Help me figure out the next step with my dad.
December 28, 2007 9:01 PM Subscribe
Have you ever explicitly told your dad, or any parent, that for your own emotional well-being you need time away from them? Have you ever wanted to? Is there any way to do this? Details inside.
posted by Ash3000 to human relations (30 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
It was on a family roadtrip over the holiday that it's crystallized to me most clearly: I must minimize, for at least the immediate future, my father's presence in my life.
To give some context, I'm 23, six months out of college. My parents are in southern NJ, whereas I live and work in NYC. My dad pretty much systematically destroyed any sense of worth or self-esteem I may have had growing up. While he almost never laid a hand on me, the cruelty and pervasiveness of the ways in which he made me feel worthless, ugly, damaged and disgusting while growing up would require an essay to even scratch here; in addition, it's only been since leaving for college that I fully understood what a terrible role model he is and was, particularly in the way he talks to and treats his wife, my mom.
In the past few years, he's slowly reformed himself, seemingly realizing the extent to which he fucked up my childhood. For the most part, he's been much more gentle, less judgmental, etc. There are lapses now and then, but I forgive them.
Until this roadtrip. It's been such a merciless reminder of what it was like in my house growing up that I've been crying to sleep in the hotels the last week, listening to music I haven't listened to since I was 16, etc. I feel like a good chunk of the work I've done to not hate myself is melting away.
Bleh. I don't know what to do now. I don't want to talk to my dad (or maybe even my mom, who I sometimes hate for enabling him) on the phone, while I'm in NYC. I don't want to go to NJ to visit them. I don't know what to do. But at the same time, I want him to somehow realize (given that he seems oblivious) that he is really hurting me, that if I don't talk to him on the phone, there's a reason, it's not "fucking [my name] being [my name]." Part of me wishes I could scream at him about what an awful father he is, how much harder he made it for me to have normal relationships, etc., without there being family fallout. Part of me just wants to wake up with a new family. I don't know.
Anyone been in this situation?