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I was "that" SD and I paid the ultimate price

uofarkchick's picture

I'll try to keep this short. I was that daughter you'd be proud to claim all the way through school. And then I hit college... sex, drugs, and rock and roll. I was a disgrace and spent seven years spiraling downwards. I cleaned up and have been clean for six years. But my father has not seen or spoken to me in two years and has seen me a handful of times in five. I lied to him, broke his heart, used him, and I am now reaping the misery I sowed. I have three young kids that wouldn't know him if they saw him. My sister and brother have an ongoing relationship with him and his wife. I send him some sort of correspondence every week. I don't ask for anything nor do I feel entitled to a reply. I tell him I love him and I tell him I'm here if he ever needs anything. I don't blame his wife for disengaging from me. She came into the picture after I left for college and had to watch my dad go through emotional hell. I don't even have the words to describe the regret and shame I still feel. Gentlemen, is there no hope? Am I only hurting him more by attempting contact? Does he even love me anymore? His wife would not care if the universe swallowed me whole and I accept that and respect her for being there to love my dad. I miss my father. I'm in my thirties and I miss my dad everyday. If nothing else, please feel free to pass my cautionary tale on to that SK that thinks mom or dad is going to take their shit forever. I am proof that there are limits and the consequences are harsh.

Orange County Ca's picture

This is best answered by a father who is or has gone through what you've described. But I'm wondering if organizations such as AlAnon could be of help? I hope you do find some answers here of course speaking of which you could help some people a lot here by lurking around and chiming in when you recognize a situation described that you've experienced from the other side.

Unfortunately here the site is mostly populated by step-mothers so that is going to limit the number of potential replies although I'm sure some of the ladies can add what they've experienced.

You could use the search function at the top to eliminate most of the questions by using one or two key words.

uofarkchick's picture

I've been lurking for four years. I've got a SS of my own. I really wasn't sure where to post this but I figured the man cave was a good place to start. AA was my lifeline. My dad tried attending Al-Anon to try and understand what in the hell I was thinking but he thought it was too much of a whiners club. He's retired military so you can guess how far any self pity crap went with him.

uofarkchick's picture

My dad has had one heart surgery/valve replacement and signed a DNR after the whole experience. If something happened to him, that would be it. And maybe never saying goodbye is the punishment I have brought on myself. I'm beginning to think that it may turn out that way.

uofarkchick's picture

Oh, he's heard those "I'll never do it again" apologies too many times to count. I don't blame him one iota for remaining skeptical. I would. But I think you're spot on about finding a good therapist. It's hard to admit the things I cannot change and to come to peace with those things.

uofarkchick's picture

My dad made it clear from the time they got engaged that his relationship with her was priority and any attempted acts of retaliation were going to be squashed pronto. She is a strong woman that loves my dad and was not afraid to tell me off for hurting her husband. At my grandmother's funeral in 2012, she pretended my family and I were invisible. I hate that I pushed someone to that point. You are right about forgiveness not being the same as sticking your hand back in the fire. It does help to write him because I want to show I'm not going to "check out" like I have before. I told him that I would discontinue communication if I was hurting him and that I would understand and accept his wishes. He never replied so I keep writing.

uofarkchick's picture

And I'm sorry about your father passing. I'm happy, though, that you got to say what you needed to say and be there with him. I have no doubt he knew how loved and cherished he was.

uofarkchick's picture

And I'm sorry about your father passing. I'm happy, though, that you got to say what you needed to say and be there with him. I have no doubt he knew how loved and cherished he was.

Easylikesundaymornin's picture

The other side of the relationship with actual regret , remorse and empathy. I applaud you for your courage and resilience.

You efforts are commendable ~ but the receiving end is probably questionable.

You say you have been sober the last 6 years n you haven't seen your father in 2 years. Sounds like you are a work in progress~ doing your steps. You understand that your wants might fall on deaf ears but it doesn't mean you should stop. You have lost the trust which is one of the hardest things to build back up. The old saying fool me once shame on me , fool me twice shame on you. It's heart wrenching to hear your story ~ cause I try to picture my step daughter being you.

Would I ever forgive her ??? Would her apology be hallow ??? How sincere is she ??? Is she willing to change ??? Will she openly acknowledge what pain she has cause my family ?? To those question I pause n I have faith ~ BUT would it be short lives.

Being that today is Father's Day ~ I am sure this is heavy on your heart. But you have to heal yourself first before you can ever expect people to be open to reconciling. Do what you need to. You sound like you are on your way to forgive yourself. Owning your actions n taking responsibility for them is something I will continually seek in my SD. Hurting others is not what life is about.

Keep your eye on the prize girl ~ come with a genuine open n honest heart. That is all you can really do ~ I hope for the best for you.

uofarkchick's picture

I do blame myself. I hurt someone she loves and that caused her pain. She didn't deserve that anymore than my dad did. She is very outspoken and I am of the "never talk back to your elders" persuasion. It hurt but I don't think she was wrong for telling princess to grow the f up and quit breaking her father's heart. The funeral was awful. I would never cause a public scene and I tried to be as graceful as possible when I introduced her to my one week old and she walked away. Everyone saw and it was embarrassing. But I was not there to be the center of attention so I stayed to the side and kept a low profile.

uofarkchick's picture

Two years ago, I had planned to separate from my husband. My dad was all for it. We got counseling and stayed together.. I didn't even have the balls to tell my dad when my husband moved back in. I didn't want to disappoint him again. Well, he found out from my sister and that was it. I lied to him. I hurt him. My husband I are still going strong and maybe if I had just been honest, it wouldn't have cost me so much.

jumanji's picture

So, wait.... Instead of being proud of you for making an effort to keep your marriage going, it is a personal affront and embarrassment to him that you chose to see how it all played out? Controlling, much?

I think you are taking way too large a share of the blame here. Really.

uofarkchick's picture

Grew up with no abuse, no neglect, and a good amount of discipline. We also were taught to fall in line, be the best, and don't embarrass me. Everything is supposed to look perfect even when things aren't. That is probably the hardest habit to break. I never had to make my own choices so when I got away from home, I more than made up for it. I am not seeking any type of sympathy. That's just the way it was and I'm thankful I had parents that did homework with me at night and went to my games. But we did have to keep up appearances and that makes it difficult to stand up for yourself or outwardly express any emotion but happy. I do not blame them for my choices, just providing background.

uofarkchick's picture

For my mom, being a doormat is a lifestyle. I used to constantly hear about how a lady is the bigger person in all situations. It really was code for, "Do not make waves. It's just easier for everyone else that way. And for goodness sakes, don't you dare put yourself first EVER." I have doormat tendencies but it's a work in progress.

uofarkchick's picture

My old therapist said codependent is not a term used in medical texts. It's usually the symptom on a larger problem. But believe me, I've read the self help books and had to keep making sure the author wasn't someone I knew because I swear they were writing about me. Again, just background. I'm not in denial that the apple may not rot too far from the tree sometimes.

matthall1701's picture

My thoughts, and forgive me for being all Lifetime Movie Network on you, but give him some time. He may percieve your weekly attempts at reconciliation as wanting something from him. He probably wants to believe you and wants to let you back in, but has been on guard duty for his heart for so long that he doesn't want to let you in only to lose you back to your addictions.

Take a couple more years. Don't reach out to him. Build a track record for yourself of having a good life free from your past issues. Then try again. Maybe he'll realize he misses you in the meantime.

Granton's picture

The way you describe father is that he is a hard ass. And maybe he is. Maybe he is incapable of forgiving.
And yet, I don't know. I am sure he loved and felt very hurt by your actions. It could just be too tender a wound to risk picking at the scab.
I have tremendous difficulty with my step daughter - not six years worth - but three years worth of lies, drugs, treachery, court, etc...
My wife doesn't want to close the door on her - and I don't either. But she just moved back in - and only three weeks into it - all of the promises of behaviour were not real. I don't think she's using again - but her attitude is still that of a teenager. She moved back home to save money. She's thinks at 20, she's a grown mature adult - and that as long as she's not using she should be allowed to do whatever she wants. Well, we gave her an inch and she's taking two miles. The long and short of it is - she doesn't see that she hasn't made it as far as she thinks she has.

I don't say this to be mean - but I am asking you honestly, aside from the drugs etc... how much have you really grown since then?
What good are you doing? What are you doing in your life that can be measured on your Dad's scale of acceptance?

Rags's picture

I too broke my parent’s hearts at points in my late teens and very long early 20s until I was 30 college years. No substance abuse issues, no legal issues, just a very long and convoluted launching process that tried every fiber of my parent’s patience.

Yes your dad loves you. As a son and as a father (Step to SS-22 who I have raised as my own since before he turned 2yo) I have no doubt about that fact.

However, self preservation is a strong position and emotion to overcome. I think what you are doing is the right thing. Live your life well, stay in touch, and make the occasional approach to see him.

Dropping in for a short informal visit might be worth a try. A face to face may be what is needed to break the ice and move things forward. An apology at that time to your dad and SM, recounting your struggles and your journey to viable adulthood, and letting them know that you are well past that challenging phase of your life and are wanting to try to put the relationship with them on an adult and forward looking footing. Play the grandkid card. Tell then you would like your children to know them.

Yes, them. Include your SM in the discussions. Be humble, be open minded, let them vent a little bit. Say a lot of “I know”s and “I completely understand”s.

Good luck. And thanks for sharing your story.

atpeace's picture

I believe each new day brings new beginnings...I will tell you what I would tell any "person" who was estranged from a family member...never stop trying or hoping...good luck to you and thanks for sharing!