what to do when your father is a hurtful person

June 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

I find statutory holidays the worst days to cope with family disconnection. First, statutory holidays are set up for high expectations and over the course of my lifetime I doubt there is one of these holiday days that doesn’t have attendant painful memories associated with it. That is just part of the reality of growing up and being part of an alcoholic, addicted, mentally ill family. Second, no matter how hard I work to disassociate myself from the reality of a holiday calendar event, it is very difficult to ignore the hype and the illusion of happy family gatherings everywhere else, for everyone else, but not for me. Third, Fathers Day, in particular, highlights the hypocrisy of my family system.

When my mother was critically mentally ill, with 6 children, my father had an affair and left my mother (and all of us kids) to start a new life with his new love. In the intervening years, he privileged his relationship with his second wife and her son and his children, over me, and my children. Later, when his second wife died unexpectedly in a car accident, he brought me into his life and used me as a surrogate companion until he found his third wife. Once he attached to his third wife I was once again a nonentity in the family. For example, on his wedding day to his third wife he sent me and my husband to pick up his friend to bring him to the ceremony. When we arrived back at the wedding, we realized he had gone ahead with the wedding while we were away picking up his friend. He didn’t notice I wasn’t at the wedding. When I told him later how upset I was he was surprised. He didn’t realize anything untoward had happened.

Unfortunately, that is not an isolated incident. The last time I tried to talk to my dad, thinking we could clear the air and improve our relationship, he couldn’t make time to talk to me because he needed to go shopping for Christmas presents. Yes. Shopping for Christmas presents was more important than spending an hour with his daughter. It was after that incident that I decided to take a break from that relationship and I told him not to call me or write to me until I let him know I was ready to resume communication with him. Just for today I choose not to reinstate that relationship.

So today is Fathers Day and I woke up with a nerve pinching behind my left scapula. I took the big dog out for an early walk and became aware of the grievous emotional pain that is awaiting release from my body.

Writing is helping, I will play some music, I will draw, I will dance, I will sing, I will express myself. Only I can free myself, only I can do this, with the help of my new family and friends.

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