Mental Health

Have Mental Health Questions? Ask a Psychiatrist Online

Ask an Expert,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Mental Health
This answer was rated:

I had an absent father who was also a Colonel in the Air

Force and I learned early...
I had an absent father who was also a Colonel in the Air Force and I learned early that he cheated on my mother. He made one sexual advance towards me when I was about 6 and I told my mother who supported me and told him to back off which he did. Then when I was 13 he lied to my mother's doctor about her being an alcoholic and I told the doctor in private that she was NOT an alcoholic. Dad would not let me go stay with my grandparents during my Mom's hospital stay then but let my two smaller sisters go and for 2 months he never said a word to me - very passive aggressive. However all of this still bothers me and as I was getting older he made attempts to be "nice" to me but inevitably reverted to his anger with me which came out usually passive aggressively%
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Mental Health Question
Answered in 3 minutes by:
5/25/2012
Heidi LPC
Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 278
Experience: Licensed Professional Counselor
Verified
Heidi LPC :

Hi there, I am hoping I can be of some assistance to you this evening... I am sorry you are struggling with this longtime issue...


Heidi LPC :

I am wondering if you still have much contact with him or if you have tried to express these thoughts and feelings to him?


Heidi LPC :

Also wondering if your mother has/had any helpful observations about the issue?

Heidi LPC :

You have every right to be angry and hurt and to have some unresolved issues. Your description of his behavior sounds very much as if he was sociopathic, or dealing with anti-social personality issues.


Heidi LPC :

There are some fantastic books on the subject of healing the inner child when you are wounded in childhood this way. One that I highly recommend is http://www.amazon.com/Healing-The-Child-Within-Dysfunctional/dp/0932194400


Heidi LPC :

I would certainly also recommend that working on your self-esteem through some therapy may be useful, and your sister and you may want to speak to a therapist together to find ways to work through your unresolved feelings.


Heidi LPC :

I would love to chat with you further about your question, and since you are offline I will await your reply with any further information or questions to share! Thank you for using the site, and we'll talk soon! :-)


Ask Your Own Mental Health Question
Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Hi, Heidi! You have some good suggestions. I just want to heal and forgive and I thought I had at times but it keeps popping up and it's like PTSD.

To answer the questions you brought up: No I do not have much contact with him at all. His wife, my stepmother (and there is an issue there, too since he met her before he and my mom divorced and she is very selfish about her own family and also manipulative in my view) sends me Christmas cards and once in a while pictures from slides taken when we were very young which I do appreciate and I am trying to keep this contact going.

We don't talk on the phone ever.

No I have not expressed these thoughts and feelings to him because I don't think I could without completely losing my composure and breaking out in tears to the point that I couldn't talk. I did lose my temper at him when I was about 18 and accused him of not loving me and yelled and screamed at him that he didn't love me which he of course denied and said he did. And then ignored me again. I guess I couldn't expect a different response from him because of the way he was and it's hard to talk to a screaming 17 year old! He was very distant all my life except for some good memories before I was about 6. I never associated him with being anti-social or having socicopath tendencies but I'll look into that, too.

My mother passed away several years ago and all she could ever say about him loving us and her was that he provided for us and that he had a hard childhood so this is spilling over to our next generation.

Great advice about my sister and I getting therapy together to work through these unresolved issues but she lives in Colorado and I live in Alabama. I think I'll get the book you recommended and an extra one for her and start our conversation together that way. I can't afford therapy right now but maybe through mental health services I could get some. I will check into that.

My only question now is about the sister that hasn't spoken to me in over 20 years. She was angry with me for giving custody of my daughter to my husband's grandparents at a time when I was living at home before my parents divorced and my dad was drinking heavily and being extremely verbally abusive to just everyone. I don't know how to repair that relationship and neither does my other sister. We both have a problem with her manipulation and anger. It may not be repairable unless we ALL go into therapy together and I don't think that will happen. That sister thinks she knows it all and is a lawyer, doctor and psychologist herself. She has a degree in geology! :) I don't know, she's just actually chosen not to have a sister relationship with me and I have accepted it. That's her loss. Although It really is my loss, too.

The advice my mom gave me when I moved back home after my divorce, and I think it was good because it worked was to just not say anything to him because then he would focus his verbal attacks on whoever challenged him. Totally irrational. He was so angry. I didn't say anything and actually got some strength and empowerment about that.

On a different note I think the strength and empowerment I got from not responding to his verbal attacks showed me that I could control my own actions and responses and react or act independently of anyone or any situation. That has stayed with me. But I'm not sure if the behavior of not responding and the "strength and empowerment" I have felt was just avoidance and myself doing exactly what he did which was distancing my emotions and feelings and core self from a bad situation. Anyway, it worked and I have that skill in my "repertoire" still today, to be able to respond rather than react in a bad situation.

I hope this answers some of your questions and I just get a headache thinking about all of this. It feels like a ball of rubber bands that keep bouncing back to me. I appreciate your empathy! Maybe you have a few more suggestions since I've provided more information. I feel like I've written a book! And thank you!

Customer reply replied 5 years ago
Heidi, I just ordered the book you recommended. Thank you.
Customer reply replied 5 years ago
Heidi, it's getting late here and I am going to go to bed. I'll look for your response in the morning, and thank you.
Good Morning! Thank you for all of this information!! I am tied up here this morning at work, and so I will reply this afternoon with my thoughts and more suggestions!! Great work so far!! We will get this boulder to move and get out of your way!! :-) Talk soon!!
Ask Your Own Mental Health Question
Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Wonderful! Thanks! No hurry. :) This has been around for about 54 years so it can wait a few hours. Isn't that pitiful? Have a wonderful morning and hear from you soon.

Thank you!

Hi again!! Thank you for your patience, and for all the information!!

Simply put, it is clear that you were raised in a dysfunctional family, and you developed coping skills that helped you to avoid conflict and to manage the frustrations and pain of an unavailable father and a mother who tried to manage, but who clearly was unable to take control. This probably created great anger that you will want to express, and you may want to begin a dialogue with him to get it off your chest and give him one more chance to respond and repair it. I highly doubt he would even know where to begin, though... as your mother's observations about him having had a rough childhood is something he never dealt with and probably never will. Some people just don't know how, and don't want to learn out of fear of what they might find. You, on the other hand, don't want to make the same mistake--- and are going to work through it... and I congratulate you on wanting to find peace!

So many people are wounded by poor parenting, and so many choose to repeat the same mistakes, never looking past their own history and being doomed to repeat them. You are not alone, by a longshot. The remedy to the pain is to analyze exactly what you needed and didn't get, why that was, and to grieve your losses, be angry about them, and eventually to make peace with it... while making a conscious effort to give yourself what it is that you need now. So, let me ask: what were you cheated of? What were you always left hoping for? What effect did his distance have on your self-esteem? And what would you want him to know now, before he leaves the planet, that you may regret never having said?

You have one chance to live; this you already know. My motto is "Have NO regrets." Something you might find helpful is to write, stream of consciousness-style, everything that you want your father to know and take your time to do it. Revise, rewrite, etc... until you feel it is absolutely correct. Hold nothing back, as the damage is already done to you... and now it is your turn to take this heavy load off your shoulders and place in squarely back on his. You will find that by releasing your regrets and anger and pain, the burden will begin to lift. Now the final piece: you never have to give him this letter, if you so choose. Or, you will. But this decision will come later. The act of writing it will be cathartic in itself, and will bring it all to the surface so that you can toss it right off the cliff... and begin anew.

You have the choice to decide how you want to live from this point forward. Do you want to attempt to repair any of these relationships? Or do you want to just sort of "trust the journey" and see what happens? Your sister is holding a grudge, and she feels self-righteous about it; this is her option. You can tell her it hurts and you miss her, but ultimately it is her choice to let it go or not. Your father may never come around; his dysfunction sounds thick and embedded. Yet, it may do him a bit of good to hear that you want to find some peace despite his inability to love you as you needed to be loved; he may get some peace by the contact you initiate, as well. Not sure!

As for your own family, the daughter you mention, you didn't say if you have contact or not. But, if you do, then your sister's opinion is a mute point. Otherwise, maybe there is more work to be done there?

These types of personal awakenings are some of my favorite situations; when you know better, you do better. When you identify the missing pieces and actively search to find them and put them back in place, you can finally become wholeheartedly who you want to be and were meant to be. And, THIS time, it is on YOUR OWN terms, and not at the hands of someone who was responsible for your upbringing, but hadn't any clue about the serious nature of that job. You are now going to take control and give up your identity as a victim of circumstance. Take your power back, and begin now!

I am so glad you ordered this book; you will see what I mean once you start reading it! Let me know what thoughts my reply brought up for you, and I am happy that you have decided to begin this process of resolution!! :-)

Heidi LPC
Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 278
Experience: Licensed Professional Counselor
Verified
Heidi LPC and 87 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Well, WOW, Heidi. You have hit the nail on the head so to speak. I definitely do need to start writing and sorting out my feelings and needs my father never gave me, and you're right. He is so deeply embedded in his dysfunction that he may not even know the hurt he caused all of us. I may send him the letter that I eventually come up with or not. I know how cathartic writing it out is - at least I've heard that it is. I always have "to do" lists and I'm amazed what I can do when I get all of my "to do's" done! As you said my father probably has no idea how to respond except maybe to say I'm sorry. I feel badly that he has lived his whole life as he did. He missed so much. This sounds like something I need to get writing, as you recommended. I guess it's good that I can feel badly for him and see what has happened that I want to stop immediately or at least quickly.

I do have contact now with my daughter and it is great. She is an amazing child. Put herself through school and got her Masters while holding a full time job and having a new baby! That is focus and I am so so proud of her and I let her know all the time! I want her to know how special she is to me and to everyone she meets and to her son, my grandson, who is four now. In fact she has had therapy because her father - whom I was only married to for about 4 years - was a messed up piece of baggage and she found out through therapy that she married her father - this was after she was divorced recently. She's one smart kid. And amazingly enough I married my father, too. Who was her father. OH, what a tangled web we weave.

I know I have the choice to decide how I want to live but I surely needed some guidance as to how to get this rubber ball pulverized! :) Thank you so much and the book has shipped already and I'm looking forward to reading it and getting that letter going!

You are a very compassionate and thoughtful person and I have never talked with anyone about this before and received such empathy and help.

Thank you so much! If I run into a knot that I cannot undo myself will I be able to contact YOU again? I hope so. And now, to begin! I see the sun shining already! Thank you, ***** ***** thank you from the bottom of my heart. I wish I could give you a big hug!

I am so glad to be of some help--- truly!! And yes... the fact that you can already feel sorry for your father will be a huge piece of your resolution; many people can never (or just refuse) to forgive the errors of their parents... but forgiving is actually one of the healthiest ways to get resolution. It doesn't mean you will ever forget, but that you refuse to allow the past to have anymore power over you. EXCELLENT WORK!!!

So glad to hear about your daughter; once you all put the hows and whys together of these patterns that have repeated themselves, you will eliminate them from your generational map!! You are definitely on the right road there!!

And, anytime you'd like to share your thoughts or ask another question, or to just fill me in on your progress, just put my name at the front of your query and it will be directed to me! And you can reaccess this string of comments in the "my questions" tab at the top of your screen, as well!!

Can't wait to hear what you think of the book--- and I send you a big hug right back!! Trust the journey... and enjoy this new awakening period!!!!! :-)

Ask Your Own Mental Health Question
Ask Heidi LPC Your Own Question
Heidi LPC
Heidi LPC
Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 278
278 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Licensed Professional Counselor

Heidi LPC is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much

Corrie MollPretoria, South Africa

I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well!

ClaudiaAlbuquerque, NM

Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion.

KevinBeaverton, OR

Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
I feel better already! Thank you.

ElanorTracy, CA

Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem.

JulieLockesburg, AR

You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions.

John and StefanieTucson, AZ

I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!!

Janet VPhoenix, AZ

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Dr. Keane

Dr. Keane

Therapist

1,379 satisfied customers

Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.

TherapistMarryAnn

TherapistMarryAnn

Therapist

3,984 satisfied customers

Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.

Dr. Olsen

Dr. Olsen

Psychologist

2,336 satisfied customers

PsyD Psychologist

Norman M.

Norman M.

Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA

2,246 satisfied customers

ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.

Dr. Michael

Dr. Michael

Psychologist

2,177 satisfied customers

Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.

Steven Olsen

Steven Olsen

Therapist

1,728 satisfied customers

More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education

Anna

Anna

Mental Health Professional

1,656 satisfied customers

Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 29 years in addictions and mental health.

< Previous | Next >

Related Mental Health Questions
I am having terrible guilt and shame about things I did in
I am having terrible guilt and shame about things I did in my past which have suddenly come to my consciousness - when I was about 16 I was extremely sexual and ended up sniffing knickers on a number … read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
719 satisfied customers
Leah,I had a question I did get to mention yesterday..the
Hi Leah,I had a question I did get to mention yesterday..the thread was getting a bit to long anyway lol… read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
719 satisfied customers
I did ask a male professional earlier about my problem, but
I did ask a male professional earlier about my problem, but it would be great to get a female psychologists view also. My husband and I have not had sex in 6 years. He had a mild stroke 5 years ago, b… read more
Linda D.
Linda D.
Master\u0027s Degree
721 satisfied customers
My husband call me a, he did it today. I told him under no
My husband call me a bitch, he did it today. I told him under no circumstances do you have the right to call a woman a bitch. He also tells me that I am miserable. Everytime he starts a fight. … read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
719 satisfied customers
Its kind of imbarrising.. I did realize I could chat to some
its kind of imbarrising.. I did realize I could chat to some one on here … read more
Therapist Leslie
Therapist Leslie
Masters, Professional Psychology
5 satisfied customers
My doctor switched me from sertraline to viibryd. I did one
My doctor switched me from sertraline to viibryd. I did one week of 10 mg, then 2 weeks of 20 mg, now back to 10mg so I can switch back to sertraline. I don't like viibryd. How can I safely switch bac… read more
Dr. Kaushik
Dr. Kaushik
PSYCHIATRIST ( MD Psychiatry)
Doctoral Degree
203 satisfied customers
Dear Dr. Keane, just a quick message to say that I did not
Dear Dr. Keane, just a quick message to say that I did not get that job, enough time has passed by to now know this. I've plenty to say, but not plenty of time this week as my gran is now visiting, so… read more
Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane
Therapist
Doctoral Degree
1,379 satisfied customers
I have a friend who says she has DID but she doesn't meet
I have a friend who says she has DID but she doesn't meet the criteria. Her alters are dead people. Mostly characters from Movies or Musicals like Phantom of the Opera. Would this behavior be a sympto… read more
llw26
llw26
Private Practice
Doctoral Degree
11 satisfied customers
Why some people get angry if other people point out they did
Why some people get angry if other people point out they did wrong things? I would think when people know they did wrong things they should feel sorry and try to correct. Thanks.… read more
llw26
llw26
Private Practice
Doctoral Degree
11 satisfied customers
Dear Dr. Keane, I did what you suggested about my dad.
Dear Dr. Keane,I did what you suggested about my dad. Actually, I spoke to my mum too and she's right, it just is not his kind of thing, to get support. You were right, when I initially brought up the… read more
Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane
Therapist
Doctoral Degree
1,379 satisfied customers
Thank you. I did download a book about a little boy with
Thank you. I did download a book about a little boy with autism, from the perspective of an autistic child, but it turned out to be 64 pages long and just a little too grown up -- even though it menti… read more
Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark
Doctoral Degree
129 satisfied customers
My husband lied to me about his. He did cheat on his ex-wife
My husband lied to me about his. He did cheat on his ex-wife after all. Now he says I am sticking my nose into his business. … read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
719 satisfied customers
My wife and I did some role reversal consisting of her being
My wife and I did some role reversal consisting of her being dominant. Domestic discipline and domination. SometiMrs she makes me wear panties. I find embarrassing but arousing too. The whole mentalk … read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
719 satisfied customers
I had lung surgery 2 months ago. Why did I feel this was one
I had lung surgery 2 months ago. Why did I feel this was one of the best days of my life. This is not normal. And I am not saying this because it saved my life, but because of the treatment and everyt… read more
Linda D.
Linda D.
Master\u0027s Degree
721 satisfied customers
I wanted to know how can I distinguish did my gf leave
I wanted to know how can I distinguish did my gf leave because of suspected "psychosis" or she just doesn't wanna be with me I haven't heard anything from her since November 17th this is out of charac… read more
Dr. Z
Dr. Z
Psychologist
Doctoral Degree
9,633 satisfied customers
Have DID. totally dissociated for the first time the other
have DID. totally dissociated for the first time the other day in therapy and embarrassed self. now terrified to face therapist again. any ideas how to calm anxiety and face therapist?… read more
TherapistMarryAnn
TherapistMarryAnn
Therapist
Master's Degree
3,984 satisfied customers
I've been having serious guilt over something I did in the
I've been having serious guilt over something I did in the past. It all triggered when I saw a kid that used to live on my street. I'm 18 now. At the time of incident I was about 11/12 and the kid was… read more
Linda D.
Linda D.
Master\u0027s Degree
721 satisfied customers
I did a no no and tried to look up articles about what I
I did a no no and tried to look up articles about what I have and how pure O can sometimes be misdiagnosed as pedophila! Well I read a comment where one person says even if they've had these thoughts … read more
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm
Clinical Social Worker
Master\u0027s Degree
719 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x