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Advise the Copper on a major Dad issue PLZ


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So I need some advice. I will start at the beginning of what spurred this thread, and then backtrack with some history.

 

A few weeks ago I was looking through my facebook messages for a particular message that had some info I needed in it. While I was in my inbox I noticed that next to inbox there was a tab that said, "other-17" and I had no idea what it was, so I clicked it. Apparently the "other" mailbox is where mail goes that people send you who aren't your friends on FB. It doesn't pop up as a notification when you receive one. the first message was from a woman named Amy that I didn't know. So I opened it and read this:

Hi April. I know you don't know me but my stepfather Bob is your father. He's sure you or your sister may not care to hear it or have anything to do with him but he'd like you both to know he loves you very much and has never stopped thinking about you and how sorry he is. If nothing else I wouldn't mind getting the chance to know you guys seeing how he is family to me. If I don't ever hear back from you I totally understand and he would too. He doesn't even know I'm writing you. Thank you for your time.

 

I was kinda flabbergasted.

 

First thing I did: I called my sister. She, too, had received a similar note from this woman and hadn't seen it because it was in her "other" inbox. Hers was from a few days after mine, and she didn't say that he (my father) didn't know she (Amy) was writing her (my sister). That was the only difference. My sister decided to email our paternal Aunt to verify if this woman was legit. The information that she received was this: Yes, our father had remarried, and yes, the woman he married had children. Our Aunt thinks that one of the children's name was Amy, but she could not say so definitively as she doesn't have much contact with the family.

 

So we confirmed that this woman is (probably) legit.

 

Here is the background on why this is a big deal (I'll try to keep it short, and will answer any questions you guys have for clarification):

 

My Mom married at 17 in the 70s. She had my sister at 18. She and my father, Bob, were heavy into drugs but my Mom cleaned up for our pregnancies. Bob didn't clean up and began to spiral into heavy drug addiction (mostly meth, some heroin too). He also had a serious gambling problem. He was physically abusive to my Mom while she was pregnant with me so shortly after I was born she left him and moved in with my grandparents. She had sporadic contact with him while I was very young but when I turned 4-years-old she divorced him for reals. When he was served the divorce papers he put my mom's lawyer in the hospital.

 

He did not show up to court for the custody hearings. After the divorce he disappeared from our life. Never paid child support, alimony, never sought visitation rights. He vanished. For me, it was not so much of a big deal. I didn't remember him. My sister, who is 8 years older than me had a much different relationship with him, but she doesn't talk to me about it a lot. I know that he once tried to get her to do a line of coke. When she was 10. Mom didn't appreciate that too much.

 

So this is where I need advice. I don't really know what to do about this message. Should I write her back? Why does she want to know me? It seems weird. Also, it annoys me that she is basically apologizing for him. If he is so sorry then he should be telling me, not some random stranger who claims to be his step-daughter. I have a good amount of unresolved anger toward him that this all brought to the fore. But I can't say that I'm not curious. I'm curious to hear what his story is. What his justifications are for his actions. And a small part of me is resentful toward this woman. But that is a small, petty emotion and I am working on expelling it.

 

I think I am going to message her back. But what the hell do I say?

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April-girl, we have a nearly identical back-story. The drugs, the abuse, and the abandonment. It's all there.   Here's how I did it.   My dad came back into my life by way of a random card made in his

Yeah! Screw people who may or may not just be reaching out in kindness to someone who is related to them!   It's pretty easy to make judgements about things that you have no involvement in other than

What ericka said. The intermediary is weird, so tell your whatever-she-is that your dad can contact you himself if he's interested, but I wouldn't slam the door.   He might be an ass, it might suck. I

If it were me, I'd tell her that I appreciate her effort but am just not interested, and please don't contact me again. That's the nice version, of course. The not so nice version begins with "Get bent" and proceeds from there.

 

She probably either doesn't know the whole story and/or thinks she's going to omg heal this family yay. Eff that. He chose to give up the right to know you. His loss. He doesn't deserve the privilege of knowing you and seeing what an awesome woman you are.

 

You deserve a helluva lot better than that.

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I think the first question to ask is if you want any sort of relationship with him. If the answer is no, then I probably wouldn't contact her or just write a "Thanks, but no thanks." While it is possible that he has changed, but he also hasn't been a part of your life up until now. Unresolved anger is an understandable reaction.

 

If you do want a relationship with him, I think it is on him to contact you. His step-daughter should not be the intermediary from here on out.

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April-girl, we have a nearly identical back-story. The drugs, the abuse, and the abandonment. It's all there.

 

Here's how I did it.

 

My dad came back into my life by way of a random card made in his court-mandated rehab art class. I felt angry, sad, resentful-- all those things you mentioned. After all this time, he contacts me in the form of some lame homework assignment from druggie sleepover camp? **** that. Stuffed it in a drawer and stewed about it for months.

 

Then came graduation, and a spiteful little bit of me wanted him to see how great I'd turned out all by myself. That I never needed him at all. That he didn't matter whatsoever.

 

So I wrote back, and invited him to watch me walk.

 

I'd seen him only a few times as a kid... and the memories are foggy at best and at times downright unpleasant. I got all ready to make him sorry. To make him see what he lost-- let him take a peek into my life just so he could see how great it was, and then slam the door in his face.

 

But when I actually saw him again, all that stuff sortof evaporated. Seriously. Like a fine mist that clung to the air around me. All that anger and hurt was still there, it'll never go away, but I didn't feel so drenched by it anymore.

 

It was awkward. He bought me dinner and tried to relate to me in a way you would reminisce with your kindergarten classmate. Totally different people that share a tiny little link in a nearly non-existent past.

 

He was prepared to answer all my questions, and explain himself-- but I didn't ask. I don't know why. I just didn't care to know anymore. All the drugs and hard living made him frail, almost childlike, and I just felt sorry for him. He doesn't deserve my pity, some of the things he put us through are unspeakable, and we have every right to hate him... especially my mom.

 

But that's the kicker-- she doesn't. In fact, she still loves him. Visibly so.

 

I watched them hug and laugh and look at me with those proud-parent eyes, and it was crazy-healing to know that even through all the bull****-- I still came from a happy place. My existence was a good, loving thing before it all went wrong. I can't even tell you what realizing that for the first time felt like.

 

Family bonds are visceral, inexplicable things. You feel it in your bones, and if nothing else, it's fortifying.

 

I haven't seen him since... but I've allowed him to be a part of little things. We exchange brief awkward phone calls on major holidays, and I've spoken to his step kids a few times. He has his own life and I have mine, and we don't try to interject ourselves or make extra effort to get to know eachother. We just coexist... and I feel a lot more at-peace with everything.

 

I don't know if this is how it'll go for you... it could go way worse, it could go way better-- hell, you might feel nothing at all. I'm just saying, it's worth doing. You deserve to know where you come from, who made you, and (if you want) what the **** he has to say for himself.

 

You don't have to decide right now if you want him to be your BFF forever. You just have to decide if you want to have that one conversation. Deal with everything else later, and let yourself feel all that stuff you've held onto for so long. After all-- you can cut him out and move on again whenever you feel like it. No skin off your nose.

 

Write her back, tell her you're open to hearing from Bob directly... and he can call/email if he wants. Baby steps, that's all you need.

 

Good luck booboo <3

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What ericka said. The intermediary is weird, so tell your whatever-she-is that your dad can contact you himself if he's interested, but I wouldn't slam the door.

 

He might be an ass, it might suck. It probably will suck. Whatever. I honestly think it'd be better to look back and roll your eyes at "Oh my G_d, I finally met my dad again after all these years and he's STILL such a loser," rather than never having had the experience. And who knows, there's a small chance it won't suck!

 

:eek:

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I'm a pretty forgiving person and I don't like living with negativity. I have a father who isn't so bad as this, but I still don't want much to do with him or want him around my son. He makes an effort these days to be a decent guy, but that doesn't make up for my childhood.

 

The important thing for me, and for you April, is to remember that you can be the boss of how people are in your life. There's two issues here, not one, and you get to decide on how they shake out.

 

1. Amy. She's not your father, and while you may feel like she is apologizing for him, try to understand it from her point of view. If he made changes in his life and became a new person she may have never seen or had any idea of what he used to be. This may be her way of trying to reconcile the fact there is a version of him that makes no sense to her. Really, it's the same problem you have, she just has the happier end of the drama stick and you got the poop one. It doesn't sound like she's out to get anything from you, or even trying to do this for him, it sounds like she simply feels bad for what the situation is and in her own way wants to make some sort of peace about it. I don't think telling her to get bent is really appropriate as she's reaching out.

 

2. Dad. There's a part of me that thinks deep down character flaws never truly go away. But that doesn't mean somebody can't fight them. A good recovered addict never says they are cured, they consider each day to be a work in progress to staying sober. I've never assaulted anybody (WHO DIDNT HAVE IT COMING) but I've made me share of bad mistakes. I 've done my best to atone for them. It's hard to say where your dad stands because you aren't in contact, and you don't know who he is, or what his motivations are since you're hearing this by proxy. I'm sure he's certainly capable of feeling remorse over what he did, but they key here-- and this is what my dad still doesn't get, there's a difference between feeling guilty and feeling remorse.

 

Feeling guilty leaves people like this in need of forgiveness. They may not really want a new relationship so much as they want to be told they are off the hook. The remorseful ex-addict though accepts what they did, does their best to express their apologies, but also accepts that they may not deserve to be forgiven. As RuPaul says, other people's opinions about you are none of your business.

 

If dad wants to have all forgiven it's not going to happen. He'll just over-try and ultimately be frustrated when that isn't met in kind. If it's truly just an apology and he leaves the ball in your court, I think that is worth something.

 

Like I said though, you aren't under any obligations to put any of your feelings on the line. You have to decide what you want. Is Amy somebody you'd want to know? Why? Do you want to talk to your dad? Why? To what end?

 

It's not about how to respond, it's about what do you want. If you want answers, get them.

 

In the immediate, Amy sounds like she can accept the fact you don't want to have anything to do with it, but I think her reaching out is somewhat genuine.

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Brando: that is part of the problem. I don't really know what I want. I have toyed around with the idea of finding my father for years now, but I have never decided to put forth the effort to do so. Now the opportunity is here. I am so very curious about what he is like, what he looks like, all those things. My Mom tells me I look like him all the time. But there are things to consider: this would probably hurt my Mom if she found out. Leaving him was not easy for her and her mental health is especially fragile, so I would have to keep it a secret.

 

Also, how does one meet your father that you don't remember? In a coffee shop? In a park? Do you talk over the phone first? There are so many weird little insecurities and unknowns involved in this whole operation.

 

I do know that I basically don't care about this woman. That sounds mean but it's the truth.

 

To everyone else: Thank you for your thoughtful and honest replies. I plan on addressing them all soon. I appreciate your input greatly.

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No. I agree. My paternal grandfather was about the same. When he died his daughter from his second (I think) marriage contacted my dad about it and wanted to meet us, but my dad completely blew her off. I was, still am, kinda upset about it. She, like my dad, is not her father. I think all she wanted was to meet some blood relatives. But my dad was convinced that she wanted something out of him, like money.

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Am I the only one that feels her genuine reaching out at least deserves not to be blown off?

 

I hope you're the only one. She deserves nothing from Copper. Copper owes this bitch nothing. If Copper chooses to answer this woman, I hope it wouldn't be out of any BS sense of misplaced obligation.

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Am I the only one that feels her genuine reaching out at least deserves not to be blown off?

 

I hope you're the only one. She deserves nothing from Copper. Copper owes this bitch nothing. If Copper chooses to answer this woman, I hope it wouldn't be out of any BS sense of misplaced obligation.

 

She really hasn't asked for anything, though. If nothing else, it seems like she's just offering up a connection, and April can take it or leave it.

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Yeah but this mofo was acting like Copper OWED the bitch an answer. Copper don't owe her a kick in the teeth, much less a ****ing response. If there's a response it shouldn't be because of any BS sense of obligation.

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Yeah! Screw people who may or may not just be reaching out in kindness to someone who is related to them!

 

It's pretty easy to make judgements about things that you have no involvement in other than someone you know on the internet is going through it.

 

Copper, whatever you do, don't be a dumbass and make snap decisions like SD and Maker. Whatever you end up choosing will be the right path and can only make things better as long as you stay strong and firm in your decisions and don't let other people take advantage of you. I have faith in you to be able to handle whichever path you choose. Just make sure it's right by you and not anyone else... even family.

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Yeah, I wouldn't say you "owe" this Amy anything, but she isn't the enemy, either. Like Driver said, she probably has never even met the douche who was married to your mom - she only knows the person that that douche turned into (and one would have to assume that he's changed significantly or Amy wouldn't have this positive relationship with him). It would appear on the surface that her intentions are good, so even if you decide you want nothing to do with her, I think it should be said politely.

 

Even if he has changed, of course, that doesn't mean he automatically deserves another chance from you. It may mean that it's worth your while, though (even if you can't quite reconcile the person he is with the person he was). I also agree that from this point on, it should be up to him to prove that he actually wants/deserves to connect with you. You can let it be known through Amy that you're open to hearing from him (if you decide you actually are) and then leave it for him to finally put in the effort.

 

I'm curious: what's your sister's take on all of this? You two may never have talked much about this subject, but after this, maybe it's time that changed. It may be easier to sort this all out in your heads if you leaned on each other - and if you both decide you'd be open to hearing from him, it certainly would easier for you two going forward if you did it together.

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Am I the only one that feels her genuine reaching out at least deserves not to be blown off?

I hope you're the only one. She deserves nothing from Copper. Copper owes this bitch nothing. If Copper chooses to answer this woman, I hope it wouldn't be out of any BS sense of misplaced obligation.

Yeah but this mofo was acting like Copper OWED the bitch an answer. Copper don't owe her a kick in the teeth, much less a ****ing response. If there's a response it shouldn't be because of any BS sense of obligation.

 

Whoa whoa whoa, what the hell with such hostility? She's a bitch? She's acting like Copper owes her something?

 

To save some scrolling time: "If nothing else I wouldn't mind getting the chance to know you guys seeing how he is family to me. If I don't ever hear back from you I totally understand and he would too. He doesn't even know I'm writing you. Thank you for your time."

 

Where's the hostility? Dad isn't involved, she acknowledges April has the right to not respond and is accepting of that. All she wants is to know her. For all we know her family is very small and means a lot to her and she wants more. But even that is a read-- she's putting zero pressure or expectations on April so I think it is way out of line to call her a manipulative bitch. Where's the manipulation? I think you're seriously reading something into this that isn'there, maybe you've been burned similarly? I don't know. But I think you sound pretty cruel to a girl asking a simple question.

 

Now, that's not to say you're wrong. You could be right, this could be part one of an elaborate scheme of the father's to continue with dickery. BUT-- and maybe this is my personal take, but I am not a fan of a world, or individuals who go through life assuming the worst of other people and being mean and dismissive out of reflex as a result. I think people deserve the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise. I abhor people who are needlessly rude.

 

I can't speak for April's feelings-- I feel like the email at least warrants a response since it seemed genuine, at the very east a "Sorry, but this is too much. I wish you the best, but no." But April said she was curious about her father and considering tracking him down-- here is an opportunity that allows for that AND allows April to set the terms for herself.

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It's pretty easy to make judgements about things that you have no involvement in other than someone you know on the internet is going through it.

 

Wasn't she asking people on the internet for their opinions or was I mistaken about that?

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Am I the only one that feels her genuine reaching out at least deserves not to be blown off?

 

I'm not planning on blowing her off. At this point, though, I have no desire to have any sort of relationship with her.

No. I agree. My paternal grandfather was about the same. When he died his daughter from his second (I think) marriage contacted my dad about it and wanted to meet us, but my dad completely blew her off. I was, still am, kinda upset about it. She, like my dad, is not her father. I think all she wanted was to meet some blood relatives. But my dad was convinced that she wanted something out of him, like money.

That is something that needs to be considered, of course. But I'm not overly concerned about this being some sort of scam. It's not like I even have money to lend.

Copper, I would do it, otherwise I'd never stop thinking about it. If you do it, I wouldn't keep it a secret. Secrets are dildos.

 

I think you really nailed what will be the ultimate impetus in my replying to her. If I don't do it, I will always, always wonder. Even now (found this email from her over two weeks ago) it is never far from my mind.

 

The secret stuff... I don't know. I don't think I will tell my Mom that I was contacted by her, or that I replied to her. If my father does indeed want to contact me, and does so, then I might tell her. I really have no idea how she will react. When I asked my sister how she thought Mom would react she said that it would "wreck her". But I'm not so sure. My Mom still has a lot of love for my real father, despite everything that happened between them. She also has a great well of forgiveness in her, more so than I think I have, really.

Yeah but this mofo was acting like Copper OWED the bitch an answer. Copper don't owe her a kick in the teeth, much less a ****ing response. If there's a response it shouldn't be because of any BS sense of obligation.

 

I don't feel a sense of obligation. I feel like the message was worded as sensitively as she could have, given the circumstances and her actual decision to go forth with writing it in the first place.

Yeah! Screw people who may or may not just be reaching out in kindness to someone who is related to them!

 

It's pretty easy to make judgements about things that you have no involvement in other than someone you know on the internet is going through it.

 

Copper, whatever you do, don't be a dumbass and make snap decisions like SD and Maker. Whatever you end up choosing will be the right path and can only make things better as long as you stay strong and firm in your decisions and don't let other people take advantage of you. I have faith in you to be able to handle whichever path you choose. Just make sure it's right by you and not anyone else... even family.

I think Maker was just feeling protective of me, and SD... is just SD and he has that pit of rage inside of him that we're all very well aware of.

I'm curious: what's your sister's take on all of this? You two may never have talked much about this subject, but after this, maybe it's time that changed. It may be easier to sort this all out in your heads if you leaned on each other - and if you both decide you'd be open to hearing from him, it certainly would easier for you two going forward if you did it together.

I asked my sister and she doesn't want anything to do with him. She also said that she doesn't think he is sorry for what he did. Seems harsh, but I don't really know what it was like for her, to have a Dad whom she loved that she witnessed doing terrible things and then to be abandoned by him. That seems heavy. I won't ask her to go with me, if it ever comes to that. She has always felt particularly protective of me, and I imagine the only reason she would go would be to protect me and I don't need that.

 

 

So.

 

I've decided to reply to her. Here is my first draft:

 

Hello Amy,

 

I apologize for the late reply; I didn't even see this message until about a month after you sent it, and since then I have been mulling over how to respond to it. I have many questions but I don't really feel that you are the person I should be asking them to. You need to understand that I haven't heard from my bio-dad since I was four-years-old. So if, indeed, there is going to be any sort of communication between he and I then it needs to come directly from him. Feel free to pass on my email address to him. aprilvictoria@gmail.com

 

April Schultz

 

 

OR SOMETHING I DON'T KNOW WHAT DO YOU THINK??!?

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I think it's a little cold toward her. I guess I feel like this was pretty hard for her to do too, and I'm sure she has her reasons for doing it. I thought the message from her was more about her reaching out and wanting to contact you, not him. I feel like that should be acknowledged one way or another.

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