Social Question

Sophief's avatar

How do you accept unconditional love is very conditional?

Asked by Sophief (6676points) March 22nd, 2010

My dad has a new girlfriend who has serious problems. She tells him that I am calling her all the time, and instead of believing me, he believes her. He text me last night to kindly tell me never to get in touch with him again.

How do I, his only child, accept this and walk away?

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43 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

By understanding that unconditional love isn’t. I don’t even believe in that concept.

trailsillustrated's avatar

totally agree with @Simone_De_Beauvoir you’ll have to wait until your dad figures it out

mrentropy's avatar

@Dibley , are you sure it was your dad that sent that text message?

Sophief's avatar

@mrentropy Unfortunately yes. She was at home with her husband!

dpworkin's avatar

Give this a little time. Assuming that what you think happened is what really happened, even dads can get silly when infatuated. Let him know you love him and that you will still be around when he changes his mind.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Another situation where communicating with each other is the way to go.
I suspect there are other details which contributed to this situation being so extreme.

Likeradar's avatar

Wait… you’re saying your dad is cutting you out of his life because his girlfriend thinks you contact her too often?
Is there anything else going on here?

mrentropy's avatar

@Dibley Uhhh. Okay. In that case, text your dad back to let you know when he grows up.

Just_Justine's avatar

There really is no such thing as unconditional love. You’ve had to find out a very harsh way. However, I am sure one day he will wake up and realize what a complete foolish mistake he made. But I would let them “both have it” and I would walk away. You have love in your life, you don’t need this nonsense.

bellusfemina's avatar

If she’s a nut-job- which it sounds like- she probably sent the text message. OR, she’s told your dad lies about you so she has him all to herself. Maybe you should call him and see if he will meet to talk to you. (without the b*tch around)

Sophief's avatar

@Likeradar I don’t contact her at all. We live in different towns. Infact I don’t know her.

Likeradar's avatar

@Dibley Assuming your dad believes his girlfriend… the only reason behind this huge decision is that she says you contact her too much?

Your dad sounds disturbed, if that’s really the only issue going on here.

mysweetdrream182's avatar

You don’t walk away. In your case do what you think is right. I’m sure you know your father well. Would he really want that from his only child?

It is best to confront him. But wait for time to pass. I am sure you are upset and you don’t want to make the wrong choice and act out on your feelings right away. Whatever you do, do not accuse his girlfriend for it (that may backfire).

If he really sent you that text message, I am surprised he did not have the balls to say it to your face. So this is something you should look into, save the text message and call log. It may come in handy. I highly doubt any father would say that to their own blood.

take care

CMaz's avatar

“unconditional love” only applies if both are on the same train of thought.

Sophief's avatar

@Likeradar She doesn’t say I contact her too much, she says I call her then hang up the phone! He is very disturbed, she has really messed his head up.

@mysweetdrream182 We don’t live in the same town. When he re married after my mum, he wanted nothing to do with me, I was only 7 then.

susanc's avatar

You don’t know her but she says you contact her too much?

She’s your dad’s girlfriend but she was at home with her husband?

Your dad remarried after your mum?

But not to her?

Too complicated. Can you fill us in?

aprilsimnel's avatar

I don’t think we can understand the situation here as fully as someone closer to home might.

But let me get this straight: your father is seeing a married woman who has accused you of calling her too often, and because of that, he texted you to tell you to not contact him ever again? Had you contacted her ever about their relationship? Is that the basis of her “accusation”?

Otherwise, this sounds just… strange. Give it a few days (yes, save the text) and go see him directly. Perhaps you can have someone wait outside when you go, as support. Contact your mother, as well, and get her input. It’s not unimaginable that a person would choose a lover over their child, but it’s very sad, and you should make totally sure of what’s going on before you make any decisions as to whether or not you can maintain a relationship with him.

stump's avatar

I would let him go for now. Go on with your life, but leave the door open. Romantic relationships make people crazy, more so if one of them is a nut-job. He will probably realize the mistake he is making eventually. And if he doesn’t it is his loss. You can’t force people to care.

Coloma's avatar

It seems this may have nothing to do with ‘unconditional’ love.

Sounds like your dad is pretty narcissistic. Meaning that he will discard anyone that no longer serves a purpose for him in favor of the source of ‘supply.’

My daughters father is the same way, she is 22 now and after years of using her as his #1 ‘fan’..being the ‘cool’ dad, the party dad, he has now completely dropped her from his life as she dislikes his newest live-in girlfriend and called him on some of his duplicitous behaviors as well.

She unmasked the monster and he has now made no contact with her since the holidays.

Sad..but she is wide awake to his immature and unhealthy personality now.

The good news is we can talk openly about the nature of his issues and she is not feeling victimized.

I do not out him down, but do explain the nature of his emotional problems to her and assure her it is not of a ‘personal’ nature in how he has reacted.

He didn’t choose the girlfriend over her, he just phases out anyone that sees through him.

Sophief's avatar

My dad remarried when I was 7. Not to the woman he is with now. They split about 8 years ago, if then wanted me in his liffe. I have never met his girlfriend. She is married and plays her husband and my dad, when one gets fed up she threatens suicide. My dad is for some reason blind when it comes to her.

@aprilsimnel There is more to it, I asked it in a previous question, around xmas time, but I don’t know how to paste it here!

mysweetdrream182's avatar

@Dibley I’m sorry to hear that. I don’t think you should bother yourself with that sort of a person then. Think about yourself, and how this is effecting you. This maybe upsetting, but don’t let it destroy you. He was just someone in your life, who you should feel can easily come and go. He therefore should lack every sense of importance in your life. Dont give him love that he doesn’t deserve. I’m sure not having a father around is tough, but that unconditional or conditional love was never really there.

It may take time, but its better to forget. Talk to close family right now, they are the only people that will understand you most and pull you out of this rut

whitenoise's avatar

@Dibley Sorry to hear that you are in such a situation.

I have been (am?) in a similar situation,like you. The problem is that as a child, you tend to make up excuses for your dis-functioning parent. (Well…I did, with my father, who had left us when I was aged 3).

It is a problem with quite a potential impact, because you may likely always feel an emptiness. After all you have missed out on a parent in your childhood and may likely want to make up for theat. In essence you are missing ‘a father figure in your past’: someone that you have never met and that might not even resemble your actual father. You are now looking at your real father though to fill the gaps in your past. By definition he can’t / won’t, since that time window has already passed.

When evaluating whether you want to be in further touch with your father, you will have to evaluate what he can add to your current and future life. From what I read he is not a nice person. So give up on the idea. You will never be able to fill the holes he left in your childhood and he will most likely not add anything positive to your future.

The responsibility of who owes what to who in a parent-child relationship was inimediately clear to me when I held my baby boys after their birth. It is not up to the child to maintain a relationship with an undeserving parent. It is the parents job to care for one’s children, to forgive them and to always continue supporting them. Not the other way round.

I hope this makes sense to you… else don’t hesitate to PM me and I will gladly explain further.

Sophief's avatar

@whitenoise It does and thank you.

liminal's avatar

@Dibley your father recently entered your life yes?

josie's avatar

Love is always conditional. Love is the highest emotion that one experiences when they are in the presence of or have knowledge of something that represents their highest value. If it is a person, that would be romantic love. Romantic love is conditional on the fact that that the person retains that high level of value. That is why people sometimes say that relationships require work. One has to always make sure that one represents what the other values. The only exception to this is, in most cases, the devotion that people feel toward their own children. But this is clearly love that is in a different category than romantic love,and the truth is in that case that the word love is misapplied to the concept of what parents feel for children. It is probably something completely different and merits a different word. Maybe.

Sophief's avatar

@liminal No. He’s been in and out. For the last 9 years we have been very close.

phillis's avatar

Be sure you know what the healthiest response will be. Don’t let your feelings make your decisions for you. If you don’t know what to do right now, then don’t do anything. There is no time limit on what action to take! Realize that you are free to handle this on your own time.

Your dad is a putz. That much is clear. And, nobody can blame you if you decide to oust him out of your life. However, he’s the only real dad you’ve got, so you cannot react out of pain or anger. Later on, if you decide that nothing healthy is salvageable from your relationship with him, then let him go, and here’s the kicker…..

Let him go with love.

What that means is that you realize you don’t have to villanize him in order to make the break easier. See the man for who he is. He was human before he was ever a father, no? That means that, first and foremost, he will still be human before being your parent. As such, he will always be fucked up, and always in pain because of it.

His pain is not your fault, but it is not your responsibility, either. You’ve known him for as long as you are old. In that time, there are some things he’s done that showed you that he loved you in his own way. I’m sorry, but he is incapable of showing any more than that, so don’t expect it (that is setting yourself up for failure). See his human side, and forgive him for it.

After that, if you decide to stay away from him, then do it not because he’s a jerk, but simply to improve the quality of your life. That way, whatever quality is lacking in your life becomes clearer to you (meaning that you can now see how to correct it!) without placing the blame on someone else, or drowning in the fact that all these dysfunctional people make your life lousy, and you have no control over it. You DO have control over it, which is about the best news any of us could ever hear.

Above all else, remember your own humanity. It is human nature to love. The more in touch you are with your human side, the happier YOU are, and the easier it is to love others whether they ever change or not. That is the very definition of unconditional love, and it is a bitch to learn.

JeffVader's avatar

@Dibley Your father is a complex individual with emotional baggage that could sink the Titanic…. had an iceberg not already done such a wonderful job. Trying to boil this down to a question of unconditional love is never going to cover things. People do all sorts of horrible things to those they are supposed to have unconditional love for. Basically, your dad has very little to offer anyone, & he has no emotional depth, as a consequence he either is unable to, or chooses to only show affection towards one person at a time. Right now it’s this crazy bitch.

partyparty's avatar

All you can do is let your dad get on with his own life, and you do the same.
It seems like heartbreak all round in this situation.

Sophief's avatar

@phillis Thank you Phillis, you are exactly right, I just need to programme myself to believe that. It’s hard to be as cold hearted as what he is being to me.

phillis's avatar

@Dibley If it’s that hard to be cold-hearted, then don’t shoot for that goal. Instead, do a 180 in the opposite direction. Just because your father is choosing this path doesn’t mean that you have to. You share his genetics, but you don’t have to settle for the family legacy of self-induced pain.

What I described above doesn’t often come in a sudden epiphany (oh, to be that lucky!). It is a process…...the process to end all processes! So be kind to yourself, and forgive your own mistakes. In short, love yourself. If you don’t know what loving yourself looks like, just treat yourself the opposite of how your father has treated you, and you will soon find that you wear love very well indeed! And you did it in spite of any preconceived notions of how others who are supposed to love you actually treat you.

This route gives you independence from dysfunctional people so that you CAN be happy. The more you love yourself (and forgive yourself for your mistakes, which are inevitable), the easier it is to love people for who they are. But never let it be said that this is an easy road. It’s tough as hell to learn this,particularly if you come from a family who only modeled poor relationship skills (I should know). None of that matters, though. You can pull yourself out and away from this misery without having to cross the line into hating them, which only compunds your own problems.

MagsRags's avatar

@Dibley you’re getting good advice here. @phillis summed it up very well. He’s never going to be the father you want and deserve. And the harder you try to make it work, the more you own the problem and the less he has to not that I think he’s likely to change his behavior irregardless of what you do, unfortunately.

BTW, you were referring to the long story of December events with him. Here is the link to that thread. Basically, you find the thread, highlight the url and right click to copy, then follow the text styling instructions for link right below the text box you’re typing into.

Sophief's avatar

@MagsRags Thanks for that! I am getting good advice and I know that everyone is right in what they are saying. I think it is just a shock that he could be like this.

Trillian's avatar

@Dibley Wow. That must hurt. I’m sorry. I hope you have a better outcome from this than now appears to be.

jazmina88's avatar

First of all, parents love is not unconditional, not in this dysfunctional world. They have some wants and needs in the mix,

But a parents relationship is forever, and you do need to figure out what’s happening.
Between the both of you…...face to face. not bringing drama with the other family, but
finding out the real deal.

phillis's avatar

@jazmina88 I do agree with you (commuication IS the key). My question is, how can you communicate with someone who is THAT lost in thier problems? This father isn’t even able to recognize that his daughter doesn’t even know this woman, much less call her all the time. That is a pretty big red flag that this person is significantly disconnected from reality. How possible is a heart-to-heart in this situation?

His behavior is indicative of someone who feels that what they are highly dependent upon is being threatened. He isn’t even cognizant of the fact right now that Dibley is his child. These are extremely difficult obstacles to overcome, in order to have the depth of communication needed to begin mending this relationship.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I know exactly how you feel, and it really and truly sucks. The only thing I know you can do is be as kind as it is possible for you to be under the circumstances, keep the lines of communication open, and don’t burn your bridges. If you’re very lucky, he’ll realize he’s being had and reconnect with you.

janbb's avatar

@Dibley It seems from previous questions that you’ve posted that your father is a highly dysfunctional person and that you have been having problems with him for a while It might be wise for you to examine how much a part of your life he should be while he is acting out. It is not necessary to close the door forever, but why beat your head against a brick wall or – err, door, for that matter?

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Your father sounds very narcissistic; the only person he loves unconditionally is himself.

Do you have other male family members that are more stable that you can expand your definition of family to include?

Coloma's avatar

I had no idea of what pathological narcissism was until I divorced some years ago and came across all the literature on personality disorders. I was stunned…described my ex and daughters father to a ‘T.’

It sure made sense of a lot of impossible behaviors that can push others to the edge of their own sanity! lololol

What an eye opener!

Sophief's avatar

@janbb I know. I need to stop. I have stopped, I hope.

@PandoraBoxx I am, or was only close to my parents. I have my boyfriend though. I should be lucky he is still with me after what my dad did to him.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@Dibley, if you think this behavior is out of the ordinary, you may want to let his doctor know.

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