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Rebuilding a broken father/daughter relationship

Community Member

Hi Everyone,

In the past I’ve used this forum to vent, but this time I actually need some advice. Just a little background, I have diagnosed anxiety and have been on medication on and off for the past 5 years (on at the moment).

I’ve been estranged from my father for almost 5 years, but our relationship has been rocky for at least 10 years. I’m an only child, my parents divorced when I was 5, and both remarried when I was young. A variety of reasons led to us no longer talking, mainly I felt as though he never picked me or put me first, everything was always more important than me and when I turned 18 I reached my emotional limit.

When coronavirus started getting worse, my dad called me. I couldn’t answer out of sheer shock, but we’ve been texting back and forth for the last few months. I took a big step and reached out to organise a lunch, just me and him. He agreed and now I’m freaking out.

Sooooo much has happened in my life over the last 5 years, and it feels extremely overwhelming thinking about telling him about all of it. I’m not going to tell him everything at once, but it’s all flooding to my head, as well as all the things that I’d have to get of my chest in order for us to move forward. Everyone keeps asking what I’m wanting out of this, and to be honest I have no idea. I’d like some kind of relationship, but I don’t want to have any expectations, cause I’ll just get hurt again.

I feel like I’m going into this blind, I have no idea if it’ll hurt me more or help me. I just want to know if anyone has any advice for this first meet up and for our future relationship?

Thanks in advance

1 Reply 1

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

Well yes I do have some ideas.

Ive two daughters now 31 and 27yo. The younger one I don’t see at all and it was my choice in the end. At 14yo she decided not to see me anymore from pressure from her mother who held grudges. Then for 13 years my daughter came in and out of my life hurting me every time until the last time. In shirt she plays emotional games. That wears thin after a while.

So bearing that in mind my advice is that you have a good opportunity with your dad to a new beginning. To make this successful some very basic rules could be suggested as a guide to protect your relationship

  • No outside interference. Keep your relationship details quiet. Comments to rivals will be returned with negativity
  • Ask him what he’d like in a new relationship with you.
  • Tell him what you’d love to do in a new relationship eg movies, camping etc
  • Remove any judgement about his divorce of your mother.

That’s about it.

From a fathers viewpoint the last one is most important. See, I left the family home when my girls were 7 and 4yo. Leaving went against all my principles. I’d tried suicide one week beforehand - that’s how serious it was. My ex was a cruel selfish lazy person. But my youngest daughter took her side and I always had wondered why. The fact is- she turned out the same.

So my biggest recommendation is to not make judgement on that relationship. I’m sure he would have broken his heart to have lost his family over it.

Be kind. Be positive for your new relationship with him is dad and daughter- no one else.

Good luck