By: Revanche

How and why I’m cutting off my father

November 13, 2017

Reeling from discoveries: redefining my filial responsibilitiesI thought I was rocked back on my heels before.

I had a painful and necessary conversation with a friend last weekend. It was about feelings, which I mostly hate, money, which I love, and family, which I am 100% conflicted about. The conversation itself was tough but what followed was far worse than anything anticipated.

I supported my parents more than half my life because I genuinely believed my parents loved me and I wanted to help them. Turns out, Mom loved me, but Dad? He skated on the strength of her love and sacrifice which was so strong he could mimic both just from the reflected glow.

My theory is that, for Dad, love only mattered so long as my path mirrored his. When I was a dependent child, and when I was an adult covering his expenses, my interests were aligned with his. Mostly. He was never willing to put aside his own pride, and sense of self entitlement, for my sake, though. He may love me but much less than his perceived needs.

In hindsight, it feels like I should have seen the signs earlier.

I thought the worst was his betrayal which has demanded an appropriate response. Since the confession and the (maybe sincere but does it matter?) apology, I’ve been edgy with the need to make changes and the rent increase this year further pushed the issue out front. But I was tied up in co-managing the renovation of our new home and juggling two homes so for my sanity, I talked to his younger sister for moral support, and did my best to get through that period.

(You may recall he promised to get a job and supplement the increased rent – he made a couple deposits into my checking account in the summer with respectable amounts. Just one month later, his twice a month deposits turned into once a month deposits, then the amount was halved – all without an explanation. And even with a 6 month grace period bought on my dime, he still hasn’t done anything about finding a cheaper place to live. Who’s surprised? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?)

Our house renovation is largely over now and my anger has not subsided. For months, I’ve been trying to let go of the betrayal-anger so I could calmly decide the best course of action, but a couple weeks ago he asked me to do something to benefit him that would put me at risk.

How can I stop being mad at someone for gut-punching me when he hasn’t stopped? I’m fuming. I don’t want to be estranged from my remaining parent but I am so angry that I haven’t been able to find forgiveness in any part of myself. I’m so incensed that my desire for a good relationship with my parent, a connection to my past, and a grandparent for my child – all of that is invisible against my towering fury that my father would steal from me and my child. If he’s capable of this, what else would he do? How will he hurt me – us – next? It’s not a matter of if.

Thus, the conversation with my eldest friend and life advisor. She strongly felt that I was justified in allowing my desire, fueled though it is by anger, be fulfilled.

California has filial support laws so even as we discussed the various ways I have to remove him from our finances, I could still end up financially responsible for him in his last or later years. That burns. But it gave me my first step: I exercised the EAP option of a free legal consultation. While brief, the lawyer was blunt. STOP. He was blatantly incredulous that I’ve supported him this long – most of our call was him confirming our background and asking why the hell I was still doing it.

I realize it’s a foreign concept, in American culture, but our family culture dictated this was part of my duty. In a healthy relationship, this is my duty but, as my most filial-pious aunts lamented, it should not have started so early or lasted so long. Early on, Mom’s declining health required my help, but he’s in good health. It shouldn’t have continued after her death. It would be acceptable if I was already established, making good income, but I was a child when this started and now I have a child of my own. In the normal course of things, the parent helps their financially supporting child with housework and/or childcare. That the last time he truly helped me was 12 years ago slipped past me, like a frog slowly being boiled alive. I always had faith that my parent was a good person so I didn’t ask anything of him except his honesty and fair efforts.

The events of the past year have burned away my trust and illusions, cementing my resolve to change our situation.

Having finally come to the painful decision that he needed to stand on his own so long as he’s in good health, I knew I’d risk estrangement from him, which I accept, and estrangement from his side of the family, which I hoped wouldn’t have to happen. I called the two aunts I care most about to inform them of my decision. Their reactions wouldn’t change my course of action but I hoped they would take it well.

After three hours talking with my aunts, I’ve come away with a deeper sense of relief and betrayal than I thought possible. Blind I have been. I feel like a dupe.

Why was I fooled?

We all were. Me the most, I assume.

He’s been lying to his siblings so they didn’t know anything about my severe and chronic pain, nor how much I worked to keep the family afloat. They were already frustrated with him over his callous use of me (their words), and he always told them to butt out of “his” business when they encouraged him to do better by me. They are both unilaterally supportive about cutting him off now they understand my half of the equation. Their immediate agreement that my responsibility to JB comes before my duty to my parent lifted a huge burden from my heart. I’ll do what I think is right regardless of what anyone else thinks, but I was grateful that I wouldn’t be battling misguided, well meaning aunts too. This is painful enough, it would hurt dreadfully to lose them too.

In turn, I didn’t know he had been ignoring their pleas for him to apply for senior housing since Mom passed, over six years ago.

He gave me just enough information to extrapolate an (incorrect) assumption. He’s always hustled to bring in a bit and he was getting a little non-means-tested assistance – enough to pay for food, gas and utilities but he was always behind. I only covered rent, car insurance, and his cheap cell phone plan, some basic utilities when they were late, to reduce enabling on my part. The economies he described, living without heat or a/c in all but the most extreme conditions, to save money sounded like he was already as miserable as he could be. A sensible person asks: why aren’t you moving to a cheaper better place?

Housing in Southern California is expensive so I believed him when he claimed there was nothing to be had. I also know that moving to reduce expenses involves more expenses: first and last months’ rent, time to move, moving costs, etc. I did not know he neglected to tell me he could have applied for senior housing years ago but was choosing not to.

I also didn’t know that he’s been piling up debt with other family all these years instead of moderating his lifestyle to meet our reduced circumstances. I assumed most of his failures to make thoughtful, rational decisions were recent, stemming from grief over losing mom. After all, my distracted grieving led to a few mistakes of my own – though I still gritted my teeth competing for, and winning, a massive promotion in the six months after she died. I didn’t have a choice – I needed the money because we were supporting two households.

I was wrong on all counts.

This is all part of a pattern that I would have recognized if I knew the history. He’s been piling up debt for decades! My elderly aunt has been quietly paying off his personal debts to family, covering for him by calling it a loan, because she too felt the sting of familial shame that I feel now. She’s 8 years his senior, has been a single mom for almost 50 years, on a limited income, and he’s been taking her care and generosity without even a summary thanks. I’m deeply ashamed that he could behave so badly.

I could hardly believe my ears as my aunt relayed her memories but I’ve considered the source. She gains nothing by lying to me. She still loves him even if she is angry with his choices. She’s definitely far too Zen Buddhist to feed me lies as revenge for his lifetime of abusing privileges. She’s forgiven far greater transgressions in the name of maintaining a peaceful soul per the very pacifist and forgiving kind of Buddhism she practices.

I wish she told me before but I know why she didn’t. She confirmed it, too. They all owe him a life debt – when they all fled their war torn country as refugees, he risked his life to ensure the entire family’s safe arrival in America. But now that I’ve learned enough about the rest of his character to question it, she is free to tell me what she’s witnessed.

When I think of the days turned into years that my joints were swollen into immobility, the weeks PiC had to prop me up with pillows to work from bed because I couldn’t take a sick day even if my joints were on fire, that I’ve given up all my hobbies to conserve my energy for work, the years of my life and health I sacrificed for his benefit, knowing that he could have eased some of my burden and actively chose not to … I’m not sure I have the capacity for that level of forgiveness.

I don’t know how much he borrowed from whom and I can’t shake a shadow of guilt for not asking.  I don’t have it in me to settle those debts. I had no part of those debts, like I had no part of the business debts that he piled up. I felt obligated to pay those hundreds of thousands of debt because those business debts were incurred during the time I was dependent on them for support so I benefited from the business but even that’s a stretch. I was a kid, I wasn’t responsible for the decisions that my dad made to make a living.

And, oh, the shame. He raised me to be honest, hard working, upstanding. To take care of my obligations, social or professional or otherwise, that your actions reflect on your parents and family. (See: misplaced guilt above about his debts that HE incurred. I blame him because Mom preferred a normal job and supporting us with a 9-to-5. He refused to and she was obligated to follow his lead since she was raising us, he spoke better English, and he would have pursued entrepreneurship with or without her support.) I looked to my parents and grandparents as examples of people of good character, trustworthy and honorable. To find that he is not that person, that he is someone who would put me in a position that I would never put him in, that this is all a repeat of his behavior as a young man shaming his own parents with his spendthrift ways, has broken my heart.

I feel terrible for myself and even more for Mom. She was an incredibly hardworking woman marrying into, she thought, a good family. The irony that Grandma never let up tormenting Mom for being from a desperately poor family in the evil MIL tradition as if her son hung the moon, even while she enabled his debt-ridden ways… my family is so screwed up. I don’t know when Mom figured out what kind of man she married but she couldn’t have changed him. Even if she left him, which is almost totally unacceptable in our culture, that would have left us more poor and without a father. Since our welfare was always Mom’s top priority, that wasn’t an option. As appalling as I find his personal behaviors now, he acted like a good father who cared about us during our formative years. He wasn’t an abusive father back then, he was just absent. He was good enough for me to believe good men exist, and refused to settle, so I found PiC. Maybe I would have had high standards even without him but that’s conjecture. My reality is that my parents, their example of a seemingly healthy marriage with mutual respect, figured largely in the foundation of my decision-making: I would not have accepted less than that.

Conversely, Dad’s choices during my early adulthood eroded my trust in adults with each bad decision even as I chalked it up to misunderstandings or misguided good intentions. PiC accepts that I’ve an unprecedented level of control-freakness about money in large part because of Dad and humors it without complaint. (Aside from that, we both know I’m best at this.) If I had known the true fabric of Dad’s character before, I would have made very different decisions with him, just as I have with my brother.

He has brought shame on the entire family, as has my brother, in the exact way he always schooled me against.

I repudiate that shame by refusing to stay his victim or enabler. Whether he knows he did me wrong or ever admits it is irrelevant – I have no control over that. I can only break the cycle of silence and enabling that everyone from his mother to his siblings to myself, however unwittingly at the time, perpetuated. This stops with me.

If he truly does only value me as a source of money then time will bear out that truth and I will be as frank as is age appropriate with JB as to why zir grandfather isn’t in zir life.

I didn’t expect a perfect father but based on my childhood, I did have every reason to expect him to behave honorably. I did the best I could with the information available to me. His failure to do the same cannot be my failure.

We are now facing significant therapy bills for JuggerBaby so, even if I wanted to, we don’t have the cash to support him. I’d warned him months ago that our resources would be severely limited by the end of summer so this isn’t a surprise even if it feels like just desserts for all the times he’s dumped multi-thousand dollar emergencies on me. He was told that this wasn’t sustainable months ago and he has since avoided all discussion of his thinking, possible solutions, or even acknowledging the timeline. Since May, he’s only called when he needed something. I suspect, fairly or not, he assumed his enterprising and overachieving dupe of a daughter would find a way to make money happen like I always have.

But it’s not my job to toss what’s left of my health to take on a second and third job again (circa 2000-2005) to cover his bills. It’s my job to be a good person to the best of my abilities. I’ve done my daughterly duty to give him every opportunity to change his life and circumstances. It can’t be my fault he’s done very little with it. It’s now time to be an excellent person for myself and primary family and friends. I can’t do that if I’m killing myself trying to make ends meet still despite our two good incomes. I can’t have patience when I’m irritable over being used as I will be if this goes on.

It’s time.

Untangling filial responsibility

We are paying most of his rent (though I’m not on the rental agreement anymore, thank goodness), some of his utilities, his car insurance, and he drives my old car.

Rent and utilities. I originally thought to give him a deadline some months from now to find a new, cheaper, place to live. At a guess, it would cost at least a move-in deposit that we’d never see again, some moving money, maybe a trip to the house to take what last things matter to me, if anything.

The lawyer’s advice, though, was that the support had to end right away. I don’t know what this means for that one heirloom from grandma that I think is still in my old desk but I’ll try to devise a way to retrieve it.

Car insurance and car. This liability worried me most. I don’t think he would deliberately damage the vehicle because it’s his only car, I also have operated on the assumption that he would always deal with me in good faith, and that was stupid. He’s made bad decision after bad decision: lent my sibling a car he had no right to lend, let a car get repossessed instead of being honest with me, oh yes, once again, stole money from me, and that’s just the big stuff that I can link to.

The easiest way to eliminate our liability is to transfer the title to the car. (whine) I don’t want to.

I am very attached to that car – that was my first big purchase, my first car, I paid it off early entirely on my own, and it symbolizes the early part of my adulthood. I wanted to pass it on to JuggerBaby… they don’t make that car anymore! Why on earth I’ve embued this one thing with so much importance, I don’t know, it’s totally irrational.

Ok. Now to knock it off and transfer the damn title.

At least in the state of California, it’s free to transfer title. Yay? But not free to request a duplicate because I can’t find the dang thing. RATS.

Phone. He’s currently $12 a month on our T-Mobile family plan. I’ll have to make a recommendation of a discount plan for him port his phone number to a plan he pays for himself.

I’ve gone back and forth on this a little. Surely $12/month is feasible to make sure he still has a phone? But I think in the interest of a clean break I should probably not float that idea.

This won’t be fun, and it won’t be easy. The idea of having any conversations with him about this aside from my point blank statement of the facts makes me sick to my stomach. His MO in any challenging scenario has been to press me for more effort to buy him more time and the very idea of hearing him ask me for more right now … I’m working on compose myself but I need some time for this Vesuvian-level heat to simmer down lest I spontaneously combust speaking to him.

This probably can’t all be figured out by email and voicemail tag however much I want to avoid having to speak to or see him. But I’m going to wait until I’m ready to pick up the phone. Besides, it’s not like I was having fun before.

This isn’t the end

I’m not the first, nor will I be the last, child to whom a parent has been less than worthy. My story isn’t unique in the grand scheme of a world rife with parents doing wrong by their kids.

It’s just my story. Supporting my parental family unit has been the foundation of my financial life all this time and while I don’t believe this is going to be the end of it because he will age and will need help late in life, this is a sea change. I don’t know what happens next.

I’ve never flipped to the end of the book to sneak a peek at the ending before but if I could, I’d be sorely tempted.

I know that we’ll continue to work, save, and invest. We’ll be working hard with JB on zir speech, we’ll be working on our home and building relationships with people who love us and reciprocate our support. I can’t control or predict what he’ll do. I hope he’ll start making better choices.

Maybe we’ll all be ok in the end. I hope so. I hope you’ll wait and see with me.

Updates: starting the process (1), setting and maintaining the boundaries despite manipulation (2)

72 Responses to “How and why I’m cutting off my father”

  1. You have been such a loving and supporting daughter and deserve a lot more than the treatment your father has given you. It’s so hard not being able to trust somebody you care about. I’m glad you are putting you and JB’s needs first and extricating yourself from the mire. I hope over time, given some space, your heart is able to heal.
    Yet Another PF Blog recently posted…Does What You Wear To Work Matter?My Profile

  2. Karen says:

    It’s time, let go and move forward at peace. You are amazing and a wonderful example for all of us struggling with the guilt of feeling responsible.

  3. Nawm D. Gerr says:

    I relate so much to your observations about your family of origin and the complicated relationship with your father. My mom was also the glue that bound us together and my dad gave love depending upon whether we were towing the line. I was conflicted about my feelings how he treated me, but when I saw how he was taking advantage of the generosity of my grandmother, his mom…it snapped me out of it and I set up firm boundaries. As you set up these boundaries, I pray that you find peace in nurturing yourself and don’t focus too much of your energy/resources on what he is/is not.

  4. Claudia says:

    You’ve been such a caring and supportive daughter. As someone who is estranged from a parent (mom), I used to struggle with the unspoken obligation, financial and otherwise, but I couldn’t keep up the relationship and still have a healthy life. I’m here for support!

  5. Thank you for sharing such a personal story, which I’m sure was difficult to do. I think you are a very loving and generous person to have tried so hard for so long to support your father and maintain a relationship, even when he consistently failed in all of his responsibilities to you. I hope that you will now be able to get the distance (emotionally, financially) from your father that you need to be happy and well. I will be here to read about your journey.
    Solitary Diner recently posted…Dialing It InMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Thank you for reading and the support … this wasn’t easy but at least writing about it helps me. And one day down the road, it should be worth it.

  6. beskeie says:

    I feel your pain. My sister and I have been supporting our mom since our dad passed years ago. We started working at 14 and have been hustling ever since. Since I started tracking, around 2005 or so, we’ve sent close to $100k. Shes lied, manipulated and completely taken advantage. My dad died wealthy. She spent everything while we were kids and we are now left with nothing. We came to the USA because we had zero options due to the lack of resources. Now, all these years later my sister just lost her job. We both just got married and Im on the cusp of starting my own family. Supporting her is financially and emotionally draining. Yes she says thanks but still continues to spend frivolously. She refuses to share her banking information and demands privacy. Its hell. Now Im facing having to send her less money and it gives me such anxiety. Shes never worked, never will work and continues to lie about mysterious health conditions. I dont want to cut her off because, like you, its part of culture but damn… Im getting tired of it.
    Be strong. It will suck but you will get through.

    • Revanche says:

      I’m so sorry… I am aghast every time I hear that this is happening to someone else. I hope that my sharing will help you in your journey with your own mom, and that you and your sister find a way to a healthier place, especially with starting your own family soon.

  7. Luisa in Dallas says:

    You are so, so right to be angry. I hope you stay angry! Your father’s actions toward family were and are incredibly self-centered. He drilled honor and duty into you, but he hasn’t demonstrated either of those qualities. His character is defective. Sadly, he is an excellent manipulator. Any shame/guilt should fall on him and on his parents for their part in enabling his feelings of entitlement.

    I’m sure this was a painful post to write, but you expressed yourself so well. If you feel yourself weakening toward him, please re-read this post as many times as it takes to remind yourself why he deserves to be cut off.

    • Revanche says:

      A very ungenerous part of me feels like he drilled those traits into me because he’s both hypocritical and knows that it’s incredibly helpful to have someone like me around. Thanks for the support.

  8. Leigh says:

    Friend, I’m so sorry of this discovery. Good idea to consult with the lawyer – that seems to have been productive, to get an impartial outside opinion. Also, I hope everything is okay with JB with the therapy bills. I’m so, so sorry you have struggled with this and so much oof about the lack of love discovery – that has always been one of my fears.

    My parent has some Issues that the other parent turns a blind eye too. I really hope that the latter parent lives longer so I’m not the one dealing with the first parent’s Issues because I’m the child who lives closest and I cannot deal with the Issues. The “healthier” parent is bad at storytelling and when we had a recent scare, my sibling assumed the first parent was in jail over their Issues while I assumed they had died when in fact, it was just an ER visit.
    Leigh recently posted…Married Finances: One Year InMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I didn’t need the push from the lawyer but it was incredibly helpful to know that on the legal side, I should be ok.

      Thanks for the good wishes and support. I truly hope that you have more time with the parent who has fewer Issues, for your sanity.

  9. As a newer reader, I don’t have the full background on these family struggles, but reading this made me have second-hand anger. It truly sounds like an awful situation to be taken advantage of by your own parent, repeatedly it seems. It’s stories like these that make me count my lucky stars I have an amazing mom who I genuinely like as a person. Although my dad was nothing to write home about–he got fired one day and never made an effort to get a new job, leaving my mom to be the bread winner. And like you, I think that’s affected how I manage my money as an adult. I don’t really have anyone to rely on, you know?

    Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.

    • Revanche says:

      There are some links to give you a bit of insight since not that many readers have been here for the whole decade long ride.

      I’m so happy for you that your mom is wonderful. It’s sad but Dad’s half of the story started out similarly to yours – job loss started the long spiral downward starting from making a real effort to be a dad and then slowly going downhill over the years til it became this grifting thing.

      And I absolutely do know. I’ve never had a safety net before, I always WAS the safety net, and it’s why I worked as hard as I did.

  10. Linda says:

    Just reading about all of this makes me angry on your behalf. I can’t say I know the pressures your culture places on you, but the standard American culture expectations of women in family obligations is to just deal with whatever family dishes out to you and to never call them on their bullshit. (Hey, that sounds like what we women are expected to do with men in general, doesn’t it?) Well, I call bullshit on that!

    It’s already been upsetting and draining, and I’m not sure that in the short term this will improve for you. I’m hoping that you find some peace with your decision soon.
    Linda recently posted…My toddler brainMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Hmm, I never thought of it that way. For me, the cultural expectations work out to be worse pressure than the American misogynist expectations of women. Possibly because I’ve always flipped the bird at the misognyist expectations but the culture shaped me with my consent.

  11. Jeez, that’s really tough. I hope you will find a way to get through this. I’m supporting my mom, but that’s not a problem financially. My dad is okay too in Thailand at this time. Later on, he might need our help. You really need to cut back and make him take responsibility for himself. Best wishes.

  12. NZ Muse says:

    I’ve read every single word and I’m so sad, so sorry, that you’re going through this pain. Part of me wishes this day never had to come, but at the same time is relieved that at last *something* is changing one way or the other. As always I am in awe of your strength, resilience and general badassery.

    You have done so much, gone above and beyond and as others here and your family and lawyer have said it’s your time to let go. I can’t imagine the next steps won’t be painful to get through but if you ever waver on the decision come back and read everything in this post<3 Much love, all the best for JB and here’s to better in 2018.
    NZ Muse recently posted…Ever feel like you don’t deserve your good fortune?My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Thanks, I know what you mean between the two. I have been waiting patiently, impatiently, and everything in between for things to change without my having to take this step because it was inconceivable that it stays this way. But I see that it’s now on me to change it.

      It’s going to suck doing it but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.

  13. Ms. Montana says:

    Geesh, it’s so hard with family! It’s the biggest reason I didn’t use my real name when I started blogging. So sorry you are going through this. I hope you come out the ither side in a healthier, happier place.

  14. Cloud says:

    This is so tough. Sending you virtual hugs.
    Cloud recently posted…Weekend Reading: An Announcement before the Links EditionMy Profile

  15. I, too, am angry on your behalf. While I know your culture is different than mine, I do believe you’ve done more than enough. It is time to do the unthinkable: Set a deadline, make it stick and change your phone number if necessary (or at least screen calls).

    It will be HORRIBLY difficult. But your life is already difficult — and you are being worn down, bit by bit.

    Please focus on yourself, your child and your husband. Let your father sink or swim — and here’s hoping that family members will keep your side of the story in mind when he goes to them, hat in hand, to rail about the unfilial attitude that his daughter has taken.

    A whole lot of people care about you. Count me among them.
    Donna Freedman recently posted…Talk nerdy to me.My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Yeah, on the one hand, my current life is wonderful now that I have a great husband and small family, and make decent money, but I still have this anchor around my neck, along with my horrible health so … balance, I guess. O_O

      I appreciate your support. If he wants to tell a whole new story to the family, I’ll see who has my back, or doesn’t, there.

  16. Renee says:

    What’s the reason for you not simply reposessing the car, it’s your property and not your problem to provide a vehicle for another capable adult? Why gift him yet another thing when you already gave him your life…He’s not going to starve without a car and clearly doesn’t work since you pay his bills.
    Renee recently posted…Wednesday: Windsurfers at Dalvay, PEIMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Quite a few:

      It’s maybe worth $500 but it would cost me at least that much to either fly down and drive it back, netting me a loss in time and energy. I don’t have room for it here, we can’t store it, we don’t have use for a 3rd car as much as I love it, and it doesn’t make sense for us to keep it. It costs us money in insurance and registration, too. Maybe most importantly to me, PiC who has never weighed in on a decision regarding what I do with my parents/sibling because he wants me to do what I need/want, would like us to just transfer it to avoid the above efforts and costs. If nothing else, I owe him the courtesy of acceding when it also makes practical sense for us.

  17. I cut my dad off a long time ago and it was the best thing I could’ve done for me. He mooched off my grandmother until she died. My grandmother died quite wealthy (1+ million dollars) and I won’t see any of it. My aunt took her share and then took my dad’s share. Now said aunt is complaining about my dad’s care- he’s in a nursing home due to MS- and how we should take care of Dad. This is the man that didn’t even pay child support. I refuse to support him and am so thankful Florida doesn’t have familial obligation laws. My sisters couldn’t afford it and I would not be able to do anything but survive if I were forced to provide for his care. Hang in there Revanche. You can get past this! The end is in sight.

    • Revanche says:

      Oh, Gwen, what a mess that is. Thank goodness your state doesn’t have a similar law and that you’ve gotten well away from it!

  18. I’m so sorry, this is so tough. As you know, I understand that this is tough. Sometimes, you just have to let go, though. I hope things improve for you.
    Michelle Schroeder-Gardner recently posted…Should People With High Incomes Be Allowed To Shop At Thrift Stores?My Profile

  19. This is so heavy, and my heart aches a little reading this. I have some similar dynamics in my family, but it’s nothing at this level or regularity.

    I really applaud your courage in making the clean break, and think it’s the right decision, hard as it’s going to be.

    I know you can do it though, and will be better off in the long run for it. Maybe your father will, too.
    Done by Forty recently posted…Car LustMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I truly hope that those dynamics in your family never devolve to this state.

      I hope this works out for the better, in the end.

  20. Karen (from FL) says:

    You’ve been a loving, supportive daughter. I’m so sad and angry for you! Can you pass the burden of telling your father that you’re no longer supporting him to your lawyer?

    • Revanche says:

      No, I don’t want to hire the lawyer and have that expense too on top of making the situation seem far worse at the moment, I have to proceed carefully until the car is out of my name.

  21. Mrs. BITA says:

    He does not deserve you.
    JB does deserve you.

    You have your priorities right. If ever a little voice in your head appears to second guess you (my culture is similar enough to yours to understand the depth of the responsibility and thus the possibility of that nagging voice, beyond all reason) give it a good hard smack, and banish it back to the basement of your brain.

    This must hurt so much, and I’m sorry. All I can say is that you are doing the right thing. Stay strong.

    • Revanche says:

      He’s used up a few lifetimes of credit now, and JB truly needs us. More than our money, ze needs me as healthy as I can be, and I can’t be healthy in this situation.

      Thank you for the support.

  22. Sense says:

    My heart breaks for you. I cannot imagine the fury and disappointment, and I am so sorry that you have to go through this. I hope that one day you are able to be completely at peace when you think of your brother and dad–this decision and the actions you are taking now will undoubtedly enable you to reach that point sooner. Many hugs and all of my support to you!

    • Revanche says:

      I have grown a hell of a lot since the Me of Ten Years ago, I hope that Me in Ten Years will feel the same way and be glad I did the hard stuff now.

      Thank you.

  23. I am so incredibly sorry that this saga is continuing. It sounds like the clean break is necessary, albeit terribly difficult. You are right to focus on PiC and JB (and Seamus!). Your responsibility is to them. Though I do not understand or feel this on the same level that you do, it is also expected in my family to care for (and possibly even house) elderly parents. So far, mine are insistent that they will stay independent. My fathers’ parents were. My mothers’ nana was not totally. We shall see. Sending so many hugs.

    • Revanche says:

      Thank you. The clean break will take some time, unfortunately, but it has to be done this way to make sure that we are truly cleanly separated.

      I hope that as long as your parents want to be independent, they can be, and if they need help, they can accept it gracefully.

  24. SP says:

    This was a sad read, but it ends in hope because you are taking the steps you need to in order to protect yourself and JB. I’m sorry you have went through this – from the time you were young and as you started your own family, it is amazing he has continued to take and take and take. Best wishes as you extract yourself and make a break. I’m glad you have the support of his family in this. Some people, even if they love you, do not know how to treat people and do not deserve to be part of your life. Hugs!
    SP recently posted…Whether you will owe the AMT in 2017 and why we should keep itMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Thank you, it’s not going to be easy at all, it’s in his interest not to make it easy if he wants the money after all, but I’ll follow through.

  25. *Hug*
    You are doing the right thing. I’m glad you saw a lawyer and talked with your aunts.
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted…You can give your expensive shoes a longer life by replacing the insertsMy Profile

  26. Well…you had me hyperventilating long before I got to the end of this thing.

    Look: This guy has been using you, and who knows? Maybe that’s some sort of cultural issue or maybe he just THINKS it is, but whatever, it’s not right. Just because you’re the only competent kid he’s spawned is not an excuse for him to exploit you. It’s okay if you cut the cord. You feel like you have a filial duty, and in some cultures you surely would, but (mercifully) in these parts there’s a limit!

    What is this California filial support law? You need to see to it that you do NOT become mired in some situation where you’re required to support him whether you agree to do so or not. I’m glad you talked to a lawyer; it may be worth investing a little more, as need be, in legal advice to make certain you understand your rights and lay the groundwork NOW to be sure you stay in control of the situation. It may be in your interest to consider leaving the state…can you and PiC get jobs elsewhere?

    When you first described the business with the money and your response to it as a form of betrayal, my response was that he probably was losing his marbles. As we slide into dementia of the age-related variety, we become more vulnerable to fast talk and far more easily victimized. I figured he blabbed to someone that he was going to receive the cash temporarily and that fine someone swooped in to extract it from him. This would be a kind of exploitation, rather than disloyalty on his part. That does not appear to be the case, though, given the track record you describe. Whatever is going on, my sense is that if you don’t want to be saddled with caring for the man in his dotage, you’d better move quickly and efficiently now.

    The car? What? He’s got YOUR car? Find out from a lawyer or insurance agent what your liability is. Again: if his marbles actually are dropping out his ears and rolling away down the gutter — and you’ve seen evidence of it, as one could argue is the case here — do you have some responsibility to take the car away from him, EVEN IF you transfer the title to him? Would it be better to take the darn car back, physically? A$k.

    Debt? Hell, no! Not your problem. A father-child relationship between adults is not a community-property arrangement.

    Shame? Ditto: not your problem. YOU are not responsible for his behavior. Honi soit qui mal y pense: forget it, move on, and ignore anyone who dares to imply that somehow his shenanigans reflect on you. The heck with that noise!

    Phone???? He’s a big boy. He can pay for his own phone. Tell him, if you must, to check out TracFone. He can get one at Walmart, cheap. The staff there will help him select one, set it up, and pay for it.

    Cripes. No wonder you hurt all over your body. You need to get free of this miasma.

  27. Sandy L says:

    I do come from a culture where this is expected. I live and take care of my mother. However, financially she would also give the shirt off her back for me and my children. My father emptied our bank accounts but thankfully he died when I was 14 so I have never had to face the tough decision you are with a parent. I have been very generous with other family members who when their parent’s handouts were about to dry out, I was the next logical choice to take over these responsibilities because they were too busy to work and I had extra to give. . One of them was desperate and emptied bank accounts while a parent needed full time care due to dimensia and a stroke. I cut that person off from my life entirely immediately after that happened. I didn’t want my children to think it was okay to do these things and pretend everything was ok. What kind of lesson would that teach? I cut off the other when they insisted I at least pay for their medical bills after refusing to accept help on getting empty apartments rented they had. They Also refused help on resume building or job hunting.

    Cutting off my toxic family members was the hardest thing I have ever had to do and I still feel guilt. If it weren’t for my even stronger instinct to protect my children from them, I couldn’t have done it.

    Unfortunately, some people just don’t like to work when someone else can do it for them. Be careful. He has already shown he has no integrity by stealing from his grandkid. Also, if you haven’t already, put a credit freeze on your accounts so he can’t take out loans or credit cards in your name or as a co-signer. (This has happened too). Desperate times will call for desperate measures and stealing is already been shown as ok so you must be prepared for that attempt.

    Good luck. Be strong for your Child. It is what helped me get though such a tough thing. Even if logically you know it’s right, it is still a hard thing to do. It also is sad the moment you realize you are nothing but a blank check to them. When you think back to a selfless act they did on your behalf and can’t come up with anything since adulthood. You can do it.

    • Revanche says:

      Thank you for sharing your tough experiences, Sandy, I understand your guilt and strength in doing so equally and it makes perfect sense that you had to think of the example you were showing your kids.

      How we act when we’re desperate is as much an indicator of who we are as how we act when we’re not. Thanks for the reminder, checking my credit report was on my list but a credit freeze now makes a lot of sense. Prevention is far preferable to having to clean up a mess after the fact.

      Thanks again for the thoughtfulness.

  28. Wow – now your comments on Twitter make so much more sense… So sorry you are having to go through this. But it is necessary. You and your health, your husband, and your child have to come first. You’ve put your father before what matters most for a long time. Glad you’ve decided to take a stand. You have a whole community of wonderful friends behind you.

    • Revanche says:

      Yeah I didn’t MEAN to be vague but it’s a huge complex story. Sigh. But thank you so much for the support. I’m very lucky to have all these friends standing behind me.

  29. GYM says:

    Sorry that your dad is acting like a child and not your dad 🙁 it really is very painful to have to not talk to your parent and which also means your child JB will not be talking to your parent.

    My dad recently is estranged from us too..over something terrible- money and honesty. He hasn’t met my baby and doesn’t seem interested in doing so unfortunately. I can feel your pain, it’s not easy. A counselor that I went to said that a baby/toddler won’t understand too much yet so they don’t know that grandpa isn’t involved.

    Know that what you’re doing is the right thing for your new family. It hurts but JB and PiC are your new family now.

    • Revanche says:

      I’m sorry your dad is also estranged from you for about the same thing. I realize that your baby and mine won’t notice the difference or the lack of grandparent in their lives, but it’s so obvious to us. It’s hard for me to grasp how a parent could be so disinterested in the life of their only grandchild.

  30. So proud of you. I know that you are doing the best you can and this is super hard. Thank you for sharing your story. I know that it will help others who might be going through similar situations.
    Take care of yourself.

    • Revanche says:

      Thank you, I hadn’t thought of it that way but I would be glad if this could help others who might be going through the same thing.

  31. SherryH says:

    Wow. Just seeing this, and I’m so sad for what you’re going through–and what you’ve gone through these many years. Other commenters have it exactly right: He doesn’t deserve you, and you’re making the right decision. I know knowing that doesn’t make it any easier, but you have a lot of support and I hope that helps. You certainly have mine, in whatever way I can give it.

    Good on your aunts for standing by you and filling you in on the whole sordid story.

    • Revanche says:

      Thanks … it helps a little bit to know it’s the right decision, and that it’s a good decision for the long term, and that I have support. It’s not EASIER but it eases some of the burden.

  32. Quest says:

    You were fooled because you still wanted to believe that your dad loved you and that he himself could be considered trustworthy. You are going to be angry for a time yet and that is absolutely fine! You need to get really angry and get the poison out so that you can LET GO of him and live your own life. Your father is NEVER going to change and it is unfortunately pointless to hope or expect otherwise because the only person your father thinks about is HIMSELF. He is a pathologic/narcissistic/sociopathic/toxic person and you are far, far better off without him in your life.

    The anger is something you will have to work through. It took me over a year to work through the humiliation of having been suckered into thinking that my sperm donor could change …. but I’m on the other side of it now. I have cut him out of my life and gone ZERO CONTACT for over a year now. I am far happier and much better off without that man in my life.

    Sometimes we have to ACCEPT that the people who should mean the most to us are just incapable of accepting love from others. If they are not the ones in control, out comes The Sociopath! Every single time!!! Nothing changes. The sooner that fact is accepted, the sooner you can devote your energies to the people who DO love you and who have proved their love by sticking with you through the best and worst of times.
    Quest recently posted…Weight Loss UpdateMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      It’s true that I always expected better from him because I thought he was at core a better person than he really is. It’s incredibly disappointing to understand that the truth is, he’s not.

  33. Anonymess says:

    You’ve been beyond patient, beyond supportive, beyond forgiving. And even with all he’s done, if he *had* an actual relationship with JB, I’m sure you’d be trying to find some compromise to keep that relationship going. But he treats you like an ATM, not a daughter. You’ve made the right decision, and despite your justifiable anger, you’re handling it calmly and sensibly. You really are so admirable, Revanche.

    Also, your brother’s attitude/behavior make so much more sense now. He’s modeled himself after your father all along.

    • Revanche says:

      “Also, your brother’s attitude/behavior make so much more sense now.”

      Yes exactly this. I have had a lot of dawning realizations this month along these lines.

      Thank you for the support, I appreciate it.

  34. […] How And Why I’m Cutting Off My Father by Revanche from A Gai Shan Life […]

  35. I’m with Luxe, being new I’ll not exactly sure of the full story but from the glimmer it looks like he’s a compulsory liar of sorts. Very sorry you have to deal with this Rev. I thought my dad was bad but his heart is often in the right place, even though my upbringing was rough, my mom always told me to forgive and think of him as a good man.

    The one thing that strikes me as odd – and it could be a me thing but… Doesn’t it feel weird to type out the name/word Dad or call him that? Everytime I write it it sounds like a curse word. I say the “old man” etc. because the word Dad feels almost looks a betrayal to write on my blog.

    • Revanche says:

      It’s hard to say whether someone truly is a good person if you have to weigh their intentions but I think that in the final calculation, for me at least, I can only weigh what his actions have shown me and they have almost universally been selfish and harmful. So whether he loves me or “loves” me or thinks he loves me no longer matters, his actions have told me all I need to know.

      I’m not sure if I follow – Is it odd to you because you don’t call him “dad” in English? For me, “Dad” isn’t what I call him in person anyway so it works almost like a pseudonym in my writing.

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