When you stop ignoring the feelings.

by Ashley Friend
(Colorado)

25 years after living through a childhood full f mental, verbal, and physical abuse. After taking dad to rehab three times; seeing him puking up bile and almost die in front of you, trying to help save him in every way possible he decides to put himself under a train. Things had gotten bad, he was addicted to pain pills bad and the alcoholism just got worse and worse over time. I would say he was not himself for the past 5 years. He was not the father I knew anymore. Things got bad when he got caught stealing prescription pills from work and got arrested. The doctors kept diagnosing him bi polar but I believe it was PTSD plus the addictions. They put him on Depakote and everything went downhill from there.

He was not the same man anymore. He would call me bribing me into giving him my pain pills and would make me feel so guilty if I didn't help him. I was always raised to be his codependent and please him (which I realized today has carried over into my life in general). I knew he was mentally losing himself as I has just placed myself somewhere for help with my PTSD. I never could understand how I could do such a thing at 23 and all by myself but he at 49 could not? He tried to kill himself multiple times and I was just so fed up with it all everything was taking a toll on me so I decided it was time to move away and start a new life. One month after I moved I got the phonecall at work informing me my dad had ended his own life. Seven months later, and I Am just now facing the feelings. I feel so angry, he lost our house, he lost everything we had due to drugs and alcohol. I have been hiding these feelings inside for so long, masking them with work and my relationship and yesterday something happened. My boyfriend told me he needed space and boom it hit me. I woke up this morning with my dads ashes next to me and pictures everywhere. I have so many feelings I need to face and I feel embarrassed and scared to.

Tonight for the first time I yelled and told my dad how angry I am at him, I said all the things I kept inside for years because I was so scared of him. I realized I can't let my dad control my life anymore, he is no longer here and I am no longer his co-dependent. I realized I can't allow him to have that power anymore. I had to put away all pictures of him, his ashes, and anything else I had of his. All I can see are bad images of him, and I have trouble remembering good times. I feel like I want to burn the letter he left as it talks about how miserable he is and how he lost everything we had and he can not live like this anymore, which I understand in a sense but I feel is so selfish. I also feel like I would have a sense of relief if I didn't have his ashes right now either. Tonight I took everything of his and put it in a box under the bed.

I am not sure how to sort through these feelings and continue to live a normal life..like work and relationships. I have came to the realization that I have to face these problems to truly rewire my brain and be happy. It's so scary though. I feel like a part of my heart is gone that will never be replaced, even though he turned into a horrible person, I know deep down he was a great man and mental illness just took over. I blame myself a lot for this as I left without even saying goodbye to him. I was his crutch, even though I know I shouldn't have been.

I need some guidance. :(

Comments for When you stop ignoring the feelings.

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May 30, 2014
maybe
by: Anonymous

Maybe he was not a great man. Accept what he was and close the door. You cant change the addictions and abuse. It was real. It happened.

Feb 21, 2014
Good step
by: Stacy C

I can't even imagine. Please take comfort in all the sharing on this page. No two stories are the same but we are here to help each other. You did the right thing by posting your feelings. It's brave and honest and freeing. Hang in there. You are not alone.

Feb 21, 2014
When you stop ignoring the feelings.
by: Doreen UK

part 2
Ashley you are a very articulate young woman. You have a lot of insight and understanding into your family dynamics. We have our limitations and can only carry so much of a load. Co-dependency is a by product of a family with no boundaries. You had to carry an immense amount of responsibility. It sounds as if your mother was not around to offer nurturing and guidance and so your father could have felt so helpless with his responsibilities. It is not uncommon for a parent to leave their responsibility to the strongest member of the family who just may have been you.
You can keep a journal and write out all your hurt feelings that still may be repressed. You can also as I wrote in my first post to go and see a good psychologist/counsellor. Skilled and trained in this area. You are struggling with concern and worry about how you will get through this all and manage your job and relationships. Don't focus on any of this. FOCUS on getting yourself the support you need. There is no shame in needing help. I DID IT. The best investment I made into my own mental health. My mother couldn't cope and so she left the running of the home and looking after 5 siblings to me. I was 14yrs. of age at the time. I talked much of my worries over with God. He was the only person who got me the right counsellor, and brought me thus far through my difficult life. You are quite an amazing person with how you have coped with your father's addiction and caring for him and also trying to live as much of a normal life as is possible. The anger you feel is normal and with the right emotional support from the right counsellor will allow you to reclaim your life back. This will be an amazing discovery for you. Your anger will evaporate with the right therapy. Mine did. Your boyfriend may not have been mature enough to handle the many crisis in your life. But one day when you have Healed from your past you will meet the right man for you. If you have God in your life you can ask God for direction and Protection from all fears. God has promised to direct our paths. God has directed my steps from birth and will do so till I die. You were a crutch for your Dad. You may feel helpless now. Needing a father to lean on who couldn't be available to you. Lean on God for your strength. God loves it when we DEPEND ON HIM TOTALLY. Best wishes.

Feb 21, 2014
When you stop ignoring the feelings
by: Doreen UK

Ashley you are not responsible for your father. Often when there is co-dependency in the family the child becomes the caretaker for the parent and can become badly emotionally damaged as a result. That child (being you) carries a lot of responsibility and guilt for the failing within the family and any losses.
Your father was a deeply troubled man who used alcohol and drugs to blot out that pain only to find that he could not conquer the habit and the only way out was to take his own life. Mental illness would have paid a strong part in him ending his life. The sadness you carry is of a father who was irresponsible to the point where he failed to nurture you and your siblings and he lost you all the security of a stable home.
You are a very bruised and broken person who needs a lifeline and some tenderness and love to pick you up. When no one is there to do this you can do it for yourself.
Take one day at a time. Do some special things for yourself each day as a way of Loving yourself back into life. Find some way to get yourself a good counsellor who can help you with your losses. I identify with a lot of what you say about the family dynamics and how they disperse themselves into the enablement in a family. Counselling is a PRIORITY. Due to the family dynamics and to break the established family patterns of behaviour that will continue in generations to come. It is possible to move forward from your pain. I DID IT. I went into counselling in my 40's. I was emotionally damaged. I had the best psychologist/counsellor who gave me my life back in ways I never dreamed of. I was Healed from 40yrs of depression in 4yrs. of counselling and therapy. I related better which benefitted my family. I resolved a lifetime of hurt and pain. I lost my husband of 44yrs 21 months ago to a deadly cancer and I grieve again. But I am stronger in places I was weak and unable to help myself. I cope better with life. Doing nothing will just cause you to continue living with such raw pain that will one day start pressing for resolution and be more painful to bear and take longer in counselling. You can reclaim your life back and become the person you were meant to be despite your past. You can write a new contract for your life that you have control over and not the control from your past that you could do nothing about. Don't leave God out of your Life. God played the MOST part in my Healing and life issues. God was there all the time. He can do that for you also. Seek God to put the right people in your life to help you. Rely on God for everything. He knows what you are going through and He is our lifeline. God be with you and comfort you in your pain and grief and give you His Peace.

Feb 21, 2014
When you stop ignoring the feelings
by: Zella

Dear Ashley
I don't really know what to say to you, but I deeply feel for you and am supporting you in prayer. No-one can give you advice as to how to deal with your pain, we can only comment on what worked for us. As Kenneth said, God is there, the only true friend, who will walk you through this. Trust Him...and in saying this, I am speaking from my own experience. Today, 3 years after we've lost our only child, the pain is still so raw, so devastating, but if it wasn't for our Lord, we wouldn't have been where we are today. My husband is actually only starting to grieve now...but we are coping, moving forward, because God promises us daily that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
I hope God will send someone whom you can talk to, someone who would just listen, and through whom God can do a great healing work in you...whatever steps you need to take, He will guide you through whichever avenues He sees fit.
We care and we'll keep you in prayer.

Feb 19, 2014
When you stop ignoring the feelings
by: Kenneth

I don't hear much about your mom but the fact that you were around your dad all the time shows you had a lot of care, don't toture yourself it is not easy to help people when they dont do much to help themselves, alcohol has never been a solution to problems no matter what the pain is my advice now is brush the dust lift your head high and move on with your life, this cloud obviously obstructed your relationship with your boyfriend who has not been man enough to stick with you and help you pull through, losing a family member is not an easy thing, fortunately no matter what we go through there is a God out there you need to find him and let him walk the walk with you bilieve me things will fall into place.

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