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I am hurting so badly, does my father love me?

I am so confused by my past. I learnt about narcissistic parents 6 years ago. My parents had been separated since I was 15 or so. My father left, saw me a little but then left the continent. I saw him once around a year later and then that was it. I have never seen him face to face in 14 years. I tried getting in contact for a while after I cut contact with my mother 6 years ago. Then a while after his wife died and I just cut contact. I could not take it. All of it was too much and I ran away like a kid.
This man is not a saint, he was violent and he made me afraid. However it all tended to be around my mother winding him up as she is the narcissist. I realise now that I had forgotten so much of what she did at the time to make me afraid of him.
Around 2 weeks ago I regained contact and it started with me being brave and asking hard questions of him. However a lot he brought up I finally remembered. I am confused, my mother definitely alienated me from him but what was real? His anger and shouting but then again after living years with just her I was going insane too. So realistically can I blame him?

A few things have really hit me. He said he kept his phone number over 14 years despite moving states in the mean time. On asking reddit that seems a common thing. He says he gets advertising calls and would like to change it though. It meant something to me but is it remarkable?

He was taking pics of his home and I notice he has a photo of me from when I was like 8 yrs old. That is 23 years ago and he still has it despite all those moves.

I thought he didn’t care about me. I thought he never wanted anything to do with me.

He said to call him on Sept 7th, my birthday but when I did he had forgotten. Except he then sent me a receipt showing he bought me a birthday card on the 6th. I will admit I had thought maybe he just got me a card the next day to seem like he did but he went ahead and proved it.

I feel like a feral animal that wants attention but any odd movement and I run.

Does he love me? Then again if he didn’t would he just ignore me right? I am so so confused.

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I think a decent person would always love their kids. No matter how long ago or how far away, you were a significant part of his life from before you were even born.

That said, rekindling old relationships is a lot like forming new ones. It can be tricky and just straight up weird. How do you go from faded memories of this guy shouting when you were a kid to having the perfect father/adult child relationship? Parental relationships are tough. Long-lost relationships are tough. Relating to your parents as you become an adult is weird enough if you get to do it with them continuously in your life.

It sounds to me like you’re afraid of getting hurt again, and you don’t know how to relate to this guy you essentially haven’t known since you were a teenager. That’s okay. It will take time to rebuild that trust, and you don’t owe it to him to do that on anyone’s time but your own. That said, it does sound like he’s making an honest effort, but that he feels awkward and unsure too. Give him grace, but set enough boundaries to help you feel comfortable. I hope it goes well!

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I relate to a lot of what you just said

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