How to stop talking to your father. With a smile.

Laugh or you'll cryThere’s no need to stop smiling! Father’s Day should be a time for happiness and sunshine, barbecues and laughs. Unfortunately, for a lot of us, we have to deal with abusive fathers and what they did – or still do – to us. While I would love to ignore creepy, negative people, I still have to deal with them, and I believe there are a few of you who must as well, and so I’m here for you! Keep a smile on your face, keep your dignity and good spirit, but remove the Crazies.

A brief background on why I like to help
My father was physically present, but emotionally absent. He allowed my mother to be a mediator between himself and his daughters, and because of that our family was torn apart. My mother – a sociopathic narcissist – lied to him about our thoughts and actions. In return, he beat us. This placed her as the head of the family – exactly where she wanted to be.

“…if you showed a sign of independence as a child they took it as losing control, they must have absolute control.”

The family friend who wrote that in an email to me was absolutely correct. And even now I’m shocked how accurate his words were. I had a choice: live a suppressed life according to abusive, unstable people, or be happy and be what numerous teachers and coaches knew I was: intelligent and very capable.

So after years of therapy, I’m finally at peace and live a very happy life. With the exception of Father’s Day. It’s a constant reminder of how my father was absent during the times we needed him the most. Fathers should be authoritative and help steer the direction of the family. Instead, he handed-over authority to an unstable, manipulative mother. And even to this day, he allows my mother to fabricate untruths about anyone who attempts to dethrone her.

Because of this, I’ve had to completely disconnect myself from my own family. I found it extremely difficult to do, and every Father’s Day that passes is a reminder that I’ve both done the right thing as well as exactly how alone I am in regard to having a family.

Weak people gather like vultures at a carcass.

If you’re struggling with an abusive father and desperately want to disconnect, these things helped me. I’ve done the following:

1.) Completely cut ties
After years of limiting communication, I finally completely cut ties. I block phone numbers, I block email addresses and I do not give out my mailing address. The psychos in my family needle people until they give in (unfortunately, it has worked on aunts and uncles who have heard entire stories of our abuse).

I refuse to bend. Abuse is still abuse. Even after trying to “work it out” with my parents, they still continue to create fresh ways to destroy their children. As one sister pointed-out, “If it was just that event years ago, I would have forgiven. But they continue to try to hurt me, and for that I’ve had to get them go.”

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2.) Donate all items from the abuser
I’ve had to donate all memories including clothing, sneakers, shoes, gifts, furniture, jewelry. Basically, I’ve had to create an entirely new life for myself.

Ask yourself, “Who do I want to be? Who have I always wanted to be, but couldn’t because of abusive dipshits?” Think of it like this: there are a lot of people out there who will be thankful that you’re giving away dressers, beds, armoires, earrings, necklaces, photo albums.

This is a war, my friend, and you are going to win. You will be happy.

3.) Put away photos
Old photos are in a box in my closet. I don’t take them out unless my son asks about our heritage. That’s it. Other than that, the box stays where it is. I don’t marinate in old memories because it causes negative energy. I don’t need that. As a collective experience, you want to stay as positive as possible – seeing images of a destructive time in your life will not help. Put them away and keep them there. The only reason I would not completely destroy the images is if you need to send one to a lawyer for an Order for Protection. Hey – you didn’t choose this life, they chose it for you. All you can do is work your way out of it the smartest way possible.

4.) Do not respond to shenanigans
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to email, reply, or post about how insane my abusers are. There’s gobs of articles and proof on the internet alone about how their actions are insane and possibly illegal.

But responding will only continue the flow of negative energy.

So while it’s clear that these people thrive on negative reinforcement, negative attention, you will not. In order to end the bullying you’ve got to ignore the bully. I find this infuriating because – to others – it looks like the bully is correct if no one corrects them. But ultimately, you can’t reason with a crazy person, and that’s what they are – crazy. So don’t waste your time on them. You’ve already given enough of yourself to their insanity.

5.) Embrace the fact that your father is a putz, and that you’ll have to do it on your own
This is difficult for me because I don’t think it’s that hard to be a good dad. And so the shock is constantly there.

“Why couldn’t he…”
“Why didn’t he…”
“Why won’t he…”

But I try not to marinate in the disappointment of it. I’ve found other people whom I love to show me what good fathering is. I watch them, embrace them and accept the fact that the universe put me in this position to learn something. And so I shall. And so will you.

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Stay Together for the Kids – Said No Therapist, Ever

IMG_0761.JPG There was a guy I dated that went back to his abusive ex wife for the kids. So instead of making a peaceful loving home for his kids he chose to continue the fighting and aggravation so that he didn’t have to spend money on a divorce. My father did the same thing years ago. After years of struggling to have a relationship with my father I finally cut ties. My ex doesn’t realize-and I’m not about to tell him-that by saving a few dollars he could potentially be losing his children forever. This decision he made is one of those decisions that changed my opinion of our relationship forever. If you can’t save your children I don’t want you. And that’s when I decided to let him go.

How My Mother Made Me Desperate

We often wonder why some girls are desperate and needy. You would think it’s an inherent need, but sometimes it comes from the folks who are supposed to protect them the most. Case in point:

“We’re going to marry you off to the old widower down the road,” my parents would joke, adding, “Except, we’ll have to throw in some chickens as well” – a clear sign that they didn’t think I was worth anything; they had to “sweeten the pot” with a farm animal. So essentially I was worth less than a farm animal.

This was just one of the many not-so-subtle ways that my parents expressed their view of my value. I had to be married to be worth something, and that no one would want me as I was. I wasn’t good enough.

Eventually all my sisters “found someone,” and I was “left.” I dated here and there, but as nothing panned out, my mother would ask in horrified voice if I was a lesbian, and would introduce me as “the last one left.” Imagine how I felt when – in social circles – she would say, “Oh, and here’s my daughter, Kate. She’s the last one left.”

The last one left? It indicated that I was – in her eyes – the last one of her daughters to do the right thing: obtain the golden ticket and get married. So to my mother, all my other achievements – Deans List, MVP, Captain, Who’s Who of Junior Colleges – twice, Editor In Chief of the college newspaper and Student of the Year – all paled in comparison to being someone’s wife. It was another statement that pissed me off – but being a dutiful daughter, I let it slide. Why? Because my other sisters had issues with my mother! My mother also very artfully manipulated me by saying, “It doesn’t matter what we do to you, Kate, you’ll always come back to us. You’re the good one.” She was a master manipulator.

So those statements, along with dozens of other similar messages, created a need for me to find a husband – even before carrying out my own dreams. But ironically I didn’t radiate desperateness. I wasn’t a slut. I wasn’t “with” every guy I met, and I didn’t want every guy to marry me. I actually had some discrimination. Some.

Sadly, when my dysfunctional mother introduced me to her friend’s equally dysfunctional son, I went for it – hook line and sinker – because of a few things: 1.) I was tired of waiting for a quality guy that I actually wanted to spend the rest of my life with 2.) I was completely intimidated by quality guys 3.) It was a preordained match made by my dysfunctional mother 4.) I was taught my entire life to think that my parents had all the correct answers, and wasn’t ever allowed to question them. So if this guy was my perfect match, I wasn’t about to question it.

Thankfully, the story gets better.

A foundation of years of therapy enabled me to eventually leave my alcoholic husband in a somewhat “Sleeping With the Enemy” style. I call it “The Evacuation.” After my husband left for a long weekend with the boys, I gathered friends at my home to pack my things. Did I tell my mother? No way in hell – I was a clam in the months leading to the evacuation. Twice prior she had convinced me to stay with the alcoholic, so I knew that it was a turning point in my life – she wouldn’t be making any more decisions for me, and I didn’t tell her anything about the evacuation. Needless to say, when I did inform her of the move, she was shocked and tried to convince me to return to him.

I feel like 1 Year of Single is my final phase of the evacuation. Since leaving my ex-husband, I’ve had to completely sever ties with my mother – and I want to rip the control completely out of her hands by not dating for one year. I want to do it on my own terms. And I want to take everything back from the Mother who made me desperate.