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Advice on going NC with family member

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silverhopes posted 8/2/2014 22:50 PM

For my own health, I need to let my father go. I spend way too much time thinking about him, wondering what he thinks of me, revisiting over and over again his disapproval and rejection… And then wondering anxiously when/if he's going to write me again, if he and my grandparents are trash-talking me. And if my mother's in on it.

It's holding back my healing. It's just one more think that's keeping my depression prominent. It needs to stop. I need to stop.

I wrote my father one last email today, asking him if he plans that we'll ever hang out in person again, or if he sees our emails back and forth as our permanent thing. Recently found out he and my grandparents threw my beloved Nana's ashes into her river. I'd try to see the positive in it - my Nana loved her river - but he was very flippant about it, according to the neighbor who found this out. It broke my heart. It felt like a disrespect to her rather than honoring her - the year anniversary just passed for her death, and I am triggering extra hard lately. And there's still the little issue of my grandfather being a scary violent person… By associating with my father, I feel that I am indirectly associating with my grandfather as well.

It needs to stop. It's painful and not helping either of our healing. This isn't healthy. So how do I let go of my father?

Does anyone have any advice? When I start thinking obsessively about him, how do I stop? I don't want him to rob even one more precious minute with my son. I've let it rob us for the past four years.

I appreciate any advice. How long will it take to get better? Will NC help? I need to get healthy again.

authenticnow posted 8/3/2014 06:28 AM


I processed and learned how to live with a lot of my FOO issues in IC. I think that's the way you need to go. I'm sorry this is affecting you so much. You deserve to be free from it, you deserve happiness. Please seek IC.

homewrecked2011 posted 8/3/2014 06:59 AM

Ic is really helpful, I got free help at the domestic violence center -- if you have a violent grandfather,, that qualifies you! Plus, emotional abuse from your WS is domestic violence.

Also, Alanon helps greatly with learning to detach and become "unmeshed" from an unhealthy person.
You can go to their website and look for phone meetings. You just call into a conference call and you don't have to talk, you can just listen...

Sad in AZ posted 8/3/2014 10:28 AM

(((((sweet silver)))))

I know how hard it is, but you really need to do what's right for you and your family. Little silver (I don't think I can call him Baby any longer ) needs to see that it's not ok to suffer at the hands of someone who is supposed to love him as you do with your father.

My friends have become my family, and that's ok with me.

silverhopes posted 8/3/2014 14:44 PM

Thank you everyone.

Authenticnow, I am in IC currently. She's said that I need to learn to accept my father for who he is, that we begin to let go better when we understand and accept why someone is the way they are.

I do understand that my father strongly desires his mother's approval, even if he'd never admit it to himself. She's the most important person in his life, always been, because she was all he had when he was growing up, and for her the men in her life were always more important. He's always wanted her approval. For some reason, even knowing that, it doesn't help me let him go… I'm telling myself right now that she's the company he deserves and not me, because she's the company he wants. My mother says she's never seen a stronger sign of caring from him, than she saw when he left my life because of my choice to start a family while my health was poor. He tells me that when I am in control of my life, then he can afford to be involved. No matter how much I try to rationalize in my head, it feels like his love is conditional, and I don't meet the conditions.

What does help is to realize that if I waste time seeking Dad's approval, then I'm robbing my son of opportunities where I could be giving him my approval, love, support, and attention. I do want to break the cycle, don't I? Yes! Last thing I need is for my beautiful son to have a child and spend time worrying about his relationship with me when he could and should be enjoying his family. Long time off, I know… but this is when it counts. Right now.

Homewrecked2011, I've been meaning to check out alanon for some time now! I didn't know they did phone meetings, that's wonderful!

Sazzy, you're absolutely right! I don't want Lil Silver to see what my father does and think it's right somehow. And goodness forbid Lil Silver ever learns what my grandfather said about him - he called him "the result of bad decisions" a few years ago when we were visiting Nana. Come to think of it, that's really all the resolve I need to not want to be around them anymore. If they treat my son badly, then they're out of my life. Would I leave Lil Silver along with them? Heck no! Done and done.

Maybe that's my mental image of a stop sign - knowing that by not doing right by me, they wouldn't do right by my son.

Thanks everyone. It's just hard sometimes. Thank you for all your support. And thank you to everyone who was there for me last year when all this went down.

nowiknow23 posted 8/3/2014 19:33 PM

(((((silver & little silver)))))

silverhopes posted 8/4/2014 01:13 AM

Thank you (((NIK)))

Jrazz posted 8/19/2014 03:00 AM

Dang it sweetie, I just saw this. I remember when this was all going down last year.

I really wish that there was something I could do to help. I see a lot of myself in you.

If it were me, I'd have to train myself to stop writing the emails. It's so hard, because you want a connection and you are in control of that to a degree. This is just taking up too much of your mind and heart. If you are the one to close the door, at least you will feel like you are proactively working on your sanity, kwim?

You can let go of him and still have your feelings.... there's no easy way out of this. Just know that by not writing or responding you are dialing back the total amount of hurt.

Sending big big hugs. Sorry it took me a couple weeks to get to this.

silverhopes posted 8/19/2014 03:53 AM

Thank you (((Jrazzie)))

I haven't written him since that email asking him if we'll hang out again. And of course, he hasn't written me. At this point, I'm not sure if I hope he will or hope he won't more. But I've been thinking less and less about him. Now if I could get my morbid fear of my grandfather out of my head as well, I'll be set.

I thought of something recently as well, but I don't want to give myself paranoia fuel. Back in the early 2000s, Nana's stepson (her second husband's son) was murdered. He was found in the bay here, despite none of us knowing that he was in our city. When my father and grandparents told me the news, they were happy about it. I remember feeling sick when they said it, and it was the first time I'd gotten the feeling something wasn't quite right with my father. It recently came to mind again, and I hate to even consider this, but I wonder if they were involved. The neighbors still believe they did something to my Nana. Even if they weren't involved with anything, what kind of sicko is happy when another person dies?

I hope they leave me and my family alone. The best way to do that is to be uninteresting to them, and the best way to do that is to not write to any of them anymore or draw their attention in any way. I'm going to trust my gut on this one. Sadly that means my father isn't a safe person either. That means staying off Facebook (already put him on my restricted list), not responding to any of his friends' posts either, no matter how many of them have been supportive to me. Not bringing him up to my mother so she won't be prompted to talk to him - she seems to treat the whole thing as a game. And staying out of his neighborhood. Trying to think of any other ways of being safe.

If my grandmother writes me on my birthday (she typically does every year - I think mainly because it's also her and my grandfather's wedding anniversary), how do I respond? Just a polite one-liner thanking her and wishing her a happy anniversary?

[This message edited by silverhopes at 3:53 AM, August 19th (Tuesday)]

rachelc posted 8/19/2014 08:40 AM

I had to go NC with my crazy sister. She is toxic and I just said enough and blocked her in every possible way.

It's been hard but a long time coming and my other sister has done the same. You would think crazy sister would get the hint.

My kids are still friends with her on FB and can't believe the things she's posts... but they're seeing first hand and I don't need to say anything to them.

It's hard. It's family. I talk to my Dad about twice a year. The last time he called he said, "Well, we're finally grandparents" meaning he and wife he married after he left Mom 35 years ago were grandparents for the first time. He has 7 from us, his first family. I just thanked God that I have nearly nothing to do with someone who could say something that cruel.

I seriously don't know how some people live with themselves.... but that's their problem.

silverhopes posted 8/19/2014 12:44 PM

Need help.

No sooner do I reach resolve, does he write me! Less than an hour ago, in fact. This is what he said:

"Hope the day finds you well! No, you do not offend me by asking what is a difficult question. The answer is both simple and complex at the same time. I have never closed the door on the relationship. I simply decided that until you and I both made the necessary growth to be stable and in control of our respective issues (rather than being controlled/derailed by them) that it was not healthy for either of us to be around each other. At the service, I was very curious to see not only how you were doing but how I would respond to you. Although some might say that was not a good time to check in because of stress/sadness/tensions/etc of the moment, I had the opposite opinion -- that it was an acid test of sorts to see how well we are progressing. I left feeling that both of us have a lot of work still to do. And that for me is not a negative; it simply means there is more to accomplish. I guess since I've finished most of the household projects it's fitting that I need to work more on myself!

So no, the lack of interaction (other than emails for the moment) is not necessarily permanent -- I should hope not! Just more space for both of us to work on our stuff.

Love ya,

I'm not sure what to do. On the one hand I want to acknowledge him that he wrote. I was thinking of saying: "Thank you for writing me back, and I appreciate your response. Thank you for letting me know how you're feeling. I will respect it. Love you and take good care, ~silver". But on the other hand, I know engaging isn't healthy. It sets back my healing.

I'm thinking at this point I need to leave him alone (and be left alone) for a long while. Live my own life, get his voice and all the sadness associated with it out of my head, get my health together. I wish him well, but maybe he's right. Maybe we need to work on ourselves and take care of ourselves before we can even consider being around each other. Even emails set me back, because I spent weeks or months waiting for a response (it took him 8 months after the service to write me, even though I tried 4 times to contact him during that period). If I don't write him anymore, then I'm not waiting for a response that may or may not come.

Is it weird that I feel heartbroken? Mr. Silver even likened it to a breakup. He said that my father broke up with me.

Anyway, although I'm tempted to write that response, I wanted to sit on it for a while and consider what the best thing to do is. And to ask for advice here. Thank you everyone.

nowiknow23 posted 8/19/2014 12:53 PM

Oh sweetie. (((((silver)))))

You are such a lovely, thoughtful, intelligent and beautiful person. You deserve so much better. My advice is to not respond.

norabird posted 8/19/2014 13:39 PM

You do not have to respond. Let the space heal you. (((silver)))

silverhopes posted 8/20/2014 02:10 AM

Thank you guys. (((hugs)))

NaiveAgain posted 8/20/2014 07:27 AM

(((silverhopes)))I'm so sorry, this is such a difficult subject...but I think you are doing the right thing going NC with him. He carries a lot of drama with him and it affects you negatively. And it just seems to me that now you are seriously trying to pull away, he is trying to keep you dangling with that last letter.

She's said that I need to learn to accept my father for who he is, that we begin to let go better when we understand and accept why someone is the way they are.

That is true, and when we understand WHY they are the way they are, it helps us to accept why we can't have the type of relationship we want/need with that person. You said something about your grandfather (his father?) being an awful person. If his father held the power in the family by being violent/scary, as a little boy, he would have taken that to mean that if he wants any power in his life, he would need to emulate his father. So while he may not be as violent/scary, he may have realized that the control/power/manipulation was the way to be in control and get what he wants.

p.s. His letter was all about him and how he feels and what he thinks, and there was very little about how his actions affect you or how he is sorry that you don't have a better relationship, or how he cares about you and your child, or how he loves you unconditionally just because you are his child, or how he is going to be there for you. That is what a father's job is, and if he can't do his job, you don't need another friend/acquaintance in your life.

His FOO was apparently very messed up. I doubt he will ever overcome his issues unless he does some serious counseling. So unless he truly "gets it" and does that self-work and realizes how his actions have hurt those that are supposed to be closest to him, preserving your own mental health for the benefit of your child is your best path.


ETA: Sorry, there is more here.....

So no, the lack of interaction (other than emails for the moment) is not necessarily permanent -- I should hope not! Just more space for both of us to work on our stuff.
Who writes that kind of crap to their child? I am dealing with the same thing from my mother, I think she has lost her mind. She told me last week she wasn't sure she could have a relationship with me anymore because I stress her out because I have too many problems. I am going much less contact with her (not NC yet, still trying to figure this out myself, but I have put up an emotional wall and only call her 1 or 2 times per week instead of 1 or 2 times per day) but I know I don't need that kind of crap in my life. I am trying to surround myself with positive people and right now, she is not one.

[This message edited by NaiveAgain at 7:35 AM, August 20th (Wednesday)]

silverhopes posted 8/20/2014 11:24 AM

Rachelc, I'm sorry to read you have dealt with this in your family, with your sister and father. It is so hurtful that your father doesn't acknowledge the children you and your sisters already have… It really is unbelievable the kinds of cruel things a parent can say to their child.

NaiveAgain, that is horrible that your mother said that to you! I am seriously at a loss - who does that? What parent says that they can't have a relationship with their child because they *stress them out too much*!? WTF?!!! I think you're doing the right thing by not calling her as much, but I know how very painful this must be, especially because she just said it last week.

Yes, my father definitely has some FOO issues. Not with my grandfather, fortunately - he's my grandmother's third husband, and they were married on my 8th birthday. But Dad's own father left the family pretty early. He traveled around a lot, moving my dad and grandmother from country to country, and my grandmother got tired of him not putting his family first. So for most of Dad's childhood, he was raised by a single mother. His loyalty is so strong to her; I think he would do almost anything she asked, because she was all he had. When he was in his teens, she married a second time, and when he was 16 she moved with her second husband to the other side of the country (military purposes). Dad had the option of going with them or staying where he was; he stayed by himself. I can't wrap my head around that myself, but he says he appreciated the experience? The second husband [retracted; remembered in OT]. So Dad's never really have a consistent male role model - ohh, lightbulb! He said that exact comment to me one time when I was trying to tell him about my grandfather's verbal abuse, when I was 15 or 16. He said "your grandfather's the other stable male influence in your life, aside from me. Of course you'd lash out at the safe people." Anyway, that explains where that comment was coming from. It was really about him and how he esteems my grandfather.

He's never seemed to have an issue with my grandfather. But perhaps he feels that a) his mother loves him, so he must be wonderful, and b) he treats my dad well (used to treat me well too), so he must be a great person. And all those other pesky complaints about him are wrong, ignorant, and jealous. And also my dad likes to keep the peace. He questioned why my grandfather would make some of the accusations of me he made the night when we fell out, and he said he'd talk to my grandfather about it. He went back on his promise. Wanted to know why I wasn't over it 4 months later and said my grandfather was probably already over it (he wasn't, by the way). Conflict-avoidant.

What you said about how he didn't write about unconditional love… That was the hardest thing about all of this. When I was growing up, Dad always said that he loved me unconditionally and this is what parents do (I still didn't take it for granted). When he left, he shattered that belief he'd tried to instill in me. Now I have some *fun* abandonment issues to work through in addition to all my other issues. Whoopee. My therapist thinks I should write him the last email. I'm not sure. I'm not gonna get healed if I keep engaging with him, even though I do want to tell him one last time that I love him, so he never doubts it (isn't it weird - so often it's the children who unconditionally love their parents. A valuable lesson for me, to never take my son's love for granted, and to treat his heart with the utmost care and tenderness, knowing this - to never give him abandonment issues). Like you said, my father really does keep me dangling on a string. Mr. Silver said the same thing.

Sorry, I'm still a little in shock right now, so I'm rambling. My mood absolutely plummeted yesterday, and it led to a nice conversation in therapy about my depression and going back on meds soon. Hey, thank goodness my father wrote me on a therapy day! Though I'm a little concerned - he'd have no reason to know I'm on here, since he stopped speaking to me a year before I joined… But this is the second time I've posted here that I'm distancing myself from him, only for him to write me within the next day. It could just be the universe's energy answering and trying to teach me something, but that strikes me as… odd. He does work with computers too, building them for people. I hope he's not keeping tabs on me. That's probably my paranoia talking, right?

[This message edited by silverhopes at 12:36 PM, August 20th (Wednesday)]

Jrazz posted 8/20/2014 11:55 AM

Well if that's your paranoia, it's mine as well.

People can send keyloggers through embedded items in email.... might be worth it to have an expert do a little exorcism and see what shakes out - if for no other reason than to rule it out and give you some peace.

Hey, thank goodness my father wrote me on a therapy day!

It is SUCH a good thing when stuff goes down on a therapy day. Well, relatively. No pun intended.


nowiknow23 posted 8/20/2014 12:29 PM

My therapist thinks I should write him the last email. I'm not sure. I'm not gonna get healed if I keep engaging with him, even though I do want to tell him one last time that I love him, so he never doubts it (isn't it weird - so often it's the children who unconditionally love their parents.
Honey - why are you concerned about him doubting your love? You don't need to answer that question here, but give it some thought.

I wonder if you can do both. Write him a letter. Write out what you would say to him if you were communicating with him for the last time. And then release it. Burn it. Tear it up. Let it go. It give you the catharsis of saying all you want to say, but keeps you safe from further hurts at his hands.


silverhopes posted 8/20/2014 13:15 PM

People can send keyloggers through embedded items in email....

Holy monkeys, I had no idea! That is scary!!! Yep, I will definitely need to do an exorcism or find someone who can. Thank you for the tip, (((Jrazzie))).

Honey - why are you concerned about him doubting your love? You don't need to answer that question here, but give it some thought.

That's a good question, (((Empress NIK))). It was one of the accusations both grandparents made the night of our falling out: "You don't love your father!" And it was something my father told me one time when we were fighting about my mental illness and upsetting behavior (I was doing some embarrassing things that involved… well, they're very embarrassing to describe, and they involved symptoms that sound a lot like catatonic schizophrenia and severe hygiene issues. My father was understandably freaked out). In the heat of the moment he accused me of "maybe it's that you don't love us (meaning our family, I think)." I'm pretty sure he didn't mean to say that, and if I remember right he apologized later, but it's stuck with me since then. I'm afraid that if I behave badly or don't manage my symptoms well enough, then people - friends and family - will take it as a sign that I'm trying to hurt them or that I don't love them enough. Even Nana asked once if I was trying to hurt them I wasn't trying to, the voices were getting to me while I was trying to take a shower, so I was in there for 45 minutes arguing with them and I think she thought I was being willful because I wouldn't come out (I was 14 or 15, and I think they all thought I was trying to be a defiant teenager. Stepmom told me once that that was why she thought I never hugged - it was really because the voices threatened me that my energy was toxic, and I didn't want anyone touching me and getting infected by it). I didn't overcome the voices quickly enough, and instead I made Nana worry that day. I don't think she ever stopped worrying about me. I feel I'm a terrible person for that. She should never have had to worry, she should have just been able to enjoy her family. Dad left because he thought I was too unhealthy, so maybe he and my grandparents thought I didn't love him or my family enough to get healthy. It wasn't about that. I wish he'd realize that if I could magically make myself healthy automatically, I'd do it in an instant. Among other people, why would I have wanted to put my Nana through worrying about me for so many years? I wouldn't have! And if I hadn't had the falling out with my grandparents, maybe the family wouldn't have broken apart, my grandparents wouldn't have hurt Nana, and her heart wouldn't have been broken. I wouldn't have ever burdened them with my issues if I could have found a better way to hide them! I know I should have listened to the voices when they said not to talk about them. They tried to warn me. Maybe it's better I'm not around them anymore. If I'm not around them, then I won't be hurting them. Dad seems happy enough with his life, according to Facebook, and my mother never once has mentioned him missing me or unhappy because I'm not here with him. Maybe it's a relief for them.

My therapist says that a lot of people don't understand the depths of mental illness. They see someone who is depressed and believe that they just need to snap out of it. It's not out of malice, rather it's a misunderstanding of how serious it can really be. So maybe my Dad thinks it shouldn't be this difficult for me. It's like he thinks I'm not trying hard enough. I'm not mad at him for not understanding; that actually makes a lot of sense. I just wish he'd not handled it the way he chose to, which was walking out of my life. But I can't do anything to change his choices, because they're his.

Anyway, I'm getting better for myself, my son, and to honor my Nana. My biggest regret is that I didn't take better care of her, that she never got to see me healthy and free of illness, and that I didn't reunite her family. On the day before she died, she asked if I had heard from my grandmother (her daughter), because she hadn't. I know it's because of their choices and because my grandfather is a sick person all on his own, but I still have a hard time not feeling like I'm the one who caused Nana's family to be destroyed. I still blame myself for hurting all of them with my symptoms. I blame myself for Nana dying because if I'd stayed at her home a little longer, maybe she wouldn't have died. We don't know what happened, but I was right up the road, and if I'd listened to the voices, then maybe I would have been there to prevent whatever happened. That's my biggest regret, and I'm owning it. I should have been there to stop her from dying. I should have been there to keep her safe. Now I've said a little bit more about what's wrong with me. SI's about owning your stuff. I hope I can keep owning it and be a healthier person someday. I promise to keep trying.

Take care everyone, and please stay safe. Love you all.

[This message edited by silverhopes at 1:27 PM, August 20th (Wednesday)]

Jrazz posted 8/20/2014 14:01 PM

Silver, we can't take on something like that - your Nana dying. We can love people and help them, but apart from our kids it's just plain not our jobs to ensure their survival. What I'm saying is that, whereas we can be a positive force in events like this, it is NOT your responsibility.

I want to qualify this, though, because I've been reading a lot of "That's her shit to own" or "He needs to man up and take care of himself" and I think that's a crappy attitude when it comes to helping out a loved one. We NEED support and guidance, it's just not someone else's responsibility from start to finish. I may even start a thread about this.. it's been weighing on my mind.

My therapist says that a lot of people don't understand the depths of mental illness. They see someone who is depressed and believe that they just need to snap out of it.

This is so very true. (((silver)))

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