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Old 02-22-2011, 08:29 AM
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Feedback and help, please!

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 people...so 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.

Thanks!!
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:48 AM
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Hello and Welcome, Amerce72.
I have to say that for a while I severed my parents. I was younger. In a strange way, my current life has allowed me to open my eyes to things that happened in my past. Because of current issues with my AW, I've been able to more openly discuss these issues with alcoholic parents and I believe we've all found a way to forgive each other for our mistakes and I'm much closer than I ever would have imagined.

I've been in your shoes so I know how it feels. I may be one of the luckier ones.
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:24 AM
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Abusive people do not change, not without therapy, not without quitting drinking first, and not without a lot of work and determination on their part. This said, your father is who he is, and will probably remain the same throughout the rest of his life.

While I did not go through a situation with abusive parents, I did have an abusive alcoholic (now-ex) boyfriend, and I can recommend a book that really helped me sort out what I had survived, and helped strip away many of the things I was trying to hide from myself.

Why Does He Do That?
Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

by Lundy Bancroft

Nobody can tell you exactly what to do in your situation, because we are not you.
That said, we can all confirm that when we're ready to move on and cut ties, then we're ready - and not a moment before.

From what you are writing, it sounds like you're either ready, or pretty close to being ready. The best thing you can do for yourself right now is to learn about yourself, and focus on what your subconscious is trying to tell you. We are smarter and stronger than we believe.

I will say, as far as regretting cutting ties after he is no longer around, I do believe that in cases as these, it is better to not be there. This provides time to work on healing now without constantly being dragged back into the drama, and makes it easier to remember the few good memories when the abuser is no longer available, rather than holding on to anger. In my mind, it is a healthier way to live, but that is my opinion.

Only you can decide for yourself what is best for you.

I would suggest, especially since he is an alcoholic as well, that you attend some Al-Anon meetings and see how they help you.
ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) would be another resource that could be potentially helpful.
There are also groups and phone numbers you can call about Domestic Violence. I am not sure how much it has affected you, but I am confident that it has affected you more than you believe (I have the same problem).

Finally, you are not alone.


Welcome. You are in the right place.
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Old 02-23-2011, 01:30 PM
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Thank you both for your replies.
StarCat, I really appreciate your kindness. It's nice to know I'm not alone.
It is dangerously close to the point of no-contact. I suppose I would be open to written communication for a while, to see if that works. At least he would have to listen to me for once, instead of interrupting me and screaming at me.
Also, thank you for the book suggestion. I thought I remembered seeing it in my workplace library, but I was unable to locate it, so I'll look on half.com
Thanks again for getting in touch. I'd like to keep in touch with you, if possible. It sounds like you've got a great grasp on your healing. Good for you.
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Old 02-23-2011, 01:49 PM
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Everyone has good days, and bad days.
Yesterday was a good day. Today was a bad day (but getting better).
This forum has helped a lot.
Al-Anon has helped a lot.
That book helped a lot.
My kitten helps a lot.

I just try to figure out what helps, and what makes things worse, and make sure I have lots of one and as little as possible of the other.
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Old 02-23-2011, 03:07 PM
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so your parent is the A...well, congrats to you for finding that out...have you thought of AL ANON? no time like the present to go...couldn't hurt, plus it helps too to make that big step of DETACHMENT...

the 3 C's
you did not cause this
you can not control this
and you can not cure this...

abuse is bad....but healing is better

WELCOME to this little group here ...pfft! like how many people are on here now?..lol

I love this place and you will too....find your recovery and your path...its all worth it!
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Old 02-23-2011, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by StarCat View Post
My kitten helps a lot.
my kittie helps too, I pet him and it helps LOWER my blood pressure! thank god for animals!!
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:09 AM
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I liked the replies about your pets. I thought about my dog and how much he's loved me since I adopted him eight years ago. Much more than my father has. And every time my father mentions my dog, it's only to ask if he has viciously attacked anyone yet. (He's part pit bull) Literally, the dog is the sweetest I've known, and has never even growled. Just one more thing my father has to throw in his two cents about. I am so sick of just never feeling good enough in any aspect of my life. I've been employed full-time for four years, doing work as a legal advocate for crime victims. When my father inquires about my work, he always says, "How's your 'little' job?" So patronizing. He can never just be loving or supportive. It's been at least two weeks since we've talked, and I am not planning to call again. (He, on the other hand, has called five times. Obviously he's feeling guilty. Good, I say.) I am going to start to compile a long letter, just so he can know exactly how I feel. I'm so grateful to finally have good, caring people in my life. The only somewhat negative thing is how much they make me realize how bad it was before they came along...but then, I am even MORE grateful that I finally know what good relationships are all about. So it's a winning situation, really. I am just cutting out the negativity. It feels good.
Can I branch off this a little bit?
I didn't get much into my family dynamics, but I suppose it's important to tell you that my father is the ONLY family I have left anymore. Everyone else has died in the past 15 years or so. (I'm under 30.) So, as freeing as it is to be rid of his abuse, it does make me feel quite depressed that I don't have ANY family without him. I don't dwell on it, and I definitely incorporate 'surrogate relatives' into my life...but honestly, there is just really something comforting about being able to communicate and reminisce with someone who has been around your entire life. Like, "Oh hey, do you remember that time when ____ did ____ at the ____?" And just someone who KNOWS you, if that makes sense at all. Like they KNOW who your Great Uncle Vern was, and how funny he was, and can remember things about him....whereas latecomers in your life have to just kind of guess at what your childhood may have been like.
So, I guess to sum that up, I feel like there's just a huge loss right now, since I'm basically cutting ties with my father, who happens to be my last surviving relative. It's twofold. Honestly, maybe I expected him to be more loving and supportive because he knows he's my last relative, but it almost seems as though he's gone in the opposite direction. When faced with, "Well, this is all the family I've got left" - you'd think someone would be more willing to work on that relationship, and NOT continue to be negative and abusive. Overwhelming. lol
Thanks for letting me vent. (Again)
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:11 AM
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Thanks for your reply too, Fourmaggie. I do realize the three C's...I wish my father would realize them, and get some therapy!! Wouldn't it just be marvelous for us NOT to hate each other in his last few years? I think so.
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:11 AM
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Starcat, I hope your day is better today! Thinking of you!
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:46 AM
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Amerce72,
My old man was one rough individual. I don't feel like sharing any of those stories.
I'm going to write about me. Take what you want and leave the rest.

Here's what I found. I was a typical troublesome hardheaded son who fought him tooth and nail on everything. In my later years, I realized that about myself. Once I knew that, I realized that my old man wasn't actually talking down to me. It's just how he talked. I learned to accept that versus taking it personally.

I remember on Father's Day, many years ago, I apologized to him for somethings I did. He sloughed it off and I thought, whatever man. I tried. That was a turning point for him. It was a big deal for both of us and I think that by taking action to satify my own motives, he was able to move on and be my friend. It's taken us a long time, he still won't say he loves me, struggles with hugs but I know for a fact that he's my best friend and I'm his and we completely enjoy each other.

If you feel like you're missing something with your father, nobody else is going to make a change unless you make one for yourself. If you read around enough, you'll see some common themes in here. One of the biggest is to make sure you're happy and working on you. I may be wrong, but it seems like you have a lot of weight on your shoulders. I get it. If by writing him a letter, you'll be able to lighten the load, then by all means do it. As with other alkie situations, don't expect a response from him. Just do it for yourself.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:27 AM
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Welcome!
It seems like there are a few directions you could go that people have mentioned -
* Try to think less about your dad and more about how you can be happy
* Try to accept him as is
* Move on and let him go

All of them are viable choices. I think, at base is the question of what you need for you.

My sister is a real pill (details unimportant) and UBER PISSED ME OFF at my wedding. I was SO infuriated I did not call her for years. (She is so self obsessed, she didn't notice)
That was what I needed at that time.
Later, I decided I was holding a grudge and it was only hurting me. I decided if we talked, I would not need to bring the past up and I would make sure I would have strong boundaries that she could not cross.
That has worked well since.

I did have A LOT of guilt around "temporarily excommuniating" her. I realized I had to let that go. My job is just to take care of me, not to live out an expected relationship to a family member.

It sounds like you are doing a good job of thinking about how you feel and what you need.

Stick around and welcome, again,

Peace
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:32 AM
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Thank you, Shellcrusher. I appreciate your feedback. And, in short, I'm glad you were able to get somewhere with your dad.
I know no one's perfect, and I have apologized profusely for the bad things I've done (the main one is pretty petty, really...it's a real estate venture that lost us both some money) but he hasn't forgiven me. He does, however, expect me to forgive him for the bad things he's done. I'm not a super forgiving person. It's my belief that he ruined my mother's life, and he continually tries to ruin mine. She was a wonderful person and he was terrible to her. I'm not sure I'll get over that, so I try not to think about it very much. (Denial, I know.)

I do expect a response from him when I write the letter, but I do not necessarily expect it to be a good one. I'm actually hoping that we can just keep in touch that way from now on. The phone calls are the worst, and we never get anywhere.

I do have a lot of weight on my shoulders, but I'm trying to lighten the load. Thank you for your help.
I am happy....genuinely happy...possibly for the first time in my life...and that's another thing: I have no idea how my dad isn't happy FOR me. I don't know what else I could do to make him happy...so I'm done trying to please him. I constantly question myself and never feel good enough, and it's because of his years of abuse, I'm sure.
I am working on my self though. Great relationships, decent job, losing weight, going back to get my Master's. I guess I just wish I could share my accomplishments and achievements (and well...just plain LIFE) with my father, and I don't get to do that. He is so critical. I can't get a word in. Oh well. I suppose I'll continue to share the good times with other people.
I'm on call for work soon, and should have free time, so I'm going to start the letter.
I'll keep you all posted on what happens.
Again, thank you all for your support!
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:46 AM
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Three more things...
1. Check out Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. You might dig it.
2. The only thing you can expect from your father is to behave exactly as he has for years. Period. If you expect THAT, then no more surprises or disappointments.
3. Wishing him/life to be different than it is inherently is a no-win game. You can do it (and don't we all!), but it doesn't SERVE you.
I am a queen wisher! I am soooo good at it! LOL! I spend tons of time doing it. I secretly do it, even if I am trying to STOP doing it. It is tightly tied to waiting and hoping for me. I do those well, too.
If I have gotten anything from this board, it is the idea that I am wasting my time.
Not only that, but it is actually disrespectful to my AH to want him to be any other way than the way he wants to be.
For me to be the person I want to be and respect his choices, I have to accept he is they way he is.
From that point, I get to decide if I want to hang around with that behavior.

Hugs, peace
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Old 02-24-2011, 02:56 PM
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Thank you, Peace. Your words have been very helpful and encouraging. It sounds like you've come a long way too, so kudos to you on that!
Thank you for the book recommendation. I'm going to hit the library tomorrow and do some reading this weekend.
And you're absolutely right. Hoping for a better life doesn't get me anywhere. But MAN! Wouldn't it be nice to just HAVE things BE a certain way? haha
You know, I may be harsh (?) but I do find his behavior to be UNacceptable. So that being said, it's hard to accept that he does that or that he'll always be that way. As you said in your first post, I have three options. I believe I've already passed options 1 and 2. Honestly, I think he's lucky that I'm considering keeping in contact at all. I do think stopping phone contact (at least for a while) will help. Maybe he'll miss me and treat me better? No...wishful thinking. I have done the no-contact before, and it doesn't change. The thing is, I just don't think I can handle any more. It's humiliating. He will scream so loudly into the phone, I've gotta call him in private. I am finally realizing just how much I DO NOT deserve his abuse, so it's very hard to call and listen to it any longer. I guess this is a positive thing, and a step in the right direction. But it feels awful. It makes me long for my male relatives who were NOT abusive. Thank goodness I had a nice grandfather. My best friend asked me how I ended up 'not dating someone like my father' as we both grew up with alcoholic fathers, and she continues to date addicted men. Thankfully, my grandfather was a great man, and my boyfriend is very similar to him. He is NOT similar to my father, at all, and cannot believe how my father treats me. Hallelujah!! There ARE nice people out there. lol
I feel like I've found some of them in this forum. Thanks again. I hope I can help you out the way you've helped me.
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Old 02-24-2011, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by StarCat View Post
Everyone has good days, and bad days.
Yesterday was a good day. Today was a bad day (but getting better).
This forum has helped a lot.
Al-Anon has helped a lot.
That book helped a lot.
My kitten helps a lot.

I just try to figure out what helps, and what makes things worse, and make sure I have lots of one and as little as possible of the other.
Thanks StarCat - I needed to read this today! ; )

I am having a bad day that is slowly getting better...just one of those days where I need to take a little better care of myself.
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:48 PM
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You know, I may be harsh (?) but I do find his behavior to be UNacceptable. So that being said, it's hard to accept that he does that or that he'll always be that way.

I totally GET you! You know, I have had such a hard time "being" with things I find unacceptable (in the past)! For example, child molesters. I just can't "accept" they exist. I mean, obviously, they do, but it is like my whole being just revolts against the idea, so that I can't be at peace with the knowledge that that behavior is happening out there. I think I got it in my head some time long ago that to accept it (is real) is to santion it!
I have been working on detangling acceptance and its many meanings. I am learning to accept, for example, that my husband is choosing to drink over staying married to me, and that to accept that is just to say I will not fight it as reality anymore. I will take actions based on the knowledge that that is real. (I still dont like it or sanction it as a great choice. I think it sucks! LOL!)
It sounds like you are working on the same thing.
Hugs, peace
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:35 AM
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You know, Peace, that's a really good way to look at it.
"..to accept that is just to say I will not fight it as reality anymore."
Brilliant.
I'm so sorry your husband is choosing drinking over you. But I will also say that I'm proud of your courage to end the marriage if he will not get help. My mother stayed married to my father until she died, and it was extremely torturous for her and everyone else involved. I had no idea why kids would be crying at school, upset over their parents divorcing because I prayed for mine to split up.

I am going to call my father today, to let him know that I'm putting a letter together. I really wouldn't call, but we've got some issues with our real estate investment that I've gotta talk to him about. Ugh. I'm tied down to negative things all over the place. lol

Hope your day is going well, everyone!
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:41 AM
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Thanks for the nice thoughts.
I understand if you need to talk to your dad for business reasons.
Another thing I have learned here is you don't need to tell the other person your boundary. Chances are, if you do, "I am not going to talk to you anymore 'cuz you are abusive" - type of thing, it will cause more drama.
If you want to type up your loose ends and be done calling him or answering his calls, that is legit.
You can't reason with an alcoholic.
You can't get the to see.
You can't get them to get it.
It's phenomenal, really.
I have tried a million ways from Sunday, but they are in THEIR world, and they have a right to be.
So, what I have heard here is if you need to tell the A a boundary because YOU need to say it, then go for it.
If you are telling your A your boundary so they can have one last chance, or finally understand, or whatever, it won't work.
The work is just to enforce the boundary and let them do what they need to for them.

Hugs, peace
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Old 03-01-2011, 08:20 AM
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Hi Peace!
You're absolutely right. We cannot expect anyone to change, and I suppose it is their right to be however they want to be. But, as you know, it's up to US whether or not we'll continue to be in their lives. You offer great advice, as usual.

Update on my old man situation...lol
I called yesterday and he was not there. Score! I got to leave a message and didn't have to talk to him. I let him know that I will just not subject myself to his negativity and abuse anymore, and that I will be compiling a letter to him in the near future. (Hopefully he will take the hint and stop calling every day and leaving messages in which he acts like everything is fine. He was a complete A'hole to me the last time we spoke.) Incidentally, I also mentioned the thing about the real estate...so all in all, I got everything done without having to hear anything negative or hurtful. I thought it was definitely a good thing.
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