My father has a total of eight children but only two, my sister and I, are with my mother. I have grown up with my younger sister but the siblings from my father I don’t know.
Recently I moved to the state they live in and sort of have started to spend more time with them. I also have discovered I don’t like them very much! I don’t want to continue to have a relationship because it is not my fault our father had children with so many women. Also I don’t view them as “real” siblings because we didn’t grow up together. I have no interest in a relationship with them because I feel like I shouldn’t have to deal with the mistakes that other people made. Is this wrong? Anyone been through the same issue?
Donna in Delaware
Well I can honestly say this is the first time a letter like this has crossed my desk. It does not, however, mean it’s the first time it’s happened or that you are unique in what you are feeling. So here’s what I would do if I were you.
DON’T FORCE A RELATIONSHIP: I think the first thing you should do is push out of your head, the idea that just because you share a father means you are family. These folks, for all intents and purposes, are strangers. You are an adult and as such, can choose the people with whom you want to associate. You don’t know them and the part you do know, you don’t like. So don’t force it. And don’t feel bad.
CLOSE THE DOOR, BUT DON’T LOCK IT: There is a way to distance yourself without being obnoxious. Just give them, as Buff would say, a “firm case of the leave-‘em-alones”. When they invite you over for a game of “O and R” (observe and ridicule) or some other pastime you don’t want to participate in, politely decline. The reason I say close the door but don’t lock it is because there might be a time when you need information from them, medical or otherwise. We’re learning more and more about the role genetics play in illness and they may be able to unlock some of that information. But promise me, after years of perfunctory communication, you won’t knock on their door looking for a kidney, okay?
TALK TO YOUR FATHER: Donna, this is actually where I would start because you sound a little bitter. I can’t say that I blame you; while we know what your dad was DOING, the question is what was he THINKING? Sounds like it’s time for the proverbial, “Come to Jesus” talk with pops. Ask pointed questions and wait for a response. Was he cheating on your mother? Why DID he have so many kids with other women? Just know that he may choose not to answer and that’s his choice. But I would hope, for the sake of helping you work through some issues, he would come clean on some of this.