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Question
Posted by: S | 2011/10/12

why should i feel guilty

Hi

My parents were very young when they had me, 17 and 18 to be precise, they were obviously not at an age to be taking care of a child, my father was rarely in my life. My memories of him are fights between him and my mother about child maintenance and him basically having little to no time for me, I don’ t remember one birthday or special occasion with him, all i remember is a very loud rude and constantly drunk man. My mother, well she is not really mother material no affection, no I love you’ s etc, this has naturally affected my life the way I am and the way I communicate with people, I don’ t have much close friends because of constantly moving with my mother, stepfather &  siblings thus having to change schools many times. In a nutshell my childhood was not the best there are many other factors contributing to that which I will not touch on and the reason for that is that I refuse to be a victim of circumstance. I have battled with this for many years and just recently decided no more.
My question is why now in my early 30’ s should I have time for a man who was never there for me to begin with, my father (this man) now wants to be part of my life and his grandchild, my mother is even encouraging it to an extent, including other family members, and this irritates me because they have no idea what I went through not having loving father figure. My husband is the only one who understands as his never known me to have a father in my life. Am I wrong to not want to have anything to do with him?? I just feel that why should I now adjust my life to include him and quite frankly I feel uncomfortable around him, I don’ t love him and I don’ t hate him either I feel nothing for him. Am I being selfish?? he has no other kids.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

17 and 18 is not excessively young, and not young enough to prevent a couple from taking proper care of a child. But there's no value to be gained by developing resentments about the past. Presumably they did the best they could so far as they could see their duties. But, that he was consistently drunk suggests irresponsibility and lack of maturity at that time.
I applaud you for resolving not to become a victim of your circumstances.
I would not accept the urging of your mother ( special pleading ) and especially not that of other family members, as its really none of their business, to push you towards reconciling with your father. It is absolutely NOT your duty to do so.
I don't suggest, however, that you reject him totally. Circumstances may change again, and you might change your mind about the sort of relationship you would prefer to have. No need for major re-adjustments of your life, but leave yourself free to make ongoing decisions that best suit you and your child.
From your message, I gather than you have met with him recently ? It might be worth meeting him, perhaps in a neutral setting like a coffee shop, and engage with him calmly about how it felt to you, and how much his absence hurt you as you were growing up, and how hard though worthwhile it has been for you to find your own way of adjusting to this, something you are reluctant to disturb because he has suddenly schanged his mind. Talk with him about how he responds to facing the facts of his neglect and how that affected you, and how he feels now, and why he has changed his tune.
Forgiveness is NEVER EVER your duty or obligation. Only in the sense of freeing yourself from lasting bitterness which tugs you back towards past miseries is it useful for you to stop holding bitterness that is unhelpful for you

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Caro | 2011/10/13

My father came into my life late in my life. similar story. He died last year. He had given up drinking and I became close with him, my stepmom and step sister. I am not sorry I let him into my life but felt no obligation to give more than I felt I could. He appreciated it and loved me all the same. He had changed. I accepted that. He accepted what i was willing to give. He respected me as a grown up. Dont let people pressure you into doing what you dont feel comfortable doing. Do things on your terms. If you decide to meet him once or twice a year and decide you like him enough, you take it further. If you decide that its too much, that is also up to you. You are lucky to have an understanding husband. Your current family (husband and children) should be your main priority as should be your own happiness withe whatever relationships you forge.

Reply to Caro
Posted by: Truthful | 2011/10/12

I would not bother - unless his estate is large and an inheritance makes it worth while.

Reply to Truthful
Posted by: Queen | 2011/10/12

I think its a blessing that your father is the one taking the initiative to be in your life. Most fathers are either too afraid to try or just don''t care at all.

I hope deep down you can find it in your heart to forgive him. Its never too late to have a father in your life. And now that you are matured and independent, your relationship with him is more likely to be rewarding.
I understand your feelings though. I''m still trying to convince my own husband to forgive his father who bailed out on him. He still can''t bring himself to forgive. His father lives an hours drive away but me and kids have never met him.

Reply to Queen
Posted by: Maria | 2011/10/12

I don''t think you are under any obligation to make him part of your life if you don''t want to.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/10/12

17 and 18 is not excessively young, and not young enough to prevent a couple from taking proper care of a child. But there's no value to be gained by developing resentments about the past. Presumably they did the best they could so far as they could see their duties. But, that he was consistently drunk suggests irresponsibility and lack of maturity at that time.
I applaud you for resolving not to become a victim of your circumstances.
I would not accept the urging of your mother ( special pleading ) and especially not that of other family members, as its really none of their business, to push you towards reconciling with your father. It is absolutely NOT your duty to do so.
I don't suggest, however, that you reject him totally. Circumstances may change again, and you might change your mind about the sort of relationship you would prefer to have. No need for major re-adjustments of your life, but leave yourself free to make ongoing decisions that best suit you and your child.
From your message, I gather than you have met with him recently ? It might be worth meeting him, perhaps in a neutral setting like a coffee shop, and engage with him calmly about how it felt to you, and how much his absence hurt you as you were growing up, and how hard though worthwhile it has been for you to find your own way of adjusting to this, something you are reluctant to disturb because he has suddenly schanged his mind. Talk with him about how he responds to facing the facts of his neglect and how that affected you, and how he feels now, and why he has changed his tune.
Forgiveness is NEVER EVER your duty or obligation. Only in the sense of freeing yourself from lasting bitterness which tugs you back towards past miseries is it useful for you to stop holding bitterness that is unhelpful for you

Reply to cybershrink

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