How can I let go of my trust issues with my father?
November 3, 2012 12:09 PM Subscribe
Father issues: How to let go and move on, how to trust, and if I should.
posted by Kitty Cornered to Human Relations (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My father and I have been somewhat estranged over the last 10 years. We have seen each other at family funerals and hospital bedsides. We’ve been polite and spoken as needed. He would tell me during those times that he wanted to move on from our rift, he wanted to “make good” but then I wouldn’t hear from him. These situations were heartbreaking for me.
Back-story: My parents divorced after 30 years of marriage 13 years ago- my father had an affair. This upset me but was not the cause of our rift. My parents' marriage wasn't a happy one. Common story isn't it? We were very close until that point; he was a good father. I was in my late 20s and my father told me a variety of horrific things about my mother and other relatives. He did this to I believe spread the guilt. I know now that some were distortions of the truth (and that is a generous way of putting it). But these situations he told me were very difficult for me as they isolated me-I could not talk to my mom, sister or other relatives without sharing what he said. As the years went by, I found out from another relative that he had cheated on my mom at another time when I was a child. While I was truly disappointed and saddened, it did not devastate me. I am now 40 and 1)he did not cheat on me-I am his daughter and was not his wife, and 2) I realize he is just a human being and makes mistakes like all of us. However, I am having trouble forgiving him for the statements/lies he told me and the isolation that he put me in that have caused me so much grief. There's more to it than this, but this is an example. My father has a history of very harsh statements to me since the divorce. And for whatever reason, if he says it, it breaks me. If anyone else said it, I could just ignore it.
Now, another funeral recently, and he actually followed through and emailed me. Now he wants to come around. I want to let go of my anger and hurt. Is that a good idea? I want to move forward and I am mad as hell at him still. How do I let go of all the past anger from decades past? I went to therapy for two years in the past about my damn daddy issues and the end result was that if he caused me to much distress, it is ok for me to not have in my life. Which is what I did. He is getting older and is health is getting worse. I don’t want to be a person who is resentful or regrets but I’m scared that this man who I’m so vulnerable to will hurt me again. How do I move forward? I want to lessen the importance of him in my life if I do decide to have him in my life-how does one do that? How can this strong independent 40 year old woman not fall to pieces because her dad emailed her?
I know individuals that have fathers that completely abandoned them, that abused them and these individuals have forgiven and I just don’t know how. So forgive me if this seems so small. I have half of me that says why trust someone who treats you poorly and is so selfish, and the other half (and family members) who emphasize that this is your father. Arrghh.
I would appreciate any tangible help-not just theory but what worked for you, books, etc. Much thanks.