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Having a rough time this father's day

 
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I've suddenly found myself blindsided by all the feels of it being father's day and having a dad who is horrible. It's surprising because he's been awful as long as I can remember. The thing that changed is that I stopped pretending everything was okay and have cut him out of my life for now so I can heal with the help of therapy and supportive people. Up til now, I would still call him to wish him a happy father's day and tell him I love him. But not this year. Which brings me to the feels. I know I don't owe him that or anything. I really have tried to understand why he acted that way, forgive and gave him a chance to repair the damage. But he hasn't really changed and I'm sad and kind of angry that he hasn't been the kind of person that is even safe to connect with. While it's not been explicitly stated, the price of being in connection with him seems to be pretending that all the physical and emotional abuse that I, my brothers and mom experienced at his hand never happened. That and pretending that his father was a saint instead of the monster he actually was. Oh, and hiding most of who I am and what matters most to me in life, lest I be judged and shamed for it. But I can't heal all the damage of that multi-generational abuse if I keep pretending with him just to maintain "connection". I don't want shallow, fake relationships that put me out of integrity and harm me. So here I am. Feeling sad, angry and confused on father's day. I know I'm doing the right thing for my own emotional health, but it still sucks. Even more so when I start thinking about how he's probably sitting around sulking that none of his children will talk to him without bothering to consider that maybe it might have been because of his behavior.

Unfortunately, I'd guess I'm not the only one who had a crappy dad and might be struggling today. I found this: If Your Father's Day Sucks, which helped a little bit. Thought maybe it might help someone else too.
Reaching out to friends who are dads that are awesome and just acknowledging them for that helps a little. But sometimes makes me sadder. I don't feel like I can really ask them (or anyone else) for support, since I don't want to distract from time with their families. Not sure what the point of this is, just trying to get better at reaching out instead of bottling up.
If anyone else is in a similar boat, sending you all the hugs and heart healing.
 
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Heather, I'm in the same boat. It's definitely both comforting and sad not to be alone. My older sister and I were just talking about it this morning. Neither of us have any contact with our dad because he's not capable of having a healthy relationship and neither of us are interested in what he offers. A lot of what you described absolutely fits him.

It's more painful for her than it is for me at this point. I'm mostly in acceptance. And seeing good fathers, 98% of the time just makes me so happy that they exist and that there are people lucky enough to have them. But I very much remember the years of pain and anger and those feelings do still come up at times and I'll feel a bit blindsided.

Internet hugs back to you. And again, you're not alone.
 
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So here I am. Feeling sad, angry and confused on father's day. I know I'm doing the right thing for my own emotional health, but it still sucks. Even more so when I start thinking about how he's probably sitting around sulking that none of his children will talk to him without bothering to consider that maybe it might have been because of his behavior.



I wish I could reach through the web and give you and Sonja a big ol' Mama Bear Hug.

Sounds like you've been dealt a bunch of "generational curses." People who had bad parents, who then became bad parents and messed up their kids. That curse can end with you.

You can be strong. You can be the adult in the relationship now. Your father can face the consequences of your not calling him, because he needs to realize that YOU need to take care of YOU. He is no longer your proverbial "ball and chain" anymore.

But in all this, please try to forgive him. That doesn't mean you forget all the bad yuck and let him hurt you again. I mean forgive him by not giving him free rent in your head anymore.  This is easier said than done, I know. Perhaps every time a bad memory comes up, you can try to remember something good in its place. If you can't think of any good memories, try to think of a positive male you've known in your life and appreciate a constructive impact he made in you.

 
Heather Sharpe
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Sonja Draven wrote:Heather, I'm in the same boat. It's definitely both comforting and sad not to be alone. My older sister and I were just talking about it this morning. Neither of us have any contact with our dad because he's not capable of having a healthy relationship and neither of us are interested in what he offers. A lot of what you described absolutely fits him.

It's more painful for her than it is for me at this point. I'm mostly in acceptance. And seeing good fathers, 98% of the time just makes me so happy that they exist and that there are people lucky enough to have them. But I very much remember the years of pain and anger and those feelings do still come up at times and I'll feel a bit blindsided.

Internet hugs back to you. And again, you're not alone.


Thank you, Sonja. Big hugs to you and your sister. Sorry y'all have had to deal with similar things. So glad you've found a place of mostly acceptance and that you're both keeping yourselves safe from his unhealthy behavior. If you're willing to share, was there anything that helped you get to a place where you could better accept the situation?  

Stacie Kim wrote:I wish I could reach through the web and give you and Sonja a big ol' Mama Bear Hug.

Sounds like you've been dealt a bunch of "generational curses." People who had bad parents, who then became bad parents and messed up their kids. That curse can end with you.

You can be strong. You can be the adult in the relationship now. Your father can face the consequences of your not calling him, because he needs to realize that YOU need to take care of YOU. He is no longer your proverbial "ball and chain" anymore.

But in all this, please try to forgive him. That doesn't mean you forget all the bad yuck and let him hurt you again. I mean forgive him by not giving him free rent in your head anymore.  This is easier said than done, I know. Perhaps every time a bad memory comes up, you can try to remember something good in its place. If you can't think of any good memories, try to think of a positive male you've known in your life and appreciate a constructive impact he made in you.


Thank you, Stacie. That is definitely the situation and I hope it does end with me.

I told him basically that before I cut off contact. It felt pretty empowering and freeing. I hadn't thought too much about the situation or him until today. Which I now recognize is kind of a big deal, given how I spent years adjusting my behavior so as to not upset him.

I'm doing my best at that, just tough today. I really like that idea, thank you! I have been fortunate to know many amazing men who have helped me grow and been there for me, so I will focus on that instead of the yuck.
 
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Just adding this additional perspective as one who grew up with similar feelings but now is having that first Father's Day after he passed on a few months ago.

The anger and sadness at 'what might have been' has diminished.  What mostly is seen now is something that was there all along but not appreciated due to the anger.  That is, as horrible as parents can be, their behavior has much basis in how they themselves were raised.  It's probable that I join many who emerged from their childhoods determined NEVER to behave in a similar manner to those near to me, children or otherwise.  And yet how often do we find ourselves in fits of confusion where we may be doing just that very thing or something similar, all against our best intentions!  This is not to excuse the behavior, but to understand the power of what we absorb as children.....and what likely your father and mine absorbed from their own upbringing.  As tends to be the case, in his passing I learned many more things about my father from extended family but also from adult friends and even from those closer.....things that made me realize not only how confused he was about how to better his situation, but also how poor his skill set was at making personal changes in this life.  As with so many, it was not a family background accustomed to 'seeking help'.....and another generation of soon-to-be-adults has to wade through the detritus and find their own mooring among peers, pastors, and therapists.  While he was still here, it did help to establish some boundaries so that I wouldn't get pulled into the vortex of helplessness and negativity,.....in the end, this is the best the relationship was going to be.  So some mixture now of forgiveness and understanding has been helpful to finding some resolution in his absence.  It's easier now to let go now of the injuries he levied......and my gratitude for what positive attributes he did give me, easier to locate.  Best wishes to you Heather and others in their healing of this nature....
 
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It's ok to mourn the loss of the father you wish you had.

 
Ellendra Nauriel
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Heather Sharpe wrote:

Unfortunately, I'd guess I'm not the only one who had a crappy dad and might be struggling today. I found this: If Your Father's Day Sucks, which helped a little bit. Thought maybe it might help someone else too.



From that link:

6. You can pick a different dad. I have a friend whose imaginary dad is a TV character. Not even a human. It’s Lion-O from “Thundercats.” Hey, whatever works. That can be the dad you picture.



Elrond. That was who my "imaginary dad" was, starting just a couple years after the first LOTR movie came out. He still is.

You would not believe how much that technique helps. I even tried to send Hugo Weaving a father's day card once, with an explanation of how much his character affected my life. It came back unopened, I apparently had the wrong address, but that's ok. It was the act of sending it that felt right, not necessarily him reading it.

I didn't know that choosing a fictional dad was an established coping technique. I thought it was just me being crazy.
 
Sonja Draven
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Heather, I found the book "Adult children of emotionally immature parents: how to heal from distant, rejecting or self-involved parents" by Lindsay Gibson very helpful. I also learned a lot about covert narcissists (i can look for the video links, if that would be helpful... It's been a long time since I watched them), which fits him perfectly.

Both helped me understand that he wasn't going to change, he wasn't capable of it, and it had absolutely nothing to do with me. I was able to detach and accept when I really believed he wouldn't change.

Going no contact (which actually isn't super hard once you stop giving them what they want... They aren't as interested in sustaining a relationship) helped a ton. It's easier to forgive someone who isn't still poking you repeatedly with a stick.
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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Sonja Draven wrote:

Going no contact (which actually isn't super hard once you stop giving them what they want... They aren't as interested in sustaining a relationship) helped a ton. It's easier to forgive someone who isn't still poking you repeatedly with a stick.



How do you handle other relatives trying to guilt you into keeping or re-establishing the relationship?

I haven't even managed my escape yet, and Mom keeps scolding me for not being closer to my father. She knows exactly what he's like, I'm the one she vents to when she can't handle him anymore. But somehow, it's still my fault that he and I aren't close. And if I mention any of the things he's done? Oh, then I'm a bad person for not "forgiving" him.

And I put "forgiving" in quotes, because what my family calls "forgiving" has little to do with actual forgiveness, and everything to do with manipulation.
 
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Coming from a male perspective, I would tell him to his face what pissed you off about him and his dad. Maybe not all at once or with anger, but you gotta get this off your chest. You have a lot of emotion bottled up inside you. You gotta let that go and I know it's hard.
My dad had anger issues and his automatic go to was his belt. He used to beat the hell out of us kids. I carried bruises till I was 15. By that time I was much larger than he was and I let it be known he wasn't gonna hit anyone else with a belt. He never did again.
I wrestled with emotions about him for years. Didn't wanna be around him because of all the crap he put us through. His dad was an abusive piece of crap, too, so he came by it honest.
Years later, I had to let it go. It was eating me up with anger. I didn't realize how really destructive those emotions were. I didn't confront dad, I didn't feel that would serve any purpose, but over the years we talked about some of the things he did to us. Nothing sexual, just physical and emotional abuse. We talked about how his anger was out of control. He never said he was sorry but the hurt in his eyes was enough.
When dad died I had no regrets. I had said all the things I had ever wanted to say to him. I broke his chain of abuse. I had told him many times I loved him and he told me the same. At the end he considered me his best friend.
Don't let him go to his grave with these feelings you have. That might be worse in the long run. That you love him is without doubt. Maybe write him a letter and put it all down. Send it to him and let the chips fall where they may. Get it all out in the open and get it dealt with. Much easier said than done, to be sure.
In order for you to achieve the happiness you deserve you have to get this anger out and mastered...trust me!
 
Sonja Draven
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Ellendra, a few things:  

I’ve been the “black sheep” in my family at various times over the past 25 years.  My family is very close but there have been times when being true to myself meant that I was separate and I made family with close friends instead.  It was painful but the alternative wasn’t an option.

I set boundaries around what I would and wouldn’t talk about with family members.  In the case of your mom, that would look like telling her you aren’t open to talking about him with her and if she brings it up, it’s “I’m not going to talk about him with you, my relationship with him is between him and me.  Is there anything else you wanted to talk about?” Or in your specific case, you could say “I wish he were different too but he isn’t.”  If she starts with the guilt trip, “I love you Mom, bye” and hanging up.  In the future, don’t even go into the reminder, just “I need to go now, love you” and hanging up the phone.  Or exit the conversation, if in person.  Ultimately, it may mean not having contact with her too.  (I think you said you are still living at home?  You may be handling it the best you can in that situation.)  There are people I limited in my life in relation to my dad.  And like I said, there have been times in my life when I had very little or no contact with my family.  It was painful but worth it.

My older sister was the one that my dad went after for energy/ support / attention after he determined that the limits I set wouldn’t sufficiently meet his needs.  It worked for her initially because she was missing my mom a lot (who had died a year before) and the contact with my dad helped her feel closer to my mom.  But since she and I were close, it meant that she would tell me all the horrible things he said (very frequently badmouthing my siblings and me) and the difficulties she was having in interacting with him.  After a couple months of that, I had to tell her I didn’t want to know.  It’s a natural desire to know the bad things people are saying about you so that you can protect yourself but I’ve had to embrace that adage that “other people’s opinions of me aren’t my business” and not knowing those things helped me continue to heal.  

Over time, my other family members have become supportive for various reasons.  (She had to go no contact with him too after one too many inappropriate behaviors on his part.) We currently manage it with a couple brothers being primary “dad handler.”  All the siblings will occasionally get updates about him but mostly it’s no news.  When random people ask about my dad (he was involved in the community and church for a time) I will say he’s doing well and change the subject.  If it’s someone I will keep having contact with, I say we’re estranged and then change the subject.  My matter of fact tone keeps it casual and sometimes they volunteer their own parental challenges.

I found “The Nice Girl Syndrome” book by Engel helpful for changing patterns.

Regarding Michael’s suggestion, I also wrote a lot of letters to my dad where I was completely honest.  They covered the gamut of my grief, anger, love, etc.  I did not send them to him.  We had history in our family of one victim sending a letter to their abuser with all the details of how they felt about them in the letter and the letter was shared around the community to garner support for the abuser.  I was sure my dad would do that and I didn’t want to give him ammunition.  (I’m really glad it worked so well for you, Michael, and that you reconciled!)

There are obviously a lot of details and complexities left out of this but it’s the summary that I thought would be most helpful (and already long-winded enough).
 
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Good thoughts for those folks in this situation.
I also grew up in similar circumstances and instead of fighting back I fled. Didn't talk to my family for many years, didn't allow contact with my children, and only forgave my father when it was clear he was dying. I also ended up in anger management, in fact I can pretty much +1 everything Michael said just above.

Ellandra, I decided my own mental health was worth more than anything my peripheral family had to offer, and would flat out say that. Some people get it, and I kept contact, but I don't have time in my life for drama. Setting limits and respecting myself is fundamental.
There are some great resources out there for boundary-setting, which I think especially as women we are trained not to do. It's a life-transforming skill, and even better if you can model that for the people you influence (like your kids). Like any good skill, it ain't easy, but loving yourself has to come first.
 
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Tereza said "Good thoughts for those folks in this situation.
I also grew up in similar circumstances and instead of fighting back I fled. Didn't talk to my family for many years, didn't allow contact with my children



This! Especially the good thoughts to those that have shared in this thread.

I didn't grow up in this situation, I married into it.  I knew what I was getting into because I married my childhood sweetheart so I knew his family very well.

Our son disowned himself from us because he says he didn't like the way his father treated me.  Hey, I knew what I was getting. It was my choice. We are still together and have made it through a year and a half of self-quarantine without any problems.

We don't get to chose our parents though we do get to chose how we live our lives.

My parents gave me a good life and I feel I gave our children the best life I could give them. Our daughter married her childhood sweetheart as I did and our son has been married three times.
 
John Weiland
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:
.....I haven't even managed my escape yet, and Mom keeps scolding me for not being closer to my father. She knows exactly what he's like, I'm the one she vents to when she can't handle him anymore.



Ellendra,   Already enough excellent responses here but will just add one more perspective, adding that I'm not sure of your age and whether you are financially dependent upon your parents at this point.  

There are situations with which I'm very familiar where adult children end up having been 'infantalized' by their parents and extended kin --- instead of being brought into maturity which would appear to be the purpose of a nurturing upbringing.  By accepting a continued role as 'child', you give that sustaining role and power of 'parent/warden' to your mother/parents.  How many adult peers and community members does your mother 'scold' into modifying their behavior? ---- probably not many as she likely is aware at how ineffective and off-putting such an approach would be.  By guilting you one minute and dumping her own frustrations on you the next, she is assuming you will always be the child she can do this to.   As others have noted, it may be worth trying to find some source of guidance for initiating some boundaries between you and these people.   Not easy, but for the sake of your own future, possibly imperative.

 
John Weiland
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Anne Miller wrote:....
Our son disowned himself from us because he says he didn't like the way his father treated me.  Hey, I knew what I was getting. It was my choice. .....
We don't get to chose our parents though we do get to chose how we live our lives. .....



Anne,   At the risk of hijacking the OP's thread and if you don't mind my asking, do you you have the same insights *today* versus when you met your husband as to why you decided to marry him and start a family?  When I settled on my wife (still together) I had all kinds of valid and viable reasons for the choice, yet was reminded by several friends at the time of some blind spots I appeared to have.  It took me several decades to see how much of the dynamic between my spouse and I were repeating old family patterns I grew up with.  I'm just curious if you ever had any similar revelations that arrived later in life and if you've ever shared any of these with your son, which may help explain to him why you tolerated some possibly degrading behavior by your husband.  Not easy topics for discussion, but I get a sense that younger people these days have grown really weary of NOT having these discussions....... i.e., they seem to crave something closer to truthfulness and honesty in these matters rather than sweeping things under the rug or just shrugging them off.  My own parents were professional "rug-sweepers" ;-/ ...... so it's something pretty familiar.
 
Anne Miller
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John said "do you you have the same insights *today* versus when you met your husband as to why you decided to marry him and start a family?



I don't know about "insights", I loved him, still do and I married him for better or worse.

We waited five years before welcoming our son into our family and another 5 years before we welcomed our daughter.

John said "if you've ever shared any of these with your son, which may help explain to him why you tolerated some possibly degrading behavior by your husband.



I don't remember what if anything I might have said. I probably would have explained it as I have explained here. I feel our son's problem is that he made some bad choices in his life that he blames on others. And maybe that is because he is like his father.  

That behavior is passed from father to son, in our family anyway. I have seen it in 3 generations and know it came from the 4th generation. My husband's grandfather died before he really knew him but we have heard stories. I have not heard stories from the 5th and 6th generation though I suspected from what I know about the 7th generation that it was there, also.
 
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Here's this if anyone needs it:
FB_IMG_1610762625369.jpg
[Thumbnail for FB_IMG_1610762625369.jpg]
 
John Weiland
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Anne Miller wrote:...... I have not heard stories from the 5th and 6th generation though I suspected from what I know about the 7th generation that it was there, also.



Thanks for your response here, Anne, ..... yes, we as well suspect from what we don't know about the past generations in our family and in our case only know back 3-4 generations.  I guess it's good to ponder that we maybe live in an era where these linkages across generations are better appreciated than before.  We all have our part in trying to improve a bit on what we inherited and I hope your son is able to find a path for himself that gets beyond his focus outward for what might better serve him directed inward.  As how much of this relates to Permaculture, I guess I feel the movement is more about caring and nurturing the planet rather than exploiting it.....and there are parallels to how those who gravitate to Permies may wish for that same sentiment to enrich their own family and close relationships.  Thanks again!......
 
Heather Sharpe
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Thank you everyone who has shared their experience, kind words and wisdom! I am feeling much better today thanks to y'all. Hugs and healing to all who've been in a similar boat. It sucks we have to do the work to heal these things, but I'm so glad for all those who are.

Ellendra Nauriel wrote:From that link:
6. You can pick a different dad. I have a friend whose imaginary dad is a TV character. Not even a human. It’s Lion-O from “Thundercats.” Hey, whatever works. That can be the dad you picture.

Elrond. That was who my "imaginary dad" was, starting just a couple years after the first LOTR movie came out. He still is.

You would not believe how much that technique helps. I even tried to send Hugo Weaving a father's day card once, with an explanation of how much his character affected my life. It came back unopened, I apparently had the wrong address, but that's ok. It was the act of sending it that felt right, not necessarily him reading it.

I didn't know that choosing a fictional dad was an established coping technique. I thought it was just me being crazy.


That particular bit resonated with me too. Good choice! I had no idea it was a coping technique either. Seems like it was just you being wise and re-parenting yourself!

I picked Jean-Luc Picard to be my new dad and played around with imagining what that would be like. You're right, this strategy does help tremendously! Kind of unbelievably well, actually. I may have to steal your idea of writing a card to my new dad.

Ellendra Nauriel wrote:How do you handle other relatives trying to guilt you into keeping or re-establishing the relationship?

I haven't even managed my escape yet, and Mom keeps scolding me for not being closer to my father. She knows exactly what he's like, I'm the one she vents to when she can't handle him anymore. But somehow, it's still my fault that he and I aren't close. And if I mention any of the things he's done? Oh, then I'm a bad person for not "forgiving" him.

And I put "forgiving" in quotes, because what my family calls "forgiving" has little to do with actual forgiveness, and everything to do with manipulation.


Ellendra, I am sorry you are in that situation. Hugs to you. Sounds super familiar. You don't deserve to be in the middle of their issues. Sounds like some part of your mom knows it isn't healthy but also isn't ready to change anything. Seems like for lots of people, even when things suck, doing the inner work to change it is more uncomfortable than the discomfort of what they already know and are used to. And anyone who IS willing to do the work to get to a healthier place is treated as a threat to the stability they've found. So the person avoiding tries to manipulate them into not changing. I'd guess that might be why she's trying to shift blame to you. Your dad is not your fault. I think the advice to set some boundaries with her about listening to her vent about him is an excellent idea.

I know you haven't managed to escape yet, but I hope you do. You deserve the space to focus on what you want and need to be happy and healthy! I know for me, going no contact has freed up so much mental and emotional energy! I've been able to heal and grow in ways I couldn't have if I was still maintaining the charade. It made a huge difference for my sense of safety and sovereignty to set such a strong boundary. It was scary at first, but so worth it!

Michael Dotson wrote:Coming from a male perspective, I would tell him to his face what pissed you off about him and his dad. Maybe not all at once or with anger, but you gotta get this off your chest. You have a lot of emotion bottled up inside you. You gotta let that go and I know it's hard.


One day I might be able to do that, but I don't think I'm quite ready to deal with the fear that would stir up. It might never be safe, honestly. Like in Sonja's case, it's likely he would try to use it as ammunition or justification to harm me in whatever way he could. He is extremely manipulative and willing to use all manner of deceptions to get his way.
For now, I deal with the anger in other ways. I write letters where I get everything out, but don't send them. When that isn't enough, I will set up a chair and pretend he's sitting there and say it all out loud as if I'm talking to him. It sounds silly, but it works well. My therapist helps a lot too.
I definitely agree that getting the anger out so it doesn't harm me is crucial. I'm so glad that you were able to make peace with your dad.
 
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Heather;
I have so much to say; but I will start with I have the same situation but it is with my mother.  However, I am two year divorced and my children have only seen their father a few times...father's day and Christmas the last two years.  He never calls, hasn't paid child support and oddly, I am able to walk my children through how to handle their emotions due to my years of trial and error, therapy, and working out the relationship with my mother.  Add to it; my dad was a functioning alcoholic and a devout liar...I had some things to overcome in my adulthood.  

I am a Holistic Health Practitioner and practice Splankna therapy; a Christian Mind/Body tool for emotional healing.  It saved my life over 20 years ago and enabled me to set healthy boundaries with my very dysfunctional parents.  I will say, for about two years, I completely put my parents on the back burner to get help and 'find myself'...set good boundaries.  

I see nothing wrong with your decision!  I don't know if you are a believer, but I have chosen my 'family in Christ' and life has been much healthier and happier since.  But, I think the KEY to creating healthy boundaries with family is; FORGIVENESS.  Now, let me explain this to you in a way that isn't understood by many.  Many people think forgiveness is about the offender. While this, in part, is true...mostly it is for YOU.  To forgive your father for the harm he has done and the poor man he has been SETS YOU FREE.  By forgiving him; you are able to 'let him go'.  This doesn't mean you are 'best friends' or have to call him, hang out with him, or fake that he is a good father.  Because Jesus forgives you of all the 'yuck' in your life; we are asked to forgive others.  But, the amazing blessing of this is....when there is not anger and resentment in our hearts and we ask for forgiveness for it....we are set free!  Now, this takes years sometimes to accomplish and understand.  Everday just practice handing over your father to Jesus...put him in HIS lap and let HIM take care of it.  Everyday practice forgiveness...understanding that he probably comes from generations of 'his character' and has his own battle to fight.  Again, it doesn't condone his actions or his treatment of you. It just come from compassion and forgiveness vs pain and anger, resentment.  Therapy would really help; and I would love to do a session on you!  I work with generational 'stuff' every day!  In short, I see no problem with 'letting him go' and not talking to him or acting like there is something to honor.  What matters is where your heart is while you do this...He will still have power over you (or your family will)...if you let the boundary make you feel guilty or like you are doing something wrong.  This is why it has to be a 'free' release of him.  Nothing says we have to have a relationship with our parents....or anyone close to us for that matter...that is abusive or hinders our growth and happiness.  

Now, I am 51 years old and spent YEARS going back and forth with my addict mother. I would constantly forgive her and thought that meant I should let her back into my life.  I would only learn that a relationship with her was impossible over and over again.  It was about 7 years ago when I made the 'final cut'.  I now only send her a happy mother's day; trying to honor the fact that, at the very least, she birthed me.  I have no guilt, no remorse, and know that my cutting all ties is not about anger or resentment... I have truly forgiven her and can say I love her.  I just don't need or want her in my life.  But, it took me years of praying, counseling, talking to other believers, growing as a human being etc... to get to this place.  I think you are at the beginning of healing...and will find a peace with letting your father go at some point.

I guess, I am here to say...it is OKAY what you did; I would go as far as to say, you are strong!!!  It is much harder to step outside societal norms and cultural ideals to be true to oneself.  

Also, you are NOT alone.  Your feelings are valid and I hear you!  
My 12 year old boy said to me on father's day..."My dad is sickening, Mom...He doesn't even deserve to be called a dad."  Sometimes, it takes a child to say things so bluntly and innocently....and you realize that, simply, they are right.  They see things so accurately and just 'say it'.  I told him he doesn't have to want to see his dad and exactly what I told you....  Practice forgiving him everyday (Because truly forgiving might take a while)...set yourself free and let him go...NO anger/resentment.  I told him the ONLY thing he can do for his dad is PRAY for him.  I believe EVERY human being can be restored and become whole. Praying also is a way to love someone that can not be done in the physical side.  It is a gift you can give your father...without having to be a part of his life in any way.  The most powerful tool you have at your disposal.  

Anyway...I hope some of this helps.  Mostly, I wanted to let you know you are NOT alone and I support what you are doing.

Blessings and love!
R
 
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Well, big internet hugs to all those who can't connect with their emotionally abusive Father on Father's Day. Mine passed away in '93.
As children, we look up to our parents: That is the way all humans are "supposed to behave", and it is reinforced by them teaching us to "Respect your mother', "Respect your father". But sometimes, they are *not* respectable, not loving.
But moms and dads are just plain human beings as well, and a good many of them are/ were not very good.
It is also quite normal to move away from what hurts us. Indeed, it is the only *sound* thing to do. Just like you must move away from an abusive lover for your own good, so too must you move away from an abusive parent.
My dissociation from mine came at an early age, when I was punished for something I didn't do and overheard him say to my mother: "Well, that is for all the other times she did something stupid and I didn't find out about it". So he KNEW I was innocent but let the punishment stand anyway. I stopped looking at him as a God that we must admire and love and things were never the same between us. There were many other things, like cheating on my mom, many, many times.
I moved away when I got married. That made it easier to set "healthy boundaries". The letters/ cards got scarcer until we didn't even exchange Christmas cards.
When I think back about it, It was like a parcel, a burden, really, that I left on the side of the road. He was violent and capricious and I was better off without him in my life. Like you say, it still sucks, and I wish things could have been better, but maybe I was at fault too for expecting him to be perfect. Maybe I wanted him to be something he just could not be. That was not on me. That was on him. The sad fact is you cannot fake human warmth, and some folks just don't have it.  It may sound arrogant, but he lost more than I did.
Celebrate Father's day with your siblings if some are Fathers or if you are a father: Have a great Party with them. You need to feel the warmth, but that is really all you need at this point. Know that you are loved by many other people. It will carry you through.
 
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