Ask Rene: I Found My Biological Father And Frankly, I’m Angry!

 

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Ask Rene:
I Found My Biological Father
And Frankly, I’m Angry!

 

I have just found my biological father after 21 years. I wrote him a handwritten letter hoping for a response and the day I received one, I broke down in tears; not only did I receive a response, he wrote that he’s been searching for me and wants a relationship! I have formed relationships with him as well as my step-mom, half sister and brother. We have even made plans to meet each other in person and spend a week together.

For about two months, we’ve talked and it has been filled with bliss, happiness, and an abundance of joy. But now that a little time has past, my emotions have shifted to anger and sadness. Every time we talk, it is tense and I want nothing but to blow up at him for leaving me as a baby.

Growing up, my life was very difficult. I was adopted by my step-dad and he was physically and verbally abusive. My mother has been on and off drugs, so I have always felt lost.

Rene I’m angry. In my opinion a parent should stop at nothing to be with their child. It is not fair for a person to be absent from a child life for 21 years, then come in and tell me he wants to protect me when he never has before.

My question is…how do I cope with these emotions, and get rid of my angry thoughts? I don’t want to sabotage anything but I also don’t want to hide my feelings. If anyone has been through this experience please tell me what to expect and how to cope.

Signed:

Learning A Lot in Louisville

 

Dear Learning A Lot:

I’ve been writing this column for many years and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt the pain that I feel in reading yours. I know there’s a lot going on in  your mind and frankly, your heart right now. But you know what? I have hope because you recognize that this is becoming a problem and one you want to fix. I’m honored you reached out to me but I have to say (as I have in instances where big issues are being played out) I am not a therapist, just a professional mom who tried to dispense common sense. As the mother of two children, I am going to tell you what I would tell them.

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ACCEPT THAT
LIFE IS NOT FAIR

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From my childhood, I always remember these words from my mother. “The only thing fair in life is the weather.” And she’s right. Sometimes, bad things happen to good people and bad people get a butt-load of good things. Sometimes healthy people get cancer and people who have smoked 3 packs a day, live until their 101 years old. The point is there is no rhyme or reason to this thing we call life. Don’t wait for it to be fair because that’s never going to happen. Put your energy to better use.

Read more: Monday Morning Motivation: Half Empty Or Half Full.. What’s Your Glass Look Like?

COMMUNICATE YOUR
FEELINGS

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I’m a big believer in open and honest communication. You’re an adult; so is your father. So talk to him like one. Explain to him that you have all sort of questions and ask him if he’d be willing to answer some. This is not a process that will happen quickly, if at all; he might decide he wants to leave the past in the past. If he does feel that way, accept his decision and back off. It may not mean that he never wants to talk about it.. maybe he just doesn’t want to talk about it right now.

Read more: 8 Tips To A Stress-Free Holiday: Blended Family Style!

FORGIVE YOUR FATHER

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Parents are humans and as such, fallible. We make mistakes, some of them small that affect just ourselves (bad haircut comes to mind); some of them much larger that impact not only us but those we love. Now, forgive me for getting a little tough here, but when you say things like, “In my opinion a parent should stop at nothing to be with their child” you are speaking from the perspective of someone who doesn’t have all the facts. Who knows what was happening in his life! He may have been battling illness, or had no money, or mental problems; any myriad things could have been happening. So until you know; no…scratch that. Until you have walked in his shoes, don’t judge.

You also need to be careful not to romanticize what life with your father would have been like, which, given what you describe of your upbringing, might be easy to do.

Read more: The GEM Debate: Do We REALLY Have To Forgive?

MOVE ON!

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I want you to really take this to heart. You have to either let this have power over you for the rest of your life or let it go. I would suggest the latter. Why? Because you cannot do anything about the past. Were mistakes made? Yes, Are you hurt? Yes. But if you hang on to this pain, it will only fester and get worse. Trust me, hanging on to this will turn you from a bitter, young woman to a very bitter old woman.

Read more: Ask Rene: Family Forgiveness

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I think what you are going through is completely normal; it’s natural to have questions. But I’m not sure, given the depth of your feelings, that this is something you are going to be able to deal with on your own. So I highly recommend finding a counselor or therapist who can help you process all of this.

But you know what? I have a lot of hope. The fact that you know this is a problem shows you’re a self-aware, smart cookie. Knowing that is half the battle because at least you know what you need to work on.

I know you can do it.. and do it well. Good luck!

Okay, that’s my advice; what say you GEMnation? What should she do?

Weigh in here or over on the Facebook page.

Do you have a question for Rene? She has an answer. Click here and fire away. Don’t forget to follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!

 

 

 

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Rene Syler is a wife, mother, breast cancer advocate and television personality whose burning desire to tell the truth about modern motherhood led her to create GoodEnoughMother.com . When not spending time with her family or burning something for dinner, Rene travels the country as host of Sweet Retreats on The Live Well Network and Exhale on Aspire.

5 Comments

  1. Smarty P. Jones

    November 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Great advice, GEM! I was not adopted, I knew who and where my father was. He was in my life but he had a love affair with alcohol which meant he was rarely able to be a father. He did what he and a lot of others think of as right in terms of financial support and even coming to a few games or concerts but frankly, that is where a lot of it stopped. We argued and clashed mostly because I found it to be scary or embarrassing when he was drunk.

    My dad and I didn’t get close until my freshman year of college because that is when I found out that accepted that he’d finally stopped drinking and we could not change what already was. He was ready to be the father I needed at that time in my life and continues to be that 13 years later.

    It’s been a long road full of tough conversations, blame and accepting some of that blame. It’s also been a road full of acceptance and healing and realizing that his absence was not your fault. Growing up is realizing that your view of what happened is through the eyes of a child, a hurt child. Now, start some of those conversations, gradually as you feel strong enough to handle them. They will all be tough but the fact that you reached out to Rene says you’re ready for that fight.

    Best of luck to you!

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