More threads by Suzette


I don't really know where to start. Right now the dismay of how my father and his wife are, is coming up.

Yesterday I heard somebody say: "If I don't know my father I don't know a part of myself". That struck me.

I don't understand what my father really is. Just like my mother, he is capable of forgetting me. He desperately wants 'contact' as he calls it (doing things together, calling on the phone) but he is not capable of maintaining it. And the most idiot thing of all is is that he does not even KNOW that he ruins it all the time.

When I was in the mental hospital I was more or less pushed by the staff to start counselling with my father. I was scared to death but I did it, was not strong enough to say 'no'. I almost fainted when it started. One of the first things I said in those conversations (together with a therapist) to my father: I am so afraid you will forget me. The rest I do not really remember.

My father was delighted that we were in touch again and I started to slowly even try, to trust him again. Two weeks before I had to leave the hospital I expressed to him my deep concern of how I should survive after I left. He agreed.

He had planned a six weeks vacation in the time I had my goodbye speech at the institute. He did not mention at all he would have liked to be there "out of the question, vacation was planned a while ago."

It felt good that my father agreed with my concern. But what happened was that he did not ring me once while he was gone. Oh yes, he did ring home: to ask the people who looked after their house how the cats were doing.

Four weeks after I left I knew he was back again. I thought: "well, he will ring me now!" But no phonecall.

A few days later I decided to ring him myself, astonished as I was that he had not contacted me whatsoever. His reaction was: "Hey, how are you doing" like I was an old friend who rang up after years. There was no recognition. I got mad, I felt forgotten but the usual excuses showed up: 'I was busy', 'we just got back' etc. etc. bla bla bla. No concern towards me whatsoever. Well, this was not the first time I felt he had forgotten me and I knew it would not be the last.

One other thing is disgusting: he hates it to do something for his children. If he does something, you get the bill sooner or later (he expects you to show up at his birthday or something). I have never met a father who hates it to do something for his children. I am supposed to be there for him, not the other way around.

He remarried after the divorce with my mother, in 1982. His wife did a great job trying to keep me and my brothers out of her life with him. The stupid woman had no heart for us and is the most narrow-minded person I have ever met.

They are a bunch of losers but they don't know it. They think they are doing great. Now that is a shame. One of these months I will wake them up and tell them what I think of them. They look down on me because I cannot work but things are going to turn and change. Someday I will be strong enough to let them FEEL that they are not people to be proud of.

My father is a poor thing and his wife is a narrow-minded tart. Now that is what I got. Unbelievable.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Those relationships are the hardest we ever have to deal with, Suzette. The fact is that you had a father who didn't know how to be a father or didn't want to be a father - there is no way to change that. All you can do is to accept that who and what he is has nothing to do with you. There is nothing you could have done as a child or can do now to make him be the kind of father you wish you could have had. This was never about you - it was about him. There never was anything wrong with you that caused him to be that way - it's just who he is.


Hi David,

I guess that what you said is the only thing that has to be said here. "That is the way he is, you cannot change that".

The thing is that I am apparently still fighting against this reality, you must have read that in my first post. But it helps that you wrote this for me.

We did have something together when I was young and he still living at home. We were somehow, fond of eachother. But when he left when my parents divorced, everything changed. Not only his wife discouraged him to keep in good touch with me, he also did not know how to maintain the contact we had.

But there are many times that he expresses his wish that things were like the old days. Going to flea markets together, going to the movies with me. Well great!!! I just know if I let him get this close to me I will get hurt!!! I have to keep him at a distance David, otherwise he keeps hurting me and I cannot make it up with him since he denies his own mistakes.

Now here I am: my father who was so important to me when I was young wants to be close to me (with his wishes though!) but I cannot let him. It is like someone puts a fried chicken 5 ft away from me while I am hungry and tell me: you cannot eat that, keep distance.

I guess the only thing I can do is try, even try to accept that he is like he is, like you wrote. But I cannot let him get that close anymore, I have to protect myself. Now this is difficult!


If I cannot blame my father then can I blame his wife?? He is not capable of keeping in touch the way a father should, but she won't encourage him.

When I ring up my father he is so programmed by her that I doubt that he stands up for himself and his phonecall with me. Usually it goes like this:

I ask: "Do I disturb?" (polite question of mine, I usually do that with phonecalls)

My father: "Well yes, since we are in the kitchen, cooking. I have to help N. with that."

Even if I had not called until then for about a year, he would answer this.

He does not take a stand against her and she would not encourage him to stay on the phone. Somehow I got the impression she enjoys his choices for her.

When my oldest brother married, he asked my father to be the master of ceremonies at the wedding. My father replied: "No, I cannot do that, I don't want to leave N. alone the whole evening." Needless to say my brother was deeply hurt. But it shows one thing: she did not say to my father: "you moron, go and do it, I can manage!" Geeezzz!

So I can blame her. If my father is not capable of making the right choices as a father, then I see her as a destructive person for this matter.

I would really appreciate if you could comment on the examples I gave here, since that would sharpen my opinion.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Your father is presumably not mentally deficient. He is free to make his own choices and it appears he has chosen her over his children. That is very sad. One day, he may regret that choice when it is too late to do anything about it but nonetheless it is the choice he has made at this time.

I can understand your anger at her but I think your father bears the majority of the responsibility here. What kind of parent can't even attend his son's wedding? Or spend time with his daughter when she is released from hospital? I'm not defending his wife - she sounds like a right witch too - but have you considred the possibility that your father is using her as a scapegoat? That perhaps he simply can't be bothered and uses her as an excuse?


He definitely choses her over his children. I think he is dead afraid she will leave him too, like my mother chose for the divorce. That is what all his decisions are based on. He choses for the safe way. He lives with her, he needs her.

Whoever lives with my father has somehow a connection. If you don't live with my father you don't have it.

I used to compare my father with a computer: whoever has the keyboard is capable of programming him for his/her own benefit. If you don't have the keyboard, you don't have my father. He lives by programming how he should behave, he does not behave from taking a stand for things. Not when it comes to personal relationships. That is why he acts like he does: he choses for her because that is the way he survives. If she would leave him, he is nowhere. I think he does not even know that he exists then.

And this is the way he choses to manage it all. Programmed and according to a pattern. And she feels his inability to keep connecting and choses for herself all the time.


What you're facing is very difficult, Suzette. Yet, if your father has decided to put his own wishes and comfort above that of his children, you must choose for yourself. Make your decisions based on your needs, and let him go his own way. He will live to regret the choices he's making now, but it's not your responsibility. Your responsibility lies in living your life to the best of your ability and finding happiness in doing so.


Yes it is difficult. Thank you also for your opinion ThatLady.

Now I have to leave it at this since I panicked of anger yesterday. I cannot think reasonable now so I wait until everything is less touchy. Got to leave it at this right now.
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