I’ve tried to start this post about a million times. It’s just not working. I don’t know how to start, or what to say, or how much to say. But here goes:

My father sent me an e-mail on Monday, telling me that he had finally gotten around to using the gift card that we got him last Christmas. This sounds pretty normal, like the type of thing a father might send to his daughter, right? Except it’s not. Because I haven’t spoken to my father since March. And as far as a ‘normal’ father/daughter relationship, well we haven’t ever had that.

I made my decision in March not to speak to him anymore, but I didn’t say anything to anyone about it. Mostly because drama is not high up on the list of things that I want in my life. It was my decision, because I am an adult and I have a choice. Because I needed to do this. And the funny thing is, that he didn’t even notice that I wasn’t speaking to him (it’s not like we were in constant communication before this anyway) until recently. The only reason he noticed is because it was pointed out to him by my mother, who figured it out and asked me point-blank, and I told her. And then she choose to tell him, and use it to manipulate a situation to her advantage, and make a big deal, which was exactly what I did not want.

Yes, I realize that it sounds like the type of thing one parent might do to another when they are bitterly divorced, but no – my parents are still married. It is a freakish, love-less, hate-filled marriage, but they are Mr. and Mrs. nonetheless.

This is the second e-mail that he has sent since he figured out that I was avoiding contact. The first one was along the lines of “I’m not sure what I’ve done wrong, blah blah blah”. I would love to tell him. I would love to give him lists, and examples, and oh, I would love to hurt him in exactly the ways that he has hurt me, hurt his family, hurt everyone around him. But I can’t. Something is stopping me from responding.

I look at these two e-mails and I am frozen – caught in knowing that this is an all or nothing situation. Either I respond with the truth and cut him out of my life forever. Or I don’t respond at all and cut him out of my life forever. Or I respond and pretend that everything is OK and that I am over it. What kind of options are those? Not good ones.

The most obvious choice is that if my feelings are that strong, I should cut him out. Gone. Forever. And that really sounds fine to me. Except that he is still married to my mother. Except that my brother still lives with them. And how would that work, logistically speaking? Do I send Christmas gifts to my mother and brother but not to him? What happens when Matt and I get married someday? Do I not invite him? These might seem like minute questions to answer in the grand scheme of things, but these are the things that I wonder about. Because I don’t want to deal with this. I am angry that I am in this situation. I am angry that he is a bad person and yet I am the one feels like I am doing everything wrong.

It’s hard to write about this. Write too matter-of-factly and it will come across like you’re a cold hearted bitch who is taking this lightly. Write too emotionally and it will sound like you’re a drama queen who’s blowing things out of proportion. Add to that the fact that I can’t, and won’t go into more detail about exactly the reasons why I feel this way about my family, and you end up with a very bad blog post. I guess I should feel bad about that, but I don’t. I needed to vent. I needed to be able to write: THIS ISN’T FAIR. I needed to say that I’m hurt, and confused, and very very angry.

You may think that I left out an option when I said that I had three. Another option might be to explain why I feel this way and to work it out. To ask him to change and to apologize and to accept that apology. But let me say – this is not an option. It is not. It is NOT. Some things are unforgivable. If that makes me a bad person, so be it. It is how I feel and it is what I know to be true.

Ignoring this second e-mail as I did the first feels cowardly – but the simple fact is that I don’t know what else to do. In this case, it seems that the only action I can manage is inaction. So I guess that is what I will do.

If you’ve made it this far into the world’s most awful blog post, thank you. I promise to return to our regularly scheduled writing about shoes and reality TV tomorrow.



Filed under Deep Thoughts, Family

7 responses to “Honestly

  1. Wow, what a tough situation. Why can someone in the wrong make themselves seem so in the right? I hate that. Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

    (and it wasn’t the most boring blog post ever – not even close).

  2. -R-

    I just wrote this comment that I think made it seem like this was all about me or something. So I deleted and just want to say that I understand. I hope you eventually figure out the right resolution for you, but it may take some time.

  3. Sarah

    I’m so sorry!

  4. Take all the time you need to figure it out. I don’t think anyone would think you are cold-hearted based upon this situation. Hugs to you!

  5. It isn’t fair. You’re not supposed to have to be the bigger person with your own parents. And some things are unforgivable. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It’s just true, whether it sounds nice or not.

  6. That really sucks. I’m so sorry that you are going through this and I hope you find peace with the matter. It’s so hard when your expectations/hopes for what your relationship with your parents should be like don’t match up with reality.

    This is just a suggestion, and I’m not sure if you’re looking for suggestions or just venting, but here it is nonetheless and just ignore it if you don’t want advice. If you feel paralyzed and don’t know what to say back yet, you could send your father a very short message saying simply, “I have received your two messages, and I do intend to respond to them, but I need some time to decide how to respond. I ask that you respect me by giving me that time and refraining from contacting me in the meantime.” Or something along those lines to let him know you’re not ignoring him but you’re not ready to talk yet. Then take all the time you need to figure out how to address the situation with him.

  7. I like Laura’s response, and I’ll also add something that I remember reading in an Iyanla Vanzant book (40 days/nights of something or other?)…either deal with it or let it go (it being whatever issues there are between you). Period.

    It sounds so obvious, but I practiced this in my own life, and one particular family relationship has greatly improved as a result. I accepted that what happened was in the past, and I could either spend my life resenting and being angry (either leading to cutting this person out of my life or continuing to have the crap relationship we had b/c I wouldn’t let this person get any closer) or move on.

    I decided to accept that this person made some bad decisions and hurt me, but I made peace with that in order to still have some semblance of a relationship rather than none at all.

    It’s a personal choice, of course, but I feel better having taken control of my emotions–and no, we didn’t have a “here’s what you did” conversation. It’s enough to me that I have accepted the situation for what it was and what it is; I don’t need the other person to validate it because I know my feelings are validated anyway.

    And no, you never forget, but I just didn’t want to live my life with that black hole of crap there.

    Best of luck with whatever you decide.

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