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My Father Again (TW mention of child abuse)

Last night, I talked to my parents for a little while. It started with my mother, but when we started talking about my therapy program I’m in and what we do during the day. My father wanted to hear what we were talking about, so my mother put them on speaker.

For context…My father and I have had a very volatile relationship most of my life. (It’s semi-civil now) He is a big reason why I have BPD, the environment I grew up in was mentally abusive and sometimes violent. For example, breaking down a door and coming after me because he thought I locked the door on him (if I did, it wasn’t intentional). He would tell me to, “go do mommy things” sometimes, when I wanted to hang out with him. He was very sarcastic like if I said I was full or wasn’t hungry, he would say, “good.” in a sarcastic tone, happy that I couldn’t eat and get even fatter.

At times, he would be a good father, but I question if it was all just an act. I really believed he didn’t like me. I hated myself because of it. I still do…

I remember during a family counseling session; he told the therapist that he wanted a boy (first) but he got me instead. I’ll never forget that, ever…

So, I finish talking about my program and my mother is tired and needs to go lay down. She had emergency surgery last week, but thankfully she is ok now. So, saying goodbye my mother tells me to have a good day at the program and my dad goes, “you can do it, you can get better!”

My insides began to boil… this is a sign I’m being triggered and I caught it (Thank you therapy). Thoughts of yelling at him and cussing him out flashed thru my head and I wanted to tell him that a lot of the reason I even have to go to therapy is because of his shitty fathering. But, I didn’t. I just went along with it and said goodbye and hung up.

I ruminated about it all day today. Should I say something to him? Should I just leave it be, because he is old now and what’s the point? Is he that oblivious to the fact that his abuse is partly the cause? Do I need to talk to him for my own benefit or does it even matter? Will I regret it after he passes if we don’t talk? I’ve always thought about telling him what a horrible father he was while on his death bed. I would prob regret it the rest of my life, however so I prob won’t. Plus, that would be pretty messed up. I’ve struggled with this for a long time.

On another note, I’ll be staying for the whole 90-day program. 5 days a week 6hrs a day of intensive DBT and CBT therapy. I’m learning a lot, but very far from recovery so, I need lots more of this.

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It sounds like you father, despite having been horrible, is struggling to improve now. It also sounds like he’ll continue to mess up and say the wrong thing often. It doesn’t sound like you should confront him about his bad parenting until you can do it while feeling relatively calm. Otherwise you risk triggering your own trauma, and triggering him as well.

One thing that might be helpful is to write him a letter, explaining all of your feelings, pain and how he’s affected your life. You don’t need to send it, especially not yet, but the process of writing can be very helpful.

I’m glad you’re staying for the entirety of the program. You’ll come out of it with more confidence and insight.

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I’m so sorry you feel the words that your father spoke over you. It’s not fair to do that to a child (or anyone).
He probably doesn’t see the way his words and actions have left a deep mark.
I wonder what his childhood was like. Sometimes people think it’s okay to talk to people the way they’ve been spoken to and even find relief from it. It’s not healthy, but until they reach the point of actually deciding that they want to break that cycle, it’s how they see the world.

Have you ever been able to or felt comfortable talking to him? Even if it’s just to say that you don’t want to share things with him because of his attitude. It’s a hard spot to be in, I know I could approach my family now about some things that they said and did, but not all of them. I know my mum in particular really beats herself up about things and I don’t have the heart to make her suffer any more. So I guess it depends on where your dad is at in the sense of will he be a willing participant to listen or will he react with more hurt towards you?

As for how his words have made you feel, you’re not the words he speaks about you. You’ve grown and recognised the person you want to be. I know it takes a lot of time and healing to begin to accept that, and to begin to accept that sometimes you don’t always have to reconcile with people. It’s harder when it comes to family though, because even though they can hurt you, I know that sometimes people still love them and want to connect. As wings said already, writing a letter is often a great way to communicate. It gives them time to get the initial reactions out of the way and think about the response.

I know we only see one side of who you truely are here, but you are so caring and so considerate of everyone in this community.

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