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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 4, 2006

    Default Dealing with bad parental relationships...

    Seems every off topic day there's a thread along these lines, but hey, what's one more?

    My parents have been divorced since I was 13. I get along with my mom just great, and she was a saint in dealing with my dad growing up. They separated for a time when I was about 6, according to her for his anger management issues. He was never EVER abusive towards me, or her. Got over that, and then in the course of working (as an animal control officer so not armed himself) had a gun pulled on him while at work and did not deal well with that. But beyond the point to which was reasonable, really. At some point you have to just buck up and move on. He didn't and did not work or really do his half of things. My mom as a result had to give up work on her PhD. Then at around 12/13 he got a DUI and my mom really called it quits then.

    I want to say, he was great when I was a little kid and I remember him being kind and a good dad. I had very limited contact with him after they divorced, primarily because he chose that as I recall, and the fact I moved across the state with my mom. Now I live several hundred miles away in another state. Things have only gotten worse as I have gotten older (mid 20s now). I increasingly noticed a level of narcissism and selfishness in his calls over the last year. I started calling him less, and taking more time to call him back when he called me. In November, I hadn't heard from him in over a month and neither had anyone else in the family. Come to find out he was fired from his job and was in a homeless shelter.

    He then became very religious via this homeless shelter and chose to follow their bible study program in exchange for housing/food over the next year or two. A couple of months ago, I was on the phone with him, and the conversation went like so:

    Him: "We have been discussing in my church group today how our children would rate us as parents, and vice versa. I rated you a 7.5."
    Me: () "Oh really? That is...interesting. What led you to that?"
    Him: "Well, I didn't really know you when you moved to (city my mom moved us to across the state that I, at 14 had no control over)."
    Me: "I see."

    Hung up, thought about that for a real long time, asked people around me if they thought that was messed up, or if I was being overly sensitive. It was unanimous on the former. I called him back later that day, he didn't pick up and called me the next day. I picked up and said basically this:

    "I called to talk to me about what you said to me yesterday. That was one of the nastiest, douchiest things anyone has ever said to me, let alone from my own parent. I really do not want to hear from you again until you're ready to apologize." He replied "Ok." and HUNG UP ON ME.

    Then last week I found out via my uncle (his brother) that my grandmother left a small inheritance to be split among the two of them (she died over a year ago and it just surfaced). My uncle wants to give his half to me, but my dad is executor and will be the one to receive the check. My uncle indicated he would call me last week to get more information to send the inheritance to me. He hasn't called me until yesterday. The conversation went like so:

    Him: "I called because I haven't talked to you in awhile and we've been talking about forgiveness in my church group. I wanted to ask your forgiveness for me acting like an a**hole."
    Me: "I see. Maybe eventually. It was extremely hurtful."
    Him: "Well maybe you can forgive me."
    Me: "Is there anything else you'd like to tell me?"
    Him: "Umm..nope. Don't think so."
    Me: "Are you sure?"
    Him: "Yup."

    No mention of the inheritance, and no apology. Luckily, I don't particularly need the money (I've been financially independent, fully employed, etc since I turned 18). But on sheer principle, I feel like I'm being manipulated in forgiving him, and having the onus put on me, when he was the one in the wrong. After a two somewhat recent near-death experiences, I feel like I no longer have the time or energy for people who don't care, don't respect me, or don't give me what I give them in return. Life is too short.

    I guess I just needed to vent, and see what others would do in my situation....sorry for the novel and props if you kept reading

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2005
    New Zealand


    Quote Originally Posted by Dazednconfused View Post
    After a two somewhat recent near-death experiences, I feel like I no longer have the time or energy for people who don't care, don't respect me, or don't give me what I give them in return. Life is too short.
    It sounds like you know what you want to do, which is not have anything further to do with your father. Feel free to vent, it sucks to have people who are an energy drain in your life rather than supportive, especially when its a parent. It also sounds like your father is mostly out of your life anyways so its not a big step to simply stop having contact with him. If the money turns up via your uncle then great but as you said you're not expecting or counting on it.

    You can keep the good memories you have of him without maintaining any relationship with who he currently is. Hugs to you and I agree, I only want to be surrounded by people who give me as much as I give them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2004


    Dazednconfused, I feel for you. My own parental story is similar. I haven't spoken with my father in more than 10 years and I don't miss that relationship at all. Marengo is absolutely right, there's no need to keep people like that in your life.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2003


    OP, does your dad suffer from mental illness? You've been far enough away from him that you may not know enough about him to be sure. Often people who find homelessness and repeated job loss to be the normal course of events suffer some type of illness. Especially when the seemingly fall off the face of the earth for periods of time. His willingness to jump on the bible wagon would make me wonder as well if he has never been a religious person before. Not that it would make it ok for him to treat you this way but having an explanation sometimes makes things easier to accept.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
    Dutchess County, New York


    Get counseling. It will help you deal with your family, and help you with yourself. (EVERYBODY can use help with how they deal with the world).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 4, 2006


    Thanks all for the responses! Didn't have time before OT day closed last time.

    Good news is, he called me last week and asked for my address in a voicemail, so I have slightly more hope he will do the right thing. I was able to leave him a voicemail in return with my address without having to speak to him. So that was one good thing, I guess. He still hasn't apologized, though, so there is that. I still feel as though there's a pretty significant difference between an apology and asking for forgiveness, so not holding out any real hope.

    Sketcher - yes, without a doubt (primarily depression). And having spent far too many years on SSRIs and a general lack of responsibility. And I'm sure his newfound biblethumping has affected his opinion of his very atheist/agnostic daughter It explains most of it.

    SMF11 - I've contemplated it. It probably wouldn't hurt. Alas I don't have health insurance so it's a little lower on my priorities list as of late...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 11, 2006
    Cheesehead in Loudoun Co, VA


    The safest way for your uncle to give you his money would be to accept it from the executor and cut you a check himself.

    Sorry your family is screwed up
    I'm not arguing, I'm just explaining why I'm right
    Violence doesn't end violence. It extends it. Break the cycle.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 4, 2006


    Highflyinbey - I know that to be true. But it's questionable that he was even going to send the correct amount anyway. I'm not really worried about the money at this point. It's just not that important to me in the end.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
    Evansville, Wisconsin


    Quote Originally Posted by Dazednconfused View Post
    I'm not really worried about the money at this point. It's just not that important to me in the end.
    I know what you mean -it's not about wanting the money, it's about wanting your relative to stop trying to use it to manipulate you. My father's mother likes to have dramatic fits where she implys that we won't inherit anything if we don't do what she wants

    It's very frustrating, but people are right - it's not worth wasting your time and making tons of effort for a relationship that's just not working.

    I send my obnoxious grandmother a Christmas Card every year, but I don't call, and I won't give her my phone number.
    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
    -Edward Hoagland

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