have received some great input already. I agree with catsandcradles’ line of thinking. I would probably keep it simple and say “After careful thought and consideration, I have decided that maintaining a relationship with you at this time is healthy for me or beneficial for my family. Please do not contact me.” I understand wanting to explain more, but he has proven that he does not listen or seem to care about your reasons why. If he continues to contact (and as he comes across as having to be the one in control, I imagine he won’t just resect your request), I would be a broken record and repeat, repeat, repeat. You owe him no further explanation or justification.

    Hugs to you.

    • saralema Says:

      “After careful thought and consideration, I have decided that maintaining a relationship with you at this time is NOT healthy for me or beneficial for my family. Please do not contact me.”

      Shoot! Missed a word!

  12. apieceofwood Says:

    I’m sorry to read this.. I guess this relates to the conversation on Twitter. TMD’s approach could be the best.. but agonising over this, you are letting him hurt you more, but I understand why you agonise..

    I know it’ll never be right, but your babies are going to grow up with the best two Mum’s ever and won’t have to go through this shit with their parents. I hope you take heart from that..

    hugs xxx

  13. Jennie Says:

    What an awful situation for you to be in. And at a time when you’re still essentially getting used to thinking for three people and their corresponding needs rather than just one! My heart goes out to you, and I hope that you can find peace with whatever decision you and TMD make. Hugs.

  14. Darlene Says:

    Sorry I am late in responding to this. I am just now reading it. I personally WOULD respond to him in written form. I would try and get in touch with what was in my heart. I would write how his actions affected me when I was young and I would let him know that I was prepared to protect my children from feeling that way at all costs. There would be no anger in my letter, no threats, just facts. Hope you figure this out. To be in limbo can’t be settling. Good luck.

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