Advice; clarity with my dad

Postby WhatIs_87 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:09 pm

Good morning,

I posted for advice regarding my father, and am circling back for more advice. Here is some context:

-- dad left before I was born and never spoke to his family due to severe tension and trauma.

-- spoke to him when I was 11, but only allowed to call from my aunt's house, and my grandma couldn't be there. Pretty awkward for me.

-- I have been trying to contact him for two years. My sister-in-law said he often ignores his phone and mail, so I sent him a text and she told him I was trying to get in touch. Both efforts were not reciprocated.

-- I felt like I could move on and let go, but now it turns out I'm moving to the east coast, and will be a day's drive away from him for the first time in my life (I grew up in California and he's been in Ohio).

-- I am on the OCD/Anxiety spectrum, and when something is fearful to me or has some sort of sentimental layer to it, I will feel obligated and put a heavy burden on myself to keep trying to address it.

-- I am not looking for him to be my father, but I think I'm feeling like I need to speak to him to understand myself more.

So with that said, I haven't been able to let it go consistently, especially with moving to the East coast. As an outsider, this is the feedback I'm hoping to receive:

1) If you are familiar with OCD/ moral scrupulosity, how much of that seems to account for my persistence in contacting him when it scares the sh** out of me?

2) Can you share any journaling techniques or resources to help me clarify what I am feeling and what to do about it?

3) If you think I should let go and just allow him to take initiative, how would I coherently let go when my body and mind isn't letting me?

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. I take to heart and respect some of the rigorous feedback I've received in the past.

Ben
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:09 pm

WhatIs_87 wrote:3) If you think I should let go and just allow him to take initiative, how would I coherently let go when my body and mind isn't letting me?


To "let go" you do the following:

0600 wake up and get some exercise.
0800 go to work.
1700 help people in your life, e.g. your wife, children, friends, etc.
2000 read a book, pursue some education, focus on achieving something of actual value.
2200 go to bed.

Repeat.

You don't follow the above, because you lack the discipline and self confidence to pursue worthwhile goals in life that actually add value to the community.

Instead, you use the excuse of X or Y or Z to avoid a productive life. It brings you in here to ask for advice that keeps you locked into an unproductive path. It enables you to continue this "clarity seeking" which is actually stalking of another human being. He has made it clear that he doesn't want anything to do with you. Leave him alone.

Stop using this other human as an excuse to waste your time.
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#2

Postby WhatIs_87 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:53 pm

So your argument is that if I were to consume my energy with something else, I would be able to come to grips with the underlying reality that I know a relationship with my father is isn't in the cards, and it would no longer take hold of me?

How would I discern that avoiding something categorically different is the underlying mechanism for why I keep concerning myself with him? It seems more intuitive that feeling convinced it's right for him to interact with me in some way is the underlying trigger instead.
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#3

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:25 pm

WhatIs_87 wrote:How would I discern...


How do you discern who to stalk and how much time/resources to invest in stalking them? Easy. Don't stalk anyone. If you make a decision not to stalk another person then it takes care of itself.

This man is not your dad. He is not your father. He is a man that deposited his sperm and then made a run for it.

Mentally you are no different than any of these other stalkers...

https://www.seventeen.com/celebrity/cel ... r-stories/

That this man is not a "celebrity" does not make your behavior any less qualified. He has rejected you repeatedly. Seek psychiatric help.
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#4

Postby WhatIs_87 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:43 pm

Ok I impulsively clicked that link and I'm getting a chuckle out of it.

It's hard to conclude my father doesn't want anything to do with me. I met him when I was a child, we spoke on the phone, and even when a trip to return fell through, he understood. Apparently, he was in talks with his wife to have me come live with him. It's convoluted because I was entrenched in a family environment of people that he had been deeply wounded by, and from what I've heard from my sister in law, other family members were making it difficult to get in touch with me.

Because as far as I know he's received one message from me, I wonder if he wants to have a relationship but is fearful, as I have been. That possibility keeps fish hooking me back in to thinking there is something more forthright that I could potentially do to make that happen. It's also more difficult because I don't have a good read on him, having limited exposure to him throughout my life.

My sister-in-law gives me details like, he still has photographs of our time together in his office, so there is some level of sentimentality. In conclusion, as much as it would my life easier to let go of this, I'm not sure I can parallel my situation to a person believing a celebrity who doesn't know they exist has really been destined by God to be their future husband or wife, haha.

I do admit that I have tried harder and waited longer than other people would, however.
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#5

Postby WhatIs_87 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:55 pm

One more thing: could you provide me with any resources in line with the psychiatric help you referenced? Because I am moving, I don't actually have a therapist at the moment. That's why I appealed to this forum.
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#6

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:02 pm

Read the thread again...

viewtopic.php?t=108544&p=914168#p914168

He doesn't want anything to do with you. Stop being a stalker.
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#7

Postby WhatIs_87 » Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:52 pm

I hear you. Unfortunately, I can't come to terms with your underlying premise. I've been in situations where I was putting in 60-70 hours a week, and it didn't mitigate my anxiety, which tells me that a fear of work is not the underlying cause. If I can't trust your premise, then I can't come to terms with the rest of your argument on the basis of sheer repetition.

I've been in touch with my step-sister, and what also adds to nuance to his silence is her insistence that he doesn't necessarily want to avoid me, or may not know how to. It's hard when you have to fill in those gaps.

But I always appreciate perspective and being challenged. Thanks for engaging with my post
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#8

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:03 pm

WhatIs_87 wrote: I've been in touch with my step-sister, and what also adds to nuance to his silence is her insistence that he doesn't necessarily want to avoid me, or may not know how to.


If I'm your step sister I also try to placate you as I mentally protect myself and my father from you. Note, I'm not saying you are a physical threat. I'm saying that this man's silence and her playing both sides is them mentally shielding themselves the best they can from you.

It's hard when you have to fill in those gaps.


Nope. There are no actual gaps. There are only gaps that you imagine. Even if your step sister and this man file a restraining order, in your imagination you would say, "But, but, but, this is nuanced, and there are gaps to fill."

This man is fully aware that you have tried to contact him. There is 0% chance that he is not aware you want to contact him. That isn't a gap. His silence is not a gap. There is no lack of clarity.

Regardless, you will continue to try and insert yourself into this man's life. It will escalate and just get worse as you insist he acknowledges or has some interaction with you. And if he makes that mistake it will send you the wrong message. It will provide you the proof to say, "See, he does want to talk."

I feel for both the step sister and this man. They are in a tough situation as you force them to deal with you. I also feel for you but in a different way.
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#9

Postby WhatIs_87 » Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:06 pm

The first time I got in touch with my step-sister, she informed me that the number I had contacted wasn't in use, and she gave me his number before contacting them herself.

I was the one who thanked her for assisting me and assumed he didn't want to speak to me. She was the one who insisted that wasn't necessarily the case. I'm not understanding how and why you gravitated toward that stance.

I understand that you adopt a blunt and efficient stance on this forum. I would be happy to adopt your perspective, and in some cases have listened to you, but in this instance, it would be more useful if I could understand how you arrived at your conclusion. It seems like you're gravitating toward my counter-position almost on principle without the details I offered taking you there.
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#10

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:29 am

WhatIs_87 wrote:...it would be more useful if I could understand how you arrived at your conclusion. It seems like you're gravitating toward my counter-position almost on principle without the details I offered taking you there.


My conclusion is based on the details you have provided and the facts.

What you are engaging with is only the parts that don’t align, ignoring all the details/facts that do align. It is very easy for you to claim that any response has a flawed premise. Selective bias, choosing to point to details that don’t fit, while ignoring those that do.

My premise is pretty simple. You posted 8 months ago that this man did not want contact. Eight months! You have tried multiple ways to contact him, including through a step sister that is in contact with him directly, right?

He isn’t in a coma, right? Or is that a murky unknown, a detail you have not yet shared?

It stands to reason that after no less than 8 months of trying to contact him, it isn’t that he is out deep sea fishing, or that he lost your number, or that he is just needs you to try harder. It stands to reason that it isn’t that he is unaware or unable to contact you. It stands to reason, based on the overwhelming majority of the details you have provided that he is simply unwilling to talk with you.
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#11

Postby WhatIs_87 » Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:49 am

I'm glad you brought up the timing of the last post. I felt like you were talking past me, and I can see where it's gotten muddled.

I believed my dad had received my messages 8 months ago, but I wasn't sure. I located my step-sister on Facebook, and she brought up how terrible he was with checking his messages. She said it looked like he lost the phone I contacted, and that they always allowed piles of mail on their table before throwing it out and not checking it. Basically, she told me she really believed that he had just not received my messages. Since then, we have even developed a small friendship because we have quite a bit in common... meaning I don't think our correspondence is that of her being afraid of me and trying to appease me.

She doesn't know my dad as well because she was out of the house by the time he married her mother. While I have been trying to get closure, she has consistently said it's not black and white, and that he is bad enough at prioritizing that it could just be he hasn't gotten back to me.

She volunteered and took initiative to contact her mom, who told her that she assumed my dad had already gotten back to me. That's why it's difficult to really close the door on it because nobody feels quite certain, and the consensus seems to be how skittish my dad is at communication.

The whole situation is scary for me. I'm not persisting through this because it makes me happy or even because it's what I want the most. I actively try to close the door on it so I can not feel so anxious, but usually some part of my conscience will bring up the lack of clarity, and with the lack of clarity, the fact that I probably can try a little bit more before finally moving on.

My sister volunteered to speak to her mom, and she even told her mom to communicate with me, which wasn't something I asked for, and I'm not sure I want. If I could conclude that my dad wasn't just stalling, but genuinely wanted nothing to do with me, it would be of tremendous benefit to me and I could more easily move on.

Because of the high stakes of this on my mental health, I appeal to this forum to align myself closer with informed expertise. I want to accept feedback that gives me easier truth (just let it go and move on), but I can only internalize that if I'm sure the advice is aligned with the evidence and the details.
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#12

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Fri Jul 03, 2020 3:18 am

WhatIs_87 wrote:I believed my dad had received my messages 8 months ago, but I wasn't sure.

The whole situation is scary for me. I'm not persisting through this because it makes me happy or even because it's what I want the most. I actively try to close the door on it...


Okay, switch gears...let’s focus on the above.

Actively trying is 8 months ago after a few days or maybe a week of not hearing anything you follow up. Still don’t hear anything try again. Talk with the step sister. If in a few more days or a week and still nothing send a certified letter.

It takes less time to actively get a divorce or foreclose on a house than it does for you to “actively” find out if another person is just not receiving multiple messages for over 8 months? It took less time to fight the war in the Falklands than for to you to gain clarity on if a person does or does not want to talk with you.

So consider that what you think it means to be “actively” trying to gain clarity is from an outside perspective not very active.

This takes me to you stating that you are scared. You fear that he doesn’t want to have a relationship with you. It isn’t fear of a relationship, otherwise you wouldn’t be pursuing a relationship. It is fear of rejection. This is understandable and helps to explain why your “actively” isn’t very active.

If you actually wanted clarity you would have it. It doesn’t take over 8 months to figure this out. It is similar to people that keep fretting about divorce, but never get around to signing the papers. In their mind they are actively going through divorce proceedings, but they keep dragging out the process as it is painful and anxiety ridden. It can go on for years even though it just causes more anxiety than it would to just get it over with.

There are so many ways over the last 8 months that you could have actively gotten clarity. You could have sent a certified letter, hired a private investigator, used a trusted friend to hand deliver a message, etc. etc.

Rip the bandaid off. Stop wasting your time. I understand the fear, but it isn’t going away.
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#13

Postby WhatIs_87 » Fri Jul 03, 2020 3:31 am

Hi Richard,

I'm actually not afraid of his rejection. I'm afraid of his acceptance and having a relationship with him in the first place.

The 8 month span only really counts given the premise that he received my messages to begin with, which I'm being told is an unlikely event by my step-sister, which is why it's a mind ****.

I know my first statement seems weird. The best way I can put it is, between my sexuality and my religion, I stuffed a bunch of shame and anxiety and didn't deal with a lot of past relationships. After I left the church and learned to embrace myself, I started feeling convictions about past relationships and having to face the music. After a year of doing this, my dad was the culmination of it all: if I didn't have my anxiety disorder and feel like I had to hide myself from people, I wouldn't have stopped trying with him in the first place, and maybe he's doing similar things, since he's avoided his entire family for the last 35 years. The way I experience fear is bass ackwards and hard for people to understand. I flip out over mundane things, but in extreme environments do a lot better.
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#14

Postby WhatIs_87 » Fri Jul 03, 2020 3:48 am

5 to last sentence: "I realized I needed to take a mroe confrontational stance with my anxiety disorder.."
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