Q: I haven't spoken to my father for 2 1/2 years, for various reasons that boil down to his being very selfish and refusing to validate feelings.
He called the other day. Many many people in my life think that I should let (my grudge) go because "that's just how he is," and that I'm depriving him of my child (born after I cut him off).
I'd love a relationship with him, but his message didn't indicate any desire to resolve issues, simply to brush them under the rug. Thoughts?
A: There isn't much for me to go on here, but I do feel comfortable saying that I support unconditionally those who sever ties to people who are harmful to them.
When people are merely disappointing, though, then my advice is to try instead to accept that no one will ever be who you want them to be. We even let ourselves down by that standard. So, if that's the case with your dad — that your main complaint is his not being the dad you wish he'd be — then think of what you want from yourself, and from other people.
You want to be accepted and loved as you are, right? And forgiven your shortcomings? And not set up to fail?
You can't make anyone give you these things, but you can show how it's done by calling him with your expectations set to "naught." Given that Dad's shortcomings appear to be of long standing, just make sure you go into it knowing your integrity is your only certain reward.