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KimberlyF, Longtime Relationship Expert
Category: Relationship
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I am a 37 year old woman and while I was growing up, my father

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I am a 37 year old woman and while I was growing up, my father was physically abusive to my mother and my sisters and I. He sexually abused my sister over 20 years ago. In many ways he was a good father to us, in that he spent lots of time with us and gave us lots of attention, both good and bad, but he was also very controlling. After he and my mother divorced and I was 18, he began to change. He has apologized to me more than once over the years, and it has been more than 12 years since I have had any kind of a disagreement with him. He lives 1200 miles away so we don't get to visit very much, but I talk to him once every 2 or 3 months and he sends gifts to my kids. My mother and sisters do not talk to him, and he has never apologized to them. They do not have a relationship with him. My mom thinks that I am being hurtful to her and to my sisters by letting him in my life in any way, but I still look forward to his phone calls. I rarely see him. Am I wrong or unhealthy to love him?


Every child no matter what their parents have done to them wants the love of that parent(s) and I think that is the case in your situation. Your mother and your sister can't understand that because of what he did to all of you especially sexually abusing your sister, they still feel resentment for the treatment that they got from him. Since you are an adult it's up to you if you want to forgive your father for his actions in the past. I believe people can change if they make the effort to change and that includes some counseling to figure out why he did that in the first place and if he asks for forgiveness. You may want to ask your father why he has never apologized to your mother and sister but apologized to you. Explain to your mother that you don't want to live your life hating him and that hating him isn't healthy. Tell her that you have come to grips with what happened to you and you choose to forgive him rather than spend the rest of your life hating him. Ask yourself if you would trust your children around him by themselves and what ever your answer is then you will find your answer to your last question to me. I also think that you and your mother and sister need some counseling also maybe even family counseling together. Just don't expect your mother and sister to have the same forgiveness that you have had because they may never be ready to do that.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Your answer was very very helpful, and yes I have said all of those things to my mother and sisters. I do not expect them to forgive him now or ever. They have the right to their feelings about him, and I love them as well. I did not and will not ever let him spend time with my children alone, but at the same time, I still do love and care about him. I guess I need to ask him why he has not apologized to them. You had said "Ask yourself if you would trust your children around him by themselves and what ever your answer is then you will find your answer to your last question to me." But if I do not trust him around my kids, am I still wrong to care about him and love him as a father? Because despite not trusting him, I still do love him.


No you're not wrong for loving him nevertheless he is your father and did give you life even though he didn't make it such a happy life he still give you that gift so of course you are going to love him. You may have reserved yourself to the fact that you do not want to turn around one day and him pass away and you still didn't forgive him and then that would be on your conscience that is your decision and your mother and sister don't have to agree with you but they shouldn't make you feel in a way that you don't feel comfortable feeling. I think you and your mother and sister should agree to allow each other to disagree about this subject and let it go and possibly don't tell them when you do talk to him because it brings up more resentment from them.

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