Let me give you a little backstory:
I’m now a forty-year-old Mama of two girls.
Back when I was growing up, my dad had then-undiagnosed bipolar disorder, narcissistic personality disorder and explosive episodes of narcissistic rage. My mother and I suffered much at his hands. When I was a twelve, same age as my eldest, my dad left. My sisters, luckily, were younger – the littlest was only a year old when he left my mother for another man.
He is now suffering the failure of a second long-term relationship with the man he’d left my mother for. He’s trying to blame his ex – someone who has been part of our family for many years now – for his own failures.
My dad is narcissistic; he never sees his own failings or faults. Instead, he blames his mental illnesses for his bad behavior. He’s now claiming that his former partner was “abusing him,” so he’s developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I want to say “yeah, whatever” because my Dad is clearly the bigger, tougher, meaner person.
For weeks now, he’s been sending me lots of emails full of smack-talk. Today’s email pushed me over the edge:
“It was not without anguish and sorrow that I came to understand I might not be welcome to color eggs with the girls.
Also, any shared celebration of the Easter Feast was unlikely to occur.
I would like to ask you to consider reviewing the issues between us with your pastor/counselor in light of the Commandment to “Honor thy Father….”
The issues between Marc* and I are complex and confusing to understand based on the surface details. You were only present in our household for a very brief period. You clearly recall that it was Marc’s position that we need not flush the toilet every time (in an effort to conserve water and save on expense ).
I did seek to preserve the relationship through multiple attempts at marriage counseling aimed at fair fighting rules, sexuality, household economics, chores, and any other relevant topics.
MARC always pointed to past failed attempts AS GOOD ENOUGH REASON TO BELIEVE WE COULD NOT SUCCEED IN A FUTURE ATTEMPT. TERMINALLY UNIQUE AND WHOLLY UNLIKE ANY OTHER COUPLE. (Not unlike that of an addict.)
I am finding good spiritual support through attending multiple twelve-step meetings within walking distance of my new home.
While sharing at one of these meetings, I was reminded by another person that
“I need not accept UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR.”
Your branding me as a cheat and unworthy of consideration falls into this area.
I DO NOT ACCEPT YOUR JUDGMENT AS SOUND IN THIS MATTER.
Let us look forward to rapprochement/reconciliation in the future.
*Name changed to protect privacy.
I am only replying to the first two statements in your message, as I do not have the strength with which to argue with you anymore.
1) We were out of state for much of the week prior to Easter and did not color any eggs whatsoever; there was no attempt to exclude you from any such activity as it did not even happen.
2) I do not cook or serve the Easter meal at my home; it is held at the home of my in-laws.
Please be advised, your messages are causing me pain and distress. You are reaching out across the internet and causing my heart to race and tears to stream down my face, just like you reached out and grabbed me when I was a kid. In your words, I do not have to accept unacceptable behavior, and may choose to ignore or delete your messages out of hand. I have every right to protect myself from your venom.
YOU were my abuser. I have a very hard time accepting you as a victim. I DO NOT need to hear of all the ways you’ve suffered; all I or my sisters have ever wanted is for you to own up to your own UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR and APOLOGIZE. NO EXCUSES. It is emotional abuse for you to threaten me to HONOR MY FATHER when you haven’t shown honor for my personhood by owning up to the ways in which you hurt me in the past. Please. Just. Stop.
I am standing up for myself now. I am done allowing you to hurt me. I will forgive you once you seek forgiveness and admit your own failings, which is what God asks of us. We must admit our sins, and request forgiveness. He will grant it, when we come before Him humbly, and admit that we need Him. I am not claiming to be perfect, or to have led my life in some perfect manner. I am broken. I am a sinner. I am reliant upon God for His grace and forgiveness.
I think my tears right now are because I know that this message will not reach you in the manner I intend, but that you will twist my words and use them to inflict more pain. We keep trying and hoping fervently that you will hear us, but you never do. Some of this is grief, accepting that I may never get the father I needed. My prayer is that you will listen and hear.