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My dad is a bad person. He cheated on my mom for most of their relationship and my mom never broke up with him because she thought he could change. He lied to her to get her pity. Eventually once me and my brother found out what was going on she left him and my dad showed us his true colors. Where he had once been a paternal figure in our lives he became irritable and reclusive and after a few weeks he moved in with his parents. It wasn’t that far away, he could still visit us on the weekends he was allowed to. 

On my moms 40th birthday she had to stay with my in the hospital because I was very ill. My mom couldn’t get a hold of him. I can’t remember if it was before or after my hospitalization that my father took my mom out to dinner and told her he wanted a divorce. He said that he didn’t want visitation of me and my brother. My mom simply refused.

My father is an outdoorsman. After moving in with his parents he moved to New Hampshire, 5 hours away from us. He left us because he wanted to live in this impoverished town that was near a lake our family had a cabin on. Now when I try to tell him why I’m upset with him he just flat out refuses that he left me. My mom told him “all he wants to hear is that you’re sorry for leaving him” and my fathers response was “I didn’t leave him”. He said to my mom that I would grow up and get over all this. I don’t know how to face him anymore. I’m tired of pretending that things are ok with him. I don’t know what to do. I have to go to a wedding with him in 2 weeks and I don’t know how I’m going to handle it. I’m so tired of losing people. 

Emily, dad, my brother is going into the military soon too. I don’t know how to make this work. Even my friend Hannah moved away, now I only have one local friend now. I also have like a dozen family members in my house right now because my mom is getting married. I hate that I feel this way, but it’s like I’m losing her too. I know that’s wrong but it’s just how it feels. 

So I’m here in bed listening to sad music, writing into the DF at 3am. 

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I feel for you. Loses are hard to take and it takes a while to get through the grieving process. I know I have needed to grieve some relationships where the person was still around but were unable to be in a healthy relationship with me. I have found that other relationships do come along to replace the ones that I had lost but it takes time. Hope things work out for you and you get through this hard time.


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I also feel for you based on some horrible personal experiences I have had in my own life with my own father which even after 60 years are too painful for me to talk about. 

Something that helps me [and it might not help you a bit] is something a psychiatrist taught me.  He taught me that good and evil comprise a range from the best to the absolute worst and that it can sometimes help to  place people and events in perspective on the scale of good and bad.  For example, a couple of people in the last 100 years caused the destruction of tens of millions of people through concentration camps, forced starvation campaigns and genocide . . . people like Adolf Hitler.  My father for all the horrible nightmares he caused to me and my family did not cause the death of 10,000,000 people, 1,000,000 people, 100,000 people, 10,000 people, 1,000 people, 100 people and so on. 

He is "in the middle" of the scale of good and evil.  In addition, he managed to do some things in his life that involved courage and moral goodness.  For example, he did not force my mother to have an abortion when I was conceived.  He supported me in some sense for awhile.  He never put my mother or I in the hospital by violence.  He occasionally did some nice things for me and her.  He was successful in certain areas of his life outside my family.  He let me have a pet dog.  He taught some things that I value even now.  He was no saint but nor was he the worst father that ever lived. 

I am no saint.  I was not always easy to live with.  My father did not grow up in an ideal family, whatever that is.  He had his own inner demons.  Although he certainly could have done more for my mother and myself, he could also have done less.  He could have been more cruel than he was and more selfish, but he wasn't.  He managed more or less to keep his inner demons from doing the unimaginably horrific things fathers can do, horrific things that make the news. 

I spent too much of my life hating my father and being furious at him for his faults and failures.  I carried this hatred like a sack of heavy bricks and secretly wanted revenge.  Until therapy I never knew that I could just get rid of this heavy bag of bricks I was carrying.  My father is dead now.   I did get some revenge when I didn't visit him when he was on his deathbed.  I hope it was fear rather that hate that motivated me to do this.   I've learned that I cannot become a better human being by counting the faults and failures of other human beings.

Given my situation with my own father, I am the last person . . . the very last person on earth to give you advice about your father.  I can only share what has helped me knowing full well that what helps one of us doesn't help others and makes them feel worse.  I found some good in my father but sadly only after he passed on.  Indirectly my father taught me some valuable lessons:  In many things he taught me not to be like him although I suspect he suffered from some undiagnosed mental illness which prevented him from doing the terrible things he did with full knowledge and full freedom of will and without impediment.

My father was angry a good deal of the time [undiagnosed depression?].  He saw the bad in things and never the good.  He only saw how things could be better and never how they could be worse, but were not worse.  When he wasn't in a raging foul mood, he was so negative as to be hard to be around for any length of time.  He wronged me and my mother so many times that I couldn't give you a number.  But he had some good qualities too.   He did manage some nice things he did for both my mother and myself.  He sometimes bought me some nice toys when I was little.  Sometimes he took my mom and I to the movies.  He taught me to love animals.  I don't know.  I'm just rambling.

I read somewhere that we human beings are hard wired to notice faults and flaws but that it is difficult for us to focus on good things or even remember them.  Bad things that happen are very vivid to us and memorable.  A person can do a thousand good things for us, but for good or bad, it is usually the bad things we remember.  I had painfully vivid memories of the bad things my father did.  I know, at some level that he must have done literally thousands of little brave things for me and my mom, thousands of little wise things and good things and beautiful things.  My memory has no access to those things, but I am sure they happened. 

Wish I knew how to help, but I really don't have any wisdom to share in this area ! ! !

I hope you find some way to cope with dealing with your father.  It must be so difficult to be losing so many people in your life.  I cannot even imagine what a terrible weight that must be!  I have never dealt very well with even minor losses, often ending up in a psychiatric hospital for severe depression.  You sound like a much stronger person than I am.  I wish you only the very best!  Deepest, deepest apologies if my words are useless or worse than useless to you! ! !

- epictetus

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