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Letter to estranged parent...is it ever worth sending them?(8 Posts)
Hey I'll try and keep this brief.
It was my sons birthday this week and no word from my dad. No-one has heard from him in over a year now and this comes off the back of a long period (sine I was in my middle teens) of him barely being about and sporadic contact. I'm pissed off he has not got in touch about my sons birthday, but he has not with any of the grandchildren.
Up until January last year he had actually been a little better in terms of phoning and visits and so on and then last Jan he just disappeared and no-one has heard from him since, although his partner answers the phone and says she is passing on messages.
In a nutshell I have always found him emotionally distant, he is pretty much a 'functioning' alcoholic and his rejection both emotionally and now completely practically has caused me no end of issues with self-esteem and so on.
There's a lot more to it but basically I am considering writing a letter to him. Mostly I want to finally get out to him how this rejection has made me feel over the years, I come from a family where no emotional stuff has pretty much ever been spoken about, all of it brushed under the carpet. And certainly I have never had a conversation with my dad about a series of difficult things from my teens and regarding him never being around.
Based on what I know of him it is extremely unlikely I will get any reaction at all from him if I sent this letter. But I kind of feel like I want to tell him how I feel and get it out. I don't want to hurt him specifically or anything but I do think I've never said how I feel and he ought to hear it at some point.
But another part of me wonders whether its better just to do the 'unsent letter' thing and leave it be.
Has anyone else had any experience of this sort of thing and do you think it is better to send it, even if you think it will be ignored, or to just leave things?
I am estranged from my mum for many many reasons. I didn't bother with a letter or telling her. I just stopped seeing her. For a period, we'd exchange small talk if happened to see each other in Tesco but then she ignored my sister one day, I bumped into her a week later and she tried to initiate a conversation and I decided that was that.
Her family are screwed up and all about sending each other letters within which a character assasination takes places, there's high drama etc. I hear the advent of email has only heightened the incidence of these. They love dragging them back up.
She doesn't do reactions unless it suits her and hasn't ever shown an ounce of remorse for the things she's done, to the extent that she's tried to convince me I'm imagining it all! I know what she did. She knows what she did. She's far too up herself to acknowledge it and if I have pulled her up on it, turns it all round.
so in my experience, I decided it wasn't worth it. I'm sorry you're in this position, it is shit. I would expend your energy on yourself and being nice to yourself.
IME: no. Sadly. If they were able to hear you, you wouldn't be estranged in the first place.
I'm not sure its always a bad idea - I think it depends e.g. on the issues, and the relationship. I think the "unsent" letter is a good idea and perhaps do that for a while and then see, perhaps you will lose the urge once you have done that. However, if you have something to say and you feel strong enough to say it, and feel intuitively that its the right thing to do, then I think its a possibility. Would you prefer to speak to him/meet him, or is that out of the question?
Hi, thank you for replying.
cherlykerl I'm sorry to hear things have been so difficult with your mother and that she has not shown any remorse for things
I guess I am not looking for any particular reaction per se cause I guess if he was interested off his own back in sorting things he wouldn't have ignored his children for over a year. I have discussed issues in counselling, including some accusations of sexual abuse by a family member so it's kind of heavy stuff.
But I don't see to be able to move forward totally, and I wondered whether thats because I've never honestly communicated my feelings to him and so kept them bottled up in a way.
Not sure really, I feel really teary today after speaking to my brother about lack of contact (it came up as they asked if he had been in touch for my sons birthday) and can just feel this gut level of emotion coming up.
Frankly? I'm fucking sick of it. I want it gone. I'm sick of that level of background pain chugging away in the background of my life.
SundaysGirl, how horrible to be going through this.
Maybe this will help- it's something I've tried. Write down how you're feeling. Whatever comes into your head, don't hold back. This might be 'the letter', or it might be a combination of you 'talking' directly to whoever's troubling you, and looking at your own thoughts - eg, I'm so angry, or I'm so sick of this, or he's got to understand what he's done.... you get the picture.
While you're doing this, or afterwards, ask yourself
- What do I want to have happen
- If I do X, is that likely to achieve this.
- If not, what else could I do.
Though it will be therapeutic on its own, you might not experience any sudden revelation.
Give it a few days though, and your best course of action might become clearer. One thing is sure, you can't just stuff it down.
You'll be looking for closure.
He'll use it as ammunition.
You owe him nothing. Your silence speaks volumes.
I wrote one of those letters to my abusive mother. It was definitely worth sending it. She didnt write back and I didn't expect he to and to be honest, if she had, I am not sure I'd have read what she wrote, as it would have been a diatribe of denial and rubbish.
But looking back it was definitely worth it.
I said it completely how it was for me. Stuff I had never said before and which I bet she did not want to read. I told her I had told her friend and neighbour. I used language akin to what I was reading in my healing books etc. I really laid into her. I reminded her of things she had done and said that I am sure she wouldn't have wanted to be reminded of.
The point of it for me was to say it how I had experienced it and I didn't care what she thought of that. I had taken and taken and taken from that woman and I then turned around and told her what for. It was hugely liberating. If you can bear for it not to be made right after you have had your say then I recommend it. It may be an end of the line act, but if you are there already, then unburden yourself.
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