- Beyond Blue Forums
- Caring for myself and others
- Relationship and family issues
- Reconnecting with father after 30 years, should I?
- Subscribe to RSS Feed
- Mark Topic as New
- Mark Topic as Read
- Pin this Topic for Current User
- Printer Friendly Page
Reconnecting with father after 30 years, should I?
As some of you may have read in my previous thread, I have recently come to terms with being raised by my mother who has undiagnosed NPD. I have decided that for my own health and well being it is time for me to cease contact with her and through this process some other issues have bubbled up to the surface which I am dealing with quite well with the support of my amazing husband.
one of those issues is whether or not to contact my biological father after so many years. As I now understand it he was parentally alienated by my mother, I remember that he did attempt contact with me for some years but I was a bit brain washed into believing he had essentially abandoned us and only made contact when he felt like it etc etc, so at age 15ish I myself to him to leave off and never contact me again (with mother standing behind me while I was on the phone). Yet he continued to try and make contact, admittedly only once a year or so but makes me now think he tried as he could whilst being blocked by my mother and never just went away and forgot about us.
My questions around contacting him are now that I understand what happened I feel I owe him an apology of sorts for assisting my mother to push him out of my life. But at the same time I don't really know this man, he is a stranger to me. Also, what effect will my contacting him have on him and his family? Will it be hurtful to him as he has maybe found peace in getting on with his life with his new family? I did contact him about 15 yrs ago when I first started to question my mothers motives, we met for a drink and he seemed happy to see me. He was open and honest and answered all my questions but at that time I was still somewhat under my mothers spell and got into a lot of trouble by contacting him (even though I was 30 yr old adult) so the meeting was just that 2 hour drink and I have not had any contact since.
I don't feel like he is missing from my life as I don't really know him but I do feel like I owe him something as he must have his own questions around why his children rejected him and I realise now it would have been painful for him.
Or do I let sleeping dogs lay?
Life's too short, you have nothing to lose.
I've read your other posts and think that having a mother - and stepfather - that has constantly tried to control you and put you down may well have given you a very poor image of parents. That's not to say all are good, but many are.
From what you say it has also given you problems in self regard too, something hopefully time and your supportive husband can help remedy.
You have proved you are bigger than your upbringing and have had the courage to cease contact with your mother, a huge step under the circumstances. You are in charge of your life.
I can't really advise you what to do, just point out some things - which you have probably considered anyway. I can say your natural father has consistently reached out. Also that you have not really known a good parental relationship, which can be a very special place in one's life.
I think you mention you have children, so you are finding out waht a relationship as a parent with a child is, and in all probability using your mother as an example of what not to do.
One can build up all sorts of reasons for not doing something, your thoughts about your father having reached a balance and so on are just that - thoughts, not reasons.
I'm not sure you owe any apology under the circumstances, maybe acknowledge the hurt - which you both have suffered. I do know you are able to survive and deal with contact, no matter how it goes.
Have you talked this over with your husband? I'd expect it would affect him too, if only out of concern for you.
Looking at the years, your father may be 65 or more, and as Theborderline says life does not go on for ever. If you were to make a move now might be the time.
Really the only pressure to act is from inside you. What do you personally feel?
Hello Burdy, a good question, one which you must have been asking yourself for quite a while, and the only way to find out
He has tried to on many an occasion, but your mother has convinced you that things were not appropriate, but that's what she has told you, so is it the truth or just what she has told you, well yes it's the latter, but the former, that's something you don't know.
Let him try and explain, give him some time and also tell him
So definitely yes.
Thanks for your post.
Borderline , Croix , and Geoff have given helpful suggestions so I won’t releat what they wrote.
I just wonder what your expectations you have when you reconnect, are you thinking it will be are one off or an ongoing relationship?
Also you can decided what boundaries to setup there is an ongoing relationship.
I can see how you may be curious because he has tried despite many obstacles to be in touch. it is sad when one parent turns a child against the other parent.
As you say you dont really know much about your father , and it is up to you what you decide.
how would you feel if you don’t reconnect , will you still have questions and doubts?
Thank you all for your replies, so much appreciated and helps to think about things from different perspectives.
Croix, it was actually my husband who first mentioned my father, he asked me if I thought reconnecting with him would help, I at first scoffed at the suggestion but hubby said it may help to talk to my father and see things from his side to confirm my thoughts on my belief that she had alienated him. He also said he would like to meet my father to see where I have come from. I left it alone but after a week or so I just started thinking about it and all these questions started arising.
And admittedly as much as I have no contact with her, I still haven't deleted her on fb. I still have a block there with regard to the repercussions of doing so. But that's a story for my other thread.
I like to believe I have parented very differently to my mother. My son and I are close and he is very open with me (funny I heard those words come out her mouth so many times and used to think to myself bulls**t so now I hesitate to use them).
I really do not know how I feel about my father, like I said I do not really know him and don't really know what I expect from contacting him. I also think about my brother who has had literally zero contact with him for 30 years (by my brothers choice, I have spoken to him about it in the past but my brother wants nothing to do with it), will it effect my brother? Will my father expect contact with him?
Part of me aches for a parental connection with someone but I quickly squash the feelings because I just don't want the bother or the headache. But Quirky makes a good point when asking how I would feel if I don't reconnect and I guess the answer is in the fact that I seem to go through this every 10 - 15 years...?
But this time, for everyones sake I want to make sure it is what I want and what I can deal with because as my mother used to always point out he can't just waltz in and out of my life when it suits him and I can't do that to him either it's not fair, hence my concern for him having moved forward and gotten on with his life.
Maybe I write him a letter, explain all my thoughts and feelings of what happened and my expectations from initiating contact and leave my contact details for him to make the choice. I thought a letter can just go in the bin if that's what he wants but a phone call might be to confronting - not just for him but also for me if I am rejected.
Thoughts please? Thank you all again
It's somethng you are thinking about a lot, and no, you may not know how you feel. In fact it might take contact to discover that. I think Quirky has raised a good point, how will you feel if the opportunity passes?
I'm not sure the idea of 'waltzing in and out' applies here. That implies little thought and maybe being inconsiderate. From what you have said this does not apply to your father or to you. The fact you are hesitating and wondering about the effects on others underlines this, though really they are responsible for how they deal wiht all this.
I'm glad your husband is taking an active part, it is a big thing and having someone unreservedly on your side is real gold.
I had an opportunity a bit like yours, to be in contact wiht a parent after many years. The difference being that my parents had disinherited me as a young man. It was a great disappointment, the parent had not changed, in fact had become more corrosive, and it was only pity that allowed me to maintain contact until the person passed away. In hindsight I probably should not have renewed old wounds.
Perhaps your circumstances are rather different. From the sound of it your father did not wish to be separated from you and on the contrary tried to make contact.
The idea of a letter could be good. If you felt face to face was going to be overwhelming and you might become very upset then a letter gets around the problem - and does allow you to say how you feel at the moment.
That can be a downside too of course, a letter is a snapshot in time, and does not allow for interaction and response. Still it could be a safe start if you decided to make contact..
I am wondering how things went for you.
I know someone who is going through something similar but with a few variations.
I would hope it does not have a negative effect on them and would appreciate any help.
There is not much around on this topic.
Thanks in advance