Should I have a relationship with my dad?

Old 12-08-2013, 06:38 PM
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Should I have a relationship with my dad?

I am 22, recently started working through some issues, and really can't see/think clearly about how (or if) I should proceed in a relationship with my father. Any and all opinions would be greatly appreciated, as I am completely overwhelmed by all too many thoughts and feelings.

My dad is an alcoholic. My parents got divorced when I was 8, but before then my dad used to be drunk a lot of the time, beat up my mom in front of me, and generally be angry and scary. There was one incident when I was 5 when he inappropriately touched me in front of my mother (while he was wasted), but this has never been brought up between any of us. I'm not even sure if he remembers, and there's a good chance my mom completely blocked it out of memory. After my parents were divorced, I would see him maybe every other weekend for overnights from 8-18.
Let me say, my sober dad is a brilliant, loving, caring, and fun person. He had a traumatic upbringing and I personally believe is and has always been deeply depressed as a result.
When I got the drunk dad (all nights, some days) for our weekend visits he was pretty terrible to be around, and I always felt unsafe. His anger was never directed toward me. I do believe in his ****** up way, I'm the one he loves most. My mother agrees, he's shown me more care than anyone else in his life. He absolutely has not been an 100% in-the-picture father, due to his alcoholism and depression. But besides the incident when I was 5 he has never done anything directly to me to hurt me. Just made me feel uncomfortable by his being drunk, and me being in such a vulnerable position.

In working through the 5-year-old incident, I've begun to realize my deep sense of shame, violation, and anger because of him. It would be so much easier to hate him and cut him off, but it's clear that I do love him. I feel like cutting him out of my life might help me in dealing with my issues (flashbacks, feelings of shame/violation, anger, interference in relationships with men and other areas as well), but I really do worry that if I stopped talking to him he might commit suicide or completely lose it. Plus, I am close with the rest of the family - so it seems impossible just to avoid him.

He moved far away, so I don't see him much, but we talk on the phone, and even this contact brings up issues for me (and not just when he's drunk). He also wants me to visit, and the thought gives me major anxiety and makes me feel extremely uncomfortable.

SO: Does anyone have any creative (or maybe not so creative) ideas on how to go forward with a relationship with my dad? I haven't spoken to anyone about this, and need to hear anything coming from outside my jumble of a mind.

Thank you
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Old 12-08-2013, 06:51 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2011
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Hi welcome. The thing that worked best for me was to emotionally disconnect. You can read my blog (click the link under my name, it's still on this site). Removing myself emotionally from his meanness and niceness. This made it easier to stay in touch, help when I could, remove myself when I had to.
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Old 12-27-2013, 05:26 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Posts: 168

I'm wondering if you've read any literature regarding adult children of alcoholics? It opened my eyes; in fact even mentioning this makes me think I should give the book another read.

If you want a relationship with him, that's great. If you're not ready, that's great, too. The important thing I want you to think about is *BOUNDARIES*. These were a myth to any ACOA growing up - personal space, what's that? haha. If you do choose to visit him, see if you can stay with another family member/friend or rent a hotel room. Tell him that you're only visiting under the guidelines that he will be sober, and if he chooses to drink then you will choose to leave. If you want a relationship with him, do it under YOUR terms.
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