I honestly don’t even know where to begin with this and I’ve never written to any kind of advice column before, but the advice you seem to give is sound and good so I thought I would get your take on this situation.
I’m very angry and this scares me. Wait let me back up, I’m angry with my father and I really don’t know what to do about it. He left me and my mother recently and in the divorce process I found out some things about him and the relationship I thought we had that really just churn my stomach into bile. He was a pretty decent dad until I was about nine years old and then he just kind of became an absent presence in my life. I never saw him, he never came to my functions, and he would actively avoid conversation. He even abandoned me during our family vacation to meet up with some kind of booty call at a hotel, leaving me alone at a baseball stadium for hours after the game was over. I was 10 at the time (At the time my mom almost divorced him but...silver tongue apologies go a long way I guess. He claimed he was called to work and his brother was supposed to be picking me up so she ended up never calling the lawyer).
I’ve found out that this is all because he was living with a separate family for years (my father was not married to the other woman, just living with her for about 10 years). He had been lying and telling people that he was divorced from my mom when they were still together and spending all his time with a second daughter that I knew nothing about. Now I know and I see him doing all these things with her that he never did with me. Every time he calls or I see him with his family I am filled with such a scary black hate that I can’t even see straight.
If that wasn't enough his second family is often actively out to hurt me. The daughter has already tried to run me off the road in her car once and the mother sends death threats to me and my mother and called me…well…the c-word which I don’t feel comfortable repeating. I brought this up to my father and he called me a lying dyke.
I’m worried that he left my mom because I came out of the closet and that just makes me feel even angrier. I've tried so hard to be a good daughter my whole life, got the best grades and awards in school, graduated from college with a 3.5 average, and it all goes out the window because I like girls. I’ve tried to talk to my friends but they usually just say something along the lines of “You’re 20 are you really going to act like a 5 year old about your mommy and daddy getting a divorce?”
What this all boils down to is this. How do I get rid of this anger so that I can move on with my life?
Hoping for advice,
* * *
First thing’s first: do not blame yourself for your parents’ divorce. Your notion that it is your fault because you are homosexual is a misguided attempt to rationalize what has happened—an idea probably stemming from your struggle to understand why he treats you so poorly. Papabear would bet $1,000 bucks right now that he treated your mother and you badly because, not to put too fine a point on it, he’s a giant ass. He lied to your mother, you, his new woman and her daughter, criminally abandoned a child, and called you a c---. This man is unfit for the noble title of “father.”
Secondly, friends who blow you off as acting like a five year old because you are upset by your father’s actions and how he has destroyed your family are unsympathetic and incredibly shallow. Real friends would give you a shoulder to cry on and listen to your story. Everyone needs friends in their life for emotional suport, and you deserve that, too.
Next, if this other woman is sending death threats to your mother and her daughter is literally trying to kill you, you need to record and gather evidence of this and present it to a lawyer and possibly the police. (Do you live in such proximity that you see each other a lot? You should try and avoid them, if possible). When either the other woman or her daughter try to do you harm, inform them that you are keeping records of their actions and talking to an attorney about it. Keep recording devices handy, as well as a notepad. In this respect, Papabear would wager your father is feeding them lies about how evil you and your mom are so that they will hate you. Did any of this stuff come out in the divorce? I certainly hope your mother got a good divorce settlement in her favor after all this nonsense from your father.
Okay, now on to the anger. Nikki, you have every right to feel angry about what has happened to you and your mom. Only a crazy person would NOT be angry. Papabear has felt this sort of anger himself to the point of literally seeing red. The good thing is that both you and I have bones in our heads that prevent us from taking it to the next, violent level. Papabear is extremely proud of you for, instead, reaching out to people to talk about the situation and your feelings. Also proud of you for doing well in school and maintaining your grip on priorities.
So, to reiterate a bit: to get over your anger you need to not blame yourself for what has happened. It has nothing to do with your being a lesbian and everything to do with your dad being a jerk. My guess, if I had a chance to talk with you some more about it, would be that your father became sexually less satisfied with your mother (bored or saw crow’s feet or whatever) and moved on to a younger woman was willing to spread her legs more, but I’m just speculating.
Hating your father is natural, but that hatred is not going to change him from being who he is and will only end up hurting you by consuming you with destructive emotions, including the jealousy you feel for the daughter of the woman he left your mom for.
The cause of your misery is twofold: frustration that what you want your life to be and what it really is do not match up, and misdirected guilt about being a lesbian. You need to come to terms with being a lesbian. That is something you simply are and is nothing to be ashamed of. And you need to learn to accept that your father is not a person who is worth your time and effort. As Papabear has said before, you sometimes need to cut people out of your life to protect your own sanity, and your father is one of those. The energy you save from not troubling yourself with your father can be redirected toward supporting and loving your mother and focusing on your own future.
Doing the above is not easy, and you will likely feel anger for many more years, but you can work on lessening that anger month by month and year by year. Forgive yourself for the anger, put the blame where it belongs (your father), and then you will be able to look toward the future. Once you focus on the road ahead, you will become less preoccupied with the past and it will hurt less.
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