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Old 12-08-2013, 06:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Relationship with my father


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, 07:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thank you for posting. I am praying for peace for you.
Have you explored Alanon to help you in the recovery process? Focusing on your self, healing your hurt, addressing your anxiety - Alanon and/or therapy can help with this process.
As for your father, don't let worrying about what he may or may not do affect whatever decision you make about your level of contact. Whether it's in-person visits, phone contact, no contact, detachment - choose the level of contact that you need.
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junebee View Post

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
I would suggest you do speak about it. Like already suggested, Alanon is a pretty good, safe place to do so.

You may have even found yourself feeling a little better and safer after just putting up this posting. Good job in that regard. Something I found about the childhood stuff is that once I had taken it out of me -- by writing, posting, whatever -- it was like taking bad stuff out.

Once placed with a/the group, like here, it can not really be taken back by you -- and that is a good thing. And once you take bad stuff out from your heart, it gives a place to put good stuff, if you so choose.

As far as your dad, and feeling better and safer. As you work through this all, and get a little older (22 may not feel "young," but your heart and mind will feel safer a few years away), and build some good experiences, you will be able to put some of this in a less scary perspective.

Again, good work, so far.
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
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.
You are the child. He is the adult. When you were a child in his care, he did not give you the care you were owed by him. Not only did he force you to take a level of responsibility you were not ready for, he also abused you in a way that you are still, as a 22-year-old, struggling with.

You say you think cutting contact with him would be helpful for you.
That is all you're responsible for.
Yourself.

You were taught early on that you had to be responsible for your dad. Because he wasn't responsible for himself. You know what my youngest said after I had divorced her father and she was with him part time? She said "Having two homes is crazy-making, and I wish I could just live in one place. But if I lived with Dad all the time I would miss you too much. And if I lived with you all the time, there would be nobody there to keep Dad safe when he drinks too much." She was 8 at the time.

I hear you saying the same thing. I hear you giving up what YOU need in order to take care of the needs of an adult who was abusive to you. So what if he loves you "the most" -- what does that mean? That he abused you LESS than he abused other people?

You have no responsibility to that man. You have no debt you need to pay to that man. You do have a responsibility to yourself to make the choices that are healthy for you.

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh but if your father is going to commit suicide, he will whether you're in contact with him or not. If he's going to fly off the handle, he will whether you're in contact with him or not. Those fears you have sound exactly like the fears an abuser implants in their victims to maintain control over them. They are not rational fears.
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childhood sexual abuse , children of alcoholics , daughters , fathers


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