There are a lot of discussions in forums by dads desperately wanting to be "dad" to their estranged children. My take on it is different; I used to be one of those dads.
The mother of my daughter and I separated a year after my daughter was born. The mother did everything she could to prevent contact between me and my daughter, ignoring court order after court order for visitation and eventually taking her to another country. I have not seen my daughter since she was 2; she is now almost an adult.
For many years I simply knew nothing of my daughter, not how she was, where she was, what she looked like as she grew up etc etc. This was very very difficult. I have had some minimal email contact with my daughter over the past two years or so, but although it was she who instigated contact on several occasions, she never seemed too interested in getting to know me. She would start to ignore my emails and things would just peter out.
The loss of my daughter was devastating to me in the early years. Many fathers talk of this frustration and sadness and ask what can they do to get their children back in their lives so that this devastation can end. The advice always seems for them to be patient, give the child time, don't take any rejection from them to heart, keep trying etc.
But when it comes to adult or near-adult children, this advice is wrong I believe. Adult relationships are a two-way street; they are give-and-take. For fathers to just give-give-give in an attempted relationship with an adult child in the hope of receiving any scraps the child may decide to throw their way is just wrong. No sane man would even contemplate conducting any kind of adult relationship in this way, with anyone. I think that, as the dad of an adult child, you have to concentrate on what makes YOU happy and what works for YOU. I got thoroughly sick and tired of trying and trying to have a relationship with my daughter and getting little or no response.
Don't get me wrong, I truly loved my daughter and did absolutely everything in my power to try to have her in my life when she was a child. But enough is enough. I did what I could and the time came to close the chapter on that part of my life, at least for now. I told my daughter that I loved her, but that if she is not interested in getting to know me then it was best that she did not contact me again. Her repeatedly getting in touch with me after months and months of nothing only to then show little or no interest was not acceptable. I said that I hoped things would change in the future and that we could have a real relationship but I also accepted that that may not happen.
When adult children do not respond to a father's attempts to bridge the gap between them, I think dads need to accept that they did everything they could, not beat themselves up about things they could have done differently, and simply move on. I think they should establish the ground rules with the child of what kind of contact/relationship will be acceptable. I don't see anything wrong with saying, "ok, I love you and will support you any way I can but in return I would like you to treat me fairly and with respect". Maybe the child will not respond at all, maybe the child will say ok, maybe the child will say nothing for years and then say ok. Whatever happens, you as a Dad will be able to move on in your life and concentrate your energies on positive relationships with dignity, at peace with yourself knowing that you could have done no more.
Obviously, you're free to have whatever opinion you want on this matter, but I disagree with you on several levels. When you say, "No sane man would even contemplate conducting any kind of adult relationship in this way, with anyone. I think that, as the dad of an adult child, you have to concentrate on what makes YOU happy and what works for YOU," I think that's the opposite mentality of a parent. When it comes to your relationship with your daughter, regardless of her age, it's more important that you give and she receive. She isn't "anyone," after all, she's your daughter. She can't be held accountable for how her mother may have treated you, and I'm sure growing up without a father has profoundly affected her ability to connect with you. Describing her lack of communication as "not acceptable" makes your love sound conditional; giving her an ultimatum, that she either start talking or start walking, shouldn't be part of any father's response. Would you want to connect emotionally with someone who threatened ending the relationship if you didn't?
I understand how difficult the whole situation has been, and I agree that there's no value in beating yourself up, but you end your post with the sentiment that you couldn't have done more. Yes, you could. You could commit to trying to bond with her, regardless of what she's able to give you back. This doesn't have to be a painful ordeal for you, not if you give as a father would, without any expectation of reciprocation. Parents shouldn't give their love to their children because of what they get back.
I think you misread what I wrote. I didn't say that her lack of communication was unacceptable. What was unacceptable was for her to look me up again after months and months of nothing and effectively say, "Hi, I'm back! I am now prepared to let you step back into my life", only to then just ignore my replies. She did this several times. I would get very happy every time I heard from her and think that I would be able to finally get closer to her only to just get pushed away again. Her behaviour was what was unfair and therefore unacceptable.
My love for her is not conditional as you say. In my final communication to her I said that I loved her. I also said that I accepted that having a relationship may never happen. So, no conditionality there. My point to her was that, while I loved her, I was not going to accept a relationship based on "hey dad, come back in... oh you know what I'm not interested...hey dad, come back in.... oh you know what..." etc etc etc.
Parents give, and should give, unconditional love to their minor children. We do it because nature requires it. Children need the support and protection of an adult to survive - this is fact. In my opinion it is a parent's duty to provide unconditional love and support to a minor child regardless of what the parent may or may not get back. My point is that when that child is an adult, unconditional love is not relevant. The relationship changes and becomes one of adult:adult
In an adult:adult relationship, be it with one's offspring or anyone else, fairness and mutual respect count a lot more. Once the child is an adult, he/she can be expected to start to act like an adult.
I don't agree with you about unconditional love being irrelevant with adult children. The very nature of unconditional love is that it's unconditional...it doesn't change based on the situation. I don't think a parent can claim to love his/her child unconditionally and then stop trying to make a connection later on, when the reason is that there isn't much emotion coming back.
I don't think I misread you. Your daughter ignored your efforts for long stretches of time, only to pop up every now and then with "I'm here now." Then she'd duck out on you again. I think I understand. It's still an ultimatum to expect her to adhere to what you see to be an appropriate level of communication or else the two of you need to go your separate ways. Going your separate ways is about sparing yourself pain, not her...that's why it's not the way I think a parent should act. I also think you shouldn't view your daughter as you would any other adult. Your relationship with her can't be compared to your relationships with others.
Of course, you don't know me and I don't know you, so all I can do is offer my opinion. I think you should seriously think about how much of the perspective you're sharing here is about sparing your own feelings, and whether that's what your main concern as a father should be.
I think you're misreading me again. I didn't say that I don't unconditionally love my daughter now. I have always loved her unconditionally; I do now and I always will. You are confusing unconditional love with an unconditional I-will-take-whatever-behaviour-you-choose-to-throw-my-way disposition. The two are very different. Some men may be prepared to allow their adult children to treat them however they want. I, however, am not. I was estranged from my own father for seven years. If, when we reconciled, he had said to me that he required me to treat him properly I would have said "ok, fine", as it is not an unreasonable request. I guess that a lot has to do with what I mean by proper treatment. Receiving an email saying "come back" and then another within two weeks saying "leave me alone" for no apparent reason is not in my opinion.
You are right, this is entirely about me and what is good for me, as I said right from the start. And yes, it is an ultimatum for me to say treat me properly or don't treat me at all. I can live with that. I may come across as selfish, but I am not. I have 15 years' battling just to even see my daughter and hear her voice to prove that. The years of stuggling were with her mother, so of course I persevered. It was the couple of years trying to relate to my daughter and seeing her own wishes that convinced me that I needed to take a step back and say ok, I've done what I can. I don't think that my daughter will be hurt by my position. If she had wanted me to become a meaningful part of her life and she in mine, she would have pursued it. In reality, after the little email contact we have had we are still little more than strangers.
I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this. I respect your opinion which I understand to be that a father should do nothing but give everything he has emotionally throughut the adult life of his offspring regardless of the actions of those children. That's fine - all I wanted to do was to share my viewpoint, although of course many will disagree!
May I ask you if you have lost a child in this way and, if so, whether reconciliation attempts were successful or not? From the sound of it, and no disrespect intended, merely an interpretation that may or may not be correct, this type of situation is not something you have experienced personally?
"You are confusing unconditional love with an unconditional I-will-take-whatever-behaviour-you-choose-to-throw-my-way disposition."
I think this is the crux of our disagreement right here. I'm not misreading you...we just have very different takes on this and what it means to be a parent. I never said to give everything you have to your adult child, either...I simply said continue to give to your adult child. It doesn't have to be an overwhelming process to continue to be a part of her life. I don't know the level of disrespect your daughter shows you, but it's always a two-way street. You weren't there her whole life (I realize you say that was her mother's doing), so she's not going to have much of a comfort level with you. If you feel like you're strangers with your daughter, it's my opinion that you should continue to try and change that.
To respond to your question at the end of your post, a very similar situation is close to me in my family. Not my own child, no, but I'm not at all a stranger to this scenario.
My post was really intended for dads who are going through this process themselves, first hand.
Thanks for your comments, though.
If that were true, you would have said that immediately to me or to bornblond, for that matter. Your anger at your daughter and your daughter's mother is really unhealthy. I responded to your thread in an attempt to provide a different perspective, which is what you need in this situation. I understand you want me to bow out, and I will, but I hope you're eventually able to see that not giving "a rat's ass" if your daughter tries to connect with you is an awful precedent to set for the future of your relationships with your other children. You played tapes to your daughter of her mother lying, dje71. In my opinion, that's not something a father should ever do.
It is indeed primarily intended for fathers going through what I went though. I know what it's like - I too looked for advice on how to handle my situation when I was in the middle of it and I think the more perspectives that fathers going through this have, the better. However, intelligent comment, such as that provided by you and bornblond is also welcome, which is why I thanked you for it.
My relationships with my other children have nothing at all to do with the relationship I have with the eldest. There is no precedent being set here, because there is no consequent effect on my other children from what happened with the first. My parenting style, as well as that of the mother of my youngest children, has led to the development of three happy, loved and well adjusted children.
Adult children have a right to hear the truth about what went on and why they find themselves in the situation they are in. Court records are public documents. These children have every right to and can easily find out what happened if they want to know the truth. They can find out who did what, who went to jail and who abducted. My daughter wanted to know the truth. I told her beforehand that the truth was not pretty. But she wanted to know and I did not deny her that right.
I have no anger towards my daughter. The situation is what it is; she is not to blame. How could I be angry with her. All I have done is tell her what is acceptable to me and what is not acceptable to me. Regarding the mother, that is a different story and yes, I am angry at her for what she did. It is not healthy, I agree, and a problem to which I have not yet found a solution.
One thing I would say is that you have made a lot of criticism of me in your posts - "good fathers don't do this or that; that is an awful thing to do etc". I am not the one who broke the law or destroyed a relationship that wasn't mine to destroy, or abducted a child. I am the father who fought for years to protect my child from the mother, who allowed her boyfriend to smack my daughter around when she was just two years old and then do everything she could to cover it up and hide it from the courts. I am the good guy here who did everything that a father should have in this situation. Sorry, but your opinions of my actions carry very little weight with me given that you are someone without direct experience of what a father goes through.
Like I said, we will have to agree to disagree on a lot of points, which is fine.
"I have no anger towards my daughter."
This just isn't true, and it's the reason I linger. Your anger towards your daughter permeates your posts. There is no way to feel the kind of rage you feel towards her mother, and not let it affect your relationship with her. It has, with or without you knowing. Your daughter has no obligation to respond to you the way you want because of the pain her mother caused you. There's no reason to feel the need to stop trying with her, regardless of her lack of communication, aside from you feeling an overwhelming need to close the door on her mother.
I appreciate your good intentions, but we're not getting anywhere. If course there is no obligation for my daughter to respond in any way at all. Which is why I told her that I hoped we could have a relationship in the future but that I understood if that was not going to be possible.
"Your daughter has no obligation to respond to you the way you want because of the pain her mother caused you." Yes, I would like to have a relationship with my daughter, but I want this not because of what her mother did as you suggest, but simply because I am her father. I would want a relationship with my child regardless of whether I was married to the mother, divorced from her, whether she was a decent, giving person or an obstinately relentless sociopath. The mother has nothing to do with what I feel for my daughter.
The door was closed on the mother many, many moons ago. It is possible to despise one person and love another; of course it is. They are two separate people and neither is reponsible for the acts of the other. You may think that in such a situation that a father would have no choice but to lump them in together and treat them as one, but in reality that is not the case.
This is intended for dje71
I very much can identify. Almost exact situation. I loike you can respect the shogan person for what they had to say and feel sure they ment well. I have had my moments of dishing nuggets of thought from my life experience as the voice of self proclaimed authority as well, so I mean no negativity when I say that shogan was way out of line. IMHO It is almost rude for anyone to analyze your comments with such criticism based on the " I know some one with similar issues" foundation. Does not matter...they do not have a clue ...iit can only be theory. The pain is not the same. Even a gifted empath would not have the right to serve up such judgement. I almost thought as I read it that your ex had infiltrated the thread . Anyway...I do not want to make that person feel badly...I was just shocked by the audacity.
I was helped by your honesty and for the first time I did not feel alone in my pain. I am struggling with my own situation with my now adult daughter whom I have not even laid eyes on in 16 years. She will be 21 in Feb. I know this post from the alert is 2mo old, but I hope you get this. I would like to have an honest discussion with you if you are open to that.
It's an open forum - they attract everyone, from those people for whom you actually intend your message all the way down to the misguided armchair expert who will reliably tell you that what you are feeling / thinking /doing is wrong and that their way is better. As I said above, this thread is meant for parental alienation victims, not spectators, so even if shogan's comments were supportive and not critical / negative they would still be irrelevant.
I felt compelled to reply to your comment, my ex husband left when my kids were two and three years old in an affair situation, my kids are now grown. I did the opposite of what your ex wife did, i've tried relentlessly for my ex husband to be involved in his childrens life, but i found it to be an uphill battle when he's in a relationship with different women through the years that wanted him to have no part in his first families life. My ex shows up on facebook 20 years later and not just him brings his girlfriend with him wanting to talk to his grown children while putting me down to them constantly. I'm so sorry but i was there for them when he left to so called have fun and he expects me now to just step aside and let some relationship develope with no input at all from me. I've earned the right to be involved, to so called mingle in their affairs because i refuse to let him hurt them worse than he already has. I think perhaps you came off a bit strong with your own daughter. You don't know what her mother told her, perhaps she's been told that you simply left and didn't try to stay in touch. If you did not attempt a relationship you can understand the bitterness to some degree. I believe consistency is the answer in your situation. Don't ever close the door on your child even though they are an adult. If you will prove to be that so called rock there for her in time she will come around. You need to be completely honest with her in requards as to what happened between her mother and you. I think the truth always comes out and don't give up. The love for your child is like none other and you can't give up on her, these things take time and sometimes a whole lot of time.
Yes, | agree with you completely that I should not close the door on her. That's why I told her that I hoped in the future we could have a real relationship.
Regarding your case and whether or not the 20 years that you singlehandedly took care of your children has in some way bought or earned you the right to be a middleman in any relationship that the father and the children may now have... well that's a whole can of worms right there that I can't comment on.
Maybe a little part of you wants justice? You did take care of the children while he was off enjoying himself. But there is no such thing as justice in family matters of this kind - it does not exist. My daughter's mother broke the law, ignored court orders, took her to a different country, prevented her from having a father and me from participating in my daughter's life. I wanted justice too, but I had to accept that it doesn't exist and I'm not going to get it. I hate my daughter's mother so much I can taste it, but I never let my daughter know that, of course.
Trust me when i say, i wasn't trying to play the middleman but my husband has a record of not being consistant in anything, like when they were little he started writing them an email on the computer a one liner i guess you could say, he did that for about two or three emails and then stopped and of course my kids excited to hear back kept checking the mail and nothing, i simply did not want him to do the same again which he has i must add, he added them on FB talked for awhile and stopped, but yet they can see his page and all and the others that he is talking to.I think it would have been better for him to have not added them at all than for them to be treated this way. I also believe it has everything to do with his girlfriend not wanting him to talk which is so often the situation. If i wanted justice he would be in jail, he's a free man today because of me but do i get any appreciation for that, no only when he wants something from us. While we were struggling his second wife was driving a caddillac.Your situation becomes much more complicated if the mom took her to a different country, you usually have to hire someone to find them in those situations. Why did your ex not want you to see the child, is it that she just wanted to go back to where she was from? I would try to not allow yourself to hate the mother because the person it is going to harm the most is you. I still 20 years later get totally frustrated with my ex and i write him an email letting him know of such, it doesn't do much except releases the irritation i feel toward him at the moment. That's why i started writing on this subject matter. Is your daughter back in this country now, if so is her mom with her and couldn't your wife be arrested now. You told your daughter that if she wasn't interested in getting to know you she shouldn't contact you, i wouldn't have put it like that, You've got to be consistant when you do see her,or talk, eventually i think she'll break and want to get to know you. My son deleted his FB since his dad wasn't talking anymore whereas my daughter she so craves whatever crumbs he wants to give. I just don't want him to continue to hurt them. I can't understand a man that does nothing for his own children but goes and raises another mans kids. It's just not logical, there are some wonderful stepparents out there, but take care of your own first. I don't know why any mother would want to separate the child from the dad unless there was a reason for it, me i would have welcomed any type of asistance he would give, but needless to say he fell short in all departments, single-parenthood is no piece of cake and i can't imagine a mom not wanting the fathers involvement. Hope your situation works out, don't give up, your daughters angry, she may think you just left.
Been there, done that regarding checking the email over and over to see if anything's arrived but nothing. That gets old very quickly and I'm not surprised your son deleted his account.
You say that you think my daughter wil eventually break and want to get to know me. Well, after all that has happened and at the point I am at now, I really don't give a rat's ass if she does or she doesn't. I mean, it would be nice if I could get to know her and not be a stranger to my own daughter, but if not then that's fine too.
I have three beautiful other children now, who I CAN be with. I play with them every day, I read the bedtime stories, I help wth homework, I play football with my son and play with dolls with my daughters. I am dad in every sense of the word to these children of mine. They are the ones whom I concentrate all my energy on. If the eldest, estranged daughter doesn't want to participate in any of this, then it's her loss. I always thought that this would be tough on her. After all, I could always have more children who would be just as much my chiild as she is, which I did, but she can never have another true father.
Regarding why some mothers cut the father out of the lives of their children, it is a phenomenon so common that it has been given a name - Parental Alienation Syndrome. There are common themes that alienators share, such as anger towards the victim parent, the alienating parent being enmeshed with the child and unable to separate her needs from the child's, and personality disorders of the alienating parent, among others. When all of this started I wondered why the mother of my daughter would try to destroy my relationship with my daughter. It made no sense until I started reading up on parental alienation and then psychology. I started reading about personality disorders and when I read the description of what a sociopath was, it could have been written specifically about the mother; it was an almost exact match with her personaltiy traits.
I am English, the mother is an Italian-Mexican. We met in Mexico. So it was the Mexican courts I had to go through, whcich were unsurprisingly incompetent. The mother ignored order after order and all they did was fine her small amounts and then put her in jail for 36 hours. Eventually her judicial disobedience became a criminal matter, but the public prosector wanted money from me to take up the case. When I couldn't pay him, his office "lost" the case file. I also had death threats from the mother's then boyfriend. This I laughed off, but there was nothing more I could do in the face of so much incompetence and corruption from the authorities. The mother later took my daughter to Canada without my knowledge. I have done nothing at all about the move because I now live in England with my family and, truth be told, Mexico is now so very dangerous with so much kidnapping and murder and I prefer her to live in the relative safety of Canada.
My daughter does know the truth about what happened. In the writs and statements to the court made by the mother, the only true facts stated by her were her name, my name and the fact that we had a daughter. Evrything else was lies. The mother would often boast to me on the phone that she was lying in the court to have me prevented from seeing the child and that there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing except record those conversations, that is. I had orginally intended to submit these recordings as evidence in the trials, which I did. Years and years later, I thought that my daughter had the right to the truth, and to be able to compare what her mother had said to her through the years with what she said when it was actually happening. Upon hearing her mother's voice in the recordings, my daughter said that she felt angry that her mother had lied to her all those years and that she was disappointed in her. So no, her lack of interest in getting to know me is not based on blaming me for events of the past, I don't think. I think that it's just a case of her having grown up without me and feeling no connection - it's not surprising.
LISTEN BETWEEN THE LINES FOR HER HEART-FELT CONCERN
SO YOU CAN
CO-CREATE A MUTUAL CO-EQUAL TOGETHERNESS FUTURE
IS YOUR DAUGHTER MORE IN TOUCH WITH YOUR DISSAPROVAL, CRITICISM, REPROOFS, PUT DOWNS, AND YOUR ATTEMPTS TO CHANGE, FIX, CORRECT, AND IMPROVE THEM:
THAN THEY ARE WITH YOUR GENUINE CONCERN?
MEERLY CELEBRATE HER JUST AS SHE IS
Phrases that communicate to the other person that you are more interested in listening to them than being heard or being right at this moment. Letting go of the rope will defuse anger and aggression and paves the way for meaningful sharing of different points of view.
1. You're probably right about that.
2. I can see where you are coming from.
3. I would have never thought of it that way.
4. You must have thought a lot about that.
5. You must have given that a lot of thought.
6. You seem to have really strong feelings about that.
7. I would like to hear more about that.
8. That's new to me, could you say some more about that.
9. Looking at this from your point of view I can understand that.
10. You know, I've never seen it that way before.
11. I want to hear some more about that.
12. What would be helpful for you right now?
13. I am interested in what that's like for you.
Acknowledging Statements or, Empathic Statements or, Mirroring Statements
1. That must feel awful (painful, crummy, agonizing, humiliating, etc.)
2. That seems really frustrating
3. That must really hurt
4. That must have been really embarrassing
5. That must be really painful
6. Sounds to me like you're really sad about that
7. You seem really exhausted
8. It sounds to me like you need some (could use some) space (time alone-time for yourself)
9. You seem to be happy today
10. You do so much for so many people, could I just give you a hug
11. Some of the things you say I would never think of and you help me see things from a different point of view
12. It seems you have worked so hard today, would it help if I took the kids to McDonald's for a Hamburger while you took a bath (went shopping, got ready to go out, or whatever he/she might want)
13. Would you like to share (tell me, talk about) how you feel about that
THANK YOU FOR JUST LETTING ME KNOW HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT.
1. I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR BRINGING THAT TO MY ATTENTION
2. YOU MUST FEEL REALLY UPSET AND REALLY DISAPPOINTED WITH SOME THINGS I'VE DONE.
3. THAT MUST FEEL REALLY AWFUL FOR YOU
4. IT SEEMS TO ME YOU MUST FEEL;
4. LEFT OUT
6. TAKEN FOR GRANTED
16. PUT DOWN
19. SHUT OUT
20. NOT TALKED TO
21. NOT LOOKED AT WHEN I TALK
22. NOT TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION
23. NOT LISTENED TO
Could I get us a cup of coffee so you could sit down with me and tell me all the things that are bothering you!
1.) BOSS: "I told you never to play there, with those kids"!
2.) Judge: "Just for that you have to stay in your room all day"!
3.) Teacher: "See what happens when you don't pay attention"!
4.) A Person: "That must really hurt, if that happened to me I would really hurt"!
S* State the Real Problem
Be sure you know what the real problem is before you decide what to do. Be able to state the problem in specific terms.
- Who is involved?
- What behavior of others is a problem?
O* Outline What You Want To Do
Spend some time thinking about the problem. Have a clear idea of what you want to say and what you want the outcome to be.
L* List Your Choices
Think of every idea that might work in solving the problem. Brainstorm without judgement or analysis.
V* Visualize the Consequences
Consider the consequences of your options.
To help identify the consequences:
-What will happen if I do this?
-Will both parties be satisfied with the results?
-Who else might be affected?
-Will there be any long-term, negative consequences?
E* Evaluate the Result
After you have acted on your choice, evaluate the process. Decide if your solution worked. If not, try another solution.
After you give it your best shot... LET IT GO!
I believe you should find counseling services in your area to help you cope & deal with this traumatic experience, and also help you to empathize and communicate with your daughter - for the well-being and health of you both.
I am following your postings very closely. I have been looking for two years for these kinds of posting to help myself work through something a bit similar. I was lied to and manipulated almost 30 years ago. It was only in the last few years that I began to reflect on my life (after the premature death of my wife and other family). I began to question whether or not I did have a child.....But I had no way to find her....not even knowing the mother's name.....yes...a stupid hormonal 15 minute "love affair". My daughter found me....Her mother had told her that it was all the mother's fault.....but also that i did not want the child......My daughter grew up knowing my name and had a photo of me.......she discovered by accident at the age of 17 that I was still in this city.........but she waited almost ten years to contact me out of fear of rejection..
when she finally did contact me I was shocked, saddened to have lost all those years but she and I were so very overjoyed to discover each other...In the first three weeks we saw each other twice for six hours at a time and had many telephone calls and e mails.....she made me a book of her life;;;we shared many similar tastes;;;then.......I began to feel that she was no longer there....slowly.......then abruptly she was bitter and calling me a liar;;;;;;about everything and why I was not there....she herself said that she is very spiteful and vindictive;;it is just her nature......
She had been molested as a child by a "stranger" I suspect the stranger to be the man who lived with her mother when my daughter was 1-6 years old; I have no proof but the man left one year after the birth of their son together..........last year my daughter slowly began to warm to me again.....and even invited me to her wedding....I knew I would have to face a lot of prying eyes but I wanted to be there for her....But she abruptly then un invited me and wrote me a most horrific letter calling me a liar more than 15 times.....I replied eventually with a very moving and eloquent letter;...not ever questioning her mother but stating how I feel and who i am and what I want to be for her if she wants this.......once again finally after one year she showed some kindness on my birthday one month ago. She ended the card by saying, " In hopes of seeing you again". I immediately wrote back saying that I found her words very delicate and that they touched me greatly;
and that I never closed any door to her and how much it would mean for me to see her........but nothing;;;;;;
I finally got a call the other night.....her voice was timid but very friendly and curious. I of course was surprised and told her how lovely to hear her voice.....but within five minutes she was screaming at me that she never wanted to see me or hear from me again ever then she slammed the phone.
What sparked this was that she had given me a piece of information that I did not have that showed that her mother had lied....I asked her an innocent question that she avoided in answering , although she had already let slip the answer. I think she realised in that moment that her mother had not been totally correct with me...But my daughter has only trust in her mother and this admission would be too much for her to accept...so she became very spiteful towards me......so quickly it turned;;;;;My heart breaks to see such pain in my daughter that I cannot help with all this love I have for her and showed in those first three week when she did accept something of my love...but in truth I am only a stranger to her;;;one who did not want her.....I saw a sign last week that said, "Those who live in hope will die of hunger."
My daughter has now fed me the bread of no hope. My pain is so great....I cannot even begin to imagine that of my daughter who is so spiteful and unable to love.
It sounds like both you and your daughter have unresolved issues relating to the past. If what sparked the last explosion was you asking a question about the past, maybe it's better to avoid referring to it. For her to have reacted that way you must have touched a raw nerve.
It also sounds like your daughter may feel that she has to choose between her parents. She knows her mother; the mother is more central in her life than you. So when something contentious comes up between you and the mother, even if you happen to be in the right, your daughter sides with her mother. Even though she may know that it's not right. So she gets angry with you because you're in conflict with the mother, and maybe she also gets angry with herself for backing the wrong person, which in turn comes out in the form of even more anger from her directed at you. Feeling that she must be loyal to one of her parents or the other must be very difficult for your daughter.
Don't give up; it seems that she does want you to be there for her. You know what lights her fuse; just make sure you avoid doing it in the future.
I know that this post is 3 years old, and maybe that’s why I feel okay to post this because maybe no one will read it. But I would just like to say that I am a 19-year-old girl who has not seen my bio dad since the age of about 4. My mother had me when she was young (17) and after I was born her and my father separated. She then met the man I now call my dad (who had supported me since I can remember). I had a relationship with my bio dad when I was younger that I can recall if I try hard. I also had a relationship with his parents until about the age of 13. I had decided to no longer talk to them as I felt that I was not important to them. ANYWAYS now that I have put some back-story out there, I would just like to say please don't give up on her. I have thought many times about reaching out to my bio dad. I know his name and someone who knows him personally so I could very easily contact him. But I always go back to the thought that if he cared he would reach out to me. Now I know that he could be thinking the same thing. I am still unsure if I will ever reach out to him and would love some insight on what to do if anyone has any advice! But if I leave you with one thing it's that even though your daughter may be almost an adult, heck even if she is an adult by now don't give up. I know that it will get to a point where enough is enough but if you still feel that you need to talk to her please do so. Remember she is probably just as uneasy and nervous about it as you! Thank you for reading my post if anyone has and like I said if anyone has any advice for me I will take it.
You ask a different question to that which is discussed here, however, the question you must ask of yourself is...does your spirit match that of your father or that of your mother?.....there are only two kinds in this world. Sometimes a hard casing can hold a soft center....sometimes it is hard all the way through.
Only you can discern this truth by the little things that words don't convey.
I wish you well....peace be with you.
@anongirl19 Hi, your story sort of begins as the one of the girl in my life. I would like to be able to talk to you..i am not sure what to ask..let me just start our part of this story first. The Parental Alienation victim here was a baby of a relationship of very young people just like you. Her parents had a very brief relationship before conciving her and before she was born it was already heading towards a break up. They raised her together till one year old. Next two years she was raised by her dads family until her mother decided she wants her baby girl back. it was definetely high conflct situatuion for another year. The girls mother spend those years away from her baby daughter to find a new man in other country(she never visited her daughter for 2 years) , got married to him and wanted to move with her child to her new husbands country..very very far away. After one year of fights and driving a little girl crazy she was given a permit from girls dad to travel to the country of childs step dad. she left on a 90 day permit,but it was predictable they want to stay there. There was promises that her dad will be able to keep in touch with his child,but none kept. 5 years later he got news about his daughter. i dont want to go to all the detalis why he couldnt reach her earlier..its like he could but didnt really want his daughter to keep living in this conflicted situation and sort of prefered for his daughter to think she had a horrible father and suerhero mummy to raise her on her own then being a tool in that dirty game again. Anyway i would like your opinion on this as you may know how it felt for this girl and she does know "our side of this story" . so..here we are i am technically this girls step-mother, shes got one step-sister by now. its been a year since the first contact after this many years..well it took like another 6 months to talk to the kid for 12 minutes on skype. shes says she cant remember living in this country or her dads family or him..she cant speak the language of the country of both of her parents. its so difficult to coumnicate like that. apart from everything else. we dont know if its true,her mother calims she speaks to the girl in the language of orgin "all the time" but the little one does not want to use this language, but...well anyway she may be not allowed to talk to her dad in that language. Her mother said she have seperated to her husband..she blames her ex on why the girl wasnt able to keep in touch with her real dad,but so much has happened we no its girls mother..well aparently she has changed her mind now, but calims the girl does not want to talk to her dad, and then she does but her tablet is broken her skype not working and ..well im one year they spoke maybe 40 minutes all together. she was send her bday gift as we requested the address and got it. never thanked for it and then thanked to people who didnt send it. her dads sister. then she only wanted to talk to her little stepsister,but they dont speak any common language! then "she"(or somebody caliming to be her) became contacts on ig with her little stepsister,but i had to block her as she followed some pornographic accounts. in that short time we have heard from her she said she was fine and well looked after and happy. she looks ok, has friends at school. Now..i would like to ask you anongirl19..do you think is it better to leave her alone? and lett her think we all suck. her dads doesnt care? each time he would Ignore her she would contect him, but then he would call everyday and she never answered. Its very difficult to contact her mother as she has dont reallly many very mean things to all of us..but we did call her and asking why the girl wont answer her phone or skype etc. and she would say its her tablet or busy at school and she would call you tomorrow..and then she wouldnt...so again dad ignores her and she will pop up iwht one "Hi" to which he immmediately replied and she was already gone...so its like that...and i wonder for myself what to do..as i grew up in regular family and cant accept that soo good dad that my husband is to our child and so sweet girl as his eldest seem to be can just have some polite relationship..long distance relationship at this point.but still. or..maybe we should leave her, let her think her mum is superhero single mother, shes in "better conutry" she speaks english with posh accent and maybe have better chance for safe life over there. becauseif the contact must be that punishing her dad game..and then she wants my little daughter also to hang at the other end of the phone.. well i dont feel like encouraging my husband or daughter to continue to reach out to my step-daughter. what is your opinion?? (sorry for bad english,hope you still understood)
i already see theres a lot of mistakes there like: i meant its hard for me to accept they canNOT have a relationship ..i mean i think they should be trying to reconnect..as much as is possible with language barrier,distance and also money visas etc. i mean..if she cant remeber him as a good dad to her that he was when she was a toddler then we might as well let her thinkher mum is all her world and so great...i mean..if we were to be honest about what went on she will hear some bad info about her mum..the only parent shes got now (after that seperation to her stepdad) so..do we really want to confuse her about her mum..and have all this mixed up feelings about her dad...so hard to connect to strange adult guy! and then theres me surely "evil step mother" ..i mean..maybe shes better off..so to speak... its just that I do not think it was wise decision to let this girl go abroad with her mum after evil things her mom has done.. and i always worry maybe shes not okay and must know shes got her dad who is a good man and shes got that option to come live with him open...
@notherproblem sorry to just get back to you, haven't visited in a while. it's difficult for me to answer your question as obviously I do not have all the details, but for me personally I know that it would mean the world to me to know what happened, why my father left me and never looked back. I know that this back and forth must be hard on you and your husband, but at the same time from the point of view as a 19 year old who has been abandoned by her father ( I have a loving step father who I truly consider to be my father) the thought is really what counts. It could just be that she is not ready to deal with these "new" emotions. Like I said I am a 19 year old girl who doesn't have the details or the answers, my best piece of advice would be to go with your gut, depending on how your husband, her father left things with his daughter it could just take time. It is frustrating on both sides I'm sure, but I think that if your husband thinks that his daughter needs to know what his side is then he should even just write a letter, that way all the information is laid out for her and she can choose what to do from there. Also if your husband decides to go that route I wouldn't expect an answer right away. This is a tough and delacate situation and you can only use your best judgement, I would say for you not to get involved tho as it can come off as a threat to her. I hope you the best!
I never did give up on my daughter. My ex made my life so awkward to see my daughter. But now B is in her late teens she has made her decision to see her stepsisters her step Mum and I. All of us together are the most joyous days of our lives.
I have posted an extract from an email I sent my daughter B. I email her everyday where ever I am working, even if it is 10 words just so she knows I am there 24/7.
Being the father, (father figure), of three girls is tough at times, in so many different ways and I have just finished a sociology academic book called “Throwaway Dads”. The focus on fatherhood and the debate amongst academics, politicians and others about how much fathers actually matter, (or do not as the case maybe). So diametrically opposed these parties argue everything except there is clearly one key fact that the child – children do not divorce the father, this is ignored.
Having read this particular book and then looked back at my own failings’ regarding your upbringing, (I am solely looking at me here), I can also see the expert failings and society as a whole. Politicians issuing laws which are interpreted by social workers to suit their argument of that point in time; yet seem immune from legal action including negligence, unless you can show malice.
You are so important to me and always have, but I am so clinical in my commercial judgements’ making decisions that directly affect lives by accepting or declining a litigation risk, yet I never considered “YOU”. I am trying to come to terms with letting you down so badly in your formative years. I am conscious and observant that you never end a conversation or email with reference to love, and I understand why, so do not worry either. But for me, to have you in my life now is more than I could have ever expected or wished for, it is beyond my expectation what we have built in this short time, and for me to fulfil my expectation of me, as your father, and not wanting to make any major mistakes again I thought I should do some academic reading.
I had no idea until I started reading these books just how much of an emotional impact a fathers presence and the lack of a fathers presence had on a son – daughter. I suspect I am not alone in this fact.
All I can say is you have to work at this relationship just like any other. Be patient take your time and give each other time.
To you all just take your time and work at your relationships, it is the most rewarding thing I have experienced my daughter in my arms after 15 years. In closing may I remind all of us that compassion is the most wonderful gift a human being can bestow on a fellow human being.
Regards James 1064
Children can & do throw fathers away.....it happens all the time. Two spirits of opposing forces will always bring this about. Fathers need to sight this open hostility in its infancy, see if it can be overcome in childhood with "strength in love" and then if the adult child is still operating in open hostility...then cut the adult child loose.....never crawl along the ground and placate disgusting or poor behaviour...ever.
anongirl19 thank you for your post. I am a father hoping to connect with my now 19 year old daughter. You have help me see possibly my daughters point of view. I have the means thru social media to contact her, but have not. there is that fear of rejection and worry of upsetting her life.
Im glad to now that I could help, I understand that it can be difficult to be the first to reach out and I don't know specifics of your scenario but, I do think that if you feel the need/want to reach out to her that you should! I would love to know how this ends up for you!
@Challenger440 did you end up contacting her?
@Anongirl19, Sorry I have been away from this forum for awhile.
I sent a message 5 months ago on Facebook to my daughter and got no response. I'm not 100% sure she got the message. Their is something about being friends or connected by friends in common in order for a message to go thru to the inbox. ? A week ago I did receive a friend request from my daughter's sister (from a different father) and accepted the request. At the moment I am not sure if I should send my daughter another message or wait and see what happens next? Thanks for asking!
@Anongirl19, Did you end up contacting your bio Dad?
@Challenger440 no I have not... I'm still not sure that it will be beneficial in anyway. I think about it in the way of "if he wanted a relationship or to explain himself he would". But as I've gotten older I've realized that even tho he was not a huge part of my life he has effected me greatly. I've realized that it has effected relationships of mine and I hate that. It's unfortunate but I applaud you for trying to reach out to your daughter!
@Anongirl19 Your post/reply means a lot to me! I understand and see how my daughter may feel. I hope you have a great life and surround yourself with caring people. on a side note, I haven't made any progress with connecting with my daughter. I had the same thought as you! ( I think about how it would effect her or how it would be beneficial. )
I am a child of a father that chose to stop being a part of my life when I was about 12 years old. Of course, it was his choice and not like your situation, however I think I have some important things to add to this conversation.
We have had a very hard time reestablishing a relationship now that I am an adult.
The problem is that he wasn't there for me for a big part of my childhood. I know it was not your choice and my dad had one. However, there probably was still damage done. She might not feel like she can trust you to be there for her.
I think it might help if you could try to establish the trust by simply being there for her without question. See, my dad currently seems to have the same expectations as you do. He seems to think I should reciprocate when he contacts me. However, he also starts to ignore me. I mean really ignore me. He will refuse to answer my calls or emails for months. My issue with my dad is that I think he should be there for me rain or shine. I don't think I should have to wonder if he is going to return my calls or emails.
I sort of feel like maybe I'm more in your shoes because your daughter is the one failing to return your emails. However, maybe if you simply are in contact with her regularly. Always send cards on holidays and for her birthday. Call her or email her a few times a year at least. Eventually, I think she may come around.
What she needs is stability from you. She needs to know you're her oak tree. Her foundation. Then I think she will be there for you.
True love does not need any..."special conditions"... to flourish....it just is...or is not.
I figured he doesn't love me. It does not make it any easier to take though. I am not going to keep opening myself up to the pain. So, I have cut him out of my life.
But do you love him with an open heart....without any background noise?
Let us look at you for a minute Violet & see what you know of love:
You say... "I am a child of a father that chose to stop being a part of my life when I was about 12 years old"......Yet you do not expand on this, was it a divorce situation?.....Did your mother alienate you from your father?....Did your mother make it difficult for your father to see you?....Was your father completely overwhelmed by the divorce and had to go into survival mode just to survive. Was there a love connection between you both up until that time?
You go on to say that.... "One should simply be there for a daughter without question"....NO, one should not be there for a family member without question. If one is being "used" by a family member for their own benefit or is being "abused" by a family member....then that is NOT love...it is entitlement & using another's love against them as a weapon.
You say "He seems to think I should reciprocate when he contacts me"...which is what one DOES... if they love a family member & this indicates that you do not respond to him unless you want to.....thus your PLAYING a power/control game with him to see if he'll do anything for you at any time...that is NOT love.
You say... "However, he also starts to ignore me. I mean really ignore me. He will refuse to answer my calls or emails for months."....Most likely he's sick of your manipulations & poor behavior....and he would be CORRECT as that is not love.
You say..."I think he should be there for me rain or shine. I don't think I should have to wonder if he is going to return my calls or emails."...So, you don't think you NEED to contact him when HE calls....and yet HE should be there for YOU like a servant 24/7.....regardless of your behavior.
You are entitled to nothing with love, it is freely given of a good heart & expects nothing in return...thus you know nothing of love Violet....but have learnt a lot about manipulation, entitlement and a want for power & control.
I've read most of your posts on here Bubba, and you are normally spot on with your advice. I think you have jumped the gun or made some unwise assumptions when it comes to Violet Davis's situation though. From what she has said, the only thing she is guilty of is not forgiving her father for his past mistakes. She doesn't trust him. She believes that, even though she may try to form a bond with him now, he may do what he did when she was 12 and take off again. She has been hurt, and those sorts of emotions don't heal overnight, or heal easily.
If you have read my previous posts on here Violet, you'll be aware that I've also had my ups and downs with my estranged birthfather. I'm sad to say that, very recently, our relationship took a turn for the worse, just as it seemed it was getting better. Partly my fault because of my anger, but mostly because we are two very different people. He didn't raise me and was not an influence in my life, and as a result my way of thinking is completely different to his.
The best advice I can give you regarding your relationship with your father is to give it your best shot, and show plenty of patience with him (and with yourself). That may mean that you give it your best shot now, or six months time, even 10 years time. Do it when you are ready. If you feel that you already have given it your best shot, live your life with no guilt and no regrets (and also, in my case, no anger or resentment) :-)
Jasecat, you are a fine young man with a good heart.... a son any father would be proud to have. When you speak you do so with a depth of emotion,....suffering often brings about a deeper degree of feeling and understanding for some people like yourself,....(this is a good thing), and some go another way with suffering,...never trusting again, and with much anger and hate carried within and passed on to others. The group that rise's above though go on to a higher understanding of the heart & translate that into a deeper understanding of love......they have developed a great contrast if you will.
I want you to think Jasecat of someone that you have loved especially dearly in your life and examine what they are to you. Does this special person ever impose on you?....or place conditions on you?....Do you ever feel you can't trust them?.....Do they lie habitually to you?....Are they ever embarrassed to have you around or be associated to you?....Do you feel heavy or weighted in their presence?
See love is the opposite of these things, it is light, it is giving, it never imposes, it will be there for you without you asking and tell you the truth in matters that others wouldn't when you are hurting yourself by your own actions and not telling you just what you want to hear,.....if you have loved someone dearly it is a joy to have them in your life and you will both grow mutually...not singularly and never doubting the other.
So, the task here is that we are talking about some family members that do not conform to what love is,.....it is only a one way connection for them to take and then use your love back against you as a control tool. The key is to not close down your own heart or trust based on this experience. Discernment is key as to their motivations using your knowledge and knowing what real love is as opposed to the other.
We shall wait to see in regard to Violet how she responds and I stand by my initial assessment based on what she has written,....on this occasion my friend we will have to agree to disagree. As for you Jasecat and your father, how different we think is never the problem....it is how different one loves.....the connection must run both ways and be full....actions speak louder than words...the little things.
I always look at love with an open palm philosophy and never try to capture it....if someone wants to be in my life & bring love that is good and if they go away and come back in five years we will pickup where we left off......If someone only brings pain and heaviness & all things that love is not.....then they are no longer in my life.
Peace be with you, Jasecat
You, sir, have helped me greatly. I have been coming back to this post for the past year and a half as I cope.
You are quite correct, "No sane man would even contemplate conducting any kind of adult relationship in this way, with anyone.".
My now adult daughter was adopted without my consent and there was nothing I could do. Upon adulthood and finding out who I am, she used Facebook to 'reach out' to me, but it was a ruse and a sham. I attempted to meet her in person and in spite of being told she 'loves' me, she will only send text messages, or Facebook, and it's clear to me it's a game that I should not play.
It is an abusive situation for an adult child to pop in with an email, drop the love bomb, and the implied guilt trip that 'you were never there for me and I exist and love you', but to deny any real connection, and then to cut the ties when there is any hint of self-respect and dignity on the part of the father. The goal of the game is to make the father feel badly for the mother's decisions, to make the father feel emotionally weak and to get the father to capitulate. This is not love. It is a form of self-validation for a child who wanted an expensive toy at christmas and is going to throw a tantrum until they get it, and then hate and resent you forever for being denied something.
A fathers job is to be strong, and to correct their children when they are wrong. A part of the duty of being strong is to take care of one's self.
You, sir, are a man I respect and admire. I do hope for you, as well as for myself, that it becomes possible to have a positive relationship with your child. Neither you nor I should feel badly for putting our foot down and saying that *I MATTER* and *I WILL NOT LET YOU ABUSE ME*. It is painful to stand up for yourself when there IS love in your heart for the child, but it is just as painful to discipline a misbehaving child and face their anger and retribution.
Good luck to you.
I think you're right in saying that everyone deserves to be treated with respect. I think you're not so right when it comes to the "no sane man...." remark you made. Why? Because each child/grown person has only one birth father and mother. No matter how weak or non-existent any relationship/bond is, one's relationship as a parent of a child is not the same as any relationship between "any-old" two adults.
Maybe there's the chance you were expecting too much of your daughter when you first met up with her again? Maybe, too, you were expecting her to "just be equal" to your other kids, rather than treating your relationship with her as a unique, individual, one (particularly because of the circumstances).
One of my kids was adopted from infancy. He went through the whole meeting-his-birth-mother thing, and he got fed up because she expected too much from him. A person can't love, or feel close to, someone he doesn't know. This woman just thought my son was going to join in with the whole family, be "another" of her many kids, and everyone would live happily ever after.
I went through the whole lies-in-court thing because I when I left my marriage (with my kids) my husband convinced the state (and my mother, and my sister, and anyone else he talked to) that he was "worried about me" and "worried about what I might do". The was the beginning of a big, giant, mess of lies (and people covering up their own screw-ups, which were resulting in more and more damage as time went on). I was separated from my kids (but they weren't kidnapped, which helped me keep my relationship strong). Still, it created masses and masses of damage, hurt, and destruction in my life, theirs, my extended family's, and our "separated family's" life over a long period of time. There is still truth that I want out, and truth that I want to make sure my kids have from someone else (even though, since they've always been closest to me they never bought any of the lies anyway). There's still justice that needs to be done for them.
My feeling, as a mother, is that there's no such thing as just walking away and moving on just because someone else has created problems in one's life. As a mother, I'm still in their and still planning to get that justice (and have things all "set right"), if it means going to my grave doing it. My love for my kids wouldn't let me just walk away and move on. I'd feel as if, on top of all the other mess the court system (and others) created in our/their lives, I was just giving up, not being an example of a strong adult (and parent), and even betraying them by abandoning my own quest for truth and justice. It would be easier for me (and far less frustrating and aggravating) to "just move on", but it would mean that strangers (and those others) had won in their (intended or not) efforts to create a break in the bond with/responsibility to my kids that I have, as their mother (and as the only adult who has seen the whole picture of what has gone on from Day 1).
Of course, when a maternal bond is what it should be (which mine is), there is no giving up and walking away. In fact, I think even if I hadn't seen my kids for 20 years and there wasn't the two-way bond there should be; that one-way bond I, as a mother, have with my children would be the thing that would still drive me to keep fighting and keep trying. Maybe maternal bonds are different. (Again, keep in mind that I only gave birth to one of my three kids, so it isn't the giving-birth factor.)
I once read a saying, "It's not over until I've won." I love that saying. It's been my thinking since that Day 1 I mentioned, and it remains my thinking today. But then, I'm a woman and a mother. Maybe men/fathers give up more readily than women do?
Returning to the subject of my son's birth mother: I really think if she'd be willing to accept him on his terms (and, of course, expect him to at least treat her with respect; while also treating him with respect, although she really didn't do that when he was infant); and if she'd accepted that she would have to have a completely different kind of relationship with him than with her other "zillions" of kids, maybe he wouldn't have written her off "as a lost cause". Personally, I think people who have no bond (or barely a bond) need to start off by agreeing not to get "all into" the "hot button" issues, just have "neutral" time together, get to know one another better, etc. etc (just to have plenty of time to just get to know one another, and like one another).
If a deeper friendship grows from there, great. If some kind of parent/child relationship grows from there, even better. I don't really think, though, that people in that situation are ever going to just wipe out the past and start as if all is great and the same as it is with any parent/child relationship. I think it can be a good relationship, but it will always be a unique kind of relationship (compared to parents and kids who have been together all along).
Basically, I've think you've been seriously hurt by what happened; and maybe you've reached a saturation point for putting up with the consequences of what's gone on in the past. Maybe you've lost any "fight" you may have had. The thing is, some parents lose their fight. Some don't. Maybe it doesn't matter if you've have no bonding between you and your daughter all these years. Maybe it does. It depends on how much you're willing to let someone else rob you of what is rightfully yours (and your daughter's).
If none of this applies to you, so be it. Maybe it will apply to someone else who reads here.
I don't really see it as letting the other side "win" or me "losing". I think that everyone loses in situations like these.
I don't think I was expecting too much of her when we reestablished contact. I wasn't expecting anything at all to be honest. My point was that if she thinks she can just email me and tell me that I am required again only to tell me 2 weeks or a month later to F off or to leave her alone and then come back and repeat the same cycle again then she's mistaken. Not going to happen. Of course I love my daughter, that special bond from a father to his child still exists. It's strange that you can love someone without knowing them - just goes to show how strong the bond is.
It's not really about not having lost any fight I may have had either. Because of my daughter's age I just bypass the mother and communicate directly with my daughter, so there is no fighting or need for "fight" any more. I don't see any need for me to ever communicate with the mother again, thankfully.
I see what your point is about giving up, though. Maybe I would put more effort in and have more patience if I didn't have other children. But they are who matter to me and I do see them more as my children than I do the eldest. I suppose it's natural given the circumstances - it's not only the children who get distanced emotionally when years of separation are imposed.
Regarding letting someone rob my daughter and me of what is rightfully mine, I did everything I could to stop that but was not successful, as I mentioned. Regarding what I can do to get that back... that isn't really up to me now. If my daughter is not interested there's nothing I can do.
If she and I are to have a relationship then it will not be on her terms only but on both of our terms. If it happens, great. If not then that's ok too. I guess people can't understand the "my way or the highway" attitude I have but all I can say is that everyone's different!
From what you wrote, it sounds like social services may have got involved in your case. Commiserations if they did; their incompetence usually knows no bounds, regardless of country, in my experience.
dje, not that it really matters (or applies to your thread/situation), but it wasn't a matter of social services getting involved. All it takes is for one spouse to get the other spouse's relatives to question whether the "leaver" is "in her right mind"; and then, apparently, a signature somewhere to have a person dragged in for a mental health evaluation. From there, even if "everyone" figures out the person isn't going "do anything drastic" (as if she ever was going to in the first place ), nobody has to admit that they picked up a perfectly healthy, reasonable, individual. They can say, "Well, OK, she's not crazy," but from there, the person still has to prove she's not only not "completely crazy" but there's absolutely nothing wrong with her. Anyone should try proving a negative. From there on, as the screw-ups, lies, and refusals to acknowledge that a big mistake was made in the very beginning keep building up; nobody has the incentive to try to figure out the real truth (either out of guilty, fear of losing face, losing credibility, or losing their job).
That's how easy it is, and that's in a US court system.
Back to your situation, you're right every one is different; and every situation is different. I do know one thing (at least about my son's meeting his birth mother), and that is that once he did agree to meet with her (after she tried to contact him through an agency, and he first said he had no interest) was that it took a good couple (maybe even three) years for him to iron out all the issues and settle on some kind of definition with regard to what the relationship (if any) with her would be. His whole view of his "identity" had been thrown into turmoil for awhile; and the whole upheaval which also extended, in some ways, to us (his family) going through it with him, or else having to watch him sort it all out.
My point is that after such a long time, from the time of any reunion to the time when "all involved" settle into a "whole new picture" of everything; it takes some time. It also involves a lot of upheaval. I think it would have been easier for my son if he'd been, maybe, 25; but he was only 21 and probably not really ready to have such a monkey wrench thrown into the only identity/life/family relationships he'd ever known at that stage in his maturation process.
I'd think there may be the chance that how you and your daughter each feel right now could, possibly, be part of getting through that rocky turmoil that can happen when people first meet again. You had the added complications of a situation that was far from as simple as a "simple" adoption. Hopefully, it will iron out for both of you.
When I speak about "fight" I mean "having fight in general" as an individual, and deciding that there's no way one is going to give up on a situation because someone has had made it a really challenging/bad situation. You can't get the time you lost back, but you might be able to set things right (between you and your daughter) from some point on out one of these days.
Oh well... I hope, one way or another, something can work out in a way that's good for both you and your daughter. It looks to me as if she's had quite a bit to have to process and digest, herself.
Hi Dje. I've read your posts and the posts of others. They really have no idea of what you're going though. I'm sure they are the kinds of people that think spilling your guts for unloving or disconnected children will get them a seat closer to God and win your daughters love. They have no Idea of how deeply you love your child. I would say more then they could ever understand. They do not have any idea what is's like to live and die every day waiting for that response from and ungrateful or unloving child.. I am in your camp dje. You do not have to wait on your child to allow yourself to live your life. You sound like a great dad that was a victim of a nasty unhappy x wife. Nothing you do will make your child understand. Your child has patterned herself after that nasty bitch x and will treat you accordingly. You'r x has turned your daughter into her clone of disrespectful, hateful, self. . Save your life and mental health and just pray in the evening , between you and God that your daughter will become her own woman someday and relieve herself of the burden of fighting the fight your disgusting x has passed on as her legacy Stay strong and live with the knowledge that you have done everything you could to save the relationship and maybe someday when your daughter has regained her own mind that she will see you as a loving Dad. These clowns know nothing about PAS. and the fallout.
Have to say, I feel you are dead on! when dealing with a child in a divorce situation, of course you give them lots of leeway. However, once they are adults, the relationship needs to evolve. I say this because my partner of 18 years has 3 adult children who act like five year olds. Their parents are divorced 21 years and their mother has been remarried for 10 years. At 29, 28, and 25, they should be capable of acting like adults. However, they not. At this point, the only bright side is they all live at least 800 miles away.
I get where you're coming from, from personal experience. I'm on the other side. I'm a daughter of this situation type. You say that your daughter is 'almost an adult'. Something I think you're forgetting is what it's like to be that age. Your daughter is probably so upset by all of this, so upset that her father was never there (regardless of who's fault that is), so upset that the mother she loved and clung to as her only parent for her whole life lied to her in such terrible ways, and is the cause of all of this pain she's felt for so long.. I'm assuming she's around 18-20 years old.. because that would be 'almost an adult'.
The way you expect her to act is not unfair. But you are expecting too much of, not her, but the situation too soon. To be honest, you represent the fact that she can't trust the parent who raised her. A daughter's feelings at a time like this are usually the epitome of bitter-sweet. I truly, honestly and most definitely think she needs more time, unless she really is this crappy person who doesn't care of others' feelings, and would rather play head games (which is possible). This is meant in the nicest way possible... but.. you're the adult. She's the child. Even if she's 30 years old, this type of situation can draw up feelings and emotions that can make you want to (or in this case, actually) act like you felt when you were 12.
I'm going to continue with the idea that she's not a clone of her mother.
Have you looked at this from your daughter's perspective? I don't care about fault. Fault never played into this until the last couple of years, so she's dealing with years of blame toward you that has manifested deeply and isn't something you can just *poof* away. It takes a lot of time to turn your opinion around, even when presented with hard evidence, when this has been something you've spent your life developing.
Her father wasn't there when all the other kids' were. Maybe she got teased about not having her father around. There was no father at her birthday parties, her plays, her recitals, her hobbies. Her father wasn't there to teach her the things fathers are supposed to teach their daughters, do the things they're supposed to do together, defend her from her mother, teach her what to look for in a man, be there to protect her as only a father can. No father was at her graduation, she had no father for the father/daughter dance... and she most likely grew up trying to accept that no father would walk her down the isle.
This, is devastating, and you build a wall around yourself to protect yourself.
Like I said, she may be the monster your ex created, and if so, you don't want anything to do with her, because she only wants to toy with you. But if there's a chance she's not like that, do yourself and her a favour and re-word that email. Inside, she's most likely still a child. I hope you didn't just say "I expect you to treat me with respect, and treat me as an equal". That's like telling a four-year-old "don't be smart". The kid goes "..what?". Maybe you did, but if you didn't, maybe you could take a better approach and say something like
"I don't think you understand how much this hurts me when this happens. I've waited so long for the chance to be a part of your life again, thinking of you every day, never giving up hope that one day, I could build a relationship with you. I've finally gotten the chance and am trying my hardest to open a pathway to a relationship, but when I get emails inviting me in, and then emails shutting me out, it hurts me deeper and just makes me feel like you don't want to have a relationship with me. This situation has hurt both of us for so long, and to finally have the opportunity to get to know you, only to have it cut down by the very person I've been waiting for, is hurting me exponentially more with every email. I love you truly, I'll love you forever, and I'll always want to be a part of your life, every day, so I'll wait here, and when you're ready to start a relationship that you want to keep going, please email me, and I'll be there. But please don't continue to hurt me even more by teasing me with a relationship I have wanted for [x amount of] years. It is simply not fair, when I am making an honest effort and making it as clear as I possibly can that I love you, and want to make up for time gone by."
then maybe you could finish up with something like "there is only so much time we have in life, and so much has already passed." kind of thing.
Feel free to tell me I have no idea what I'm talking about, but I know that I do. I know what it's like to be in your daughter's situation. I know what it's like to be 28 and still feeling these terrible feelings that never go away, that make you cry yourself to sleep, that make you hate the one person you have to love, have to love because that's the only person you've ever had, to lose all trust in everyone because the one you based your trust in has lied to you, to have so many voids in your life because your father was never around, to run scenario after scenario through your head for as many years as you've been alive and going from fairy tale ending to hopeless ending... I remember how I felt at 6, at 10, at 13, 16, 18, 21....
I won't go on.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, if your daughter is only 'almost an adult', and is not a clone of your ex who is toying with you for morbid fun.. give her some time. You know what the best thing you can do is? Since you've stated that you really do want to be a part of her life?
Send her Christmas and birthday cards with short letters in them wishing her happy things and saying that you're thinking of her. Make her a part of your life in ways that don't require her reciprocation. If you're going to Canada send her an email saying "Just thought you might like to know" with no pressure, no return email necessary, just.. if you would like, we could meet up for lunch.
I wish you much luck with this. I wish my father would make the effort you're making. It would mean the world to me.
Seriously, the birthday and Christmas card thing is good. Not emails. Cards in the mail. Don't expect one back, it's just a really good way to show you love her even when she doesn't show it back... and to leave the door open as you've stated you want it to be...and it reminds her twice a year that you're still there for her, trying. I swear. She'll come around when she's actually ready.
I hope this turns around for you. (and I hope I have not offended or been too forward)
I think that you hit the nail on the head with what you said about it not being fair for her to tease me with an on-off-on relationship when I have been constant. I had never thought to put it in those terms.
One thing that I had indeed considered was the possibility you mentioned that she may be a clone of her mother. Before my daughter's mother was born, my daughter's maternal grandmother was living overseas. Soon after my daughter's mother was born, the grandmother returned to her country to get her away from my daughter's grandfather. The grandfather followed the grandmother in an effort to be able to be with his daughter. The grandmother's family closed ranks and threatened to kill him if he tried to get close to his daughter. The man got nowehere, so he gave up, returned home and never had a relationship with my daughter's mother and she never knew him. The grandmother told me that the reason she didn't want the father in the life of her daughter was because she and he had had an argument (?!). So there is a pattern here. The grandmother taught her daughter that a father is an optional part of a child's life. The daughter then went and chose exactly the same childhood for her own daughter. A part of me thinks that there is some kind of defective gene being passed down the women of the family. I don't know what it is, but neither woman is right in the head, and there is a risk that my daughter will turn out just as maladjusted as her mother and grandmother. I need to be wary of that. If in time it turns out that she is just like them then, daughter or not, she's out of my life permanently.
My daughter has been in touch again lately. She apologised. I asked her what she wanted from me. She said that she doesn't know what to tell people when they ask where her father is and what he does. She said that she just wants some contact, which would mean her sending me an email once in a while and me doing the same. So the kind of relationship she wants is only very superficial. She said that she is going to be very busy with college, dance classes, a job etc. "I'm going to be one busy lady", she said. Right, how long does it take to write a 10 minute email or make a 10 minute phone call? Just 10 minutes, the last time I checked.
I don't think she is angry at her mother. She says that she knows what her mother did and she knows she lied to her for a long time but that she isn't going to let it interfere with the relationship she has with her not hold a grudge. I asked her how she deals with that, trying to have a good relationship with her mother but at the same time with her mother still badmouthing me and lying to her to get her "on side". She said that she just ignores it. I suppose that is the healthiest way she can handle it; I wouldn't want her relationship with her mother to suffer even though the mother doesn't deserve it.
I always thought that when I ws renited with my daughter that things would be better than this. Guess not!
I know this post is old, no one will probably respond to it. Maybe that's why I'm posting to it. I'm in dje's boat, albeit, my children are very young. I've been reading through this thread hoping desperately to hear from a "child" who has been the recipient of this type of abuse. No, not waiting for a 10 year old to respond, but an adult... and here you are! I fear my situation will turn out very similar and, unlike the blow my family was dealt when this all went down, I want to prepare myself for the future.
I'm a very loving and good mother, I pine away at the thoughts of my four children coming home to me (ages 7-13). At what point can I move on? At what point does a 50 year old mother say 'enough is enough' to a legal system and EX bent on severing maternal bonds? I am one person, I'm tapped financially from the 3-yr long struggle, the emotions plague me daily. No, I don't lay around crying all day.... I keep busy. Yes, I'm in counseling.
My children and I are victims of parental alienation and this will be brought to light during the appellate court proceedings. Like a few previous posts I've read, I don't have faith in family court or the legal system. We have court and EX imposed alienation. I don't want to plague everyone or you with the details, suffice it to say, we are one of many families who are at the mercy of a sociopath and his court minions.
You say you remember how you felt at certain ages. I love to hear you elaborate on that. I need to know how to be there for my children at those ages.... I only get to see them for 2 hours every other weekend in a supervised center.
Please don't judge me... I'm not ready to divulge my entire sob story on the internet.
I don't know if I can tell you much about what child victims of parental alientation feel at the various stages of the abuse - I'm still trying to work that one out myself. All I have come up with is that each child/situation/outcome is unique. I can give you a perspective though as an adult.
When I was going through the courts to try to get contact with my daughter I came up against a brick wall; I couldn't get any contact at all. The mother was so determined to break the ties between my daughter and me that it didn't matter what the court did - fine her, jail her etc. In my case I decided that all I could do at that particular time was take a step back and wait until my daughter was old enough for me to contact her directly and try to resume our relationship.
In your case, though, you have contact every two weeks. I know full well that this must feel like a terribly inadequate amount and quality of contact, but at least it is contact.They see you regularly and you them. You're a still a part of their lives, even though it's in just a small way. During the long years of separation from my daughter and knowing absolutely nothing of her, I would have given an arm and a leg for the contact you and your children share.
I would encourage you to keep going. Hang on to the thread of contact that you still have. I think that is the best chance that the relationships you have with your children have to survive. They will surely appreciate it and remember it.
"Taking a step back", and moving on etc are what you do when you're in the end-stage of a long parental alienation abuse campaign: when the courts throw up an impassable block or when adult children decide they do not want to pursue a relationship with the alienated parent. I really don't think you're at that stage yet.
Anyway, every case is different. Stay positive and try to stay strong enough to keep up the fight. Your case may, in the future, have a very positive outcome. I don't think there's much point in trying to prepare for an outcome that may never come to be, and right now there's still a lot you can do for your children.
I came on this site to find answers to help me handle the situation with my daughter my feelings were very similar to dje71 and my situation almost the same then I came across your reply and it made me rethink my whole approach. Thank you
I have very mixed emotions because I have been on both sides.
My parents divorced when I was 16,I asked my mom to divorce him at 6,he was abusive to her,never me.Yes afew times I stepped in.
After they divorced,my mom wanted me to stay in contact because he's my dad. I left the house whenever she told me he was on the phone for me. I would not go to his home for visitation,I would do what I wanted and it wasn't spend time with him. My mother never said anything bad about my dad. As a matter of fact she was very upset with the way I acted.Even though I wasn't very sweet to him I was always nice when I spoke with him.And I never asked him for a thing,I would never allow money to cause a problem in my life. Well,I had my child at 32 and the way that I was raised,I wasn't married and felt the need for approval from my parents. Yes,parents so of course I called him. Yes of course he came to the hospital to see his grandson.
Even though our relationship was strained,I was raised to always respect him,I may not like the things he did.But he was my Dad and I loved him.My Dad made sure he was in my son's life til he passed. He would go visit him at my mom's while I worked and I have joy in knowing we were at peace when he passed.
Now my situation now is totally different. My son's father choses to be wishy washy with our son. You know that summa time dad,sum time he do,sum time he don't.But I don't sweat it especially now. My son is a teenager he has his dad's number and his dad has his,but still my son doesn't want to be bothered. Saying he's the kid and his dad should call him. Well,I know my son needs male input in his life,not many male famly members in my area,so I got him a mentor and I keep him active.
What ever will be will be,I sure your daughther will come around,especially if she has kids.Once you become a parent the desire to see your kids interact with your parents weighs heavy on your heart. You want to see that,experience that,that love.
And honestly,grandkids even the score. Whatever way I felt about my Dad left once I saw him with my son and saw the love in his eyes just looking at him.
Have faith,it will all work out!
Blessings to you for caring!
I know I'm *really* late to the game on this one but I just can't help myself. I sympathize with you completely. My parents split rather painfully. Me and my Dad are really close, and I love my mom but feel she's rather emotionally and verbally abusive. I do interact with her when I can stand to but am an adult and don't need to be belittled the way she does. My sister however is younger than me and was always the perfect child (crying because 98% overall grade in math is too low kind of perfect) so she never really saw the mean side of my mom that me and my Dad did. So when my Dad left all she saw was my mom getting hurt. I think now that mom has no one else to pick on my sister understands a little more she's not as bitter as she used to be. But in the first couple years I could see the pain that my Dad was experiencing, trying to be there for her and her constant rejection partly due to my mom's manipulation. He finally got to the point where he realized that continuing being a doormat just to get a word or two from my sister was killing him, and it really was killing him. He finally put his foot down and said that he couldn't do it anymore. That he would always always be there for my sister if she ever wanted and made sure he communicated that. But he needed to be someone she could come to and the withering shadow of a man he was becoming wasn't that.
He has an advantage in that I am able to keep reiterating to my sister how much he misses her and wants to have a relationship with her. Now we do go for coffee once in a while and he is happy when he does see her and she treats him with more respect. It's still painful for both of them and the time apart after obviously stings my Dad a bit but from a daughter's perspective I'm glad that he stood up for himself. He's a better father to me, a better employee, a better boyfriend to his new girlfriend that provides him monumental support. He's not some tortured soul that can't do anything that doesn't revolve around getting my sister back and I do think someday they will be close again. And even if they're not it's ok. If they're both happier apart from each other then that's what's best for each of them. She is an adult and needs to treat him with respect. A child that takes advantage of their parent to a malicious degree is no better than a parent that abandons their child that does want them around. And I do know both sides of this, my fiance's father walked out of his life when he was young and my fiance has tried to reach out to him to no avail. In any relationship, both people have to be active participants or there is no relationship in my opinion. I will make efforts to have a relationship with my mom if she can learn to be respectful to me as an adult. So despite the naysaying respondents I think you have done the best thing for you. I hope only the very best for you and hope things are improving either way. Stay strong! Again I know I'm quite late to the game so I may not be relevant anymore but I just wanted to express my support in this sea of criticism.
No, you're not too late in the game. There is a lot of criticism here but it's all from armchair experts, not people with first hand experience, but my post wasn't really meant for them anyway.
It's good that your father was able to pull things together. It sounds like he and I are on the same track.
"He's not some tortured soul that can't do anything that doesn't revolve around getting my sister back"
This statement epitomizes me. Everything I do, including my job is for one reason: to get my children back. It's insane. I hope to hear more of you. Thanks.
I know exactly how you feel, being in the same boat myself. My daughter was 8 y/o when her mother and I divorced over irreconcilable differences. It was a very mentally abusive marriage. I took the mother to court to implement a parenting agreement, which the mother began to violate immediately. Visitations to my home out of state were marked by my daughter and her mother spending 2 hrs on the phone every evening seriously cutting into the time I had to spend with my daughter. When I tried to stop this, the mother began to file child abuse charges against me. I terminated the visitation. I decided that my daughter would be better off without that kind of turmoil in her life, so I very reluctantly broke off all communications with her. There wasn't another visitation until she was about 15 y/o. My daughter hates and lies about my current wife and is so brainwashed and misinformed about things that it's likely we'll never overcome our separation. She is now 33 y/o and we haven't spoken in 4 years. I have reached out and met her more than half-way several times over the years, but she just doesn't seem capable of showing a genuine committment to patch things up. I fly across the country to visit her, and then she doesn't make time to see me except an hour or two each day. She invited me to walk her down the aisle at her wedding , which I gladly accepted but then she COMPLETELY ignored us the rest of the time...she literally spent about 5 minutes with me over the 4 day wedding visit....5 minutes, despite the fact we flew half way across the coutry to see her. Like you, I've come to terms with the idea that there are many things beyond our earthly power to repair, and this may well be one of them.
I completely understand where you're coming from. As adults it takes two to tango. I'm not going to buy my way back into her life. And as I approach 60 y/o if she doesn't make some good faith moves very soon to patch things up, then any future overture risks being seen as an attempt to get back into my good graces and onto my last will and testament....which currently excludes her. Whenever she reached out to me in recent years it was always to get money. That gets old fast.
I used to buy into the idealistic fantasy that one day things will work out. But I expect it doesn't in the majority of cases.
you are a man and you just do not get it. you talk about her not wanting to get to know you...what about you wanting to get to know her?? as the daughter in the exact same situation i can attest that the only thing she wants deep down is the love of her daddy. but she wants you to love her because you know her. she writes that shes busy in hopes that youll be proud of her and take an interest in what shes got going what she has had going and what she will have going. stop criticizing her past with her mother and that because a she cant change it and b its the most depressing thing in the world to meet with someone who is stuck on trying to change the past which she never knew needed changing. she probably sees youre emotionally attached to what happened and doesnt really need that sort of stress in her life. i HATE when my now not AS estranged father makes any attempt to discredit my past or my mother no matter how f*ckd they may have been because it is an attack on me!! u have no right to judge no matter how f*ckd it may have all been in your eyes because it made her. its her past and she should be proud of it because it got her to today. help her to celebrate her past in a genuine manner and over time she will gain confidence in herself forgive you and whatever circumstances kept you apart and see that a fathers love your love can actually fill a void she never knew she had. surely your heart goes out to this girl irrespective of whether shes your own blood or not. i know i feel for her. you saying these things about practically wanting nothing to do with her. that would kill me inside. i wouldnt show it because i never had a dad around to teach me how to function emotionally properly but she will be feeling pretty ashamed and let down inside and thats not how you want her to feel im sure. also without dads women become strange towards men and youre a man. maybe she had to lie to make men love her in the past because none of them were there unconditionally so that is her default when she talks to you. (thats my own issue) maybe she doesnt know how to relate to men in a nonsexual manner (another of my issues) who are you to judge her so finally when there is always a reason behind everything? also try to let go of your anger. i think listening to my life stories just makes my dad so angry still. because he wasnt a part of it all. so he cuts me off and he doesnt even want to know. dont do that. your daughters life happened the way it did and there is nothing you can do to change that so you might as well ask her how it all did go down with open ears so that you can build the relationship you purport to wanting. and be prepared for this to take a hell of a long time. keep asking for details. nothing too personal. just how she felt and who was close to her and radiradira but always bring it back to now or the future so she doesnt get depressed or overthink it like i do. oh and nevermind her being a clone of her mother. she most likely is because that was her role model and i know for better or worse that i am to a certain extent a clone of my mother. dont i get told it everytime i see my dad. but dont freaking hold that or use that against her like my dad did. it hurts to think that the parent you secretly admire most thinks of you as nothing like themselves. it like really hurts. she is half yours whether its evident or not and she WANTS to be more like you if you just let her be a young woman about it...that is...painfully slow moving and in need of prompting with genuine positive questions with no right answers or judgements on the answers and youll do fine. and shell do fine. as long as what youre offering doesnt mean giving up all shes ever known. keep it light. i think shes got the right approach there she said she wants to know what youre up to so she can tell people. maybe you could claim the same reason for contacting her. that way she has a reason that she understands. pride. what every little girl dreams of doing. making her daddy proud. and be sensitive that shes probably emotionally stunted. just allow that and try not to control the situation and change her. she knows she has issues. no need to parade them in front of her. shes working on it. also girls without dads like to be in control. its the most comfortable place for us. letting go of that control and reserve is a huge step that will require a lot of trust in you. which will take time sorry to say it. just dont make her choose you over anything. slot into HER life. on her terms. if thats a monthly update...better than nothing right? dont make it all about you. although i sense some hesitation there. good luck. im getting amped to confront my own dad with this list of my demands lol. thanks for the opportunity to think this through from the other side. also if you have any advice about what he might be going through why he is so hard on me and how i could make him proud that would be much appreciated. thanks!
Wow, there's a lot in your post. In reply:
"you talk about her not wanting to get to know you...what about you wanting to get to know her??" - Tried that; showed my interest many times.
"stop criticizing her past with her mother" - Didn't do that. My daughter said she wanted to hear my side of the story was, so I gave her the facts. She then made up her own mind and came to her own conclusions.
"someone who is stuck on trying to change the past which she never knew needed changing." - I never tried to change the past. Don't think even God can do that. But I agree that her past is all she has ever known. She can wonder how things might have been, but she won't know what it would really have been like to have her father there.
"u have no right to judge no matter how f*ckd it may have all been in your eyes because it made her" - Yes, I do have a right to judge. We all have the right to our own opinions of others. However, I told my daughter only the facts relating to why I was not in her life when she was a child. She then formed her own opinions of her mother's actions as well as mine.
"help her to celebrate her past in a genuine manner and over time she will gain confidence in herself forgive you and whatever circumstances kept you apart". - There is no evidence that she blames me for us being apart
"you saying these things about practically wanting nothing to do with her" - Didn't say anything of the sort. There is a condition for me having contact with my daughter. It is that she treats me with courtesy and respect. Doesn't seem unreasonable to me.
"who are you to judge her so finally when there is always a reason behind everything?" - Not judging her, just told her that I need her to treat me with respect and that is non negotiable.
"you might as well ask her how it all did go down with open ears so that you can build the relationship you purport to wanting. and be prepared for this to take a hell of a long time. keep asking for details. nothing too personal. just how she felt and who was close to her" - Good idea
"she is half yours whether its evident or not and she WANTS to be more like you if you just let her be a young woman about it" - She doesn't know me well. Maybe she wants that; maybe not.
"slot into HER life. on her terms." - Err, no.
"try not to control the situation" - Ok, controlling is bad. But you're saying it's ok if she controls the situation by having me slot in on her terms? I'm confused.
"if you have any advice about what he might be going through why he is so hard on me and how i could make him proud that would be much appreciated" - I really don't, sorry.
You make some good points. But like a lot of people who have commented, you read what you want to read, rather than what was actually written.
I am so glad I found this post because I am having a difficult time navigating my way through a similar situation. I am the daughter of an absent father who has recently returned. It's been about four months since we've been reunited. And while he seems very excited to be a part of my life, I can't help but feel that the only reason he is pursuing this relationship is to "sleep better at night". In the beginning phase of our relationship, we discussed things and were on a path of getting to know each other. Since his visit in August, I feel that we've reached a plateau. Sometimes it is hard to accept him without feelings of anger and resentment stirring inside me (I'm only human), so last week for thanksgiving (the first ever thanksgiving) I sent a text message saying "hi" and wishing him a happy thanksgiving. He never responded to me. He later admitted that he was upset asking me "were you try to reach hi or were you trying to reach your father?" After that I suggested we have a conversation. During this conversation I tried to explain to him as nicely as possible how hard this is for me. I asked him why he rejected me not once but twice (once I traveled to go see him and he never came) and he tried to blame others and point fingers but never took responsibility for his actions, which I would respect much more. He gives me a hard time and expects me to call him dad and say things like I love you. And he also really likes to avoid discussing the past. He makes no effort to try to get to know me. Our conversations pretty much consist of him asking me about my day and work or trying to advise me on going back to college. I try to explain to him that we will never get to know each other this way but he doesn't get it. I feel as if he's trying to overlook the past. Perhaps its too much for him to bear? At the same time, I don't feel like its up to him how this relationship should go. I know myself pretty well and I feel the only way to get to know me is to find out what my childhood was like. Who my role models were, what my favorite things to do were, places I've traveled to. He even asked me "what questions do you want me to ask you?" But it feels to me like he just wants to pick up right here and move forward, which seems impossible to me. After that conversation he sent me a text message saying " according to what you told me you've been looking for me for years, and I want to know whether you've been looking for a father or looking for MONEY." Written exactly as I have it here. He told my mother, and my mother requested that I apologize to him. WHAT?! I can never apologize for being honest about how I feel. How can accuse me of being a gold digger when I am his child?!?! I am so hurt and so offended. I don't feel this man wants to build anything with me, I feel he just wants to make himself feel better. Any advice?
I think that part of the problem people face is that situations like this are completely uncharted territory for those involved. What I mean is that life teaches you how to have relationships, first with the family members that are around you, then you experience making and keeping friendships, then later you experience relationships with partners. You learn all the time, and by the time you reach maturity you probably know how to manage all of these different types of relationship. When it comes to an estranged child or parent coming back on the scene however, most people have no real idea how to approach it, or of what will "work" and what won't. Add to that mix the possible (conflicting) ingredients on both sides of resentment, openness, anger, guilt, excitement, happiness, loss, hope and the result is a bewildering cocktail of emotions and resulting behaviours. So the first thing I would say is that, given all of this, don't expect that all of the pieces will slot into place straight away. It's normal for things to take a while to settle and be sorted out. If things do slot into place straight away then great, but I don't think things happen like that for a lot of the parents or children in this situation.
The next thing I would say has to do with expectation management. There are two extreme outcomes that could happen. Maybe tomorrow or next week or sometime later you and your father will resolve all of your differences and develop a rock-solid and very close relationship. Or, it may turn out for whatever reason that your relationship with him ends and again, for whatever reason, you and he have no further contact for the rest of your lives. These two outcomes are the extremes, but I think that you have to be able to accept that either is a possibility, and be ok with that. It is going to be more likely that the relationship you and he build will be somewhere between the two extremes. You want a relationship with him; you will do your best to develop that with him, but know that it takes two to make a relationship and that you control only your actions and reactions, not his. Again, for the sake of your inner peace, you have to be ok with the uncertainty of where the relationship might go and be ok with whatever the result is. I would say enter into this with hope, but without expectation.
Regarding your father's question about whether you wanted money from him, asking you flat out if that was the case was definitely inappropriate. But look at it from his point of view. He doesn't know you. He's just exercising the in-built care that we all have around people we don't know. I mean, if you met a stranger at a party and five minutes later they say, "hey, can you lend me 500 bucks?", the answer is going to be "no". Why? because you don't know what that person's intentions are. Maybe they'd pay you back, maybe they wouldn't. You would say no because you have no other information about the person to help you decide whether you want to lend them money or not. It's the same thing with your father. You're a stranger to him; he doesn't know you. He has no way of knowing at this stage whether you're looking for a father-daughter relationship or whether you just want money. His caution at this early stage is normal; the way he expressed that caution to you was wrong. But forgive him this mistake, it's not that serious.
Just as he may not know now what your intentions are for wanting a relationship, I think it's fair to say that you probably don't know what his intentions are either at this stage. He was concerned about your motivations - maybe you're doing the same thing by thinking that he's only doing it to make himself feel better? Maybe he is only doing it for that reason. Maybe not. If you don't have any evidence to think that is indeed his motive, I would put those negative thoughts away for now. Be open to the positive possibility that he really does want to have you in his life in a loving father-daughter relationship.
It sounds like you have quite a lot of emotional baggage that you would take into this relationship with you. You say you have anger and resentment towards him, which may well be justified. In my case, I lived with both my parents throughout my childhood. Things happened during that time, some of them pretty serious, which led me to feel anger and resentment towards both of them. Sometimes I thought whether the things that my parents had done to deserve my resentment were significant enough to make me want to cut or drastically limit ties with them. With my mother, the answer is yes. With my father, the answer is no. Only you will know whether the negative feelings you have towards your father are strong enough to prevent you from wanting to have a relationship with him. From the sound of it, they are not. I'm not saying that you have to forgive him completely for whatever he did. But if the feelings you have are not deal breakers, try to look past them for now. In the future you may be able to discuss them with him and get his side of the story; why he did the things he did. Maybe you can explain how his actions affected you and maybe he will understand the effect they had on you.
I think there comes a time though when you have to put the emotional baggage down. In my earlier posts I mentioned that I was very angry at my daughter's mother. I wanted my daughter to understand that it was her mother who had broken the law, defied court orders, lied etc etc in order to destroy the relationship my daughter and I had. So, I explained everything to her. My daughter's response was, "oh, ok, so now I know what happened". And that was that. She said she no longer wanted to discuss the past or what her mother may or may not have done. I accepted that and now we don't discuss anything contentious from the past. I think that you may have to accept, at least for the time being, that your father does not want to discuss the past. He may well feel guilty about what happened and unable to deal with it. Maybe he never will want to discuss it, maybe he will. But if you want to see what kind of relationship you can have with him, I would say try to put the past to one side, at least for now.
If the time does come when he shows signs of being open about discussing the past, I would say to approach it in a neutral tone. That is, don't go in there guns blazing with "why did you abandon me?!?!". A better approach might be "You know, I felt X when you left; I really would like you to help me understand why you did that".
I think that some of the issues you feel that you have in "connecting" with your father are because of what I mentioned above - you are two strangers trying to get to know each other in the midst of powerful emotions plus baggage. Maybe he's the type of person whom it takes longer to get to know. He could be like that with everyone, not just with you. He asks about your day and your work because he doesn't know what else to say. He even asks you what you want him to ask you. It sounds like he's making a big effort to try to reach out to you and struggling a bit. He may have no idea what to say to a young woman in this context. If you're his only child of a similar age, give the guy a break; he won't have had much practice at it. The important thing is that he's trying to reach out to you. Give it time and I think you'll find some common ground.
Your childhood is part of what made you what you are now, I agree. But I don't think this is about it being up to him or not up to him how the relationship should go. If you want to share with him who your role models were, your favourite things and places etc then don't wait or expect him to ask about them, go ahead and tell him. Be as open as possible.
So, my advice would be: hope for a lot but expect nothing, realise that it is going to be a bumpy ride with ups and downs, try to empathise with him but without losing yourself, try to put to one side the negative emotions that you feel at the moment, and try to accept that the relationship may only cover the here and now; from this point on.
I would definitely recommend getting some sort of counselling, with your father present obviously, to help you both strengthen your relationship. I want to do the same with my daughter. Without professional help, it feels to me like it's just two people who don't know where they are, they don't know where they're going, and they don't have a map.
Thanks so much. Your advice did help me understand what I'm going through better but following that conversation the dynamics of our relationship has changed. We rarely call each other anymore. It seems he's more comfortable building a relationship with me through my mother. On my end, I feel if he's the one who wants a relationship with me then he should be the one to do the work and I will mirror whatever I get back from him. Its also hard to have a conversation with him since he doesn't want to talk about much. I don't know what to do anymore. It feels easier for me at this point to just speak to him on occasion. I don't know if its right or wrong but it feels comfortable to me at this point. He is very one sided and it is very difficult for him to put himself in my shoes. I find myself not looking forward to speaking with him and sometimes dreading our conversations. Will this ever change? He is 67 and I know our time is very limited but he doesn't nor is he willing to understand where I'm coming from and enjoys keeping a very superficial relationship with me. Everyone says I should be happy but I find this to be the most difficult thing I've ever had to do. Any advice?
Sounds like a Mexican standoff - maybe both are thinking that it's up to the other to put the effort in while being prepared to mirror and reflect back what the other does. Can't see that very much is going to happen if that's the case.
Maybe it has to do with you not wanting to invest a lot of effort and energy in the relationship because of the risk that nothing will come of it and that effort will somehow be wasted? I don't think that's an unreasonable thing to be concerned about, by the way.
It's your call; you could either make an all-out sustained effort to try to get him to open up and get the relationship going, or just accept that things are how they are and just wait and see what happens. I would say just do what you're comfortable with. You can't do any more.
Has anyone thought that these adult children are genetically and spiritually wired like the mother?
That they don't in fact 'feel' as we do...
That there is nothing that we could in fact do to heal this...
We could hope & pine away transferring our heart as theirs when nothing could be further from the truth.
Blood does not mean spiritual sameness. Be guided by their behaviour not the words.
If money is all that is desired cloaked as something else then give them none as you are reaching out with your heart and it is heart that you hope to see in return.
Discernment is key as to the spiritual movement within and we cannot hope to have harmony with those of a different spirit. One ultimately finds peace in ones own spiritual family.
Have you ever thought about the fact that absent fathers are people who have done so much damage to family that in some cases it is almost impossible to forgive? You can not undo one thing you did to hurt someone let alone two decades worth of pain you caused to your own flesh and blood. How do we as adults believe your heart has changed? I hope that you absent fathers do find peace with yourselves and the decisions you have made in your life. It is not up to your children to resolve those issues for you, you are the one who has to look in the mirror each day.
My reply was for dje71 Audanet, however it is just as pertinent for you.
Dje71 did not bring these things upon himself, he has a good heart and wanted nothing more than to show his love for his daughter. His daughter now knows the truth about the abhorrent behaviour of her mother and yet it is as nothing. If she had a heart the same as her father she would be as desperate as he to join them, she would also understand why she could never meet on a heart level with the mother growing up....all would become clear for her....and yet the opposite has happened.
There is no fear in love Audanet, the opposite seems to be happening for you, put simply if you were dje71's daughter your hearts would meet and be joyous and the words matter little as you would be of the same heart family. Peace to you...
There are a couple of threads going on here.
First, to Bubba, you're right in a lot of what you say. I think a lot of personality can be genetically inherited. When you say, they don't "feel" the way we do, I know what you mean. The mother shows a lot of sociopathic traits - no empathy, ignores authority, narcissistic etc. One concern is that she passed this on.
To Audanet, I can see that you have a message for fathers who abandoned their child(ren). I guess this happens to a lot of kids and it's certainly a good message to give to these dads so they can see where they went wrong. But this discussion wasn't meant for these fathers. This was meant for loving fathers who did everything they could to be there for their children, but who were wrongly denied that right by the mothers involved.
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."
1 John 4:18
I have been in a similar situation to you dje71, my ex wife put me through absolute hell to gain everything including our 2 children. The children literally became her and parroted all her words & actions, there was a remarkable degree of disconnection from them....it was if I was simply put out with the trash. Like her they didn't miss a beat and after I was taken for nearly all I was worth and simply thrown to the kerb they instantly resumed their life as if nothing had happened.
I reached out with all that I had but it was as nothing, I didn't understand, I only knew a total love for them that I thought was reciprocated. I peacefully left the family home at the request of the ex wife who apparently wanted more in life (inclusive of all that we had gained together), there was no animosity with the children until I contacted a solicitor.....then I was unceremoniously dumped for this action. At the time I actually died within such was my love for them.
The lies created by the ex wife through the court process were beyond imagination, she had me working out of state on high paying jobs that I never had and that I had contributed nothing in percentage terms in 17 categories in their upbringing among the many delusional claims, all in legal documents. I couldn't believe that this was in fact the real her, here she was finally in full view....it really blew me away that our time together had been all pretence by her and that I really never had any value where I placed value at its highest...from the heart.
I have now reached a place 2 years later where I understand at a spiritual level what has happened and I am at peace. My children at heart are the mother and I am foolish to place my heart as theirs. They have to choose a path in life as we all must do rightly or wrongly, I respect that.
I hope that one day they find a better path in life however the last thing I can do as a father is to say that their actions & the lack of morality they have shown to me and others are not correct. I will not chase their love at any and all cost....to do so would be to lose all self respect for myself and what is morally right in life.
They are now late teenagers and I have officially disowned & disinherited both of them. To me it felt like the ultimate betrayal, money or the father...they chose the money like the disordered mother. I came to realize that we have a family of spirit that would never do such things and this is the family I want to live out my life with. I will always carry my children in my heart from earlier times but I now understand they have their own desires & morals for life which do not meet up with mine...an impasse that they must navigate through.
Of course; it's war when it comes to going to court. In my ex's writ against me the only true things were her name, my name and the fact that we had a child! It was like reading a copy of the Enquirer.
The peace I have gained was extremely hard earned, I suffered much to also learn much and I believe it is predominately because I chose not to hate, if I had chosen to hate then my ex wife would have truly won. I never gave her this satisfaction. I believe I have taken the high road throughout and have not engaged in any of her or the children's theatrics, (I think I was to shell shocked at the time anyway). In the early days the only emotions I felt were absolute sorrow and grief and could barely put one foot after the other from the constant hits, it was like being mugged in a lane-way.
I also did the same as you initially and did a crash course in psychiatry to try and work out what this woman in fact was, sociopath, narcissist, borderline....parental alienation. This provided some of the answers but not all, it goes much deeper than that. These type of women at a base level, no matter the age or the type, operate under a certain spiritual covering whereby they are all the same in their very nature, they all lack empathy and a certain level of humanity in their very being. Why they can get away with so much for so long is that they mimic others actions without feeling them. Ultimately they grow stronger and happier the weaker and more distressed you become, you can see it on their face often accompanied by an inappropriate smile out of place with the situation. They will of had victims before us as they most certainly will have after us.
Forgiveness for them becomes easier as you start to learn what they are within, they are a mass of anxiety & hate, and that there is only one ending waiting for them in the path they have freely chosen in life.
After giving my life to my family I became but a speed bump to them, however to live by honesty, morals and principles, to be happy, to love.....this is my legacy that I in turn leave them. I believe if my children are to ever come good this is what they will always need to see from me, and that I will not accept the other.
What you have described is a psychopath. I dearly wish i knew more about psychology and the telltale characteristics of personality disorders before deciding to marry my daughters mother. The signs were all there. As with you, my daughter has "become" her mother. How much of this is genetic or due to years of emotional manipulation and brainwashing is impossible to say. But at this point in my life I have resigned myself to the fact that my daughter is out of my life forever. But I'm okay with that. I tried my hardest to patch things up and went the extra mile. But it was not enough. She's a complete stranger to me now. I'd rather hold on to the sweet memories from her childhood than deal with the hate and dysfunctionality of today which I am incapable of neutralizing in her. Most of the work to repair our relationship is required by her, not me. I love her..or at least who she used to be. She hates me and is bent on punishment. Maybe time will heal things, but there's no sign at all that this might be the case. C'est la vie, I guess. At some point you just gotta move on.
Chillihead, you have to find an internal strength for you based on love for you, knowing who you are as a man, that you have integrity and will not surrender this...the seed you plant within you is what will grow.
If one plants a seed of hate within & nourish's this....then this is what will grow.
if one plants a seed of love within & nourish's this.....then this is what will grow.
You have those wonderful memories when she was young as do I, so when you think of her only think of those times and move forward in your life with love & strength.
As fathers we have a responsibility to stand for what is morally right in life and to show our children what is right from wrong, if we waver and allow any behaviour just to cling on to that love then we have failed them.
Miracles do happen everyday for everyone, by being strong in your core beliefs with love and holding your boundaries as to what is acceptable, she may well break through.....she will need to see you though as independently strong & with love for yourself, (she currently knows full well that she holds the strings to your heart and is abusive with it....this is a lack of respect for you and cannot be allowed to be the case), then if she does indeed break through...it will be with respect for you as a father. Strong willpower is what is required.
I do not believe in your case that she is fully the mother, hate is close to love....it is the indifference that is truly frightening. What I described in brief fashion is very real to those who can discern.
Peace to you,
You got that right - if the child is yelling and screaming at you then it confirms that there is strong emotion there on his/her part. When you get indifference/apathy, that's when you know that the relationship is in serious trouble and at risk of coming to an end.
Both you guys are right. In this situation, you have to draw a line, accept things how they are and move on. Once you can do this, things do get much, much easier.
There's a fine line between psychopaths and sociopaths; both have antisocial personality disorders; both show the same lack of empathy, disregard for society's rules, both will think nothing of lying, cheating, and harming people to get what they want.
Sociopaths understand social relationships extremely well and are thus expert at manipulating others. It's surprising when you find out that that person who initially seems so wonderfully charming and pleasant and whom everyone seems to adore is, in reality and behind closed doors, effortlessly capable of outrageously abusive behaviour.
In my case the writing was on the wall too; I just chose to ignore it. As I got to know my ex I also got to see how she treated her mother. Badly isn’t the word – I was shocked by the total disregard and disdain with which she treated her. It was unbelievable. Instead of turning around and running fast in the opposite direction I just thought that maybe there was something in their past which might explain why my ex treated her mother in this way and left it at that.
Fast forward to a couple of years into my ex’s campaign to not allow me to see my daughter, she decided one day to allow a visit. I said to her yes, of course, but that my daughter would not know who I was given the amount of time that had passed. Her response was very telling. She said, “I would be able to make her love me again after such a separation”. This was very telling because it showed how she thought about things from her point of view only. I.e. that if she were separated from her child, she would be able to work the situation so that she received love from the child. Not that she would try to be there for her child, or be interested in her child’s needs, or give love to her child. Typical sociopath response.
Anyway, like you, I learned too late exactly what I was dealing with. If I had known in the beginning that she was a dangerous, mentally ill person with the capability of inflicting a huge amount of harm to all concerned except herself, the outcome now would have been very different. But, nobody warns you about this type of person beforehand of course.
This statement from your ex:
“I would be able to make her love me again after such a separation”
Could also be her ego and pride on display.....such is her mastery compared to your mediocrity....trying to belittle you further.
My guess is that you are a strong man dje, this type look to break and destroy that very strength of character. My ex on our first court appearance lost outright due to forging my signature on documents and also forging an affidavit from me etc. On the day I was still barely operating having gone through so much, I was visibly shaken & upset, she though was fine as if she was on an outing somewhere, not in the least perturbed having just been given the rounds of the kitchen by the court registrar....she analysed me that day as a predator would with that inane smile.
The next court appearance was merely a conciliation conference whereby you try to agree on a property division, her best offer to me was 5% having come up from 1%, the difference this day though was that I had become much stronger within, my disposition was calm, this seemed in itself to have her climbing the walls.
So the first appearance whereby she lost badly didn't affect her at all and yet the second appearance which didn't matter a jot as it was just a conciliation conference had her climbing the wall?
Why?...Her reactions in general were based of her predatory nose in regard to me, her victory was based on how distraught she saw me....not the proceedings at hand. For some reason not based on reason she had a need to destroy me that at the time I couldn't work out.
Trying to understand these type of women in a rational sense will have you spiralling down chasing your own tail until the day you die...which is exactly where they want you. They ultimately want power & control as the spirit drives them. They run on fear....your fear, they have no true feelings so run generally on the senses. You are lucky if you escape from them relatively unscathed.
To forgive them is not for them but for you, would one be angry with a retarded child?....this is how you must look on them.
I am happy you found a lovely wife & had 3 great kids dje, I was blessed as well with a wonderful new woman in recent times. You have someone looking over you.
Peace to you,
This is true. I am the daughter of a man who claimed to love his children, but remained absent. He also later blamed my mother for divorcing him. He almost never called. Holidays and birthdays were ignored. He began a new family and worked his way up the ladder of success... meanwhile my brother and I remained devoid of a father, despite his claim of wanting things to be different. In saying he doesn't give a "rat's ass", dje71 proves how clueless he is. My hope is that his daughter will have an epiphany and realize just how conditional his so-called love is and dump him once and for all. The poor girl is barely out of her teenage years and he expects her to have the communication skills of a mature 40-year old even though he clearly doesn't. I wasted far to much time on my father. I hope his daughter does not do the same.
And now, I am speaking to you directly, dje71. Actually, I think you might be the narcissist here... but of course, narcissists don't see themselves clearly. My prayers go out to your daughters emotional healing. It will likely takes years to undo the damage your conceit has wrought. I do not feel sorry for you.
I, on the other hand, do feel sorry for you. It is plain to see that you were very heavily emotionally damaged during a difficult one-parent childhood; none of which appears to be your fault.
In fact, I feel sorry for all children who suffer the absence of a parent while growing up, be it because the parent chooses not to participate in the lives of his children, as in your case, or because the parent is unjustifiably excluded from the lives of the children, as in mine.
As an aside, parental alienators often state that the excluded parent isn't required; that one parent can raise the child(ren) just as effectively and that the child(ren) will experience no loss. From the very sad stories in the numerous posts here from girls and women who grew up without a parent, it is clear to see that this is not so.
Anyway, I hope you find peace and manage to let go of the anger, which is still evident.
dje71, spoken like the true narcissist that you are: deflecting blame; placing it unto others; making the other person out to be damaged; never accepting responsibility. You ae a classic case.
Experts say that narcissist have deep seated shame from long ago. After what you said about your daughter, you should feel shame right now. But of course, you never will. It's just easier to blame her and other people who defend her. I am thankful for how I was raised. It gave me knowledge and insight I may not otherwise have attained.
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-narci … iopath.htm
This is a made-to-measure description of the mother
I read a few of the earlier responses, didn't bother reading it all because it was so long. Here are my two cents. My mom and dad split when i was about 5years old. He wasn't in my life up until I was 16(he had been in prison). I went to see him and it was wonderful. He would write me letters, call, send me gifts and as the years went by he stopped doing all of these things. He stopped returning my phone calls for one, even though when he called he would just preach to me(he found god and was now a preacher man) which felt incredibly impersonal. We would only talk sometime. Fastforward I try to call or text him and he would just not respond back to me. His new family was his main obligation now and i was nothing to this man. I remember asking him if he remembered what day i was born and he said yes. a few days later its my birthday and i didnt get a phone call from him or a text or a card. In all my years having a cell phone I have never once changed my number, yet he never tries to reach out to me.
So yes this man is estranged to me now. I tried to reconcile with him when I was 20years old and we would talk here and there very sparingly then nothing again. At this point I am fed up. I want a real father, one who wants to be there for me and wants to know me, wants to love me. So I cut him off. If he truly wanted to be apart of my life he would of tried to get in touch with me at some point, but he never did, not once.
I am 24 years old now, and my mother has passed. My older sister thinks I should try to reconcile with him again, but I really don't want to. People don't change, they only learn how to hide who they really are better. He will never be the father I wanted or needed. I will never have that. I have no one in this world but myself.
My sister got him to message me on facebook and the only thing he wanted to know was why I didn't tell him my mom had passed, and i told him why should i have? He hasn't said anything since and I think he knows why.
The first thing you have to understand about these men is that they don't understand where we are coming from. Your father sounds similar to my father in that when they speak to us it is very impersonal. Almost as if just the act of speaking to us is enough to help ease the guilt they feel for not being there. We on the other hand can sense the relationship seems very one sided. My father, like yours started out with the gifts and the calls but then they started whittling down to the point where if I don't call I don't hear from him. For us its difficult to understand why they can't accept that at this point this is the reality of the relationship and it will take work and patience to build something lasting and loving. On their end they can't understand why we can't just "get over it".
My advice to you, if you do want to build the relationship, is to put your guns down. I know its so easy to be angry and that last line is something I am working on myself ....DAILY. But if you want someone to be there for you, you can't be ready to hurt them. I don't think the first thing he should have said is "why didn't you tell me your mom passed" and I know that's not the reaction you were expecting but for him it probably was more of a concern. Then when you respond with "why should I have?" his response is probably "I don't need this."
The question I ask myself and am having a hard time answering is, will I regret not making a better effort 10 or 20 years down the line? Will I wish that I asked more questions and picked less fights. Focused on the positive instead of the negative? Its difficult because I don't know what the next years hold for me and at this point he is making zero effort with me which makes me doubt the genuity of his return in the first place, but I think you should ask yourself the same question. Maybe give yourself a time limit. I will make a genuine effort for 6mos, 1 year, 2 years.. and if nothing comes of it I will walk away.
I don't have the answers I can only relate to you through my situation but the lat thing I will leave you with is this.. I am at the stage where I have a small circle of friends and family. I believe that these people I surround myself with should add some sort of value to my life as I should add to theirs. Any situation that is not making you or the other a better person or creating some sort of value, should not be held as such. We don't get to choose or parents but we definitely get to choose how we deal with them.
Good luck to you and your father.
Audanet…a very sensible and mature approach. So important.
You nailed where I'm at. I'm at the "I don't need this stage". I'm not looking for any arguments. Just closure on a past chapter of my life and perhaps a fresh start on a new chapter. We all have a certain amount of turmoil and disappointment in our lives that we have to contend with. Nobody wants to add more of either to their life. But if both parties aren't ready to let the past go and start anew, then it just isn't going to happen. We're not the same person we were 25 years ago. We have to start anew as we would with any friendship….looking for shared interests and values, deciding if we enjoy and are comfortable being in the others company.
I wish you the very best of luck and with your terrific attitude, I believe you will find it.
There is a possible answer Audanet..."letting go of expectations with love".....you are currently assigning your spirit to others & then being disappointed when they don't align.
You are a beautiful young woman within Audanet and it shines through your writing, keep loving & trusting yourself and those that are deserving will see that light. We are all tested in life and hopefully, if successful, we find a strength through the very thing we have lost....love.
I think it's really sad how people read these articles and even though they are obviously not going through the same situation (at least not from the same perspective) they feel they have a right to tear down the author. I didn't read through each and every post because I quite frankly grew tired of seeing his demeanor change from just stating his opinion on the experiences he faced to different degrees of defense to so many negative comments. I saw comments from women who sound like woman hating "baby's mommas", other defensive "I would never.." dad of the year types and yes also the "how could you" forever disgruntled daughters.
I can't understand why people feel it necessary to tear this man down for his opinions, no one has walked a day in his shoes and obviously none of the negative commentators have experienced anything even close to what he has. How can I defend him? I'm sure people are wondering. Because everyone has to live their own lives and DO deserve happiness, I think the point of his story was that everyone at some point especially when they become an adult has to become accountable for their own actions. When his daughter was a child she couldn't control the decisions her mother made for her, that she took her out of the country and that her right to her father was stolen from her but as an adult she can now make her own decisions and should make an equal effort to stay in touch with her father IF she wants to. If she doesn't want to then she should just say so, for the sake of both of their happiness, there's really no point in stringing each other along.
Another thing I can't understand is why people hold a man accountable for being a "father" to a child that he had pretty much no relationship with throughout the majority of their life. Blood does not make you a daddy or a father. Dads take care of their kids, love them, tuck them in at night, teach them things... This man did not do this for this girl, even though he may have wanted to the point is he wasn't able to. If the tables were turned and this were a man who raised a step-kid through adulthood complaining about a biological father who was not in his stepchild's life wanting to now come in and be a part of the adult child's life. Everyone would be complaining, defending the step parent saying "you were the real father, you were there, the biological father has no right to the adult child at this point"...
So why the double standard?! Why does a man who was not allowed to be in a child's life now have to feel bad for wanting to just move on in his life? If this were a grown kid saying that a man she never met came into her life saying he's her biological father and she's now uncomfortable because he's saying he wants to be a part of her life. The majority of advice would probably be, "tell him no... you don't have to...he was never there for you...where has he been all these years...who does he think he is..." So why is a father who was denied those years being told the opposite?!
He clearly stated that he would love a relationship with his daughter even now but it seems like the daughter is now doing what the mother did, even though she doesn't realize it she's hurting him by coming in and out of his life whenever she wants. This would all be different if this dude didn't care, was one of those dead beat dads who cheats and walks out and doesn't try for visitation but he says he did so we have to trust that he did and respect his view on this.
If his daughter feels like she missed out on having a father in her life and wants to develop a relationship with the father that she was never able to have she would do whatever it takes (as a fully capable adult now) to recreate that bond. However sometimes kids who grow up that way live with a curiosity, a "who am I" "who's my father" type of mentality and when they make contact realize that was all they needed for closure and to quench that sense of curiosity. Maybe they call again, here and there, out of the blue because they don't want to be rude but the the two really need to have that deep conversation about their future and especially about expectation.
I'm not a man who's been through this if you're wondering if that's why I sound like I'm defending this author. On the contrary, I'm a mother of five children from a previous marriage. I've never kept my children from their father because I believe THEY deserve their right to have a relationship with their father, if they decide they want to discontinue that relationship it will be their decision and theirs alone. My current husband is going through a similar situation as the author of this story and although I can't completely defend the author himself because I don't know him personally and I believe there are more than one side to every story I can say that is the exact point, there are more than one side to every story! I do know my husband and have seen his side, his endless efforts, his pain and frustrations and I believe that after so many failed attempts and seemingly endless battles, he deserves to be able to move on in peace, happiness and guilt free knowing that he tried!
Everyone deserves a life at peace and a chance at happiness. He can only hope that his daughter had a peaceful and happy life without him and I'm sure he still wishes that now for her. Sometimes in order to avoid continued drama and pain the best thing to do, the only thing to do is just stand back. Don't get that confused with giving up.
It's uncanny how you hit the nail on the head with every single comment you made. It is a very insightful post.
From what you wrote it's not clear what stage of events your husband is at. Maybe he's battled in the courts for years for access to his children but come up against a brick wall. If that's the case, then there may be nothing more he could do at present that would have any chance of success in stopping the alienation. If there is nothing more that could be done, then as far as the children are concerned, it would therefore matter not what he does now. Of course he is entitled to step back, and he is completely justified in receiving comfort from the fact that he did everything he could for his children. He deserves peace, not to be forced to continually play the game of *pointlessly* knocking his head against a brick wall simply because his ex has decided to victimize him. She does not have the power to dictate his inner peace or well being. He does, and he should exercise it. He can step back with dignity, and await the time when his children will be adults with the hope of being able to reconnect with them.
If his children are in fact now adults then maybe he has already tried to reconnect with them. Maybe the children have shown no interest in getting to know him again. In this case, of course he should keep trying to connect. For how long he tries this is his business and his alone. But if it's clearly not working, then again, of course he is entitled to step back. He should leave the door open to his children, but he would be completely justified in diverting his energies into other parts of his life and into more positive relationships.
If he has reconnected with his children and they are abusive, then he should try to resolve the problems by explaining to them what he expects from them. Nothing unreasonable or outrageous, just that he is not looking for an abusive relationship and that he would like them to treat him properly and with respect. You know, nothing that any reasonable person would have any problem with - we are talking about adult relationships here. If the "children" continue to be abusive, then yes, again he would be completely justified in stepping back, knowing he did everything he could, and be fully deserving of being able to find peace and to move on.
Judging by the content of your posts it's obvious that you have deep seated issues and have therapeutic needs which far exceed that which can be attended to in an internet discussion.
I wish you the best in your journey, but this discussion was not meant to be a place for posters to enter into vitriolic personal attacks on other posters. With that in mind, I would ask you to kindly move on and perhaps look for a different discussion that might be more suitable for you and for the way in which you wish to communicate with others.
To dje71: I like that you have had the honesty and wisdom to express your situation, despite the fact that you probably knew you would be verbally attacked and your sincerity would be doubted. I also appreciate your intelligent and involved replies to commenters here.
I'm a 39 y.o. male and didn't meet my birthfather until my early twenties. We didn't have regular contact until my mid thirties. At first we fought a lot, and we were both confused about how to act toward each other. There were a lot of control issues on his part, and a lot of anger in me. Also some hidden sadness and regret, but this was very rarely expressed. Things have settled quite dramatically now, although I have had to move interstate for work, and we have lost contact for the time being.
My main reason for posting is to say that, in this sort of situation, both birthfather/birthmother and son/daughter should try to move forward as much as possible, but I understand if either person finds it hard to bond with the other. These sorts of bonds are not merely genetic and are formed when a child is just a baby. Most important thing though is not to carry guilt or anger, and realise that its ok to move on with your life and enjoy it. Learn from the past, but never get stuck in it.
Yes, there have been a lot of different opinions expressed. All of the armchair experts have disagreed with what I have said, but that's fine. Plus a couple of hostile posts from someone who clearly had been / is very badly affected by her own unique personal experiences; again not entirely unexpected given how damaging family breakups can be.
From everyone else the consensus seems to be stay positive and find a way to be happy regardless of how things work out in these relationships. I agree.
Just joining you. I have read through all these posts looking for some insight into how to deal with my daughter. I was especially moved by Someguy509's advice.
I got involved in this thread because I am struggling with the idea in the beginning of thread regarding " respect for my feelings as a mother with an adult child."
My daughter did not talk to me for over 18 months. She is my only child, 32 years old, successful in business, college grad. Since her father and I separated when she was 12 our relationship has been volatile. She lived with me after the divorce until college but I insisted that she see her father weekly. I grew up with a father who died when I was 7 and I did not want that kind of loss for her.
Anyway she has been angry, resentful and of the belief that if she desired she could use her past angry feelings to lash out at me if needed. This had gone on for 18 years.
Her father was unable to have normal discussions about things and she followed pretty much in his footsteps. It is a long, long story to explain how matters were manipulated into such a position. I tried to reach out to her during this time even having her write a letter to me during this time. ( 6 years ago about her feelings towards me.)
I read the letter that was filled with excerpts from her diary about how much she resented me. She didn't want to talk about the letter or hear what I had to say. I waited hoping that maturity would take some footing.
She has just been punishing me for 20 years. 1 1/2 years ago I asked a favor from her. She was 30 and I had always tip toed around her. She was so angry and wrote me a viscious email pointing out my flaws and what she thought were so called mistakes including how I opted to receive a pension plan that had been part of the divorce from 20 years ago.
Well I finally put my foot down and told her that she couldn't treat me this way anymore.
That is what caused the 18 month separation.
As painful as it was, I would do it again. We teach people how to treat us and I had been a sad role model.
To make a long story short, I finally saw her again. Our versions of the past had very little agreement. But one the final things she said was that she wanted "her feelings to come before mine." I said "you're 32, don't you think that would be codependent of me?". She said, "well we're not friends. If you give to me then I will give back."
You know I wrote here 5-6 letters during the 15 months. She only wrote 1 letter and 1 text. I am by nature a giving person and in past times to a fault.
She thinks that "I didn't' put her first after the divorce" and I don't believe this to be true. After weeks thinking about I realize that I think she means I didn't put her "feelings" first.
I didn't put her feelings first but in my mind I put her welfare first. I in no way took her from her father, she's not accusing me of that. She is accusing me of not caring about her.
She's only pushed me away all these years which is by the way what her father did. They both have a personality disorder
Avoidant personality. Her father even admmitted it. You can look it up in the DSM if you like. When you think of personality disorders if people have these symptoms it can explain a lot of behavior. I think there are 9 personality disorders and each one produces a mangled and hurting person.
I too am of the belief that she has to have respect for me also and that includes my feelings. That is the least that we can do for each other as human beings. When you disrespect others it does not show respect for yourself. Assertive communication is a win-win for both parties.
In general in this world I see so little respect for much of anything anymore.
So I am wrestling with these ideas and so called truths. What is best for my daughter? Quite frankly she is a victim in this. She really doesn't know what hit her because it was all so underhanded, disguised with smiles and "we are such good and God fearing people". Children can be manipulated in so many ways. I was able to escape in the divorce but I couldn't get her out in one piece.
So I struggle as it seems we all do. The pain has been unbelievable as others in this thread experienced.
I read the young women's responses about what they want from their parents. I don't think this just about my feelings or her feelings and what we' re comfortable with. I am willing to get out of my comfort zone I think it is the only way we have any personal growth. I am striving for some long awaited emotional health here.
I'm a 36 year old woman, separated for many years, 3 children, raised by my grandparents, and not extremely close to my biological parents. My children live with their father full time and part time with me.
My opinion is this: We are responsible for our own feelings, and our own actions. We are also responsible for being completely aware when we are being manipulative or manipulated, and any anger or pain we feel and which is controlling our lives. AND this doesn't matter if you are the parent in a divorce, the child of divorce, etc. If you are old enough to know what you are doing, then you are old enough to take responsibility for how you treat others.
My grandparents were unconditional with their love, even if they weren't perfect themselves. I was angry with my parents for "abandoning me" but until I had children of my own, I didn't realize that being a perfect parent didn't come easy. I'm not close to them, like I said, but I show them respect and they've never initiated having a close relationship with me but I don't resent them for that. Whether it's a singer mother or father, or grandparents--if children are loved and supported unconditionally, they will have the capacity to do the same. I love my parents, our relationship comes with no feelings of resentment despite the lack of bond.
I do take notice that everyone seems to put their feelings in the hands of their children or parents and justify their own actions based on that. If you child is treating you like garbage, it isn't YOU that isn't being unconditional---it's them. And if your parents can turn their feelings off an on, on a whim, then that's THEIR problem, not yours.
Respect is fundamental and allowing your grown children to use you as a scapegoat for not being able to deal with their own feelings properly is not right. I remember going through that phase with my own parents. Early teen years are a bitch. But because I had those feelings,I also learned I was being a big shithead and a selfish one at that. They never really tried to reconcile things with me, but I reconciled with myself because they weren't capable, and the resentment and pain relief was tremendous. Let's stop babying people, and make others just as accountable to their feelings and actions and we should make ourselves, and in a respectful way.
What does this mean exactly?....it seems to be thrown around a lot but rarely understood.
In a biblical sense does God have unconditional love for all of us?.....of course He does, we are all His children and He is our Father.
And yet, if we do not find Jesus & forgiveness through Jesus for our sins and the sins of others we are lost to God forever and will never be accepted....so does this love then become conditional?
I believe that God loves all of us (His children) with all His heart and hopes that we find our way to Him, if we do, we grow in love, if we do not, we end up not only hard of heart...but downstairs, if we end up downstairs God grieves our loss to Him as we are His children....He has never stopped loving us even when one doesn't make it to Him by choosing the wrong path in life....unconditional love as a river.
As ones God (Father) He gives us direction in what it will take to be with Him, to live a good life. If we defy, by freewill, His directions with poor behaviour & no repentance we are lost....but God (Father) Has never stopped loving us.
So in life one can unconditionally love very deeply (as the love never ceases to flow within and out of our heart) an estranged family member even if their behaviour warrants the cessation of contact. This is why we feel the grief and sorrow, just as God our Father would for all his children who choose the wrong path on earth.
The unconditional love is the very love itself.
It is affection without any limitations, has no bounds and is unchanging.
No, God puts conditions on love, you must love God or you will sent to hell to burn for an eternity. There are many stories in the Bible showing Gods wrath and how He deals with people, He kills them. That is not unconditional love by any stretch of the imagination.
"wiki" or "the word".....God does not condemn people, people's hearts condemn themselves.....Gods love is always unchanging.
"Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account."
OP , I 100% agree with you. I am a 45 year old man, I have 3 kids.
2 from one woman and another I found out about when she was 10.
They are all in there 20's now. A few notes, I paid child support for these 3 kids
for 18 years and never missed a payment and as of 2013 completed all payments.
My kids mother and I separated when the boy was 2 and the girl was 6,
During those years the loving mother was one of those types when I would get the kids on the weekends
they would say "mom said this about you" you know the type.. I never engaged in that game
I always figured when they grew up they would see for them selves the piece of human
garbage their mother was. I have a great relationship with my daughter
I am now a grandfather (my daughter had a baby recently) but over the last year or so my son
now 20 has become a real asshole. His mother remarried some years ago and he has a
stepfather, the stepfather is multiple felon addicted to crack cocaine. My son
is one of those young kids that everything they say is a lie and when you call them
out on the lie they become angry and on one such occasion my son became violent towards me
and actually tried to assault me. This pattern of behaviour has been on a steady decline.
on our last interaction I received a call from his sister pregnant at the time that
my son was posting on facebook that "he hoped his sister had an abortion" I was asked to go and
speak to him, upon arrival he had another 20 something year old punk at the house
Again my son tried to become violent, this time I was forced to apply a lock on him
to prevent an attack. Luckily I am an Aikido practitioner and was able to do so with out
serious injury (to him) . He than went on a hate filled profanity laced rant.
Proclaiming his hatred for me , saying things like I am not his father, "I hate you" that sort of thing
I decided to give it some time and see if his attitude improved , it did not. So after a while one starts to
ask them selves do I really need this aggravation ? In my case I never wanted kids, this happened a life time ago
I was barely 20 (I am almost 50 now). I never shirked my financial responsibilities , I always paid CSP and went beyond that
my family paid for private schools, cars, cell phones, even houses ! Another thing worth mentioning my son stole from my wife and I property
worth around $1000. So to your original post and all the sympathisers on here trying to make you feel bad. My views are this
Would you put up with these things from an adult friend or anyone for that matter ? I think you all ready answered that.
Fuck these kids
and anyone else who does not want to talk to you. Life is to short to be worrying about some assholes that do not like you.
I am not one of these people that buys into the bullshit that because someone is "Family" they get a pass to act however they want.
Fuck that shit. My son "I don't want to talk to my father any more" at first I was hurt by this, than I started to think about it.
What does my son do for me ? Never a call or a happy birthday etc... Only comes around when he wants something. We would joke
after not hearing from him for months around his birthday or the holidays a week or so before he would start reaching out
right up until getting his "gifts" and all communications would soon stop there after. So to him or any other kid "I am not talking to my father"
what is the loss ? Not having to put up with bullshit ? I say Close the door on these assholes yes that is right our children are not immune from being assholes
If in your heart you know that you tried and they want nothing to do with you, only a fool would pursue such endeavours. It is them not you.
Read my words, re-read them you will feel better, than go do something for you and just for you, buy yourself something have a beer and never think
about this shit again.
I know that this is a very old post but this is a very pertinent topic and may well receive comments until the end of time.
I am currently experiencing exactly the same issue. I haven't seen my daughter since she was two years old and I was left with no option but to wait until the day she contacted me following years of ignored contact attempts. My daughter was the result of a one night stand with a friend, who quickly decided that I was not to have anything to do with my daughter despite there being no justification for this.
However, my daughter, now 18, contacted me on New Years Eve 2014 and I thought that I would then finally be able to build a relationship with her and show her how much I have always loved her. The relationship has been conducted mainly via Facebook e-mail with one video conference session.
We exchanged e-mails nearly everyday with her initiating most of them, as while I was continually checking my inbox hoping and praying for the next e-mail, I tried to refrain myself as I knew that this would be a difficult time for her - especially having found out that her Mother had been lying to her regarding my intention to see her all these years. Each and every time I received an e-mail I was elated and we would go on to talk, in real time for at least a couple of hours a day. I even offered to take a her and a friend shopping when we finally did meet to make the reunion more comfortable for her (typical Dad holding the bags while daughters in the changing rooms scenario). Not surprisingly, she was very keen on that and even mentioned it to me a few times during our conversations.
She was worried about the fact that her Mum would hate her even more (her words) when she found out that she'd contacted me. I offered to endeavour to contact her Mum again to make contact and that way I would take the heat of of her and be the bad guy so her Mum would never have to know that my daughter was the one that initiated the contact and therefore going against what her Mother had been working towards all this time. I contacted her mother on three separate occasions. The first two I had my daughters blessing - the 3rd attempt did not go down very well (these were all within two weeks).
Things were going well. We were steadily building a relationship where we were laughing and joking about silly things and then one day that all changed. First she refused to send me some pictures of her and following the 3rd ignored e-mail to her mother requesting her permission to contact my daughter, my daughters attitude shifted towards one of anger and even culminated in these exact words (which really do make me cringe);
"Why don't you stop making fucking excuses and get on your knees and apologise!"
I asked her not to speak to me like that to which she replied with "I'm not going to apologise because I'm not sorry".
Following this, I sent her a heart-felt e-mail explaining that I am very sorry if I upset her but she had agreed to me contacting her before so I was unaware that she would object so much the third time. I explained that I was just trying to love her and to be her friend. I said to her that she is her own woman with her own mind and all I can do is love her from afar and be there if she ever needs me. I said that I would be in her life as much as she wants me to.
She kept on saying that I don't know her. As such I closed the e-mail with: "I don't know you, but I do love you. Even 18 years apart can't change that".
So I have now had to take a step back and let her life her life so I can live mine. Her rudeness hurt me, of course. However, I do understand that she is processing a whole ream of emotions at this point. Also, she is 18 and 18 year olds can be like that even when you've been there their whole life (I have two sons who live with me and a 17 year old step-daughter).
Being a Father is different to being a Mother. As her Father, I can't let my daughter think that speaking that way to me is acceptable, as if we do build a relationship now it would be very bad for both of us.
As such, unless she becomes more approachable in the short term, I now need to wait until she has moved into another phase of her life when she may be open to at least being civilised with me and not talking to me like a piece of shit everytime. If she continues to hold me to ransom and not respect me as a human being, I can impart no benefit to her life at this point and any e-mail exchanges will be futile.
If she does contact me again in the future, hopefully it will be from a position of friendship as she has received the explanation for my absence she had sought, and I told her and showed her that I would love for her to be a part of my life and vice versa.
Ironically, I have just finally received today a response from her Mum. While she is clearly not happy about the truth coming out, she has said that she won't stop me seeing my daughter (also ironically she cant now as her daughter will contact me if she wants to off her own back as she has proved).
I just wish she would have responded when my Daughter actually liked me. I know my Daughter has plucked reasons to be angry at me pretty much out of thin air, I think she sabotaged what we had because it was maybe getting too much for her as she admitted that she only initially contacted me to spite her mum after an argument. She was extremely surprised when I responded with the fact that I loved her and I had been waiting 18 years to tell her that.
This is a live situation for me (my Daughter told me to get on my knees and apologise for trying to help her only 2 days ago). As such, any thoughts on how to handle this situation will be much appreciated.
"she admitted that she only initially contacted me to spite her mum after an argument"
So in other words she is like the mother....trying to use both power and control.
"Why don't you stop making fucking excuses and get on your knees and apologise!"
She is now trying to see just how far she can push you and see if you keep coming back for more.....again power and control.
None of this comes from a loving heart as a loving heart is hurt by causing hurt. Now is a time for you to have strength in the very love that you have for her.
Be strong as a strong father should, let her know that you'll be there waiting when she becomes a decent human being and not a moment before, and that you wish her well on that journey of self discovery.
I wish you well.
To Lr454: Bubbaralph's advice is good. It may take weeks, months or even years before your daughter has the emotional intelligence to deal with the issues that are causing her to be angry. Don't dwell on the issues too much, and don't take your daughter's attitude personally. Get on with your own life so that you can be strong for your daughter when she eventually needs you (for the right reasons). I was in my thirties when I found myself in your daughter's position, and it still took me a number of years to deal with all the emotions.
Thanks for your responses.
Things have since got much worse as now she's told her Mum and she's now saying that I am lying about my position on the whole situation (being nice and diplomatic all the way just telling her the truth as she asked).
As such, I advised my daughter that I will be waiting for her whenever she is ready to start a relationship and I left if there. This was following alot more shouting at me and being completely unreasonable.
Finding this blog has been very useful to me. I had never even heard of PAS until I read these posts and if someone new stumbles across this site as I did, I recommend you do a bit of reading around PAS also. My daughter is strongly exibiting these symptoms and only time (or councelling but that won't happen) will get her through this.
It is a relief to know that it isn't my fault. I started out just opening up my heart to her and hoping that she would let me into her life so I could spoil her wrotten. Through reading these posts and researching PAS I now realise that while it is an inherent response in all of us for our children, it was way to much to expect. The bottom line is that she may want to see me in the future, or maybe she wont. As long as I've done everything I possibly can to let her know the truth about me being rejected by her mother all my daughters life, I can live with that. I have done that now and now it's up to time to do it's job that it's usually so good at.
Here's a little extract that is so spot on it could have been written specifically for me ......and I'm guessing it applies to all of us (I've highlighted the key areas that my daughter is exibiting). Anyone reading this, yours may be slightly different but I think reading this may help explain things a bit more.
Parental alienation is a set of strategies that a parent uses to foster a child’s rejection of the other parent. Parental alienation syndrome develops in children who come to hate, fear, and reject the targeted parent as someone unworthy of having a relationship with them. Richard Gardner, PhD, who coined parental alienation syndrome, described in The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Guide for Mental Health and Legal Professionals that there are eight behavioral components that have been validated in a survey of 68 targeted parents of severely alienated children (Baker & Darnall, 2007).
Eight Manifestations of Parental Alienation Syndrome
1. A Campaign of Denigration
Alienated children are consumed with hatred of the targeted parent. They deny any positive past experiences and/or reject all contact and communication.
2. Weak, Frivolous, and Absurd Rationalizations
When alienated children are questioned about the reasons for their intense hostility toward the targeted parent, the explanations offered are not of the magnitude that typically would lead a child to reject a parent. They may also make wild accusations that could not possibly be true.
3. Lack of Ambivalence About the Alienating Parent
Alienated children exhibit a lack of ambivalence about the alienating parent, demonstrating an automatic, reflexive, idealized support. That parent is perceived as perfect, while the other is perceived as wholly flawed. If an alienated child is asked to identify just one negative aspect of the alienating parent, he or she will probably draw a complete blank. This presentation is in contrast to the fact that most children have mixed feelings about even the best of parents and can usually talk about each parent as having both good and bad qualities.
4. The “Independent Thinker” Phenomenon
Even though alienated children often appear to be unduly influenced by the alienating parent, they will adamantly insist that the decision to reject the targeted parent is theirs alone. They deny that their feelings about the targeted parent are in any way influenced by the alienating parent and often invoke the concept of free will to describe their decision.
5. Absence of Guilt About the Treatment of the Targeted Parent
Alienated children typically appear rude, ungrateful, spiteful, and cold toward the targeted parent, and they appear to be impervious to feelings of guilt about their harsh treatment. Gratitude for love, friendship, gifts, favors, or child support provided by the targeted parent is nonexistent. Children with parental alienation syndrome will try to get whatever they can from that parent, declaring that it is owed to them.
6. Reflexive Support for the Alienating Parent in Parental Conflict
Intact families, as well as recently separated and long-term separated couples, will have occasion for disagreement and conflict. In all cases, the alienated child will side with the alienating parent, regardless of how absurd or baseless that parent’s position may be. There is no willingness or attempt to be impartial when faced with interparental conflicts. Children with parental alienation syndrome have no interest in hearing the targeted parent’s point of view. Nothing the targeted parent could do or say makes any difference to these children.
7. Presence of Borrowed Scenarios
Alienated children often make accusations toward the targeted parent that utilize phrases and ideas adopted from the alienating parent. These often manifest by the alienated child making accusations that cannot be supported with detail.
8. Rejection of Extended Family
Finally, the hatred of the targeted parent spreads to his or her extended family. Not only is the targeted parent denigrated, despised, and avoided but so are his or her extended family. Formerly beloved grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins are suddenly and completely avoided and rejected.
Sometimes it can be a whole lot more than just PA.
There are plenty of good parents out there in this world that have children that may look similar to them on the outside yet share nothing with them on the inside, and this is what most find the hardest to deal with, they think they share a common heart. This also happens in families that haven't fractured as well. It can also take any form....poor parents and good kids....good parents and poor kids. Ultimately it comes down to good hearts and poor hearts in its base form.
At the end of the day it is you that will have to set boundaries to each and every behavior that presents as time moves forward. If the behavior she exhibits is bad you do not respond at all, if it is good you talk. You do not debate this nor do you respond to, or be held to ransom from threats.
Acceptance is key to releasing your heart in that just like you, your daughter has freewill to choose her destiny as she sees it and it may or may not in the future align with your own heart. A good father however will never allow poor behavior to become the new normal just to have the child in his life....this in turn gives her some hope in the future for her own life.
I think there is also an altruistic element that is dictating my decision. At least it is in my case. I don't want my daughter to mature with that much hatred in her heart and feeling as if she can manipulate people. That's what would have happened if I would have said 'yes darling - whatever you say' to her telling me to 'F' off or only be kind to me when she wants some money.
...and I hazard a guess that our plight will not be appreciated by others (men or women), as is demonstrated by some of the responses in this forum, unless they have experienced something similar from the man's perspective.
Little do they know that doing this hurts like hell as it goes against everything in our nature but we are doing what is best for our kids......and in turn for our sanity. In doing this we are helping them with one of the most important lessons a parent can teach a child - emotional intelligence. I think that if that's what my role is destined to be, then it will be one of the greatest gifts I could have ever given my daughter.
Then when (or if) they come back to us, it will be on healthier grounds and we will be able to show them the love we have always have craved to give them and they then may be in a better position to actually receive it.
(I think maybe I'm going to get this forums 'hate brigade' onto me after this).
I am glad that you understand, it is an extremely selfless act to take this stance as you are looking to save the child from herself. It is only from the greatest of love that this course is chosen as you may not ever see her again but she will always have a small reminder that not everyone will submit to an empty heart that chooses manipulation and deception over warmth and care and this may in the end be the only catalyst for change for her.
My hope is always for those of a good heart as they inevitably are the ones that have their most wonderful gifts used against them. The narrow path is always a much harder path to travel.
First things first!
I have been absent from my childrens life's for the past 14 years! Both children are moving into their adult lifes 20 and 21, I left them both and their mother all those years ago! Over the years I have tried to establish a relationship with both of them and failed miserably. ...
I feel none of the situations on here relate directly to my experience, I do realise I share a lot of the pain, frustration and anguish shown in the posts and I appreciate the advice and comments made by all. However It does seem like a lot of blame has been put onto the parents that are not present on the form to defend themselves. For a long time I used the blame card, blaming others for my shortfalls! But life is never that straight forward!! Just for the record I also blamed myself and have been hard on myself to my own detrament and others around me to the extent of trying to take my own life and not wanting to have anymore children, even going through the agonising process of an abortion with my long term partner whom I met a year or so after I left my children.
My situation started when I was 16 my partner fell pregnant she was 17. I never found out she was pregnant untill she was 6months gone (probably because of many reasons one being my reaction, but mainly her life was about to change for ever not to mention loosing out on her teenage years) We were in a good relationship we loved being together... although we were two opposites! She intelligent and studing to go to university me a bit of a jack the lad but we seemed to work together. Like most teenagers we made mistakes!
Parenthood was something we both struggled with, made harder with both our own family life, both from single parent family, her Dad died when she was young, mine left when I was two. Our mothers never spoke her mother taking on the role of grand parent much better than mine. I first met her mother a day or two before our first child was born. I was there for the birth and provided what I could.
by this point I was 17 my mother left me and moved away and in with her boyfriend leaving me to fend for myself. Sleeping on friends sofas etc. I got a flat and managed to get a job although we never moved in together we spent time together and I provided for mother and child. My partner fell pregnant once more. Unfortunately my jack the lad image was hard to shake off and found myself in trouble with the police resulting in me spending some time in a young offenders prison.... although spending less than a month here it was enough time to realise what I had and what I had to do to keep it. On my release we managed to secure a house and I found work so we moved in together and our second child was born. The next 6/7years we worked hard at beeing a family with ups and downs I loved my family and them me. During this time I strayed from home and had a couple of one night stands although not proud of my actions I admited my wrongs and tried to move on. Near the end of our relationship we both tried hard at being a family.... we both went back into education to try and make a better life for us all but unfortunately this seemed to push our relationship further apart. We both did not socialise together taking turns each to babysit whilst the other had a night out with friends. On the outside looking in, everyone thought we were doing well and were so lucky to have each other we seemed to have the perfect family.
The kids wanted for nothing they were amazing a credit to us both. Unknown to me my partner must have been building up all the resentment towards me and my past behaviour. . If im honest I have not an ounce of blame towards her for this, one day she accused me of sleeping with her friend, my brothers partner! I could understand the accusation due to my past but I just could not understand why my brothers partner would insinuate this to my partner! My partner asked me to leave the family home I went straight to my brothers for answers but none were forthcoming and to this day we dont speak! For the next few months I managed to get a flat away from the family home but continued providing for my children financialy and emotionaly. I was there for them, juggling babysitting, collage and work. My relationship with my now ex partner was amicable but strained, for me I never got any answers for being thrown out of my home. The weeks past with me seeing the kids every other weekend and it became aparent my ex was in a new relationship! This broke my heart. To know someone else was in my bed in my house with my family that I had worked hard to build, this broke me, I turned to drink and my kids suffered the most, they were only kids they didnt understand talking about this new man in their lifes who was so great and wonderful was crushing me ripping my heart out and jumping on it! I could not handle it! This is were I was at my lowest and tried to take my own life! I had no one to turn to family and friends just did not understand! I blamed myself from the start, how could I blame my ex or her new partner.. in my head I was getting what I deserved for my mistakes and mine alone!
during the planning for my suicide I wrote my ex a letter, an apology for my past actions and tried to explain how I was feeling and how much it hurt not being part of my kids lifes... I just could not cope knowing my kids had a new Dad in their lifes and it was my fault no one else was to blame!
to this day I have spoken a hanful of times to my ex over emails discussing family mediation and how we can move forward, unfortunately my kids did not want to know so no mediation took place. This I could not come to terms with. I could not understand why they did not want to meet with me..the years past I finished collage and moved away for a year to work abroad. During this time I was sending birthday card and xmas stuff, but unkown to me they had moved house. None of my family bothered to see my kids not even my mother not that she bothered when I was there! But worse my brother stayed in the same area and seen my kids regularly in passing but no information got to me. As more time past I did not send cards although I often drove to their house but just could not find the courage to go in.
About three years ago I found my kids on Facebook. . My son did not reply to any messages but my daughter the youngest replyed.. I was over the moon we chatted for a bit and she explained she was confused and needed time to talk to freinds, family and think things through. I was so proud of her and agreed to exchange emails.. she informed me of some things mainly how she was doing at school and mentioned breifly how hard it was for her and my son growing up and finding freinds and how my son has had a hard time over the years with illness but the both of them where happy and were very close, best friends.we exchanged emails for a while, me writing a novel and my daughter writing a couple of lines. This was fine I could understand I was the one who left and I was the one with all the explaining and making up to do.. so gently I started to try and give her answers.... but this was too much for her she replied with I cant remember any time I was in her life and that I should know she now calls my ex new partner Dad and by talking to me she feels she is hurting her step dad and that she was confused and needed more time! I could totaly understand this but god does it hurt! So I stopped sending weekly emails resorting to one a month just telling her everyday stuff trying not to put pressure on her.. but I so wanted to meet her and just hug her but I got no replies. I do check on their facebook page now and then, I cant help it even tho she posted her graduation photo hugging her new step Dad for her cover picture so im back to the birthday and xmas wishes that was two years ago with no replies.....she will be 20 in a couple of months my son turned 21 the other day so I decided to spill my heart to him and ask for forgivness and a chance to try and start some sort of relationship with no reply....this is how I find my self writting this, not sure why maybe to share my experience or for someone to analyse me tell me were I have gone wrong I dont know!!
14 years on I have built a sucessful career and would love to share my sucess with the two people who inspired me to better myself my kids
last year my father suffered a stroke leaving him unable to walk or talk... I had not seen him since my sisters wedding 5 years ago... he was never there for us was and still is an alcoholic when he was in hospital I visited his house that has been in the family for over a hundred years some where that holds no memories for me as we met my dads family a handful of times. For some reason I have put my career on hold to look after him. Why? Again I dont know!
Yes I am an abscent father yes I could have and should have done more to fight for my children, yes they and everyone else has suffered through my actions! I don't need any one to tell me that!
I believe my children have had a good and balanced upbringing ( no thanks to me or my family) I just want to know where I go from here? I cant expect them to treat me like a father.. or I cant expect anything from them. I just want the opertunity to be there for them.
my philosophy at the moment is they suffered when they were young and still carry the scares of me leaving them! How do I help them understand I have suffered too... and will always carry the burden of walking out on my family... I fear I will never be truly happy untill I can hug my kids again.................
How long do you want to suffer for?
Often women who have another man in the background will make false accusations to clear you out of the house. They then proceed to supplant the new man in their life as their children's father and proceed to brainwash the children to match their new paradigm of "happy families" .... you are now surplus and in the way of your ex partners grand delusion, the children's acquiescence and denial of you completes the delusion. This does not excuse your prior behavior though.
Yes, without doubt you have had your flaws but so does everyone in life and the love you have had for your children has never ceased, you just became a lost soul in an overwhelming sea of emotions.
The key for you is to find love for yourself within yourself first and foremost, and if you can forgive others so easily.....then forgive yourself. If you can achieve this and be at peace and your children become aware of this then maybe one day your children will reach out to you but firstly you must complete yourself within.
Peace be with you,
The love, respect and trust that a child develops for their parents comes from acts of selflessness from their Mum or Dad (or stepmum/stepdad). This love takes a number of years to mature to an adult level. It sounds like your children's stepdad has done a wonderful job with them, and it's likely they will be great human beings because of this. At this point, that is the most important thing - your children's welfare. Because your children are safe and happy, it also means that you don't need to beat yourself up or feel guilty for anything. My stepfather was abusive to me on a number of occasions - believe me, you can thank your lucky stars that your kids didn't have to cope with that along with everything else.
You need to give your children a lot of time to accept you on an emotional level, and this acceptance may ebb and flow as well. My birthfather (who I never knew as a child) and I now catch up every so often, sometimes once a month, sometimes every three months. He makes a great effort with my kids when we all get together, and this is a major reason why I now respect him. It took many years though.
I agree with bubbaralph - you can't always solve internal pain or turmoil through the use of outside influences (in this case, your children). Their acceptance of you shouldn't entirely determine your own happiness. A lot of the time the solution must come from within yourself. The best thing for you is to accept what has happened in the past, and realise that you've learnt a lot from it. Then start making new plans for the future. When your children see you with different eyes, hopefully they will want to include you in their lives more regularly, especially when they have kids of their own :-)
I once heard someone say... "all is learning good and bad"...ultimately it is how we react to seemingly impossible or improbable situations as to where our own truths lie.
Your family I'm sure would be proud of you Jasecat.
Peace be with you,
That's an awesome thing to say about me Bubbaralph. Thanks :-)
thanks for your reply, and sorry for my late reply..
i have done a lot of soul searching over the past few weeks/years, it has not been easy. thankfully i was looking for help in the right places.
it has took me a while to filter through both your comments and would like to thank you both for helping to give me a fresh outlook on life.
The past 14 years i have been unable to deal with my situation and have suffered and lost out on so much of my children s life's. i am extremely grateful to both my ex and her new partner for, by all accounts doing a great job of bringing up my children whom both are studding at university and seem to be happy. i feel i have come a long way to accept they are not my children anymore, they have my genes but not my input/philosophies etc. however i will never give up hope of being part of their adult life's, and maybe one day make up for my mistakes. one step at a time! for the past year i have put my career on hold to look after my sick father, as of this week i have begun to take up some work offers and decided to put my happiness back on track. cant begin to explain the emotions i have went through the past few days, stuff i guess i knew all along stuff that i never confronted or talked about, stuff i was ashamed of! stuff that was effecting me and people i love. i pretty much relived the past 14 years of my life and concluded i cant change what has been and gone i can only effect the future!
Maybe one day i can return here and offer advice
Very happy for you,
You should always be grateful of the good heart that you possess. You have searched deep within, you have felt remorse, repentance and you know great love. You have so much to give to this world. If your children have hearts like yours one day they will find you, in the meantime share what is good within you with others that are in your life.
You are a good man. Keep going on the right track - patience and positivity will get you there. Don't hesitate to call back here to tell us how things are going, or just to chat. Some of us have been following this thread for a year or two :-) Also remember that you are never alone.
Finally I have read an article that seems real. I have read so much about what I have to do as a dad and I will do everything possible but I always feel so guilty. My wife left us with 3 children aged 8,10,12 for me to raise on my own. She wanted and now has a wealthy man. The divorce,after 30 yrs. of marriage was devastating to me. She simply left me a note she no longer wanted the kids and would leave them at the house. My kids are 25,27 and 29. I received little or no child support because my wife claimed poverty and was forced to sell our home and split the money. 1 thing I always held dear was that I was going to raise these kids. No matter what. It was enormously difficult especially without money. Their mom was rarely around and did not use her visitation rights. I started drinking because of depression and it was tough for 4 years but with help I am now alcohol free. now my 29 year old daughter cant seem to talk to me without gushing about her mom, the big home,the family dinners where my other children do not attend. Everytime I talk to her the subject is all about mom. She doesnt call often maybe once every 4 or 5 months. She is well educated specializing on momens history. I was wrong to drink but I stopped that years ago but my daughter seems to put me in a box and wont let me out. I have asked her to forgive me but that doesnt negate the daily care I gave my kids. I once told her that if she wont let me out of that box she will never be able to see her real dad as he is now and has been for many years. I have cried about this but I am now encouraged by reading this. You have to face what is and not what you wish.I did everything I could and worked every minute of overtime and loved those kids. So now I wont feel the guilt. She is a grown woman and I now refuse to be bellittled. I did aal I could and I loved all those kids
To Stevei2000: I think these posts in this forum discussion are about as real and honest as it gets :-)
I like your quote: "You have to face what is, and not what you wish". From what you've said, you have no reason to feel guilty at all. You are the one who put in the hard work raising your kids despite all of the setbacks. In recent times you've also taken real action to focus on yourself and improve your own life, and that can only lead to bigger and better things.
Be patient with your daughter and let her go about her own business for now. Her priorities may change as she gets older. Hopefully she will slowly realise that money is not one of the most important things in life (for the lucky people in this world, one of those very important things is family) . Also take into account that even in "traditional" families with kids where the marriage stays together, one or two of the kids will have a natural attachment to a particular parent due to genetics and personality similarities. So it's not your fault :-)
Thx for the support. I kind of have a different take on it though. I want to first understand myself. For me thats the first step. If one looks at themselves and understands why they feel a sense of sorrow that is the first and most important step. I cannot fully understand anyone even my own adult kids even if I wanted to but if,big if, I can understand inwardly my own thinking thats the start. I also believe that the word "family" is totally misrepresented in society. Family can be the most brutal, closed club. Our family is the world not just our off spring. Most of us who would be honest would agree, I think, that is a fact. Just loving ones own shuts out the rest. Love, to me, is not being attached to anyone or anybody but letting them be free to do as they will. Then when you have freedom real love can flower but you cant give it to anyone, we all have to give that freely without expectation of any kind. cheers
In your travels it seems you've also done some thinking about your spiritual growth as well. You are probably a natural "big picture" thinker. If everyone thought like you, and gave up the possessiveness that often accompanies our close relationships, the world would surely be a kinder place.
I do share a special bond with my two girls, but I like to think that the majority of the time it's a relationship that's based on mutual respect rather than me trying to dominate or submit. They are only 10 and 12 though so they are still at the age where I feel the need to guide them along the right path. There has to be a healthy balance there though - sometimes I'm "dad", and sometimes I'm just someone cool to hang around with.
From the original postings here I have thought heavily without replying , and reading further into each and every situational reply I have come down to this . I am now an older father 62 of a 38 year old daughter , in much the same as the originally described situation . except for one thing . At each chance to show love for my girl , I did it ! Whether allowed one chance a year or twenty . I tried from a great distance to "always be there " and that's the importance I'm trying to point out !
We failed as parents ! Yes , the very moment we "changed " a marriage and family unit , man or woman , we broke down that original implied promise , to something at once out of our hands . Whether the mom who stayed or the dad who left , or the opposite ! We failed .
Now at the long end of WHATEVER the circumstances of that child reaching adulthood , however the day to day existence of that child surviving in the situation without one parent, in that existence THAT WE CREATED ; that child owes us no excuse as to why they don't instantly attach themselves to us , even as an adult . Stop and think about how they must have suffered emotionally through their childhood . That one where THEY survived emotionally without you in their life , in their life each moment of each and every day , a good or a bad day , It is we who fail the child and not the child who fails us .
And I went through this too as an adult ; thinking that because THEY are now an adult ! That they can somehow mature instantly to a complete realization that through it all -we loved them and deserve nothing but the same in return ? ? Hmmmm ! ........ Not quite good enough . And it may never be either , Why ? Because of what we left out of their lives by failing that unwritten promise of parenthood !
And here I was thinking that true love from the heart conquers all hardship when it is linked together....are you telling us that it doesn't?....that love needs to have a perfect set of conditions to exist or thrive?......that forgiveness isn't an option when one doesn't get your perfect family scenario in life?.....or do you just refuse to look?
Seems to me you just feel sorry for yourself.
@ ahorseback , THANKYOU. I had always wished my father will understand that just because he is father does not make him dad. It's quite hard for someone whether child or adult to just behave like everything is fine with a parent who was absent from their child's life at some point. It is relieving that you as a dad has this point of view. I have learnt to think past the negatives and contact him though because he was in my life up until I was a teenager. It is so much pressure on the child making the child feel like they are doing something wrong by not contacting you (the parent) could instead push them further away (as in my case).
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