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Ask Kym Tolson, LCSW, CSAC, NBCCH Your Ow...
Kym Tolson, LCSW, CSAC, NBCCH, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 251
Experience:  Over 15 years of experience as a substance abuse therapist. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker
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I have a 16 year old daughter with a physical disability.

Customer Question

I have a 16 year old daughter with a physical disability. Her medical issues are a challenge in itself, as well as keeping her positive and have self esteem. Her father,( were divorced since she was 2) however, has literally rejected her. he hasn't spoken to her in over 2 years. He does though continue to have a relationships with our 2 older children and is raising 3 of his own currently. I don't know how to help her with this rejection. He dilberatly is withholding himself from Emily. It is crushing her. I have reached out to him. But no reponse. What do I do? How do I help her?
Sad mom
saddened mom
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kym Tolson, LCSW, CSAC, NBCCH replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for using I am so sorry to hear this is happening to Emily. It sounds like he is subconsciously rejecting her because she is the only disabled child? Perhaps he is unable to feel love for her because it is too painful for him to accept her disability. Or perhaps he is holding a grudge from whatever happened 4 years ago?

Regardless of his reasons, it sounds like a terrible tragedy that she has to endure this rejection while watching the other children have a relationship with him. Thank goodness, she has a mother that is supportive and loving to minimize the pain. As for the children's suggestions that she beg for his acceptance, I disagree with this philosophy. She is still a child and it seems that her adult father would need to initiate and model the role of forgiveness.

Unfortunately there is no way to make him change this behavior. I would suggest, if Emily is willing, taking her to a therapist that can help her make sense of her father's rejection and help her develop a positive healthy self esteem. She will need to understand that it is not her fault that her father has rejected her and she will need to learn a healthy way of moving on from his rejection. I believe it is very important for her to do this so she doesn't later in life, find herself attracted to men who might reject her.

I hope this answer helps. Please let me know if you have further questions or if you need clarification of this answer.

All the best,

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Do I enforce the older ones who will including thier father and his other family to future weddings, to help me get him to reconcile with Emily? This would be an unbearable situation that I will not subject her too. All I am trying to do now is to start the process before our older daughter has a wedding and we are "all" supposed to be there to support her. But I will not stand by and subject Emily to this pain.
Expert:  Kym Tolson, LCSW, CSAC, NBCCH replied 6 years ago.
Hello again and thank you for this question as well. I would suggest letting Emily make this decision and support her no matter what her decision. (A therapist could help her with this as well) If she doesn't want to be involved and subjected to going to the wedding, she shouldn't go. As for the older children, perhaps remind them it is not their issue or responsibility to be involved with their father's reactions or relationship with Emily and that you are supporting Emily just as you would support all of them if they were going through a difficult situation.

I hope this additional answer helps, please let me know if you have any other questions.
All the best, Kym
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The only way I see to resolve this is going to those who do have a relationshilp with him. The grandparents talk to him. The issue is always been, the dad always get his way. There has never been any accountablility on his part, because everyone else that he alienates, eventually come back around. So he never has to make any adjustments or changes to his behavior. There are no consequences to his actions, everybody has to pay for it. He doesn't care.
Expert:  Kym Tolson, LCSW, CSAC, NBCCH replied 6 years ago.
Hi again,
You certainly could try this. It sounds like you are up against an entire family system and generations of this type of attitude. If you do try to communicate with them you may consider using I feel statements. I feel _____________ when you ____________. I need/prefer/want ______________________ from you.

then consider setting a boundary that is logical, enforceable, and reasonable....

If you continue to ________________, I will ______________________ .

Hope this answer helps as well.

All the best,