Jump to content
Mental Support Community

My Father-Figure Abandoned Me And I'm Struggling To Cope


PAC87
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hey guys, I haven't been here in forever. I've been having this problem for awhile and I figured I just needed to let it out. This is kind of a long story so I will do my best to sum it up. Five years ago, my parents disowned me for being gay (they are Jehovah's Witnesses) and I haven't spoken to them or my siblings since. I was 19 when they disowned me and I ended up having to move in with my grandparents out of state because I had nowhere else to go. For the next year, I hit a very bad depression, I only left the house a handful of times that whole year.

While I lived with my parents, I had a lot of problems with my father. He was both physically and verbally abusive towards me and he told me various times throughout my youth that if he ever found out that I was gay, I wouldn't have a home. So for years I tried to hide it and hide it, but after awhile I ended up being hospitalized twice for trying to commit suicide. I was only about 16 at those times but the life I was being forced to live was not healthy for me. I moved out of state and to this day, I don't really have a steady support system in my family. My grandparents are all I have, but even then, we aren't too personal with each other. That's just how they are. So I've struggled a great deal to get by without having a family to fall back on. I mainly did this by trying to make good friends. Four years ago, I started working for this company and at first, I was not well liked. I didn't speak often and I got picked on a bunch. This was my first new job since everything that had happened to me back home.

I had a shitty boss who cut my hours all the time and treated me like crap because I was gay, but since it was a new job, I was too afraid to say anything about it because after a year off the work force, I really needed the money. So I put up with it and eventually, I started to become cool with the assistant manager. He was an older man, in his late 50's. Over time, I realized that he was one of the only people there that I felt comfortable enough to talk to at work. He made me feel good about myself and he even stood up for me numerous times. At one point, I asked about his fishing habits (he always talked about how much he loved it), and he invited me to go along with him one day. We ended up not being able to go because of various reasons, but he became more serious when our GM was fired and he was promoted to store manager.

I noticed he joked around a lot less but I understood he had more responsibility on his plate. In the time I knew him, he used to go way out of his way for me. At one point, I lost my transportation so for about a week straight, he actually drove out to my house and picked me up at 5am just so that I could get to work. He told me he didn't really do that for many people and wanted me to keep it quiet so I did (the company had a strict No-Fraternization Policy). I tried to give him money and he turned me down every time. At first I thought I had a crush on him, but over time I realized it was much more significant than that. I started to look at him like the father I never had. He was everything that I used to wish my father was. He taught me about sports, cars, even sometimes did foolish little things like played catch with me when the store was dead and nobody was around.

It meant a lot to me because I remember giving myself an ultimatum when I was first disowned. I told myself that I would give it a year or two and if things didn't get better, I was going to kill myself. And then this person came along, and made me realize that I really wanted to live. Not only did I want to live but he made me feel like I deserved to live. One night while he was giving me a ride home, I mustered up enough courage to tell him how I felt about him. I told him that if I had a father, I wish he could've been the one I had. He told me how much he appreciated that and that him and his wife had tried to have kids, but she unfortunately miscarried both times and then they just stopped trying. Over time, I became very attached to him and I did my best to have his back. There were times when I knew an employee was trying to get him in trouble and I took it upon myself to protect him as best I could. This resulted in me lying to superiors, writing e-mails, giving him the heads up, etc. The same way I looked out for him, he looked out for me and we had a mutual respect and understanding for each other.

Years passed and I stayed close to him, we played around all the time, joking and being stupid. We had a lot of fun times and good memories to get through that hellhole of a job. People would always come up to me and question our friendship. they would tell me that they'd known him for years and he's never really attached to any employee the way he did to me. He even told me one time in private that there were a lot of things he knew shouldn't have told me, but that he trusted me enough. Over the years, I started growing as a man and becoming confident. I stood up for myself both in and out of work and overall, I felt like I was becoming a stronger, better person. He inspired me to get my life together and gave me the support I was missing at home. Then on one occasion, the holidays came around and I wasn't doing so well. Ever since what happened with my family, I've never taken the holidays well. He made a joke with an employee that she was "like the daughter he never had". I wasn't expecting this at all, but for some reason, it really hurt me to hear that. I realized that the comment made me jealous and I thought it best to leave work early and sort it out in private. I went home and got a hold of myself and when I came in the next day, he asked me why I went home. He said he felt like it was something he did but I kept telling him that it wasn't anything he did and that I just didn't feel well. I figured that would be it. He ended up pursuing me the rest of the morning until I finally came out and told him why I left.

I did my best to talk to him, but it came to the point where I ended up breaking down in front of him. He eventually realized why I was depressed and when I was trying to explain myself, he cut me off and said, "You wanted to be the son I never had. Is that why that comment hurt you? But you know, you are. You know that right?" When he said that, it meant the world to me. At this point, whenever Father's Day came around, I always got him a card and whenever my birthday came up, he got me a cake and things like that. He'd known that I was never allowed to celebrate my birthday, so my first cake actually came from him and it meant a lot. Unfortunately though, things hit a few rough turns throughout the years. The job became unbearable for all of us, and most everybody was in a foul mood over finding out that we were not allowed to receive raises at out store.

I developed a backbone, but maybe a bit too much because sometimes me and him even got into arguments and fights, one time resulting in him physically assaulting me out of anger. It was an accident, he apologized and we usually were close enough that whenever we argued, we would just laugh it off and be kidding around again later in the day. Even though we were cool, he was beginning to notice that my mood dropped significantly. He advised me to go and see someone and so I took his advice and found myself a doctor. It was then I realized I was still suffering from Depression. I was given medications and they made me worse so I stopped it altogether. I then found a caring counselor to help me understand what was going on. Indeed, I was suffering from Depression so she worked with me to get it under control. We talked about my past and helped me to be able to let some of it go.

I applied everything I learned from my counselor and my boss told me he was proud of me. Eventually I met his wife and she told me she'd heard lots of good things about me from him. Things were looking better again but later in the year, our store was unexpectedly closed down and we were all laid off. My boss took me into the office and told me before the corporate officials showed up, he wanted me to hear it from him and nobody else. I was in shock but I found myself more concerned about keeping him as a friend. At this point, I knew we would all have to go our separate ways and find new jobs and careers, but after everything we'd been through, I wanted to stay in touch. He said we would. While the store was closing, I came by and had a beer with him and just laughed about the fun times we had, so I was hopeful.

A month went by and we kept in regular touch, he called me up asking how I was and such. Then one day I heard he was having a going away party. I got him a gift and the day before it was supposed to happen, I got a call from another employee saying it was canceled because he had to work. The next day, I was driving home from the hospital (my grandfather was admitted a few days prior) and on the way, I got stopped at a red light. I looked over and noticed his car in the parking lot of this bar along with another employee I was close with. So out of curiousity, I pulled in and was surprised to find out that he was there with two other employees. I was really hurt because I hadn't seen him in a month and we were supposed to get together before he moved out of town for his new job. Out of anger, I got out of the car and approached them. I didn't do anything drastic or ridiculous but I said to them that I couldn't believe they lied to me and that I hope they had a good time.

I went home and struggled to understand why he would lie like that to keep me out of the loop when we'd been so close for four years straight. Time passed, he moved out of town and eventually I picked up the phone and called him. He said he was busy but promised to call me back later that day. He never did. I thought about why he would be avoiding me this way. Eventually, I thought to myself that maybe he knew he couldn't be that father figure anymore and he didn't know how to say it. Two weeks later, I tried again. This time, I told him that if this whole thing was because of my seeing him as a father, I accepted the fact that he can't be that guy. I told him I was at peace with it and that I just wanted to talk to him and see how he was. He was very nasty to me and told me he didn't have the time to talk and that he'd call me later. I never heard back from him. At this point, its been a couple weeks and I've given up trying to call.

What hurts the most is that he abandoned me and I don't know why. In fact, the week before the bar, he'd called me up telling me he was worried about me because he heard I was depressed. He wanted to find out how school was going and if I'd been exercising and things like that. I just don't understand because everything was going fine. How did he from calling me up in concern one week, to totally hating me the next? It's been really rough for me because he was a good friend to me and I let him in more than anyone I've known in years. And he returned the thoughts, so I'm just confused. Its clear to me now that we will probably never speak again but I honestly feel like I've lost a dad all over again. It's the most painful thing I've experienced in quite some time. The fact that he refuses to speak to me makes it dig even deeper. No matter what, I was a good person to him and I always had his back. I know I didn't deserve what he did, so I'm not blaming myself anymore. I just don't know how to heal. He left me with no closure and I will never know why he stopped being my friend. For me to have supported someone only for them to turn around and leave me when I'm already jobless and in the dirt, its hard for me to take.

When I told him I knew he couldn't be my father, it was difficult because it took me years to be able to admit to myself that I will never have a father again. I kept fooling myself into thinking I could get by, but I know now that this is a loss I will have to adjust to in life. There will never be a replacement father. But for me to finally admit this to myself and tell him, only for him to treat me so coldly afterwards...I don't know. It hurt bad. I just want to be able to heal but how can I do this?

I'm sorry this was so long but I just needed to let this out. Thank you to anybody who has taken the time to read this, it means a lot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello, PAC :)

It's great that you've given us the whole story; it allows us to have a whole picture of your situation and it seems also that it was good for you to let it out!

First of all; I'm pleased to see that along with the tragic influence of the harsh, judgmental, and hurtful attitude of your biological family, you've been also lucky to have such a wonderful father-figure and friend. I'm also very glad that you realize that you haven't done anything bad and that you don't blame yourself for the strange behaviour of this man.

I can see that this kind of abandonment is painful and very confusing and leaves hurtful unanswered questions :(. I think we cannot give you "instructions how to heal", yet I suppose it is useful to communicate about it.

So far, it occurred to me:

- There is a big piece of truth in the statement that "time is healing". As in case of any other loss, you need time to process it, to go through the phases of grief.

- Despite the very sad and confusing end, there still is a lot of "positiveness" / of good related to the relationship, to your friend. You continue to carry inside you all the consequences of the relationship and they are more important and more numerous than the one sad thing that happened in the end. Maybe it would help to focus on this; on the priority of the positive side of the past years over the negative side related only to few weeks.

- It might also help to slowly move the focus from the fact that his absence is so hard to understand to the pure fact that he's absent now (as if he died). I don't mean that you should begin to miss him even more etc., but rather that it's important now to focus on building your new life, in his absence. He's given you a lot and you can profit from it on your own. That's the most important, isn't it?

- You mentioned you have started therapy. You're not in therapy anymore? It could help you in these hard times of grieving and confusion.

- I think it would be helpful to find your own answer to your question why he abandoned you and "stick with it" if it works. It seems he's probably not planning to explain it to you, or maybe he needs more time to figure it out himself - the situation is undoubtedly hard for him, too - he has lost "his only son", so to say; don't doubt that he's not confused and sad either!! In any case, keeping waiting for his explanation can only make you feel more frustrated, so it would be better to make your own conclusion - hopefully a one that won't be hurting you. As, for instance: He was too confused by all the changes and by his realization that you cannot be the son he wanted and made some decisions he possibly regrets and he is not able to handle the relationship with you anymore. He has his own struggles and is only human, so failed in at least one: In finding a good, healthy way of detachment from you. It's sad, but it doesn't destroy the beauty and importance of the relationship you had.

What do you think?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello, PAC :)

It's great that you've given us the whole story; it allows us to have a whole picture of your situation and it seems also that it was good for you to let it out!

First of all; I'm pleased to see that along with the tragic influence of the harsh, judgmental, and hurtful attitude of your biological family, you've been also lucky to have such a wonderful father-figure and friend. I'm also very glad that you realize that you haven't done anything bad and that you don't blame yourself for the strange behaviour of this man.

I can see that this kind of abandonment is painful and very confusing and leaves hurtful unanswered questions :(. I think we cannot give you "instructions how to heal", yet I suppose it is useful to communicate about it.

So far, it occurred to me:

- There is a big piece of truth in the statement that "time is healing". As in case of any other loss, you need time to process it, to go through the phases of grief.

- Despite the very sad and confusing end, there still is a lot of "positiveness" / of good related to the relationship, to your friend. You continue to carry inside you all the consequences of the relationship and they are more important and more numerous than the one sad thing that happened in the end. Maybe it would help to focus on this; on the priority of the positive side of the past years over the negative side related only to few weeks.

- It might also help to slowly move the focus from the fact that his absence is so hard to understand to the pure fact that he's absent now (as if he died). I don't mean that you should begin to miss him even more etc., but rather that it's important now to focus on building your new life, in his absence. He's given you a lot and you can profit from it on your own. That's the most important, isn't it?

- You mentioned you have started therapy. You're not in therapy anymore? It could help you in these hard times of grieving and confusion.

- I think it would be helpful to find your own answer to your question why he abandoned you and "stick with it" if it works. It seems he's probably not planning to explain it to you, or maybe he needs more time to figure it out himself - the situation is undoubtedly hard for him, too - he has lost "his only son", so to say; don't doubt that he's not confused and sad either!! In any case, keeping waiting for his explanation can only make you feel more frustrated, so it would be better to make your own conclusion - hopefully a one that won't be hurting you. As, for instance: He was too confused by all the changes and by his realization that you cannot be the son he wanted and made some decisions he possibly regrets and he is not able to handle the relationship with you anymore. He has his own struggles and is only human, so failed in at least one: In finding a good, healthy way of detachment from you. It's sad, but it doesn't destroy the beauty and importance of the relationship you had.

What do you think?

LaLa3, thank you so much for taking the time out to both read my story and give me your advice. I think everything you said was great. All good points and valid reasoning behind them. He broke contact with me back in August, so at first, I beat myself up and blamed it all on me. But after having some time to process everything, I know I didn't do anything to deserve what I got. I definitely have been going through the various stages of mourning because to me, it really did feel like a death. I just tell myself now that things will be okay and like you said, maybe he came to a realization that he couldn't be what I was making him out to be. I do think a part of him is avoiding me out of guilt because he saw how hurt I was. Even after everything he did, I still tried to call to fix our friendship and I feel like a part of him realizes that he messed up. Its so much easier to write someone off that you've hurt than to man up and apologize for doing so. I will just tell myself that. He cared and didn't know how to put me down easy so he choose to leave me so that I wouldn't get hurt any more than I already did. Thanks again and I really appreciate your help. Have a great day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was listening to this song today, it reminded me your situation (I know it's different, but... there are some similarities, in my opinion) and... I think you might like to listen to it sometimes when you're sad about it (?):

[media=]

I know it's rather pessimistic (well, I consider it just "apathetic"), but when sad, we often appreciate/prefer sad songs, not joyful, so...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was listening to this song today, it reminded me your situation (I know it's different, but... there are some similarities, in my opinion) and... I think you might like to listen to it sometimes when you're sad about it (?):

[media=]

I know it's rather pessimistic (well, I consider it just "apathetic"), but when sad, we often appreciate/prefer sad songs, not joyful, so...

I listened to it and I did see some similarities here and there. Thanks for sharing and again, I can't thank you enough for helping me to figure things out. I really appreciate it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...