Should I talk to my DAd?


#1

My parents divorced when I was 8. Needless to say, it was a traumatic experience. It seems that whenever I go through a life-changing event, like getting married, having another child, etc., I seem to revisit this time in my life and find new things about it and about myself to ponder.

Anyway, lately, I have been thinking about this and I realized that, unlike my two sisters, I have yet to have an adult conversation with my dad regarding the divorce itself. What I mean is, that when I was probably 11 or 12, I do remember talking with my dad about why he left and why our family wasn’t good enough for him to stay, etc. But I feel like I must have received answers from him pertaining to an 11 or 12 year old girl. I feel that my sisters (I’m 33, they are 31 and 28) seem to have more information or a better understanding of my father and the situation than I do. I’m not so sure that is because I am incapable…just that it’s a subject I haven’t brought up while I have been an adult.

Part of me thinks that I am having these thoughts and really thinking about the divorce a lot lately because my 3-year-old daughter and my DH have the kind of relationshiop that I remember having with my dad when I was a small girl. It’s almost like a Twilight-Zone feeling. Sometimes I watch my 3-year-old interacting with my DH and I see a 3-year-old me and my own father. I’m so happy that they are close and have this wonderful relationship, this beautiful closeness. But it reminds me of what I lost and it causes me pain and I grieve. I realize that I will never have the relationshiop with my father that I had back then. I just can never have it ever agein. It was irreparably broken when he left and I grew up without him.

The reason for my post is that I have been thinking of having a conversation with my dad about everything now that I am an adult. I feel like, that as an adult, I’d like to discuss the divorce, what happened, what feelings were there and how those feelings have changed over the past 25 years. But there 's a nagging part of me that says, “So what? Why open these wounds? Why press your dad to discuss this?”

I guess I just don’t know quite what to do. Over the past 5.5 years as I have studied my faith and learned what children are supposed to mean for a marriage…it brings me so much pain to know that my father walked out on all of that. I’m not the only kid he walked out on…I’m the 2nd of the 5 children left with my mother in abject poverty as my father graduated from law school and moved on to “the other woman” and started a new life. But I was one of the oldest two. I had an established relationship with my father. He was my idol…my hero…I often said I’d marry my daddy. LIke I said, I often see myself in my little 3-year-old as I see that she and her daddy are so so close.

So…should I pursue this? Should I just “grow up” and forget about it and “move on”??? I don’t want to cause my father grief and pain. But at the same time, sometimes I am resentful of his “justification” for leaving my mother. He’s been married to his 2nd wife for 23 years now…they have two children as well and I love those other two siblings, too.

Sorry this is so long…I just was thinking about this tonight and i was wondering if I should just try to let this nagging feeling go like I have before…or if I should try to finally have this conversation with my dad once and for all and try to find some sort of reconciliation in it.

For the record, my father and I have a “good” relationship at this point. We talk regularly on the phone and he comes to visit when he can (still has a son in high school, so time is limited rightn ow).


#2

I think you need to pray very hard and think long and come up with the reason that you want to talk to your dad. Do you want to have a nice conversation? Do you want to let him “have it” and tell him how much he hurt you? Do you want to ask him specific questions? Be honest with yourself first and foremost and know what you are hoping to accomplish before you begin.

Then you need to consider what kind of man your father is and what his character is like. Is he the kind of man that will give you direct answers or maybe even an apology? Or is your dad someone that will “brush off” your question or dismiss it or give you an answer with little or no meaning bringing you nothing but more anger and frustration?

I am curious…you mentioned that you and your father now have a good relationship. How did this occur? Did he come back asking for forgiveness? Did he have contact with you as a child or come back into your life as an adult? Did he have to “earn” his way back into your lives or were you so happy to have a father around that you let him into your life on a casual basis?

I sense so much hurt and pain from your post. I cannot imagine what this divorce did to your family. I will pray for you that the Holy Spirit will help you discern what is the best course of action to take for you and your family. Hope this helps. God Bless and take care.


#3

Talk to your sisters if you must. Maybe you can get some of that extra information from them.

Don’t idealize what you think you have lost. You didn’t grow up in his new family. It may not be as perfect as you think it is, even if it has lasted 23 years.

Spend your energy being happy for your daughter, because she won’t have to loose what you did. And for yourself, because you have a good husband.

And give your hubby a big hug and a kiss and tell him how happy you are that he is such a good father to your daughter. :slight_smile:


#4

It would definitely be on the “nice” side. I have already let him have it in letters I have written and never mailed and in counseling sessions as a kid. The anger has been gone for a long time. Sometimes he makes comments seeming to justify what he did and those hurt. I do need to reflect on this, because some of the questions I think I’d ask…I’m not so sure there IS an answer or if there is, I’m not so sure I’d want to hear it.

I don’t know if an apology is warranted directly for the divorce at this point. I had some problems as a teenager and there was a night I spent with my father when he had driven down on a moment’s notice to “save” me, so to speak. That night as we were talking, I could sense so much sorrow (even though I was only a selfish 18 year old at the time) as he told me “I’m sorry” that it almost covered as an apology for everything and I’ve never really yearned for an apology from him.

Well, when he first left us, he lived in Rhode Island and us in Kansas. There was a point in time when I didn’t see him or talk with him for probably…oh, at least 2 or 3 years.As a teenager, we lived closer because my mom finished her degree and took a job in North Carolina and he and his family were living in Maryland at the time. So there were more weekend/holiday visits and such. I began to reach out as I was in college. Mainly because he was helping me as much as he could financially while I was in school, and the selfish me wanted to make sure that string of funds continued to come in. But over time, we have developed a relationship…but it is nothing like what I envision it would have been. As the other poster mentioned though…I probably shouldn’t “idealize” it…our relationship could have gone in a different direction, regardless. But it is very stirring to watch my daughter with her dad and see her just love her dad so much and really be “in love” with him and I seem to feel that is how I was with my dad. I mean, I have VERY FEW memories about my mother and me until after the divorce took place…he was that prominent in my psyche.

Thank you. Divorce is painful for everyone. I think that because there are so many divorces these days, we, as a society, have come to feel that it’s “ok” on the kids…they all survive, etc. It’s almost like people are numb to the effects of divorce anymore. It’s more of a defense mechanism, I think. Heck, as I was growing up, us kids would try to stand proud and show the world that we could make it and be successful and it didn’t matter if we had a dad at home or not. And this attitude has been a good thing as all 5 of us now are married to good people having our families, we all have our education, two of us have advanced degrees… I mean, what else can we do, but move on, right?..But I do think that there’s a lot of pain that goes unhealed where divorce is concerned.


#5

This is the way I have usually gotten through past bouts with this thing. I mean, when I got married, and after each daughter has been born, it seems I revisit the divorce and see how it impacted me and how I became the person I am. It’s really only this time that this nagging to talk with my dad just won’t go away.

Also, I fear my dad is not in good health. I know he has back problems, but my stepmother has alluded to more and basically left it with, “If your father wants you to know about it, he will tell you.” Which I think is an unfair statement, but that’s another issue. So, maybe his health is another thing I am dealing with wondering if the time I have to have this conversation with him is short or something. I don’t have any reason to believe he is terminally ill or anything, but he doesn’t look well and has been in and out of the hospital during the last 6 months with back issues.

Additionally, my sisters have this understanding because when I left to go to college, they and my younger brother all moved to my dad’s within 2 years and actually got some growing up time with him…so I think a lot of their understanding of him comes from actually getting to build that relationship with him as they grew up. I dont’ begrudge them that…but sometimes wish I’d had it, too. But it would have killed my mother if I’d left to live with him…or at least so I thought. But when they went, it didn’t kill her…she was sad, but she finally rationalized it that it was her turn to “move on” so to speak and not having children around did help her do that.

Thanks, though…maybe I should just do as you say. And you’re right, I have a good man for a husband and he’s a wonderful father and I definitely should spend more time in thanksgiving for that!!!


#6

If it were me in this situation, I would talk to him…as an adult…like 2 adults. It sounds to me like you need closure on this issue and right now you don’t have that. Pick a time when you both are “nonemotional” (i.e relatively happy) put a pot of coffee on and just talk. It may be one of the hardest things to do. But at least one way or another, you’ll have the answers you need.
Good luck!
Kathy


#7

Still praying for you here. Hoping that prayerful reflection will help you decide on what is the best course of action for you and your family. Whatever happens I help it helps you grow spiritually. God bless you, this must be so hard, hang in there.


#8

I tried for years to have this deep meaningful interaction with my Mom about serious childhood issues, but all it caused was lots of pain and hurt. Then I finally got it! As long as I talked to Mom about the weather, children, gardening, etc things were fine.
Right before she died my brothers and sisters were still trying to have this deep soul-baring talk with her, and there was unhappiness all round. My Mom couldn’t or wouldn’t talk on this level of intimacy and felt badly and my siblings felt frustrated that they weren’t getting their needs met.
Me? My Mom and I had a great time up until her death, playing cars, talking about recipes, screen door prices, etc.
I do not know what you should do, this was just my experience with my Mom.


#9

Hello 3Girlsrus,

I am having a similar situation right now. My father left us when I was ten and never looked backed. It has now been 22 years since the last time I say him. And guess who has been calling all of a sudden. He talked to my mom about two months ago and than my older brother about a month ago.

In the past I was understandable angry with him. I can even say I hated him. The hate I had for him was so intense that it really brought me down. I have since forgiven him in my heart. I actually have no intention in letting him back in my life but I also am unsure of whether I should even speak to him.

I am afraid that if I do speak with him I will only become angry again. And I really don’t want that. But my concern is if I refuse to talk to him, would that be a sin? I feel bad for him I would think that being an old man and finally realizing that you throw out five children must be a very lonely place to be.

So 3Girlsrus, I will pray for you and your situation and please pray for mine.


#10

st. Lucy, I will pray for you. It is a hard decision. I don’t know how “soul-bearing” I want a conversation to be. Like I said previously, I need to figure out exactly what it is that I want or need to accomplish. I guess, maybe seeing my little girl and her dad have a wonderful relationship and watching it grow through the years as I think it will, may be God’s way of letting me see just how wonderful that relationship is and even though my dad and I do not have that relationship anymore, I am so blessed and thankful that we have some relationship.

While I grew up with some pain and feelings of abandonment, I can see over the years (I hope) my DH be there for my little girl. It makes me well up with tears of happiness that my little girl has her Daddy and that he has her. And, I guess those tears are bitter-sweet because they remind me of what I had at one point and feel like I lost. But, you know…since my dad and I have a relationship that I consider good now, maybe I should just leave well enough alone and continue on as we have for the past 15 years now. I have grown to believe that on some level, my father regrets leaving all of us (no matter how he tries to justify it once in awhile) but that it’s over and done…it was 26 years ago, I have forgiven him and I believe he has asked forgiveness (an annulment was granted 5 years ago) and he attends Mass weekly and I see him praying the Rosary and I know he wears the Brown Scapular…so I think he is serious about his faith again (Praise God).

I guess I just needed to put some prayer and reflection to it. I appreciate the responses here. I will pray for those of you dealing with similar issues.


#11

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