Do I Write Them Off Or Forgive Them?

My mother to her only credit is mentally ill, however, this has created so many problems.  My mother is in a fog of constant negativity, spending any time with her is like going into a smoky room and suffocating while you try to maintain a smile.  The last ten years has been an emotional roller coaster.  I find that I am happier when I have limited exposure to her.   Now, she really wants to try to cultivate a relationship with me but I find her negativity stagnating and oppressive, I cannot seem to tolerate it for very long.  What can I do?

My father is another story.  Divorced from my mother over 24 years ago and married to another woman, our relationship has been up and down since the divorce.  When he married my stepmother, he just wanted to submerge me into her family and being the rebellious teenager, I took offense to it.  My stepmother became this weasel of a woman who constantly bad mouthed me to my father but would never have the balls enough to confront me directly.  After years of badmouthing, my father basically placed me in a the box of "just like her mother," and practically wrote me off. 

I tried to have a relationship with him during the course of my first marriage, however, everything I did was ill received.  During a baby shower that was hosted by one of my mother's friends, my stepmother became offended that she was not asked to take a picture in front of the cake.  She even made a big deal that I moved from one sofa to the next (even though the gifts were by the other sofa) and felt as I was snubbing her family.  She didn't have the balls enough to say anything to me at the event but instead unleashed her fury on my Dad afterwards.  How the hell does one correct something if they're never told?

Due to the baby shower and a later event, my father and I barely spoke.  Unknown to me at the time, my psycho exhusband maintained a secret relationship with him.  I found this out in divorce court while my father and stepmother came to support my abusive exhusband.  They bought into all the lies that my exhusband spoke and defended him in court.  I was devastated by the betrayal.  How can one's father defend the man who physically, emotionally, and sexually abuse his daughter?

I have recently been in contact with my father who really only wants a relationship with my sons.  A part of me feels hurt.  I have thought and rethought my childhood, I never asked him for anything, he didn't pay for anything in my childhood, and I was a good kid.  I never did anything to this man or his wife. 

The other part of me does not want to go down the path again of trying to have a relationship.  I know ultimately, like the many times before, my stepmother will do whatever it takes to sabotage any sort of steps into have a relationship with my father.  Why should I want to have a relationship with two people who only want to believe negative crap about me?  Side note, my ex has spoken horribly about me to anyone who would listen, and both my father and stepmother have always been a captive audience. 

I am completely opposite of whatever has been spoken about me.  If they would only look at my actions versus someone else's statements they would see it.  But in my heart, I know that they choose not to see it for whatever reasons.

Am I a bad person if I choose not to have a relationship with either of my parents?  Can I become an orphan? 

bonobabe bonobabe
31-35, F
4 Responses Jun 2, 2007

i think you should not let your dad have contact with your sons. nor your stepmother. it's not you being a bad person, it's just you happen to have **** parents

you already are an orphan. an emotional orphan.

I think you can only forgive someone who has hurt you in the past, not someone who is hurting you right now. And they're hurting you now. My own mom was mentally ill and criticized every single thing I did. I memories of her being kind number in the single digits and low ones at that. People would shake their heads at me for not being a good daughter at the end of her life and they'd tell me I'd regret not spending more time with her. But I know I did my best and while regret the relationship, I don't regret that I tried to survive it by staying away. I would go to see her every few years, but then I could only stay a few minutes. She would greet me with You've Gained Weight or You've Lost Weight or Your Hair Looks Terrible or You Came In The Wrong Door or anything else that opened old wounds and kept the visits to under five minutes.

bonobabe - you HAVE to do what is right for you, what will allow you to live with the least amount of anxiety as possible. i question your father's motivation. him being so against you, aren't you concerned in the least he will tell these lies to your sons? i personally would not have a relationship with my father (much like yours and i don't have a relationship with him - neither does my younger brother.) as for your mom situation ... my mother is precisely the same way. i find myself gagging on the bitterness and negativity she exudes each time i see her. it takes only a few moments before i feel it tightening around my neck and slowly cutting off my oxygen supply - or so it feels. my therapist instructed me to only answer the phone when i wanted to speak to her, only answer the door when i want to see her and to otherwise create boundaries and stick to them! i've been successful with these boundaries and it's been VERY relieving. what i did may not be the right thing for you though. only you can decide what is best for your own health and when you begin to implement your decision, NO one should have a word to say about it! i wish you the best with this.