Indifferent to my father?

My dad and I never had a relationship growing up, so I just never formed an attachment to him. He was and still is an angry man who emotionally and verbally abuses me. When he’s being “pleasant,” he is being critical and judgmental about someone else, especially when he’s fired up about politics. I have a really sensitive nature and just can’t be around that. Two years ago when I was doing family studies, I felt really guilty about not having a relationship with him so I talked to my mom about how I felt neglected growing up and wanted to fix that. She called me ungrateful, said things were fine, and that was basically the end of it. At this point, I mourned the loss of both my parents. I knew from now on, I could never count on them or have a strong trusting relationship with them the way my sister does. Now the loss of relationship doesn’t really bother me. I text my mom about three times a week. But, my dad will text me about once or twice a year and it’ll be awkward because he texts in that style where the other person gave you no way to reply and continue conversation.

I had a really exciting event today and was texting my mom about it all day while it was occurring, but then my dad texted me asking how it was and I was surprised by how much I seriously didn’t want to answer him. I mean, I did but it was about a 6 text conversation. It just made me really angry because it makes me feel guilty that he’s ‘trying’ and I don’t care. He’ll be miserable and such and make no effort, then complain that I don’t text him. I am grateful because he gave me a good life (materially) and life in general. I pray for him to change and am working at forgiving him, but I really don’t want a relationship with him. Am I horrible person? Should I be making more of an effort?

Unless he’s being verbally abusive, you’re doing fine if you just answer his texts. For a person that doesn’t text a lot, 6 texts is a lot.

Plus, you don’t need to be texting both parents about the same event. Presumably, your mom shares your texts with your dad.

I usually talk with my mom and she doesn’t tell my dad some of the things we talk about. A while ago, I asked her if she told my dad about something (can’t remember what it was at the moment), and she said she didn’t. I was quite surprised and asked them if they talked. That didn’t go over too well. :wink:

Texting may not be the best medium for a heart to heart. Why not phone them? Or better yet visit them? We lose so much with a smart phone. It may be smarter than we are.

Haha, my mom shares everything…even when I ask her not to :stuck_out_tongue:

Thank you for your reply. With all due respect, this isn’t what I was asking. Why do you suggest a heart to heart? I am currently away at university so I still see them for breaks and such.

It’s a good medium for giving a running report, though, which is what the OP was doing.

I barely know your situation so just take this for what it is worth:

  • Jesus wants us to forgive even when it’s hard to do so.
  • Pray for peace and eventually it will follow.
  • Find someway to honor both your mother and father.

Doing these things will be tough and I honestly have zero advice on how to because the answer is in your heart. Working towards these goals will help you heal in my opinion.

Blessings and prayers.

“If you text me, dad, I’ll answer!”

But like another poster, I feel like you ought to be having actual voice conversations regularly. While texting is fine for utilitarian stuff (Please pick up some milk/Practice cancelled) it’s lousy for communicating nuance or emotion.

If you want better relationships with your parents (and I would not expect a lot from your dad if I were you), an actual phone call is a better way to go.

My husband is a grown adult (so it’s a little different), but he tries to do a regular Sunday call to his parents (Sunday because both sides are free then). They call us for birthdays and major holidays. He also sends emails to them when he has some news but doesn’t think he can reach them/it’s an awkward time/doesn’t want to get bogged down in a phone call mid-week/a lot of precise details need to be communicated.

I understand the dynamic. My dad isn’t as angry as yours, but he has the same pattern of expecting other people to initiate all social contact and give him relationships on a silver platter and there have certainly been times when that strategy did not work well for him. It’s not just your dad–it’s a very common male social approach, and (some people think) goes a long way to explaining why widowers are prone to early death.

The things that stand out to me is your sister doesn’t seem to have this issue, and that you self decribed as particularly sensitive. Was he really that bad? Is he really that bad?

When I have seen 3 brothers with the same parents I would like to give as an example. The oldest could do no wrong, and was always well over the other two, he remembers his childhood as horrible and wroght with near abuse. The middle says they grew up fine and normal loving home despite his tendancy to remember the woes of middle child syndrome. The youngest was the worst behaved who remembers a slightly more negative experience than the middle but mostly based on the general idea that he was messing up all the time and his future was called into question and says the oldest’s account is false. So which is true? Why do 2 children think great of the parents and one horrible?

As a note of knowing the parents and the children I give no stock to the oldest’s rendition. And the oldest is the “worst” person in adulthood.

My sister was always treated as the ‘perfect’ child. The two of us have talked about it before and she freely admitted that our parents are tougher on me for no reason and it is’t right. She takes pride in what she could get away with when we were kids :p. And it’s still happening and only getting worse as we become adults.

Is the OP male? Or female, but less socially skilled/not so much daddy’s little girl?

If so, that would explain differences in perception.

I’m one of three kids and we really didn’t grow up in the same household–there are many, many differences in how we were brought up, especially comparing oldest to youngest. And I can say the same of my own kids, too–the youngest is getting a very different parenting experience than our oldest did at the same age. Even my oldest and her brother that is less than three years younger have had very different experiences. My oldest needs a very firm hand. Meanwhile, the middle kid will cry at a harsh word. So, we’re constantly recalibrating.

Understood and likely a factor, however since I was using an experience I kniw well (relatives) I know enough to know the oldest in this regard is a “blame the world for my problems” guy who’s issues to this day are things I would scoff at.

Idk why I assumed the OP was male… I could have misthougjt it. But I do doubt that a child’s experience would differ between REAL abuse vs loving home. We live in a time when everything anyone dislikes is “abuse”. To the point parents are afraid to discipline their kids and such. It reminds me of my ex wife who once screamed and slapped me while we were playing hillbilly (had hillbilly teeth and was a big joke) she screamed and slapped me and then stated “OMG sorry I forgot who you were”… people percieving abuse is often far from it happening.

Did she simply have a better deal than you? Or did she come hone to open arms while you were ltierally given as harsh a life as you purpose. This would be some extreme jekyll and hyde on the part of your parents. Every siblings I know claim some favoritism, but at a certain point if the parents werent actually “bad” the falling away is usually a result of the kid. And if the kid became so fail because of “normal” favoritism the fail of the kid would generate the more negativity. One could blame the favoritism but when does the kid needs help vs adult needs jail situation change? When do we change wether the circumstances or person is to blame?

If you apply resentment toward your parents and your sister doesn’t how can they change toward you in the positive? If your dad reached out and you all but rejected him, will he not hold on tighter to his one child? You say you “lost” them, but do you kniw how painful it is to lose a child? Think at the angst they feel and that their only solace and redemption is the child who doesnt say they are horrible people

With all due respect, you are applying your own family to an experience you do not know the details of. I went to my priest to examine my behavior and get his advice on how I can best honor my parents. It was my priest who told me I was being emotionally/verbally abused and should move out and get therapy. I always thought my parents were overbearing and extremely controlling and accepted that, but it was only recently that I realized they are crossing the line. This is the opposite of your family, I am frustrated because I want to take on adult responsibilities (get a job, buy a car, go to graduate school), but my parents won’t allow me.

you do not know the details of. I went to my priest to examine my behavior and get his advice on how I can best honor my parents. **It was my priest who told me I was being emotionally/verbally abused and should move out and get therapy. **I always thought my parents were overbearing and extremely controlling and accepted that, but it was only recently that I realized they are crossing the line. This is the opposite of your family, I am frustrated because I want to take on adult responsibilities (get a job, buy a car, go to graduate school), but my parents won’t allow me.

  1. I use the examples I know best… you assume I do not know of many more… nor have any classical learning.

  2. You did see my point about how many who ask for advice don’t tell their advisors the truth? How many who see a psychologist never tell them they are drinking or drugging? Seen it a bunch…

Then they werent evil until you were told they were… yeah I see that alot…

  1. I did give that I DO NOT KNOW I can only answer to what I see posted. And can only operate with that and by no means said YOU WERE at faults, just posed the question for thought in case…

  2. I helped a youbg adult on the side of the road, his dad showed up… his dad seemed like a giant jackaaa to me at first. As the story progressed I realized how ill prepared the young man was for the mission he had undertaken and the Father’s legitimate concern for him…

But this none of this negates a wrong. I dont say your wrongs (if any) negate your parent’s. I only suggest that the person I am talking to can be above being wrong and have only one side be wrong ie:your parents.

If you live in the right they might come aroubd. I in no way believe you to be 100% wrong, if anything maybe 50%… but if no wrongs acknowledgedhow can you reconcile if you believe the parents are 100% wrong?*

Mickey, TOB is exactly right about this.

Many family members get different treatment. As the middle one I found it great to have all the flak pass me by! :stuck_out_tongue:

TOB, don’t hurry. Your position is not at all unforgiving. Some people have a roundabout way of giving you your independence.

Vic Taltrees,

Haha, I am grateful for everything they do for me. But as a university graduate, one can be too coddled…

But as the middle is there such a vast difference in treatment to mean one has had a truly abusive and horrid life vs on with a loving and wonderful life? I guess I see such vast polar opposites as hard to reconcile 9/10.

It’s definitely not unheard of for that to happen. One of my uncles was treated very cruely and sometimes violently by my grandmother. She treated everyone else very well, and one other sibling in particular was her little prince.

The family always chalked it up to her alcoholism. :shrug: Regardless, the scapegoat still suffers terribly from it and has a very hard time being around his siblings, even though they all acknowledge it and try very hard to make him feel loved.

Two siblings can without question receive very different, lifelong treatment from their parents. One sibling’s experience does not negate the other’s. And your family’s dynamic cannot be extrapolated to all of humanity.

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