What if Dad lets me down again?

My abusive dad says he’s changed – should we reconnect? 

Only you can make that decision, says our elder. But don’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t work out.


Dear EWC

Hi, I’m a 16 year old female in Canada but I’m originally from Venezuela. I live with my mom here in Canada but lately I’ve really been struggling with my dad. When I was younger I would have to go back to Venezuela every summer and every winter break in order to see the rest of my family (including my dad) who still lives there. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone back due to the situation in Venezuela but during my time there I saw and  experienced a lot of things that traumatized me. My dad has a drinking problem and he would get quite abusive. 

It’s been many years since then, and I cut him off for a while as I started going to therapy and trying to do better for myself. We’re finally talking again and he seems to be doing better with his alcohol use but in reality there’s really no way for me to know if he’s lying or not. I only ever talk with him through text as there’s barely electricity running in Venezuela and the wifi definitely does not work. But from what I’ve been able to see so far I believe it is possible he has changed. But then again what if I’m wrong? What if I start trusting in him again and building our relationship again to later be disappointed and have to restart my healing again. I don’t have anyone to talk about this with so it would mean the world to me if you guys could give me some advice. Thank you!


Lawry replies

I would be happy to answer your letter. I can fully understand your dilemma. You did an excellent job of explaining the situation.

Whenever I have a difficult issue to resolve or a decision to make, I use a tool I would like to share with you. That is to make a list of pros and cons. You may have already done this in your head, but it really helps to put it in writing. You may also think that is too simple a way to go about it, but I have always been very happy with the results when I have done this. You need to be totally honest with yourself as you decide if you should rekindle your relationship with your father. If the results are too close, you can go back and add a numerical value to your answers and that should help clarify things.

Once you decide how you want to proceed, you just need to tell yourself that at this point in your life this is how you want things to be. Feel good about your decision and don’t second guess yourself. 

If you should decide to get closer to your father and it doesn’t work out, I wouldn’t be hard on yourself. All we should expect of ourselves is that we give something an honest try and if it doesn’t work out, so be it. 

I hope that this has been helpful to you, and I wish you a great deal of luck as you make this decision. Think positive. I am a great believer in that. 

I would love to hear how things work out for you. I’ll be thinking of you. 

Article #: 457973

Category: Family

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