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Biological Dad is Dying

House Cat

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My absentee biological dad is very near death. Has anyone faced this?

He hasn't been in my life since I was 8 years old, and even that time was sporadic. He is a drug addict. I saw him during his short periods of sobriety. When I did see him, he would give me a long apology and tell me he was ashamed of his lifestyle and ask for forgiveness and I would give it to him. Inside I would be screaming because I loved him most and I wanted him around all of the time. I didn't know what drugs were and I didn't care. I just needed him. Ironically, every adult that was around me was a drug addict or alcoholic except for two people...what was one more drug user? After 8 years old, I saw him two more times, once at 14 and once at 20, and that was it. I should say that I was tricked into seeing him at 20 years old. My mom and aunt had me pick up my cousin from my biodad's house and they didn't tell me that I would be going to his house. They were hoping for a reconciliation. It didn't happen.

From the age of 8 years old until the age of 16, I waited and waited for him. Then, I just gave up. I think my heart couldn't take it anymore.

I have the best stepdad in the world. He has actually been in my life since I was 3 years old. He was one of the sober ones. I feel a huge sense of loyalty to him. HE is my dad, period.

Bio-dad got sober when I was 18. He didn't work a program. He isn't "clean and sober." He is what one would classify as a "dry drug user." He has all of the addict behaviors, just not using.

After the birth of my children, I became very angry with biodad because I understood parental love and I couldn't understand how he could walk away from it. Biodad tried to pursue a relationship with me shortly after the birth of my first child, I was not having it

Now, all I feel is grief. Not extreme grief, just some grief that tends to bubble up now and then. It is the type of grief that is sad for him and sad for me that we didn't have a relationship. I understand that the hole he left was shaped like him and it could never be filled by any other person. It can't even be filled with him now because even he is different. It is mine to fill and I am doing that. But I really don't see any reason to contact him or see him because anything I have to say to him is mine, self serving, sad, maybe even angry...but it is nothing you say to a dying man. I definitely wouldn't say, "I love you." I don't believe "closure" will come from him. I believe healing will come from within me.

I thought I would put this out to the forum for its wisdom.

If any of you have dealt with this, what did you do? Did you have regrets? Were you happy with anything you did? Is there anything that I am missing? I am asking because once he is dead, he is dead. I won't have a chance to say anything to him or hear his voice. At this point, I am ok with that, but you always see those people who are overwhelmed with grief because they didn't speak to their parents that one last time... I want to make sure that I have thought of everything.
 

Asscherhalo_lover

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My father was an active alcoholic and died when I was 12. My older half sister was in your situation when he died, she was nearly 30. She did not even find out about his death until I met her when I was 18 and told her he had died 6 years prior. So she was 35/36 when she even found out he had died. For her it was a relief because she knew she would never have to deal with him ever again and she could finally really close that chapter of her life. We have built a relationship since that first meeting and I reconnected her (her choice of course) with our grandmother and aunt but we never speak of our father.

At this point he's been gone 18 years and it is very much behind me. I still think of him on occasion but there is no pain for me and I doubt any for her. I did see my father a few days before his death but at that point he was still an alcoholic. It was more for him than me. If you think you would regret not seeing him, or that you want to give him some peace before his death, then see him.
 

Andelain

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I don't have any good answers, but I feel your pain. I'm in a somewhat similar situation, and am also interested in the opinions of others.
 

TooPatient

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Sending you hugs. I know this isn't easy.
I haven't been through it (yet) but DH was recently. His abusive father whom he hadn't seen in 30+ years was dying. His mother called to tell him. He chose to not contact and was told a couple of weeks later that he'd died.

DH had tried so hard to have a relationship. He had given up all hope and moved on with life. But this man who tormented, abused, and shot at him had been a part of his life. No matter how much DH was sure he made the right choice to not see him, I know it hurt him. He cried. Not for the abuser he didn't have a relationship with but for the man his father could maybe have chosen to become later. His death was the end of any hope that he might one day change and that maybe one day DH would have a real father.

He does not regret his choice. He knows people who saw his father at the end and say he was the same man he had always been. It doesn't make it easy, but he does not regret.

That said, if you feel like he might have changed it might be worth a visit. You have no good memories to ruin and it might avoid doubts and regrets later.
 

kenny

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Follow your heart.
Screw guilt from society telling you, "He's your dad so you're supposed to you must do X, Y and Z."
For instance if you heart tells you to not attend a funeral, just don't go.
If your heart tells you a loved one at the funeral needs your support there, then go.
Check in with yourself and follow your heart.

My dad was a criminally-abusive drunk from when I was age 10.
At age 18 I got very far from him.
Having nearly zero relationship with him was the best decision I've ever made.

One night about 15 years ago I got word he died.
For some reason, I walked outside and noticed where the stars were.
My body came from his, and as they say we all are stardust ... or some such fluff.
Stepping outside and looking up was all I 'did' for his death.

I didn't cry or feel much then, or since, about his passing.

I'm so happy for you that you had another man who was a real dad to you.
 

azstonie

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Outofthefog.net.

There are people on that forum with similar and identical experiences to your past and present situation with sperm donor dad.

FWIW, I've am No Contact with my parents. I know what it's like to shut that door permanently.

And him asking you for forgiveness? That is emotional incest (going to your child to have inappropriate needs met). If he was truly repentant, he would simply demonstrate that through his changed behaviors, not making that oh-so-easy-for-him request.
 

VRBeauty

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HC - My family life was very different and yet... and yet for some reason I found myself in Al-anon programs, and I found that the "adult children"aspects are what resonated the most for me.

The only experience I can offer is that much of my grief immediately after my mother died had to do with regrets for things I did not say, and my own fear that my mother died not knowing that I loved her. I hope and trust that she did know, but for some reason it was hard for me to just say that, so I've been left with that lingering fear. So my advice to anyone facing the death of a loved one - or even just a nearly loved one - is if necessary, cut through the crap to say what you need to say.
 

Jambalaya

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Hi House Cat,

I am so sorry that you are dealing with this, sorry that you got dealt such a difficult hand with your biodad, and sorry that you have to make this difficult decision now. (I don't have experience with this exact situation - ie addiction - but I do have experience with domestic violence and abuse.)

The way I see it, the only reason to see him is to avoid any regrets. I think where a parent is abusive in terms of nastiness like horrible insults, screaming, yelling, etc then visiting a deathbed isn't a good idea because they will probably get in a few side-swipes at you even then, but from your post it doesn't sound as if your biodad was like that. It sounds as if the problems were addiction-based, and really heartbreaking at that. I do think that only you can make this decision. But whatever you do, do it for you. If you think it would give you closure, then do go. If you think you might regret not going, then also go. Hey, if you walk in the room and think "Oh man, this was a mistake" you can always leave. You have the choice to only stay a few minutes. But don't go if you feel dread, and don't go for his sake when you don't want to. Is there a pit in your stomach when you think about going? Then don't. Go for the reasons above if you go. That's my opinion.

There may still be some kind of grieving process after he dies. My friend had a terribly abusive mother - beat her up very badly when she was two, used to pretend that she was going to abandon her, really awful stuff - so obviously as an adult my friend had hardly any contact with her. However, when her mother finally died, my friend felt a deep, deep sadness, because of all that could have been and would never be. As long as someone is alive, there is always a sliver of hope, but all is lost forever when they go. I've read a lot of grief literature and sometimes people do experience bereavement after an abusive person has died. It's complex. Not everyone does, of course - this is a situation which is deeply personal and highly variable. I'm just trying to prepare you for how you might feel after. I don't think this should be a driving factor in whether you see him or not - I think that decision should be driven by what YOU want.

For what it's worth, if I were in your situation, I would probably go, unless the parent had been very abusive as described above. You might be able to say a quiet goodbye, and it might help close that chapter. However, it sounds as if you moved on long ago, and perhaps you don't want to open the wound again.

Man, this is a really difficult decision. We will be supportive whatever you decide. Maybe a good question to ask yourself is whether he has the power to hurt you any more. If you have truly moved on then probably not, but if a small piece of your heart is still broken and if it has cost you a lot of work to put your biodad behind you, then maybe stay away.

I think only you can decide. This is a complex decision. I wish you the best with it. xxxxxxx
 

packrat

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I'm sorry that you are having to deal with this. There are people who don't know what it is to be a parent, no matter how many children they produce, and there are people who instinctively *are* parents, it's ingrained in them to love a child that was not born of them. You do not need to share DNA with someone to be a true parent to them. I'm glad you have your step dad.

JD's childhood..his dad was a piece of work. Everyone adored him-super good looking, athletic, charming as the day is long, personality coming out his ears. Behind closed doors he was a violent drunk who beat the shit out of his wife, JD's mother, in front of the kids, on a regular basis. She didn't leave him, he left her. (and she turned around and got into a similar relationship w/a drunk, but didn't marry this one) JD and his mother's relationship was horribly dysfunctional and strained for many years. And then *I* came along and nope nope nope we're not having nunna that, no way no how. :saint: JD spent a school year when he was in high school with his dad and "step mom", to get away from his mother, thinking it would be better.. left there and never went back. He didn't talk to his dad again until after we got married. I don't remember if we invited them to the wedding or if they found out thru his mother. (who still talked to him on a regular basis, mainly so she could pick a fight and then call JD and cry and get him all riled up) Regardless, his dad called here one time, and I answered. He turned on the charm, and I interrupted and told him I had absolutely no desire to play nicey nice w/him, I did not care to ever meet him or have anything to do w/him, and I would ask JD if he wanted to talk to him, and if he did, then they could have whatever relationship they wanted, if he didn't, please do not ever contact us again. JD basically told him "yep, I'm married, nope, don't want anything to do w/you, that ship sailed years ago". We got Christmas cards every year for quite a while and we never responded.

Then several years ago, his mother was going thru all kinds of sicknesses, in and out of the nursing home and an apartment, and he'd brought home a bunch of mail from her apartment when she went to the nursing home for good. It was mail that she hadn't gone thru-I went thru the bills for him to take care of and left the personal stuff for JD. He didn't and didn't and didn't go thru it, so finally I did. There was a letter that turned out to be from a relative he could vaguely remember, on his dad's side, saying that his dad was really sick and not expected to live, she didn't know how to contact JD, and thought he and his mother would like to know..basically so *they* could make amends w/*him*. :rolleyes: B/c deep down in his heart of hearts, JD knew he was a great guy blah blah blah. Well, JD called the number in the letter to find out what was going on, and it turned out his dad had died a few days before that. The relative tried to give JD the "what for" b/c he'd not contacted sooner and that was all I could take before exploding.

JD had a hard time w/it at first..he said he didn't know what he should do. Should he be upset or sad or relieved that he was dead? Should he be upset, sad or relieved b/c he'd not found out until after? I can't imagine the turmoil inside. I told him to feel what he feels and to not try to analyze it or find any sort of meaning to it. Be all of those feelings, and be all of them at once and separate. I asked him, what would you have done? Called him? Gone to see him? What would you have said? What do you think *he* would have said to you? Would he try to explain away his actions, turned it around all on his own son? That's my guess, and it was his guess as well. Would he rather he have had a chance to tell his father exactly what he thought? Deep down, I think his dad *knew*-he could turn it on and off at will, he wasn't dumb. I asked him what he thinks a dad *is* and *does*--is the man who fathered him, that type of person? He said no. I asked him if he felt like he'd missed out on having a father. He said when he was little, yes, but his father showed him exactly what NOT to do, as a father and a husband. When he got older and he and I got together, my dad became his father figure, and he has said many many times that my dad has been and is, more of a dad to him than the man who fathered him.
 
Q

Queenie60

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My heart goes out to you. I have a similar situation with my mother. Have been estranged from her for about 30 years. She was an abusive alcoholic/prescription drug user throughout my childhood. And I never knew my bio father. After many years of abuse, I walked away and closed the door on her. She would still be dishing out the name calling, and abuse had I stuck around and tried to have a relationship with her. I have never looked back. When she passes, I don't feel that it will have much of an affect on me, just the reassurance that she won't come looking for me at some point and stir up all of the scary, bad feelings. But I don't know that for sure util the time comes when I am told that she's dying. Only you know in your own heart if visiting him is the right thing. Forget what others think, go with your own gut. There's no right or wrong, just what's right for yourself in your own heart. Take care and I wish you well. :wavey:
 

Calliecake

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I could not agree more with Kenny's advice. Please do what feels right for you. There are no right or wrong answers and you are the only one who can know what is best for you. I'm sorry you are having to deal with this. Please take care of yourself.
 

momhappy

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I won't go into any details, but I can sympathize with your situation.
I agree with the suggestion to follow your heart (or your gut - whatever you want to call it) - you'll know what to do. There is no right or wrong thing to do here, so do what you feel will cause you the least amount of regret.
I'm sorry for your situation and I hope that you can find some peace in it. Hugs to you.
 

azstonie

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Queenie60|1451341750|3967563 said:
My heart goes out to you. I have a similar situation with my mother. Have been estranged from her for about 30 years. She was an abusive alcoholic/prescription drug user throughout my childhood. And I never knew my bio father. After many years of abuse, I walked away and closed the door on her. She would still be dishing out the name calling, and abuse had I stuck around and tried to have a relationship with her. I have never looked back. When she passes, I don't feel that it will have much of an affect on me, just the reassurance that she won't come looking for me at some point and stir up all of the scary, bad feelings. But I don't know that for sure util the time comes when I am told that she's dying. Only you know in your own heart if visiting him is the right thing. Forget what others think, go with your own gut. There's no right or wrong, just what's right for yourself in your own heart. Take care and I wish you well. :wavey:

Queenie 60, I'm right there with ya regarding abusive parents. I have never regretted walking away from mine. I do regret not setting myself free decades ago.
 

House Cat

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There is so much I want to respond to. Thank you everyone.

I feel that I must clarify, my biodad was never abusive toward me. He was always kind and loving toward me. He had a taste for abusive women, my mother and stepmother. When I was 8, I had to stay with my biodad and stepmother because my mom was ordered into rehab. I remember my biodad taking me on a drive and asking me not to hug and kiss him so much because my stepmom was jealous. She would also tell lies about my behavior in order to get me in trouble with my biodad. I didn't see him again for six years.

It is my mother who is the abusive alcoholic that I haven't said a word to in three years. While I was reading this thread, it felt like most of you were describing her! What my biodad has done is left and said he thought that was best for me. He left me with HER!!! He was the one person in the world who had the power to fight her and protect me from her and he went to the needle and left me defenseless. The damage that act has caused me is so incredible.

I know that if I saw him, I would have to see his wife. That would probably be ugly, all because of her.

I am moved by the number of people on this forum who have faced this sort of pain.


If I really had to describe what I am feeling, I am numb. That scares me because numb isn't isn't a feeling, it is the psyche putting off a feeling that one can't feel for whatever reason.
 

azstonie

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I am sorry for what you have endured in your past and what you are going through now. Check the Out if the Fog website, the tool box and Forum, specifically.
 

House Cat

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Asscherhalo_lover|1451330820|3967451 said:
My father was an active alcoholic and died when I was 12. My older half sister was in your situation when he died, she was nearly 30. She did not even find out about his death until I met her when I was 18 and told her he had died 6 years prior. So she was 35/36 when she even found out he had died. For her it was a relief because she knew she would never have to deal with him ever again and she could finally really close that chapter of her life. We have built a relationship since that first meeting and I reconnected her (her choice of course) with our grandmother and aunt but we never speak of our father.

At this point he's been gone 18 years and it is very much behind me. I still think of him on occasion but there is no pain for me and I doubt any for her. I did see my father a few days before his death but at that point he was still an alcoholic. It was more for him than me. If you think you would regret not seeing him, or that you want to give him some peace before his death, then see him.
I am actually hoping to feel relief too. There has always been this obligation hanging over my head to reconcile with him, to forgive him, when I never really felt that I wanted to or should. I am hoping his death will give me relief because then I will know that I won't ever have to see him...that option will be off the table.

I am sorry that you had to live with an alcoholic father. I am sorry he was taken from you so soon. I am glad that you aren't in pain. Your story makes me optimistic to know that I will be free of this someday.
 

House Cat

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azstonie|1451354701|3967648 said:
I am sorry for what you have endured in your past and what you are going through now. Check the Out if the Fog website, the tool box and Forum, specifically.
I've been a member for years.. ;-)
 

House Cat

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Andelain|1451330970|3967453 said:
I don't have any good answers, but I feel your pain. I'm in a somewhat similar situation, and am also interested in the opinions of others.
I'm sorry you are in a similar situation. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. I'm sending you hugs and wisdom.
 

House Cat

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TooPatient|1451331748|3967464 said:
Sending you hugs. I know this isn't easy.
I haven't been through it (yet) but DH was recently. His abusive father whom he hadn't seen in 30+ years was dying. His mother called to tell him. He chose to not contact and was told a couple of weeks later that he'd died.

DH had tried so hard to have a relationship. He had given up all hope and moved on with life. But this man who tormented, abused, and shot at him had been a part of his life. No matter how much DH was sure he made the right choice to not see him, I know it hurt him. He cried. Not for the abuser he didn't have a relationship with but for the man his father could maybe have chosen to become later. His death was the end of any hope that he might one day change and that maybe one day DH would have a real father.

He does not regret his choice. He knows people who saw his father at the end and say he was the same man he had always been. It doesn't make it easy, but he does not regret.

That said, if you feel like he might have changed it might be worth a visit. You have no good memories to ruin and it might avoid doubts and regrets later.
What a nightmare for your husband! I hope that he is doing better now. Grieving an abusive parent is so complex.

Thank you for your input. It helps a lot to hear the experiences of others. I am becoming more resolved in my feelings to stay away.
 

House Cat

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kenny|1451332388|3967466 said:
Follow your heart.
Screw guilt from society telling you, "He's your dad so you're supposed to you must do X, Y and Z."
For instance if you heart tells you to not attend a funeral, just don't go.
If your heart tells you a loved one at the funeral needs your support there, then go.
Check in with yourself and follow your heart.

My dad was a criminally-abusive drunk from when I was age 10.
At age 18 I got very far from him.
Having nearly zero relationship with him was the best decision I've ever made.

One night about 15 years ago I got word he died.
For some reason, I walked outside and noticed where the stars were.
My body came from his, and as they say we all are stardust ... or some such fluff.
Stepping outside and looking up was all I 'did' for his death.

I didn't cry or feel much then, or since, about his passing.

I'm so happy for you that you had another man who was a real dad to you.
Thank you Kenny. I found it interesting that the one line of your post that made me most emotional was the line about my stepdad. He really is the one person who saved my life. Words can't describe the gratitude I feel for having him in my life.

You have revealed bits and pieces of your childhood in the past. You are a triumph.

Hearing that you didn't feel much about your father's passing gives me hope because it makes me feel that I might be normal. I'm not feeling much either. I have grieved a lot already. I have acted out a lot on the feelings of abandonment that he gave to me. I am in a place of peace with the wounds that were placed within me. I might look at the stars too, weather permitting.
 

House Cat

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azstonie|1451334129|3967483 said:
Outofthefog.net.

There are people on that forum with similar and identical experiences to your past and present situation with sperm donor dad.

FWIW, I've am No Contact with my parents. I know what it's like to shut that door permanently.

And him asking you for forgiveness? That is emotional incest (going to your child to have inappropriate needs met). If he was truly repentant, he would simply demonstrate that through his changed behaviors, not making that oh-so-easy-for-him request.
I am NC with both bio-parents. It is a sad thing. They are sick and wounded. The truth is, they should have never had children.

My entire family has very poor boundaries. Growing up, they would speak of very adult topics in front of me, or to me, as if I were a little adult. I am sure that happened to my biodad and that is why he asked for my forgiveness. My family is messed up! I only keep touch with 4 members.
 

House Cat

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Jambalaya|1451335321|3967499 said:
Hi House Cat,

I am so sorry that you are dealing with this, sorry that you got dealt such a difficult hand with your biodad, and sorry that you have to make this difficult decision now. (I don't have experience with this exact situation - ie addiction - but I do have experience with domestic violence and abuse.)

The way I see it, the only reason to see him is to avoid any regrets. I think where a parent is abusive in terms of nastiness like horrible insults, screaming, yelling, etc then visiting a deathbed isn't a good idea because they will probably get in a few side-swipes at you even then, but from your post it doesn't sound as if your biodad was like that. It sounds as if the problems were addiction-based, and really heartbreaking at that. I do think that only you can make this decision. But whatever you do, do it for you. If you think it would give you closure, then do go. If you think you might regret not going, then also go. Hey, if you walk in the room and think "Oh man, this was a mistake" you can always leave. You have the choice to only stay a few minutes. But don't go if you feel dread, and don't go for his sake when you don't want to. Is there a pit in your stomach when you think about going? Then don't. Go for the reasons above if you go. That's my opinion.

There may still be some kind of grieving process after he dies. My friend had a terribly abusive mother - beat her up very badly when she was two, used to pretend that she was going to abandon her, really awful stuff - so obviously as an adult my friend had hardly any contact with her. However, when her mother finally died, my friend felt a deep, deep sadness, because of all that could have been and would never be. As long as someone is alive, there is always a sliver of hope, but all is lost forever when they go. I've read a lot of grief literature and sometimes people do experience bereavement after an abusive person has died. It's complex. Not everyone does, of course - this is a situation which is deeply personal and highly variable. I'm just trying to prepare you for how you might feel after. I don't think this should be a driving factor in whether you see him or not - I think that decision should be driven by what YOU want.

For what it's worth, if I were in your situation, I would probably go, unless the parent had been very abusive as described above. You might be able to say a quiet goodbye, and it might help close that chapter. However, it sounds as if you moved on long ago, and perhaps you don't want to open the wound again.

Man, this is a really difficult decision. We will be supportive whatever you decide. Maybe a good question to ask yourself is whether he has the power to hurt you any more. If you have truly moved on then probably not, but if a small piece of your heart is still broken and if it has cost you a lot of work to put your biodad behind you, then maybe stay away.

I think only you can decide. This is a complex decision. I wish you the best with it. xxxxxxx
J,

Well, his wife would probably be horribly abusive toward me. She is a nasty person. Biodad wouldn't. I think that anything I would have to say wouldn't be nice to say to someone who is dying. Or, I would fake it....almost the same thing I did when I was little, lie to make him feel better. But then, I wouldn't be authentic to myself. Whenever I do that, a little part of me dies.

I think I gave up all hope on him in my late teens. I waited and waited for him, meanwhile, calling my stepdad by his first name. My stepdad, the guy who was acting as my dad. But I wanted my biodad to show up on a white horse and be my dad. Yeah, my biodad with a needle in his arm. But kids don't understand addiction, extreme addiction. Kids think a person can just stop. Finally, when he never showed up, after so many years, I laid my heart down and accepted my stepdad. Just a few years later, my biodad called crying, asking for forgiveness (again) and I was already done.

So what? Hear the same forgiveness speech? That leads me to the dark pool of grief that I have put a lid on. It leads me to the biggest hurt of my life. In my heart, he died a long time ago. He died when I started to call my stepdad, "daddy."


Writing this out is helping me to see where I stand. Thanks J!
 

lambskin

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I have a friend whose mother was both physically and emotionally abusive due to significant mental issues that were undiagnosed and untreated for over 40 years. She kicked my friend out of the house at 16 and she had to fend for her life. My friend has never caught up finacially, educationally and emotionally. Her mother calls only when she needs help-financially and with her invalid dad and my friend keeps on providing money that she does not have. Her credit card bills are enormous. After she gives the help, she does not hear from her mom and no calls are returned until she needs help. I think it is the need and want of acceptance and motherly affection that keeps my friend in this awful situation. Plus the guilt over the dad who may not get the needed care without her intervention. Her mother had frequently alienated herself from her immediate family and, until recently, my friend contacted her relatives. They told her that her mother informed them that SHE has been supporting my friend all this time and that my friend was the one who cuts off contact. Total lies - but were believed by the family until my friend showed up at a family function, heard about the false tales and was able to refute it. So you may want to go to your biodad's funeral to see what others thought of him and to clear any misconceptions he may have told others about you-if you care. It will be a very uncomfortable and trying situation and, frankly, you do not have to go at all. I doubt that it will turn into a fight fest as any visitors will be supportive of the deceased by ignoring his problems and issues. It may be a chance to catch up on cousins,aunts and uncles that you have not seen in years. Good luck, and remember do what is right for you.
 

TooPatient

Ideal_Rock
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I talked with DH last night. He says he is glad he didn't go see his dad before he died. Yes, it hurt losing the little bit of hidden hope that maybe one day things would be different (he had no idea he had this until after the death!) but it would have been worse to go see the guy. His dad would have said more hurtful stuff or put on a fake smile to try to turn it into DH's "fault" they had no contact.

Anyway, hope this helps. You need to choose what feels right to you and not ever look back and doubt your choice. Whichever you choose, make sure you are doing it for YOU.
 

telephone89

Ideal_Rock
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I'm in a similar situation. My father was almost never in my life. My mom raised me on her own, and *maybe* once a year I'd hear from my father. Maybe once every 5 years I'd see him. He was/is also a drug addict, and was abusive to my mom. Perhaps because he was less in my life than yours, I don't feel the same grief.

I got a message from his partner earlier this year saying how he wasn't doing well, had not much time left, it'd be great for me to see him one last time. I was so upset over this. I felt guilty for not caring. I felt guilty for not wanting to waste my vacation time to go see him (6h away). In the end I decided not to go. He's still alive, though probably not healthy. When he passes, I may or may not go to the funeral. But I don't think I'll go visit him before.

When people find out I grew up without a father they are often like 'Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. That must have been so hard' and I almost want to laugh. If he had been in our lives my life would be MUCH worse, and I would likely not be where I am today. I've made peace with my decision, I hope you can find some in yours as well.

eta - my mom is also going through this with her mom/my grandma. My mom thinks she will not make it to the new year. She cares for her out of obligation, even though she was a terrible mother (drinking/gambling addiction. Left her children in a hotel for days on end while she went on binges). I feel like I should visit her (she is in the hospital close to me), but I don't want to. I'm not sad about her passing soon. I just feel for my mother having to deal with this on her own. I'd rather comfort my mother than spend any time with my grandmother.
 
Q

Queenie60

Guest
Ohhhh - all of these replies bring many of my own feelings to surface. Just think - all of us are survivors of abuse and neglect and we are the WINNERS! Surviving and growing up to live a healthy, drug free life is such a wonderful feeling despite our sick parents constantly telling us how worthless we are. My mother attempted to contact me via a letter about 16 years ago, stating "I'm growing old and want to get to know my grandchildren" - I was so angry at her, trying to stake a claim on my children. My therapist had me write a long letter to her, I read it over and over and all of my thoughts and feelings were right in front of me. I never sent the letter, ripped it into pieces and threw it into the fire! I'm free and wish the same for all of you. Happy New Year! :pray: :wavey:
 

azstonie

Ideal_Rock
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Housie, I had forgotten you've already been to Out of the Fog, I'm sorry I kept bringing that up!! I don't post anymore but I'm reading on the forums and in the toolbox about every other day.

Its a constant battle (lessening somewhat now, I'm grateful for that) to put off society's fairytale of loving/supportive/kind parents and accept the reality of the malignant narcissist abusers I was born to. My parents LOVE it when the holidays roll around, its the only time they contact me (via mail) and that is only because in the past I've entertained them, given gifts, cooked, paid for everything, etc etc. The rest of the year its crickets from those two.

So unless they want something I hear nothing from them. I don't feel guilty for not presenting myself and my own family for abuse via gossip/smearing, nasty cracks, control and manipulation, gaslighting, lying, and physical abuse. We don't support people accepting that treatment/behaviors from spouses or significant others, why should we let DNA give someone a free pass to destroy our mental and emotional health and stability?

Yes, for people who want to point out to me: "They are 85, they are going to DIIIIIIIIE and then you'll be sorry!!!!" Sorry for WHAT? That I cut the abuse short of my parents' lifespan? LOL, nope, the only "sorry" I feel is that my parents didn't want to control the abuse in order to preserve a relationship with their only child. So its like a divorce, in my mind: They go their way, and I go mine.

I know that sounds bitter and hardboiled but its actually the opposite of that---I accept my parents for who they are, I just don't choose to throw myself on that sword any more. They cost me my first marriage, all my childhood friendships ("We don't like her, you cannot be friends with her.") that I allowed them to know about, two great jobs, and a good portion of my sanity while I was still trying to please/appease them into loving and caring about me.

Yup, they're gonna die, we ALL are. Why aren't people asking THEM "Your daughter is 57, she could get hit by a bus, if she diiiiiiiies how will you feel?" LOL, I doubt anyone is asking them this.
 

House Cat

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packrat|1451336068|3967508 said:
I'm sorry that you are having to deal with this. There are people who don't know what it is to be a parent, no matter how many children they produce, and there are people who instinctively *are* parents, it's ingrained in them to love a child that was not born of them. You do not need to share DNA with someone to be a true parent to them. I'm glad you have your step dad.

JD's childhood..his dad was a piece of work. Everyone adored him-super good looking, athletic, charming as the day is long, personality coming out his ears. Behind closed doors he was a violent drunk who beat the shit out of his wife, JD's mother, in front of the kids, on a regular basis. She didn't leave him, he left her. (and she turned around and got into a similar relationship w/a drunk, but didn't marry this one) JD and his mother's relationship was horribly dysfunctional and strained for many years. And then *I* came along and nope nope nope we're not having nunna that, no way no how. :saint: JD spent a school year when he was in high school with his dad and "step mom", to get away from his mother, thinking it would be better.. left there and never went back. He didn't talk to his dad again until after we got married. I don't remember if we invited them to the wedding or if they found out thru his mother. (who still talked to him on a regular basis, mainly so she could pick a fight and then call JD and cry and get him all riled up) Regardless, his dad called here one time, and I answered. He turned on the charm, and I interrupted and told him I had absolutely no desire to play nicey nice w/him, I did not care to ever meet him or have anything to do w/him, and I would ask JD if he wanted to talk to him, and if he did, then they could have whatever relationship they wanted, if he didn't, please do not ever contact us again. JD basically told him "yep, I'm married, nope, don't want anything to do w/you, that ship sailed years ago". We got Christmas cards every year for quite a while and we never responded.

Then several years ago, his mother was going thru all kinds of sicknesses, in and out of the nursing home and an apartment, and he'd brought home a bunch of mail from her apartment when she went to the nursing home for good. It was mail that she hadn't gone thru-I went thru the bills for him to take care of and left the personal stuff for JD. He didn't and didn't and didn't go thru it, so finally I did. There was a letter that turned out to be from a relative he could vaguely remember, on his dad's side, saying that his dad was really sick and not expected to live, she didn't know how to contact JD, and thought he and his mother would like to know..basically so *they* could make amends w/*him*. :rolleyes: B/c deep down in his heart of hearts, JD knew he was a great guy blah blah blah. Well, JD called the number in the letter to find out what was going on, and it turned out his dad had died a few days before that. The relative tried to give JD the "what for" b/c he'd not contacted sooner and that was all I could take before exploding.

JD had a hard time w/it at first..he said he didn't know what he should do. Should he be upset or sad or relieved that he was dead? Should he be upset, sad or relieved b/c he'd not found out until after? I can't imagine the turmoil inside. I told him to feel what he feels and to not try to analyze it or find any sort of meaning to it. Be all of those feelings, and be all of them at once and separate. I asked him, what would you have done? Called him? Gone to see him? What would you have said? What do you think *he* would have said to you? Would he try to explain away his actions, turned it around all on his own son? That's my guess, and it was his guess as well. Would he rather he have had a chance to tell his father exactly what he thought? Deep down, I think his dad *knew*-he could turn it on and off at will, he wasn't dumb. I asked him what he thinks a dad *is* and *does*--is the man who fathered him, that type of person? He said no. I asked him if he felt like he'd missed out on having a father. He said when he was little, yes, but his father showed him exactly what NOT to do, as a father and a husband. When he got older and he and I got together, my dad became his father figure, and he has said many many times that my dad has been and is, more of a dad to him than the man who fathered him.
Thank you Packrat.

I really love the story of you and JD. <3 You have done so much for him. Someone like me really appreciates the fact that you and your family have saved him. I love your bravery and your ability to protect JD from his dad. You also boost him up and make him feel as though he can stand up for himself. That is so valuable for kids like us...the kids who have been left to the wolves. We only need one brave and compassionate person to change our lives Packrat...you were that for him. People like you are a gift to this world.

A few days ago, I was reading an article in Psychology Today about mean mothers. I felt it applied to fathers as well. It had this one bit in it that was so profound that it almost knocked me down. The jist: Despite what we are told to believe, women are not hardwired to love and nurture their children. It is the child, not the mother, who is born with a powerful need to love their parents as a means for survival. Wow! Society loves to tell us how parents instinctually love and take care of their children and that children are somehow fundamentally evil if they stand up for themselves and walk away from their abusive parents. That message becomes stronger and stronger as the parents become little old people.

My mother was the charming one who was abusive behind closed doors. As she aged, she pushed boundaries more and more and realized that she could be mean in public too, toward her children, toward people working in the public, toward just about anyone and if anyone ever said anything to her, she would either play victim or hit them with a wave of rage that they had never seen before. But my biodad, well, I had only heard stories of his violence. He was gentle toward me, but apparently he really WAS violent. Apparently he beat my mom, my aunt, my grandma. He shot himself when he was young, I don't know where. I don't know...hopefully he will be at peace.

It was good that you gave JD the space to feel his feelings. I hope I can give that to myself. I like to push off sadness. Ugh, I hate sadness. Hopefully, if I am feeling it, I will allow it.
 

House Cat

Ideal_Rock
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Queenie60|1451341750|3967563 said:
My heart goes out to you. I have a similar situation with my mother. Have been estranged from her for about 30 years. She was an abusive alcoholic/prescription drug user throughout my childhood. And I never knew my bio father. After many years of abuse, I walked away and closed the door on her. She would still be dishing out the name calling, and abuse had I stuck around and tried to have a relationship with her. I have never looked back. When she passes, I don't feel that it will have much of an affect on me, just the reassurance that she won't come looking for me at some point and stir up all of the scary, bad feelings. But I don't know that for sure util the time comes when I am told that she's dying. Only you know in your own heart if visiting him is the right thing. Forget what others think, go with your own gut. There's no right or wrong, just what's right for yourself in your own heart. Take care and I wish you well. :wavey:
Queenie,

I am three years no contact with my abusive, alcoholic mother. My life has only gotten better since I have shut that door. I have been able to heal and stretch and grieve the mother that I didn't have. I can't ever say absolutely that I won't speak to her again, but I don't plan on it. Freedom feels too good.

I am sorry you live with the same kind of loss.

I love that you call us winners! I truly feel that! I have a lot of issues due to my childhood, but I have a lot of gifts too. I choose to focus on my gifts and to move forward!

The family that I have built would never judge me for not seeing my dad. They have seen me walk this journey.. I just see the collective mind of others and think that sometimes...they ALL need that thing called "closure." Is it overrated? Is it real? I don't really know... I am beginning to think that closure is a myth...
 

luv2sparkle

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Housecat, I also had to face a similar situation. My mom left my dad when she found out she was pregnant with me. I have two older (twin) brothers and a older sister. My dad never had any interest in my at all. When I was young, he would often have me come over to his apt. and have me fetch things for him and make him sandwiches while his weirdo second wife never came out of the bedroom for the entire weekend. I was about 6. As I grew up, he lived with one of my brothers. I would see him at christmas. He never bought me gifts but lavished gifts on my nephews (brothers kids). I learned at a very young age to walk away from people who hurt me, which is a behavior I still have to fight to this day. He died when I was in my twenties, and I hardly shed a tear. The few I did shed was because I knew that that was the end, and nothing about all the pain he had caused over the years could ever be changed.

I don't have any regrets. I was a kid and he is the one who made the mistakes. Like you, I had an uncle who was very dear to me in my growing up years. Later, he hurt me deeply, and I tried to forge on with the relationship but it was never the same. My only regret is that I didn't walk away from that relationship sooner. He had meant so much to me that I wanted to repair it and he continued to hurt me over and over. It would literally take me a week to recover from a conversation with him.

I never had any final words for my father. I never confronted him or told him how much he hurt me. I am not sorry about that. It wouldn't have made any difference, and if I had and he hadn't responded how I hoped he would, I think it would have been worse.

The mistakes and regrets should be your fathers alone. You were/are deserving of love and he is the one that lost out. Unfortunately, we will carry the scars. I have felt them in my marriage. I have a wonderful husband and he has made up for all of the pain. He understands me, what makes me tick, and when I react a certain way, he immediately understands it is a remnant of that earlier pain.

Do what you feel you will have to do so you won't have regrets. When my uncle died, I had promised the day before that I would take care of him in his last days. I am glad I didn't have to actually fulfill that promise, but I felt it was what I had to do at the time.
 
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