When Cutting The “No Good” Men Out Of Your Life Includes Your Own Father

August 29, 2012  |  

I’ve never been one hundred percent behind the whole “blood is thicker than water” saying and I stand completely behind the idea that being family doesn’t mean you‘re exempt from getting cut out of my life. No one ever questions people’s decisions to break ties with friends who drain them or eliminate men from their lives who are no good, but for some reason when said person is a parent, the idea is suddenly taboo, forsaken, perhaps even sinful if you believe you must always honor thy father and mother. But cutting my father out of my life is exactly what I decided to do a couple of weeks ago.

I always suspected this day would come. I envisioned it, dreamed about what I would say, made up an entire monologue in my head even, yet secretly knew I’d frankly never have the balls – or so I thought – to say any of those things, until one day I did. I knew the time had come when I’d sent my father an email asking him why a payment he’d committed to making didn’t go through. Essentially, I asked what was up and whether something had changed that I was unaware of. Rather than give me a straight answer he danced in circles like he was practicing the waltz telling me he was thinking about how he demonstrates love within our family relationship, suggested that I do some introspection regarding how I demonstrate love to my family, and added if I wanted to have a real conversation let him know. I basically read that as an “eff you, holla at me if you have beef” response and proceeded to let him know just how I felt about the love he so arrogantly thought he’d demonstrated to me all my life in a 1,768-word email because I’m a writer and that’s how I communicate best.

To be clear, my reaction wasn’t just about this one, passive aggressive incident, it was about a pattern of behavior that I had had enough of. And so, after running down all the times I’d felt let down, and his constant lack of consideration for how his actions affect me (like not doing something he said he would), and all the guilt trips he’d taken me on from the time I was a little girl with no heads up that I was packing for baggage I’d be carrying as an adult, I was in Keyshia Cole mode. I just wanted it to be over. I was confident in my decision and frankly didn’t even want a response from him because I knew he would only confirm that I was making the right choice. And sure enough that’s exactly what he did by way of a 90-word note that suggested I should get therapy to find the peace that surpasses all understanding and that I could never dismiss him as my father. Or so he thought.

The thing is, I’d long accepted that the man who contributed half of my DNA makeup was not and never could be a father, and at my age I’m too old for that. The daddy lessons and experiences I missed have already shaped me into the woman I am and I really see no need for that type of figure in my life at this point. Had he always been there, it would be different. But to try to catch someone up on 27 years of a life they missed and then rely on them as some sort of source of wisdom when they can’t even acknowledge their own wrongdoing isn’t something I’m interested in. And clearly neither is he, from the response he sent me when I laid out our relationship for him in black and white. I didn’t go on an emotional rant; I didn’t even call him the names I normally do in my head. I provided a chronological, factual, and logical list that I thought he could appreciate. It included the times I’d been disappointed and shunned and the ways he didn’t fulfill his obligations as a parent while simultaneously trying to blame me for the fact that we don’t have a relationship. The bottom line, from my view, was that it was his job to establish that bond when I was a child, particularly when he lived in a different city. But instead he was too busy trying to prove that I wasn’t his to actually find out who Brande is and how he could get to know her, then taking credit for my accomplishments whenever he could as if he had anything to do with them.

And so, as I deleted contact information of men I’d been holding on to unnecessarily for too long and vowed never to reach out to again when I got a new cell number this summer, I also let my father know that until he was ready to own up to some things and really think about what I needed from him without expecting all these things from me that he hadn’t earned, I wasn’t interested in doing the song and dance anymore. I could do without the phone calls on Christmas and maybe my birthday, if he remembered the date. I’ve had those types of relationships with men I dated. It wasn’t enough with them and it’s not enough from him either.

I believe if we’re going to put fathers and lovers in the same boat and say the way we relate to men is directly correlated to how we deal with our fathers, then I believe we should be able to deal with our fathers the same way we deal with said lovers. No one would advise a woman to sit around and wait for the next disappointment or accept anything less than what she deserves from a romantic suitor and I believe those same rules apply when it comes to a parent. The way I look at things, I’ve put up Mimi-Stevie J numbers waiting for my dad to come around and at least acknowledge he fell short of being the father he needed to be. It was time to look at the reality of our relationship: love don’t live here (I can’t say anymore because it never really has).

As expected, when I mentioned the situation to my grandfather (his dad), he hit me with the cliché “life is too short” line and said both me and my father should be ashamed of ourselves. I agreed with him on one point. Life is too short. Too short to hold your tongue and settle for less than you deserve in all relationships, including that of a parent and child.

As I told my father, the choice really wasn’t that difficult because it wasn’t like not speaking to him would really be all that different from not speaking to him. What I had to make peace with was being that stereotypical black girl without a father who would be labeled as having daddy issues any time she said something negative about a man. But at least, unfortunately, I have plenty of company.

What do you think about cutting a parent out of your life? Is it any different from ending other disappointing relationships?

Brande Victorian is the news and operations editor for madamenoire.com. Follow her on twitter @Be_Vic.

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  • sriks

    Thank you for this article! I agree with what you say. If as women, we mirror our relationship with our fathers to the men in our life, why cant we mirror the breakup too? My father has been emotionally abusing me since I was 16 (I am 29 now).
    I was blamed for things as a teen, was abused and called words always made to feel bad about myself. I think this led to me gaining massive weight and also getting into bad relationships. I have craved for attention and acceptance. However, 2-3 yrs back I saw the pattern in my life.
    My father (close to 60!) is in a relationship with a bad woman (15 years younger to him, twice divorced and a vamp to say the least) and because of that, he has neglected my mom and me. My mother is a homemaker and cannot find a job at this age, so she is still living in his house. I have moved back recently to be with my mom (I don’t trust him to leave her alone with him, she does not want to move out of his house) and yesterday he called me names, physically threatened me and said that he will the police (what for, even I don’t know!).
    I have basically decided to help my mom for a yr and move out for good. I am breaking up with this selfish and unappreciative man.
    I wish you ladies lots of luck and love. I think its time we start talking about such issues and not allow anyone.. including the man who contributed to our DNA to walk over us.

  • HEG

    I came across this article just now and reading it brought so much comfort to me. Your story mirrors mine in regard to the level of manipulation my father would throw my way when he behaved badly…I realized that in the end I always felt like his bad behavior and emotional cruelty and passivity was my fault. Finally, after the final blow, I knew enough was enough and I had to cut ties. I believed in the “honor thy father” philosophy so much over the past 32 years that I let his happiness rule my happiness and his mistakes be my mistakes, but up until about 4 months ago I finally understood that it is not a child’s job to emotionally care for a parent when they only use that care as an emotional weapon. It was a hard choice for me at first, very hard, like quitting an addiction, but at this point I feel relived. I really thank you for sharing and for giving me the platform to share my story.

  • Poindykester

    Thank you for this. I literally just did this last night. I was fine at first. But the regret is getting to me now. He isn’t a bad guy, just a bad dad. Can I still invite him to my wedding? SHOULD I still invite him? I know that if he understands my meaning properly, it will hurt him, and that was never my intent. I know I did the right thing, but I’m still in the phase where it feels wrong. This article really helped.

  • E

    This is great – just what I needed to reassure myself that cutting off my own father from my life is what I need to do. Thank you.

  • Yesenia Sanchez

    Laksh,

    I commend you sister!! Hope all is well in your life, unfortunately it is natural for us to sometimes fall into depression because we have lived such situations. But I hope you find comfort in my words although I am a complete stranger. Do not let the actions of a person break you. The actions of evil men do not define your character for it defines theirs. And don’t ever feel guilty for making such decision. Stay blessed

  • Yesenia Sanchez

    Hello ladies I am one year late on to this blog lol… As the saying goes better late then never. I have a 3 year old adorable little girl will be 4 in March 2014 A 6 and 8 year old also beautiful girls. I just recently made the hardest decision to keep the father’s side of the family away from them. After carefully analyzing and outweighing the good and the bad. I realized that having these people in their life would be far more toxic than I could ever imagine. I’m not quite sure where to even begin, but I’ll start from the day I decided to leave an abusive relationship June 11th 2009. At the time my oldest was 4 (from a previous relationship though he pretty much fathered her since she was 6 months old) and my baby was about 1 year and a half or so. I was in the room packing my articles his family (mother, father, and 2 sisters) locked themselves in the room and refused to give me my baby. They called the police accusing me of kidnapping my own child. My oldest daughter being that she was not their blood was in the room sitting on the bed. She witnessed her stepfather put his hands on me and then she had to witness me me getting arrested (I thank the lord she had just turned 4 and was not traumatized by witnessing this). I was a victim and I was arrested, (I love telling people my story in hopes someone might be in a similar situation and it might be wake up call to them) for the next 8 months I faced deportation. I faced criminal and also family court proceedings. The hardest of all that was not being in incarcerated, the hardest was knowing that I could be deported and never see my children again. It also hurt me so much to know that this family could have such hatred and be willing to rip a child from their mother. I am living testimony that God takes care of children. This family had money and had good a attorneys, my family struggled to get $2,800 for my bail. By god’s grace I was out on bail I didn’t have not a dollar to my name. Within 3 days I had 10 Attorneys at one of the top firms Probono!!. It was a long sad trial for a period of eight months. My visitation rights were only 2x’s per week for 2 hours. I remember I used to cry to the grandmother to please let me keep her just 30 more minutes and the lady would say NO!!!! Eight months I endured this pain and humiliation from his family on top of being pregnant.

    All of the pain and humiliation could never amount to his glory finally the day came when I received custody of my daughter. I also was blessed with legal status in the country because they found me to be a victim of abuse after the attorneys proved everything his family had lied about in an attempt to keep my baby. I remember like it was yesterday it was 1 month before I gave birth to my 3 yr old (also his) 8 months had gone by and I refused to allow them near my children. Again he and his family attempted to get custody of the baby I wanted nothing to do with them but my daughters cries for her daddy and her nana used to break my heart. So I had to bend my will and allow contact not for me but for my children. I set my terms and expected them to be respected. For three years their father was nowhere in the picture he was living with someone, had moved on with life forgetting that he ever had children. Hypocrite!! He tried to take them and then wanted nothing to do with them. The relationship with my children was mostly with his little sister she loves my children to death but she was so immature and still is and could not wholly understand the concept of a mother’s desire for their children to not hurt.

    When my daughter turned three he had his sister ask if I would speak with him because he realized he’d made a mistake wanted to apologize and be their for his children. I accepted and allowed him so. Within a period of 9 months he had 5 different girlfriends and every time he got one he neglected his children. He wouldn’t pick them up for their visits when he had the girlfriends over his mommas house and the kids where there he would lock himself in the room with his girl and the hell with the kids. I spoke to his mother to rectify the situation or I would not allow my children to be involved with them her response was “well ok fine by me it’s not like they will be the last kids he ever has!” I was shocked, hurt all of the above. Nothing changed the only reason my kids were going over for visits was again the auntie. The last time he got the girlfriend of one month pregnant and again told me he wanted nothing to do with the kids. He didn’t want to know about them and didn’t want to be in their life’s (finally grandma’s wish came true). Recently his little sister had taken them for a weekend visit and when my children returned my 6 year old told me his girlfriend and little baby boy where in the room and he only played with them for 1 minute (she was sad as she was telling me this). When his mother called the following weekend for visits I told her no I longer want to be bothered by her family. No my children do not have a father, a grandmother, a grandfather, nor do they have aunties. I had accepted that he neglected and shun my children but I also made it very clear to her that I wanted him nowhere near my children. It was apparent that they had no intent in honoring my word but also no intent on doing what was best for the kids. I decided my children were not going to grow up feeling neglected, ignored, unloved, belittled, and humiliated with a father in the home that would not even speak to them. I can only imagine the irreversible psychological effects of such and therefore decided it was time to cut ties in full effect and no turning back. Children are god’s gift and they are to be treated as such not as items that you can throw in the trash and pick up for your own comfort in life. Keeping grandma and auntie in the picture would only hurt my children as a reminder and also from the point and time they decided it was ok to have him live in the house they basically shut the door on my girls. No hard feelings that is her son and she thinks she’s doing the best for him, SO AM I! THESE ARE MY GIRLS AND I AM THEIR PROTECTOR. The difference is her son is almost 30 mine are babies. Lady let him be a man and take care of his own! sad, but the reason he his how he is is his poor upbringing by his mother. I commend everyone on this blog for making such a powerful and strong step in the right direction. May the god send his grace over all of you and let the healing and love be overabundant. <3 GOD BLESS YOU ALL

  • Mia

    This speaks to me so much. My father, Al Mirza in Washington state for the world to know, took advantage of my trust in him as my father by scamming me into buying half a million dollars in real estate and signing it to him for free in a quit claim deed, leaving him free and clear with the properties and me with all the debt. Meanwhile he rented out the properties in default and collected free rent on them for years while I, deserted and alone, was forced to file bankruptcy on my own. Yet somehow, according to him, I deserved all if it because of illogical reason after illogical reason. He just loves to bring up OLD stuff from when I was 10 and under, call me a prostitute, etc. It’s what he does to make himself feel better: dehumanize me the way the Nazis did the Jews. But I just love what you said: life is too short to settle for less that you deserve in ANY relationship. He is cut off and will miss out on my wedding, birth of his grandchildren, and everything else my life without him has to offer. Too bad for him! Our dads don’t deserve us!

  • ItsRoni

    I agree with you 100%! I think that you have left the door open for your father to step up and “be right”. And if that is what you want, I hope that works out for you.
    Years ago, I cut my mother instead of my father from my life and I have absolutely no regrets! How many times do you allow a person to disappoint you, to treat you badly, to disregard your feelings, etc. until you say, “To hell with this!”? I get the people who ask how I could cut my mother out of my life. “That is your mother.” “You only have one mother.” “How would you feel if she died and you didn’t make peace with your mother.” I had forgiven this woman time and time again. But enough was enough! I am at peace with my decision. And I hope you are as well.

  • Elle Royal

    Well done. A display of growth and maturity is what we have here. You and your father are just discovering a new and better relationship. One with barriers and respect. Exellent! You are becoming an adult. One who doesn’t look at daddy the same way nor need daddy the same way. Everybody should be so fortunate to do this. Unfortunately many hold on to and tolerate bad enegy instead living the life they deserve. Well done.

  • Emily

    Best Article Ever!!!

  • BAP

    i am in LOVE with this article!!! it really hit home,im wondering tho,how do we deal with these daddy issues and prevent them from ruining our love lives?

  • Dink.M

    Wow….this article was so on point and reflective of how I and a lot of my sister friends feel. EMOTIONAL ABANDONMENT is just as painful and debilitating as physical abuse and outright neglect. Trying to address the emotional and mental impact of the abandonment with a person who refuses to acknowledge that it even exists is incredibly frustrating and hurtful. Something you said is really, really sticking with me…and it’s essentially that he can’t and won’t ever be my father at this point. At 41, I’m too old now. And unfortunately, I’ve spent 39 of those years actively trying to get my dad to be the father I always needed him to be. And the reality is that he can’t and doesn’t have the balls to do it. In order for him to do that, he will no doubt have to acknowledge the abandonment. And he refuses to. My father’s emotional abandonment has been a source of pain and debilitating emotional and mental breakdowns for the majority of my adult life. And I married an exact replica of my father and he was completely emotionally absent. Recently, I noticed that those are also the type of men that I date! But not anymore! Recently, I’ve had to let go of my relationship with my father and most of my family, give or take a few stragglers. It hurts. But I am in such a healthier place emotionally because of it. I’ve stopped crying uncontrollably and feeling sorry for myself. I have FINALLY realized that the fact that my father wasn’t there for me and traded his relationship with my brother and I for another woman and their kids together does NOT make me LESS of a woman. I also realized that the fact he did that said more about who HE was and not who I was. Growing up and as an adult, I thought it did and it completed zapped me of confidence and self-love. But I have slowly but surely gotten it together and have begun to come out of the shell that I’ve been in since I was pre-teen…

    Thank you so much for this article. It let me know that I am hardly alone and that I indeed made the right decision for myself. Yes, I get the talks about how I’m wrong and horrible and that I’m being selfish and God is not pleased. But people are soooooo used to us initiating reconciliation and resolution and trying to take responsibility for a relationship that wasn’t ours to manage in the first place – and the day we finally give up and move on with our lives, we become the bad guy. The way I see it, it was NEVER my responsibility to raise my dad into being my father. The truth is that I am absolutely in love with my dad. I wish things were different. But after 41 years, it is what it is. I’ve finally grown up and accepted this and I am finally feeling some peace and the love for myself that I’ve always needed. Thanks again!

  • Cheryl Lemon

    Thank you. I just went through the same situation with my dad and its easier to deal with it knowing I am not the only one. My parents are married but have been living separately for more than 13 years. He had an affair with her friend and instead of owning up to his mistakes he blamed me for my mother leaving him. He thought my mother was weak and stupid. He felt that I should have taken his side and convince her to stay since I was the oldest of 4. When I lived at home with her in our new house (age 21), for the first two years this man verbally abused me behind closed doors and in public. He would bang on our front door at 2 and 3 in the morning. Just yelling and screaming at me . But I was always told to honor thy mother and thy father. Now I am 35 and I finally told him how much he hurt me. His response was it was his right as my parent to call me names and to talk about me to other family members. At that moment I decided that I would forgive him but I wouldn’t have anything else to do with him. I have since cut him out of my life. I don’t call him, visit him, or inquire about him. If he does call me I route his calls to voicemail. I decided to forgive him so I could heal and move on. My self esteem was destroyed by him. I walked away from many friendships and relationships because i didn’t feel worthy. I haven’t forgotten what I experienced at his hands , but i dont dwell on it anymore either.

  • WHOISBSQUARED?

    GURL, CONGRATS…..MATTER OF FACT, COME HERE……….LET ME GIVE U A HUG CUZ U KNOW WHAT, U GOTTA LOOK OUT FOR U AND U ONLY………N SOME WHERE DOWN THE LINE, U MIGHT HAVE TO EVEN CUT UR FAMILY OFF………..BUT HEY, IN THE END, I PROMISE U, UR GONNA B GLAD U DID….U NEED TO LEARN TO BECOME ALLERGIC TO BULLSH*T….N THATS FROM ANYBODY…………

  • alf

    I did the same thing with my dad. once i got through the emotional hurdles, i realized it was the best thing for me. now if only my sister could do it. it would change her life.

  • Guest

    This goes for mothers too. I had to get far away from her. She is the very reason I don’t feel comfortable around women. Divide and conquer, that was and still to this day is her motto. Especially when it comes to my brothers and sisters. She got serious problems.

  • Kelly

    I can identify with everything said in the article. Except that peron for me is my mother. It has been a long and difficult road since I was a child with her….About 2 months ago I cut it off, I do have mixed feelings still about it but, it was taking up to much of my energy. And I was still a bit angry inside, I wanted that feeling gone, so I cut the ties.

  • TMichelle

    Your story mirrors my own. After many years of giving my
    father the benefit of the doubt the time came when I had to cut him out of my
    life, especially now that I have children. I am not willing to allow him to
    disappoint and hurt them the way he did my siblings, my mother, and I. He still
    to this day cannot grasps why my mom receives so much of my praise and when I
    tried to explain to him the facts of the matter (she stayed and did her job as
    a parent) he threw a mega-tantrum, at my place of employment. It was then that
    I decided that I had had enough, the relationship I thought we could have will
    never happen and I’m cool with that. He wasn’t that big of a presence in my
    life after he and my mother divorced so it’s not like I’m depriving myself of anything
    crucial. I’ve been without him the majority of my life.

  • NaturalJem

    Good article Brande. I support ur decison and I hope you deal with it well (bcuz sometimes daughters get emotional/harden their heart when reflecting on the relationship with their father). I met mine 2 yrs ago and I’ve forgiven him but when he offers me gifts or favors I don’t get my hopes up bcuz it’ll piss me off in the end when I don’t get it. For now we’re just friends (not father/daughter). We talk once in a while just to see how we’re doing and that’s fine for me bcuz I don’t need any emotional issues from it.

  • ajdiggs

    you just told my life story…. thank you

  • L-Boogie

    Family can be the worse.

    • WHOISBSQUARED?

      CAN I PLEASE GET A WITNESS ON THIS MATTER? LOL

      • Emily

        Amen.

  • BSDennard

    My father has been in and out (mostly out) of my life for as long as I can remember. My early memory of him includes him hitting my mom and then breaking into our home after she left him. Even with that my mom still encouraged my brother and I to have a relationship with him. My father chose otherwise sometimes not seeing or even calling for years at a time. When I left for college he decided to try to make up for the past by calling regularly. However those conversations were filled with talk about his overall hatred for my mom, the woman who raised me on her own. Then he expected me to only do as he said but by this time I was a grown woman and very capable of making my own decisions. That only led to him completely downgrading and disrespecting me in every way possible. Im 27 years old and I haven’t spoke to my father in 2 years and im okay with it. I decided that loving him from a distance is the only way I can protect my own feelings.

    • Yesenia Sanchez

      Wow I’m so sorry you had to go through that BSDennard. I just posted my similar story above. Your post was just reaffirmation that me choosing to keep my child’s father and their family out of their life’s was the best thing I could have done!! God bless you and stay strong 🙂

  • I (heart) this article so much. Sometimes, you just have to let people go and let God. When you’ve done all you can and tried your best, and that other person isn’t willing to change, there’s nothing you can do; it’s out of your hands. It’s not the child’s responsibility, no matter how old they are, to reconcile with the parent who didn’t act the way that they were supposed to in the first place. I’m glad that you realized that you don’t have to carry that baggage around with you.

  • MILITARYWIFE

    Ask him for a dime my mother is doing fine without him and she recently just got married to a guy who is willing to move the Earth for her. I’m so proud of her

  • MILITARYWIFE

    I agree with this article 100%. My parents were married for 14 years and my mother raise my brother, sister and myself all by herself. She did everything and anything for us which includes Christmas, Easter, anything with School, Church, and our extra curriculum activities. My father has not done ANYTHING for us he cheated on my mother throughout the whole marriage and he wouldn’t even WORK. We lost 3for houses because he was lying about his job status but the 3rd time was the last time for my mother. I can count on my fingers how many volleyball games or dance tournaments my father has came too. Recently, we had a family get together on his side of the family for my grandmother’s 90th birthday we gave his family an hour for them to do what they had to do and my sibilings and I left. The next day in church my dad’s sister came to us and said “Your daddy had to take his family photo by himself.” I just rolled my eyes even his own family is in denial what he has done to my mother. I have not TALK to my father since I graduated from college in May. Every time he gets a NEW woman his kids font exist. He has money I don’t a

  • We should require more from the men in our lives, including our fathers. I commend you for demanding more. But as a woman that recently lost her father, I regret not hugging him one more time.

  • Erin

    Great article Brande. I 100% agree with cutting ties with parents because even though you must honor thy father the bible also states, “fathers do not provoke your children to anger.” My mother raised my sisters and I with the notion that to get respect you must first give respect and that it didn’t matter if it was a parent, grandparent, auntie, or whoever. I’m thankful for the mother I have and I’ve seen first hand from many of my friends parents the type of disrespect and disappointment that happens when parents treat their children anyway but still expect respect or love simply because they made them. To me blood is only thicker than water when the relationship is equal and filled with respect, consideration, trust, and love. However, that should be the basis for any relationship, related to the person(s) or not. I’m sorry your father was basically a waste of space within your life and that he created more grief than anything else. I applaud you for standing up for yourself and letting him know father or not you have no place in my life if your not adding anything positive to it. Some people will sadly never take responsibility for their actions and find comfort in blaming others for their programs or shortcomings. I’m glad you know that its not the job of the child to build these relationships with a parent(s) because it should have been built by them from the beginning. Right on girl!