Don’t come to grad, Dad!

I hate my dad and I don’t want him to come to graduation.

Don’t give him the power to ruin your day, says our elder — just do your best to ignore him.

Dear EWC

I hate my dad so much: he’s rude, selfish, and doesn’t care about me. I just don’t want to see or talk to him anymore. I’ve told my mom and I don’t know what to do. By the way, my mom and dad are divorced, and on top of that, my dad is having a child with his new wife soon. Graduation is coming up very soon. My grandparents said that he’s invited to come and I don’t want him to. I just want to cry and I feel miserable. I’m scared of my dad to the point where he’s always on my mind and it makes me upset; I was like this even as a younger kid. I’m writing this mainly to get advice on my graduation, the baby I’m not excited for, and what to do about my father. This whole situation has been making me upset for the longest time and now I feel like it’s getting to the point where it’s eating me alive, it’s not healthy for me to live life always stressed, frustrated, overwhelmed, and upset.

PicklesMarie replies

Congratulations on your graduation! You did well to get so far! May you do well as you proceed!

This is a difficult situation. I get the impression that you might be making a mountain out of a molehill. Let me explain as well as I can.

There will be all manner of people at your graduation… many of whom you don’t know because they’re cheering on other graduates. You don’t want your dad there since you’re convinced, and, of course, you’re probably right, he’s rude, selfish, and doesn’t care about you. Yet he wants to sit through your graduation which, to my mind, is a really really boring event for the viewers to watch. I somehow think your dad must, despite your feelings, care about you somehow.

Your dad will probably sit through the graduation party, if there is one, at your mom’s home. Your grandparents invited him. You just want to cry and be miserable because he’s coming. Maybe it is time, you are old enough, to let go of all this being scared of your father. Graduation may mark a time in your life when you stop hating and stop being scared of this man who fathered you — even if he did it poorly.

Being stressed, frustrated, overwhelmed and upset may be something you’re putting on yourself. It could be that you might let it go since you’re now ready to graduate and go on to an entirely different new chapter in your life… one where your father will only be a minor character in the background. You are the only one who can put a stop to this feeling stressed, frustrated, overwhelmed, and upset. It is not, per se, something your dad is doing… you’re doing it!

Your graduation is not a situation where you have total control over what happens and what others do. Your grandparents felt it was right to invite your dad. They probably see something in him… and probably do not see him as you do with hate and fear. I’d encourage you to go with the flow: be cordial and a little distant with your dad and get through the day and, probably, evening. It’s only a limited number of hours. You can do it — and then it’ll be over!
I’d encourage you not to give your dad enough power to ruin your graduation. You don’t have to allow him to do this, but, you will need to sort of ignore him. Your graduation is an important day, but as with other important people-laden days, you need to acknowledge you don’t have all the controls. This graduation day is important to you, to your mother, to your father, and to your grandparents. It is not solely your achievement.

So, I do not think this graduation is solely your party. You did the work, but, a lot of people supported you as you did it.

Your dad, apparently, wants to be there or he wouldn’t attend. (Graduations are, to my mind, only ‘fun’ for the graduate!) Gracefully live with it. It is not healthy for you to live life always stressed, frustrated, overwhelmed, and upset… so don’t do that. Don’t make this thing that lasts less than 24 hours into a big deal. Don’t allow your father to ‘rain on your parade’. Let his presence go and embrace the presence of your loved ones and supporters.

I hope I’ve been of help. If not, please don’t hesitate to get the help of another elder. We all have different life experiences. I hope I’ve helped.

Letter #: 440450
Category: Family

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