I wanted my dad to be nice to us, I didnt want him dead

Tw: Suicide of parent.

Apologies in advance because this might be a long. (Sound disjointed/rambling)

My dad was an extremely controlling, abusive angry man. Im sure he had some mental disorder. Living with him was extremely hard, we never knew what would set him off. He wasnt always like this…I remember him being extremely loving when I was a child (on good days). He was funny and extremely social. He was hardworking, active and loved rules.
But the angry abusive side was always there. A side only his family was subjected to. He was abused as a child.

My father committed suicide on September 14, 2020. Yes, it has been more than a year and I should be ok now. Im not. I feel more and more guilty and confused with time.
He hung himself when we went to get my mom back from the hospital. He wrote a long 5 page suicide note for my mom. He did not mention me or my brother in it except to say that after he’s gone my mom will realise how unreliable we (my bro and I) were and that she was living a great life only because he was around (alive). I could not believe it. So for the next two days I looked through the entire house for a letter or note for me. Im 34 years old and lived with him till the age of 31 almost.
I lived my entire life home, being obedient, following his rules, living life the way he wanted. The moment I started setting boundaries…and being ‘disobedient’, I became a stranger?
Did he not love me?

I wish he wrote me a note telling me why he died or an apology or atleast say that he loved me but…heck, even an angry abusive letter would do.
I know people trying to die wont be in the right mind to write letters to everybody.
I just cant believe he died like this and that I meant so little that he didnt bother writing atleast one sentence about me in a 5 page letter/note.

I am sad and angry. I cannot talk/complain about how horrid he was to us anymore. About how he has turned me into this sad/pathetic person that I am now. Its like, he snatched my voice.
Like his way of saying: “Im dead, what more do you want? Now be happy, Im out of your way like you wanted”.

I wanted my dad to be nice to us, I didnt want him dead.

I feel stuck. My anger towards him…my accusations and frustrations are stuck in my throat…where they will be for a long time. Just more things I will spend my time, my age and my energy to fix. How many more years do I have left? If I die tomorrow what happens? Ill be someone who spent one half of her life being abused and the other half trying to identify the wounds of my past in the hopes of being able to heal one day. How long will that take?
A wasted life.
Its unfair that life was hard because of him, but he is the ‘victim’. Does that make sense?

Nobody can replace parents. When they are alive, people seem to be there for you. You think parental roles and relationships can be rebuilt with others. No.

… the truth is: You either have a dad…or you dont; and you need to learn to live with it. You have to be your own parent when they cease to stop being a parent.
I feel like an ungrateful brat. Why was I trying to find ‘father figures’ in others, when I had one?

I want to feel how regular people feel when they have a good dad.

Protected. Loved. Valued. Supported. Admired Appreciated…unconditionally.

I want him to hear me out…with empathy. He had completely lost his empathetic side. He was the center of his universe. Maybe Im like him too. He cribbed so much about life, his past and others too.

Maybe thats why Im writing it here?
I want him to hear me. All this pent up rage and disbelief. But hes not there anymore. He will never hear them.
Sometimes Im struck by the fact that he does not exist on this planet…in this house, this minute…I dont know how to explain it. I had to sit with his body till the police came. So when people mention fathers, or I remember him…I remember his hanging body.

I want to hear his voice sometimes.
I try and remember his loud laughter. His small eyes half closed and squinty. His small yellowish white attrited teeth. He loved comedies and laughed heartily…and coughed if he laughed too much. I do too. Maybe we inherited our ancestors terrible lungs?

When did that stop? His laughs?

I tried to be understanding. But his tantrums we getting crazier and crazier…it was too much for me to bear, esp when I had my own mental issues to handle. He wanted his kids to be with him…in a crazy, controlling, ‘hear and obey’ kind of way. Is it because he was never heard?

Maybe like me, he forgets/forgot that its so important to love and be loved…and thats all there is to life.
Its awfully hard to love.


hello friend,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and deep feelings on this.

What I’m hearing here is that you are experiencing some conflicting emotions, big emotions, and there’s no easy way for them to co-exist in your head and heart.

It sounds like he was a difficult man, and a man who was happy with the choices he made. Even his letter to your mom seems to be designed to inflict the maximum pain it could by saying mean things about you and your sibling.
How does one come to terms with this? I’d say that the first thing to do is to realize and recognize that he was a hard man to love, that you did love him, and that he did a lot of unlovable things too to your family.

It’s hard for the kids of abusive parents to trust themselves and their feelings sometimes, because so much of your life has been surviving that parent, listening extra hard to clues and minute moments that could lead to abuse. It’s a horrific life, and it leaves deep scars.

To me, what you’re feeling is those scars beginning to heal (by his absence) but also your mind doesn’t know how to deal with scars healing because there has never been a time before when you could heal.

Just to make sure you know some stuff:

  • you didn’t cause his death
  • you didn’t “wish him dead” and made it happen
  • you are allowed to think and feel negative thoughts towards a deceased person, even a parent
  • you deserve to be happy and get to have a life without his presence in it now.

The are a few versions of your dad in your heart right now, the abusive one, the kinder one from your childhood, the one you found and had to stay with, the one you wished him to be but he couldn’t be.
It’s okay for all of these to exist.

I like to suggest planting a tree for a deceased person - it signifies life, growth, years passing, connection, care, etc. It’s a physical memorial that always changes, but also has a life and beauty of its own.
Maybe your family could plant a tree in his memory - of the kinder guy, the guy he could have been if he cared more about you guys, his potential self. This is what you’re probably grieving the most, the guy you were robbed of, the guy he wasn’t when he chose to be abusive.

I’m sorry for all the trauma you went through. It can get better. Have you done any sort of grief counselling? Maybe that could help you navigate through all of these big emotions.

You deserve to feel safe and protected at home. Right now, with this new change in situation, I hope that your family can join together and heal together as a unit and as individuals. It’s a big change, but life can be beautiful and filled with good memories still.

We’re here for you, and we’ll always be here with you as you process this loss. There’s no timeline for loss and grief.


It sounds like you loved your dad, and held onto those precious times when his mental health problems were not making him unbearable. It also sounds like his mental health deteriorated over time. In time, his symptoms became fatal. It’s not just thought patterns involved, but physiologic changes in the brain can lead to a self-destructive level of agitation and depression. Research points to physical locations in the brain, that when compromised, lead to the kind of behaviors that you have described.

You consistently loved him, or at least the version of him that you hoped/believed existed inside. That version may truly have existed, but he was unable to bring it out.

You lived your entire life not challenging his illusions, which is very understandable when being around a volatile person. Then you decided to be more fair to yourself, and he couldn’t handle it. The culturally inflicted paternal role dictates that the father’s love is much more conditional than that of the mother. In other words, guys often grew up believing that it’s okay to withhold love, from not only their children, but anybody who does not live up to their expectations. At the same time, I believe that deep within, there is a measure of unconditional love, even if it is never expressed. The truth is, for either parent to believe that it’s okay for their love to be conditional means that they are failing to meet their children’s needs. Sadly, our sick culture implies that it’s okay to treat a child like a stranger, if they aren’t behaving as expected.

Regardless of how he treated you, or felt justified in doing so, I suspect that the better part of him loved you.

It’s hard to reconcile to have someone physically present, occupying the role of “dad,” who is not capable of actually being one. That’s something I grew up with as well. The difference is, my dad committed slow suicide through alcoholism. You wanted to have a father who actually acted like a father. That was missing in your life. That’s why you looked for other father figures.

My ex daughter-in-law has adopted me as the father she never had. I think it’s okay to do that if you can find someone willing to take on that role.

You do deserve to feel protected, loved, valued, and supported. There is much about you to be admired, both conditionally and unconditionally. Despite your suffering, you have maintained an understanding of unconditional love and empathy, and have retained it.

Both my parents are gone. They left behind a great deal of pain and unresolved issues. I was surprised by how many dreams I had about them after they passed. I think that was the way I was able to process my feelings. If I spend much time thinking about the bad memories, I can still get upset and depressed, even though I have come to a point of feeling acceptance and peace most of the time. I think I’m a lot older than you, therefore have had more time to work out the issues, but I think you will get better at managing also.

That’s a very important realization. The single most important purpose for being alive is to share love. It’s sad that so many people don’t have a grasp of that simple concept. In your dad’s case, I suspect that whatever the problem was in his neurologic wiring, it kept him in a fearful survival mode, which he masked with anger.

At this point, you know what was missing in your life, and you know how much you have suffered. Now it’s a matter of deciding what you need in order to heal. I don’t know if you are interested in counseling or not, but we are always here to listen. Sometimes expressing your thoughts helps to clarify them, and offers insight regarding what you might be able to do in order to help your life improve.

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Hi @Sita and @Wings
Sorry for the delay in replying. Last 2 days has been awful. But I feel better already.

Yes, Im conflicted.
Because the whole day was so confusing.

He always threatened to hang himself when he was angry. Ive heard it since my childhood.

I hardly spoke to my dad the 2 years. I lived 6 hrs (by train) away from him. I knew he was angry at mom and bro. He always was, and I detached myself from the drama.

I feel guilty because the last time I spoke to him on the phone, I said stuff that angered him…around 10 am.

He was alive till 3-4pm as per the post mortem report.

We reached home around 4pm. I told him during the call that mom will be discharged around 1.30 and reach around 3pm…

Did he try to make a show of it? He did weird things like that…he is capable of stuff like that. Threatening us or self harming to scare us. So was the hanging an empty threat, just to scare us?
Maybe he timed it wrong. We were supposed to reach by 3pm…but we got delayed because of a hitch in the hospital billing system.

Maybe he counted on us to reach just in time to save him? This thought leaves me horrified. But my sis in law saw him go to moms room (my parents sleep in their own rooms in our house) and write something (the suicide letter) around 11-11.30 am. So that means he planned it and had enough time to back out.

Which brings me to the next thought…did my phone call push him over the edge? But he already was angry with all of us and went so far as to lie to his friend and brother that my brother punched him (he didnt, he stopped my dad from self harming - dad tried to slam his face multiple times on the dining table).

After we reached home, I peeked into my dads room, he wasnt there and sis in law said he was upstairs (bro and I live upstairs). I tiptoed to my room, locked the door and sat there till bro came 15 mins later and opened the room in which we assumed dad was. So I feel terrible about that too. I should’ve checked in the room after I came instead of sitting in my room like a coward…what if I could’ve saved him just in time?

I was so angry at having to come back home and get involved in this craziness after 2 short years of relative peace.
While sitting in my room…I replied to my friend who messaged to check in on me with “hey…are you ok? Everything ok at home?”
I replied: “The only thing not ok is that he is alive”…this, while he was hanging right next to my room.

These thoughts torture me at night.

  • I feel like I caused his death (the phonecall)
  • I have wished him dead sometimes…when I was upset and it felt like there was no end to this…I didnt make it happen, but Ive never said such a horrible thing out loud or to another person before.

Sorry for piling more negativity after the wonderful message you sent me.
Its been so long, but its all bursting out of nowhere at random times these days. This insane part of my brain just WANTS this to make aense.

I am capable of rationalising all this…but at times, Im gripped by this paranoia(?)…what if I said we’ll reach in the evening, what if I went home to shower at around 11 am like I initially planned (i was scared ro face him, so I didnt go)… what if I didnt call at 10 and drive him crazy…what if I checked the room instead of locking myself up…what if I agreed he is right and just went along with his craziness so that he felt supported (he felt like nobody supported him, I refused to get involved in the mom/bro/dad fight)…what If i invited him to my home for a change of scene (he loved travelling and was terrified of covid - and he just drank all the fear mongering videos of covid on youtube and was out of his mind) etc.

I did start therapy 3 yrs back (before dad passed away) and discontinued it. I re-started it again for about a 2 months but its on hold for awhile because Im not home. Ive been to to 4 therapists…I just cant seem to connect deep enough to open up to her.
There’s no privacy at the place Im currently at.
She said that since the family hasnt grieved together, it will take longer for me to get out of this state. We (family) are still very dysfunctional, disconnected.

I do feel a lot better after your and @Wings reply.
A lot of the things you both said makes sense.
Im thinking of taking a small printout and keepin it in my wallet, so that when I feel terrible…I can read them to calm myself.

Thank you for taking the time and effort to write to me. I really really appreciate it.

Thank you for your reply @Wings.

This is new to me…it makes sense and its something to think about.

It’s so sweet of you to be a father figure for your ex-daughter-in-law.

Im sorry about your dad…your parents. Just curious, did having a family of your own, help with healing from your past issues?
Or therapy did? Or time/self help/reading helped?

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It did help, because I was able to see my children generally happy. Our family was far from perfect. Both my ex and I had significant issues to work through. That stressed the children, but they did feel secure in knowing they would be cared for.

I did receive therapy for a while, and it helped, but I couldn’t afford much of it. I have done a whole lot of reading, thinking, and observing, also have taken classes in psychology and sociology. I have done psychiatric and hospice nursing, which also included training.

It sounds to me like his death was inevitable, even if you were always perfect.

When a person is as emotionally abusive as he was, virtually anyone would be triggered into anger and defensiveness. What he did was slow emotional torture, which you could not avoid. You stood in the path of his emotionally abusive and manipulative attacks. If you were not present, he’d have made someone else suffer, and that person, in all likelihood, would have been triggered into a more extreme form of rage.

Yes, you could have had a compassionate finesse of Mother Teresa, but he had no right to expect that from you.

Your feelings, whatever they are, anger, grief, relief, or whatever, are okay. Try not to confuse regret with guilt. There is no reason for guilt.

I think your presence helped him to hang on for as long as he did, in spite of all his problems.

You need to trust your own instincts about that. It sounds like she still has more to learn.

That part of your brain is very sane. The problem is, behavior caused by mental illness, in most cases, will never make sense.

Those around him, especially you, were also victims of his mental illness. If his mind had been okay, he would’ve treated you well, and he’d still be around. As it was, his hidden spirit of decency was unable to reach past the illness. It’s okay to love the person he could have been, had he been well.

You deserve a great deal of credit and love. In spite of everything, you wanted to love him, and have things right between you.

Let me present you with an inverted golden rule: love yourself as you would love others.

Stay in touch, Wings


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