General Question

Triiiple's avatar

If one of your parents stopped talking to you and then tried to start again, would you talk to them?

Asked by Triiiple (1356points) June 5th, 2009

Not going to get into to many of the harsh details but…

A few months ago, like 4–5 my father went a little crazy over the phone/text messages on me because i told him i wasnt going to graduate college that semester. He then got very nasty in the text messages saying things about my mother and pretty much telling me off in a way that you really wouldnt want to talk to that person anymore.

Recently i was in New York on vacation to visit my family and he began texting me that he was outside my apartment, he wants me to open my door so he can talk to me. Personally i cant stand when people do things to burn bridges then try and talk to me like it never happened and thats exactly what hes doing. Soon enough he responded “I argue with all my family”.

Now ive just stopped responding to anything he says. What would you do?

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17 Answers

basp's avatar

He’s your father and always will be. Talk to him.

SirBailey's avatar

Ask yourself this question: if he died tomorrow would you feel rotten for the rest of your life that you never got the chance to say you understand where he was coming from and that you love him?

If the answer is yes, then you know what you have to do.

dynamicduo's avatar

Unless your relationship was seriously fucked up, I believe everyone should give everyone else one more chance. People do learn, and in my experiences dads are kind of stubborn and don’t like to admit they’re wrong, although they will once they really feel the effects of their actions. So cutting him off for a time to let him reflect on his actions, then evaluating after a bit, is the approach I would take.

That said, him texting you when he was outside your door? That’s a bit crazy and I don’t think that’s appropriate. I mean I understand it (he’s your dad after all), but you have the right to control your end of the relationship, and that includes allowing him back into your life when and how you choose.

What do you want? Do you want a relationship with your dad? You seem to be perfectly fine on your own, so maybe leave thing quiet for a bit more would be best. Or tell him that you think you should not talk for a bit, so that he knows what’s going on. You have the right to tell him just what you told us here, if you want to, tell him that his words hurt you and that you’d rather not talk at this time.

What would I do? Well I am in a totally different situation, my dad wouldn’t say such harsh words to me. But if my parents or anyone I knew did something like this. I would probably say something like, “Name, your words really hurt me. I feel [whatever details here] because of [more details].” and I would give them a chance to respond. If they were remorseful and truly felt sorry for what they said, then I would give them another chance and keep talking to them… if they were stubborn or refused to see the problem I would cut them off with “You are still hurting me with your words. I think we need to take a talking break. I’ll see you on Facebook.” and leave.

bythebay's avatar

All we have to base our suggestions on is what you write here on Fluther. Based on that, you seem to be very flippant and sarcastic. If you had any part whatsoever in the tone of those texts, then yes, you should talk to him.

Did he help pay for your college, did he support you at all during that time? Maybe his disappointment stemmed from his desire to see you succeed?

Whatever the root of your issues, examine the role you played on the demise of your relationship and make your decision wisely.

Triiiple's avatar

@bythebay Flippant and Sarcastic? I dont see how i come off that way in the post but ok.

@dynamicduo I did tell him id rather not talk to him right now, or i didnt appreciate him not talking to me for all that time but now when its alright with HIM to talk, thats cool.

Im not trying to come off any way in this post but a person confused with the situation. My father and I havent had the greatest relationship when i was younger either, i only lived with him from when i was 15–18 after i moved out of my mothers house. That period of time was a little rocky between us. My father is a lawyer, lot of pent up anger and when it came to it the anger came out in my direction most of the times.

And one of the things he said was “You need to get a DNA test to make sure youre my son”. Pretty much the primary reason i dont care to talk to him anymore.

marinelife's avatar

Clearly, there is more history here than you have been able to tell. That means only you (of this group) have all the facts upon which to make a decision.

You have a whole range of choices and none of them have to be permanent.

First, you should look at what you want:

If your father is a permanent, poisonous presence in your life that makes your gut tighten every time you are faced with the possibility of seeing him, you may want to elect not to communicate with him for now.

Next, you need to look at the practical consequences of your actions:

Is you father paying for your scholing?

Will he cut you off if you continue not to communicate with him?

Are you OK with that?

Finally, you need to look at what your piece of the dynamic between you and your father.

Do you always argue with the family?

Did your father have reason to be angry at your decision either because you had promised otherwise or perhaps how you delivered the message?

The way to break the patterns of family interaction is for you to change how you react to the regular button pushing, If you respond differently, the other party has no option but to respond differently. I highly recommend the books “Toxic Parents”. It is a practical step-by-step guide for dealing with situations like yours.

Rather than make a decision to cut him off forever, consider after you have thought through the steps above what is best for you at this point in your life. Communicate that calmly to your father, and leave the door open.

Both of you will change over time. Why limit your choices 10 or 15 years from now right this minute?

This sounds painful. Good luck.

calvinette's avatar

Even if you were 100 percent in the right, it’s better to have a relationship than to be right. Talk to him.

Bocci's avatar

That is such a hard question to answer. I hate to sound narcissistic, but I have had similar issues with my father. It is always really easy to hold grudges against people, and for some reason it seems even easier when they are in your family. Maybe that is just my opinion but I feel that members of ones own family should be there more than anyone and when they’re not it hurts so much more. Your father should not have let you down and reacted so harshly towards your choice but I think that forgiveness is vital. I think you should open up and let him in your life again before it is too late. Personally that is what I wish I had done with my own father and now I fear it is a little too late. Good luck with whatever choice you make.

PapaLeo's avatar

It sounds to me like he’s trying to make amends. At least allow him the opportunity to explain himself. Stopping communication is pointless.

To err is human, to forgive is divine.

Odysseus's avatar


been there and would do it again.

You shit your pants many a times and they kept cleaning it up, you owe them forgiveness.

bythebay's avatar

@Triiiple: I didn’t mean your question here, but rather your responses elsewhere.

Clair's avatar

if ya’ll are that close and everything then yes, tell him he was being an ass and continue to talk to him.
but if it were me, i don’t even know father. if he popped into my life and started talking shit about me and my mom, i wouldn’t ever talk to him again.

saraaaaaa's avatar

I’ve had similar issues, although it’s now going on 4–5 years with my father. I know a lot of people value there parents absolutely. But for some of us there a bond stronger than blood, relation doesn’t mean that people won’t hurt you. If you can see that he might have changed his thoughts and accept you for you then give it a go. If you can’t then you might need longer. There is no point putting yourself back in the same situation.

AnnieOakley's avatar

Family is forever. Doesn’t mean you have to put up with rude or abusive behavior, but you have to never stop trying to work through the issues and forgive – because they are family. Be very clear about what you will and will not tolerate and be very clear you will not respond to rude or abusive behaviors and that they hurt you.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Talk to him, he’s your father but you don’t have to treat him as a close friend or confidant. You don’t have to return whatever degree of trust or love he expects. Let him have his say and then go on and do what’s most positive for you.

Darwin's avatar

It sounds as if your father was very disappointed in you for some reason. It could be that he is afraid that your future could be in jeopardy. He also may not be the most mature adult – one of the things most of us realize when we mature ourselves is that our parents are just people trying to do a very difficult job, and they don’t always do it well.

I suggest that you offer to meet your father in a public place, such as a restaurant, where neither of you will start yelling because of the surroundings, and try to explore what the problem is. Since you lived with one parent and then another, I assume your parents are at least estranged from each other or possibly divorced but without having resolved the problems that engendered the divorce.

Act like a mature adult trying to solve a personality clash and expect him to do the same, and you may be pleasantly surprised.

wundayatta's avatar

You know, you hardly see your son for years, and even when you did see him, it was hard to understand him or get along. Then you pay for his college, and you expect him to work hard, and pass, just like you did when you went through college (and maybe were the first person in your family to do so).

Then, one day, senior year, I guess, your son calls up and says he’s not going to make it. Well you’re stunned. All this money, and out of the blue he says he’s not going to graduate? And if you have a fast temper, you blow your lid, and say some nasty things, like maybe he’s not your son, because no son of yours would be so stupid as to not graduate, especially after all the advantages you’ve paid for.

So the son doesn’t want this shit, and just stops talking to the father. After a while, the father cools off a bit. He has his own troubles—maybe with his job, or money, or relationships. Maybe he has an anger management problem. Who knows? But he cools off, and he realizes that he’s really done a pretty nasty thing. He has pride, and he’s not yet willing to admit he made a fucking big mistake, but still, it is his son, no matter what he said, and he wants to be in his son’s life. He’s disappointed, but maybe he realizes his disappointment is too much.

But his son won’t talk. Won’t message. Won’t email. Won’t answer the phone. And he’s getting desperate to talk to his son, because he really doesn’t want things to be like this. So he even gets stalkerish and appears outside his ex’es apartment, in hopes of getting a chance.


So, if my little story is true, he’s recalcitrant, to some degree. I think you might try to find a way to find out what he’s thinking. Is this the olive branch, or does he just want to chew you out more? Is he going to forgive you? Is he going to ask your forgiveness?

Is there anyone else who can talk to him and find out what he wants? Or tell him what you’re thinking? Can you ask him via email? Text is ridiculous for problems like this, but maybe that’s all you are willing to do.

Now this whole thing has been brewing for two decades or so, so it’s not going to end in a movie ending. There’s a lot of history here, and you know where the landmines live. I don’t.

I think it’s worth trying to make peace with your father. I think you are right to be very careful. But if you can understand where he’s coming from; if you can gather some information; it’ll make chances of finding peace better. I hope you can get past this, both of you, and find a way to be more comfortable with each other, although it doesn’t sound like you’re ever going to be buddies.

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