Anonymous asks:

I have just been told my step father has terminal lung cancer - this does not stir up any emotion in me whatsoever much to my younger siblings dismay. 

My mother and step father washed their hands of me and threw me out at the grand old age of 16, I’ve fended for myself since. 

We have had buried contact through the years (I’m now 44) mainly when I gave birth to my son, who they disowned at the age of 10 because he didn’t keep in touch with them, despite me trying to explain that he barely wanted to communicate with me at that age and was more interested in Pokemon! 

I told him his grandfather was dying, he’s got the same approach as me, he’s 24 and not had anything to do with them since he was 10. 

He also cheated on my mother - I’m not overly fond of her either but moralistic it’s wrong! 

So I told them both 5 years ago I don’t want anything to do with them, they do not and never acted like caring parents towards me or grandparents towards my son - he response to his was “well you’ve never been much of a daughter”. 

I guess not, mother left when I was 5, brought up by father and step mum, thrown out of there at 12 and told never to come back, and four years later thrown out by mother and step father, so no I haven’t been a daughter because I don’t know how to be! 

Despite all this I have a tiny bit of guilt for not supporting mother and stepfather, but I don’t want to get involved at all and stay well away from them - am I being too harsh, I’ve been labelled as evil for not wanting to help out. 

Maybe I am the one in the wrong, but I have never been shown love and affection by either parents so I don’t know how I’m supposed to act on this news?


“What a challenging childhood you had and I empathise with how difficult it must have been as a child to feel unwanted. I also see you tried to have a relationship through your son with your parents and that didn’t work out. I can imagine that brought up for you the feelings of abandonment you must have felt in your childhood. I don’t know the reasons for your parents rejecting you but it seems they acted in a very hurtful and insensitive manner to your son. To expect a ten year old to take responsibility in a relationship in the way they expected is to me unreasonable. It shows a lack of insight into what normal children are like. To reject your son on the basis they did is very odd, and indicates they have reduced capacity to act as the adults in an adult child relationship. Again I don’t know all the circumstances but from your account it is selfish behaviour on their part.

Agony Aunts on Female First

Agony Aunts on Female First

The only reason I can think of for resuming contact is if your feel it would help your grieving process. Is there some sort of closure you want or need, do you think you can get it? If not I can’t think of what would motivate you to reach out. Unless it’s to pacify your siblings, but is it worth it? I would suggest you be very selfish about your own needs and it sounds like your son is sensibly doing that. Look after yourself. 

I don’t hold with the view that we owe family anything, even if the relationships are stable and healthy. We must always relate to each other from win win perspectives. That is our relationships should involve mutual love, respect and opportunity for growth. I don’t see the possibility of that happening here. So I guess if you can live with the disapproval of your siblings carry on regardless is my advice.”

About Noel McDermott: 

Noel McDermott is a Psychotherapist and International Speaker with over 25 years’ experience in health, social care and education. He is the founder and CEO of three organisations, Psychotherapy and Consultancy Ltd, Sober Help Ltd and Mental Health Works Ltd. which provide health and social care services to individuals, families and organisations dealing with mental health and addiction problems.

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