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My Family Doesn’t Want Me in Their Lives

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From the U.S.: My parents and I have always not seen eye to eye, ever since I could walk there has always been physical and emotional abuse. My dad would get drunk and throw plates at my mother and on bad nights my dad would come into our room and break our toys. Both my parents grew up in terrible environments so my understanding was that being mean was all they knew. The last straw for me was my sophomore year in high school when my father was supposed to pick me up, my phone died and I was late getting to his car, he screamed at me and told me to walk home, 4 miles in the dark without a phone.

I didn’t want to be at home anymore so I started staying with my boyfriend and we spent the summers together. Life was going smooth until my boyfriend’s parents passed away a few days before my 20th birthday. They left his 11 year old sister to my boyfriend and now he and I are taking care of her. We are doing fantastic with being so young and having a child. We have our own house and I want my parents to be apart of it.

My only wish is that we can have the whole family be together for the holidays and for birthdays and just be a family since my dad has stopped drinking and turned his life around. Although my father yesterday told me to stay out of their lives and to never call them again after I had a deep conversation with my mom about how my dad’s behavior affected me. My father claims I’m trying to turn my mom against him and that I’m the only one to blame for how the family is now. He says I’m vile and everything that is wrong with this world, my brother unfortunately believes every word and says that he is embarrassed to be my sibling.

I am already overburdened with taking care of my sister in law and for keeping my life together. Should I reach out to my parents and try to make things casual or should I continue to shut them out of my life? Either way the feeling of neglect and being unwanted is in my head constantly and to move forward I need to do something.

My Family Doesn’t Want Me in Their Lives

Answered by on -

A.

You and your boyfriend deserve to feel enormous pride for what you’ve been able to accomplish in spite of tragedy and hardship. Don’t let anyone, ever, take that away from you.

The power of addiction is enormous. Although it feels to you like you were unwanted and unloved by your dad, I doubt that was the case. It felt that way because the addiction was even bigger than the love. Imagine how big, then, the addiction was – and perhaps is. It dominated your dad’s life. If that were not bad enough, neither parent had grown up learning the skills needed to cope with life, stay sober and raise kids. My guess is that you are doing so well because you learned from their bad example. You know what not to do.

Your father may have turned his life around in terms of stopping drinking. But he still has a lot to learn about taking responsibility for his life. He is still acting like an addict — shifting blame rather than owning up to his own past. There is no way you could “make” your mother turn against him. You simply don’t have that power. Having meaningful conversations with her where you both acknowledge the family history and figure out how to do better is important to healing the family.

Although it’s commendable that you want to include your parents in your life in spite of how they have treated you, it will continue to be challenging. Your father, especially, may not be ready to do it. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure this out on your own. If you haven’t already, I suggest you find out if there is a local chapter of Al-Anon in your community. Al-Anon helps family members of recovering alcoholics learn how to maintain the difficult balance of relating to a person in recovery but not letting it overwhelm them. The organization will also coach you in how to effectively interact with your brother. For information, go to their website at www.al-anon.org. Click on the “Find a Meeting” tab.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

My Family Doesn’t Want Me in Their Lives

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). My Family Doesn’t Want Me in Their Lives. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/04/10/my-family-doesnt-want-me-in-their-lives/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.