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Childhood My neglectful dad knows I have PTSD and he's offended

cheymander

New Here
I had blurred ideas of my childhood. I always thought my dad was the "good" one. I always considered him not abusive, just not available. So to me, that made him good.

It was from recent work with my T and talks with my husband that I started unraveling the truth of how emotionally neglectful he's been to me. I started having memories coming up (not full-on flashbacks, more like emotional flashbacks) of how often he just made me feel like shit. He was, honestly, obviously, just an enabler.

This isn't the first time I've struggled with painting someone from my past in a good light just to later realize they're also part of my trauma. But I've come to realize my whole family had a part in my abuse, whether straightforwardly or not.

My abusive mother died a few years ago. I didn't grieve. I didn't feel bad for not letting her in my life for five years before she died. I only felt relief. The world felt a little bit safer. I almost didn't believe it and that's the only reason I even went to the funeral. I had to make sure it wasn't just another lie.

Afterward, I saw an opportunity to rebuild a relationship with my dad. I started visiting daily for a while, then weekly. I was locked in around him. The effects of the emotional neglect were clear but I still didn't see them. My husband did all the talking, I couldn't bring myself to say a word to him because of the overwhelming fear of judgment and shame. Eventually, I stopped putting in the effort and it was clear that I was the only one trying. As soon as I stopped, he never started.

He got remarried almost immediately. My grandfather was the one to tell me about the wedding and invite me. My dad never talked to me about it. This stands out to me because right now I'm pregnant. Recently, my dad (who at this point hasn't spoken to me in over a year) got passive-aggressive in a text, asking if I was pregnant. I told him "yes", but he never answered me. No congratulations. The hypocrisy is clear and I'm pissed at the treatment.

Then, a little later, my husband had a talk with him. A very one sided talk. My husband was trying to explain that my mother had lied and hid stuff from him while secretly abusing me while he was at work. He indirectly called me a liar and refused to believe she did the things she did. I've had years of flashbacks about these events. Some things happened when I was young but the worst of it happened when I was a teenager. Some of it, it's impossible for me to believe he didn't know at least a little bit. Like how I was shoved into my room with nothing and socially isolated from the world for two years. He was there for that, but sees nothing wrong with it? The damage that has done to my psyche is debilitating.

I was sixteen when my school counselor saw the cuts on my arms. My mom pulled me out of school. She panicked because every one was talking about putting me in foster care. She had me evaluated at a mental hospital. She told them things about me that were not true. I got kept there for two hellish weeks. Once I was out, on one of her manic days, she threw a razor at me and told me to kill myself. Everything that happened after that is some of the most traumatic experiences. I still can't fully talk about it all. She moved me an hour away from every one I knew. Wouldn't let me get a job, or go anywhere, I didn't have a phone or even a tv. There were three people in my life at this time and they were my abusers. For two years, that was my life. The evidence is irrefutable.

He stonewalled. He refused to answer anymore. I'm so mad at him. And I feel so stupid for even trying. The things he claims I'm lying about are documented in my medical records. He can't gaslight me when I have the physical proof. I was psychologically and physically and verbally abused by his wife for 18 years and all the "proof" I need is in my inability to function and the diagnoses I've been given. I'm so stupid for trying to get answers from him.

This has been a mess of a post and I'm sorry for that. I'm just upset and I needed to talk to someone. This all happened a few days ago and it's been overwhelming me with anger and betrayal. And abandonment. My next appointment is in a few days but I needed to get this out so I can last until then.

My mother spent years trying to crush my credibility once I started telling people about who she really was. I will not be silenced. The truth is she was an abusive piece of shit and he's nothing more than an enabler of child abuse and neglect.
 
I’m sorry. It’s crushing being gaslighted like that.

can you hold onto the fact that non of this is a reflection of you? His version of reality is false. Not yours.

you don’t actually need any other evidence other than your words. His denial of them doesn’t mean you need to show further proof.
sadly, he is how he is. Which is emotionally abusive.

I absolutely understand all the feelings this brings up. Because it is crushing confirmation that he will never be the dad you need or deserved.
having just gone through/going through a similar thing with my sister, I get all the anger and deep deep hurt and betrayal this brings up.
 
Hi cheymander,

There's a lot of parallels bewteen your story and mine.

And yes, children growing up in abusive settings pick the "less bad parent" and label them "the good parent".

It sounds like you're doing well to find your voice and to work out how to travel your own journey.

I'm glad your husband is supportive of you.
 
I had blurred ideas of my childhood. I always thought my dad was the "good" one. I always considered him not abusive, just not available. So to me, that made him good.

It was from recent work with my T and talks with my husband that I started unraveling the truth of how emotionally neglectful he's been to me. I started having memories coming up (not full-on flashbacks, more like emotional flashbacks) of how often he just made me feel like shit. He was, honestly, obviously, just an enabler.

This isn't the first time I've struggled with painting someone from my past in a good light just to later realize they're also part of my trauma. But I've come to realize my whole family had a part in my abuse, whether straightforwardly or not.

My abusive mother died a few years ago. I didn't grieve. I didn't feel bad for not letting her in my life for five years before she died. I only felt relief. The world felt a little bit safer. I almost didn't believe it and that's the only reason I even went to the funeral. I had to make sure it wasn't just another lie.

Afterward, I saw an opportunity to rebuild a relationship with my dad. I started visiting daily for a while, then weekly. I was locked in around him. The effects of the emotional neglect were clear but I still didn't see them. My husband did all the talking, I couldn't bring myself to say a word to him because of the overwhelming fear of judgment and shame. Eventually, I stopped putting in the effort and it was clear that I was the only one trying. As soon as I stopped, he never started.

He got remarried almost immediately. My grandfather was the one to tell me about the wedding and invite me. My dad never talked to me about it. This stands out to me because right now I'm pregnant. Recently, my dad (who at this point hasn't spoken to me in over a year) got passive-aggressive in a text, asking if I was pregnant. I told him "yes", but he never answered me. No congratulations. The hypocrisy is clear and I'm pissed at the treatment.

Then, a little later, my husband had a talk with him. A very one sided talk. My husband was trying to explain that my mother had lied and hid stuff from him while secretly abusing me while he was at work. He indirectly called me a liar and refused to believe she did the things she did. I've had years of flashbacks about these events. Some things happened when I was young but the worst of it happened when I was a teenager. Some of it, it's impossible for me to believe he didn't know at least a little bit. Like how I was shoved into my room with nothing and socially isolated from the world for two years. He was there for that, but sees nothing wrong with it? The damage that has done to my psyche is debilitating.

I was sixteen when my school counselor saw the cuts on my arms. My mom pulled me out of school. She panicked because every one was talking about putting me in foster care. She had me evaluated at a mental hospital. She told them things about me that were not true. I got kept there for two hellish weeks. Once I was out, on one of her manic days, she threw a razor at me and told me to kill myself. Everything that happened after that is some of the most traumatic experiences. I still can't fully talk about it all. She moved me an hour away from every one I knew. Wouldn't let me get a job, or go anywhere, I didn't have a phone or even a tv. There were three people in my life at this time and they were my abusers. For two years, that was my life. The evidence is irrefutable.

He stonewalled. He refused to answer anymore. I'm so mad at him. And I feel so stupid for even trying. The things he claims I'm lying about are documented in my medical records. He can't gaslight me when I have the physical proof. I was psychologically and physically and verbally abused by his wife for 18 years and all the "proof" I need is in my inability to function and the diagnoses I've been given. I'm so stupid for trying to get answers from him.

This has been a mess of a post and I'm sorry for that. I'm just upset and I needed to talk to someone. This all happened a few days ago and it's been overwhelming me with anger and betrayal. And abandonment. My next appointment is in a few days but I needed to get this out so I can last until then.

My mother spent years trying to crush my credibility once I started telling people about who she really was. I will not be silenced. The truth is she was an abusive piece of shit and he's nothing more than an enabler of child abuse and neglect.
I feel your pain. Interestingly, my situation is really similar. My mom was the primary "abuser" and I always saw my dad as a "victim" until recently when I've begun releasing trapped, harmful energies. Since then, I'm seeing things a lot more clearly. He chose to be the "victim" and put his own game ahead of his children. He is also a child abuser.

You're lucky - sounds like you have a wonderful husband. :)
 
I had blurred ideas of my childhood. I always thought my dad was the "good" one. I always considered him not abusive, just not available. So to me, that made him good.

It was from recent work with my T and talks with my husband that I started unraveling the truth of how emotionally neglectful he's been to me. I started having memories coming up (not full-on flashbacks, more like emotional flashbacks) of how often he just made me feel like shit. He was, honestly, obviously, just an enabler.

This isn't the first time I've struggled with painting someone from my past in a good light just to later realize they're also part of my trauma. But I've come to realize my whole family had a part in my abuse, whether straightforwardly or not.

My abusive mother died a few years ago. I didn't grieve. I didn't feel bad for not letting her in my life for five years before she died. I only felt relief. The world felt a little bit safer. I almost didn't believe it and that's the only reason I even went to the funeral. I had to make sure it wasn't just another lie.

Afterward, I saw an opportunity to rebuild a relationship with my dad. I started visiting daily for a while, then weekly. I was locked in around him. The effects of the emotional neglect were clear but I still didn't see them. My husband did all the talking, I couldn't bring myself to say a word to him because of the overwhelming fear of judgment and shame. Eventually, I stopped putting in the effort and it was clear that I was the only one trying. As soon as I stopped, he never started.

He got remarried almost immediately. My grandfather was the one to tell me about the wedding and invite me. My dad never talked to me about it. This stands out to me because right now I'm pregnant. Recently, my dad (who at this point hasn't spoken to me in over a year) got passive-aggressive in a text, asking if I was pregnant. I told him "yes", but he never answered me. No congratulations. The hypocrisy is clear and I'm pissed at the treatment.

Then, a little later, my husband had a talk with him. A very one sided talk. My husband was trying to explain that my mother had lied and hid stuff from him while secretly abusing me while he was at work. He indirectly called me a liar and refused to believe she did the things she did. I've had years of flashbacks about these events. Some things happened when I was young but the worst of it happened when I was a teenager. Some of it, it's impossible for me to believe he didn't know at least a little bit. Like how I was shoved into my room with nothing and socially isolated from the world for two years. He was there for that, but sees nothing wrong with it? The damage that has done to my psyche is debilitating.

I was sixteen when my school counselor saw the cuts on my arms. My mom pulled me out of school. She panicked because every one was talking about putting me in foster care. She had me evaluated at a mental hospital. She told them things about me that were not true. I got kept there for two hellish weeks. Once I was out, on one of her manic days, she threw a razor at me and told me to kill myself. Everything that happened after that is some of the most traumatic experiences. I still can't fully talk about it all. She moved me an hour away from every one I knew. Wouldn't let me get a job, or go anywhere, I didn't have a phone or even a tv. There were three people in my life at this time and they were my abusers. For two years, that was my life. The evidence is irrefutable.

He stonewalled. He refused to answer anymore. I'm so mad at him. And I feel so stupid for even trying. The things he claims I'm lying about are documented in my medical records. He can't gaslight me when I have the physical proof. I was psychologically and physically and verbally abused by his wife for 18 years and all the "proof" I need is in my inability to function and the diagnoses I've been given. I'm so stupid for trying to get answers from him.

This has been a mess of a post and I'm sorry for that. I'm just upset and I needed to talk to someone. This all happened a few days ago and it's been overwhelming me with anger and betrayal. And abandonment. My next appointment is in a few days but I needed to get this out so I can last until then.

My mother spent years trying to crush my credibility once I started telling people about who she really was. I will not be silenced. The truth is she was an abusive piece of shit and he's nothing more than an enabler of child abuse and neglect.

Dear cheymander,

Am coming late to this discussion yet still wanted to share my observation with you about your post, which isn't a mess in my opinion - moreover, I think it's very important step.

I have just read it having just now woken up from nightmares about one of the two main abusive people in my past, the two new spouses of my parents after their divorce. Nightmares are unusual for me these days as am very much recovered from trauma, partly (and unfortunately) thanks to having gone no-contact with large parts of my family. But I made the error last night of making the unusual mistake of looking that person up online - which I am usually very good at not doing. It's clearly a straightforward logic of the trigger causing the nightmare, yet another reminder of what I should be avoiding for mental health.

While I don't have anyone to turn to, am accustomed to processing this alone and it'll be okay. So I came right here with my morning coffee and just like you I felt the need to talk to someone, and your post came up first. And there are connections between your case and mine.

What comes through your message for me is that you have a dear friend and supporter in your husband. Clearly I don't know the whole story with you and him, but what little I can see here indicates there is hope that the world you are creating with him and your child could be truly lovely for you all.

My relationship with my life partner feels like it is breaking down, and that may be the right way forward. We entered into it with a commitment not to have marriage and children, which we both understood was a preference based on our past traumatic experiences. But it appears she may well have changed her mind, and she may well be angry about that, among many other things. In recent years, in amongst the loveliness, her behaviour has occasionally been extremely unpleasant, a therapist even described it as "abusive" but I am not certain that is accurate.

While writing this message to you, I even made a typo Freudian slip, now corrected, saying that last night I looked up an "abusive partner" when in fact I looked up an "abusive person" from my past, who was my parent's partner. The slip has caused me to think about whether my subconscious has conflated my partner with that past abuser, or whether indeed there is something abusive about my partner that echoes past abuse. Or "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar," as the coke-head lacking professional boundaries said.

In any case I feel it would be good if you could get something out of my setbacks. In my experience of the connection between relationships with others and our own trauma, I've come to the view that the relationship is what's most important and we sometimes forget that. It's even more important than recovering from trauma, although we need to recover in order to build that relationship.

We survivors need to make absolutely sure we work hard in the present on our existing relationships; this is for our future, and we need to take extra care not to allow ourselves to mess relationships up while we are - understandably and with every justification - focused on our past and the people in it. I'm stating the obvious here, but I just feel it's worth emphasising once again.

In an ideal world, I would love to have that loving family around me, but it isn't happening and that's okay, I can handle it. You have a chance at making it work.

And so, to my question: how is your husband?
 
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@cheymander Hello, just popping in to say I’m untangling a lot of the exact same problems you are right now. My mother was the abusive one and my Dad the enabler. Enabler, neglectful, abusive in most ways except he never laid his hand to me. Therefore he was the “good” parent. Me and my therapist are currently working through seeing him as he really was which is a pretty poor parent in fact.

It’s so difficult, we have to as children, attach to someone. And the non-violent one is the obvious choice but that does not mean they are good parent material who deserve to be in your life…
 
my ideas/perceptions blur every time i try to fit life into either/or simplicities. good people keep doing bad things. bad people keep doing good things. dammit all! ! ! clouds keep presenting silver linings. blessings keep having parts i could live without. can't we pick one and make it work?!?!?!?!? life is so-o-o-o much simpler when saints stay on their pedestals and devils stay in hell.

sigh. . .
why does life have to be so messy?
 
@cheymander Hello, just popping in to say I’m untangling a lot of the exact same problems you are right now. My mother was the abusive one and my Dad the enabler. Enabler, neglectful, abusive in most ways except he never laid his hand to me. Therefore he was the “good” parent. Me and my therapist are currently working through seeing him as he really was which is a pretty poor parent in fact.

It’s so difficult, we have to as children, attach to someone. And the non-violent one is the obvious choice but that does not mean they are good parent material who deserve to be in your life…
I completely relate. It took so long to get to the place where I saw my Dad, the person who will forever choose to be a victim, as an abuser. Perhaps MORE powerful and damaging than my mother.
 
I had blurred ideas of my childhood. I always thought my dad was the "good" one. I always considered him not abusive, just not available. So to me, that made him good.

It was from recent work with my T and talks with my husband that I started unraveling the truth of how emotionally neglectful he's been to me. I started having memories coming up (not full-on flashbacks, more like emotional flashbacks) of how often he just made me feel like shit. He was, honestly, obviously, just an enabler.

This isn't the first time I've struggled with painting someone from my past in a good light just to later realize they're also part of my trauma. But I've come to realize my whole family had a part in my abuse, whether straightforwardly or not.

My abusive mother died a few years ago. I didn't grieve. I didn't feel bad for not letting her in my life for five years before she died. I only felt relief. The world felt a little bit safer. I almost didn't believe it and that's the only reason I even went to the funeral. I had to make sure it wasn't just another lie.

Afterward, I saw an opportunity to rebuild a relationship with my dad. I started visiting daily for a while, then weekly. I was locked in around him. The effects of the emotional neglect were clear but I still didn't see them. My husband did all the talking, I couldn't bring myself to say a word to him because of the overwhelming fear of judgment and shame. Eventually, I stopped putting in the effort and it was clear that I was the only one trying. As soon as I stopped, he never started.

He got remarried almost immediately. My grandfather was the one to tell me about the wedding and invite me. My dad never talked to me about it. This stands out to me because right now I'm pregnant. Recently, my dad (who at this point hasn't spoken to me in over a year) got passive-aggressive in a text, asking if I was pregnant. I told him "yes", but he never answered me. No congratulations. The hypocrisy is clear and I'm pissed at the treatment.

Then, a little later, my husband had a talk with him. A very one sided talk. My husband was trying to explain that my mother had lied and hid stuff from him while secretly abusing me while he was at work. He indirectly called me a liar and refused to believe she did the things she did. I've had years of flashbacks about these events. Some things happened when I was young but the worst of it happened when I was a teenager. Some of it, it's impossible for me to believe he didn't know at least a little bit. Like how I was shoved into my room with nothing and socially isolated from the world for two years. He was there for that, but sees nothing wrong with it? The damage that has done to my psyche is debilitating.

I was sixteen when my school counselor saw the cuts on my arms. My mom pulled me out of school. She panicked because every one was talking about putting me in foster care. She had me evaluated at a mental hospital. She told them things about me that were not true. I got kept there for two hellish weeks. Once I was out, on one of her manic days, she threw a razor at me and told me to kill myself. Everything that happened after that is some of the most traumatic experiences. I still can't fully talk about it all. She moved me an hour away from every one I knew. Wouldn't let me get a job, or go anywhere, I didn't have a phone or even a tv. There were three people in my life at this time and they were my abusers. For two years, that was my life. The evidence is irrefutable.

He stonewalled. He refused to answer anymore. I'm so mad at him. And I feel so stupid for even trying. The things he claims I'm lying about are documented in my medical records. He can't gaslight me when I have the physical proof. I was psychologically and physically and verbally abused by his wife for 18 years and all the "proof" I need is in my inability to function and the diagnoses I've been given. I'm so stupid for trying to get answers from him.

This has been a mess of a post and I'm sorry for that. I'm just upset and I needed to talk to someone. This all happened a few days ago and it's been overwhelming me with anger and betrayal. And abandonment. My next appointment is in a few days but I needed to get this out so I can last until then.

My mother spent years trying to crush my credibility once I started telling people about who she really was. I will not be silenced. The truth is she was an abusive piece of shit and he's nothing more than an enabler of child abuse and neglect.
I am sorry for your struggles! It seems that some boundaries between you and your father might be beneficial?
 
I never knew it wasn't obligatory to engage with negative family interactions (at least at some level, probably hoping for change or healing, trying to be forgiving and present) until I was told it's more than ok not to, at such instances it's the only thing to do and to not feel guilty about it.
 
I never knew it wasn't obligatory to engage with negative family interactions (at least at some level, probably hoping for change or healing, trying to be forgiving and present) until I was told it's more than ok not to, at such instances it's the only thing to do and to not feel guilty about it.
Society can teach us pretty stereotypical family roles which we always can't or don't want to follow. Sometimes we just need to have healthy boundaries rather than allows a relative/friend/coworker/anyone hurt us
 
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