My father told me I am "dead to him"

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SiberianRomeo

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My father told me I am "dead to him"
« on: June 08, 2020, 02:09:36 PM »
Hello:

Not sure where to begin, this current situation has been going on for seven weeks.  A telephone argument with my 69 year old father ended in him responding to my email with "DON'T EVER CALL OR TEXT ME AGAIN.  YOU ARE DEAD TO ME.  HAVE A HAPPY LIFE."  I know this is irrational and abusive.  What I can't understand is why this continues to hurt me and when will I start to feel better.  There is a very long history here - I stopped all relationships with my father from the age of 14 to 22. I am now 43 years old.

The argument started over filing my 37 year old sister's unemployment claim.  She kept asking over and over again if it was safe to file the claim yet, but all the paperwork she provided to me said "this coming Sunday."  So after answering her over and over again that she had to wait until Sunday, I replied with "You can do whatever you want."  This all took place via text message.  My father called within 5 minutes.  He started the conversation by asking me if I was actually going to deny my sister help with her unemployment claim because both he and my sister forgot my husband's birthday a couple of weeks prior.  He then launched in to saying "whatever" was not an appropriate response and the stress of needing to file unemployment was causing her to lose her eyesight in her left eye.  He said I was the most insensitive and selfish person he has ever met.  My response to his statements were to defend myself, ask him why he was immediately accusing me of refusing to help her when he didn't have the whole story.  He said he didn't care, he didn't need to know the whole story.  He said my sister was stressed out and I had her in tears over my refusal to assist with her claim and that all he cared about was getting her situation resolved.  This upset me even more, so I began to tell him how frustrated I am that I never hear from them unless they need something - file my unemployment claim, fix my FaceBook, find a walkin clinic because I don't feel well and my doctor is booked, fix my tablet, etc., etc.  He responded by saying it wasn't their fault I was the only smart one in the family.  A ten to fifteen minute screaming match ensued and ended with the last several minutes of him saying over and over again " Are you going to help her or not?"  To which I kept replying, "On Sunday.  Like the paperwork says."  I said my sister's behavior reminded me of having to deal with our mother (who I no longer have contact with due to her mental issues/guilt trips, etc.).  I said he was acting just like his own mother, who he detests - wanting to control the puppet strings.  He hung up on me. 

Of course, on Sunday morning, I woke up, filed her claim.  I sent her an email and copied my father so both would be aware.  That's when he responded with "DO NOT EVERY CALL OR TEXT ME AGAIN.  YOU ARE DEAD TO ME. HAVE A HAPPY LIFE."  That was seven weeks ago yesterday.  In the meantime, I have mailed a card with his renewed AAA card enclosed.  He brought it unopened to my sister's house and told her to return it to me.  He also told her he will not be attending any family/holiday functions that I am invited to.  I have an 8 year old nephew that I absolutely adore and want to provide a safe place for him to come to as he grows up because I know what dealing with my family is like.  My sister admitted to providing incorrect information to my father and has tried to get him to reach out to me several times.  He is still very angry and will not.  He told our Aunt (his sister) he is willing to disrupt the flow of the the family over this.

Honestly, I could care less if he ever talks to me again.... My main concern is that I don't lose my nephew. My father is very involved in his upbringing, as my sister is a single parent.  But, I am tired of tip-toeing and walking on egg shells.  I don't want to be used and walked all over any more.  And what parent in their right mind says something like that to their child - no matter how old?  He has told my sister he expects and apology from me.  But he returned mail unopened.  Not sure how he expects to get that apology.  I am certainly not ready to give one, nor do I feel I owe one.

Feeling very frustrated and sick over this.  Has caused insomnia and an outbreak of eczema.  What do I do???????????

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Starboard Song

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Re: My father told me I am "dead to him"
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2020, 02:26:22 PM »
1. Find a forum of people who understand and provide guidance and support. DONE!
2. Be strong and clear to your family, and avoid inflammatory language. DONE!
3. Acknowledge that this type of escalation is not normal and not respectable.

I think you are off to a good start.

If you can do it, it sounds like you have an interest in polite, detached outreach, so you can maintain your relationship with your nephew. Please understand, though, that you may have just lost that. These situations make real damage and there is only so much you can do.

Good luck.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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PeanutButter

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Re: My father told me I am "dead to him"
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2020, 02:53:40 PM »
Welcome! I am deeply sympathetic to your situation. I know the pain and frustration.  :bawl:

 Please just let him go. Do not contact him again.imo. Do not apologise since you did nothing wrong. He owes you an apology and needs to make amends before you resume your relationship. Then the relationship should be based on new boundaries that protect you from being used and abused at their every whim.

 Even though your sister gave your father incorrect info she is not responsible for how he used that to abuse you. Its not her fault he wouldnt even listen to your side. :aaauuugh: Obviously there is a history here. :fallingbricks: Do you think you may be the scapegoat of the family? Maybe sis is the golden child?

 I understand wanting to maintain a safe place to land for your nephew but that will be mute if he has watched you model allowing yourself to be abused by his grandfather imo.

I would start reading every thing you can find on family dysfunction, emotional abuse, and narcissism over the next few days to weeks.

 IMO Plan to stand your ground. Limit contact greatly if at some point he starts contacting you again. His abusive behavior is unacceptable! This is your chance to gain your freedom by dropping the rope.   :bighug:
If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle

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SiberianRomeo

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Re: My father told me I am "dead to him"
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2020, 03:03:44 PM »
Thank you for your thoughts!  May I ask what scapegoat for the family means?

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PeanutButter

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If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle

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PeanutButter

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Re: My father told me I am "dead to him"
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2020, 03:38:17 PM »
Keep coming back here if it helps. You can take or leave any of our suggestions. We all just speak from our own experiences. But alot of times its helpful just to type it all out. Im glad you found the forum. So many have had similar experiences here.
https://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?board=4.0
See ya around the boards.
If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle

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vijaykumari

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Re: My father told me I am "dead to him"
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2020, 10:07:43 AM »
I don't know if this applies to you. I'm speaking just from my own experience: 

 Maybe you do actually care, but you don't want to.  Why care about someone who doesn't want you? It's humiliating.  I personally feel ashamed that I want my parents to accept me.  Someone might say "who cares? be yourself and don't worry what your parents think".  The problem is that I feel like a child, and children rely on parents to tell them who they are.  If my parents think I'm a bad person I NEED to change their minds otherwise they're right. 

The solution for me is to imagine a child separate from myself who is hurt, and feel very sad for that child.  Not so much that a part of me is a child, but more like, I'm remembering what that child felt like.  It makes me remember that I'm an adult and I can figure it out as an adult. 

If I feel something that is impossible to tolerate or figure out,  it means I'm feeling like a child because as an adult nothing is impossible to sort out in my head with logic. And if I then feel ashamed that I'm acting/feeling childish,  I remember that everyone feels like that sometimes and it's really just a memory.  My brain doesn't automatically know that a feeling I have now is really a memory of childhood; in my brain it feels like it's happening right now.  So reminding myself it's how our brains work makes me feel less ashamed.

Hope my ramble makes sense.

background: my parents labeled me as the bad/mentally ill/damaged child and created this whole image of me that's kind of ridiculous but they won't let it go

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SiberianRomeo

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Re: My father told me I am "dead to him"
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2020, 10:47:00 AM »
That makes sense to me.... I do care, but I don't want to! I want to put an end to the cycle.  I am almost 44 years old. I don't want to live the rest of my life worrying about it.  It has been four days since I found out the AAA card was returned to my sister's house unopened.  I cancelled the membership this morning.  I am literally trembling as I type this because I feel so guilty.  That's no way to live life.  I don't want to sit here from now until November wondering if he will come to Thanksgiving and then Christmas, etc.  I didn't do anything wrong (except yell and express myself after I was accused of wrong doing).  I just want the pain to go away.  And the uncertainty.  And the guilt.

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Starboard Song

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Re: My father told me I am "dead to him"
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2020, 11:30:56 AM »
I just want the pain to go away.  And the uncertainty.  And the guilt.

It really can go away.

I use this analogy. If you were the governor of your state, about 30% of the citizens of your state would say you were trying to destroy public education, or eradicate freedom, or whatever makes sense in your case. Easily 10 to 15% would say you were a very bad person.

But if you were governor, this wouldn't in the sligthest rankle you. You'd have an easy heart, knowing that is just how some people are. Knowing you are doing your best. Knowing if you adopted all "their" demands, then you'd be in the same boat with a different 30% and 15%. Knowing that you are above it all, and need only be open and direct and honest and fair.

I think we can aspire to having that level of detachment in our personal relations. It is a form of Radical Acceptance.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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PeanutButter

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Re: My father told me I am "dead to him"
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2020, 03:08:57 PM »
That makes sense to me.... I do care, but I don't want to! I want to put an end to the cycle.  I am almost 44 years old. I don't want to live the rest of my life worrying about it.  It has been four days since I found out the AAA card was returned to my sister's house unopened.  I cancelled the membership this morning.  I am literally trembling as I type this because I feel so guilty.  That's no way to live life.  I don't want to sit here from now until November wondering if he will come to Thanksgiving and then Christmas, etc.  I didn't do anything wrong (except yell and express myself after I was accused of wrong doing).  I just want the pain to go away.  And the uncertainty.  And the guilt.
I can remember so vivdly the pain. So much that I thought it was intolerable. So intolerable that I would do most anything to try to undo what had caused it. Undoing what caused it always seemed like was in the control of my unpd. So I would go running back. "Im sorry! I just want to go back to before this pain"

I participated in a cycle like this for too long. I wish I could have realized that my 'hurter' cannot be my 'healer'. No; unpd could not 'fix' my pain. Unpd was only going to cause me more pain.

Eventually as Starboard mentions acceptance that there was only pain and more pain with unpd led me to leave thus beginning my healing journey. The healing coming from the internal me.
If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle

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SiberianRomeo

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Re: My father told me I am "dead to him"
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2020, 05:08:51 PM »
Both replies resonate with me.... I think the part of me that is having such a hard time letting go of Dad is because this is my last parent.  I have had NC with my mother for seven years. There was brief interruption when my nephew was born eight years ago and before that NC for at least 8 - 10 years.  So long that I lost track of how many years.  I was fed up with the psychological abuse, the taking advantage of, the guilt trips, etc. and put my foot down.  I stopped helping with bills, groceries, taxes, etc.  She lost her house - I didn't care.  She had serious medical issues that she refused to cooperate with doctors on treatment - I didn't care.    She refused physical therapy after falling and breaking a hip as a leg amputee - I didn't care.  I didn't want the phone calls about how she was causing problems in the hospital, in the rehab, in the nursing home... It seemed so much easier than what I am going through now.  The judgement from outsiders was harsh.  I stopped telling people there was no relationship with my mother.  I don't know if it is because they use my nephew as a pawn and I am terrified to lose him or if it is because I am an adult with two parents that are still alive and I have nothing to do with either one.  It makes me feel like I am the common thread.  Is it me?  Both parents are 69 years old this year.  I have friends whose parents have already passed and they are quick to say that I am lucky to still have mine.  I would whole heartedly disagree!

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vijaykumari

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Re: My father told me I am "dead to him"
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2020, 11:47:09 AM »
I don't know if you can ever really get over that kind of loss. It seems like parents are too important to be able to totally be over it. I'm not even over my ex husband.

My parents never rejected me in words but I always felt rejected.   I wonder if it would have been easier if they came right out and said it.  Once my mother did something like that; she said:   "Don't you think you're contributing to the breakdown in families by doing these bad things"? (She was referring to being single and attractive and possibly "causing men to leave their fat wives to be with me", ironic since I was single!  No one ever did that! ) . She went on about this and similar things for a week.  After that I didn't speak to her for two years, and it was the best two years of my life.  I felt the things she said were so offensive on so many levels, I had no interest in talking to someone who could say things like that.  I guess it felt good to be the one doing the rejecting and I was glad she gave me a very clear reason instead of beating around the bush for so many years.  I'm not sure why those two years were so relaxing and why I didn't think about her and feel bad about it.  I do feel bad now for some reason but at the time I felt great.  She sent me a card which started with "I'm not sure why you're upset" and I didn't read the rest. I've since reconnected and she eventually stopped being mean either because she's getting old or because I've been more assertive on certain things.  I'm inclined to think she's just old and worried about death and doesn't want to end life with any tension between us.  But the thing is I know my mom and I know that her motives are complicated and related to her own problems.  So that helps.  If you don't know why your parent is being that way and what in their childhood led them to be like that, it's harder to let go. 


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SiberianRomeo

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Re: My father told me I am "dead to him"
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2020, 04:59:48 PM »
Nine weeks dead to my father on Father's day 2020.  I have made zero attempt to contact.  I did have my nephew for a sleepover.  As mentioned previously, my relationship with him is very important to me.  He is 8.  He told me that his mom told him that Papa and I do not get along any more and that's why he cannot come over and play as much.  We had a great sleepover visit.  I even gave him the supplies to paint a picture for his Grandfather for Father's Day.  I never got any feedback on how that went over from my sister.  I did get the unopened mail with the renewed AAA card back.  So I cancelled it.  The longer this has gone on, the more I realize that I don't want the relationship back.  It was unhealthy and to see the way he treated me, why would I want it back?  My sister blocked us from Facebook during this original argument and we haven't sent another friend request.  I used it mostly to check up on her and see how things were going with my nephew.  I set up my father's Facebook for him, so I have his credentials.   I recently logged into his account.  He likes every single thing my sister posts unless it relates to me, my husband, my dog, my nephew being at our house, etc.  He's 69 years old!  I just don't understand the mentality.  He doesn't realize not only is he hurting me, his behavior will eventually affect my nephew.  Someday my nephew will see that Papa didn't like any posts of our activities together.  He will realize that Papa doesn't attend family holidays if I am present.  It just disgusts me.  I have so much hostility towards my father still.  The sadness is gone.  I am so angry.

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PeanutButter

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Re: My father told me I am "dead to him"
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2020, 03:55:02 AM »
 :bighug:
I have been greiving a ver long time. It gets easier imo. But its is a long complicated inner journey. I wish you well. You deserve to be safe. Your life is better free of abuse ime.
If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle