to not understand how a 'father' can walk away from his children.

(52 Posts)
TeenTwinsToddlerandTiaras Mon 29-Apr-13 20:21:21

Yes, I have posted a few threads about my quest for 'sanity' and my father's abandonment is something I have gone over with a counsellor but I still don't get it.

How can a father bring up a child until they are 6 years old, love them, play with them, put them to bed etc, then just walk away having no contact with them for over 30 years and expect the adult DC to run to them with open arms and 'forget about the past' taking no responsibility and completely refusing to discuss it. Especially after said DC was left with a monster of a mother and suffered years of physical and emotional abuse at her hands and that of their 'new daddy'. I used to dream of my 'real' father rescuing me sad but he never came. I have always felt that there was something inherently wrong with ME as he left me and my mother hated me!

He has now washed his hands of me after ONE meeting, some phone calls and some emails as I can't seem to get over the past and he 'does'nt want to go there'. He does'nt seem to get that I need to understand the past before I can get over it! He brought up another woman's DCs while having no physical or financial contact with me at all. I asked him what he remembered of me as a DC (what time I was born/what I weighed/what I liked/what kind of a DC I was etc as my mother has never told me) and he refused to answer and cut contact. He told me I need professional help with my 'issues' which I am well aware of and have had, total irony or what.

AIBU in feeling entitled to feel anger and disgust at him and not just slip into loving long lost daughter mode and pretend everything is alright now? I know anger is not healthy but it is surely completely normal to feel it in this situation.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 29-Apr-13 20:49:37

I don't think that the majority of Fathers would have this ability...I think Fathers who do this kind of thing have personality disorders of some kind.

YANBU to feel should think about counseling to recover. brew wine flowers

2old2beamum Mon 29-Apr-13 21:18:58

It is not only fathers who abandon children. My "dear" mother left me on Paddington Station age 7. My Dad picked me up 1 hr later. I never saw her again. I feel your pain and I am now an OAP
Sadly my dad married a woman from hell but I survived and guess what I like myself!Left home @ 18, nursing, And adopted 8 needy children. Don't let your past ruin your happiness
Take care

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

2old2beamum - wow. You are just amazing..!

OP- sorry, clearly your dad was not what you hoped he would be. It hurts, but some people are just incapable of being decent human beings or accepting responsibility for their actions.

Good news is, it seems you're on the right path. Anger is fully and totally appropriate. Clutching at contact with the inadequate prick would not. (Sorry, harsher language than I might normally use, but I am tired and sad for you.)

LemonsLimes Mon 29-Apr-13 21:33:33

YANBU to feel "entitled to feel anger and disgust at him and not just slip into loving long lost daughter mode and pretend everything is alright now."

Of course you are not. I'm so sorry you've had such a rough deal. He doesn't deserve you.

oopsadaisymaisy Mon 29-Apr-13 21:41:45

I wish I could understand it op. My mother and father abandoned me. My ex has abandoned our child. Unfortunately there are some people incapable of putting others before themselves. I've learned to accept it and had lots of therapy. I'm quite a balanced person now. You will move on from it. You have every right to feel confused and angry.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Mon 29-Apr-13 21:51:02

I'm so sorry OP. I just don't understand it either. The person upthread who said these people have personality issues has hit the nail on the head, I reckon.

My ex has never had anything to do with DS. I just don't understand it. I'm having counselling to try and deal with it, and my lovely counsellor has described him as 'damaged'. I think she's right.

spottyparrot Mon 29-Apr-13 21:51:26

Agree that he has a personality disorder. You cannot hope to understand why he abandoned you because his brain is wired differently to yours (he is lacking basic emotions such as sorrow, remorse, empathy etc).

So, re your understanding in order to gain sanity: it's more a case of understanding that he has something wrong with him rather than understanding his actions.

Also re sanity, I think that it is important to accept that he will never ever be the father you want/need, even as an adult. He will always be a bastard.

Sorry about your situation. Anger and disgust are perfectly appropriate emotions so don't worry about that.

littlemisssarcastic Mon 29-Apr-13 22:04:17

I agree with spottyparrot.
Imo, there are many people who, for whatever reason, don't actually feel emotions or attachment like you and I do. They have no empathy, remorse or sorrow. They don't regret previous actions that may have hurt someone else's feelings. They seem to go through life aspiring to achieve self serving goals, there always has to be something in it for them IYSWIM.

You are possibly confusing your father with a man who possesses empathy, love and attachment because of how he treated you until you were 6.
What happened when you were 6 btw? What led to your father walking out of your life?

morethanpotatoprints Mon 29-Apr-13 22:14:39

You have been through so much and you shouldn't have to have done. The people who were supposed to be responsible for you weren't. You are certainly right to feel angry and I would too.
FWIW I agree with LunaticFringe, put it all in a box.
I am so sorry you have experienced this thanks brew wine

Punkatheart Mon 29-Apr-13 22:16:38

I am so sorry. Empathy levels vary in people so much. You really deserved a better father and it is only bad luck that you got this man, who is not truly a father at all. But it is not your fault of course - it is his weakness, his loss.

Yes, some people can disconnect and not feel things deeply. Be sad for them, but live well and have a wonderful life, loving your own children if you have them....

Dededum Mon 29-Apr-13 22:23:05

DH abandoned by his mother when he was 10. She was in a very unhappy marriage, hearing him talk about his early childhood she was obviously a good mum until she left. Have met her, she dotes on his step sister and her grandkids.

Severe therapy helped - Hoffman process if you can afford it. First you hate with all the intensity in your soul until you have no hate left, then admit you love your mum despite their abandonment and then you forgive with all your heart. The pain lives in you not them, you can change how you feel. They might be able to meet you and you might or might not have a good relationship going forward. Probably not.

DH has sporadic dealings with his mum, but the abandonment has no power over him, almost like it happened to someone else.

Good luck.

Dededum Mon 29-Apr-13 22:25:27

I think to love and have empathy you have to love yourself. Maybe people abandon others because of their own lack of self worth, they think how can I give when I am worth so little??

Everyones guilty but no one is to blame.

Viviennemary Mon 29-Apr-13 22:34:23

I think you are totally entitled to feel anger and disgust at your Father for abandoning you. And I think it's quite normal to feel this resentment. But could you try some counselling. You are not the one at fault here. He is.

Punkatheart Mon 29-Apr-13 22:41:18

Great wise point dededum. Something in these men is broken.

WilsonFrickett Mon 29-Apr-13 22:42:36

Of course YANBU to feel anger. Anger is totally and entirely appropriate and a good way to help us set appropriate boundaries. It would be far, far worse to just slip back into contact and pretend it didn't happen. That would be letting down the child-you (sorry if that's a bit woo). She deserves that you stick up for her.

That said, keep going with your counselling, not for him, not so you can forgive and forget, but so that you can move forward and live well.

likeitorlumpit Mon 29-Apr-13 22:51:36

it could be anything ,it might be your mum made life difficult and put a stop to access ,he doesnt want to talk about the past , what is the point of dragging it all up,it sounds like all you do is ask him questions,maybe he just wants to get to know the you now ,why cant you accept that and either start a fresh from here or leave it altogether.

Apileofballyhoo Tue 30-Apr-13 00:13:28

Are you the OP's father, likeit? Interesting name.

Apileofballyhoo Tue 30-Apr-13 00:20:58

Posted too soon. YANBU, OP. Anger is a healthy response to how you were treated. You can deal with your anger and with your grief. Somebody has to grieve for that little 6 year old, and 7, and 8, and 9 and all the other ages you were on your own in an unsafe place instead of with a loving father protecting you. It sounds like he does not have any positive contribution to make to your life. Well done for not brushing it under the carpet. You are clearly very strong. A strength entirely your own. I hope you are very proud of yourself, OP.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 30-Apr-13 00:25:00


He owes you answers and if he does not at least attempt to provide them then he's a giant knobber.

But yabu to expect them because giant knobbers who do things like that never like being reminded of just how much a giant knobber they are.

likeitorlumpit Tue 30-Apr-13 00:42:05

no one knows the whole story , no one knows his side ,you say you met him then emailed and phoned , maybe it was all to full on, he last saw you as a 6 yr old child now you are a 36 yr old woman,maybe he doesnt feel a bond and that has to start a fresh with no dragging up the past, it really doesnt help anyone .

Snazzynewyear Tue 30-Apr-13 00:50:55

There is no side of the story that could make it right to walk away from your young child, not see them for 30 years and then expect them to be shiny and happy about that and keen to move on. That's just a selfish and self centred person at work. OP, not at all surprised you are angry and hurt. Hope you can get good counselling to help you deal with it.

likeitorlumpit Tue 30-Apr-13 01:07:57

you need to know all the sides before you can make assumptions about strangers ! there are many reasons things in life happen, your assuming will not help the op,i hope she hears what she wants to hear but she will just get people calling him names , not really helping is it,write him a letter tell him you want one meeting to answer all your questions and then you can decide if you both want to meet again and start afresh without dragging it up every time you meet.

Mumof3men Tue 30-Apr-13 08:05:21

I don't understand it either. My sons are 22,23 and 24. They haven't seen their father for 19 years.
If I am such a horrible person why would he leave them with me and walk away?
I don't have bitterness for him going, marriages don't always work and he wouldn't have gone if he was happy but how can he live, work eat, breathe without knowing his children are safe?
(at one point I had a phone call from the CSA to inform me that he wanted a reduction in child support due to the fact they would all have left school-they were 15, 17 and 18 at that time. He literally had not remembered their ages. The CSA lady laughed with me)

pickledginger Tue 30-Apr-13 09:06:05

You can't understand because there isn't any reason that would justify it. It's not something that can be understood. And wanting to 'move on' from it is like disregarding your whole childhood. It's like saying what happened to you didn't matter or is over with. It needs acknowledging before you could hope to have a relationship with him.

I can't understand it, especially now I've had my own children. My dad left when I was 3. I tried to have contact with him but he was too busy with his new family to turn up on arranged days. I do feel there is something wrong with me for him leaving even though rationally I know he's the one who's clearly wrong. I rarely think about him now, and when I do I get very angry, justifiably so.
There are no excuses for this behaviour, and not many words to make it better but you're not alone in it

Finallygotaroundtoit Tue 30-Apr-13 09:16:44

Think about what you want - do you want him to admit he was wrong to walk away and apologise for years of abandonment?
He's unlikely to do that

StanleyLambchop Tue 30-Apr-13 09:19:06

you need to know all the sides before you can make assumptions about strangers !

I think the OP is prepared to listen to his side, but he is refusing to talk to her about it! Yes, there could be many reasons why he did what he did, if it was something like an access issue between him and the op's mother then why not just come out and say that? It is the sweeping under the carpet which is not on. He made a decision as an adult- he should now be explaining to the OP- an adult herself- why he did that. I think she has every right to ask him for answers.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 30-Apr-13 09:22:23


You really think answers won't help?

Its not just the past for the op its her entire life apart from 6 years.

There are no good enough reasons none at all for what he did accepting that and apologising then making amends will serve him well.

The op knowing that its not her fault will help her move on.

But there is a certain type of person who goes through their life fucking up disrupting other people causing heartache without a care in the world because they think its ok they carry on because they never have to face up to their behaviour and people collude with them making them think its really not that bad. People who abandon without things like adoption tend to fit into that group.

In the OPs specific case, I agree with the suggestion of a personality disorder.

Of course, there are women who also abandon their children - in fewer numbers than men. Is it wrong to think that fathers find it 'easier' to do because they don't have the same bond that mothers have because they bore the children? Not an excuse, merely a conjecture.

My gut feeling is that in some cases, these people shouldn't have had children, probably didn't want them, and did so because it was "the done thing" or "my partner wanted them".

likeitorlumpit Tue 30-Apr-13 09:46:16

i think people dwell on the past too much, its happened you cant change it , maybe her dad thinks she is going to go on at every meeting about the past , thats why i suggested the letter and meeting,you cant have a future if all you do is go on about the past,meet discuss move on,as everyone on here points out ,everyone is different,some people want to talk some dont.their life their choice.

2old2beamum Tue 30-Apr-13 10:11:06

people dwell on the past,its happened and you can't change it

I am sure others will agree the hurt you feel stays with you for ever I can still see my mother walking up the platform leaving me under the station clock with my suitcase. Yes I have got on with my life but the hurt is still there. Was I so awful.
I think you are being very harsh or insensitive

WinterWinds Tue 30-Apr-13 11:30:36

Likeit Do you honestly think its that easy just to forget and move on??

The op cannot ever forget the position she was put in as a defenceless child.
She needs answers as to why she was left with an abusive mother and why her father never came back for her.

She needs to know it was not her fault. If her father could hold his hands up and say, "Yes i was to blame" or even "Sorry" then that... "might".... just go a little way towards repairing the damage. Which needs to be done before the OP can move on.

But she will never forget......put yourself in her position. Would you be able to forget being beaten regularly by your mother and stepfather.

These things do not go away, If only life was that easy!!!

LemonsLimes Tue 30-Apr-13 11:34:06

Totally agree with everything Winter just wrote.

LemonsLimes Tue 30-Apr-13 11:35:00

and 2old2

GrendelsMum Tue 30-Apr-13 12:18:01

Ultimately, perhaps, he's quite a weak man who struggles to deal with things that are emotionally distressing and runs away from them instead.

His first marriage was having severe problems, so he ran away from it, maybe telling himself that it would be easier for his daughter if he wasn't around to wind up his ex-wife. Now he gets back in contact with his daughter, who understandably wants to talk about the past and understand why he left her, and again he runs away from her. He's behaving now as he did 30 years ago, which is sad but not all that surprising.

nokidshere Tue 30-Apr-13 18:26:29

My mother walked out on us when I was 7 (5 siblings), she just left one morning and never returned. The oldest of us was 8 and the youngest less than a year old. She left us with an alcoholic, violent father and eventually we ended up in care.

Yanbu in feeling the way you do but yabu in the fact that it is still continuing to affect your life and feelings. As adults we need to accept responsibility for our own lives, not use the actions of others to quantify how we feel or behave. It's totally understandable that, as children, we might feel that we are to blame in some way for what happened. But as adults we should be able to fully understand that we had no part in the actions of the adults in our lives back then.

You need to ask yourself why you need answers to be able to 'move on'. What if the answers aren't the ones you want to hear? What is it that you can't do without first having these answers?

winterwinds it's not about forgetting, I will never forget my abusive and neglected past. It's about accepting who you are and not making someone else responsible for your feelings and behaviour.

I have no answers, even though we are in touch with my mother now. Discussing it will not change the past, nor can it make me feel any differently about the way Ilive my life now. I am not my parents and I won't be tarred by their mistakes. Moving on, ultimately, can and should be done without the parents who screwed up your childhood in he first place.

likeitorlumpit Tue 30-Apr-13 18:51:06

2old2beamum think what you like you know nothing about me , winterwinds been there , done that , moved on, why waste your life dwelling on what has happened , make the most of your life from now on, its too short , you wont get the answers you want, nothing he says will be good enough lets face it , whats done is done ,you will never have a relationship with him if thats what you want if you keep going back in the past, let him get to know the you now and vice versa .

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 30-Apr-13 18:59:57

I would think that a clue would be in the OP's statement "monster of a mother*

CecilyP Tue 30-Apr-13 19:22:48

But that is who her father left - he did not specifically leave OP. He then failed to maintain contact - perhaps her mother made it difficult. I am sure her rational mind knows this, though emotionally it is harder to cope with. It is more likely that he thought she would be fine with her mother - after all he certainly wouldn't have known that she would go on to have an abusive stepfather. He was also a product of his time - a time when the non-custodial parent was far more likely to be absent from their child's life.

Of course it is distressing for you OP for him not to give her the answers she wants and even more so that he no longer wants contact.

2old2beamum Tue 30-Apr-13 20:57:17

I think CecilyP you have hit the nail on the head It wasn't the fact she dumped me (I now know she had itchy knickers) it was the fact that she never even bothered to see if I was ok. I wasn't, my DF married a woman from hell I was so unhappy as she hated me.
If she had wanted to see me it may have been blocked by the old witch but why when I was an adult I contacted her and she wrote back telling me not to contact her again.
teentwins as I said before I feel your pain but you will survive.
God this has been cathartic.

TeenTwinsToddlerandTiaras Tue 30-Apr-13 21:25:21

I appreciate all the replies. MumOf3Men That's exactly what I think and he knew my mother was a piece of work!

I know life is short and I need to move on. What I have been trying to deal with is the fallout from his actions (my mother is a separate and equally difficult issue). All my life I have thought there was something wrong with ME and I was just a fucked up person, when you finally realise there was something wrong with THEM, you seek answers, especially when you have DC yourself and can't imagine them going through what you went through. I am trying to 'heal' myself, so I can be who I should have been, by confronting the past and closing that chapter of my life but I can't if I don't know what happened.

I met my father 4 years ago for the first and only time since I was a child. Since that time he has exchanged emails with me, telling me what he was doing, of the sort you would send as a round robin ignoring the 'humungous big fat fucking elephant in the room' and I could not keep up the pretence of it all being OK now. He got the hump when he rang and I did'nt know who he was (did not recognise his voice) a few months after that meeting.

I suffered terribly as a DC and I needed him to be aware of the effect on me (OCD/panic disorder), more fool I to think he would care, he only cares about himself.

An apology would have sufficed, perhaps a hug and a cry acknowledging how angry I feel. I don't even know the actual reason my parents divorced, how he left or when or even if I was there (although I think I was as I have a memory of running out of the front door barefoot straight into broken glass from milk bottles that were smashed all over the door step but nothing else). He received a massive cash lump sum a few months after the split apparently but never paid a penny in maintenance hmm and apparently could not afford a solicitor to get access sorted.

I will not forgive when no remorse has ever been shown. I guess I still have that small child's anger and don't know what to do with it! I had hoped that it would turn out that I take after him and it was all a mistake on his part and my horrid mother drove him away blah blah blah but it seems I am nothing like him either. He is just as bad as her. Feels terribly lonely.

Snazzynewyear Tue 30-Apr-13 21:38:58

"He got the hump when he rang and I did'nt know who he was" ah, so it really is all about him and always will be. It is bad luck for you for sure. As said earlier, I would definitely seek good counselling to help you come to terms with your parents' treatment of you.

cinnamonbun Tue 30-Apr-13 22:02:01

I strongly disagree with those who say you need to hear both sides before judging. There's NO excuse for abandoning your child, none. My father (I refuse to call him 'dad') left before I was born and despite repeated attempts by me to have some form of contact with him throughout my childhood, he blanked me completely. Occasionally when i think about it I hate him and hope he does of some terrible disease. But I've made a conscious effort not to let the hatred/sadness consume me.

What I find helps is making sure DD has a completely different experience and a good relationship with DH. I love watching her being affectionate with her dad (and him with her) as I never had that. I often feel as though I'm healing through her if that makes sense?

I think that in order to move forward,you need to stop asking why and how someone can be so shitty. Some people are just a waste of space. He obviously doesn't deserve you and it sounds like you've done so well , especially considering your childhood. You have only yourself to thank for that so be proud of yourself!

likeitorlumpit Tue 30-Apr-13 22:07:40

im sorry you have been suffering for so long op , i know every one has a different approach , i can understand you wanting answers ,i thought you had it all out and got some at your meeting i didnt realise it was so long ago either,i dont mean to come across as harsh , i just hate seeing people hate themselves when its not there fault and they cant change the past or the people that made them feel like that, i really do hope you get the answers and hope you can move on if you dont get them . good luck

SleepOhHowIMissYou Tue 30-Apr-13 22:13:16

Google 'sociopath' OP.

His leaving was nothing to do with you.

Move on and never look back!

Keep strong x

BinksToEnlightenment Tue 30-Apr-13 22:14:54

I know the feeling too, op. It is hard.

2old2beamum Tue 30-Apr-13 22:21:45

How many of us are suffering due to fucked up lives because of lousy parents but I wonder are we better people because of it.

Bunson Tue 30-Apr-13 23:11:41

My mother left when I was ten. Dad brought us up. I don't blame her for leaving but most mums would take you with them ffs. In hindsight it screwed me up good and proper. I see my mum now much more now that I have kids of my own and we don't really discuss it but I'll never forgive her for it.

WinterWinds Wed 01-May-13 14:39:18

winterwinds it's not about forgetting, I will never forget my abusive and neglected past. It's about accepting who you are and not making someone else responsible for your feelings and behaviour.

winterwinds been there , done that , moved on

I understand that its all about acceptance and am sorry that you both have been through the same. Clearly you have both managed to deal with it in a way that has enabled you to move on
The Op came here as clearly she cannot move on until she has answers.
Yes it is likely she will have to accept that those answers will never come and but right now she is struggling to cope with that.

Likeit it just sounded like you were being unnecessarily harsh as not everyone deals with things in the same way and you have to make allowances for that. So I do apologise for biting back without knowing that you had been through it also.

OP I do hope you eventually find peace in one way or another.

likeitorlumpit Wed 01-May-13 20:07:19

thanks winterwinds i did sound harsh reading back and didnt make allowances blush, hopefully it will work out for her .

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