Family Relations/Estranged father


I'm really hoping you can help me with this problem. so for the last 3 year my family (being my parents brother and myself) has fallen apart. my parents are going through a nasty divorce and drug both my brother and I into it. Which divided us. I"m 30 married with my own family, but i feel abandoned by my father. I've told everyone to keep me out of it which my mom did, my dad kept telling me all the things my mom is doing to him. so we stopped speaking to each other over a issues. what happened was it was three weeks after i gave birth to my daughter (shes my first and only child) and i invited my dad for lunch, he came out upset, lectured me about his girlfriend being upset with me because i never gave my condolences to her about the death of her mother(which happened shortly after i gave birth) then he left me at the restaurant because she was mad at him for seeing me. I was extremely upset and stopped speaking to him. just before Christmas he randomly showed up at my house with gifts and telling me i was terrible for disowning him. how hes going through so much with my mom he doesn't need this from me. i told him i want a relationship with him but he cant keep up this act that hes the only one with problems. i disconnected to try and focus on my family and life that i'm trying to start. after 9 months he showed up on my door with Christmas presents but he still put all this blame on me saying i'm the one attacking him. I told him what he did was wrong and i was thinking of myself and my family. so long story we've been kinda texting for the last two months, he lives 20 mins away from me but works out of town, he home on weekends. I've texted him asking why hasn't he made any effort to see me or my daughter and he it just seemed like the threw up his shields and blamed me saying i never really texted or called him.
i feel so broken and lost. i dont know if i should try and have a relationship with him or just cut him off.

Hi, Stacy, I cannot answer that question for you (that is a choice, really, not a question). But I can offer some thoughts:
--- mostly what upsets us is that we want people to act differently than they do.
--- so your dad will likely continue to act the way he has always done
--- one of the most important aspects to maturity is to stop wishing we had perfect parents, and to start seeing them as imperfect adults like the rest of us.
--- the 2nd part to that is learning to live your own life on your own terms. IOW, right now, how you feel and how you act depends (at least partly) on how your parents treat you. A fully mature adult decides how they are going to act towards the other person, and does so regardless of how that person acts. You may have kids ... and this is pretty obvious to anyone that has a toddler - we ourselves decide how we are going to parent our little one, and we don't change that if our kid is happy or unhappy.

So, interact with your dad or don't.... or be loving to him or cold. It's really just a choice, and does not mean anything about you, or about your dad, or anything else.

Sometimes, we are faced with the fact that we just cannot continue to put up with the actions of the other person. We cannot control the other person, of course, so we may have to consider giving them the ultimatum - if you continue, I'm out.  

You can be in charge of your feelings and your life! Just stop giving that control over to your father. You may even find that he respects you all the more.

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Bruce Borkosky, Psy.D.


questions framed similarly to 'what are some ways to respond when someone does/says X' are best. Questions posed in the form of 'why does my father do/say Y', or 'how would you diagnose my mother when she does/says Z' are difficult, if not impossible, to answer. I will probably reframe your question to fit the first question (what do I do). Nay question regarding any family member is fair game. Some of the most difficult are in the area of step-parenting and divorcing families.


I've been a licensed psychologist in Florida since 1994. I've evaluated and/or treated thousands of patients.

American Psychological Association Florida Psychological association National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology


Psy.D., Miami Institute of Psychology, 1993 M.CS., U. of Dayton, 1984 B.A., Ohio Wesleyan U., 1978

Awards and Honors
Award for Years of Dedicated Service, Palm Beach County Legal Aid Society, 1999

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