How do you get over anger and resentment towards a parent that's not even alive anymore?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 04, 2009 3:37 PM GMT
    So I'll just get to the point. This Sunday, Sept 6th, is the 6th anniversary of my father dying of cancer when I was 18. All week I've been having trouble because of it. Little sleep, lots of depressed feelings, etc.

    My father was a jackass. He was emotionally unavailable, and the few emotions he had were frustration and anger. He wasn't a nice man to me. Growing up, he had the same relationship with my brother, but when he turned 21, my dad softened up on him, and they developed a nice relationship. I never had this happen because he got diagnosed with cancer when I was 17, and died a year later when I was 18. What made it worse was after he was diagnosed, he pushed me away while he pulled my brother and mother closer. He was still distant and often times nasty right up to when we put him in hospice and he was too drugged to know who he was or what was going on. Ever since I've had to live with the fact that my father was not very nice to me and pushed me away and not the other members of the family, and this has caused me a lot of pain and led to a hard time for me to est. relationships with others.

    Normally it's not so bad, but times like this, and Christmas, and other times, it flares up and I just become this ball of resentment and anger. It's all I can do to just start screaming and foaming at the mouth to my mother and brother whenever they bring him up and talk about what a nice man he was. But the thing is that he is dead, and I'll never get an explanation or apology from him for anything, and this lack of closure is what kills me the most.

    I guess what I'm asking for is any advice, maybe from others who have experienced this, on how to deal with this. It's been 6 fucking years, and I still feel like that wounded 17-18 year old, even though I've somehow managed to create a life for myself since then. I guess I'm in a lot of emotional turmoil this week, and need to know what to do to make it stop. All I want is for it to stop so I can have some peace.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Sep 04, 2009 3:54 PM GMT
    When you find a BF channel all of that rage and anger towards him for being so distant and judgmental, just like everyone else.


    I kid. But my father passed away about 8 years ago and I could say some really awful things about him too. Each year it gets easier, but yes sometimes I still feel like I have to prove myself all the time or try to live up to his standards....it doesn't seem to really ever go away. But eventually you will become a different person with different goals and ways of thinking about life. His opinions if he were alive will start meaning less and less.

    Also, look at the millions of children starving in the world, or children that are no longer even alive because of the abuse of their parents. Parents are human, and you don't even need to be a good person to be a parent. I'm actually thankful I had at least a chance now to make a decent life for myself, free of abuse. Thank him for at least that chance.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 04, 2009 3:55 PM GMT
    have you pissed on his grave lately?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 04, 2009 3:58 PM GMT
    If you figure it out let me know. I still feel resentment over things friends have done to me there were minor compared to your father actions towards you. Seems like you have acknowledged your feelings - something I've always heard is the first step towards forgiveness. The one thing that has helped me is to realize that people who hurt me were acting out of their own scared insecurities; they were imperfect humans responding the best way they were able at the time.
    Sorry I couldn't give much advice. I will be paying attention to this topic. I wish you the best of luck as you learn how to quiet your anger and resentment towards your father.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Sep 04, 2009 4:16 PM GMT
    There's no easy way out of this. Venting to your mother or brother isn't going to help your relationship with them. The nicest thing you could say is "I wish I had known him like you did" and that seems to be the truth.

    Here's the thing - parents are people, and people fuck up and get fucked up. You'll never hear it from him, but there must have been something that happened to him at some point that made him that way.

    Short of seeing a therapist, I'd write out a letter to him venting it all and then forgive him.
  • jrs1

    Posts: 4388

    Sep 04, 2009 4:22 PM GMT

    As Timberoo stated: there is no easy way ... so, I won't waste anyone's time:

    try:

    - forgiveness (you are not responsible for the behaviors of others, save for your small child). What happened between you and your father has ended and you have a life to be lead. you cannot and will not forget what has happened between the two of you, however, you are not responsible for carrying with you the burden of anger, and the like. this is not necessarily my attempt to channel Jesus (I'm not religious) so much as taking a koan from the Tao Te Ching.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 04, 2009 4:23 PM GMT
    TheIStrat saidSo I'll just get to the point. This Sunday, Sept 6th, is the 6th anniversary of my father dying of cancer when I was 18. All week I've been having trouble because of it. Little sleep, lots of depressed feelings, etc.

    My father was a jackass. He was emotionally unavailable, and the few emotions he had were frustration and anger. He wasn't a nice man to me. Growing up, he had the same relationship with my brother, but when he turned 21, my dad softened up on him, and they developed a nice relationship. I never had this happen because he got diagnosed with cancer when I was 17, and died a year later when I was 18. What made it worse was after he was diagnosed, he pushed me away while he pulled my brother and mother closer. He was still distant and often times nasty right up to when we put him in hospice and he was too drugged to know who he was or what was going on. Ever since I've had to live with the fact that my father was not very nice to me and pushed me away and not the other members of the family, and this has caused me a lot of pain and led to a hard time for me to est. relationships with others.

    Normally it's not so bad, but times like this, and Christmas, and other times, it flares up and I just become this ball of resentment and anger. It's all I can do to just start screaming and foaming at the mouth to my mother and brother whenever they bring him up and talk about what a nice man he was. But the thing is that he is dead, and I'll never get an explanation or apology from him for anything, and this lack of closure is what kills me the most.

    I guess what I'm asking for is any advice, maybe from others who have experienced this, on how to deal with this. It's been 6 fucking years, and I still feel like that wounded 17-18 year old, even though I've somehow managed to create a life for myself since then. I guess I'm in a lot of emotional turmoil this week, and need to know what to do to make it stop. All I want is for it to stop so I can have some peace.


    Here's reality. No family is The Cleavers. No such thing. Life sucks, then...you die. You have choices: to look at the bad and be all whiny or to look at the good and be happy. That's completely a matter of perspective. It's that very, very, very, simple. So, choose, either to be miserable, or to be happy...your call. If you're wise you'll let all the dumb baggage go. You see, it's in the past. It's done. IT'S OVER WITH. Let it go. Move on. Nothing can be gained, NOT ONE THING, from making yourself miserable. A smart man chooses to be happy. Are you smart?

    I just told you what a good shrink would, and I did it for free. Now, go get on with the rest of your life, and quit making yourself miserable.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 04, 2009 4:24 PM GMT
    TheIStrat saidSo I'll just get to the point. This Sunday, Sept 6th, is the 6th anniversary of my father dying of cancer when I was 18. All week I've been having trouble because of it. Little sleep, lots of depressed feelings, etc.

    My father was a jackass. He was emotionally unavailable, and the few emotions he had were frustration and anger. He wasn't a nice man to me. Growing up, he had the same relationship with my brother, but when he turned 21, my dad softened up on him, and they developed a nice relationship. I never had this happen because he got diagnosed with cancer when I was 17, and died a year later when I was 18. What made it worse was after he was diagnosed, he pushed me away while he pulled my brother and mother closer. He was still distant and often times nasty right up to when we put him in hospice and he was too drugged to know who he was or what was going on. Ever since I've had to live with the fact that my father was not very nice to me and pushed me away and not the other members of the family, and this has caused me a lot of pain and led to a hard time for me to est. relationships with others.

    Normally it's not so bad, but times like this, and Christmas, and other times, it flares up and I just become this ball of resentment and anger. It's all I can do to just start screaming and foaming at the mouth to my mother and brother whenever they bring him up and talk about what a nice man he was. But the thing is that he is dead, and I'll never get an explanation or apology from him for anything, and this lack of closure is what kills me the most.

    I guess what I'm asking for is any advice, maybe from others who have experienced this, on how to deal with this. It's been 6 fucking years, and I still feel like that wounded 17-18 year old, even though I've somehow managed to create a life for myself since then. I guess I'm in a lot of emotional turmoil this week, and need to know what to do to make it stop. All I want is for it to stop so I can have some peace.


    You forgive him for not being the dad you wanted and move on. Holding on to these feelings are obviously only hurting you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 04, 2009 4:26 PM GMT

    Sounds like the situation my ex was in. He finally decided his love for his father was stronger than his fathers rejection of him.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 04, 2009 4:34 PM GMT
    Also, take care to make sure you are not letting your anger and resentment influence they way you treat others in your life now. People often repeat the same patterns they experienced during their upbringing.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 04, 2009 4:35 PM GMT
    Timberoo saidYou'll never hear it from him, but there must have been something that happened to him at some point that made him that way.


    He was in Vietnam, and it really fucked him up. I've heard stories of the things he did, and they weren't pretty at all. So I understand that. I just wish he hadn't rejected me. That's what it felt like.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 04, 2009 4:36 PM GMT
    I have perfect advice for you, as I have BEEN there. My father is still alive, but picture Jack Nicholson in "The Shining" and you will know the kind of man he was when we were younger.

    Write short stories about things that happened to you as a kid involving the one you disliked. Get it out that way--like you're writing a book about your life.

    Here is something I wrote about an incident involving my father and brother and I:

    http://www.wrestlemen.com/wrenchcap.htm
  • cowboyathlete

    Posts: 1346

    Sep 04, 2009 4:39 PM GMT
    My father died this past spring after a year long battle with cancer. My youngest brother is also gay, and we agreed that we had long since accepted the fact that Dad would never fully accept us as gay. In his later year, we got along well on a superficial level. Perhaps because of that we do not get as weepy about his death as some of my siblings. My life is my life.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 04, 2009 4:39 PM GMT
    I enjoy a similar relationship with my farther if he's speaking he's yelling and if he's yelling he's criticizing. I suspect because he resents his own inadequacy and takes it out on his boys. In addition because He was raised by an emotionally distant and angry farther who dies during his childhood and is struggling with his desire to be seen as liberal and his conservative upbringing (my grandfather was a Protestant minister)

    But that's beside the point I still bear resentment for my mother who despite doctors advice continued a unhealthy lifestyle resulting in her death when I was 3 years old. If she cared about her kids she wouldn't have

    If you understand why people are the way they are it's easier to let it go.

    The hard part is when you start to see aspects of yourself and your own fallacy in your farther personality and try and move beyond those
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 04, 2009 4:41 PM GMT
    TheIStrat said
    Timberoo saidYou'll never hear it from him, but there must have been something that happened to him at some point that made him that way.


    He was in Vietnam, and it really fucked him up. I've heard stories of the things he did, and they weren't pretty at all. So I understand that. I just wish he hadn't rejected me. That's what it felt like.


    You're dwelling on the past. It's done. It's over with. You can dig through it all, if that helps you get over it, but, rehashing it over and over is like going to an AA meeting where folks recite drunk logs. You'll just continue to be caught up in the past. Best to move on, and concentrate on the things you can change. You cannot, and never will, be able to change what has happened. It's DONE.

    You have to choose to be happy, or be miserable. Wallowing in something you can't do anything about is wasted energy.

    Here's something you can take to the bank: if a problem has a solution, get going on it. If the problem doesn't have a solution, MOVE ON.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Sep 04, 2009 4:46 PM GMT
    TheIStrat said
    Timberoo saidYou'll never hear it from him, but there must have been something that happened to him at some point that made him that way.


    He was in Vietnam, and it really fucked him up. I've heard stories of the things he did, and they weren't pretty at all. So I understand that. I just wish he hadn't rejected me. That's what it felt like.


    From what you said, it sounds like you guys would have gotten closer after you were older. It's cold comfort, but try to think of that instead of how it ended.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 04, 2009 4:57 PM GMT
    TheIStrat said

    I guess what I'm asking for is any advice, maybe from others who have experienced this, on how to deal with this. It's been 6 fucking years, and I still feel like that wounded 17-18 year old, even though I've somehow managed to create a life for myself since then. I guess I'm in a lot of emotional turmoil this week, and need to know what to do to make it stop. All I want is for it to stop so I can have some peace.


    What a great post - you've definitely had a lot on your plate and clearly it's left a hole in your life that you'd like to fill.

    I think, ultimately, that while I don't agree with the "life sucks and then you die" tone that people are spouting, there is a reality that you have to face: your father is gone and you're never going to get closure from him, so you're giong to have to find a way to make peace with it yourself. I think forgiveness is a huge part of this - given all of the things that he went through in his life, you can assume that he had many demons himself that had absolutely nothing to do with you. That he chose to make you the bearer of some of it is unfortunate. But ultimately, none of those issues were you fault, and however it is you come to that conclusion, you will benefit greatly from the realization.

    At the end of the day, your dad played 50% of the part of bringing you into this world. We all have relationships with friends, family members, significant others and more that leave us wanting for more, and many of us don't ever get closure on those bad experiences even when the people are still living. The best way I could think for you to move forward is to take stock of all of the good that you got from your dad and do as much of that type of stuff as you possibly can yourself as a recognition of the good. For the bad - nobody is perfect, and while he will never be able to say the words "I'm sorry" for the things he did wrong by you, recognize on some level that every father loves his son in his own way, and you were probably no exception.

    Live your life buddy. You'll be fine.
  • vindog

    Posts: 1440

    Sep 04, 2009 5:04 PM GMT
    chuckystud said
    TheIStrat said
    Timberoo saidYou'll never hear it from him, but there must have been something that happened to him at some point that made him that way.


    He was in Vietnam, and it really fucked him up. I've heard stories of the things he did, and they weren't pretty at all. So I understand that. I just wish he hadn't rejected me. That's what it felt like.


    You're dwelling on the past. It's done. It's over with. You can dig through it all, if that helps you get over it, but, rehashing it over and over is like going to an AA meeting where folks recite drunk logs. You'll just continue to be caught up in the past. Best to move on, and concentrate on the things you can change. You cannot, and never will, be able to change what has happened. It's DONE.

    You have to choose to be happy, or be miserable. Wallowing in something you can't do anything about is wasted energy.

    Here's something you can take to the bank: if a problem has a solution, get going on it. If the problem doesn't have a solution, MOVE ON.





    Thats dealing very logically with something very emotional, which doesn't work for everyone since everyone is wired differently.

    I normally work in this way as well, but a lot of people don't. This is not the forum to ask advice from.






    Go talk to a therapist....seriously.
  • Koaa2

    Posts: 1556

    Sep 04, 2009 5:27 PM GMT
    A couple of things you might do to help are:

    1. Write a letter to him, as someone suggested, and put all the feelings you can identify into it. Seal and don't look at it for another year. You might also tell him in the letter what you expected him to be.

    2. Another thing that might help is do a role playing exercise. Find a trusted friend, relative or professional. Sit in chairs directly across from each other and pretend that this person is your father, and tell him all the things you would like to say to him. It may be hard for you to do, but it would probably help in some ways. Again, you might also tell him, what you would have liked him to be and how you feel his actions have affected your life.

    3. You might also look for a gay support group, in your area, that deals with abuse issues, as it sounds like you were emotionally abused at some level.

    4. On the anniversary of his death you might also go to where ever he is buried, or wherever his ashes are and talk to him and tell him how you feel.

    5. You might also buy him a gift, something you feel he would have liked, and give it to someone, or a group, who needs it. While purchasing the gift you can think of him as you would have liked him to be, and remember something positive about him and make it a more happy occasion than what you have been experiencing.

    Good luck.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 04, 2009 5:48 PM GMT
    Go find a good medium
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 04, 2009 6:17 PM GMT
    ThelStrat, sorry to hear you're dealing with this.

    As a few others have said, you really have to find a way to come to closure, or you'll be stunted for life.

    The only way to do this is to make the decision to forgive or not to forgive. Either way, the decision needs to be final and definitive. It's not going to be easy because of the emotions involved, but it'll be the first step to making yourself whole. Until you do that, you're going to continually try to mend a relationship that has no chance of being mended.
  • JP85257

    Posts: 3284

    Sep 04, 2009 6:18 PM GMT
    Write him a letter. Put your feelings down on paper and place it on his grave. Have yourself a moment.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 04, 2009 6:31 PM GMT
    That's a tough one. After many years of trying to connect with my rabidly ultra judgemental radical Catholic parents, I cut them off about a year ago and refuse to visit them or take their calls.

    I got tired of listening to their rants about me burning in hell. When I used to visit, I couldn't dare talk about anything even remotely gay....even if it was just friends. At the beginning of dinner, they would pray asking god to forgive me. They treated me not as a person, or their son, but rather a leper to be pitied. And they treated me this way because "they loved me". Fucked up mixed signals, right?

    No amount of my attempts at discussion, third party interventions or reconciliation over the years could change their attitudes. They were bad news for me and my self esteem. It wasn't an easy decision to make. But I decided that my own sanity and mental health was worth more than their rhetoric about keeping the family "together".

    In making that decision, I had to anticipate how I would feel when they died. I feel comfortable with my decision.

    Now, I can replace that frustration and anger with healthier, happier things in life.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 04, 2009 6:33 PM GMT
    Some pretty good advice here. My two cents: Letting go of anger is an ongoing spiritual/emotional practice, not something that one does once and for all. Your anger is justified, it's a good and healthy sign that your deeper self feels like it deserved a better father, but nowadays, all the anger does is clutter up your own inner environment and you just end up being the only one whose life is diminished, since your father is long gone. I would suggest countering the flare-ups with lots of attention to what is good and gratifying in your current life. Challenge yourself to name every single thing you can think of that you are grateful for, that you enjoy, that you think is wonderful about your life and life in general, and make it a practice, regular, if not daily, and do it at the first moment you feel the old resentment or anger coming back. Nip it in the bud early and it'll be easier the next time.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 04, 2009 6:48 PM GMT
    How do you get over anger and resentment towards a parent that's not even alive anymore?

    I dunno how, but I did. Towards both my parents. A cold analysis of my childhood in the 1950s would be classified as child abuse by today's standards, both physical & mental. I wish it had been otherwise, but now I just shrug my shoulders, and remember the good things, and speak well of my parents to others. I seem to have survived well enough.

    My father was distant & remote. The first time he practically even touched me was when I was 20, on the day he drove me to the Army entrance station for my induction. On the sidewalk of the Federal building he held out his hand to shake mine, and I was so stunned it took me a moment to react, returning his handshake very awkwardly. Nothing that personal ever happened again between us, in the remaining 28 years of his life.

    And neither did he protect me from my mother, when she suffered from over-active thyroid disease beginning in 1955. It turned her into a monster with a hair-trigger temper, who beat me constantly, flying into crazy rages that make "Mommie Dearest" look like Home Sweet Home.

    And then when she finally agreed to surgery in 1957 that cured her, and she began a long convalescence, I was told by my father and other relatives that my mother's disease had been MY fault, because I was such a bad boy. Her nervousness, I was told, was in response to my being such a difficult & demanding child. "You almost killed your mother!" I was told again & again. Try that when you're just 8 years old.

    I later realized on my own the error of their faulty cause & effect reasoning. Her thyroid went hyperactive on its own, making her nervous and intolerant of any normal boy's behavior. It wasn't me that had been the cause. But it took me years to understand that, and my mother & father never did accept it.

    I could go on, but yeah, you're not alone. But I grew out of it, I think most of the scars healed, and in other ways I had a fortunate & privileged childhood. I was spoiled beyond belief, sent to the best private schools, given every opportunity. It just came at a cost.