Social Question

vampmoore's avatar

Absent Father plus Angry Daughter equals Facebook friends?

Asked by vampmoore (445points) May 24th, 2010

My father has been absent as a parent for most of my life. I think the last time I saw him was when I was 14. I am now 20. When i was younger I was confused as to why he was never around. Then as I got older I got angry and resentful, and later still I was extremely indifferent. i realized there was no point in being angry because that wasn’t gonna make him take care of me.

But recently he sent me a friend request on Facebook. At first I was really surprised and my first thought was to ignore it. But then I hesitated and thought about how that would look to him. And all the anger and resentment came back as i realized that I was still worried about what my father thought of me as a daughter when he hasn’t been a father to me since I was a very small girl.

Eventually I accepted him as a friend and he sends me messages and comments on my photos and I’m not sure what to do. I DON’T want to talk to him but I wonder how long I’m gonna be able to ignore him?

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28 Answers

Vunessuh's avatar

You probably shouldn’t have accepted his friend’s request if you planned on ignoring him. You don’t make someone your ‘friend’ on Facebook and then intentionally ignore them. That doesn’t make much sense. If you feel so strongly about this, you should probably delete him as a friend and send him a message telling him why and apologize for accepting his request in the first place.

Merriment's avatar

If you don’t want to talk to him de friend him and leave it at that.

If there is a part of you that wants to ask the tough questions…do that.

This time around it is all about your needs and wishes…so make a few. He will either man up and get honest with you or he will disappear…again.

vampmoore's avatar

If I defriend him I would feel like I’m doing the same thing to him as he did to me, which is why I accepted him in the first place.

Vunessuh's avatar

It’s just Facebook. Let’s not get dramatic.
If your father wanted to be a real man and get into contact with you, he would either call or meet you in person.
Delete him.

vampmoore's avatar

Maybe its just Facebook to you, but to me it doesn’t matter what avenue he took, its just that he did. Ignoring him on Facebook would be no different then ignoring a phone call or not answering the door.

Pandora's avatar

@vampmoore Its difficult closing the door on any relationship. I don’t think it was because you where worried about how it would look but rather because deep down you wish things to be different. There is no reason to feel ashamed. It seems you have some unresolved issues and you are afraid to confront him for fear of losing him all together. My nephew has the same problem with his dad. Its a love hate thing that has gone on for years because of neglect from his dad. Yet he wants dads approval. True he could call you like Vunessah suggested but he might not know how to go about doing it because he feels ashamed. Only way to know is to ask him. Don’t do it for him but rather do it for yourself. You need to get some things off your chest so you can let go and move forward or move on. Good luck. :D

Vunessuh's avatar

I DON’T want to talk to him but I wonder how long I’m gonna be able to ignore him?

From what you’re telling us, you’re already ignoring him and if to you it’s as bad as ignoring a phone call or not answering the door, then you should probably start talking to him, ya think? If not, in your mind, you’re as bad as he is. Perhaps you can open up a conversation about your childhood and how he was never there for you.
I still think he’s a pussy and I still think if he truly wanted to reach out to you, he wouldn’t do it by means of Facebook. It literally shows you his continued lack of dedication to being your father. If you can’t recognize that, then that’s too bad.
So, you have two choices here: Either delete him if ignoring him seems to be the only thing you want to do, or respond to the message he wrote you and hopefully something good will come of this communication.

chyna's avatar

It seems to me you are kind of glad that he has reached out to you, if only on facebook, but don’t know what to do next. What do you want to do? From what you have said, you don’t want to treat him as you feel he treated you growing up. You could use facebook to ask him questions you want answered.

dutchbrossis's avatar

People make mistakes, I would tell him how you feel about him not being there for you. If he can show you that he really wants to be a part of your life, I would try my best to forgive and go on.

vampmoore's avatar

Not taking care of your children is not a mistake, he did it on purpose. But I do agree that I have to make a decision. I’m thinking that since I accepted him not being there when I was younger made me happier than wondering, and no answer he can possibly give me for why he wasn’t there would be satisfactory. So I think its best if I just delete him rather than give myself more false hope.

perspicacious's avatar

Firstly, you are not indifferent. If you were, you would have ignored the friend request and you wouldn’t be talking about your father.

If you do not want to have contact with him, remove him as a FB friend. If you want to talk to him, simply do. Ask him every question you have. It’s OK. He will know you deserve answers. Just be sure you really want them.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

He made the overture to you to be your Facebook friend. And he’s communicating with you at least in that small way.

Maybe it would be a good time to let some of your bad feelings go by telling them to him. (Don’t do it wall-to-wall; you don’t want to embarrass each other and make spectacles of yourselves and air this for all of your mutual friends to see.)

You could ask him why he left. I’m sure it had nothing to do with you, and I’d bet that he feels bad about that… and maybe so bad that he can’t bring it up himself.

Just start your conversation about what “you think” and “you feel”. And by that I do not mean “I feel like you’re a…” or “I think you must be…”. No: “I feel hurt / angry / sad / lonely / let down / disappointed… whatever”. Don’t try to guess at his motives or think that you know them or what they “must be”. Tell him how you feel (about yourself, or about how you feel “towards him”) and the things that are inside of you. Don’t try to tell him what’s inside of him; that’s his job, if he’ll take it now.

Pandora's avatar

@vampmoore I think you let it slip out on your last statement.
So I think its best if I just delete him rather than give myself more false hope.
You have unresolved issues and it can carry over to other relationships in your future. I don’t think you want to know why because as you said there will never be a good enough reason for abandoning you. However you may want to know if he regrets it or at least for you to be able to stand up for yourself and tell him what he has done to you emotionally. Your afraid of getting hurt again and that is understandable. But you may always wonder what if later on. Find someone who shares middle ground with both a you. An aunt or grandparent and maybe they can help you in deciding what to do. Remember that the road not taken can also lead to regret. True your feelings may get hurt again but at least you would not have run away like he did. And you can feel proud that you did what you could. Nothing to feel ashamed about in hoping for a relationship to work. He did the shameful thing. He ran away but maybe he’s trying to face up to it. Like my dad use to say. The only Saints he knows are all dead.

tranquilsea's avatar

Firstly, I am sorry that you have such a negligent father. He has placed you in a very difficult position, but it sounds as though he is quite used to putting you there. My gut tells me that he is wanting an easy relationship with you and I don’t think that is fair after all he’s done. If he really wanted a relationship with you he would write you (if talking to you in person was too confrontational) and tell you how sorry he was and that his actions were not due to you but due to his own inability to handle his own life.

It may do you some good to confront him, as long as you are emotionally prepared to deal with him not answering you or making excuses for his behaviour. Have you ever confronted him about how much he has hurt you? It may be cathartic to just get it off your chest.

I don’t think it is good to pretend that everything is ok, because it is obviously not. But it shouldn’t be your responsibility to make this relationship work after all he’s done. He has to show some real effort.

I just don’t want you to be hurt by him again.

jazmina88's avatar

befriending him opens up a chance….for healing. If you keep on ignoring it, you can not grow. As a person, or with your father.

I wish you peace and understanding.

Jewel's avatar

I’ve been where you are. It can be very confusing and bring up all kinds of feelings that one can’t understand or deal with easily. The most confusing part was understanding that we began the new phase of our relationship where we left off – as an adult father and child, although I was grown.
In the end we weren’t able to make it the nice relationship we wanted it to be, but that was OK. I was able to deal with the anger, resentment and sadness and leave those feelings in the past. I was able to express myself and heal the wounds. I was able to learn a lot about him, my childhood, extended family and history. I don’t know what, if anything, he got out of it. I hope it was beneficial for him, but in the end, you do this for yourself. For your healing and your growth.
Kept to facebook for now, you should be safe to explore a bit with him. You don’t need to let him into your life any further if you don’t want to, and you can shut him out if you choose to.
Good luck. I think you will find you did a good thing by daring to look into your past with your father..

shimmer_96's avatar

my son is in the same type of situation…his deadbeat dad wants nothing to do with him and has not been in his life since he was born (14 yrs ago) the dad is on my friends list on facebook and myspace, just so I can keep tabs on him…his profile says “does not want kids” how mean….my son saw that when he signed up for the websites and got pissed! I tell him “one day he will want to be in your life…make you choice then, not now”.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Great answer, @shimmer_96. You’re going to be a real asset here. Welcome to Fluther.

Seek's avatar

My mother left my father, and moved cross-country when I was eight. The last time I saw my father was when I was ten, and my mom made me tell him I never wanted to speak to him again, when I was twelve. I have been looking for my father behind her back since age 14. No one, literally no one knows where he is. Once a month I check the obituary records, just in hope of finding closure.

If my dad found me on Facebook and showed an interest in communicating, you better believe I would be all over it. Of course I have a billion questions. Why didn’t he ever write to me? Why didn’t he realise I didn’t mean it when I told him that – I was only 12, after all?

dutchbrossis's avatar

I have never been in your situation but I can say yes it may have been a very big mistake. I have seen people and know people on both sides. Yes not being there for your children is HORRIBLE, but there are fathers who do NOT do it on purpose to hurt the child. They get hurt by something or get caught up in bad things, ( like drugs such as meth or crack ) and whatever it is that stuff does to the mind causes issues too hard for anyone who hasn’t done it to understand or comprehend. I am not saying what he did was OK or right, I am saying he might have not ever meant to hurt you and now he wants to try to mend whatever he can and try to build a relationship.

Stop_Corruption's avatar

When your father reaches out to contact you, you need to ask him why he was gone, LISTEN as long as he talks and believe what he tells you, and ask him to come back into your life. And forgive him. It will help you more than him. If your father isn’t equally involved in your life as your mom, you WILL have issues with relationships and commitments because you and everyone needs to learn about male and female relationships and treating people equally through the time spent equally with your father and mother who are your blood and behave like you probably will. One or both of your parents should model how you need to treat people equally. Most absent fathers were intentionally cut off by the mothers. The reason most parents don’t see their children is because the sole custodian holds the children captive and treats the other parent cruelly and like a slave and the ‘visitor’ has to beg and fight in court just to see their children. The fathers can’t stand being abused so cruelly without end by the mothers and the court workers. The fathers can’t keep paying the ransom money at $250/hr to the court’s friends in order to see their children a few days. And any custodian and court worker who beats fathers dead and then calls him a deadbeat is guilty of one of the worse kinds of child abuse. READ THE BOOK Adult Children of Parental Alienation to read the many quotes from the children’s mouths. Most children’s rights are destroyed in the U.S. to generate money for lawyers and for the other unconscious abusers who claim to be angels in the best interest. Read the book and find the real truth, ask your father. PLEASE. I believe that only the VOICE OF CHILDREN can turn around the severe abuse of children and of fathers by the system generating many billions of dollars every year by misusing children. You can make the first step and contact your father now and find out. He’s probably waiting for you to be old enough to understand and be kind to him. ;( to :)

vampmoore's avatar

thank you @Stop_Corruption, but you are wrong. about somethings at least. my father was not cut off by my mother. HE walked out on US. i do not believe it is my job to reach out to him. but i did. i asked him questions and he gave the same immature, its-not-my-fault answers he did before. he doesn’t believe he did anything wrong, and will not apoligize for it. he doesn’t deserve forgiveness. thank you all for your input.

Stop_Corruption's avatar

There are some cases where a judge gave a father every opportunity to be an equal parent but those are pretty rare in some states. Doesn’t it look like you had your mind made up before you asked him. You said “no answer he can possibly give me for why he wasn’t there would be satisfactory.” Since your father said it’s not his fault, who’s fault did he say it was? And if he said it’s your mother’s fault or the government’s fault for enticing mothers with big money, did you believe him? I don’t know if you can really pin the fault since it was before you were 14 or blame it all on one reason. Did your father ever ask for more parenting time from your mother? Was this a court case? Forgiving him is going to help you more than him. No one in your life has to take the blame or apologize for you to forgive them. Pandora said, “Don’t do it for him but rather do it for yourself.” Forgiving means not holding guilty – with no conditions – or your relationship can never be resolved. If he is reaching out to you, doesn’t that mean that he is showing feelings for you? and wants to make up for the past? I pray the best for you and for your father. It is certainly difficult for both of you. The judges and their profit taking friends who say children are OK getting most of their parenting from a single gender are dead wrong and you are proof. I hope children everywhere raise their voices and tell the judges how much it hurts to have one parent become just a visitor or cut off. If judges and mothers gave most fathers the option of equal parenting without moving, the fathers would never be missing.

vampmoore's avatar

okay, @Stop_Corruption, to answer your questions, he didn’t say anyone was at fault, just that he wasn’t. is your second question about child support, than don’t worry, we never received a dime. (refused to show up for court and apparently there was nothing the judge could do about that). i can definitely lay the blame at his feet. i remember him promising and promising us he will come pick us up, or take us to the movies, or simply come say hi. my mother would get us ready only to have him not show up and have us in tears. i learned by age ten that my father was a liar. i stopped expecting him to come around and stopped believing him when he said he would. i understand forgiving him would help me. i didn’t say i wouldn’t forgive him. i said he didn’t deserve to be forgiven. no he didn’t ask for more parenting time because he didn’t contact us for years at a time.

are you implying that there are no dead beat dads at their, and that they are just victims of the system and money hungry mothers?

chyna's avatar

@Stop_Corruption OMG, I cannot believe the generalizations you are spewing. “Most absent fathers are cut off by the mothers..” That is really not the norm. Do you have studies on this you can site? Because most of the mothers I know can not get the dead beat fathers to see their children or even pay for their children. How many fathers send $50.00 a month to the mother and think this should feed and clothe their child? I have a friend that has a son that is exactly in the same spot as @vampmoore. The father would call, say he was coming, got the child in an excited state, and never, ever showed. This happened multiple times. The child got to the point he didn’t want to hear about the father. The mom stopped trying to protect the asshole father that disappointed the child over and over.

Seek's avatar

Uh huh. And my father was granted joint custody by the courts. We were supposed to get him for every school holiday. The last time I saw him was when I was ten years old, because my mother’s parents got sick of her bullshit, and flew him down for a weekend. So he stopped paying child support, arguing that if my mother wasn’t keeping her end of the bargain, why should he keep his? So the court decided to draft the money straight from his pension, with nothing stated about his visitation rights. No one in my family (his side or my mother’s) has heard from him since.

We all have a story that would show our point. However, arguing one story against another is no way to make sense of broad generalisations. The courts have historically sided with the mother in the majority of cases, unless it can be shown that the mother is an “unfit parent”. That usually involves the mother having legal troubles of her own, or working in the sex industry (I have a story for that, too.)

Vitalfuse's avatar

I am going through the same situation with my father. He was never there for me as a kid. I grew up across the country from him and other then an occasional phone call or card I almost never saw him. I am 35 and a father of two sons myself. Over the years I have learned to better deal with of my fathers lack of effort and I found that my history with him drives me even more to be there 100% for my sons. Recently he sent me a friend request on Facebook and I excepted it without completely thinking it through. Now his comments and updates many times make me feel resentful and I sometimes think about deleting him from my friend list. I have been grappling with how I should approach this constructively.

fluthertapthecollectivedotcom's avatar

I am going through a similar situation in that my father has been out-to-lunch since my the divorce and his experience with colon cancer (no regression) and a back injury. He has always been kind of an alcoholic and now he is not even the same person any more. He is racist, obnoxious, angry, and sad on a regular interval. I am graduating soon and I wish I could just do it quietly. I feel the same way like how you didn’t want to friend your dad, I don’t want to have him at my graduation, yet I am worried about how that would make him feel. However, it makes me mad because he is not worried about being a role model, mentor, or supporter of me emotionally, spiritually (he has always been an atheist), or financially. I am worried he will die soon because of his alcoholism, and then I will feel like I should have done something to help him, but I don’t know what. It just makes me sad and/or uncomfortable and angry (usually all three) to go over and see him. He is not the dad I remember growing up: fought for workers rights, women’s rights, and civil liberties. He had dreams and plans. I understand he wanted my Mom to support him after he went on disability, but why should she carry his dead weight? He has more education than her (she is a blue collar worker); he has management experience and an AA in music. Luckily, or unfortunately for my situation, my dad is not online yet (much less on facebook), but he is static in my life. He is just on the periphery wasting away. It’s like he thinks if he becomes more and more pathetic someone will come and take care of him! I have my own life; I want to have a career and kids. That is another thing: if I get married and/or have kids, he will want to be included and all he is is an embarrassment. Two years ago I invited him to a scholarship awards ceremony and he came drunk and unkempt and acted like a child having a tantrum when he found out the restaurant we went to afterward didn’t serve alcohol. I don’t want to have anything to do with him or even his family (who are all write frankly racist and nuts).

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