I don't want anything to do with my dying deatbeat dad?


My name is Olivia and I'm a 20 year old college law student from South Africa. English isn't my first language so I apologise if there are grammar errors of any sort. My parents divorced when I was 10 years old after my dad left us for his pregnant mistress. After the divorce, they got married but the rest of the family refused to acknowledge her and her daughter from another relationship excluding her in a lot of family gatherings and celebrations.

I started self harming when I was 12 and attempted suicide 3 times when I was 14. I was later diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. At 15, my mother died from a heart attack at just 37. So I'm kinda on my own.

My father who I haven't seen or spoken to in over 8 years sent me an email just 3 months ago informing me that he was moving back to South Africa after he discovered he had terminal cancer. He says he wants to "make things right" with me. I'd like to think when you get a divorce, you divorce your spouse not your kids. He adopted his stepdaughter but turned his back on me, his own daughter. When he signed away his rights, his family was outraged and disowned him. My mother fought tooth and for him to at least pay for child support.

I don't care if she held a gun to his head, you don't abandon your child. In his defence he says he didn't want a second divorce and thought he owed it to his unborn daughter to give her a family. What about my family? The family he tore apart?. He keeps saying it was a mistake...NO!! Having an affair for 2 years, conceiving a child & leaving your family was NOT A MISTAKE, it was a deliberate and selfish act.

Everytime I went over to my dad's house, my step mother would put me down all the time. There were zero pictures of me in that house. Most of them were family portraits of just the 4 of them. When I asked my stepmother if I could bring a couple of pictures of myself so she could hang them around the house, she refused. She wouldn't let me hold, touch or even play with my half sister when she was a baby but her daughter could.

I'm biracial, my Dad is white (British and Dutch descend) and my Mom was half Arabic and half Armenian. My step sister would make racist remarks every chance she got because "I wasn't white enough", sometimes within earshot of my dad but he would ignore it. My stepmother did the same thing but never around my dad. She would tell her friends that she married my dad so my step sister could have a father and I was just in the way. She cried to my dad about how much easier life would be if I didn't exist so they can all be a proper family. My dad told her that he would take care of it. Then a week later, just days after my 12th birthday he signed away his parental rights. They later moved to England and that was the last time I saw him. I don't even know how many birthdays passed by without hearing from him. There was never any bad blood between my parents and my mom never tried to keep me away from my dad. So we were both shocked.

I was excited about having two moms and I really wanted her to love me but it wasn't to be. She kept telling anyone that would listen that I was a product of her husband's affair and she was helping my dad raise me because my biological mother had abandoned me.

Back to the subject at hand, my dad has sent me emails and facebook messages asking for a second chance! He went on to say he was an idiot for what he did and if he could take it back he would.

There's definitely an element of hate there for sure and I know I should be mature about this but there's so much pain. I've spent 5 years in therapy trying to deal with it and I don't need the extra stress because I need to fully focus on my studies. As parents you are responsible for the life you bring into the world and every decision you make affects them, good or bad. Children never ask to be born, so their happiness, wants and needs come first, NOT YOURS.

Anyway, they're still married. He wrote in one of his emails that instead of taking care of him, she's out with friends, possibly with other men every night leaving my half sister who's only 9 years old to care for him since he can't stand or walk on his own - so he says. I've changed my email address twice, my phone number at least 3 times in the last month and a half and blocked him on facebook yet he manages to find ways to contact me.

Has anyone ever gone through something like this? I'm not looking for anyone to validate my feelings, I just need some good advice.

Comments (6)
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what your father did to you was beyond awful and unimaginable to me as a parent. He deserves a second chance now ONLY if it will help you feel better about yourself and your future. If you avoid him and he dies, how will you feel? Think about it that way and go with your heart. I wish you the best. I'm sure you will get some good advice on this forum.

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My Dad was an abusive alcoholic. Not to put too fine a point on it, it was a tremendous relief when my parents divorced when I was 13 and he left. I had no contact from him after that, not that I was bothered.
Then, when I was 16, I had finished school and was spending a year travelling. Since I would be passing through the city in which my Dad and his new wife lived, my mother insisted I should at least visit him for an hour or two between landing on the plane from home and boarding the ship for overseas. I didn't particularly want to but my mother was a hard person to argue with.
So, he and his new wife picked me up from the airport and took me to their apartment for afternoon tea. It was awkward. I was too young to really ask the right questions. Like, why did you hit me? That said, he was so locked into lying about everything I doubt I would have got a truthful answer.
New wife had some adult children from a previous relationship who were older than me, who apparently would like to have met me but were unavailable. So I had to speak with them on the telephone, again an experience I wasn't all that keen to have.
They chastised me for being an ungrateful daughter: according to my Dad he had been sending me birthday and Christmas cards and gifts, money, the whole works, and not once had ungrateful me replied or sent thanks. This was more fantasy on Dad's part: I never received anything and have no reason to think that my scrupulously honest mother would have prevented me receiving anything that had been sent. I disabused them of the fantasy.
Eventually our awkward afternoon tea drew to a close and they took me to my ship and I left and never saw him again. When he died some years later I reacted to the news with total indifference- he was out of my system. I think this was due to my mother insisting on our final meeting, I got to see him with more mature eyes and process my feelings about him.
So, I think you might consider at least one meeting with your father.Ask him any questions that have always niggled (and there are always niggly questions after the end of any relationship). If you suspect he is being fast and loose with the truth, let him know you're not interested in hearing BS. But I do think you'd benefit from hearing him out, even if you decide afterwards never to see him again.
At least then you won't have any "what ifs" that can never be resolved after his death, wondering how things might have gone if......they are the hardest things to deal with after a person dies because then there is no hope of there ever being a resolution.

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I think Colleen offers a great story and great advice. This meeting may enable you to let it go - or it might lead you to forgive him. Forgiving doesn't mean forgetting and putting yourself in line for abuse again, by the way.

You owe your father nothing. But you do owe yourself some time with him, answers and apologies from him, and peace in your heart.

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I would recommend thr you go, because it may give you final closure, and you might later regret not knowing what he wanted to tell you.

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If he has any assets, it seems to me that it would not be out of line for you tell him that you expect him to pay your mother the back child support she is owed before you agree to meet with him. At the very least, he owes her a huge apology that includes a tremendous amount of groveling.

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Jewel, her mother died at age 37, when OP was 15 years old.

Are you sure that these messages are coming from your father?

If you haven't actually spoken with him, they could be from some weird sadistic internet stalker, someone who takes pleasure in causing pain & stress to other people.

They're out there.

If this really is your father surfacing after all these years, be very careful, & always remember that you aren't alone;
you aren't the only one to whom this has happened.

It happens all the time.

From the stalking type behavior you describe (he keeps "finding" you although you've changed phone #s, etc), it sounds like he wants you to take care of him.

If you don't want to get into an exhausting battle, *don't see him*.

People will use every kind of manipulation to get what they want or need, & at this point in his life, he's got nothing to lose.

One person whose father left him was John Lennon;
the father just walked out.
John's mother brought him up alone, & when his mother died, his Aunt Julia brought him up & supported him.

She died before John became successful.

When the Beatles became famous (& had a lot of money), John's father surfaced.

John wouldn't have anything to do with him, saying that his father had betrayed & abandoned the family, & that was that.

Take care of yourself, & be careful.

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