By: Revanche

The story I never wanted to tell

October 26, 2016

A story of denial

Does everyone have a price? I thought yes. Then, no. Then changed my mind again.

I wanted to believe the answer was no. I needed to understand the answer was yes.

Integrity and moral fiber become inherent, I used to think. They are part of consistently learning to be, and making the choice to be, a good person. To choose to do the right thing whether or not it was easy.

Suffice to say, that I could still believe into my mid-30s despite all my experiences that prove otherwise suggests a bedrock of faith I didn’t know I had until it crumbled.

But the story doesn’t start there.

It started with my first lessons in the school of hard knocks, toiling to save my family from financial ruin. I was 17 when I learned we were more than broke. We were in debt, deeply in debt, and my parents saw no way out of the quicksand they had built our lives on. Credit cards were used to make ends meet, too often. It wasn’t frivolous but it was absolutely foolish. When their siblings needed cash, or a parent needed a replacement something, they turned to my parents. Saying no is not an option for that generation, so they found a way. Half a lifetime of solving other people’s crises left them carrying six figures of debt on credit cards and personal and business loans.

Making mistakes didn’t make them bad people. My parents deserved my help because they always helped others. For a decade I made it my life to help them back, but I also learned from their mistakes. I helped them but I saved.

At first it was paltry. I was literally saving pennies. Nickels and dimes were salted away. I scrimped and skipped meals, worked overtime, saved like my life depended on it.

In a way, it did. More than my life, this was my Hope.

After more double shifts and sleepless nights than I care to remember, I invested my painstakingly hoarded nest egg. It grew a little bit and I reinvested it repeatedly.

18 months ago, the investment matured at $15,000, and I asked my father to pick up the cash. I hadn’t decided but was almost certain it would pay for JuggerBaby’s daycare so that’s what I told him the money was needed for. No immediate rush, then, I said, but I would absolutely need it by fall.

He’d been my loan courier for the interest payments in previous year but, this time, I wouldn’t be able to pick it up from him for two months. Two long months where I ignored my sense of misgiving over his characteristic silences, chiding myself for being worried, chalking it up to a hard-won sense of skepticism gone haywire.

By this summer, I had been put off several time. He was busy, they kept missing each other when he dropped in to pick up the payment. All normal, plausible, reasonable except it felt a little off. Nothing I could pinpoint but my instinct’s honed on decades of accurately identifying my brother’s lies. They had long outnumbered his truths, his half truths, and I’d become an expert at gauging when he was trying to con me.

I had never wanted to learn the art of detecting deceit in another family member.

An old friend always says, “your instincts are your best friend,” and I should have known when I was deliberately ignoring mine that they weren’t wrong.

They weren’t. But I wasn’t either.

I wasn’t prepared to accept another betrayal. I was trying to avoid it by pretending I didn’t sense the wrongness, the lie underneath, by giving him every opportunity to make it right. To make a clean breast of it and pay me the respect of treating me like an adult. Just a regular adult he cares about, never mind the fact that I’d sacrificed my life and health for his comfort and safety.

But denying your instincts always kicks your ass. My nightmares of fighting with my family started again. For years, they were so common PiC had mastered the art of soothing me without even waking himself. I’d wake screaming at my brother as we grappled over yet another bad decision.

Prepared to deal or not, once those nightmares started again, I knew I had to confront the situation head on.

A story of anger

So I did. And I saw the man who taught me to have integrity, to build a life by helping others and doing no harm, crumple under direct questioning. He had taken that money and used it to invest in a venture that was “expected to pay out within 6 weeks but…”

I watched as his face, once beloved, revealed that I could no longer trust anyone in my family. He regretted betraying my trust, he said, but the betrayal went far deeper than he understood.

Having made the colossally bad decision to take my money, my baby’s money, he then lied to me. Kept lying until he was backed into a corner.

The kindest possible interpretation is that he’s still grieving, that he’s eaten up by the shame and guilt of dependency, and the only way he knows how to deal with it is to try and make the most of any opportunity. Even if it wasn’t an opportunity that was offered. Even when it was clearly not his to take.

Some part of me still wants to be kind because any harsher interpretation is harsh for me too. But it’s been five years since Mom died. Three years since we had the incredibly hard conversation about our feelings of guilt and hurt and trying to mend things. Seventeen years since I first picked up this work of supporting my family and we had our first fights about honesty and making the household work.

He’s had time. He’s had enough chances to learn to work with me, and has proven in the starkest possible way that another chance is just another costly disappointment.

He promised to pay it all back when the money came back but in past year he’s called me once, and only because he thought he was returning a missed call and then to ask when we’re coming to visit. No updates on what’s going on, no calls to see how we’re doing. Not a word about receiving an email full of pictures of an (I’m not biased at all) incredibly cute grandchild growing up fast. Nothing.

That money, in other words, is lost and gone forever, dreadful sorry, Clementine.

What does this all mean? How do you go forward when you admit this is the state of affairs?

In practical terms, not much. I won’t put him out on the street by stopping his rent payments, I won’t punish him by stopping his utility payments. I’m not able to assess the cost of his betrayal and theft as equal to that of his right to live like a human with basic needs.

But it has cost him my love, my regard, and my trust.

The hardest realization is that I’ll never trust him alone with his grandchild. I once believed he would protect me at all costs and have now learned that we’re not even worth $15,000. I was his own child, his only daughter, his sole support, and he’s abused my good will and manipulated me under the umbrella of good intentions for years.

He’s rationalized it all as his way of helping me. He was working hard to make sure that I didn’t have to pay more than I already do to subsidize my sibling. So it naturally makes sense that he would take the money intended for my child’s care, daycare that is necessary for my health and for my income which he relies on, as seed money, then cover up his actions with lies.

That was his “better course of action.” Not: communicating clearly with me about his needs or his plans. Not asking if he could use it as capital.  Just taking it and lying til the cows came home.

Well, the cow has come home and guess what? Asking forgiveness MIGHT be easier than asking for permission but what they don’t tell you is that you may never get forgiveness.

Knowing that he’d already easily rationalized the very wrong and harmful act of stealing from me and then lying to me about it until caught, what else can he rationalize? This wasn’t the first lie, but it has to be the last before the price is too high and too painful to be counted in dollars.

I’d been quietly resentful before that he hasn’t once lifted a finger to engage with his only grandchild. On arranged visits, he’s a drop-in. He’s a visitor to the proceedings, he’s played with zir maybe twice and that’s because PiC has been even more persistent than I in making sure ze gets Grandpa time.

After all this?

There’s simply no way I could ever trust zir in his care. I suppose it’s a good thing he never offered to help with zir, not even to watch zir for five minutes so I could scarf down a meal, so we haven’t developed the habit of relying on him. In my family, non-parents always lend a hand to the parents of little ones, grandparents above all. I have personally done it for more years than I can count, for everyone’s kids. He’s done it countless times for other relatives but I see that the most special consideration I get is that he’ll show up. Good thing, I guess.

He was an icon, in my eyes. A figure of storied proportions. His sacrifices to make a better life, his hard work, his ethics. I imbibed those with my mother’s home-cooked meals and tutelage. And now he’s made himself all but a stranger.

I’ve wept.

There are still some tears in the days to come, when a fond memory feels shattered, when I can’t remember the word for “meatball” in our native language and I can’t bring myself to dial his number.

I’m still angry with him. I may forgive someday but today is not that day. Tomorrow isn’t either. Even if it ever happens, I still won’t forget.

I don’t doubt he was sorry to be telling me the truth when he was forced to, but how much was regret over being caught and how much for the wrongdoing? History suggests mostly the former, less of the latter.

Years ago, a blogger aptly named Grace said she heard the voice of a hurt daughter wondering why she wasn’t good enough. It seems Grace read me more correctly than I knew.

I know now that I didn’t want it to be true. I wanted to believe in his good intentions. But his good intentions always came with a price and I was always the only one to who paid them. So here I am admitting: I am hurt. I do wonder why my father doesn’t love me enough, never loved me enough, to work with me or to put me and my well-being even equal to that of my Sibling’s when he was still clearly capable but unwilling to take care of himself.

Six years ago, I couldn’t conceive of the notion that my parent could value me so little. That he could see me as nothing more than a way to pay the bills. Today, I’m seeing that it’s not only possible, it’s been the truth for a long time.

I regret the loss of faith. I regret the loss of history. I regret that ze won’t be able to learn our family oral history the way I did from the man who remembers so much of it because he can’t spend an hour in our company. I hate that ze won’t have a living loving grandfather worth knowing.

I hate that when people joke that they still lean on their fathers like JuggerBaby now flops against zir father with complete faith, I feel a pang of envy. I hate that when a dear friend got married and his bride introduced me to her beaming, over the moon father, I felt loss.

Where was my father for all that? For the joy, the support, the fatherly bond? I worshiped him. I still remember before so clearly. At five years old, I was brewing his morning coffee and sitting with him while he drank it before he left for work. I brewed his nightly pot of tea, offering the first pour to our ancestors with lighted incense as is our custom, every night. I carefully washed it and the tea cups afterward, setting them out to dry for the next day. He combed my hair for me, just like his!, before school every morning of first grade. When Mom and I clashed, I could always turn to him for support over books, over clothes, over anything.

When did he stop loving me?

I won’t ask why. I don’t want to know. Maybe I don’t want to know when it happened, either.

A story of acceptance

I refuse to let this diminish me. I refuse to let this make me feel like I’m less than worthy. With or without him I am a person, whole and complete, and I will not be made less because my father forgot I have value.

Just as I learned from his mistakes in money, I’ll learn from his mistakes as a person and as a parent. I know now that not having money can do terrible things to a person, no matter who they were before, and while I cannot save my father from himself, perhaps I can save my chosen family from making the same mistakes.

For better or worse, I am my father’s daughter and inherited many of his traits. But I am not him, just like I’m not my mother, either. I have a choice and can choose to do things differently for my future.

I think it’s clear that I have done that, in finding a way to fulfill what I see to be my responsibilities and still preserve and protect my own family’s future. It’s not as easy as it would be if I were unfettered but I make it work.

More than one friend has asked me: would you ever cut him off?

The reality is he’s 70 years old, he’s unlikely to get hired anywhere, and he has minimal Social Security. He can afford his food and his gas, but clearly not more than one utility bill at a time. It would be inhumane to cut him off when I do have the means to support him, but I will be looking at ways to reduce the burden on our finances by pushing him to move to senior housing. This has been a challenge because he won’t throw out my sibling, the Parasitic Trainwreck (mixing my metaphors to give a clearer picture of his character), and I’m not sure what senior housing would allow for the presence of a person like him.

But for now, it’s enough that I’m able to face this squarely.

Then I’ll fix it. Like I always do.

69 Responses to “The story I never wanted to tell”

  1. I’m sorry you’re having to go through this again with your dad. It can be really hard to deal with the loss of a parent, whether that loss is physical or emotional. Take care of yourself.

  2. I don’t know what to say other than I’m sorry for your loss. And it is loss and grief, and all the harder because of the circumstances. My dearest sympathies, friend.
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  3. MC says:

    I’m so sorry that this is happening to you. I went through something similar in my early 20s, and even many years later, being so little valued by a parent, without apology or any indication of real remorse, is still an acutely painful loss. Rationally I know it’s on them and not us, though it’s hard to really feel that sometimes — so thank you for the reminder that we are worthy, whole, and complete, even though those that are supposed to value and protect us unconditionally have let us down.

    • Revanche says:

      I’m so sorry that you’ve been through a similar experience, I hope you’ve been able to build a new family around you since.

  4. Man that is so tough. I’m so sorry. man I feel like I should say more but I just can’t… 🙁
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Staying Motivated When You Missed the “Early” Retirement BoatMy Profile

  5. Miss Mazuma says:

    This is a tough story to read and I am guessing even harder to write.

    Those closest to us are able to hurt us in ways others can not. It seems as though you have a good grasp on the psychology behind his behavior (and everyone else in your family!) and I have found that knowing this is the fastest way to recover. You can’t fix what years of being broken does to a person. You can focus on yourself and what you do to others.

    I commend you for being the person you are. Supporting the person who should be your biggest supporter. It isn’t easy when a child becomes their parents parent – you seem to have plenty of experience in that. Grace was spot on…and you should know by now – none of this was about you. You ARE good enough. He isn’t – shame has a way of twisting things completely out of perspective…enough so that you would steal from your own child.

    Sometimes we aren’t dealt the right cards. Thank goodness for friends and spouses. When your family is awful you get to choose your own. My chosen family are the people I put in my life – not the ones that were put there. These are the people that make my world go around. I wish you the best of luck.
    Miss Mazuma recently posted…It’s Payday!! Non Budgets & Allocations…See Where My Money Goes.My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Thank you for visiting and commenting. It was pretty hellish to come to the conclusions here, and painful to put it down in words, but doing so is the beginning of healing for me, and so is being surrounded by chosen family. I’ll always be grateful that we have that option in life.

  6. I’m so sorry you have to deal with all his crap. My dad left when I was 2 and I’ve only had minimal contact with him. It was easy to cut him out because I didn’t have any good memories to weigh against who he is now. Hang in there! You are super tough and can make it through this <3
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  7. chris says:

    I’m deeply grateful that you shared this story. It must have been hard for you, but please know it was helpful to me.

    I admire the way you maintain compassion for yourself and your father in such difficult circumstances.

  8. Desirae says:

    I am so deeply sorry that this experience has been part of your life, and am sending nothing but the warmest hugs possible right now (are you a hugger? I am but it’s OK if you aren’t!) I really identify with a small part of this, specifically the feeling and questioning around wondering why you weren’t / aren’t loved by a parent, but your bravery in sharing this put it in huge context for me, because if anything, I’m lucky that my feelings were only caused by absence, not direct and sustained interactions. My dad and I have never had a relationship, but in many ways after reading this, I wonder if I shouldn’t believe his claims that it was because he never wanted to “get in the way” of my relationship with my mom.

    Anyways, so so so many hugs. Or the equivalent comforting interaction you prefer if hugs aren’t your jam.
    Desirae recently posted…Managing Your Money is Like Riding a BikeMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I’m sorry your dad wasn’t around for you, no matter his reason, because you’re a pretty great person and he’s missing out. I couldn’t say whether YOU are missing out given my experiences but maybe you’re right and maybe absence is an easier reason, though I suspect it’s a close relative to the issues that my dad and I have.

      In person, I am sometimes a hugger, and sometimes not, but I accept and return your proffered internet hugs in the spirit they are given.

  9. Linda says:

    Yeah, fathers. *sigh* I don’t have exactly the same story as you, but I’ve written before about the hurt my father has caused me. He stole money from me, too, when I was younger and trusted him. Time after time he’s let me down emotionally, and when I’ve asked him directly for help. I still have a relationship of a sorts with him. It is a hollow thing, and is more akin to the relationship one has with any older relative.

    My more recent experience with my sister coming out to help me post-surgery even contained some father angst. I was saddened not just that sister didn’t seem to be able to show me compassion and kindness, but that my father never could either. I don’t expect anything from my mother since she’s had so many mental health issues over the years, but it seems that no one in my family really loves me as I am. That Grace was so right.

    My commiserating doesn’t make this any better for you, thought. I’m so sorry.
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    • Revanche says:

      I’m so sorry. I remember that your relationships with your parents haven’t been good, and more recently with your sister, and I am truly sorry for that. Life isn’t fair, but it feels a bit less so when our own families can’t have compassion or consideration for us.

      It’s not so much that your misery could make mine better, nothing really could do that precisely, but it does give me perspective and helps me feel less alone. I know intellectually that people don’t have perfect families, and I can know that emotionally when it’s anyone else’s family under scrutiny, but it’s harder to have that assurance when you’re in the thick of the pain with your own family.

      If nothing else, it does make me appreciate the people who choose to be in my life because they love me that much more.

  10. Little Green says:

    Hugs, and I am so sorry this happened to you.

    In our family, we recently lost an individual who had compulsive gambling issues and even stole from other family members over the years. It was very harmful & the person ended up cutting off communication with half of the family after being told they wouldn’t be given any control over the finances of a parent who was in a long-term care facility after a stroke. It really sucks, and unfortunately we were not able to reconcile with this person before they died. I am hoping you are able to find a sliver of hope towards reconciliation (if you want that), and manage your relationship in a way that he can’t continue to hurt you (financially or otherwise). Thank you for being so honest about this difficult time.

    • Revanche says:

      Thank you.

      That’s such a sad situation, and all the more sad that there’s no chance for reconciliation, for your family.

      I still, foolishly maybe, hold a sliver of hope that while I distance myself for now for our protection, maybe he’ll want to come back and be a healthy part of the family. Not “again” because that doesn’t seem to have existed, but before we lose any chance at it. But I can’t hold my breath for it.

  11. The Wahine says:

    That’s big of you to do what you have done! I decided a few years ago that I am not responsible for my parents bad decisions and in the end have made the decision to live without them in my life. Difficult yes but it comes more from the guilt that I feel which admittedly has been the hardest to live with. In my culture family is everything no matter what but I decided for my own peace and sanity never again! I commend you for your ability to consider your fathers welfare when time and again he has not earned it! All the best.

  12. Joe says:

    Holy moly, that’s tough. I hope you can heal somehow, but it sounds very difficult. Take care of yourself and the little one first.
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  13. NZ Muse says:

    AHHHH. I don’t know what to say but I am so deeply hurt and angered and devastated on your behalf. There is nothing like being let down by someone you love and trust.
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  14. Jessica (tc) says:

    I’m so sorry to read this. I had tears in my eyes throughout, because the pain comes through so clearly and is so familiar to me.

    I think the grief of losing a living loved one (even if they aren’t out of your life completely) is harder than losing one who has actually died. I have a no-trust relationship with some family members, and it’s harder every time I interact with them or see them, because I always remember what things used to be like. I want to bend and pretend that things didn’t happen, but it’s not possible anymore. Those things that happened DID happen, and they just keep piling up to become a massive weight that really can’t be ignored.

    I hope you’re able to find a way to make this work better for you, Toxic Sibling aside. You’ve given time, energy, pain, tears, money, and beyond at this point. If the other side is only taking, something has to give to make it more palatable and to help you keep moving forward without dwelling more and more over time.

    • Revanche says:

      “… it’s harder every time I interact with them or see them, because I always remember what things used to be like. I want to bend and pretend that things didn’t happen, but it’s not possible anymore.”

      This is exactly the struggle. Exactly. And now I have to learn how to move forward in a way that neither ignores the actions that caused hurt, without allowing this forward movement to cause more.

  15. Sabrina you-know-who says:

    The previous commenters have already said most of what I am thinking: you ARE a good person worthy of love and respect, and I’m very sad to hear that your father has let you down.

    You often hear that drug addicts will do anything–even steal from their loved ones–to support their habit. I think this is a very similar situation. Your dad sounds like a compulsive gambler. He may not play the numbers or go to casinos, but, when given the opportunity to invest in a shaky venture, he can’t resist the urge to take a risk in the hope of a big payoff. Maybe he planned to share his winnings with you, to pay you back in some way. He thought that would once again make him a big man, a bountiful daddy, in your eyes. Now that his fantasy has evaporated, he knows he’s lost your trust. He probably feels so much guilt that he can’t face you, and that keeps him away from his grandbaby, too. I do think he loves you, very, very much–why wouldn’t he? You are very lovable! But the sense of guilt must be overwhelming. He probably feels that HE doesn’t deserve YOUR love.

    I wonder if you could find a support group for family members of compulsive gamblers, similar to Al Anon, in your area.

    I’m so very sorry for what you’re going through! Love and hugs!

    • Revanche says:

      I think you may have spotted the issue with his compulsion that I didn’t see earlier. I wondered where my Sibling got his compulsive streak from and had started suspecting it might have been from Dad.

      I’m ever so grateful for your friendship and thoughtfulness.

  16. Shelley says:

    How sad for you, and for him. I’m sure he knows he’s let you down. A lot of us are born to very flawed parents and it is hard work to get out of the mess and get on with our own stories, but you clearly have. You are a great example that it can be done.

    It sounds as though you are grieving the loss of the idea you had of your father’s character, the loss of the dream you had for your child’s grandparent. I remember when I divorced grieving the loss of the life I hoped we would have together. It was the first time I realized you could mourn the loss of an idea, a goal. I dreamed about it for years until I finally found a new ideal to pursue, different ambitions.

    You will need to forgive your father, not for his sake but for yours. Carrying the burden of resentment, disappointment, hatred is too heavy. All that angst will pull you down and poison other areas of your life. I know you will find your own way to handle this as you’ve already demonstrated your survival skills. In some way the father you once had or thought you had is gone and there is now this person that you feel you must support. I would likely feel the same in your place, but certainly not everyone would.

    I have found it helpful to imagine a new way of looking at a person or situation, almost like writing a mantra to use against the pain. When I catch myself re living the situation, nursing my resentment, I use that new idea and change the subject in my head. I turn to thinking about something that gives me happiness or pleasure, reminds me of all the blessings I have. Gratitude is one of life’s best antidotes in my experience.

    Forgiveness doesn’t mean you will ever make the same mistake with your father. It just means that you won’t always carry the pain he has given you on a daily basis. When I have to deal with people who have hurt me deeply I imagine folding up my feelings like precious lingerie and putting them safely away in a drawer before seeing them. That way my feelings are out of harm’s way. Or I imagine there is a thick plexiglass shield between us, so that whatever words they use to hurt don’t reach me.

    Plenty of children have grown up just fine without grandparents. You can be the one to tell family stories. It is not the ideal you had before, but you can find a new one. Perhaps one where your child has a right relationship with money, relationships and responsibility. Money cannot be the center purpose in life. As you know, money can only solve financial problems. But jbeing foolish about money and generally irresponsible in life brings misery.

    • Revanche says:

      Part of me wanted to rebel against having to forgive him, but you are right, in the end. Forgiving him feels like forgetting and giving him a free pass, which also feels like everything I’ve been doing, but that’s not what you’re getting at and by the end of your comment, I could do more than just respect that perspective but I find myself agreeing with you.

      Thank you for understanding, and sharing your thoughts.

  17. Taylor says:

    I am SO incredibly sorry that you are going through this and that you’ve been going through this <3 <3 <3 I hope you know how wonderful and strong you are with everything you've accomplished, and everything you've given. My situation with my father is different, but there are so elements of your story that reminded me of my own. Like you, I have SO many good childhood memories with my father—games in the pool, notes on the first day of school and just having a dad I adored. Unfortunately, that relationship didn't continue into adulthood and it became emotionally and financially abusive. I still have the memories from my childhood but I also have the knowledge that he is no longer that person, and that maybe he never was. Losing a parent while they are still alive is a TOUGH pill to swallow, but it has made me appreciate everyone else I love SO MUCH more. My partner, mom, sisters and best friends are my family too. Cling to the people who love you and care for you, they are huge blessings.

    For many years I went back and forth about my father's bad behavior because I wanted to believe the best in him and I wanted a happy relationship with him. Finally, my therapist at the time told me to imagine myself as a child. Would I allow my child self (or my actual child, which I know you have) to be treated like this? I started crying because I realized that I am both the adult and the child. But my adult self is now able to protect my inner child self from him. I would NEVER allow him to treat my future children this way. I would scoop them up and bring them to safety, far far away from his bad behavior. I'm not sure I'm explaining this right, but it was a really helpful way to think about everything because it finally allowed me to be free and stop viewing it as my fault (which is something he worked hard to convince me it was). Sometimes it still hurts. I'm not sure if it always will, but I know that I've made the right choice in cutting him out of my life. Sending you lots of love <3 <3 <3
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    • Revanche says:

      To have the good precede the bad feels so much harder because you know you have that good experience, and it’s almost inevitable to wonder what role we played in changing that experience. It doesn’t help if the person, like your dad did, takes that self-doubt and encourages it.

      I’m so glad you found a good therapist, and thank you for sharing this insight and experience with me. It’s incredibly hard to accept the present situation but it’s also necessary.

  18. I hope that the act of sharing your story brings you some sense of peace or resolution. You are going through something very traumatic right now. Please seek out the support of some people on whom you can actually depend.
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  19. My soul and heart hurts for you. I am so sorry. You shouldn’t have to do deal with that. And I think, despite the circumstances, you’re doing right by yourself by continuing to help him in reasonable ways. That won’t make the hurt go away, but you will not regret how you responded. And now, you focus on JuggerBaby. You can be a better person, a better parent, and a better role model (financially and otherwise). You can change ZIR’S WORLD! That’s the superpower of a parent, regardless of the origin story. Love to you.
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  20. Wow, this is devastating. The betrayal of a parent is such a hard thing to experience.
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  21. Clare says:

    I am so, so very sorry. My heart breaks for you. Here if you need to talk, always.
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  22. Your strength is awe-inspiring. I am so fortunate to have two amazing parents who have always been in my corner. While there have been hard moments where I realized that they were, in fact, humans, I’ve never had to experience a betrayal like this.

    When my grandma passed, the family dynamic shifted. I saw the true colors of a relative who I had tried to support and had given a lot to emotionally my whole life. I’m slowly growing more comfortable with the fact that I can distance myself without having failed my grandma.

    Family, man. It’s tough. Sending your virtual hugs and thoughts for continued strength to do what your heart and your instincts tell you to do.
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    • Revanche says:

      I’m very glad you’ve not experienced this, and I hope you never have to go through this specific situation. Families *are* tough and, I’m learning, most have their rough spots.

      Thanks for coming by and sharing.

  23. I’m really at a loss for words. This is really an unfortunate situation. I hope you can get some closure to such gaping wounds. You’re obviously hurt and I can’t deny and say that I wouldn’t be either.

  24. I believe the “the truth will set you free” – even when it’s a terribly painful truth. I also believe your father loves you, but that he’s been diminished by hardship, loss, shame, and perhaps the manipulations of your brother. I really look forward to the day when your father is in affordable care and your brother is on his own. I wish you all that you need to pour your best energies into the family you are raising now. And I wish you a community/surrogate extended family of trustworthy friends who know and value you. I hope you learn to live with memories of full love for your father as you accept the present reality for what it is. Very few have experienced what you’ve experienced, and I’m sure you must feel alone. Please believe you’re not.
    Fruclassity (Ruth) recently posted…Financial Progress: It Might Not Start Out Looking Great, But Hang in ThereMy Profile

  25. CvD says:

    I am so sorry that your father has consistently let you down, despite everything you have done for him. It’s such a slow, painful loss. Sending hugs.

  26. Just now seeing this because I’m so scattered. I’m so sorry for this loss, since that’s exactly what it is. I can’t imagine having to come to that realization — or deal with the monetary loss, but in the end it’s only a (very expensive) metaphor, I suppose.

    I’ve had to grapple in the past as to why my dad couldn’t care enough about me to change his ways, but in a very different way and on a very different level.

    I suppose there really is nothing to say but… I’m sorry.
    Abigail @ipickuppennies recently posted…A plan for stress eating (and financial stuff too)My Profile

  27. Karen says:

    I am so very sorry. Your father’s betrayal is heartbreaking.

  28. This is terrible. I’m sorry you’re in so much pain.

    Consider this as a possibility (not an excuse for him): maybe he doesn’t know how to love you. It’s not that he doesn’t love you, but he doesn’t know how to tell you and he doesn’t know how to show you. So, he remains distant, and when he faces a problem, when he errs, rather than face your anger he dissembles. And apparently he errs with some frequency.

    “Invest in a venture”? To my mind that reads “lured into a scam.” Who knew he had 15 grand laying around? (He must have blabbed to someone.) Who talked him into betraying his own daughter’s trust? He knew that of course you would put the kaibosh any any such “investment” scheme, and so he had to hide it. The person to blame is not a naive old man who may be losing his marbles but the wretch who took advantage of him. Taking an old guy’s money — money that wasn’t his to begin with — comes under the heading of “elder abuse.” I’d find out who that person was and go after him.

    If it’s any comfort, my father also grew more and more distant as I passed beyond childhood. They build the rocket platform and set off the jet fuel, and then when we soar beyond their reach, they lose sight of us. A guy who never graduated from high school didn’t even know how to talk to a woman with a Ph.D. whose lawyer husband graduated from Stanford — so he didn’t try. He’s long gone now. I still feel sad sometimes that we were so disconnected…but I couldn’t do much about it then and even if he were still living could do nothing about it now. It doesn’t help to be angry or to grieve about such a thing when there was then and is now nothing you can do about it. I believe my father probably didn’t know how to talk to me or how to show he loved me, but it doesn’t change the fact that he didn’t do so.

    Protect yourself. Put your own grief behind you, take care of your man and your child, and stay calm.
    Funny about Money recently posted…Time to Skip Out of the Mac Fan Club?My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      It’s possible he wasn’t able to learn to love me as an adult like he loved me as a child. It’s possible that he knew he could love me while preparing me to be an adult but didn’t know how to handle the reality. I did become incredibly independent very fast and I know Mom struggled with that. But whatever the reasons, I’m putting some distance between us so that I can learn to deal with him the way he is.

  29. Quest says:

    What an absolute betrayal. To steal the money meant for his grandchild in such a manner tells me that your father is a weak man who cannot or will not rise above his weaknesses. I’m sure I sound harsh. You are a better person than I could ever be in this circumstance and I mean that sincerely. There is only so much abuse that a person can take and you must be nearing your limit so, from reading your post, I recommend that you use your last vestiges of compassion and contact to get this man, your father, into a low income living arrangement and then wash your hands of him. It is time for you to live your OWN life now with your own family and this constant drain on your emotions, finances and time is not healthy or wise. I am assuming that your father is cognizant of his mistakes and that he’s not suffering from Alzheimer’s or the like? Without writing a book on this subject of insufficient fathers, I can only tell you that I just recently had to accept once and for all that I will never have the relationship I wished I’d had with my own father. He has taken money from me in the past and never paid me back, even when he inherited money. My father is a damaged little boy with a possible hint of mental retardation. Nevertheless, I have cut him out of my life. I will never sit with him again, or talk to him again, or allow him to undermine me in any way ever again. This is something I should’ve done years ago but didn’t because I believed he would ‘change’, or I would ‘change’ or whatever needed to happen for us to get along would ‘happen’. NOTHING has changed. There has been no emotional evolution whatsoever and this is going to turn out to be the same case for you I think. We never want to turn out backs on family but often times, we are left with no choice. You have been a GOOD daughter by the sounds of it, far better than I ever was, so cut way back on your generosity, put this man in affordable housing if you can, but make him responsible for the havoc he has brought into your life. Enough is enough. I understand your predicament and I sympathize but you are going to have to practice self preservation and get tough. Millions of us have arrived at that conclusion already. Best wishes and good luck to you.
    Quest recently posted…My Trip to the UK? DISASTROUSMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I’m starting with some distance and, when I’m ready, will tackle the tasks necessary. I’m just getting to the point where I’m ready to take that on.

  30. Sense says:

    Somehow I missed this post too…

    Pardon my french, but what the actual F*CK. That is some heavy, AWFUL $hit. I’m so effing sorry. This is so messed up, I cannot stop cursing.

    Intensely disrespectful. Oblivious. Self centered. Desperate. Ego-serving. Delusional. All the bad adjectives.

    When I try to put myself in his shoes, the only thing that I can think of is that his shame at not being able to support himself is causing him to act terribly irrationally. He wanted to be the hero? Double the money using money that wasn’t rightfully his to begin with?! Those are some extremely desperate actions. And he must just take you and your support for granted. He knows you will never let him down, will always be there to rely on. Otherwise why risk losing that much hard-earned freaking money?!

    I think you are so strong and brave and generous and self-sacrificing. For him to do this to you, to his grandchild…I’m LIVID. And I’m so sorry he has disappointed you again, and completely shattered his standing with you. Caused you to doubt your judgment. Made you rethink being loving and generous. Repaid you with deceit. Eroded all trust. I can only imagine the deep heartache.

    My heart absolutely breaks for yours. It is such a loss, that realization that the person you thought respected and cared for you, does not (or cannot) in the ways that matter. It means navigating the world in an entirely different manner than you did before. It means compounded grief and constant struggle and self-protective boundaries, because that person still exists, but they also really don’t. You end up grieving the loss of someone that is still alive, grieving the loss of hope that the relationship will get better one day.

    And I completely get it, still keeping him fed and watered and cared for in the most basic of ways. He’s old. He needs you. He did good things for you as a kid. There is still love and gratitude and respect for the person he once was, and still could be, if things were different.

    You. You are a saint. You deserve the best. I’m so sorry you haven’t been treated that way by this person who should absolutely know better.

    I’m not sure you want advice, but this is what I did/do when dealing with my sister, in case it helps: since I haven’t cut her off completely (yet), I first (after a very, very long time and tons of tears) accepted the “new,” untrustworthy, unpredictable person that has shown up in my life. When dealing with her, I now arm myself emotionally and with my own interests and staunch self protection first. I ask the essential question: what can I afford to give and lose without also losing self-respect or anything else that really matters to me, without enabling too much? Strict boundaries are key. I’ve learned to rebuild our interactions in this new manner of things. It will never be the same, but it WILL get better.

    Be well.

    • Revanche says:

      Thanks, Sense. I do think you’ve hit it right on the head with this: “When I try to put myself in his shoes, the only thing that I can think of is that his shame at not being able to support himself is causing him to act terribly irrationally.”

      We are on the same track. As I wrote this post, and grappled with the words I was saying and what they meant for our lives, I came to the conclusion that I could only continue to have contact with him within bounds that didn’t expose myself or my chosen family to further hurt or harm. He hasn’t hurt us irreparably but I’m not letting it get that far even if I’m continuing basic support.

  31. Katherin says:

    I had no idea you were going through this. You are incredibly strong, both for coming through this the way you have and for having the courage to write about it (beautifully).

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