My parents divorced when I was about 1 1/2 years old. My father has been in and out of drug rehab all of my life. A few years back, say 5, he started talking about how he has PTSD.
Please take no offense, he says all the bad things that happened to me when I was younger was because of his PTSD. This seems to be the "excuse" for him calling and saying he was on his way and then just never showing up. So on and so forth.
I feel terrible that my father has struggles all of his adult life, with conquering one thing after another, but I have mixed emotions because he seems to be so up and down. I have a hard time reading him and wondering which side of him I will see on which day.
Even as an adult now and him only living a few miles away, we can go months without seeing or speaking to eachother. If I call him, I feel I am invading his space.
Thanks for listening and please help me figure this out. I truly love my Dad, he is an awesome person, he would give you your shirt if you needed it, even if he just sensed you needed it, you would have it. But relationship wise, it can be quite rocky.
I just wish to understand where he is coming from without thinking he is using excuses.
My father has PTSD and it's taken us 23 years to get to be pretty close. But the story I want to share is about a good friend.
He has PTSD after serving in Nam. It took a long time for me to gain his trust... trust was a big hurdle. But once I showed him that I support him no matter what, that I truly care for him, love him... We became very close-- but that took almost two years of repeatedly proving my sincerity.
One thing that I think may have helped, was just listening to whatever it is he had to say. Sometimes you do have to take that initiative to get in touch.
I am the one who takes that initiative, but every time I visit he is more than happy to see me. He is just like a father to me and I think what helped is just letting him know that I'm proud of him, which I am. I couldn't imagine not having him or my father in my life-- they help make me who I am.
He's battled alcoholism (my friend--doesn't drink anymore) and continues on a daily basis battling bad memories and sleepless nights or nightmares. He's an incredible man, but to get close to him, you've really got to make the big steps until he sees that you are genuine. Now, he's the first one to run out of his house when he sees me and grabs me in a big hug.
Your Dad's been carrying around a severely broken heart for a long time... If I carried that pain, I don't know if I'd want to be around anyone. I'm glad to hear that he drops by sometimes-- he's trying and to know that he's seeing someone for the PTSD is very commendable. Good for him, that's wonderful!
I guess the best advice I can give, is next time you wish to see him, give him a call and something along the lines of "Dad, I really miss you and would really love to have some time to spend with you. Can you spare a little bit of time for me?" and if you two work it out to see each other or if that doesn't happen... the next time he does visit on his own, just give him a big hug and let him know that you love him.
Sitting down with him at some point, discussing the PTSD may be a good decision-- but I wouldn't mention anything about excuses or be accusatory.
I have no doubt that he's an awesome guy; he must be.
Please keep making that effort... He's not trying to hurt you. He just needs you to meet him more than half way right now until he's better and can meet you half way. Offering to go to counseling with him and offering to listen to him, do whatever he needs you to would probably be great for him-- just letting him know that you care greatly for him and want to see him succeed, that you know he can do it. I have no doubt that you could be a big part of him finding a little peace, which can go a long, long way. He loves you.
I wish the best for you and your father-- you both sound like caring individuals and I hope that you will develop a close relationship.