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This week’s dilemma is as follows:

You and your father have always been close, ever since your mother died. Your father eventually remarries again when you’re just 12 years old. When you get to sixteen, you start getting into trouble and start acting out.
You have a really bad argument with your step-mother one day, and she tells your father that either she goes, or you go.
Your father chooses to let you go, and basically throws you out of the house to fend for yourself at the age of sixteen.

Years later, you meet up with your dad, and he apologises for the choice he made at the time, and begs for your forgiveness.

What do you do? Do you forgive him for picking his wife over his daughter, and abandoning you, or do you tell him to get lost?

What would you do?


  • Edie
    July 10
    9:02 am

    Ideally, you probably should forgive and attempt a relationship.. but I am not good on the forgiveness.. just ask my mother. *shrug*
    While parents are not infallible, and shouldn’t be perfect, I think if you have a kid you have a general responsibility to them to put their needs first to a certain extent. Depending on the back story, I think kicking your kid out of home at the say so of your partner sucks the big one. Counselling and that sort of stuff should have been tried.


  • I’m definitely in the “Get Lost” category as I haven’t really spoken with my father since high school when he totally screwed my mom on my college tuition. Thank goodness my step-dad stepped up to the plate and helped out a ton. I think that last time he was able to track down my phone number through various relatives, I hung up on him and then tracked down the person who gave him my number and told them off as well. What can I say… Me BIG grudge holder.


  • I would likely forgive him, just because holding onto the anger wouldn’t help me, and if I’m not still angry, then some part of me has likely already forgiven him.

    However, whether or not I decided to try and build a relationship with him again would depend on whether or not I could relate to the man he is now.

    Letting his wife dictate something like that tells me he needs to learn to take a stand, and if I don’t think he’s done that, if he hasn’t grown emotionally, then I wouldn’t put time into rebuilding a relationship. That would only cause me more problems later on.


  • The clue for me is the first paragraph – they were very close before.

    A slightly similar situation happened to my sisters and I. My mother died and we knew how lonely my dad was. So when he met someone and married her, we were all very supportive. But she turned out to be the step mother from hell – we call her the Black Widow. My dad died after they had been married only a few months and he had changed his will leaving her just about everything he had. At this point she set out trashing my sisters to all my parents friends about how awful we were to her. It was a total and complete lie and it hurt considerably that many people we had known all our lives believed her. It turned out that my dad was her third husband and she went on to marry twice after that that we know of before we lost track of her (and all the money my parents had saved throughout their lives)
    At no point did any of us blame our father.
    So yes, if he had lived and later come back and apologized, we would have forgiven him in a heartbeat for marrying such an evil wicked bitch.


  • I am close to my dad now a days but it was never the best relationship growing up. Too many situations like this. Too many situations where I felt I was judged for not living up to their (religious) expectations.

    I would of course forgive dad but I think somewhere along the way I have found that it’s best to find your own “family” and learn to depend primarily on yourself because I have found the “family” you were born with are not very dependable or very supportive.


  • Scott
    July 10
    12:42 pm

    What I have to say is not meant to hurt anyone’s feeling, or judge anyone that I don’t know, or their situation. This is just my gut reaction.

    Maybe this is from being a father myself, but ANY parent that picks their second spouse over their own CHILD should be strung up! How could you choose over your own flesh and blood? I don’t care how much you love your second spouse, your child HAS TO / SHOULD come above all others! If your spouse is so out of tune to that and gives you such an ultimatum, then they are not the right person for you. Or, as I said, you should be strung up. 😉

    However, if I was the child, I would forgive him. But that goes back to the whole flesh and blood thing.


  • Lori
    July 10
    12:44 pm

    How did they manage to toss a kid out of the house and not get in trouble for abandonment?

    Okay, assuming they sent me to live with a relative and I was still taken care of…

    Yes, I would forgive. People make bad choices all the time. As apparently I did also with my behaviour.

    If however, my experiences were living on the street or something heinous like that: he could kiss my ass.


  • When you get to sixteen, you start getting into trouble and start acting out.

    Well, to take an opposing view point – it could be a case of tough love given to an overly spoiled kid. Sometimes (I’m not saying all times here) extreme measures are all that’s left.

    The situation leaves too much open for interpretation – was she acting out because the stepmother was mean, or just because she was being an obnoxious ‘your not my mother’ teen? If it was the second, do you as a parent pander to that and ruin the other half of your life, cause sure as eggs, if you give in to the misbehaving teen your ruining that part of it too.

    This one’s too vague for me to call it, even from the standpoint of a broken home with parents of the ‘can’t-be-in-the-same-room’ variety, and having been basically kicked out of my father’s house (was my family home for 10 years).


  • sallahdog
    July 10
    1:28 pm

    There are just so many ways this could have been interpreted… You say the hypothetical child had “acted out”… What kind of acting out? Drug use, damaging property. Those would have been good reasons for putting the child out of the house(to rehab or for counseling).

    Just playing devils advocate here, since I doubt I would choose a new spouse over my child, but I have also seen some kids (teens and young adults) who have seemed hell bent on destroying a homelife that they don’t like.. I have also known second wives and husbands who seem to think that the kids from a previous marriage were just so much luggage that should be dumped on the side of the road..

    I am all about forgiveness, if for no other reason than it allows you to move on, how much of a relationship that happens after that, depends a lot on the relationship before the break..


  • MB (Leah)
    July 10
    1:38 pm

    Hmm…been there to some degree. Well, this all depends if I was a shit at that time pushing my father to choose and treating my step mom like crap.

    If I recognized that I had a huge part in it, was manipulating the situation, which many kids do actually, then I’d forgive and try and have a relationship.

    However, if it was because the step mom was being selfish and putting a wedge between my father and I, kind of like what I’ve experienced IRL, then I would forgive, but never, ever forget. I’d always keep my emotional distance, because once I’ve been thrown under the bus, I don’t trust again really.

    What does help here is that the father is taking responsibility and acknowledging that he played some part in the whole thing.


  • Karen Scott
    July 10
    2:12 pm

    This dilemma was inspired by a story I heard at a women’s networking event earlier this week. The lady had been staying out all night, being genrally sluttish etc.


  • I like what Shiloh Walker (comment 3) said. Forgiveness isn’t about the other person–in this case, the father. Forgiveness is about the daughter and her ability to let it go and move on with her life. Holding the heat and anger on this is only bad for her, though perfectly understandable.


  • Randi
    July 10
    3:01 pm

    I have pretty high standards for parents, having a deadbeat father myself. Your child should come before all else. Probably, I’d acknowledge that he admits he was culpable, but wouldn’t spend much time trying to have a relationship with him. As for forgiveness-I guess that depends on the circumstances surrounding his capitulation to the wife.


  • Las
    July 10
    5:18 pm

    If he had sent me to boarding school or to live with relatives or something, and as an adult I could see that at 16 I was out-of-control and he had run out of options for dealing with me, then I could forgive him and have a relationship with him. But just throwing me out on the street completely on my own? On the insistence of his wife? To hell with him and the rabid bitch he married. There is absolutely no justifying that.


  • I think that I would forgve him but that I wouldn’t have a relationship with him. I think you need to forgive because as Shiloh said, it’s not for the other person, it’s for you. Holding all that in hurts you more than it hurts them. That being said, I wouldn’t want to forge a relationship with him. I don’t want to be associated with someone who would do that to their child.

    Especially if he’s still married to that bitch.


  • Emmy
    July 11
    12:46 am

    Think he’d still be pissed, because CPS woulda gotten hold of his ass years ago and shook it hard.

    In my state, everyone is required to go to school until they’re 18. When dad kicked the chick out, it’s unlikely she woulda hung around and stayed in school. After missing a certain number of days, notices start getting sent to the parent, letting them know their child is delinquent. If the child continues to miss school, the parent gets arrested for neglect and has to explain to the judge why they can’t get their kid to school every day.

    If dad tells the judge, “Well, Your Honor, she was being a bitch and I kicked her out because my new piece told me to”, he’s going to stay in jail for a while. So I fail to see how a parent could kick their kid out and not be prosecuted for it, and the teen would end up a ward of the state until 18.


  • Sam
    July 11
    5:18 am

    I may be able to forgive, but forgetting and/or trusting would be out of the question.

    Maybe all he needs (and face it, his needs apparently come first here) is to know he’s forgiven. It doesn’t even say he wants to reconcile…just to be forgiven.

    My mom always cranked out that old chestnut “acid only burns the pot it’s carried in’, so I was always told to give up the anger etc.

    Not sure the lesson took completely, but I try.


  • Karen Scott
    July 11
    7:09 am

    The lady who this actually happened to forgave her father. Her rationale was that he knew she could survive, whereas his wife wasn’t that strong.
    She also took responsibility for how things had gone.

    I think it would be hard to forgive. I think its possible to live well, without forgiving something like this. I would probably tell him to get lost, compartmentalise my emotions about him, and move on.

    Abandoning one’s child for anything less than murder, rape etc isn’t right imo. What would have happened if that child had been killed on the streets because as a parent he decided he couldn’t cope, and would rather have his wife?

    If I had a child, and TTG and I split, and I met somebody else, I can tell you, the child would always come first.


  • Abandoning one’s child for anything less than murder, rape etc isn’t right imo.

    Of course, it’s wrong. But it’s not about right or wrong for me. Somebody up the thread mentioned that the forgiveness isn’t about him-it’s about yourself.

    Compartmentalized or not, holding onto the anger keeps it inside and holding on to it can eat away at a person.

    I used to thrive on staying mad, holding grudges, but I finally realized that doing so only bred more negativity and when I let negativity brew too long, it takes too big a hold in my life.

    I finally figured out the best way for me to move forward in my life is to not hold onto the negativity. It’s definitely still a work in progress because my natural inclination is get mad fast and STAY that way when I’ve been wronged.

    But I’m also learning I find more peace inside by letting things go.

    However, like I mentioned, forgiving doesn’t mean I’d welcome him back in my life. Forgiveness is something I do for me-establishing a relationship with him would be something we’d both have to work at and unless I felt some sort of connection, I don’t know that I’d bother.

    Unless something like that happened to me, I don’t know how I’d go forward.


  • My birth father abandoned my mother and me and so I can say forgiveness is easy to extend to fools. But I’d never set myself up for more pain by welcoming him back into my life.


  • Lori
    July 11
    2:16 pm

    Compartmentalized or not, holding onto the anger keeps it inside and holding on to it can eat away at a person.

    Sometimes recognizing that you’re angry and knowing why and staying angry at that situation is a powerful thing.

    I fight against any sweeping statements of forgiveness or not remaining angry because sometimes it’s anger and a lifetime of feeling angry that affects change. And it seems to me that there’s more packaging of let go of your negative emotions aimed at women because it also, IMO,is a let go of your power also.

    Strong emotion including anger is what often works as our catalyst to stop being bullied, to speak up for ourselves and ultimately to not be victimized. There are many reasons to forgive and many forgivable offenses, but there are just as many reasons to remain angry and unforgiving and use that to affect positive change.

    But this is a really strong issue for me. I truly believe that many communities preach forgiveness aimed at women to shut them up and tie them down. And I truly do not live in a seething pit of hatred and negativity (in fact I’m usually pretty happy with the world) but I hold my anger as close as any other emotion and never negate why I have it and the positive things it can also achieve.


  • I fight against any sweeping statements of forgiveness or not remaining angry because sometimes it’s anger and a lifetime of feeling angry that affects change.

    Honestly, I think the forgiveness I am talking about is not the sentimental sniffing let’s have a hug type deally.

    I think forgiveness can be just setting the “victim” feelings aside and coming to the point where you don’t forget it happened but you also deep down know you have moved on and will not give it any more of your time. Anger is just too much energy to maintain and going through life still reacting to a long past event can turn into serious issues.

    I went through so much recounting things to a psychologist I just got bored with it. Maybe that is what you should do, Get bored with the past even the bad things.


  • Anon76
    July 11
    6:52 pm

    Too many unknown dynamics to even really comment on the question posed.

    But, on the whole forgiveness discussion, I’m not a firm believer in just letting things go. When it comes to family, I’ve gone that route more than once to no benifit at all. In fact, it was rather harmful.

    Forgiveness often means that the person forgiven thinks everything is hunky dorey and they’ll try to insinuate themselves into your life again no matter how hard you’ve tried to maintain a distance. All is forgiven, yes? So what is the problem?

    The problem is that sometimes you can only be forgiving if you don’t have any contact with said family member. Or only very LIMITED contact. Like a once a year phone conversation or some such. (I’d add an LOL to the end of that last sentence, but I absolutely can’t. It’s not the least bit funny, which is sooo sad.)

    And as Teddy pointed out, hanging on to the anger is destructive, and yet as Lori pointed out, remembering that anger is not a bad thing. At least if that anger shapes you in the right way.


  • El Padron
    July 11
    7:09 pm

    Evening Ladies,

    Sorry to interject after all this time but why are we talking about books instead of talking about Manchester United ?

    As Bill Shankly once said ” Football isn’t a matter of life and death – it’s more important than that !”

    See you all soon,




  • Throwmearope
    July 11
    9:24 pm

    I believe in forgiveness, but not forgetting. If someone makes me angry, I work hard on forgiving them. But I never forget what they did. Staying bitter all your life because somebody messed up just ruins your life. Forgetting how somebody messed you up and letting them do so repeatedly is nuts. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to forget.

    Edited to add: Manchester who?


  • md
    July 12
    9:26 pm

    Having experienced a similar situation, I would say no.

    If I met up with him years later, he would be fortunate if I didn’t have a baseball bat at hand.

    I wouldn’t be forgiving. He sounds like a user who doesn’t deserve forgiveness and I’d be hoping in his next life, his dad booted his ass into the streets.


  • Jilly Isenberry
    July 16
    9:53 pm

    I think forgiveness can be powerful. But ONLY if you’re emotionally ready to forgive someone for a wrong that is done to you. As someone who has gone through a tough situation, I can say that it if the wrong was severe enough, it may take years, the rest of your life or…never.

    And that’s okay. I know our society and Hollywood always preach that FORGIVENESS HEALS and blah effing blah, but that’s not always the case. Take it from me: forgiveness given off the cuff, when you’re still angry and don’t really mean it, is completely meaningless. It does you no good. And, if you’re never able to really forgive, that’s okay: as long as you recognize your anger, own it and don’t let it control your life or your future actions… That’s fine. You’re just not ready.

    As for the dilemma, knowing myself, I’m not sure I would ever be able to forgive something like this. I guess I would probably just tell my dad that I wasn’t ready to forgive him, and that I did not want any future contact with him. Like Karen said, I think you can still have a full, wonderful, great life and not be able to forgive something like this. A parent kicking their troubled child out onto the streets is pretty heinous, imo.


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