I have a very unpleasant situation in my family and it is a source of great sadness and frustration in my life. I would very much appreciate your thoughts and advice on what to do and how to handle it better in the future. I have discussed this with people (including in councelling some years ago) but I need a Christian perspective. People tell me I should do what I'm comfortable with, which is not helpful at all. I keep thinking about things like forgivness and duty towards one's parents and wonder if what I'm comfortable with is the right thing to do.
The background of the story is crucial here so I feel I should start with that.
I grew up in a family in which my father was distant and never bothered with me and my brother when we were children and growing up. He always stressed that financial security was the most important thing and that him providing for us was the sign of his love. We always felt like we had to deserve his love and attention but accepted his attitude as normal.
My parents divorced 10 years ago. I was 25 years old when it happened, lived close to home and was unfortunately involved in this just be being there and witnessing what was happening. It was an ugly thing where my father left with a mistress after a series of affairs that happened over the years. My mother was absolutely devastated and it took her good 7years to recover and get on with her life. My brother and I knew that he had an affair but thought that we should not take sides and try to maintain a relationship with him despite everything.
Ten years on I think I made a mistake by accepting his new life because things have backfired.
He and the mistress had a child in the meantime, then got married and had another baby last year. My father is now 60 years old. I am 35, have a lovely husband, a little boy and a baby on the way. I live abroad and go home about 2 times a year. As I have mentioned before, my father has never been involved in my life. Things have remained the same although I have been trying in the last 10 years to build a relationship with him. I am the one who calls to see how he is doing. He never gets in touch to see how I and my family are doing. When i go home he prioritises going to the gym and attending all sorts of social functions before he finds the time to see us. This used to bother me a lot but I prayed about it and decided to do my best and to be loving in the ways that I can without expecting much in return. At the same time I am very resentful for the way he treated our mother and broke up the family.But I have been convinced all these years that if I tried hard enough and got a little bit of something from him that wounds would heal. I have been respectful towards his new family but told him openly at one point that I did not consider his new family to be my family, which I believe is a resonable sentiment given the circumstances, the fact that I am 30+ years older than his children and the fact that I live in a different country.
I went home for Easter with my husband and our son and things blew up. My father came over the day after we arrived and accused me of not caring enought about his sons. This was completely unexpected. He told me I should not come to his home unless I change my attitude. I was absolutely shocked. I tried discussing it but he started accusing me of hating the children and said it is not normal to be indifferent towards 'my own flesh and blood'. I pointed out that he has no interest in his grandson to which he replied that I am genetically closer to my half-brothers than he is to my son. At that point I felt sick and asked him to leave.
I refused to see him for the rest of the visit because I was extremely upset and hurt by this. He called a few times but I was too angry to spend time with him and talk about 'my attitude problem' again. My husband talked me into agreeing to meet before we left so things could be patched up. That was a mistake because as I predicted, my father used the opportunity to hurt and insult me once again. The fact that he learned I was pregnant made no difference and he insisted that there is something wrong with me if I don't love his children and don't consider them to be equal to my brother with whom I grew up and happen to have the same mother. I was absolutely beside myself at that point, told him he never cared about us and called him a dirty old man.
This is where I need your advice on what to do. I am seriously fed up with my father and his selfishness and have no desire to see him or to speak to him anymore. I feel I have done all I could to build a relationship with him but I realise that I have failed. He has seriously crossed the line this time and I just can't accept this. But on the other hand, we are called to forgive and to love. I keep wondering what God wants me to do. I know I have to focus on my family and that my father's issues are essentially not my problem, but I feel guilty for wanting to completely distance myself from him.
I don't know what the right thing to do is anymore.
I expect some of you will rightly suggest that I go into councelling to work through this. I agree that would help but the circumstances are such that I can't do that at the moment.
Thank you for your help!