Those of you reading this blog have seen my ongoing odyssey with my alienated children. You’ve heard of the attempts to get them to counseling, and to visitation (all basically failures), you’ve heard of my attempts to create a blog for them of the things a dad wants his kids to know. I’ve got over 60 entries on the blog and still don’t really know if the kids have ever looked at it. If they have it’s had no impact that I can see.
They are 18 and 20 now. It’s been 3 1/2 years since the initial separation where they initially declined to see me. It’s been a month longer than that since I had a meaningful conversation with my son. My daughter (she’s the 20 year old), has had a couple of phone conversations with me that were actually pretty positive. Then 2-5 days later, calls me up screaming about some completely fabricated (by her mom) issue. I’ve not had similar meaningful conversations with my son, but do get calls and emails from him chastising me for ever wanting a relationship with him.
So I now have 2 adult kids. 2 kids who act like they don’t have a father (at best) or at worst, as my son once said, that he has a father who’s worse than Satan. Now I get that many teenagers overexaggerate and hate their parents at times. I get that many teens can be rude and unloving. I worked with teens for over 10 years in a previous life, so the difficulties teens have with their parents is not an unknown for me. That said, I never saw anything like what I’m dealing with in anyone I’d ever come across in my life — until it hit me. Then, suddenly, I’ve got 5-6 friends who all have bizarre issues with one or two kids (usually not all of them).
I’m writing this today because I just got an email back from my daugher to “stay out of my life.” The occasion? Oh, I got a notice from the insurance company that she’d been approved for a special drug to treat a condition she has. So I dropped her a quick note to let her know and tell her I was concerned about her condition and would love to hear how she’s coping with it. To which I got the “stay out” email.
I replied with a simple explanation:
“Since you’re on my insurance, I get a notice when you are approved for things like this. I truly hope someday you will realize you have a father who loves you more than you could imagine and would love nothing more than to just spend time with you.
I will always love you and could never stay out of your life. It’s not something a real dad can ever do.”
…as per usual, but I don’t normally get replies to these responses. This happens maybe 1/3 of the time I email or text them something. The other 2/3 of the time, there’s no response at all. I see that they’ve opened the email (I have a tracker on them for this reason), but there’s no indication back to me of any kind. I sometimes take a little solace in the fact that they do open and re-read many of these notes multiple times. One time I think my son read a note I sent him 12 times. I really don’t know what that means. Unless he’s reading it to his mom, then to his grandma, then his sister, a friend or two, etc. All to just mock me? I really don’t get it.
And at this point, I don’t know what else to do. They both live in other parts of the state, I’d hoped that my daughter living 3 hours from her mom would change the dynamics a bit and make her see that maybe mom’s not right about everything about her dad. But it doesn’t seem to have happened yet and its been a year. I’m strongly considering moving a long way away. I have family with niece and nephew on the west coast and assuming everything comes together over the next few months, I may find myself there by this time next year. It’s good to be around family. I miss that.
But I really don’t know what else to do to reach out to the kids. I’ve prayed and prayed, I’ve had huge numbers of people praying for me as well. I’ve written a ton and thought a ton and talked it over a ton with really smart people, counselors, family, friends, pastors, etc. I don’t have any answers.
It feels like I’m just being pitiful and puppy-dog-like in my response to my daughter up above. But I honestly don’t know what else to do. I don’t know if I can “stay out of her life.” I’m not the kind of dad that could do that and sleep at night. But I also don’t know if it is helping us build any kind of relationship, by reaching out to her periodically.
I’m curious if and when any of you have just stopped reaching out. At what point do you just go — “Hey, you’re an adult. If you don’t want a relationship with me, I’m past the point of being able to do anything about that — it’s now up to you.” My thought is if I do that, then I’m essentially just telling them I’m done with them. Which I will never be. Done. With my kids.
So is there a change in tactic I should consider? Is there something else I can do? I’m kinda at wits end here. I just don’t have any answers.
I’d created this blog in an attempt to share the experience with many of you. To share the successes as well as the failures. The “how to survive” in the middle along with the way to get to a point of reconciliation. I have to apologize at this point — I don’t see paths to that point right now.
Not trying to be a downer, just coming to the sad realization that there’s very little I can do.