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How to deal with major life events with my estranged father?
April 30, 2014
9:17 am
Been There

No apologies. No amends. On the off chance he asks make clear that he is being invited to your wedding at your families request only. Be civil, mannered, etc. Then live a rich full life without him. If you ever have kids, and they ask about him, be honest but do not vilify him. Underplay him. But you absolutely, positively must go out and live a rich full life without him. Don't dwell and don't ruminate on him. If he ever comes to his senses and apologizes you can consider it when it happens but don't live your life waiting for it. Proceed as though an apology will never come at all. Your life well lived is your only response.

April 29, 2014
3:50 pm

I've come here for support in something which has been a major question in my life for the past 3 years, but now that I am in a serious relationship and my life is moving on has been more and more of a burden to me.

I was emotionally abused by my dad for many years. Being the only girl with two brothers I wasn't allowed friends that were boys, and then eventually any friends at all because I could turn out to be sexually promiscuous. This is probably routed in my mum leaving my dad for another woman (who she is now happily married to and has been with for 10 years) and so I wasn't allowed contact with my mum "in case I caught her gay". I was called many names which are just too ugly for one person to call another, let alone their own daughter.

Obviously all of this tension built up over the years, leading me to go to great lengths to escape. I self-harmed and took drugs (both things I stopped doing after I stopped contact with my dad) and overdosed on painkillers when I was 14 and 15. The child psychologists at the hospital passed this off as a cry for help after I convinced them I was mentally sound. Looking back I wish I had gotten the help I needed. None of this may seem relevant, but to me it is, as it was a release of the feelings I had as I wasn't able to confide in any friends.

Shortly before my 16th birthday my dad punched me because I slammed my bedroom door after an argument. My brothers called my mum and she came to collect us. I had a massive bruise on my cheek and eye for 3 weeks and a fractured eye socket. He still refuses to accept any blame as I "shouldn't have been trying to bring the house down" and recently found out where I was living to come to my door and insist on getting an apology from me. 3 years on and everyone else still has a relationship with my dad apart from me.

This isn't what bothers me, it's that I am now in a committed relationship where a future seems to be definitely on the cards, and there is a lot of pressure from my family to make amends before I start my adult life. I often ask myself what if I get married? The big elephant in the room will be where is the father, and what if my family (who at the best of times are civil towards me) hate me for not inviting him? Also what if I have children, would it be fair to them if they didn't know their granddad? But then I don't know that I would feel they were safe with him. 

I know these questions are far off from being answered, but I can't decide I want a relationship with him just before these things happen, because it will take time to heal.

Does anyone have any ideas? I have been considering counselling for years, but I was scared when I was younger that someone would insist I go to the police when I couldn't do that to my brothers. Is it really worth it now?


Sorry if this is too long, I just really need some advice on this. I've tried to talk to my partner but he feels like he can't give me advice because his parents have been happily married for 30 years and have never shown him anything but love, and talking about my dad just makes him upset.

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