Strained Relations

Strained Relations: Help for Struggling Parents of Troubled Teens

Lori Chose to be Estranged From Her Dad

Posted by Marcia on July 6, 2010

Today’s blog post is from a woman who read my blog and is interested in the topic from the point of view of a child who chose to stay away from her father. Living with an unstable father, suffering from his bad choices and chaos that ensued, she made a difficult decision to protect herself and her family. As she wrote to me, “I’m always hoping my dad will wake up, but just when I think he might, he gets right back to his old antics.” Here’s Lori’s story:

People often mention troubled children, yet, there also quite sadly exist troubled parents. I myself have had to deal with an unstable father throughout my childhood and made the tough decision in my 20s to no longer have him in my life. The factors that influenced this go far beyond my parents’ divorce, my father’s infidelities, and alcoholism. Those were merely symptoms of the broken man I could no longer deal with. After years of therapy and determination, I can now say I harbor no anger or hate for him; only pity and forgiveness.

I’d like to point out that my belief in forgiveness means that I bear him no ill will and wish him no harm. It does not mean that I find his behaviors to be right or okay, and it does not mean that I wish to let him back around me to commit the same offenses. Forgiveness in my mind is releasing that person from destructive thoughts while still keeping yourself protected through setting boundaries. I do not hate him; I do not trust him, either.

Until the age of 18 I was a victim. From that point on, I knew I finally had the control and freedom to distance myself from my father’s toxicity and manipulation. It was difficult and scary, but worth it. The specifics of my struggle are not essential to my message; someone always has it worse than someone else, yet what we all have in common is the power to move on.

I know people mean well when they say they hope we can work things out and that maybe one day I’ll want him back in my life. What they don’t understand is that this person is ill, broken, and keeps repeating their same destructive patterns.

Sometimes in speaking with certain people I get the sense that I’m being judged for my decision. It’s been implied that I don’t really understand the impact of my decision and I’ll regret it. What they don’t realize is to come to this decision I’ve already had to accept the situation and mourn the loss of a caring, safe parent that I never had and never will be able to have.

One Response to “Lori Chose to be Estranged From Her Dad”

  1. stacedee said

    I relate to every word Lori said. I have not spoken to my father on Father’s Day in I can’t remember when. I have moved far away in an attempt to get him out of my life, however, my mom is still a very sick woman and continues to bring him into my life. My oldest daughter, also continues to allow him in her life. This frightens me and angers me and worries me beyond belief. I am 43 years old and I am just now realizing how the damage that he did and continues to do. It’s like everyone is afraid to stand up to him except me. He has free license to threaten lives with weapons, to belittle & demean everyone he comes in contact with and even those that refuse to be in his presence any more. He was diagnosed with cancer 7 years ago and somehow that excuses his behavior .. violent & radical fits of rage. I am constantly trying to make my daughter see and understand that she must protect herself. I am so angry at the people who state as you stated above…..

    “I know people mean well when they say they hope we can work things out and that maybe one day I’ll want him back in my life. What they don’t understand is that this person is ill, broken, and keeps repeating their same destructive patterns.”

    Why are we held responsible for his behavior? Why do people try to make us feel guilt for protecting our lives? He is the one with the problem and that problem is the reason I am not around. Why are they not applauding us for being strong and moving beyond the dysfunction? Shouldn’t they be more concerned about why the PARENT in the situation has done nothing to be even a mediocre parent… hell, I would have settled for below mediocrity. That’s how bad really was in my childhood.

    We are born into families with absolutely no choice in the matter. Does this mean we are to be abused or risk abuse for our entire lives?

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