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Relationship with my Dad

Community Member
I posted before about my ex breaking my heart about not opening up...
I don't want to talk to my friends about this topic because they value my dad very highly and I don't want them to think anything different of him

As I mentioned in my post, Heartbroken- need advice-- I said my Dad has cancer
I have found it hard to love him as I get older, he was extremely abusive physically and emotionally to my siblings and Mum.  He is just verbally/emotionally abusive now... The last physical incident happened 16 years ago now.
I can see how sad and lonely he is, and I feel sad for him, but I am struggling to care and love him.. and I know when he passes, his final words will be "I am so sorry for the way I treated you".. and that will destroy me if he says that
4 Replies 4

Community Champion
Community Champion

It sounds like a very tough situation to be in.

I listen a number of mental health podcasts... in a recent podcast a person asked the question whether they should reestablish a relationship with one of their parents, given what had happened to them in the past. The expert said they did not have to, they did not owe their parents anything.

On the other side, in a podcast about justice, a person can do things other think impossible. (This is the story of Rais Bhuiyan.)

The behaviour of your dad could have been the result or side-effect of his own upbringing. That might not make it easier, except to like the person but not their behaviour. And i am trying to be careful not to tell too much of my own story.

There is no right or wrong answer. Except that from reading your post I sense you are very nice, good, honest person and despite what might be hurled at you you find a way to move forwards. And that also means if anyone questions your actions, you can say it was only right or fair.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi theaussiedude,

What a difficult position to be in, and I can understand why you feel so conflicted. You obviously have a lot of unresolved anger towards your father (understandably) for the way that he treated you and also because the victims are rarely able to confront the abuser, at the time because they are so volatile and also because they probably would have minimized it or denied it anyway. But now that he has cancer he likely wants to make amends with his family. What you decide is completely up to you, you are well within your rights not to forgive a man who has abused you his whole life. I suppose you just need to decide what will give you the most closure (for your own sake) when he passes. Would you consider ever having a conversation with him about how you feel?

He always denies being abusive, or " can't remember"

“Cant remember” the biggest cop-out of them all..never ceases to amaze me the things people can’t remember until something is done to them. A part of me wants you to tell your father exactly how you feel and how he treated you over the years, not for any comforting response that he could give you but so that you could get it off your chest and let him know that he hasn’t gotten away with it. And if he pulls the can’t remember card then you can always explain that that is exactly why he is sad and lonely now. But I understand if that’s not something that you really want to get into now. Do you think that there is any chance that his current predicament may have made him reflect on his past behaviour and have regrets? At the end of the day it’s your decision, you can have one final talk with him (and you may get closure or you may not) or you can just choose to leave it and let it go. There really is no right and wrong way to handle this situation, just whatever you think will give you the most peace.