My estranged father just contacted me last night.
We haven't spoken for a decade after the end of an exceedingly messy 8-year custody battle following the divorce of my parents when I was 4 years old.
I've only imagined that he's hated me for deserting him ever since.
I'm just short of 22 now, and a complete fucking wreck.
I've no motivation to do anything with what remains of my life and I've no friends to speak of.
The half of my family that "won" me in court a decade ago clearly all feel disillusioned with what a failure I am now.
I'll probably kill myself before summer ends.
I'd probably be overjoyed if I wasn't emotionally crippled at this point; Now it just feels awkward.
How do I even react to this shit?
ok cool so far. Now, what do you want to have happen? I.e. if you could have this play out any way you want, how would it?
Would you two have a relationship? Would it be txt only or would you want to hang out in person? would you be peers? or would there be some father/son mentor/mentee aspect?
I guess the dream would simply be to somehow make up for lost time, spend some holidays together, go hiking again.. All that jazz.
Just pretending that everything is alright and nothing ever happened.
That is obviously not going to happen, but still, there it is.
yeah actually you'd be surprised how easily that shit CAN happen.
Firstly, reach back out to him, "hey it's been a while, how's it going?!"
blah blah blah
"I had a good time catching up, you down to meetup and grab a beer?"
blah blah blah
"Hey I enjoy shooting the shit with you over beer, lets do this more regularly"
So I manned up and decided to accept the request and scratch that thing about it being empty.
I was too chicken open the window and it simply said that I had a "chat-request".
He -did- send a message:
"I hope you're alright despite everything you've gone through.
I want you to know that you have two amazing siblings with three kids each here in [city]; That you're an uncle to six wonderful kids.
What's paramount to me is that you get to meet eachother again; Forget about me and your mother.
Life is long and family's important.
I simultaneously feel like I've been hugged and stabbed right now.
You have superb fucking evening now.
don't know why you feel stabbed, you instantly got nieces and nephews, an invitation into a wider social circle, and reestablishment with your father (who seems to want to get to know you but is putting zero pressures on you to do so).
I was in the exact same boat as you, Anon - messy divorce when I was little, then my dad made contact with me soon after I got fed up with my mother's bullshit and left home. I've managed to build back a lot of relationship points with him, so I'm going to offer some advice I wished I'd had.
- Little steps are key. Taking things slowly, and going with little things - facebook messages and the odd outing are great ways to get comfortable with what's happening.
- It's totally cool to be apprehensive or a little scared. This is someone who may as well be a stranger to you, it's only natural that you'd be cautious around them until you are comfortable with your level of contact. Refer to point above if you're ever uncertain how to proceed.
- Your dad is a gateway to a lot more family, if you want to use it. Estranged grandparents, uncles and aunts, the works. If you're the sort of person who is comfortable with a lot of familial support, it's always there if you need it.
- Don't be afraid to talk or act openly around them. I know first-hand that's easier fucking said than done; but put the effort in to relax when you're talking with them or what have you. Chill you = comfortable you.
- Don't be afraid to talk about your dad with your other family members. You are your own person, you get to decide who you interact with and what they are to you. Anybody who tells you otherwise is trying to control that, and can be told to piss right the hell off with reckless abandon.
- It's okay to do something reckless every once in a while. If you have a chance to go do something with them and you feel safe around them but you're apprehensive as all fuck because you've never done this before, just do it anyway. You can build your relationship and at the same time help yourself feel more comfortable around them.
Honestly, its NOT that deep/ Your parents divorce has nothing to REALLY do with you. No father would hate his 4 year old, COME ON!! if all this has really affected you that badly, seek professional help. growing up like that you dont have normal coping skills and may need to develop them , having somone to talk to helps alot too. Go into it qith an open mind and it can really help. as far as reacting, you dont. Go out live your life and forget these people fo a while, do you! There are so many things you could be doing right now other then being upset about thee past and worrying about your future, just go LIVE