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Cutting ties with my father


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I just joined this group, as I'm going through a bad situation. I guess I'll lay it out here, because I don't really have anything to lose. My Parents separated when I was quite young (3) as a result of my mother packing up my brother and I and leaving my father without his knowledge. Anyway, after the initial dust settled (I think it was a couple of months, but as I said I was quite young) bi weekly visitations were set up at my dad's place, where my brother would go to spend the weekend. We were, however, living with our mother and she had primary custody, yada yada yada. Anyway, my mom and Dad would have occasional fights over the phone (often about money - my dad was frequently late with child support) but for the most part (except for a handful of slips over 20 some odd years) my mother did her best to never speak ill of my father in our presense. My Dad, however, was a different story entirely. One thing I remember was his strategic placement of my parents' wedding photo (quite a large one, I might add) in the bedroom my brother and I would share when visiting him. He also had a very inconsistent temper that could be set off at the drop of a hat without any warning. I remember as a kid that he would frequently drop us off late at our Mom's after the weekend, and if we brought up to him on sunday afternoon that "maybe we should get going so we're not late" he would fly off the handle saying how he didn't have to do anything anybody told him to do.


This is going to be longer than I thought.


Anyway, this sort of crap continued for a few years (with my dad alternating losing his temper with buying my brother and I toys, which he would use as leverage - I would have been about 8 years old) and my dad got re-married. I'm going to skim over a bunch of stuff here, but they had a son and moved into a nice house. My brother and I continued visitations every other weekend, but for the last few years (after my younger brother was born) we lost 'our' bedroom and were forced to sleep in the basement - I on a futon on the floor and my brother on a bed couch. Again, not the end of the world but a drag nonetheless. This would have been when I was about 11-13. Often on visits, my father would pick my brother and I up on friday night, get home and watch TV, go to work all day on Saturday with my Stepmother and half-brother in tow (leaving my older brother and I alone in the house), come home saturday night and watch more TV, and then use Sunday to do work around the house which my older brother and I would frequently participate in. During this time, he and his new wife were bringing in some serious cash, and they had a mercedes and BMW respectively, and would frequently go on trips to Vegas and Daytona beach. My older brother and I were never invited on these trips, save one to florida when I was 8 or 9 where we spent most of the time in a hotel waiting for my father to get up and possibly take us to Disney world, or get angry at us for asking so much of him. At this time he was more frequently threatening to cut off child support (about every couple of months) as he claimed my mother was taking advantage of him and using the money for herself, and my brother and I were in on it. At this point, my dad was easily making twice as much as my mother, but I digress.


When I was 14 my father decided that we shouldn't be going over there for the weekend anymore, and that we could just meet up every so often to go for lunch. He also cut off child support. Luckily around this time my mom got a better job and was making enough money to compensate. Over the years this was happening, my dad would frequently lose his temper, and tell my brother and I awful things about our mother (she had 'set him up', etc.) and make us feel guilty for not living with him.


Anyway, he and his new wife bought a new house (like an actual 'new' house - it was being built) in a very upscale neighborhood and a new top of the line SUV. He didn't drop a penny for my brother's or my university education. Luckily, we both had jobs, got some scholarships and my mom helped out as much as she could. What he did do, however was (after my mother's constant pleading with him) hook my brother and I up with an old car. See, my father and his new wife owned and ran a body shop (quite a successful one) and this car got dropped off and he gave it to my brother and I to drive. That was nice, I will admit. However, whenever it broke down (which was constantly - I'm talking the engine blowing up and wheels almost coming off, in addition to brakes failing) it took MANY phone calls to get him to take it seriously enough to take it into his shop, and after that repeated visits to get the problem fixed correctly. A bit of a sidebar, but a relevant one, I think.


In my first year of university (I was living with my Mom still to try to stay out of debt) my father's wife kicked him out of the house, and they divorced. The details surrounding the incident are unclear at best, as I only have my father's side of the story to go on which paints him as a victim - I suspect she got tired of his temper, but I can't verify this at all. Suddenly he became very interested in forging a relationship with my older brother and I, and would heap praise on my mother for having been so gracious during their split, and how his second wife was evil, etc. She got initial custody of their son. My father also became obsessed around this time with the idea of his three sons being the most important thing in the world to him. I can't even begin to explain how absurd that sounds.


Well, that was 10 years or so ago and a lot has happened since. Somehow (God only knows how) my father got custody of my younger brother, and is raising him on his own. I'm amazed my younger brother has turned out reasonably okay - except for a recent fraud incident he got busted for a week after his 18th birthday.


Since taking custody of my younger brother, my dad's temper has gotten worse, and more erratic. He will frequently call my older brother and I for parenting advice, and when we tell him that maybe he should be more consistent with discipline, or not give my younger brother a huge allowance or buy him a bunch of crazy gadgetry he doesn't need, he says we're attacking him, loses his temper, and on really bad days cries.


He's also becoming more of a jerk. As an example, I was moving out of town for a long time and he was really bent on seeing me before I left. I bailed on plans with friends and my girlfriend so I could go visit him. When I showed up, he wasn't there. I hung out with my younger brother for a bit, and then my dad came home drank a glass of wine and fell asleep while I watched a movie.


Another recent highlight was when he didn't get my older brother anything for his wedding. My brother asked for no financial assistance planning the wedding, and all my dad had to do was show up. There was a registry, which of course he ignored.


This came to a climax a couple of months ago, where after hanging up on me, he sent a 'heartfelt' email to my brother and I saying we cause him so much pain and suffering and that he wouldn't give up on us to show that we could be good sons to him. He also mentioned his health (he has done this many times over many years) and how he can't take the stress we're giving him. I spoke to him shortly after that saying that I felt offended by the email and was surprised that he felt like he was being attacked. He then started on a whole "what have I done to deserve this" rant, when I replied "I'm afraid of your temper". He denied having a temper, said he was surprised and very disappointed to hear that from me, said that he wanted to keep his distance and that if I ever felt like talking to him again I could call. He called me a few hours later and left me a message letting me know that there's plenty of money if I still want to be kept in the will. Disgusting. I have never asked for a penny from him, and I know he's broke anyway. I haven't spoken to him since, but he does call every so often and leave messages (which I delete before listening to)


I talked to my mom about this and she revealed the truth about what was going on when I was a kid, and why she left him. As I expected, there was violence involved and he had treated her like garbage for most of their short marriage. My mother has nothing to gain at this point from speaking ill of my father. She's already the 'preferred' parent of my brother and I, she's moved on, has a great job and a great partner. She said she kept a lot of the truth from my brother and I while we were growing up, because she wanted us to come to our own conclusions without resenting her. Well, it worked.


I'm cutting him out of my life right now, and although I know it's the right thing, it's still very difficult. I've accepted that he'll never understand my perspective, as I've tried to explain myself many times over the past few years to no avail. Rather than constant fighting, I think it's better for me to just bail on this relationship and move on with my life. I don't want the negativity he brings to affect my relationships with people I actually care about, and when I move back into town I'm going to try to get therapy.


I think that just because somebody's a blood relative it doesn't mean they're entitled to treating you however they see fit. I also feel like it's impossible to reason with some people and at certain point you have to just look out for yourself. It's hard, but I think it's a better long term solution.



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I can understand where you are coming from man. I have not spoken to my father in a little less than year. He too had split with my mom when I was young. He continued to date other women and try to make a family as he saw fit. Its selfishness man. Its being inconsiderate, and hes coming to you and your brother for emotional support after he blew a gasket with someone. The straw that finally broke the camels back with my dad happened a little less than a year ago. I was on the brinks of my break up and moving out of my house. I ask this guy if he can give me a ride after work to look for a new place since I needed to move asap. he told me he'd be there after I got off of work. Well, he never showed up. He went to go meet his g/f who had an "emergency." His g/f is younger than me and I knew it could not have been a real emergency. At first it hurt but I realised he really did not care. My dad NEVER paid child support. Dont let him patronize you. He sounds so very selfish and is looking for something in life he never had. LOVE! He doesnt realise hes got to love himself. After a while I was glad I did not talk to him. He will understand what it is like to not have a son, which at some points I know those were his wishes. All you can do now is become a success and a good father. I cant wait to be a dad so I can do the stuff he did not. I congratulate your mom for being so mature and for hanging in there for youe guys, she is a superstar! And you got your bro too. For me and my decision not to talk to my "dad" it is better. I feel more confident and I dont feel like im under pressure from a moron who knows nothing about what it takes to excell.

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Your father reminds me alot of mine- he got remarried recently, and now he barely gives his college aged kids any money, and he doesn't want any relationship with his children ( well, one hasn't seen him since they were a child, almost a decade ago). Ever since he met this woman, for the past three years, suddenly he spends no time, money, attention on us, and treats us badly. He even tried to blackmail us into go going to his wedding, we didn't want to ( me and my sibling- the one who won't see him never considered going), by saying if you are not at this wedding, you won't see a cent again..


We didn't want to sanction in effect by going to the wedding his remarriage to a skank, and ho, complete with blonde hair and low cut dress who wants his money ( she doesn't have much of her own, and he makes enough to give her a comfy lifestyle). He has done nothing but throw us out of his life since this woman appeared. Anyway, it might seem harsh not to attend your father's wedding, but what can I say? I finally did go after the blackmail threats. Well, the bride treated me badly, had her friend insult me, etc. We are enemies.. I was the only one of his kids there. Now, I barely see a cent anyway- ( I'm a college student).


When we were growing up, we were abused emotionally and maybe physically ( not sure). He has a terrible temper. He made my mother not work, and then it was a fight to give her alimony at the time of the divorce because she had been out of the workforce for about 25 years, because he said, no working, you are a stay at home wife. She couldn't expect, even with a college degree to make enough to support herself after 25 years of life as a non working house wife- due to him. She had to fight to get alimony and he paid the lowest amount of child support possible, ( we are college aged now, but we were really young then), and so it was life in poverty, a big adjustment after what it was like during our parents marriage. He also hired a high powered lawyer and dragged the divorce on for almost two years, thus running up a high lawyers bill for my mother, that he knew she could ill afford to pay. I ended up paying much of it off as a 15-16 year old from my minumum wage job- I paid about 1,000.


He did give us alot on weekends, if you saw him, you saw a decent meal, gifts, trips, etc. He did give us his full attention on the week ends, and was nice. He paid us an allowance, so that was good, even the child who wouldn't see him. But we had had such a bad childhood, we were isolated, emotionally abused, homeschooled so we got a mostly bad education and no contact with other kids, and couldn't go outside ad play in the yard or down the street without being watched at age 13! We couldn't watch this, read that, or even like certain Disney movies or toys because of religious reasons. We were raised very strictly and religiously-now, I dislike organized religion, and won't enter a church- wonder why? I still have some religious principles, sure, but dislike the whole idea of organized religion. My father's parenting ideas were very strict, and authoritarian, what he said, we did. He ruled us with an iron fist and used religious principles to back it up.


Anyway, without going into detail, he got into alot of dramas with churches we attended, his workplace, the neighborhood, it was drama after drama. It was a small town, so it got around, and we were gossiped about.Not that we were allowed to have friends, my mother or us, and everywhere my mother or us kids went, he came- so we didn't contact with the town. Also, he wouldn't let my mother drive.The divorce was bitter, and he has gotten the child support lessened many times ( one of my siblings only recently is over 18), but since he gives my mother very little alimony, not enough to support herself without child support, although she has a fulltime job, he is always going to have to pay her some alimony because he wouldn't let her work for so many years..but he wants to get rid of it.


So we were badly educated, isolated and abused.Fun. I am self educated, I just read and read. I am in college and plan to go to graduate school, I am okay. But one of my siblings is in college and struggling, because if the poor education they receieved- they might fail out. Anyway, he won't pay a cent of tuition, only for books and gives us a tiny amount of spending money since my mother can't afford to help us out- after the divorce there were four of us living below the poverty line for a family of four. Every month, money gets less and less. He is basically cutting me off. Also, I was forced t attend the college he teaches at for two years..until I got away- I had to follow him everywhere at over 18, do everything he wanted, and live underneath him in the same apartment building. At least he supported me then- now his advice is, get a loan.It might be better if he wasn't in my life, but I am not financially independent. All this sometimes pushes me almost to the brink of death, of considering just ending it. But then, he wins.. ( I have left alot of out of this, but it is the basic story of it). There is much more, I could say, but won't. He also bought me an old car and uses it to give me a bad time, so that sounds familiar. All in all, it sounds really familiar- I'm a few years younger than the person who started this thread, and it sounds like both our parents only care about themselves. It's all about them. Kefka, this might sound extreme, but have you ever looked up the definition of sociopath? That is what I believe my father to be- a friend who majored in psychology in college told me he sounded like one. Your father reminds me a bit of mine, but I don't know.

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Hey Summer Angel, thanks for the reply. Your story sounds very familiar. What I left out in mine was that when I was growing up (after the divorce) we too were living probably just above the poverty line for many years. My mom was clever and resourceful enough to hide this from my brother and I (she VERY RARELY complained about being broke - which she was) and I didn't figure it out until years later. My Dad also lies about just about everything. He'll come up with these crazy stories about getting cut off on the drive home, getting out of the car and punching the driver, and a cop witnessing it and telling him it's okay (I'm not kidding; some version of this story has been repeated many times since I was a kid). He also has a completely false version of why he and my mom divorced which he tells people, which I only recently learned about. The thing is, I think he actually believes these stories to be true. It's kind of scary. I've had him (when he's angry) tell me about something I did which is ENTIRELY FALSE to prove a point about how I mistreat him. I wind up thinking I'm crazy until I talk to somebody about it and realize that my Dad is for all intents and purposes totally nuts. Since I was 12, my Dad hasn't given any birthday or Christmas presents - instead I get a card with money in it (?!) and a loving note saying how proud he is of me, which he duplicates verbatim in the card he gives to my older brother. He'll then make fun of whatever gift I've picked out for him for said occasion, either saying I'm cheap, or that I got him something he doesn't need and I should return it. Every time.

I'm involved in the performing arts - I don't want to divulge more than that for the sake of maintaining anonymity - and my father (for all his talk of how proud he is) hasn't seen me perform in 9 years. I average a couple hundred performances a year, give or take, many of them within a short drive from his house. Also, back when I was associating with him, we wouldn't see eachother unless I went to his place. He would always say he wanted to see my older brother and I, but then he would make us organize everything with each other and our partners, and he would just sit at home and wait for us to show up. One year on my birthday we had made a plan to go to his place for dinner. I had my girlfriend at the time with me, and my older brother and his girlfriend were there as well. In fact, my Dad had made a point of busting my balls and saying that I should be there on time for a change (I'm early to a fault, he's late for everything). Anyway, we showed up (it was winter, and very cold) and he wasn't home. He didn't show up for a half an hour, and wasn't even apologetic. Then he decided where we would go eat (did I mention it was my birthday?) and spent the whole evening talking about how much he hates his job and how the people he works with are idiots. Sigh. That's all the ranting I can do right now.

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Yes, my father lies a lot too. He tells us he doesn't make much money, so he doesn't have the money to support us through college, etc. He makes up stories- he has medical bills which take alot of money, when he doesn't have any serious health issues, just he should be taking better care of himself, and he has insurance..or that his vehicle breaking down cost him alot of money. Well, he makes almost 100,000 a year.


He always says he doesn't have any money to us for stupid reasons- we really know, he is supporting his new wife. Before she came along, he would admit '' don't tell your mother this ( after the divorce), but I made 100,000 last year.'' We weren't supposed to tell her. I of course don't know if it is true he made that much, as my mother did see his tax return last year because he was trying to lower the child support and she said he made 80,000. But he has had his income has gotten lower, so maybe. He lies about everything- especially money, and everything is everyone's fault. He thinks he is always right- that he can run everything, knows better than everyone.


But, yeah, he is quite a liar, he will only tell you his slant. He too has a wholly different reason for the divorce than reality, and he would go up to people like strangers like a librarian at a library that he certainly didn't knoew one time when my brother was with him when they were in a near by town, and told her his false reason for the divorce- blaming it on my mother. He also told his church that was the reason for the divorce- NOT. Then he told his church that he was starving during the divorce, because of his having to pay for his own apartment and our house, and he had a lawyer, etc, and credit card problems- well, he's the one who got an expensive lawyer, it was his own fault he had to pay for two households, and as for credit card problems- he never allowed my mother to use those credit cards. It was all him- she couldn't touch them, he ran up that debt.And he was never starving during the divorce- we were. He gave us very little money before the formal settlement, because nobody could force him to, we children were starving.Anyway, he told his church ( a new one from the one we had attended as a family- they didn't know us) it was the other way around. So his church gave him money and had the ladies cook things for him. I saw all the home made stuff they cooked. I heard this from his mouth, because I never tild him my true opinion, so he believed I was on his side, and my mother was wronging him.To make his suffering more poignant ( I am being sarcastic), it was Christmas time, when he tld these stories to the people at his church. We meanwhile were given 60 or 70 dollars for groceries for four people including three kids at Christmas that SAME year for two- three weeks. He was the only money we had.. my mother had credit card in her own name by then, so that's what saved us then- she could pay it off later. We ate food provided by that, at Christmas.Anyway, the real reason my mother divorced him because she was sick and tired of his abuse and crap. The reason he gave was entirely different- he even got a docter to try to certify the false reason- but the doctor would not.My father is a master of manipulation, and lies. Also, my father usses his alleged health problems just like you said your father mentioned his health as he has many times over the years. So does mine.. according to my father my mother divorced him because she had mid life crisis due to menopause. Well, she was a bit young for that, and I know for a fact she was NOT going through menopause at the time. I usually wouldn't post all these details- but your father echoes mine.


And the cards_ my father does give us cards saying how much he loves us- with notes and they are really expensive nice cards, then gives us money in the cards!! It used to be enough, but it lessens every year. I got a card at Christmas with loving sentiments in his hand- what was inside was a $20 dollar Walmart gift card. My siblings actually got 20 dollars they could spend anywhere-I think I got regifted, somebody gave that to him, so he gave it to me. Why didn't he give them Walmart gift cards as well???? But, yes for years there have been loving cards that bear no relation to reality, or how he really acts. Also, my father was always late to pick up us up from my mother's house o the weekend- and you could never tell him he was late- either.I am glad someone else has gone through this.I commend you for overcoming this. I can only say, congrats to you for cutting him out of your life!

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WOW I am proud to know you have survived. And I am relieved to to know this also. I am the mother of 3 boys and my ex and your father sound like they were cut from the same mold. I can only hope and pray I am doing as good of a job with my kids as your mother did for you.


Can I pick your brain? I am having issues with my oldest son-14-who now that his father wants to be in his life (for a little while to make it look good for the 3 women he is trying to impress) has turned into a jekyll/hyde personality. Did you or your brother go throught this? I would love to handle it differently than I have for the past week. I'm struggling. I don't want to be seen as the overbearing/control freak mother but I can't allow my son to adopt the characteristics of his father.


Again, in seeing from my son's eyes and knowing what I have gone through while married and now still while divorced I am impressed that you hae made the choices that you have made.

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Hey Confusedmama, thanks for your post. In terms of a Jekyll/Hyde type personality, it's kind of hard for me to say - it's difficult for me to be completely objective about my behavior when I was a child. What I do know is this: my mom has said that when my brother and I came back from my dad's that we would either be bouncing off the walls and completely uncontrollable, or we'd be very quiet and sullen. As for adopting my father's traits - I've always kind of known (from a very young age) that he was wrong, and that I never wanted to be like him, and so I've always tried to modify any behaviors I have that remind me of something he would do. I think I've been somewhat successful, but I do have my moments where I'll say or think something and immediately recoil upon realizing where those ideas are coming from. Best of luck with your son - I'm sure he'll work it out. I do understand, however, that you want nothing more than to protect him.

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And Summer Angel, thank you as well. The part I'm finding challenging is that my younger brother (he's 18) still lives with my dad, and has for the last 8 or so years. I want to stay in contact with him, but it's being made difficult by a couple of factors. The first is that my Dad is such a control freak (in some ways) that it's near impossible to get in contact with my brother without my dad finding out about it and flipping out, and the second is that over the past couple of years (due to his upbringing, no doubt) he is becoming more and more like my father (lying, manipulating, feeling entitled, victimizing himself, etc). I'm also concerned that if my older brother stays in contact with my dad that he'll try to pressure me to re-establish contact (he might not- my older brother is very sane and reasonable) because I'm sure my Dad will be chewing his ear off about what an awful son I am and he'll probably get sick of hearing it.

So frustrating. You should have to write an exam to become a parent.

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Yes, the list of behaviours that you gave- lying, manipulating, feeling entitled, victimizing himself, is what my father does. It is a bad sign that your brother is starting to do these things your father does. Luckily, in my case, all my siblings know my father's bad and haven't fallen for that trap. But your brother's case shows that such parents can be a bad influence. You are very lucky you grew up with your mother.


My father's family exhibits the pattern that this can be learned behaviour, because all of my father's family ( or most of them) does this crap, that my father does. His mother, my grandmother, taught her son alot, or else it is just in in the blood. Anyway, most of my father's family never really managed to get away from these things- they are all alike. We were protected from this and his family by our mother. In your brother's case, it is unfortunate- it is a question of nature vs. nurture, to some extent about these bad traits in families. Do these things get passed down in the blood with families, or is it learned? I agree problems with parents are frustrating. I could write books about the things my father has done,which is basically the same things that your father does and that your brother is becoming more and more like. I am always glad to realize that my father is not the one and the only, because it is hard to have a father who doesn't really love you, or care about you.

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Summer Angel, that's absolutely right. It's kind of relieving to know my Father will never "love" me in any true sense, and that I should just stop trying to expect that from him. It also makes me feel better knowing that it has nothing to do with me or anything I've done, and there's nothing on this planet that I or anybody else can do to change him. It's also great knowing there are people like yourself who have had similar experiences and pulled through

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Hey Summer Angel...just wanted to put my two cents in...


I am so sorry for the pain you / and your family have experienced from your father. I cannot believe how many of these parents there are out there!


I know that it is extra hard on you now, being financially strapped while finishing school. I understand that you have to "play his game" to get through it too...but, sounds to me he is not doing much to help now anyway! I would get out from under this abuse...

Once you are out of school and have a job, you will feel more free!


Hey, what did you mean about the physical abuse part in your first post...do you feel you may have suppressed something? Not to be nosy...it just really caught my eye.

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Oh my....I am serious on this "narcissistic parent" thing! Especially now with his not coming to see your productions.....he has to be the "star"....no one else can!!!

Although our situations are different...your "attitude" and where you are now sounds so very familiar to me! I salut your strength once again!!!

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