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Fixing my relationship with my Dad.(9 Posts)
Sorry if this is in the wrong place, I couldn’t find anywhere about grown up families.
So for some background:
When I was a young child, my Mum and Dad had a very violent relationship. My Dad liked alcohol.a lot.
When I was 10, my Mum left my Dad and remarried. My Dad always maintained regular contact with me, up until the time I was about 20, splashing the cash and buying me stuff, which was never what I wanted but he seemed to feel guilty.
He would often turn up at my house drunk, chucking money at me and being verbally abusive. The last time was the day after I came out of hospital after having my first baby, and I told him that if he couldn’t stop turning up at my house drunk, I didn’t want him to turn up at all. I only wanted to see him sober.
Fast forward 5 years ago, when I was 34 he contacted me out of the blue, he got my number from my sister who has always always maintained contact with him.
He asked if we could meet up for a coffee, which we did a few weeks later.
He was not the man I remember. We chatted a few times over the period of the next month, but it phased out. I didn’t bother making an effort, and he wasn’t well.
This morning, I bumped into him in town and we chatted for a bit. He was happy to see me, apologised for not having been in touch and said he loved and missed me. Almost like I had no control over my mouth, I found myself saying the same, suggesting that we meet up again properly. I took his number and we agreed that I would text or call to arrange a meet up.
I feel strange. I do want to build a relationship with him, but he is a stranger to me, as I am to him. What do we talk about? How do we get to know each other?
Anyone have any advice?
Just to clarify- the time span between when I told him to not turn up at my door drunk, and the time I met up with him 5 years ago, was 14 years.
First is take it step by step you are nervous He is your dad but you don't know him. I would say meet up for a lunch and take it one step at a time but remember if you want this you have to put in effort too it can't just be all him
I would suggest meet somewhere neutral where there is something to distract / make a topic of conversation. So suggest you meet at the museum/stately home/garden centre etc and have coffee / lunch in the cafe, that way you have topics of conversation to consider other than about you/him/your relationship to get you talking.
I agree with Kko1986, you need to consider if you are prepared to make the effort or are just doing it becuase you feel you ought to.
I have had a strained relationship with my own DF over the years, not quite such long periods of being estranged however in more recent years we have become much closer and he is an active Grandfather too.
What I did also have to do was be prepared to leave the past behind, keep bringing it up and hashing over and dragging them over the coals it just makes the akwardness and strain worse. In my case he knew he had been shit but he cant change the past only be better now.
I'm not saying doing that is easy but it is worth itvand to reap the benefits of a relationship looking forward.
I still have certain barriers and on one or two occassions I've had to exercise them but he is generally respectful that you can't just step back in and play Dad and have all those rights - it works for us and I'm glad I did it.
Thank you everyone.
When we met up 5 years ago, one of the things I told him was that I wasn’t interested in rehashing everything from the past..what’s done is done and we have both said and stupid things. Fresh start and all that.
I am not expecting to jump into a Dad/Daughter relationship with him, but just get to know him.
It’s scary and exciting at the same time. I do miss him, and would love to build a relationship with him over time...but I guess I’m scared of getting hurt and abandoned again.
Still haven’t phoned him...feeling scared/anxious..
Is he still drinking? That would be the deciding factor for me. You can't build a relationship with an alcoholic who is still drinking.
Aqua I don’t know yet, but I think so. I imagine he is what they call a functioning alcoholic. He still works, always has.
But I don’t know for sure.
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