Just a Little Empty?

Oh, boy, I hope we're talking about the same thing...  :)  I came from a divorced family, and it seems that I cannot get over my father's refusal to be a part of my life. 
See he rejected me not once, but twice...
Once, when my parents divorced, he didn't bother to have a relationship with my brother and me.  But then years later, when I was an adult, I found him again, and proceeded to visit him (even though he lived an 8 hour drive away from me, I still drove to him as often as I could and visited, but then inexplicably, he just cut me off again.  He refused to answer the telephone, and I can't reach him at all. 
My dad is bi-polar and has had alcoholism probably all his life, and I know that probably is the reason for his inability to be a father, but the pain of loss just won't heal.
Sometimes I wish he was dead, so I could say that the separation and lack of relationship was nobody's fault and that if he were alive, he'd certainly be a part of my life.
I tell myself that I'm a good person and beautiful and worthy---but I think that inside, where I don't have a real conscious awareness, I must feel unworthy of love.  I think that is because of my dad.
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6 Responses Aug 5, 2007

Well let's get all the **** out of the way first: I was awarded sole custody of my kids. I didn't seeek it. It's a long story.<br />
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Now on to the rest. This has nothing to do with fault by anyone. If you proceed by fault, you want to blame, and if you want to blame, you want to punish, and if you want to punish you have no business meddling in family disputes. The facts are the facts and one of the facts is feelings. These are the strongest feelings people ever have. If you get involved in fault you'll end up making problems worse. Inevitably.<br />
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That said, usually all the parties in one of these situations feel at fault. They may hide it but in fact they are loaded with guilt. That's another reason to get out of, not into, the blame game.<br />
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And that is why I said that one parent may well feel rejected. I certainly didn't say the children do or should choose, but for all sorts of reasons--often at the behest of one parent for whatever reasons (now there's a bit of fault if you want to indulge it) encourages a child to act in a way that makes the other parent feel excluded. It might be simply a preference at a certain age to spend more time with one parent or the other. These are facts, and you can't help people if you say what SHOULD be.<br />
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The fact is it is possible that the father here feels rejected. Those feelings are real, and there is no need to label them right or wrong, legitimate or otherwise. I can tell you that if I felt excluded and rejected by my kids I would feel as if the world had just ended. The pain would be unimaginable. <br />
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This young woman might better understand her life in a way that is less painful to her (and isn't that the goal rather than essentially scolding people we don't know) if she considers this possibility. It might not be the case, but if it were, and she understood it, I'll bet she wouldn't be so angry--that is, if all the people around her weren't egging her on to find fault.<br />
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By the way, as is true of all of these issues, it would be hard to identify the "rejecting" parent. If one parent is "rejected" another one is facilitating it. I'm not blaming either one. As I said, they are all hurt, suffering, and filled with guilt. I'll just end by repeating that if you deal in fault, you won't help the parties be happy. There's not that much happiness in being right in one of these situations.

Very often fathers in divorce feel rejected because the children may remain with the mother. This is not a question of "fault" by anyone, but simply a matter of fact: a father may read that situation to mean that the children prefer the mother. That can be inexpressibly painful to a father. Their reactions may seem they are rejecting their children, but in their eyes they are responding to inexplicable rejection and they then do whatever they can to protect themselves from further hurt and pain.

I hope you don't mind me adding something. My father went off with another woman and travelled the world using the money he was supposed to be spending on his kids (five in all). But that was only after my mother told him she didn't love him any more, so he rejected all of us. (I accept he was really hurting) For a couple of years we didn't even know where he was except for rumours and gossip. (I live in a very small country.) It all hurt soooo much I couldn't function properly or even really knew what was wrong with me. What I am trying to say is as time goes by you can fill your heart with other things besides your parents and their problems. I do know how devastate you feel but believe the 'hole' will be filled with all sorts of good things and people, you just need to believe it and think positive thoughts. It's work, nothing comes for free (like giving up cigarettes or something) and work produces positive benefits. I'd better not say any more cos I'm not a trained counsellor or anything. But I really do wish you all the best for the future.

Okay, first of all, sorry to everybody for being so late with my replies, I've been a little busy lately...<br />
But on topic, let me affirm your suspitions...this is indeed what I was going for, however, my story does also seem at least a little different. I guess I should post my experience soon, too...<br />
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To me it doesn't sound like you are to blame for anything. I'm not good with words but just let me say that it sounds like you have done most everything in your power, and should not feel bad. I think we all go through some sort of rejection in life, and we have different ways of dealing with it... I guess what I'm trying to say is to either try to accept the loss or stay vigilent and not give up, but I don't feel like I'm mature enough to be giving other people advice.

Celainn-- great thoughts and advice. I agree with those comments and think it is so important to separate the issues that your father was dealing with and the way that they impacted his life/identity/ability to love you with all things related to you as a person. His lack of love had nothing to do with you but everything to do with his circumstances and things he was going through, which as C. pointed out, he is still responsible for and I think it's important and healthy at points to let that anger and frustration out. I hope you're feeling a little better at least having shared the story.

That is truly a difficult situation. Regardless of who he is, or was, don't let it confuse you about who you are. He isn't the one who can provide resolution or closure.... you are. That is a gift you can give to yourself. Eyes, heart, and hands open.