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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So,I havent spoken to my father in 13 years,he hasn;'t tried to talk to me either.Today i get an email from him,he says he want's to talk.This man has never been what you would call honest,I don't know if it's worth another try or not.
 

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You are the only one that can decide what to do here. I can tell you what I would do if I could. My dad died three years ago. We had not spoken for five years at that point, but I had one month to talk to him before he died. I also cannot talk to my mom as she has alzheimer's.

If I had another chance I would pray about it lots and lots. And if I were to decide to do it I would email him and see what happens. I would mentally set some boundaries like, I won't talk to him if he his abusive or yells at me. Then I would stick to them! But I would not play any of the old mind games that my dad used to try. Those are my boundaries. I cannot tell you what yours are. Some people never change, but some do. I will pray for you and the decision you have to make, if you don't mind that is.
God bless you and yours
Deb
 

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I went more than 40 years without communicating with my father - deliberately. When I left home, I resolved never to contact him again - and I meant it. However, about 5 years before he died (at 96) I was persuaded (with some difficulty!) to get in touch with him.

During the first meeting, I realised afresh exactly why I'd waited that long! He was, as someone described him, 'a difficult man to love'. However, it was clear that he was trying to make amends - tidying up his desk before leaving the office, so to speak - and I recognised the effort.

He lived a long way from me so I only ever saw him once after that, but we exchanged a few letters and phone calls at significant times of the year - more a Duty Thing than anything else. At best, we had an armed truce - you could never really call it a reconciliation.

Thing is, I didn't like him, certainly didn't love him, never respected him. If it hadn't been for the fact that he promised to leave my children 'something', I wouldn't have bothered beyond that first meeting - and I was honest enough to tell him so! There was also the fact that a certain person whom I love dearly wanted us to reconcile if possible, and I did it to please that person.

It gave that person great satisfaction, and my children did end up getting a legacy (so did I, unexpectedly), but aside from that I derived no emotional satisfaction from it - apart from the fact that I did my best to be kind to a very old man doing his (inadequate but well-intentioned) best to make up for past mistakes. It wasn't easy, and it brought back a lot of pain.

I suggest you think very carefully about what you decide. Be honest with yourself about your motives and reasons - and question him about his (nicely, don't be confronting and aggressive)! Don't be swayed by anybody to do it 'because he's your father'. The fact that he's a biological relative means nothing, really. It's whether he's a person you want to socialise with and have some sort of influence on your children. A lot depends, too, on the reasons for your estrangement. There are things in life that I have found unforgiveable - perhaps it's the same with you.

Also remember - once you get in contact, you don't HAVE to keep it up! It could be like meeting somebody at a party - some people you choose to spend time with, some you pass by after a polite greeting.

Whatever happens, it's not a time to open old wounds. Keep it polite, keep it as friendly as possible, keep a truly open mind, do your best to pretend that this is the first time you've met, and take it from there one step at a time. You might end up having a good relationship with the man - then again, you might not. Accept it, either way, and don't push it if you truly don't want it.

Even if you decide against continuing a relationship - it never hurts to be polite and civilized! You'll be doing nobody (including yourself) any favours by being rude to him.
 

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Agreeing to talk does not equal forgiveness. Take baby steps, knowing that as an adult you are free to turn around and walk away at any time.

I quit talking to my dad when I was 17. At 34, I contacted him again because I felt I needed to do so. It was very different to interact as an adult. I could set my own boundaries and make my own choices, things I could not do as a child. We were on equal footing as far as power and control and being a parent myself, I was able to hear what he had to say from a totally different place than before. I was also able to hear what he had to say without the heavy influence of other family members.

It wasn't all hunky-dory and we don't speak today, but I'm glad I did it. It resolved many issues for me. I feel I gained an understanding of him that I didn't have before and that I could not have gained second hand (by what other family members told me).

I don't think I have forgiven him so much as realized that maybe he didn't do the things he did TO ME, but rather he simply did the best he could. In the end, there was nothing to forgive so much as understand, if that makes sense.

dang, now I'm going to cry, because even though we don't talk today, I love my dad and I can say that honestly. In some ways, he was absolutely heroic.

Jena
 

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I think that you should speak with him and see what he has to say. We all want and need our parents love and if you don't go, you'll always wonder. Just don't expect anything. Don't set yourself up for heartache, but don't close the door on forgiveness either.
 

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This is all good advice and I agree with the previous posters. Your father may be wanting to "set his house in order" and it would be a kind and charitable thing for you do let him make the attempt. Maybe he has a guilty conscience and just wants to die in peace. You don't have to let him back into your life--just stand at the door and speak to him from there, so to speak. If things can work out that you are able to have a polite but still distant relationship, maybe that would be enough--for both of you. If still just the same old, same old, you can close the door and tell him to go in peace. Either way you will have done the right thing. Good luck.
 

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forgiveness should always be freely given. It doesn't mean we have to allow ourselves or our family to be abused in any way.

I agree with Seagrape. You can let him into your life no further than you want right now.
 

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Forgiveness for me had a different effect than anyone has mentioned so far... it set ME free.

After being taken from my dad on child abuse charges when I was 7, I didn't have a relationship with him until I was an adult, and then it was a tentative one. But when I was in college, a very wise psychology professor pointed out that if I hung onto the fear and feelings that the abuse was still present and that it was within MY grasp to let it go and move on. My relationship with him after that wasn't really that of a father daughter, but more like the relationship I have with many other friends and acquaintances. Two years ago, he was diagnosed with cancer and lived 1 month to the day... I saw him everyday. Having truly forgiven him, I was glad for the final time. The hardest part was watching HIM, as he carried the guilt and remorse with him to the grave, unable to forgive himself at all.

If I were in your position, I'd work within myself, to find forgiveness within yourself and then contact him. You do not have to accept any sort of baggage coming from him to allow the peace that comes with forgiveness inside of YOU. You simply do it to free yourself.

dawn
 

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I say, listen. It's up to you to decide whether forgiveness is the next step.
 

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Holding on to unforgiveness does more harm to the person not willing to forgive than the one they won't forgive. If not for him, in my opinion, you should contact him for yourself. Forgiveness doesn't mean you have to get close to him, it just means letting go of the past.
 

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forgiveness should always be freely given. It doesn't mean we have to allow ourselves or our family to be abused in any way.
I'd have to second this--you can forgive but remember to set your boundries up front. I forgave the men who killed my father, but it doesn't necessarily mean I'll ever forget what they did... :angel:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you all for the advice.I spoke with him,briefly this morning.He seems to honestly want to re-get to know each other,i'm giving him a chance,a small chance,but I will try.
 

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I've always wondered about this word "forgiveness". Some people say, "Just say, 'I forgive you', and let whatever the transgression be let go." Not really sure how that works. I think maybe just time and distance and getting on with one's life, moving forward, allows you to simply see the other person as an individual and understand the motives for their actions with the perspective of a third party.
 

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Forgiving does more for you than it does for the person that wronged you.

Forgiving doesn't mean that you have to forget, stop being cautious, or set yourself up for future harm.

I hope you and your dad are both in a space where you can be friends again. If it doesn't work out that way, at least you were willing to try. Don't blame yourself if he doesn't meet you halfway after all.

take care,

hollym
 

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I have found that forgiving has always been the easy part but forgetting… that’s another story!
 

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Forgiveness does not come easy for the human animal does it?

I found that I carried around alot of unforgiveness at a certain point and that it was getting too heavy. It was not something I wanted my daughters to imitate.

Now I joke about having a penalty box like hockey where I can put the object person of my unforgiveness into figuratively. In order to unforgive someone new, I have to let the other out of the box. I can say that right now the box is empty and I'm not thinking about anyone. That is the benefit to me.

People that you forgive do not have to be in your circle or your life and you can wish health, wealth and happiness on them. It really messes 'm up.
 

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My DH's father was abusive to him and his brothers for as long as he could remember and once his mother remarried and they moved fro Florida, they never saw him or had contact with him again. It didn't seem to bother my DH much until one day he got a letter from his father, it seems his father tried to open a bank account at this bank and since father and son have the same name they told him he already had a account, anyway he got my DH address from the bank and wrote to him. It was a shock to my DH to say the least after not hearing from his dad all those years, but as his dad did include his phone # he did go ahead and call him.
They had a good talk and even though my DH couldn't quite forgive him for how he was abusive to him all those years ago, it helped him on some level to talk to his dad and tell him that. About a year later his dad went out under a tree and commited sucide.
A detective called and told me and I had to break it to my DH. If he'd had never talked to his dad about all those pent up feeling he'd had, I don't know how he would have felt. As it was he felt some closure.
It's up to you how you handle this, but it might bring some closure to both of you. I'd pray about it and go from there. Good luck on whatever you decide to do.
 

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I've always wondered about this word "forgiveness". Some people say, "Just say, 'I forgive you', and let whatever the transgression be let go." Not really sure how that works.
I think it depends on what forgiveness means to the individual. To me, it is accepting that the person did what he/she did, it hurt me in some way, and now I am going to release them from being responsible for my hurt. This doesn't mean I forget their actions; it only means I no longer dwell on their role in the pain.
 
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