Ask Amy: The estranged daughter still longs for her father

Dear Amy:

My daughter is 36 years old.

Her father and I divorced when she was little. She got all the visits she wanted and (reluctantly) paid her child support.

When he was 16, he stopped seeing her because he got his driver’s license and said she could drive to see him instead of driving to see her.

He lived about 40 minutes away.

He had a job and was still in high school, so he didn’t drive there.

As a result, her father stopped calling her. He sent him birthday and Christmas cards, which came back unopened.

He now has two children and the photos he sent them came back unopened.

A few years ago, she called him to say Happy Easter and he made a few grunts into the phone and said he didn’t have a daughter.

Of course, she was very hurt and in tears.

Still trying to get a positive response from him.

I told her to forget it and move on.

What advice do you have for her?

Already moved

Dear Moved:

I think it’s hard work to forget a parent, even one who has completely rejected their child.

A more worthwhile effort might be for your daughter to thoroughly explore and understand her feelings and motivations. Her father successfully implanted decades of guilt when, as a teenager, he refused to visit, and he cut himself off from her and then blamed her for the same actions as hers.

For this, he decided to punish her for as long as necessary. What a boy. And now she doesn’t even have to engage in his punishment of her, because she’s doing it for him. Every time she makes an effort, she is reminded of her rejection.

Your daughter is now coping with her sadness by behaving in the way rejected children often behave by searching, longing, and desperately trying to fix a relationship that maybe can’t be fixed.

It would be helpful for her to understand that her father’s behavior provided a useful negative example of how enduring and painful parental rejection is. She must decide to be a constant, loving and compassionate parent to her children, and be proud of the healthy relationship and good example she sets for them.

She should continue to make occasional efforts to connect with her father, if doing so eases the urge and if the effort makes her feel worthy.

But for her, going ahead would mean anticipating and completely detaching from the result. She is trying and that will have to be enough.


Dear Amy:

I am a 67 year old male and am having a difficult time with physical mobility issues and anxiety about going outside.

The two issues go hand in hand, as I had no real problem with grocery shopping and stuff. I was also active in the gym.

Since developing sore hips and knees, I have been very resistant to going out and this has caused me to grow isolated and depressed which in turn has made my physical issues worse.

Any suggestions on how to change things?

Dave

Dear Dave:

Tip number one: consult your doctor! Your pains could be treated successfully.

I appreciate your insight into the connection between your mobility fears and your isolation. My local hospital shares space with a popular gym, and it’s inspiring to see people working closely with physical therapists, alongside other clients who are simply exercising.

It’s true that if you don’t use it, you lose it, so I urge you to take careful steps to regain function.



#Amy #estranged #daughter #longs #father
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