My dad wants to meet to talk. Eek!

Discussion in 'Family of Origin' started by Californiablonde, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I posted earlier about my dad disowning me towards the end of last year. It all started when I posted about horoscopes on Facebook, and he told me I wasn't a real Christian and would burn in hell. He then made all kinds of wild accusations about me and told me he was going to unfriend me. Then I didn't hear from him for a couple of months. I figured after all that was said and done, he disowned me.

    Then we received a Christmas card from him in December, along with a check for $150 for me and the kids, and an apology for letting things get "out of hand." In the card, he told me he was coming to California during spring break, and he wanted to meet with me without the kids so we could talk. This past weekend, my dad texted me saying his spring break has now arrived and he wants to get together with me privately so we can talk.

    I don't know the reason in particular that he wants to meet with me without seeing his grandkids. It could be to apologize in person, or it could be to reiterate everything that he posted about on Facebook, about me not being a real Christian, blah blah blah. I am seriously doubting he wants to meet just so he can apologize. We are still friends on facebook ( he threatened to delete me but never did) and I just recently posted about needing prayers for my anxiety.

    One of my friends commented on my post and said that I needed to find a different combination of medications, as mine now clearly aren't working. My dad replied to her post, claiming all psychiatrists are frauds, they make more and more money the more diagnoses you have, and make extra money based on how many medications you are taking. My dear fiancé then said something to him about how ridiculous his accusations were about psychiatrists being frauds.

    Of course you all know how much I hate conflict, even when I am not involved. As soon as my fiancé posted his comment, I asked him to delete it. He has already had a previous conflict with my dad when I was threatened to be disowned. I don't want my dad to have more ammunition against my fiancé. My fiancé obliged me and deleted his comment. I don't know if my dad saw the comment or not. He hasn't posted since.

    Anyway, I have a feeling this Friday my dad will be giving me a huge lecture on the evils of medications, how he doesn't really believe I have anything psychologically wrong with me (and believe me, I am prepared to show him the scars on my wrists from my attempted suicide if he tries) and how my relationship with my fiancé is bogus because we met online ( as he alleged a few months ago.)

    I don't want to go to this meeting. If all it's going to do is turn into an argument, I want no part of it. I don't want to spend 2 hours defending myself, my bipolar and anxiety, my relationship, and my words and actions. I hate conflict, and right now I am not doing the greatest in the anxiety department. I feel obligated to meet with him, however, due to the Christmas card and the money. So I am going to make my dad happy, and make myself really uncomfortable in the process, and meet with him at Starbucks on Friday. Wish me luck, and pray it turns out better than expected.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Cb. I have learned a lot through the years in dealing with difficult relatives and all I can do is pass along what life taught me. You may not agree with my conclusions, but I will share, hoping it will help.
    First of all, you cant control your father or his opinions even though both you and I know for a fact that you (and I) benefit from psychiatric medication. If he wants to blow off his personal and wrong opinion regarding your medications, the only way to stop from hearing him is not to go, which is an option.
    If you do go and he starts telling you how to handle your bipolar and the rest of your life, you can listen without arguing or interupting, nodding from time to time and at the end saying "thanks for your thoughts. I have to get home now. Nice seeing you.'
    Nobody can stop any parent from doing the mean spirited disown bit. Dont try. If he does it, it says more about him then it says about you. He sounds controlling and you are a grown up now. You do not have to make this a breeze for him. You can bring your kids, your fiance, anyone you like to help you feel less vulnerable. He is not in charge of your life or rules.
    If it were me I would not go alone. If my mean--to-me mom asked susoiciously for time alone with me, I would have brought my fiance with, even if he stayed in thecar, so he could watch for signs of trouble, get out and come to help.
    You are not deficient if your father doesnt approve of what you do.
    I hope you take care of yourself, keep your chin up and, if its too stressful, dont go. Your life is up to one our parents dont own us in any way unless we allow it after we turn eighteen.
    Good parents of adult children respect our decisions. Bad ones think they can boss us around no matter how mature we are. It is wrong for him to interfer in your life. If you want to hear him out then do it, but dont be upset if he is critical. You know what he's like. No surprises likely. Again you dont have to go alone so he can corner you, even if he wants you to. You are in control of you, not him.

    Dont let him try to manipulate you because of a card and a gift. Thats not supposed to be the point of gifts. My dad does this too and it took me a long time to tell him he cant yell at me because he sometimes gives me monetary gifts. I told him to keep his money if conditions are attached. I meant it.
    Lots of hugs and stand tall. Im sure youll get other suggestions.
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    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  3. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    It's a generational difference, too. All my parents, bio and step, do not believe in taking psychiatric medication. You have an illness which requires medication to manage. It isn't any different from a diabetic requiring insulin. Good for you for working with a psychiatrist in order to have a better life!

    I agree with SWOT, though. Don't argue with your dad. You won't get anywhere with him. Sit there and remind yourself that all your CD board friends support you. I would also advise you to get up and leave if your dad becomes too critical. There is no reason for you to sit and listen to him and raise your blood pressure and your anxiety level.

    Exactly. If your dad cannot recognize the intelligence, courage and fortitude it takes for you to be responsible for your mental illness, then he doesn't need to spend time with you.
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  4. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Do you believe the meeting will go well?

    What would be the best thing that could happen?

    What would be your signal that to meet him had been a mistake, and for you to leave?

    I think you should meet your father for coffee. He loves you. You love him. This meeting could lead to so much that is good. That would be a reason to go.

    Just like we tell ourselves where our children are concerned, we need to do the right thing, the thing we will know, as the years unfold, that we tried with every bit of goodwill in us to do.

    No matter how scared we are.

    Scared is okay.

    Abuse is not okay. So, if you do the right thing, which because you feel you should go, is the right thing for you, then the other right thing is to know ahead of time how you will protect yourself if the father is not sincere. Or, if things begin to go badly.


    You are out of there.

    You need a place to stand up from, and to walk away from him from. You need words to say: "I love you too much to love you this way. You are my father. I want the best of you. Please call me when you are ready."

    Then, book out of there and do something wonderful for your courageous self.

    It is all about how we look at it. About how we see ourselves. Through their eyes, or our own.


    You are not obligated to meet with someone you love and so, are vulnerable to, and that you believe may hurt you.

    Your father did what he did. He said what he said and, however he sees it, what he said hurt you.

    If your father is sincere, he will want to know how you feel. He is a grown man. You are his daughter. If you cannot trust him to protect and cherish and teach you, a beginning place to establish sincere relationship would be for you to tell him how you feel.

    His response will tell you everything you need to know to make a decision about tomorrow's very public meeting.


    What would happen if you were to call your father. What would happen if you were to tell him that, much as you love him, you are uncomfortable about this meeting because you are still troubled by your last conversation with him.

    What would happen, do you think?

    And would you rather have that happen over the phone or at Starbucks?


    There is no right answer. I really do believe you should try. I would be scared, too. But scared is okay. If the meeting goes badly, we will process it with you, here. Knowing this in advance will help you feel very much stronger.

    You are not alone with all of it anymore.

    It makes a difference, that we each have this safe place to wonder what to do about these so hurtful things that happen in our families of origin.

    I wish you and your father such a nice time.

    Fathers don't have to be perfect. They can be upset, and say wrong things, and regret them. For your own peace of mind as the years pass, you will be happier and stronger if you meet with him tomorrow.

    We will be here, and waiting to hear, and wishing you both well.

    Fathers can only do the best they know, too.

    He loves you.

    I say go for it.

    Wear something pretty.


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  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Everyone is different.

    If my mom were alive and had ranted at me about her take on religion and the medication I needed to keep me alive and told me to come alone, haha. I wouldnt do it even though I was strong walk away if she got abusive.
    And I wouldnt regret that I didnt go nor would I think that she loved me. She didnt. Not all parents love their kids. Some are.more about control and ownership. Some are mean people. Period.

    Cb, you need to do what you.feel is good for you. If you know you cant walk away if he is abusive, then plan how you will exit in a diplomatic way.

    I hope all hoes well. Hugs :)
  6. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member might help if you have a couple responses prepared and practiced before you meet with him. So if your time with him starts to get out of hand, use your scripted remarks, and if you need to, give him a hug and leave.

    Something like, "Dad, I really appreciate your concern, and I hope you continue to pray for me. It means a lot." Or, "I believe in the power of prayer and combined with professional help I have been making progress. Please continue to pray for me, it really means a lot to me."

    Something that acknowledges his beliefs without disregarding your own... KSM
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  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    CB, it is now Saturday. Did you meet with him yesterday?? I am sorry I missed the thread until now. Even though it is a done deal one way or another I will put in by 2 cents. Actually, I agree totally with Cedar. These are the parts that are so important to me:

    One, you are very strong. You can protect yourself. You have give. You can do it.

    Two, there is room for all of us, each of us to be human. To have our own unique nuttiness and specialness. We can make mistakes and be forgiven. Or maybe we can not forgive because we feel we do not have it in us. And we can be forgiven for that. By ourselves and by our parents and by our kids.

    Three, love can be messy and imperfect. It does not *usually does not, come in the package that we need or want. That is OK. It is still love. We do the best we can.

    Four, the important thing is that we learn to have confidence in ourselves, and believe that we can make mistakes, have others disagree with us, be unhappy with us, and still be OK. And that love can survive all this too. Maybe especially self-love.

    I have been going through a very long period where I have been screwing up all over the place. I am learning that the self-forgiveness is more important than not screwing up. And that if I needed screwing up to learn self-forgiveness, so be it.

    If your Dad needs to criticize and blame you, you do not need to do it to yourself. If he needs to criticize you and believe he knows everything, that does not mean you need to believe him. You are such a wonderful person. Know that. Believe in yourself. Even if your Dad cannot be what you need. You can be what you need. So can I.

    If I had learned all of this 50 years ago I would have had a much easier life. But I know it now. And I vow that I will change.
    As others pointed out, you do not have to go there. I stayed away from my mother too long because I was afraid of what she would say.

    I wish I could go back. I was stronger than I gave my self credit for. I could have done it, tolerated it. I did not know. I forgive myself. Because I have to. I wrote 3 paragraphs up that screwing up is worth it because I can learn self-forgiveness and I will. While I am at it, I will vow to learn self-care. Part of that is having confidence that I will protect myself, speak up for myself, and care for myself. You are doing that too.
    As others said, there is no obligation to him. If there is obligation it is to yourself.
    To ourselves.

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  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    CB, that is such a jerky thing for him to have done.

    Please tell us how it went. I am so curious to know what he said and how he did. And how you responded and feel.

    I am hoping that your Dad came through for you (and for himself).

  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    You know of all of the wonderful posts that Cedar has written and that I have read, this one has to be my favorite. I will try to explain why (to myself and to you.)
    I believe that we define ourselves by our hope, our faith. I did not always believe this, because I had very little faith.

    It almost does not matter what happens, if I can stand in a place of faith. Because it is mine. It is not dependent upon one other thing, not even result or outcome. I think faith is especially hard if you have been hurt. Because it is so scary to feel that you can be made the fool or the victim. But without faith, we become our own victim. That is what I feel now.
    It is not just that we know that we did the right thing, it is that by doing the right thing we build the right life. Even if it seems to be wrong and to bring wrong, we have no way of knowing at the time the true result, which can only be known at the end.

    Life is a cumulative thing. It consists of our interaction with circumstances in the form of our choices. Our moral choices make our life.
    You know my mother died two and a half years ago. About 6 or 7 months before she died, I made a disastrous choice and insisted she leave my home and go to a board and care or assisted living of her choice. I could not care for her myself. It was too much for me. Physically, mentally , emotionally, spiritually.

    I continued very involved. One morning in I picked her up for a medical test. We arrived to the parking lot. My mother was acting very disoriented. I had never seen her that way before. You see, up until the time my mother left my house, I had been holding her up. At the cost of myself.

    In that car I became so upset seeing my mother like that, I screamed.

    I told her: You are my mother. I need you to be my mother. And she tried. She had never seen me like that either.

    I had never said anything like that to her. In the past I let her walk all over me.

    Now that I am practicing self-forgiveness I can no longer condemn myself for choosing for myself, that my mother be cared for elsewhere in order than my own life be saved.

    I feel compelled to note here that I brought her back to my home and she died here.

    I never could as long as my mother lived choose myself before her. Nor does it seem I can do so very well, after her death.

    I think Cedar's post gives me a place to stand.

    Mama, I loved you too much to allow your dying to kill me too.

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  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Yes. This is beautiful.

    Remember this quote, everyone?

    Joanna Russ Quote

    Faith is not contrary to the usual ideas, something that turns out to be right or wrong, like a gambler's bet: it's an act, an intention, a project, something that makes you, in leaping into the future, go so far, far, far ahead that you shoot clean out of time and right into Eternity, which is not theend of time or a whole lot of time or unending time, but timelessness, the old Eternal Now.

    - Joanna Russ

    I remember, after daughter's troubles, losing my faith. Nothing made sense, and everything was very dark for me then.

    I posted about it here.

    I began saying yes. I learned the beginning of saying, "I don't know."

    Slowly, without thinking it through and without awareness even, I began to hold faith with whatever was. With the thinking that somehow, since everything was as it was, there was no where to stand or to be or to do anything but what was in front of me to do. With the understanding that perhaps there was a purpose I could never know.

    Or, that there was only the purpose I gave to it.

    Which changed everything.

    We do. And we are vulnerable then to victimization by others. But we are only alive in this minute in this day we are in. How fortunate we are to be alive. How did it come to be that this fullness of gratitude and joy that is ours by virtue of our did the wonder of being here get so twisted, for us?

    How sad for us, that this was so.

    Yes. And somewhere along the line, we were taught we were less than because we were not perfectionsim. Somewhere along the line, we learned shame instead of the truth that, as Copa posted: "...we have no way of knowing at the time the true result, which can only be known at the end."

    "Life is a cumulative thing. It consists of our interaction with circumstances in the form of our choices. Our moral choices make our life."

    Thank you, Copa. This was beautifully and clearly written. I love the part about life being a cumulative thing. However we learned to judge ourselves so harshly, that phrase is the truth that exposes the lie. What a lovely thing to teach our children.

    "Our moral choices make our life."


    Copa, without the extended family support that is typical of so many other cultures, it is literally impossible for the child of the elderly American parent to cope, on his or her own, with the increasing level of care and attention required. With the guilt. With the terrible sadness. These are the emotions our siblings and their families can help everyone through as the elderly parent fails.

    You did not have that.

    You performed your duty beautifully and with integrity, Copa. You were there for your mother in every way. As the level of care required mounted and mounted, you coped. As the sadness came rolling in waves, you withstood it and did what was the next right thing to do.

    And you did it alone.

    How awful for you, Copa.

    Copa, with great gentleness, I see: Your mother could not help what was happening to her. We none of us knows how to do this. Again, we are alone and we do what we can until the power is no longer in us and the body itself determines the time.

    But should never have had to face all of it ~ the fear and the pain and the wondering whether you might have done better ~ you should never have been required to face that alone. You should never have been put in that position, Copa.

    But you were.

    It is a little like the mother giving birth with her family and the midwife and the customs surrounding birthing children versus a mother giving birth for the first time alone, in the wilderness, and without food or even, water.

    Not so much as a sip of sweet, sweet water, Copa.

    And the birth comes as it will. And Copa, death comes as it will, too.

    And you were not offered so much as a sip of sweet water, Copa.

    Your sister condemned you both, instead.

    But you, Copa? You performed beautifully. Your mother was never alone. If you were not there, she knew you would be, soon.

    That is an abundance of sweet water, Copa.

    For your mother.

    You loved her beautifully, Copa.

    And now that you know, and now that the time of punishing yourself because no one shared this traumatic hurt with you is over, you can allow yourself the sweet water, Copa.

    The other person, the sibling who should have been there for you and for your mother and her own...her time is past, Copa.

    Her time is past.

    I love this.

    This is very hard for me. But as we have worked here, I have learned that if we can form a habit of listening for our own negative thinking, we can choose or change the mood of our response. This has to do with determining to hold ourselves with compassion and sticking to it. I learned too that we are often heartlessly cruel to ourselves in ways we would never accept if it were two strangers interacting with one another the way we sometimes talk to ourselves.

    We bully ourselves. Sometimes, we think such awful things about ourselves in private, when the truth is that even how we treat ourselves can be, as Copa says, messy and imperfect.

    But we are learning how to self cherish.

    And how to acknowledge joy. Which I am beginning to believe has to do with Nietzsch's love came first.

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  11. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Okay everyone I can breathe a huge sigh of relief now. The meeting is over, and went better than expected. My dad did NOT mention the Facebook argument at all, thank God! I was worried about that the most. I planned the meeting for 3:00 p.m. I had to take my son to meet his dad for the weekend at 4:30. I planned it that way on purpose, so I wouldn't have to endure the meeting for too long if it went badly.

    For the first hour all we talked about was my kids and our jobs. My dad agreed with me that my job sounds horrific. I updated him on how my kids are doing in school. We spoke of my daughter, and my fears of her never becoming independent. My dad was a very good listener during that time, and basically agreed with me that difficult child is hurting herself in the long run.

    For the last half hour he brought up the dreaded topic of mental illness. My dad gave me his thoughts on mine and my daughter's bipolar. He gave me examples of some of his students that he teaches. He told me that he has seen some of his 6th grade students with issues completely turn around and become "normal" by 8th grade. He told me they outgrew their disorders.

    I badly wanted to disagree with him, and tell him that bipolar cannot be outgrown. It can be stabilized, yes, but never completely goes away. Instead I took all of your advice and just nodded my head. When he suggested I go off my medications completely, I did confess to him that without medications I have attempted suicide. That shut him up pretty quickly. After that, he didn't have much more to say on the issue, other than him suggesting I see a therapist for my anxiety, to which I agreed. I am actually going to schedule an appointment with a brand new therapist whom my psychiatrist recommended after our trip to Hawaii next month.

    By the time 4:30 came around, we were pretty much all talked out. We left on good terms. He is coming back to California for a couple of weeks in July. He wants to make dinner plans with my kids and I. I told him I was looking forward to it. We hugged, and said our goodbyes. You all have no idea the panic attacks I was having on Friday before our meeting. I was actually sweating bullets before we met. I was so worried, but I am glad I made myself go. Now I can be at peace, if even only temporarily, with my dad. Thank you all so much for your support and helping me get through this.
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    CB, I am so happy for you and for your Dad that it turned out this way. It is all so hopeful.

    I am glad he backed down when you told him about the suicide attempt. He was wrong to pressure you. He knows it.

    It is hard to accept the mental illness of a child. My son is mentally ill. I know. He too believes he has bipolar. (In his case he has never been diagnosed as such, with mood disorder but not bipolar.)

    As you know with your daughter, the idea that a child will forever be held back or suffer is nearly intolerable. It takes time, for some of us, a long time to deal with it. Right or wrong this is the case.

    Your father it seems is trying, and you are too. What a good outcome, with strength and commitment and hope shown by all.

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  13. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Remember that you are the cherished daughter, here. Accept no other role. Are you truly ready to meet with your father again, and to have him in your life with your children?

    You are the one whose honor and responsibility it is to decide these things.

    He hurt you, once.

    In this meeting, he responded to your strength well and appropriately. This means that until you learn that he can indeed be trusted, you must maintain a position of strength in relation to your father. If you can do this (and I know that you can ~ you are stronger, so much stronger, now) then your father will become for you the father you can respect and cherish and never fear, anymore.

    I am so pleased for you, California.

    I am pleased too that though you are facing challenge in your work, you are facing them with integrity and standing up to all of it.

    You are doing so well, and I am so happy for you.

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  14. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    CB, I am glad you went. You were smart to set a timeframe, and maintained yourself throughout. With this meeting under your belt, and the good things that came out of it, for July you don't have to go through all of the anxiety in anticipation and preparation for the unknown. As I recall, your Dad ranted on about therapy on FB, now he is encouraging it. YAY!
    Small steps towards building bridges of understanding.
    Good job CB, I am glad you feel better about your meeting with your Dad, how wonderful that he was a good listener.
    All and all, a very good day for you both.