Hi all. I'm having a crisis and need some advice from my allnurses family.
I just found out that my father died this morning. I'm not sure what I should be feeling or what to do. Sounds simple enough, so where's the dilema?
Well, let me give you some background. I have not had any contact with my parents for the last 13 1/2 years. I was adopted by them when I was a month old. I was then abused by both of them for at least 20+ years. I suffered emotional and verbal abuse by my mother and emotional, verbal and sexual abuse by my father. The earliest I can remember the abuse starting was when I was about 5 years old and it continued until I got married when I was 25. Yes, even as an adult, the abuse continued. He had that much power and control over me.
I also have a brother 16 months older than I who was also adopted and a brother 4 1/2 years younger who was their natural child. When I broke contact with my parents, my brothers also broke contact with me. They thought that everything was all my fault. This was very difficult for me. My younger brother was one of my husband's best friends at the time. Of course, he was living at home and working for my father, and I think that had a lot to do with his decision.
I've gone through a lot since then and have done a lot of growing. I am now married to my best friend for the last 13 1/2 years. I have two beautiful and caring children (10 and almost 8). My in-laws are more of parents to me than my own parents ever were.
But, right now, my emotions are mixed. I'm not sure what I should be feeling. Should I feel sad that he is gone or should I feel joy (if that is the right word) that he will never be able to hurt another person?
To run the risk of being too religious, I know that when he met God today that his soul went somewhere and I don't think it was to heaven.
So, I guess what I'm wondering is is what should I be feeling and should I attend the funeral? Before this happened, I've also been toying with the idea of trying to track down my biological parents. What do you think of that?
Sorry for the long rambling, but thanks for listening.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Now I have to try to get through 12 hours at work.
Nov 11, '05
I'm sorry you had to deal with all this. I don't think there is any right answer or any "should" in this situation. I can see you feeling devastated, or throwing a party because you don't have to deal with him. The thing to do is to just go with what you want and honor how you feel right now. I think mood swings would be natural and normal...just take care of YOU, and don't worry about those that have let you down in the past.
Nov 11, '05
All I can tell you is to follow your heart and do what is comfortable for you, you have been through enough. Dont feel obligated to attend the funeral and dont feel bad if you choose not to go. You can always visit the grave side alone if you feel you could close this chapter in your life. Other than that I dont know what to say. I feel very sorry for you that you endured all those years of abuse with no out. Good luck to you...
Nov 11, '05
You have been through a lot (not unlike some others on this BB), yet have found the courage to break away, put it behind you and build a (much) better life for yourself and your family. Your experiences must have produced some scarring; perhaps a few sessions with a professional would help in sorting out feelings and making choices. I wish you the very best, in whatever you decide to do, and don't feel obligated to feel guilty for whatever choices you make. Take care of yourself and your family. Hugs. ----- D
Nov 11, '05
I'm sorry for this. My mother had a poor relationship with her father (nothing near what you described though). When he died, she was really upset, but she said she felt like she was grieving more for the father she wish she had. It was sad for her to know that her relationship with him would never be a loving one and although she already knew it wouldn't, the finality of his death just made it hit her. I think mixed feelings are normal and you should allow yourself to deal with them in any way you need to.
As far as finding your birth parents..... I'm actually adopted and have a good relationship with my birth mom (found her about 7 years ago).... I would just caution you to not search for them if you are looking for the love your adoptive parents didn't give you. They aren't your mom and dad, they are strangers at first. Many reunions turn out badly, and if I were you I wouldn't want to deal with that possibility until I was done dealing with what's already on your plate.
Nov 11, '05
I was severely abused by my mother until I too was an adult. Finally, at age 20, took myself off to a psychiatrist cause I thought I was at fault. Hmm.... guess where I got that idea? The doc spoke with my mother at length, then told me that I was not crazy, but mom definately was, and advised me to get as far away from her, as fast as I could, and never look back. When dear mom died, I too didn't know what I was supposed to feel, but to tell the truth, it was mostly relief.
Don't think there is any one 'right' way to feel, but you shouldn't feel bad if you don't exactly grieve, or attend the funeral. What he put you through is totally unacceptable and it is hard to feel bad for him, no? Plus facing your mom (co-abuser) and brothers (who aren't understanding of what you went through) would seem to me to be asking a lot of yourself.
Think Fergus offered good advice about your birth parents. If you do choose to search for them, I wish you good luck. :icon_hug:
Nov 11, '05
I agree with other posters - whatever you "feel" is right for you.
As to the adoption issue...I was adopted when I was a toddler and in 1992, I found my biological mother because I needed some health information. It was kinda bittersweet. Yes, I do look like her. However, she was very embarassed that I found her. It was not a good thing for me, so we have not been in contact for many years and that is okay.
Every adoptee has a different story - its a very individual choice.
Nov 11, '05
I can't really add much except to say that I'm sorry you had to go through that in your life and I wish you luck.
My girl was sexually abused by her father for years. It wasn't untill I discovered the bruises that I knew what was going on. The poor thing didn't even know that this was wrong - she thought that was the way fathers showed their "affection" to their daughters. It took much persuasion and anguish to tell her otherwise and she was reluctant to persecute her father under law (she was afraid he'd do the same to her siblings).
A couple years later as she was suffering from advanced stages of cancer, she tended to blame her disease on herself - she felt it was punishment for betraying her father. She died peacefully, but I'll never know if she died with that lingering thought in her mind.
I know from personal experience that abuse during childhood leaves deep scars for life. There are still somethings I'm not sure I can or want to deal with. It probably explains my sometimes very ambivalent feelings to wards the rest of my family or my somewhat reluctant nature to trust others to form commited relationships.
Whatever path you choose, I wish you peace.
PS: I hope I don't seem forward, but it somewhat makes me happy (in a way) to see the victims of abuse grow up to take on such a nurturing and caring role of a nurse. That inspite of being abused, choose to heal the suffering of others.
Nov 11, '05
I am truly sorry for your suffering. I do not think anyone can tell you what to do or feel. I will pray that you find peace.
Nov 11, '05
keep an open door for your brothers..you really do not owe your mother anything but perhaps the way she treated you was, partly, the fault of the father. perhaps on some twisted level of her mind she felt that is she contributed tothe abuse she would not have to deal with it, not have to stand up for you
it is strange that people who are horrible parents will apply for adoptive children
if you have not had contact with the birth parents wait for about a year b/4 you attempt anything in this direction..you have to settle things in your own mind b/4 taking on an additional burden
Nov 11, '05
5scardiacnurse, I fully understand what you mean about being abused even into adulthood. I was sexually abused by my biological father for many, many, years.
There's no particular way you "should" feel. Your emotions are your own, don't try to manipulate them to fit the way you think others expect you to feel.
The way I found peace from it all was to finally work on forgiveness. Though I never chose to have much contact with him before he died, I, at least was at peace. I hope he will also find forgiveness wherever he ended up. Looking back, I can see that he had his own issues and mental illness to deal with and had no resources or even awareness.
If you aren't comfortable going to the funeral, don't. You don't need to contact your mother. You don't need to confron any of them.
If you wish, send flowers. Send your brothers cards if you want to let them know you're willing to open lines of communications. They may or may not respond positively.
As far as looking for your birth mother, I don't have any good advice except talk it over with your husband and put some distance between this funeral and any major decision about the search.
Whatever you do, I wish you the best.
Nov 12, '05
Your feelings or even a lack of them are yours and whatever they are they are right. There is no textbook way you should feel. You may feel absolutely nothing, that does not mean there is something wrong with you.
I commend you for being able to remove yourself from this situation and improve your lot. It takes much courage to get out of a situation like this.
Do not feel obligated to attend the funeral or anything else unless it is what YOU want to do. You have absolutely no obligations here.
Your only obligation is to yourself and YOUR well-being.
I wish you well.
Nov 15, '05
Thank you to all who responded to my plea for help.
The funeral was yesterday and, no, I did not go. The deciding point for me was when I read the obituary and I was not even mentioned.
But I know that I am better than he ever could have been. I know that I will never put my children through what I went through.
Being a Christian, in a way, I have forgiven him, but I will never forget.
Now with him gone, I can really look forward and get on with my life. There is so much ahead of me that I want to do and now nothing is going to hold me back.
Again, thank you for all your kind words and encouragement.
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