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Unbroken's avatar

Yet another personal advice question?

Asked by Unbroken (9382 points ) February 3rd, 2013

Ok as previously posted I have reached the next stage in my autoimmune condition. Decompensated liver failure. I have also posted that I am estranged from my father, my wishes, and that my sister is not. He was also a pastor and with technology, physical distance is not always enough.

So you see where this going my sister, best of intentions and with the stipulation that he keep things private, told him about my health problems a week ago.

He immediately posted on his FB that I needed prayer and posted a few details also saying that his one wish was for me to tell him I loved him before I died… or he might have left out the last bit it sounds too over the top for me.

She came to me tearful thinking I would cut her off for violating my trust. I of course didn’t and we talked it all out. She said she told him she cut him off, I told her it wasn’t necessary, I should not be the reason to base that decision off of. End of problem. Right, not so fast.

We have some fb contacts overlap and I have been getting additional requests. With his old congregation a few extended family members, as well as people here in town. I have been recieving comments and general curiosity and sympathy pity and censure, in person too.

With people that I have long since ceased having any real form of contact with.

I have become increasingly paranoid. Even thinking that now he is looking for another person to keep him informed of my status or get “reports on me” and to apply pressure to “heal” the relationship.

I would not like to be that jaded or to have to cut off contact with these people or believe that they are genuine and we could possibly rebond.

But I know how manipulative my father is as well as human nature. And I don’t trust this spike in interest or games. But it has also occurred to me that he could come back up here if he doesn’t have a method to reach me, since it would seem she was sharing some level of info with him, possibly on my sister too depending on how that goes.

I just feel spun, and there are limits to what I can deal with rationally. It is my assumption that for the most part it will die down people will lose interest in the latest freak show and move on. Except for the potential busybodies.

Other then retreat, hermitize, close down accounts or block people. Which has been what I am doing this weekend. What are less extreme methods?

Is there a way to cast this in a positive light?

Thanks in advance for hearing and offering advice on my melodramatic poppycock.

Feeling as if I am pushed into solititude to feel safe is counterproductive to my welfare.

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17 Answers

bookish1's avatar

Hey, this is not melodramatic poppycock. Obviously it’s of concern to you, and your privacy and emotional/mental health are important. For what it’s worth, I know what it’s like to be harassed via technology by insincere false friends and self-serving relatives.

If you feel like your boundaries have been violated, and you want to avoid just going hermit mode and blocking people or deleting your account, perhaps you could be more proactive. Post something on your facebook setting an ultimatum. That you want to remain close to the people who are currently in your life, but you have no wish to receive false pity or pressure to renew ties that have faded or that you have intentionally ended. Perhaps that will make people think twice before contacting you for self-serving reasons.

One of the useful double-edged swords of social media is that people’s natural egotism tends to make them think everything that you post must be about them. This might help you find out who your allies truly are.

Judi's avatar

I heard that Facebook has started charging $1.00 for messages to people who are t your friend.
If you lock doe. Your privacy settings and block the busy bodies I would bet this would slow down soon.
I’m so sorry you have to deal with this in addition to your illness. It breaks my heart that your family is a stress instead of a blessing at this time.
I hope you find some joy durring this time.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m sorry, @rosehips, I don’t know the details and/or background of your history with your father and I certainly don’t want to sound like I’m not compassionate to your situation; but in the whole scheme of things, what difference does it make what your father does or doesn’t do?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

You need to get this square in your head. Where do you want the relationship with your father to go?

josie's avatar

Too much drama, not enough honesty. Shame on you. But… It’s your life. How do want to be remembered? Honest, or pathetic. What is wrong with saying I love you to your father. How in the world can that be so difficult?

Unbroken's avatar

@bookish1 Thank you for the support and idea. I may just take a fb vacation for awhile and post a message to that effect. Some of my other friends are unaware of my physical condition.
@judi Sounds like a good idea I had difficulty understanding the directions but it gave me an idea. Thanks for your warmth and compassion.
@bkcunningham Because I haven’t learned not to care about the havoc he brings in my life. Before he left, my mother had to get a restraining order, I was on the verge, I moved several times changed my phone number and had 8 w2 forms that last year.

@Adirondackwannabe No where I have been in counseling and made an attempt to mend the relationship. But it was always his terms and he was unwilling to recognize he has problems or value any opinion but his own. His biggest problem that have triggered many others, is the need to control and how he views his family as his property. I worked out with a counselor years ago that it was ok to choose not to have a relationship with even immediate family members if it be bad for my health.

@josie I understand that position and I thought about saying it. Even though it lacks truth just to grant him peace and so he would drop this. But it would just be the beginning.

That is honest I recognize him for what he is and don’t want him near me. At some point I should be able to stop living for the benefit of others and make some decisions that are just good for me.

That said I appreciate your honesty. I believe it is given with the best intention.

CWOTUS's avatar

Your father is going to do what he’s going to do. Obviously, you can’t control what he does, and you know that. Your sister knows now that she made a huge faux pas, and you’re square with her on that, so she’s not going to repeat anything to him. Others who may or may not be well-meaning you’ll have to deal with on a case-by-case basis: “I don’t want to discuss my father or my condition with you” or giving them details and ask that they not pass them on, as you see fit.

There will be some spillage. Some people that you trust to not divulge will do so. But if you’re not in communication with your father, and if your sister is on your side to let you know what is going on “in the enemy camp”, then you can make continual moves to shut down channels of feedback to him.

Ultimately it hardly matters. You’re not in his house, you’re not answering to him, and he is powerless to affect you. Live your life and forget about him.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@rosehips I’m sorry. A person always has to be willing to consider other points of view. Once they shut that down it’s pretty hard to get them to be open to other points of view. I’d walk away. Your health needs all your attention.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@rosehips You have one consideration right now, and that is your health. Nothing else matters. Cut everything and everyone out of your life that is not 100% on your side and treating you as you wish to be treated. This is not the time to start thinking about other people. That’s their job. They need to start thinking of your needs.

Close your FB account and get a new one with a different name and befriend only those closest people you trust.

bkcunningham's avatar

@rosehips,if I had to guess and assume, I’d assume that the people who have contacted me because of my father were sincere and really love me and are concerned about my health. I’d wallow in their attention and love and turn it all into positive energy. Only YOU can control your thoughts and emotions my friend. It sounds like you’ve been through some very tough times. I’m sending you loving thoughts and (((HUGS))). Think about happy times.

Unbroken's avatar

@CWOTUS Always the thoughtful voice of common sense and reason. Thanks from helping me see this from an objective angle.

@Adirondackwannabe Thank you for validating my decision.

@HawaiiJake Wow, Its odd you would say people need to start looking after me. I don’t know if I am built or ready for that but it feels good to here. But starting over sounds good.

@bkcunningham You are right. I shouldn’t question peoples motives unless they give me reason to. Thanks for reminding me.

As always thanks for your objectivity and insight as well as warmth.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m sure this would all make a lot more sense if people had the whole history of your family. All I can guess is that if you feel this strongly about him, he must have done some horrible things to you. I don’t really want to think about the kinds of things that fathers can do to daughters in order to estrange them so.

And then do all the other people know about this history? Probably not. So the pastor is probably an evil guy masquerading as a good guy, and you maybe don’t want to deal with having it all come out in public because he’ll defend himself and you don’t want to have to prosecute.

But he’s asking for love and you don’t love the guy, and while yes it might make him go away if you say so, on the other hand, it might kind of invalidate all the other negative feelings you have about him, and it might make other people think things are a-ok. Which they aren’t.

You’ve run away and hidden several times from him and maybe from other situations as well, and this life of remaking yourself all the time must be exhausting, and now you have to deal with this disease and you need a new organ.

Religious people believe in the power of community support. But can a community you despise support you? Can you be supported by people who don’t understand you? I think not.

You need people like you find here, only you need them in real life. You may need to move because of your health condition. That could be an opportunity to really put distance between you and your family. Unfortunately, it would also put distance between you and people you have a good relationship with, too.

Honestly, I don’t know what I would do. I value social capital—the ties I have. But you have both positive and negative social capital in the same community. Only you know what the balance might be. And you don’t even know for sure.

You’re in a tough position. I wish I had some good advice. Hell, I wish I had any advice at all. But all I can say is I feel bad for you. I wish your father could have some sense knocked in his head and he would decide to sincerely apologize and make up for whatever he did to you. I wish the people in your community would all have a change of heart and come around to views more compatible with yours. But that’s just wishful thinking. Good luck. That’s all I can say. Good luck.

Judi's avatar

Just re read my answer. Stupid iPhone. I’m so sorry for the awful auto corrects and not reading it before sending it.

augustlan's avatar

From experience, I know that if you let in people who have close ties to your father…some of them are likely to share information about you with him. They may very well have the best of intentions when they do it, but it’s almost certainly going to happen. I’m in this position with an aunt who feeds my estranged mother (her sister) my info and pictures from Facebook. For the moment, I’ve decided to accept that it’s happening and have not blocked my aunt. I will very likely have to change my FB situation soon, though, because it seems as if my mother having 3rd party access to my life has made her bolder about trying to get back in it.

With your health situation, you don’t need that extra drama in your life. Don’t accept friend requests from people whose first loyalty is to your father. Do what is best for YOU, period. I know it’s really hard, but try not to waste a second feeling guilty about it, either.

hearkat's avatar

You can change your privacy settings so that you are not “searchable” and so that your content is visible to “Friends Only” and the same for who is allowed to send you messages. You can even go further and sort your friends by levels of trust, and in that way limit who sees your content even further, without “unfriending” anyone. I think FB even has an “acquaintance” list designed for this purpose, so you can set content to be visible to “All friends, except acquaintances”.

I have a family member from which I am estranged. I chose to block at first; then we had to communicate following the death of a relative, so we were friends but I had a group that doesn’t have access to my content. That person has closed their FB a few times and come back, so now we only have friends in common so a lot of my content is visible – but I’ve decided that I don’t care. However, there are no attempts at reconciliation nor am I going through personal challenges… if that we’re the case, I would probably place limits again.

Seek's avatar

@rosehips Of course, I don’t know your situation, but I can relate a lot to the cutting of ties and residual drama.

Honestly, if I were sick, I wouldn’t contact my mother for an organ donation. Fortunately we have different blood types so I’ll never have to face that decision, but there it is. The woman has been a cancer on my life since day one, and I’m not about to invite it back in after such a successful removal.

It’s nothing but emotional manipulation when someone posts publicly that all they want is an admission of your love for them. If he had contacted you privately, and said “I heard about what you’re going through. I’ve been thinking that I’ve said things I regret, and I wanted to let you know I love you so much, and hate that we have been apart for so long. Can we get together and talk soon?” that would be a completely different matter.

Calling out the hounds to guilt-trip you into forgiveness and acceptance is abusive behaviour. Don’t buy it.

Take care of yourself. Your emotional health, your physical health… Surround yourself with comfort, love, and support. Anyone who brings negativity to your door is not worth your time.

Unbroken's avatar

@wundayatta He got his pastor’s license revoked and is no longer eligible. Beyond that I am not responsible for other people’s views of him. And attacking him through the people his behavoir has not yet repelled is wrong on so many levels. Hopefully if their relationship is unhealthy they will be able to do take appropriate measures for themselves.

Yes I have done more then my fair share of running. And yet when I am ready or when I can’t run anymore I face what I have to. It is not so much positive community ties that keeps me here as practicality. Really good health insurance preexisting conditions and a potential cobra bill of over a thousand dollars per month just for medical not dental and vision.

I will have to move eventually hopefully by then I will be medically vested or Obama Care will at least be partially instituted.

@Judi Thought that counts.

@augustlan Maybe this good for me. Maybe I will learn not to care. And that his knowledge and games don’t have to touch me anymore.

@hearkat I guess I need to get where you are at. Or maybe less .

@Seek_Kolinhar I absolutely agree!

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