People keep asking me about a very painful thing and I'm stuck in a circle. What to do?


#1

I would appreciate your advice on how to handle this situation.

I ended all contact with my father a few months ago after a very long period of suffering and anxiety caused by his behaviour towards me. I am working towards forgiving him and letting go of the hurt. I don't want to live in the past but be a free, healthy person God wants me to be. I don't know if we will ever reconcile - it would be great if it happened but I am not exactly optimistic. I sometimes pray for him.

Things were going well and I slowly started feeling ok about things and accepting the situation without too much anger and bitterness, but then I went home for 2 weeks. I wonder if that was a mistake because several of my friends who know about the situation insisted on talking about it. They wanted to know if my father and I have been in touch, if I planned to contact him, etc. They expressed concern about this situation and hoped things would work out. All nice and well, but this kept going on and on and on. I had the same conversation with 3 friends several times and they just wouldn't leave me alone. I tried to explain that even talking about it was causing me serious stress but that didn't stop them from giving unsolicited advice.

I left home feeling awful and it seems like I am at the beginning of the road once again, not sleeping, talking to myself, having imaginary conversations with people in which I try to explain to them why I feel the way I do. This is driving me crazy and I want it to stop. But obviously, people will ask me and with best intentions tell me what I should do. It seems that I can't get rid of this nightmare no matter what I do.

Could anyone suggest a way I deal with this? I've had councelling in the past and spent a long time talking about it. I don't intend to go back to that but look to prayer instead, and want to find healing in God. Any advice how to get there would be appreciated, as well as how to handle well-meaning people who ask too many questions.

Thank you.


#2

I hope you don’t take this wrong, but are you bi-polar? The way you describe not being able to sleep and having imaginary conversations with people makes me think that maybe you are…In which case the mania was brought on by the stress of going home.

As well-meaning as these friends might be, they are not acting in your best interests. I would tell you that if you can’t visit that area without dredging up all sorts of questions and inquiries, that you should stay away for now. It’s only been a few months and your emotions are not settled. I would think that you have conflicts about cutting off contact with your father and might be defensive about it. That’s natural.

If it gives you too much stress to go there, and you have no reason to have to go there, then don’t go. Stay where you are comfortable and loved, and do some healing of your emotions and spirituality before going back. Don’t go back until you are 100% certain of your decision and feel no need to justify it to anyone. Then, if a friend asks, you can say “I do not wish to discuss it and if you keep going on, I will have to leave.”

:hug1:


#3

I am so sorry that you have suffered the pain of your father's mistreatment of you.

I am also sorry that some so-called friends felt that they could grill you, after you politely asked them to stop and even told them that it was causing you more pain. If this situation occurs again politely, but firmly, say that it is a private and painful matter which you do not want to discuss. If they continue to ask questions, get up and walk away. It is not being uncharitable. They are the ones who are being uncharitable, you do not have to stay around people who are hurting you. They have no right to treat you this way. If you do have to get up and walk out, do not apologise for doing so. You have done nothing wrong, you are not being rude. It is far more important that you avoid any unnecessary stress than they get to feed their curiosity. If they criticise you for doing it, just ask them if it is as bad as causing yet more pain to someone who suffered what you suffered in the interests of their desire to hear all about it.

No friends should treat you like this, no friend should continue with a line of questioning that someone in your situation has already asked them to stop. If you can't avoid these people, then try the above, but otherwise, I would just stay away from them.

You are in my prayers and I hope that you will be able to move forward in your recovery.

God bless :console: :hug3:


#4

Absolutely this, above. :thumbsup: If you still feel too fragile about the situation, I think it would be best to not go visit for a while. You owe it to yourself, and you owe no one any explanations. Be polite, smiling but FIRM with your friends about your desire to keep this a personal matter for now. Reassure them that you are fine and coping, but that you need to work on this ALONE. If they don't get the hint about their unwanted nosiness, you might have to have a chat with them about it. And if that doesn't work or if they take offense, well... that's their problem, not yours. A true friend will understand your need for privacy, won't push the issue and won't take offense.

Hang in there. :hug3:


#5

Be proactive.

Send an email to all your contacts who know of the situation, be kind but direct. This topic is not for discssion, please do not ask. I will share if I feel the need do not inquire about it.

Continue counseling, but ensure it is with a Christian counseler.
Keep talking to yourself about it, it is healing to express your feelings, especially out loud to your self.

Keep praying for your father, but find a Blessed Sacrament Chapel and do it before the Blessed Sacrament - if one is available.

Trust in GOD to lead you and ask for HIS help.


#6

When people ask me questions that I don't want to answer, I respond with "Why do you ask?" Most of the time they'll say something like, "oh, I was just wondering", to why I then reply "Hmmm...".

Only very rude people persist beyond that. When that happens I repeat the above sequence until it actually becomes comical. Then I change the subject. We are not obligated to answer any question. It is our choice.

As to talking to yourself, I can't remember who said this, but I love it. "When I want to talk to someone intelligent, I talk to myself."


#7

I talk to myself all the time. I work through situations multiple times from different ways. It helps me hear myself and see where my feelings are coming from and some times i can get my angry out and say all the things i would never actually say to someone. It puts me in control of the situation because i know how i feel.

If someone ask you about it just say "I apperciate your concern but i am not comfortable talking about that right now." and then change the conversation.

I hope things work out.


#8

[quote="grasscutter, post:6, topic:251422"]
When people ask me questions that I don't want to answer, I respond with "Why do you ask?" Most of the time they'll say something like, "oh, I was just wondering", to why I then reply "Hmmm...".

Only very rude people persist beyond that. When that happens I repeat the above sequence until it actually becomes comical. Then I change the subject. We are not obligated to answer any question. It is our choice.

As to talking to yourself, I can't remember who said this, but I love it. "When I want to talk to someone intelligent, I talk to myself."

[/quote]

I love it! "Why do you ask?" Sounds like something Miss Manners might say, along with a wan smile and, "Thank you for your concern for me."

;)


#9

Thank you all for your comments. It helps to hear what people think.

Julianne, I'm not bipolar, have not been diagnosed with anything, it is just a question of pent up emotions and stress that erupted at one point. But you were right to suggest it, I did go for evaluation at one point.

I have to admit I am relieved I'm not the only one talking to myself :D That has actually helped me to realise that there are several issues concerning my father: his treatment of me when I was a child and growing up, the way he cheated on my mother and eventually broke up the family, and his attitude towards me and my own family these days. It is all entangled into a mess that left deep wounds and it is very difficult to explain that to people in a simple, coherent way.

I will not be visiting home until Easter next year, so that will give me time to heal and to build a few healthy boundaries. I'm sure people will ask me about the family drama again but I think it will be easier to handle their curiosity because time does heal and there will be a certain temporal and emotional distance from what happened.

I realised one thing, something quite obvious actually. Some people who have family problems love to talk about these things and tend to project their own feelings onto others. For example, 2 of my persistent friends tried to convince me that their solution would work for me and they discussed their own story in a way. Sad as it is, I'm not the only one with difficulties of this sort. But what they just couldn't understand is that I desire no contact with my father anymore and that sitting down and talking about it with him (for the 100th time) would not change anything. I found that the most frustrating thing.


#10

I have had the same situation with my mom. She is extremely narcissistic and was very abusive and negligent during my horrific childhood.
People feel free to talk about "forgiveness" and to tell others they should "forgive and forget".
I have forgiven, to the best of my ability through the power of the Holy Spirit.
What people don't understand is that I am TRYING to forget and the more you yap advice at me, the more I remember! Thanks for nothing, seriously.
Unless these people have been through the serious trauma that I went through, I don't care to hear their advice and I let them know that by saying things like, "Thanks for your concern, but it isn't something I want to discuss right now." Then I just keep repeating that with a pleasant expression until they feel foolish.
Don't even go around people who aren't supportive. It isn't worth it.
And for the record - I talk to myself all the time! :rolleyes:


#11

[quote="Musician, post:10, topic:251422"]
What people don't understand is that I am TRYING to forget and the more you yap advice at me, the more I remember! Thanks for nothing, seriously.

[/quote]

So true. What I found extremely painful was the attitude that I was blowing things out of proportion and that it is not all that bad because my father did some positive things for me. I really felt judged and like I was in a cage not able to get out. And of course, I started going over the whole story again and was close to placing myself in the old asigned role of the bad daughter who always gets things wrong. I think I really need a break and stay away from home for a bit.

Thanks for sharing your story Musicia, it helps to hear I'm not alone in this.


#12

I have the same problem, my father didnt contact me in 1 year, after that he try communicate again, but he wants us to feel sorry for him, and it really hurts inside, now I dont speak to him, I feel guilty, when I speak to him, I always get a short off reply... But any ways, feeling guilty, confess it, it helps, the priest might help you. and pray for him, his health and safety, and also that you to may talk again. I will pray for you :)


#13

Contra Mundum, I'm sorry to hear about your troubles, I have struggled with relationships with my parents as well over the years.

One thing that was really helpful to me was when someone asked me how I would feel if my parent died and I did not take the chance to attempt to reconcile with them. Then they asked me whether the differences/disagreements we had were worth taking to the grave.

Obviously, the answer to these questions will vary from person to person and in extreme cases, I think there is a justifiable reason for never speaking to a parent again, however, in a lot of cases (mine included) the differences were not worth having the lack of reconciliation hang over my head after my parents passed. Because they are currently elderly, I had to seriously make an attempt on my end and whether or not they chose to accept the olive branch was up to them.

Sometimes therapists encourage cutting off contact from the parents and it many times backfires, causing more pain and grief for the child, especially when the parent dies and they have to live thier life knowing that that reconciliation never happened. Also "reconciliation" doesn't mean "love". If you are an independent adult, you don't have to agree with your parents' opinions or even respect them, but I do think that the attempt to reconcile falls under the commandment that tells us to honour our parents.

If you reflect on the Fifth Commandment, I think it was written precisely for situations like these. After all, if we think our parents are really great people, we wouldn't need a Commandment from God to tell us to honour them, it would be second nature! Instead, I believe the Commandment was written for people who struggle with the parent to remember that, for better or worse, they are still your parent and that we should not - unless the situation is extreme - cease to recognise them in our lives.

Your username is a good example - while the world and all the therapists tell us to do one thing, we are called to go against the conventional wisdom of the world and embrace those situations that may be painful and difficult as a means of growing closer to God. :)

I will say a prayer for your situation, God Bless.


#14

I appreciate the kind words and advice but I wish I could describe what kind of a person my father is and what I'm dealing with here. Let me try.

A narcissit.

Egoist.

No empathy.

A bully and an emotional abuser.

Bellitles 90% of people he comes in contact with.

He made me have plastic surgery when I was 19 so I would improve my looks. He made me feel like a piece of meat my entire adult life because he is obsessed with the way women look.

He cheated on my mom for years and then told her he never realised it was a big deal because she didn't complain enough.

He is sick and disgusting.

I suffered too much over the years and feel absolutely no desire to be in contact with him. He has started to treat my husband badly and is being weird towards our son. He will not change, he is 60 years old and convinced he is perfect. For the last 10 years I tried very hard to make our relationship work but I haven't suceeded. Dealing with him is like hitting my head against the wall. I've had enough.

It is here on CAF that people explained to me that putting up with abuse is not love. That I have a moral obligation to protect myself and my family from toxic people. That it is ok to create boundaries, even if it means ending contact with the person who is hurtful to me. I am extremely grateful for that becuase admitting to myself that my father is who he is has been most liberating. It has allowed me to grieve and to let go. Since I have ended contact with him I don't suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. I sleep better. I feel free. My only regret is that I didn't end it with that creep many years ago.

So this is really not about me reconciling, but how to stop people asking me questions. Maybe I should tell them what I have written here. I hope that will help them keep their opinions to themselves.


#15

Have you heard of Joyce Meyer. She's an evangelical author and speaker. FWIW, I personally think she's a wise person. God uses her to get his message to folks who probably would never consider listening to a Catholic. That doesn't stop God. She was sexually abused by her own father growing up. She's honest about her own struggles. And she obviously has a great relationship with God. She's written many books about the spiritual struggle.


#16

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:8, topic:251422"]
I love it! "Why do you ask?" Sounds like something Miss Manners might say, along with a wan smile and, "Thank you for your concern for me."

;)

[/quote]

This is the best advice I have read on dealing with these "friends".

Consider making some new friends ... none of whom have any idea of your home situation.

And, the best advice in dealing with "toxic parents" or "toxic older adults" is simply to "unplug" ... disconnect. Not all that simple, I know.

But start a new life.

Never discuss your old life with anyone.


#17

I haven’t heard of her but will try and find something. Thank you.

The sacraments and prayer have helped me so much. I realised that I never allowed myself to admit to the pain my father caused in my family and that probably led to extremely negative, bottled up emotions. I think letting God and letting go is the best thing anyone who suffers can do. I feel no need to talk about this (especially not in councelling). It’s just that people feed their curiosity when they see family drama and like to dig and talk about it. That’s the problem. I don’t know how to explain to my friends (who know my father and how difficult he is) to leave me alone.


#18

[quote="Monte_RCMS, post:16, topic:251422"]

But start a new life.

Never discuss your old life with anyone.

[/quote]

That is very good advice, not to discuss it with new people I meet. No reason to remain a prisoner of the past. Also, I am lucky in that I have a husband who is loving and supportive. My family is my new life. And I intend to keep poison out of it.


#19

[quote="Contra_Mundum, post:1, topic:251422"]
.....several of my friends who know about the situation insisted on talking about it. They wanted to know if my father and I have been in touch, if I planned to contact him, etc. They expressed concern about this situation and hoped things would work out.......

[/quote]

In fairness to your friends, have you spoken to them about your father before? If so, perhaps they beleive you are willing to talk about it because you have in the past. For example I have a friend who talks regularly and often about a conflict with a certain individual in her life...she has done this for years. Because she has welcomed conversation about the subject on numerous occassions...I would assume that additional comment from me would be okay.

If your friends are simply being nosy that's another story and they need to be corrected. I am not really sure from reading your post if your friends are rude or they really care about you and are giving advice because they have in the past. If it is the latter and they are good friends, perhaps you can try and be patient with them.

Prayers for you on your journey, God bless.


#20

[quote="Contra_Mundum, post:17, topic:251422"]
I haven't heard of her but will try and find something. Thank you.

The sacraments and prayer have helped me so much. I realised that I never allowed myself to admit to the pain my father caused in my family and that probably led to extremely negative, bottled up emotions. I think letting God and letting go is the best thing anyone who suffers can do. I feel no need to talk about this (especially not in councelling). It's just that people feed their curiosity when they see family drama and like to dig and talk about it. That's the problem. I don't know how to explain to my friends (who know my father and how difficult he is) to leave me alone.

[/quote]

Jesus asks us to pray for our enemies. I don't know how you feel about that. But who knows? Maybe because of your prayers, your dad will come around. With God all things are possible.


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