Why I Will Not Have The Talk

In the last two weeks I’ve written two posts about my Dad.

One was a letter expressing my frustrations, that I did not send and have no intentions of sending.

The second one was about my realization that I just haven’t forgiven him for what I perceive as years of neglect and distance.

The one thing these posts have in common was the overwhelming comments encouraging me to talk to him.  Or even to send some version of the letter.  Heck, my counsellor says the same thing.  So, rather then respond to every comment which I greatly appreciate (there were lots of them), I thought I’d write a post about why I just cannot bring myself to have that conversation.

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In the year after the car accident, while he was dating my now step-mom but before we moved in with my now step-family, I begged him to spend more time with me.  He promised me one evening meal a week together, that basically never happened.  So, then I begged again.  He promised he’d pick me up from school for lunch once a week so we could spend some time just the two of us.  That happened exactly once.  At 14/15 years old, I literally begged to have my Dad back in my life.  He couldn’t even dedicate one meal a week to me.

When we moved in with my step-family, I begged to find a new home that could be our new families.  Instead, we sold nearly everything from my family house and moved into hers.  Now, as an adult I get the realities of real-estate and selling two homes may not have been feasible. But, what it meant for me was that I lived in their home, I never felt like it was mine or that I belonged.

Between the ages of 14-18, whenever my Dad and I argued, every single time, without a doubt, his first words, while yelling at me, were always “I’m sorry I killed your mom and sister, this is all my fault.”  One time I had to actually say to him, when we were not fighting about them, they have nothing to do with the fact that I want to go out with friends tonight and you wont drive me.”  Every single time, the argument was stopped by me stating that I do not blame him, and it wasn’t fair to me that every hard conversation went there.  Yes, I realize this was his guilt showing through, but eventually I had to stop bringing up daily stuff because that’s all he’d say to effectively end the conversation.

Once we moved into my step-mom’s house, I begged my Dad to go to counselling with me because clearly things weren’t going well.  We lived in a small town, so I asked to go to someone in the city that didn’t know us (everyone seemed to know my family and knew of the car accident).  We went exactly one time.  For whatever reason that’s all the effort he was willing to put in.

When I bring up any hard topic, even to this day, I’m told I’m just being too emotional.  And that I’m over emotional.

When I brought up very clearly that Mr. MPB and I are disappointed with the relationship we have with them.  That we are hurt when they drive past our house to see another sibling and don’t stop in, or when they don’t call, etc. Instantly it started to escalate into blaming us.  As we were going through a miscarriage I had to cut the conversation off because we just couldn’t go there.  But, the point is, it wasn’t going to be a civil conversation, it was instantly escalating into an argument.

A few years ago, last time I brought something up regarding a decision he made that I don’t agree with, I was told “I didn’t ask for your opinion and really don’t care for it.”  The conversation was over as quickly as it started. It’s clear he doesn’t want to hear me.  And so, I’ve stopped voicing my opinion to him.  I’m a very opinionated person and when I feel muzzled I shut down.  And now,I’ve just given up.

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I know in an ideal world, I’d suck it up and find the courage to have the conversation.  I’d just dive in head first and hope for the best.  But, I don’t live in an ideal world.  And, since the age of 14, when I literally started begging to spend time with my dad, it has been reinforced in my mind by his actions and behaviours that we will not talk about these things.  I literally spent years begging to try to fix our horrible, disintegrating relationship.  And, I got no-where.  For better or worse, I have learned that we simply will not have those conversations.  If I try, I will be shut down one way or another.  If I try, I will be blamed for the problems.  If I try, I will end up leaving, crying by myself and licking my wounds.  If I try and I get lucky, things may change for a day or two, but then everything will revert back to our pathetic reality.

So, really, what’s the point?  I want more from our relationship, but it’s been 18 years of this and I’m not sure if I can unlearn this and I’m not sure that my Dad would be a willing participant.  And so, while I love my Dad for the father I remember from childhood and I do love him for the man he is today, I also need to protect my heart.  And if I’m honest with myself, right now I just don’t know that I have it in me to break down the wall I’ve built over the last 18 years.  I’m scared to do it, just to be shut down again.  In fact, I’m terrified.  And even more, with everything else going on in our lives, with the stress of adoption and trying to grow our family, I’m honestly not sure that right now is the time.  Right now, I just want to put my efforts towards growing my family and learning to be a better parent myself.  I want to dedicate my energy to my family and our future child.

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37 Comments on “Why I Will Not Have The Talk

  1. No, DO NOT have this “Come to Jesus” conversation with him. Those never work. He is not going to change. He has shown you what he is capable of, and that he does not intend to change. Your best bet is to 1. Find a new counselor who won’t tell you to chase after a toxic relationship 2. Just drop the rope with him and fade out. 3. Use therapy to work on accepting the fact that he sucks and he doesn’t care enough/is incapable of not sucking. And it’s not your fault. And you deserved better. XOXO

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you MLACS! I completely agree with your 2 and three. These are exactly what I need to do. I need to figure out how to truly accept this and how to have some relationship (or not) that doesn’t eat me alive. And my counsellor, she’s working with me on this as she understand better why I just cannot have that conversation at this point in my life. So, I might just not drop her – she’s kind of been my life line in the last few years. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Totally understand sticking with your counselor, and please note–I didn’t suggest dropping her. My counselor I see now is great for my anxiety/depression but not the best for family issues, so I don’t recommend her to people who are dealing with toxic family. You wouldn’t see a Podiatrist when you need a Surgeon, right?It doesn’t mean my counselor (or yours) should be “dropped”. XOXO

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, you are right, I’m the one who said dropper her, not you.
        For me, she’s the only one I’ve ever gone to in my adult life and I’m not sure that I would be willing to open myself up to someone else. That said, you really do have a point about seeking different counsellors for different things! This might just be something I need to be a bit more aware of, thank you for this thought!!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t blame you one bit for not talking to him. (AGAIN.) He’s had a million chances over the years to step up and be your dad and he couldn’t do it. I doubt that has changed. I’m so sorry that this is the version of your father that you’re stuck with. Sending love this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. it sounds like you’ve already had this talk over and over and your father has given what he can. i think you have to try to just accept your relationship for what it is, though i understand you trying to get back the relationship you had with him as a child. it’s hard to accept a situation when you know it can be so much better. i can’t imagine his (or your) loss and what it was like to go through that but he was the parent in the situation and should have been there for you in that way that you needed. i think it’s smart of you to protect your heart at this point. keep faith that it may turn around, but i think you’ve done all you can.

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    • Thank you. I think you are right, at this point I need to focus on accepting what is and moving forward. The big trick for me will be truly accepting and not getting upset whenever I’m let down. And, I have to say, I completely agree with you – while it was a completely horrible situation, ultimately he was the parent with responsibility.

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  4. We do not speak to one of Luke’s parents and we won’t apologise for that to anyone – you still have some relationship with him, and that’s your choice – you should not feel railroaded into anything more or less. You’ve tried, he hasn’t. End of story. There is no middle ground sometimes. We tried, Luke’s mother didn’t. We are adults and we choose our battles based on one’s we think we can win. If this ship has sailed, don’t drown yourself swimming after it. X

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    • “If this ship has sailed, don’t drown yourself swimming after it” – I think that’s what I’ve been doing for years. I love the analogy. But they key now is to stop treading water and find myself some solid ground to continue to build my life on, the life I deserve and want, Thank you for sharing and getting it.

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  5. Well this all makes sense. I take back my recommendation and just hope you can find a way to let it go in some sense so you aren’t holding it all inside. Hugs to you.

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    • Thank you my friend. I am not disregarding all the advice to talk to him, just not right now. I know in many ways that conversation should happen, but I also just know right now I cannot do it. But you are right, in order for this to work for me, I need to find a way to truly let go of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am so heartbroken for you that your dad is like this. Maybe you are too much of a painful reminder for him of all that he’s lost. He clearly blames himself.

    In any case, I totally understand why you won’t talk with him (again) about your feelings. You’ve learned there is no point and nothing good ever comes out of it. It makes sense to me that you’ve given up. I’m sad for you, but proud of you that you’ve come to that realization and won’t make yourself beg him any more.

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    • I often think I am a painful reminder of what he lost. In fact, I look a lot like my mom (or so I’m told and actually do agree with) and part of me thinks that every single time he sees me, he sees her and what he lost. And I also think you are right that he blames himself, and I even carry survivors guilt, so I can only assume that he does too.
      Anyways, thank you so much for your love and compassion. I hope with more effort I will truly accept what is, so when I’m disappointed it hurts a little less.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Like I told you before, no one and absolutely no one is worth the effort if its not mutual.
    We all have our limits to bending backwards for others and its obvious you have crossed yours long ago.He has also moved on, and seriously no matter how much it hurts sometimes its just better to accept your losses for what they are and move on. Its healthier, no point chasing someone that is toxic to
    Your wellbeing. You deserve that much, I think everyone deserves it.
    I am just sorry this is your dad, it just makes everything harder. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Another great post!

    I get it. And I hope my last comment conveyed that. My sister is my only living relative and while she’s clean now, I still have a lot of anger and resentment about how she mixes her kids up in her mental health issues. I don’t talk about it on my blog, but prior to ttc we were in talks to take custody of the kids but it was a legal nightmare… I could pick up the phone at any time now and speak my peace, but why? For different reasons than your Dad she is incapable of getting it. I can’t change her, I can’t make her stick with counselling, I can’t make her a better parent. Just as for now, you can’t make your dad hear you. So… It’s not really a conversation then.

    Hugs! I’m glad your posting about this.

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    • Your last comment really did convey that. In fact, I’ve been meaning to go back and specifically respond as it really did mean a lot to me that you understand and were willing to share.
      You make such a wise comment about recognizing that your sister is incapable of getting it. That’s just like my dad. And the fact is, that doesn’t make it wrong for him, it makes it hurtful to me. We all cope and deal in different ways, and what I’ve really come to understand is that my Dad and I deal very differently. And that difference put a wedge between us that I cannot move on my own. We either have to be committed to working through it together, or I have to walk away from that level of investment. As you say, why keep trying to speak my peace, when it wont change anything. Instead, clearly, you and I, each in our own ways, are learning to accept and process our realities for what they are.
      Again, thank you so very much for sharing. From the bottom of my heart I appreciate you so very much!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. When you wrote your other posts, I didn’t realize that you’ve already tried so many different times, in so many different ways, to get through to him about this. If this is how he chooses to live…letting the guilt of something that wasn’t his fault eat away at him and destroy his family…then that’s on him. Maybe one day he will realize what he has ruined with you and want to fix it.
    Just out of curiosity…how is his relationship with your brother? Does he treat him the same way? (If I remember correctly you have a brother, who was also in the accident but who survived. Forgive me if I’m wrong, I don’t have the time to go back and find the blog(s) where you mentioned that!) Is he just as standoffish with him as he is with you?
    I hope that you can find a way to put this aside and move on from it for now. Honestly if it was me, I wouldn’t even continue to try. If he doesn’t want to include you in anything, you shouldn’t feel obligated to try to include him either. If it was me, and I had already tried so many times for so long, I would just wash my hands of it. *hugs*

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    • Unless you are psychic you’d have no idea what I’ve tried through the years, because I didn’t articulate it! 🙂 Which is why I decided I needed to write a post about it, and share the back story and the efforts I’ve tried to make for years. I guess for now I’m just burnt out from it. Maybe one day I’ll try again, but for now I just cannot.
      You are right about my brother. I think my Dad’s relationship with my brother is better then ours, but I really don’t know. My Dad definitely makes an effort to see him and his children and definitely sees him more then us. He goes to the kids sporting events and frequently babysits. I know my Dad and brother had some really rough years (that make me as a teenager look like a saint). But from my outside perspective it seems that they get along a lot better now. I don’t know for sure though and sometimes I wonder if I see their relationship through rose coloured glasses, do you know what I mean? My brother and I are not very close (never have been, even as children but for no reason other then we are very different people) so I’ve never asked him directly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, makes sense. If your dad babysits and stuff it sounds like they live closer to each other, which I guess might be a contributing factor to the relationship they have now. I don’t know, just a guess. It’s ok that you and your brother aren’t close…being related doesn’t mean that you have to be close lol! Either way, I don’t blame you on being burnt out on trying. There has to come a point in life where you say enough is enough. We all have our breaking points…

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  10. This is absolutely heartbreaking. Just reading it I can understand why it weighs so heavily on you and it must wreck you to have tried so many times to reach out to your dad.

    I think you may have hit the nail on the head when you mentioned how you’re a reminder of what he’s lost. It must be so difficult for him to see you if you look like your mum… and I’m sure you must also remind him of your sister and that he had another daughter too. (And maybe it’s easier to see your brother as he’s not so obviously similar to you and your mum and sis? I don’t know.)

    I know it seems terribly cruel of him – I think people all react differently to grief and it’s really hard to explain how they feel when everyone has their own natural reaction. I know it is completely different but I used to have this kind of disconnect with my ex, where he couldn’t understand how I didn’t want to talk about things. He always wanted to express himself in a certain way and there was this thing inside me that gave me the chills whenever that happened – like an almost physical reaction and aversion to doing it. We just didn’t match up in our emotional styles – it’s not that one or other of us was better; it’s just we were different and incompatible.

    I can’t imagine what it feels like for both of you and especially you – as a child, you should have had the expectation that your father would have been there for you, when your mother was so cruelly taken from you. In any other relationship I would say “Let them go” but with family and especially parents it’s so much harder.

    I guess all you can do is try and protect yourself, and if that means drawing a line under your attempts to connect then so be it. I don’t know if it would be worth sharing something written to him, if only so he knows what your feelings are and that you still would always want to connect? Only as I know sometimes that leaving the door open means that people do eventually come back. But it is completely your choice and all any of us can do is hope that you are cushioned a tiny bit by the love we all have for you! It isn’t the same as a parent of course, but I think you can build families in all different ways (I’m proof of that) and in some small way, maybe we are a part of your extended family! X

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  11. There’s a saying that I’ve learnt to take to heart before, it’s not pleasant but it’s a truth nonetheless: When people tell you who they are by actions or words, listen, because people rarely change and if they chose to they don’t do it for anyone but themselves.

    If your dad hasn’t had an epiphany by now then chances are he won’t. Especially if surrounded by others who support his poor behaviours and enable or encourage them.

    Protecting your heart and possibly later protecting your child’s may well be the best way forward. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with his behaviour, for whatever reason he’s done it…he’s done it and chosen to. He can’t take it back or make up for it and he’d be lucky if you listened to him beg and gave him the chance too. Sadly, he sounds toxic. I have a relative like that, it may or may not be relevant but some of your posts about him and your stepmother do remind me of that and I’d urge you to google Fear, obligation, and guilt (FOG).

    I read your forgiveness post and I understand the idea of forgiving to release and the need for it but I wonder if maybe why you can’t give your father forgiveness is because he hasn’t asked for it or earned it. When someone does ask but hasn’t earned or doesn’t ask but has earned then it seems like forgiveness is an option. Seeing as your father doesn’t do any of those then really, does he deserve it?

    I personally think there are some things in life that are unforgivable, I know a lot of people don’t agree but I think you can still move on by either cutting them from your life or changing your expectations to match their actions.

    I hope you are ok.

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  12. Hi MPB. I’ve reflected a lot on your recent posts as so much resonates with me. Your last left me in tears because I’d had the most awesome conversation with my dad that morning – he was kind, caring, loving, insightful and really listening to me – the dad that I cherish. The two times I’d heard from him before he’d left me aggressive voicemails (not directed at me, just super-angry tone) and he called me later this week to tell me that mum says a recent incident involving him and mum that I had felt incredibly hurt by didn’t, in fact, happen at all. As I talk about now and again, I’m in a 12 Step program to help those who are close to alcoholics and to help me with the crazy behaviours I’ve developed as a result. One form of madness that has engulfed me for years is being convinced that I would find the right words, the right time, the right way to make every conversation with my dad like that cherished one of earlier this week. Slowly I’m coming to terms with the fact that that man doesn’t exist all the time, and it doesn’t have anything to do with me. There is no conversation to be had – there are no magic words because he is too sick to hear me. You had a right to expect your dad to look after you as a child and it sounds like he completely failed in that, for whatever his particular reasons are (depression, guilt, other mental health issues – not your obligation to guess in any case). You and Mr MPB sound like you have built a wonderful relationship together, a wonderful life and now you are waiting to grow your own family – that’s a fantastic thing from where you started out (and a fantastic thing full stop). What my program and my sponsor encourage me to do is whatever feels aligned with my own beliefs, my own conscience, my own values, and do no more, because it’s the road to disappointment. I’m a long way from forgiveness but slowly I’m finding acceptance of reality and maybe that will let me be kinder, because I’d dearly love to be. I’m so sorry you’re hurting – please accept a virtual hug. Take good care xx

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  13. Oh, boy, I could have written this. Except, I didn’t try as hard as you to drag my father back into my life. That was a source of guilt for a long time. I’m so sorry you’re hurting. I wish your dad would wake up and get some help. ((hugs))

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I can understand why you don’t want to continue to try and go over this with him after reading this post. I just hate seeing him being able to hurt you over and over through his actions or many times through his in-actions. Sending you much love, my Friend. You need to do what’s best for your mental health. As always, I think you are a better and stronger person than I. I’m a grudge holder, I think I would have cut him off by now.

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  15. I hate it when people assume that all parents are alike and that of course you can talk to your dad, because they can talk to theirs. You’re the only one who truly knows the situation, you have to listen to your instincts. And most importantly, if he hasn’t changed by now, he probably won’t, and you can’t change him. The best thing I ever learned from counseling is that you can’t change how people are, you can only change your reaction to them. You have to do what’s best for you. Hang in there!

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  16. My husband always reminds me that just because family are blood isn’t always thicker than water – he knows because he has a terrible relationship with his mum and sister. I have never met either of them. I used to pressure him a lot to make things right again…I wanted him to work things out because I had failed so miserably with my dad – until our wedding when his mum refused to come despite being invited. He was let down again despite risking extending an olive branch. After that day I realised that I should just shut my mouth and let them figure out together, I can’t change anything…all I do now is offer an ear to listen when he wants to talk. So I get why you won’t send your father that letter…it’s bloody hard to put your heart on your line to have it pushed away again. Of course I wish you nothing but happiness in the end x

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  17. I think that is all totally fair enough. I have tried with my own dad over the years and eventually gave up too so I do get. Sending love xxx

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  18. I think you are doing the right thing. Your energy is precious and doesn’t need to be wasted on someone who will not change. Acceptance of his limitations is key. It’s not an easy feat and sometimes once you’ve made progress it will feel like you have to start all over again. But, in the end you will be happy you focused on your family and being the type of parent you know your child needs. People always remind me that parents only do the best that they can with the resources (emotional, etc) that they have. I often have to remind myself of that with both sets of our parents. You can’t expect a high level of emotional intelligence from someone who has no interest in growing/developing theirs.

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  19. I only hope you can find peace about this…enough is enough . I chased after my sister, wanting a relationship she never wanted or needed. Remember this, you cannot force someone to have a relationship with you, I tried( for years, and years) it doens’t work. Does this mean you would not be open to a relationship, of course not, but it has to be one where you and your family are respected…I finally wrote my sister an email years ago, stating that I love her, and I want her in my life , but only if she could treat me with respect , something she has not done, and I doubt she will do…its just not where she is in life, and might never be. I find it weird that a counsellor would have you chase him again. I think you have done all that you can, the next move is his, if he chooses too. I miss my sister , and what fun we could be having, but after spending most of my life trying to fit into her world, I knew I had to move on. Having her in my life being rude and condesending is not the relationship I would want, it is not an option for me anymore, I get to decide who in my life , and just because I love and care for them doesn’t mean they have to be in my life. I know how hard this must be, but move on knowing that your Dad does love you, but he is gonna have to choose if he wants to work on his emotional issues, you can’t force him. Sending lots of love and hugs, Lisa

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  20. I totally agree with you. Don’t go there. When I was in counseling about my mom, my therapist said not to ever bring it up, because she won’t change, and all I’ll do is walk away hurt all over again. Good advice. I see no point in hurting myself more than my parents already have. It will all be my fault, I will be told to just get over it, and they’ll not only say terrible things, but they’ll look at me with their hateful look and I just don’t want to deal with it.

    You’re right on, in my opinion.

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