Im a a young man, at 17 years old theres still so much more to learn. My parents have been divorced for most of my life so I am used to that aspect of my life. Im aware that pretty much every guy has some conflicts with their dad, I mean with al those hormones in your body at this age its hard not to question the alpha of the family. My dad is a drunk and a mean one. He is kind of a hard ass. Ive put up with his shit for 14 years and on july 30th 2012 he was hammered, stumbling over drunk. Paranoid about people following him, pretty damn wasted. He kept screaming my name over and over again for a solid 3 hours and when I confronted him conflict arose. we but heads for a while and grabbed my bag and bailed, found a place to sleep and haven't spoken to him or gone back since. ANother incident before that was when I get home for the weekend at his house and i cant remember what I said but he got pissed, so I said "fuck this" I'm out of here. As I'm packing up my bag he grabs my hand (3 years of martial arts came in handy at this point) we get in a fight and finally I bail before one of us got really hurt.

Theres my story with my father. I realize there are plenty of worse situations out there but this one is mine. I want to know if talking to my dad is worth it? I realize I cant help him get sober, thats his demon. But even if he did sober up I still don't have any desire to see him. My life has been so much simpler without having to go to his house on the weekends like its an obligation. I guess no one can really answer my question but maybe just some advice from other people that have experienced troubles with dad

Tags: Conflict, Dad, Problems, Young, family, leaving, man, relationship, son

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It doesn't sound like it's imminent -- that is, I don't hear from your post that he's trying to connect.  So it's not crucial to decide immediately.  If not... maybe when you feel more balanced about it.

You can get opinions, but you ultimately gotta make the call on this. If I were in your shoes, I would try again.

 

Here's what I have to say:

1. I have a great deal of experience with a father who is an alcoholic.

2. I myself went through an addiction experience.

3. I have a great deal of experience with divorced parents.

Your father will only control or eliminate his drinking when he is ready and able to do so. It might be helpful for you to encourage any effort he takes if he takes them. I suggest that you consider consulting a group that specializes in counseling the children of alcoholics.

My relationship with my father is great right now, but that has not always been the case. Like you, my parents divorced when I was a small child. My dad and I didn't really re-connect until I was 36. It took tons of effort on my part, but it was worth it.

Through treatment for my own addiction, I realized that my lack of a relationship with my father was a big part of what was fueling my own addiction. Neither my father nor I is currently using/drinking. Thanks be to God. 

I know you might be feeling rather angry right now. But keep in mind that you only will ever have one father. Things might suck right now, and there is certainly a possibility that they will get worse. There's also a possibility that they will get better. Obviously you care, otherwise you would not have posted. Solutions to situations like these are elusive, but definitely available.

Hey Willie,

Great post.  What a shame.  At 17, there is a lot for you to figure out yet.  Sounds like you're pretty mature about the reality of your Dad's condition.  Demon Rum, and all that.  Dealt with my share of drunks in my family.  I get what you're throwing down.

The only person you can control is yourself.  He is on his own cosmic journey.  Where will it end....no one knows.  It must be sad for you.  My parents were divorced when I was 2, in 1959.  I only ever saw my Dad a few times in my life.  I have a (really) large family.  It is complicated. 

Bottom line - last time I saw my Dad was when I was 15 - 1972.  He is still alive and living out west.  I am in PA - age 56.  I think my life has been a better place without all the pain he would bring and involve.  Like I say, it is complicated.  I think everyone's life is.

No contact w/ my Dad.  I've grieved a little bit, over the past few years over what will never be, as I'm getting older myself.  I've got my own son, age 29.  We have a great relationship.  He is my best friend.  I love the hell out of him.

Paul makes sense.  You'll get opinions, but only you will know what feels right.  I think I'd leave the door open for him, but I would not go chasing after pain.  You cannot control other people...You can only control yourself - and how you react to others.

Wish I had some sort of common-sense to share, but really, I don't know that anyone does.  I hate to hear of you going through such a thing at such a tender age.  You've lost a part of your youth.  The whole thing sounds sad...hate to hear of you having to go through it.  Stay strong!

This is something you're going to have to figure out for yourself, kiddo. But from personal experience, as long as hes pulling cork it's not worth the headache. 

Willie, in your entire post, nowhere did you mention where your mother is in all of this.  Is she a mature, responsible adult?  Are there other adults in your life who seem to be wise and stable, whose advice would be valuable?  Possibly a grandfather, an uncle, or an older cousin who's got his act together--respectable relatives who know both you and your father well enough to give you a sound, reasonable perspective, and who also has your best interest at heart?  If you do, they're going to be in a solid position to give you some good feedback.

As I read your comments, the thought that comes to me is "why do you want to reconnect?" and I suspect that the answer is that you feel like you ought to, or feel guilty for not doing so.  Naturally, you also have some lurking feelings of father-hunger and want to identify with someone--to be someone's son.  Well, Willie, that last line is what I want you think about--because that need to identify leaves you vulnerable.

You were never meant to be your father's father, and you're not responsible for his welfare---but he IS responsible for YOU.  Re-connect and re-establish ties? I propose that he should be the one to initiate that, if it's going to happen at all.  Yes, you're the one who walked away---and why wouldn't you?  He was drunk, ill-tempered, and things were becoming violent---NO kid ANYWHERE should have to put up with that.  But beyond that, stop and think about a few things:  is he remembering you with cards/gifts on birthdays, Christmas, or at other important events?  Is he paying child support?  Does he send you ANY financial support?  What has he done so far to try to repair the rift between the two of you?  If you're having a hard time answering those questions, then realize that YOU are not responsible for any of that---all of that is HIS job, and if he's not doing his part, then perhaps you really are better off leaving things as they are.  You don't need a man who grew up to be a kid for a parent-figure in your life. 

I know it's hard growing up without in involved, loving father whom you can look up to.  God---that hurts.  But if that's the breaks, then you have to take care of yourself.  Look to other mature, responsible, successful men as role models and try to emulate what you see.  No, they can't be a father to you, but if you are willing to follow good examples, you can pattern yourself after what you see in them and make decisions for your life more in keeping with the kind of man you want to be.  I wish you well.

Wow. Very well said.

Hey guys,

Thank you for all of the advice and shared experience. I realize now that I still have a completely stable mom that is supportive of my situation. I have some thinking to do about the relationship with my father. He contacted me a couple days ago so I would say thats a good sign. It feels good to hear honest opinions from other people in my situation. My mom is good to talk to but there are somethings only a guy could understand. Thanks again.

I am sure the situation the causes a lot of personal conflict...not sure what to do.

Alcoholics thrive in denial...meaning they can't accept that they live in habitual patterns...can't admit that they are out of control...and can't admit that it is causing destruction to their loves ones. So when relationships go south, they usually act like victims...blaming everyone but themselves...because accepting responsibility may force them to look at their problem. This leaves all the loved ones in a holding pattern...doing all they can to do their part to "keep the peace" and not trigger the alcoholic to act out in anger. Other family members rebel against it...unable to ignore the "elephant in the room" when other family member learn to avoid making a scene.
You can't force your dad or love your dad enough to spur him to change. You have your own emotional health to look after...and you are at a stage of growth where you need a father, not a relationship that feels like walking through a minefield...never knowing when a bomb is going to blow up.
However, in love, you can communicate to him (sometimes best in a long thought-out letter) your feelings and desire to patch things up to him. But at the same time be very clear that it is his drinking that is hurting your relationship together...and that for as long as he drinks, you don't think it would be a good idea to attempt to mend things when drinking would sabotoge it all. This letter or communication should be about you and what you need from him in order to move forward. I know you must feel a lot of anger, and that is justified, but you are best venting in a safe place for now(with a counselor involved)...but it is okay to say to your dad that you are angry at him...it just may be counterproductive to start calling him every name in the book. At this stage, you just need to set a boundary: "Dad, I love you...you are important to me and I want you involved in my life, but your drinking sucks, it is hurting you, me, and us. I want to be able to contact you and see you regularly because I need that in my life, but not if you don't get help. Saying 'I don't have a problem', or 'I can quit anytime', is not safe enough for me, your son. Our relationship requires that you go start some form of recovery, so until then, I can't do this...but I will be hoping, praying, and waiting until the day you are ready to get help. In the meantime, I am going to get help for myself." Somewhere along those lines. Be strong, bro.

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