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Just heard really bad news about my n/c dad. I don't know what to do..

(50 Posts)
MaryPoppinsPenguins Sun 07-Feb-16 14:54:11

My parents divorced when I was very young. My father was violent to my mother, and my older brother and I remember it vividly. We were forced to see him every weekend for most of our childhood, and it wasn't always bad. I had an older and younger brother with me and we would play etc, but mostly I just remember my dad sleeping in and being left to our own devices in the tiny flat where he lived. I had a half brother who got to stay at home with my mum and stepdad and we always felt jealous.

We voluntarily stopped going as teenagers because of going out with friends at weekends, and I gradually lost contact with him, though both of my brothers still saw him and speak to him on the phone.

When I got married I went abroad so I wouldn't have the issue around inviting him... When I had my DD1 be turned up at the hospital and it was awkward as anything. I didn't see him for years after that until I got a letter for a permission hearing for him to exercise his 'grandparents rights' and see my (now 2) DD's. I was so against this. He's so bitter now that all he does is says awful things about me, my mum and my stepdad... And wishes us dead. He even wrote a book and published it online about my mother and I going to hell. The judge denied him permission, and it was a horrible time. We had to call the police a few times when he was threatening and wouldn't leave us alone.

Now it's two years later and my brother tells me that my dad has liver cancer. A Google search tells me this doesn't have a very high percentage of good outcomes. Part of my thinks I should see him and make peace, if he is dying, but my parents, my DH and all my friends think this would be crazy after the life he's put us all through. I don't really want to see him... But I'm worried that it will plague the rest of my life if I don't. He's always sent us messages threatening us with various things... One of which being that he will haunt me when he dies... Which sounded stupid and I can't believe I've let it get to me this much, but I'm not sleeping thinking about it.

Not really an AIBU... But what should I do? What would you do?

MaryPoppinsPenguins Sun 07-Feb-16 14:56:16

Sorry, so many typos!

Quoteunquote Sun 07-Feb-16 15:02:54

Greve for the parent you never had,

and give some very careful consideration as to if you want to grab a last chance to have a relationship with the person he really is.

He may never of yet been brave enough to take responsibility for the outcomes of his actions, and he will probably never will in a way that feels justifiable to you.

Communicate well with who ever is in your support group and go carefully, and don't do anything without pre thing your exit strategy both physically and contact.

FantasticButtocks Sun 07-Feb-16 15:05:49

I would just leave it. He sounds a destructive and unpleasant person, very extreme in the nasty things he has done and said, including wishing you dead and telling you he will haunt you etc. I believe no good would come of getting in contact, and would probably be a massive trauma for you.

my parents, my DH and all my friends think this would be crazy after the life he's put us all through. All these are people who love you and want what's best for you. Listen to them.

I don't really want to see him That is fine, you don't have to.

He even wrote a book and published it online about my mother and I going to hell. What POSSIBLE good could it do you to see him?

If he has liver cancer, I don't expect he'll last long. Then, rather than being plagued for the rest of your life for not going back for a bit more abuse before he dies, you will probably feel relief that he is no longer able to cause you any more harm.

I should see him and make peace There is no guarantee that you'd be able to make peace. It is more likely that he just gets another chance to abuse you and upset you. Don't put yourself through it, it won't be worth it.

DawnOfTheDoggers Sun 07-Feb-16 15:10:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

carolinemoon Sun 07-Feb-16 15:10:36

I feel for you, I have very little contact with my dad (no nastiness, he's just not really interested). I didn't invite him to my wedding as I hadn't seen him or spoken to him in almost a decade.

Now he's in his 70s I wonder if the next time I'll hear about him will be because he's terminally ill or already dead. I've made peace with the fact that he's a crap dad, and I won't let my life be overshadowed by guilt at not knowing him - it is his fault not mine.

It is hard as a child of a bad/poor parent not to feel that it is somehow your fault that they aren't the parent they should be. It took me many years and much heartache to realise that my dad is the one at fault, not me.

If I were you I would not see him, and I'd feel no guilt over that.

Only you can make a decision, but it should be the decision that is best for you, not your dad. He's lost his right to you caring about him or doing kind things for him.

WitchSharkadder Sun 07-Feb-16 15:12:04

I think it boils down to going with your gut.

I had a similar dilemma in that my biological father was a horrible, violent man who I hadn't seen since childhood, he developed a life threatening condition and I wondered whether I should visit him.

I decided not to as, when I really thought about it, he meant nothing to me. I didn't 'know' him, I didn't love him or even like him. I hated the things he had done and didn't think he deserved any sort of forgiveness for those things just because he was ill.

I don't know if that makes me a horrible person, but I genuinely don't think that I'll regret not seeing him.

Best of luck whatever you decide to do, but please make sure the decision is yours and not what others think you should do.

RaptorInaPorkPieHat Sun 07-Feb-16 15:16:31

I don't really want to see him Cling on to that.

He sounds bloody awful, being ill (if he is) won't mean he's had a personality transplant, if you see him, he'll just get another chance to twist the knife before he goes.

Be kind to yourself flowers

Maudofallhopefulness Sun 07-Feb-16 15:20:17

He should bloody well make peace with you, not the other way round! Abusive fucker. Don't see him if you don't want to. It is his behaviour that has led to your estrangement, do not feel guilty.

If you alienate your friends and family, it is your own fault if you die alone.

captaincake Sun 07-Feb-16 15:21:59

I have been in a similar situation only my parent pulled through. I concluded I was upset because it would upset my sibling if parent died and in a way because if parent died it would 'confirm' to me that there was no chance of having a parent. But I know this already. I didn't get in touch and don't regret it. I wouldn't get in touch if it happens again.

Usernamegone Sun 07-Feb-16 15:23:21

I never went n/c with my violent abusive dad. I think that was because I was always hoping that he would say that he was proud of me, loved me or he was sorry. He never did.

NanaNina Sun 07-Feb-16 15:23:38

As ye sow so shall ye reap. I'm not religious (far from it) but this just popped into my head. I would leave things be..........

bessiebumptious2 Sun 07-Feb-16 15:24:03

Please - do what is right for you not what anyone else tells you you should do. Go with your heart. If you decide not to then be content with that, but please make your own decision and don't be swayed by anyone else's experiences.

I think I'd be in touch with my brothers about how he is and maybe at some point go and visit him in hospital.

But I worry for you that instead of taking the opportunity to make peace (which you'd be very generous to offer given your shared history) that he might say something horrible.
A call that only you can make in the end.

Wishing you peace however things go flowers

amoamasamat Sun 07-Feb-16 15:38:56

Does it help to think about what might happen if you make contact?

A. He might have changed. He might apologise for all the terrible things he's done and said and tell you he's always loved you and understands why you needed to distance yourself.


B. He might not have changed. He might continue to be a nasty abusive and bitter man who wants to hurt you. He might tell you he never loved you anyway and say deeply unkind damaging things.


C. He might have absolutely no insight into his past behaviour at all and give you a poor me, nobody loves me pity-fest, leaving you feeling guilty and unsatisfied.

Could you deal with any of those three scenarios? What do you think is the most likely? What do you think the chances are that you would feel better after any of those situations?

And what do you want to get out of it? Would a letter to him setting down your feelings help you feel that you've drawn a line or would it open a can of worms?

Msqueen33 Sun 07-Feb-16 15:42:03

He sounds like a vile person. But I think I'd go. Just to tell him how I felt about him and to say goodbye and have that closure I suppose. I can totally understand why you wouldn't want to go because once you remove the fact he's blood related you wouldn't have stood for such nastiness from a friend. Sorry to hear what he did though. He sounds like an arsehole.

Floralnomad Sun 07-Feb-16 15:42:21

Having cancer won't have made him a nicer person , you made your decision years ago and I'd stick with it . Has he actually asked to see you ?

rumbleinthrjungle Sun 07-Feb-16 15:46:13

I'm not sleeping thinking about it.

Lovey AIBU and Chat and Relationships boards hum daily here with women from all walks of life asking for advice about handling living relatives. Have you ever seen one asking for help with handling toxic behaviour from the ghost of one? He isn't going to haunt you. (And fwiw I very much believe in life after death.)

It's FOG as Dawn says. Your guilt and your fear, and that is something you need help with processing because that is what is haunting you at night right now. If you want to re establish contact because you feel it's right for you, then this might be something to talk through with a counsellor before you make a decision about what to do and how to do it. It would need to be done with eyes open to the possible risks and the possible benefits, and you would need support in doing it.

MaryPoppinsPenguins Sun 07-Feb-16 15:48:09

No, he hasn't asked to see me actually, maybe he wouldn't even want to. I just assumed that him getting the information to my mum (via my brother, who was told to tell her) was so that she would tell me. I might be wrong.

I'm so worried that I'm going to spend the rest of my life feeling guilty, and jumping at every noise in the dark because of what he said.

He wrote in his 'book' that I'm a terrible mother and when I go to hell I'll see how he's felt all these years. I just can't get it all out of my head.

It should be such a happy time in my life, we're finally buying a house, my youngest DD is exceeding neurologist expectations. My DH's career is amazing... But I'm in bits and so tired because of worry.

Thanks for all your replies xx

paxillin Sun 07-Feb-16 15:52:33

What do your brothers report, has he mellowed and is he remorseful? Is he still nasty and spiteful? That would inform you if it will be better not to go.

AdjustableWench Sun 07-Feb-16 15:55:13

So after being violent to your mother and brother he took you to court to get access to your children? And did everything he could to threaten you and your family? I'm not sure this is someone who knows the meaning of the word 'peace'. I can understand that you might hope a serious (probably terminal) illness would make him regret his mistakes in life and want to put things right, but unfortunately I think it's quite unlikely. I agree with the advice to grieve for the parent you never had, and don't give him a change to threaten, abuse and disappoint you all over again.

shazzarooney99 Sun 07-Feb-16 15:56:31

To be frank i wouldnt bother about him just leave him to rot!

I don't believe in an after-life, certainly not one with a hell as well as a heaven, or in being haunted by ghosts. I wonder whether you do?

I think too many of us focus too much on our family of origins rather than on the new one we have responsibility for creating flowers


Seems a ghost might have got in there though!


whitehandledkitchenknife Sun 07-Feb-16 16:08:34

MPP - in addition to the wise words written above, I can only add that after being nc with my father for several years before his death, and in the face of intense pressure to see him before he died,which I refused to do, I decided that he had nothing to say that I needed to hear. I felt at ease with myself for doing this. I honoured myself and my needs. I had been subjected to decades of FOG and was not taking it any longer.
Only you can make the decision and as rumble says, if you decide to make contact, seek support beforehand, so that you know what you are potentially exposing yourself to.
Grieve for what you didn't have. Grieve for what you should have had. Mourn the loss of your childhood. But don't waste your tears on him.

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