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Old 02-21-2011, 02:11 PM   #1 (permalink)

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One more about severing ties / detachment

I did a web search for 'severing ties with abusive parents' and it directed me here, which is great since the person I'm thinking of severing ties with also happens to be an alcoholic. What a coincidence. I'm so happy to have found this site. Finally, some people who can relate!!

I decided to start a new thread since the one I was reading was from 2006.

So, I suppose my question is: How many of you have severed ties? How long ago was it, and how do you feel now that you've done it?

My father and I have never been close. I've considered severing ties for a long time. I think our past phone conversation was the straw that broke the camel's back. There was nothing particularly terrible about it, as nearly every conversation we have is terrible to begin with. I am getting NOTHING from this relationship, other than stress, sadness and low self-esteem.
The thing is, every time I've thought of him since that conversation, I've almost gone to call him or something, then I remembered that I think that may have been the last time we'll talk... And I can't explain it very well, but it's been very peaceful...even the idea of possibly not having to go through that again. He's basically dead to me, and he has been most of my life.

Like a lot of the posts are saying...we don't take this abuse from other why do we allow it to happen from our parents?

My father has been an alcoholic my entire life. He used to constantly physically abuse my mother, until she finally died and was no longer there for him to abuse. He was warned over 10 years ago that, if he continued drinking, he would die within a short period of time. Didn't make a difference. He's living on borrowed time, and he knows it. He is wasted almost daily, and is even MORE abusive when he has been drinking. (Though he's still miserable and awful when sober.)
I think my biggest fear is having guilt from not talking to him anymore. He is old and will die soon, and I don't know how bad I'll feel later if his life ends while we're on non-speaking terms. Of course, hearing about how I 'obviously don't love him' because I 'moved away and put myself first' doesn't help me feel very good, either. He HATES women, and is the most miserable person on earth. Why would I stick around? We never had a normal, healthy father/daughter relationship. When I try to make that point, he screams at me about something-or-other. He's insane. IN-SANE!

Would love to hear back from some of you. I'm brand new here.

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Old 02-22-2011, 12:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum. Glad you found us, but sorry you need to be here!

I severed ties with my entire immediate family couple decades ago and have never regretted it. I've been an orphan all alone in the world for all my life for all practical purposes even though I have a mother and all three siblings still living, and I was already 35 when my father died. Useless, every single one of them.

I don't concern myself with what happens to them. Of course they're all going to die someday, we all are, but they're no more than strangers to me at this point. I don't think I could even pick them out of a crowd at this point, and my own mother can't remember my birthday, so apparently I'm no great loss to her either. And frankly I feel less alone in the world now than I did when I was still trying to be part of the family.

You can stop talking to your father without making it be forever, if you're afraid of not being around when he dies. Your father's not going to change at this point. He's a very sick man, and his disease leads him to verbally abuse you and to be unable to have a normal relationship with you. You don't have to allow that to happen but the only way to take control of that is to disconnect from him. If he dies alone with no contact from his daughter ... well, he doesn't seem to value you very much, does he? How much is it going to hurt him, really? I wouldn't feel guilty about something he brought on himself. You have to defend yourself from him, no one else is going to do it for you, especially not him.

It's sad, but bad things happen, and we have to deal with it. Going no contact is a reasonable response in this situation. It doesn't have to be forever, you know.
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Old 02-28-2011, 06:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You don't have to allow that to happen but the only way to take control of that is to disconnect from him.
I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. I will add, however, that disconnecting takes on a myriad of forms. I have been on the verge of going no-contact with my parents several times in my life.

I, too, worry about their end-of-life issues. It's complicated, but should either of my parents die, I will (legally) end up being the one responsible for them, so I figure it's in my best interest to stay involved in their lives.

However, I don't have to stay emotionally involved. I can check my emotions at the door, and let things wash over me. Granted, it's taken a lot of work to get here, it still takes a lot of work to maintain, and I still get side-swiped at times (when I let my guard down), but I recover much more quickly and the emotional sabotage doesn't stick.

I sometimes think that going no-contact would be much much easier. But I would not feel true to my own moral/spiritual code of ethics if I was to do that, so I put effort into learning how to not be affected by them instead.
There are no great deeds; only small deeds done with great love. ~Mother Theresa
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:56 PM   #4 (permalink)

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Thank you both so much for responding.
Mushroom, you're totally right. I hadn't quite looked at it that way before.
"If he dies alone with no contact from his daughter ... well, he doesn't seem to value you very much, does he?" was dead-on! He is NOT valuing me. I mean, it's just ridiculous. I have to hear about how he never wanted I should have done this, or should have done that...nothing I ever do is good enough, and I'm sick of feeling that way.
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Old 03-10-2011, 04:09 AM   #5 (permalink)

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Amerce72, you sound like a strong women. I think deep down you know what is right and wrong. You did not cause your fathers alcoholism, nor can you fix it. Perhaps, if you end up deciding to severe ties, you could write to him each month, sharing with him your life details and reinforcing the fact that you love him. If he choses to write
Back, great. If not, at least you gave it all you had And won't feel bad if something happens. We are here for you babe. I can't express how much this forum has helped me, come back if only for a read each day, it will make you so much stronger and let me know if you need an ear. You will be okay.
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:02 PM   #6 (permalink)

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I am 25 years old now and I haven't seen my father in 5-6 years now. He was an alchoholic since I was 8 years old. I grew up in a unstable very shaky childhood. My mom worked night shift usually gone by the time I got home from school and then I had to be the "mature" 8 yr old and pretty much raise my father (father because he was part in creating my life but he is not a "dad" to me never was) my whole childhood was spent worrying about him making sure he did not get arrested or hurt himself or my brothers. He was very v iolent, irresponsible, abusive and just a bad person when he drank. He always manipulated my brothers and I to lie for him to my tell her he wasn't drinking while she was away. If we didn't we would deal with the consequences which usually included some sort of violent outbursts or him just guilting us about how he can't trust us. We had two choices growing up...go with his drinking and not tell mom then end up dealing with the drunkenness and praying to god he passed out early or go against it and be treated like crap the next day after my mom left for work when he went on his drunken rages. I've dealt with being 8 yrs old standing in a grocery store with him with urine on his pants so ridiculousy drunk he could hardly walk and reeking of liquor then yelled at until I got in the car and he DROVE us home. He loved to drink and drive with us kids. He was so irresponsible and ridiculous he would show up at my sschool events drunk as hell and I would hope nobody noticed and try to keep him hidden from my friends so nobody knew about him. Years later once I. Grew up and realized what was wrong with him, after my first daughter was born I decided I don't need someone like that in my life. My life has been more fulfilling not dealing with him than the pain of having him in my life. My brothers still keep in contact with him and continue to baby him because "he's their dad" he's still violent still wakes up drinking first thing, still passes out drunk, still the same pitiful man he's always been and it makes me SO mad that he stresses them out so much he drives them crazy and checks out of this world by 12:00 noon everyday...yyet they put up with him. He still tries to contact me but I refuse to speak to him until he is one day sober, if that day never comes then I was never worth it to him and my kids aren't worth it to him but I know that I won't be wasting myself away on him. I believe that if you beg someone for change and threaten to cut them out your life and they don't change? They don't deserve to be part of your life parent or not. The hardest part about cutting ties with him is the tension between my brothers and I. He became homeless because his family would let him stay with them with one rule, no drinking, so he chose to sleep under a bridge! My brother felt bad and said he could live with him and he let's him drink all day because my "poor" dad, no one will "accept"him for who he is (his words) if you tell him no drinking he will leave. So my brother allows it They don't get it, they deal with it and let him bring them down with him and they are mad for me not speaking to him because it hurts him. I just refuse to stress myself out over him, and make my kids suffer dealing with him. Just hearing about him stresses me out I still feel like I can't get away from his drama sometimes and sometimes I don't answer family members calls if I know they tend to talk about him a lot. I think in circumstances for your own mental well being cutting ties is the only way.
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:23 PM   #7 (permalink)

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Also Amerce, I think the nasty remarks EVERY drunk makes about us are only their way of trying to make you feel as miserable as they are inside.I know once I realized my father needs help and brought up to him about how he needs to change he would start in on me I'm a "stupid bitch like your mother who brainwashed you". He just loves to try and get that one up on me because he knows he's a ****** person. I learned a long time ago to block out the drunken nonsense talk, any word that comes out of an alchohlics mouth when they're drunk needs to be swept aside as nonsense its like speaking to an angry 3 year old. I think your doing the right thing cutting ties, it is hard and you will feel a lot of guilt sometimes, but you are only responsible for your well being. We had no choice as kids and that's sad, but we can choose to make our life better now and if it comes to the point of cutting somebody out then its only because they don't deserve to be there. It feels good knowing I'm not the only one who struggles with this, there are very few close friends of mine who get it, most don't. But you only truly get it if you've dealt with an alchoholic parent. I'm glad I found this place
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I am 55. I left my mother when I was 17 and she was a raging alcoholic. I moved across the country to get away from her. Lots of bad things happened to me along the way. I wasn't well and didn't ever seek help. So, long about the time I am 42, I start thinking it would be all hunky dorey to see my mom, make up and live happily ever after.
I found she didn't drink any more. Good. But the behavior remained. The chronic paranoia, always finding something to complain about, making up "sicknesses".
The insanity started all over.
I went through alanon. I got better. I can deal with a lot more now than I could even a year ago.
So, do I have a happy ending? Sort of. She is 2 hours away.
I talk to her daily. I do my best not to allow her to get under my skin most of the time.
I respect her as my mother.
But, honestly, I believe the time I spent away was absolutely necessary. I would have wound up in an insane asylum for life had I not gotten away.
We all have to do what we have to do.
Ginger, I love her posts, always has the best advice. It's really about learning how not to allow them to affect us.
I keep trying. When I feel I can't do it alone, I jump right on to soberrecovery and get help.
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Is it guilt you're afraid of? Or grief? Cuz it's a hard, hard line to cross when you give up your parent for lost (go no-contact)

I moved across the country from my AF. I still talk on the phone to the rest of my family, including my codie mom. But I got to the point where I can't hear my dad's voice without getting upset over how little of a parent he was (at many times). I used to feel guilty because I thought I was letting him down. Now I feel sad because I realize that he and I are both letting me down by pretending to have some kind of pain/guilt-free father/daughter relationship. It's a charade for him to feel successful, and if/when I get too comfortable, it's a dumping ground for his dysfunctional feelings. With the help of therapy, I bypassed the guilt when I made the big move. I was unprepared for how much grief I felt... for wasting time there, for the relationship wasted, and for finally showing even to myself that this person treated me badly enough to be cut out from my life.

Since moving a few years ago, I've come much closer to terms with: he'll never be the dad I wish he could be, he is too immature to be a mature adult around me (much less a parent), and I will continue to actively hurt inside when his childish disregard for my feelings comes out in his behavior. For two years I didn't talk to him at all. Last year I felt stronger in my convictions, and made a brief one-day trip home on my volition (not his). I'm content to know the door is open when I choose. I'm absolutely NOT at the mercy of his moods or drama anymore.

If you suspect no contact will better manage your emotional health, why not try it? You might emotionally detach more wholly, and feel better about how to deal with your dad in a few years (rather than remain in this stagnating relationship dead zone you're in already). You're the adult running your show now, so you might as well live your life. Because while you're thinking about things left said/unsaid in case he dies tomorrow... the reality is, he's not spending his time concerned about the same for you.
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Old 04-08-2011, 01:45 AM   #10 (permalink)

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Originally Posted by Amerce72 View Post
So, I suppose my question is: How many of you have severed ties? How long ago was it, and how do you feel now that you've done it?

I severed ties about 3 years ago. I feel some anger at having it made clear that the entire immediate family regarded me as the problem in all situations, and felt free to blame my sister's tantrums on me. It became obvious I had a choice: cut ties or continue to see family on the understanding that if I 'annoy' them, they can berate and humiliate me, but if I may never so much as politely object to anything they do because they are above reproach.

I tossed it around in my mind for a long time. Can I just roll my eyes, shrug it off, be polite and smile knowing I don't have to see them again until the next holiday? My answer was, when it comes to out and out screaming rages at holiday dinners that left me, as an adult, nearly in tears--no. I can't. If it had stayed at the level of stupid comments, yes, I could have.

I'm angry and hurt that my sisters have one by one sided with my parents: the older sibling who freely acknowledges that they weren't great parents and messed her up; the younger sibling who admits she knows they were not great parents to the older two of us--and yet wants me to suck it up and pretend; and the youngest with whom I have never had any problems before--also not speaking to me now.

I have noticed that certain extended family members are closer with my sibligns than me, and given my mother's toxic tongue, I do wonder just how much has said over the years and is saying now that's affected my relationship with them. Because I don't think I've done anything wrong to them.

Despite all of that, I feel overall that I did, not only the 'right' thing, but the only thing I could have done. I didn't want to spend holidays with my kids seeing that this is how family behaves, having meltdowns and rages. I didn't want my kids getting the idea I was the family punching bag, and have them one day treat me like that, too.

I don't miss any of my family, to be honest. My parents are both miserable people, my dad isn't that great of a husband, my mother snipes at him in public, he basically makes fun of her for doing it--yeah, fun Easter dinner there--she complains all the time and tells me I deserve to be treated poorly by others, he walks around the neighborhood in a little bath towel at 2 in the morning and climbs ladders in the same bath towel (nothing else) with women in the room; they both yell at my kids, even slap them, refuse to give me a chance to be the mother and then accuse me of not parenting my kids! When I was alone with either of them, they'd run down the other.

No, I do not miss any of it!

They're in their 70's. I feel no guilt at the prospect that they'll die and I won't have spoken to them. I don't gloat, I wish it were otherwise, but I believe they've brought this on every step of the way. I see no way at all in which I could reasonably continue a relationship with them.
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