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Raising Children with Parents in Prison For the Parent left behind with children AND for the Children that have a parent inside. Discussion of unique challenges facing this group!

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  #1  
Old 01-21-2017, 08:02 PM
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Unhappy Adult child making amends with previously incarcerated father

My „friend" has 2 adult children; a son and daughter in their 20s. All I know is what I witness or what my friend tells me so please take this into consideration.

Both children realized when they were very much younger that their father was atypical and unlike a regular father. He kept strange hours and their mother did not shield from them he was a criminal. Their father spent a large amount of their youth in prison and this has burdened the children in different ways. [ He was involved in their lives if you consider financial support, calls, visits, gifts prior to imprisonment. ]

During his time in prison, the children's mother [ his ex- wife ] placed it on the children if they wanted to see their father or not. Now, I was very far out of the picture at this time so I can simply relay the information given to me by my friend's son. If the children wanted to write a letter, they could, but it was not placed with great importance. The son has been honest that he did not write much or have much interest to do it. Besides this, the son and father have a decent relationship today. They are close and meet often.

The topic of this post rests with the daughter. The two of them have a very volatile relationship. She says she will never forgive him for the embarrassment of having a parent in prison, of having to deal with the gossip she suffered and his lack of being a parent. I have heard with my own ears of her calling him scum of the earth, wishes he would die and that he could be non-existent. Further, and besides the point, she is open with her disgust of her father dating younger women / women her age. She calls him a pig and addresses him as a man - wh*re.

Her father has tried to make amends. He tells her that she is entitled to her feelings, he understands, he would feel the same way and she can feel that way as long as she wants. However, he said she should get to know him as her father, as a man, his likes, dislikes etc than simply as a criminal. He tells her all the time that when she was born he was the happiest man in the world and think of the times when she was small and he was there for her.

I believe she is entitled to her feelings as well. We all react to traumatic events differently and some recovery is longer than others. I do not blame her for the turmoil as I see a girl [ young woman ] trying to come to terms with much heartache.

Has anyone here learned to make amends with their parent in prison / was in prison? How did you learn to overcome your negative feelings? What techniques worked for you? What did your parent say / do that aided in the process?

As well, I am aware that this is not my place to get involved or increase the drama. But, he [ my friend ] is not the best at asking for help.

Apologies if these are silly questions but I am interested to know how healing is possible. What helped for you and in your case?
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Old 01-22-2017, 05:45 PM
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My father was not in prison, but he did terrible things. To keep it simple I will just say he abandoned my mother in a way that pushed my her into poverty and mental illness. As a little one I was exposed to bad things and left alone for days & nights at a time. Things became so bad that my mom had to give me up at age 8. I wish I could say that my father became a better man after that, but it took almost 30 years before he started to change. I was saved as a child, but it took more love than I will ever know and extreme patience on the part of an amazing woman who took me and raised me as her own. There were others involved too, but she was at the center of the rescue. I have had to learn how to forgive, and keep forgiving my birth parents. Forgiving was alittle easier to learn for me because as I grew up I realized that I needed to ask forgiveness for putting so many people through hell as a child and teenager.

As an adult, I have had both formal and informal therapy. Healing is something you have to want. You have to realize how much damage unforgiveness does to you. My heart goes out to the father and the daughter in this situation. The best thing you can do for the daughter is to just have patience and show compassion. It might not be your place to say anything. That's really hard.

Last edited by K6770; 01-22-2017 at 06:17 PM..
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Old 01-22-2017, 08:19 PM
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K6770,

Thank you for taking the time to share your story. I really do not know what to say to you besides my heart hurt reading your experience. You are a wise person to come to your realization of forgiveness after what you had been through.

In this case, it is a very difficult situation. The daughter absolutely hates me cause of my relation to her father. While we know each other [ through him ], she does not care to know me as a person. I understand her feelings and remain neutral and pleasant towards her. So, yes, you are absolutely correct, that it is not my place to say anything.

I have told her to respect her elders so to refrain from using derogatory terms in relation to her father. I said it in a cultural / social context rather than accusatory. This did not be received well.

I hope that one day she can understand, like you said, the damage unforgiveness does to people. Perhaps all that we can rely on is patience and hope that she will want to speak from her heart one day. Patience can be very difficult.

Part of me believes, maybe quite silly, that it is cause she is a woman. A father and son can connect over similar interests but a relationship with a daughter is different. I do not know; I do not know my father and never had a father - daughter relationship to have a understanding of this.
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Old 01-22-2017, 11:07 PM
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I'm sorry you are in the middle of such a hard situation. It's going take time, years, to see how things settle out. The only advice I can give to you is to stay constant as you can with the daughter. I think you understand and see her anger for what it is. She needs help, and I hope she reaches out for it one day.
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:27 AM
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My hubs daughter is similar. But it really was going on way before his legal troubles.
No contact at all. Hub did look her up online and we see where she is living now.
We used to send her birthday cards and Christmas cards to her mothers address.
She told him to stop it.
So he has no contact whatsoever with her.

We have just tried to accept it. It hurts both of us, but we cant do anything about it.
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Old 01-23-2017, 11:05 AM
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How old are the people in your story? You (girlfriend?), dad, son, and daughter... What happened to dad and mom's marriage? How much of the daughter's childhood did dad spend behind bars? How long have you and dad been together?

I'm trying to understand the situation better from the daughter's viewpoint.

Do you have any children that would see your friend as a "father-type" figure? If so, how old are they?

I suspect jealousy may also be a factor with the daughter.

Last edited by NewTexGal; 01-23-2017 at 11:08 AM.. Reason: clarification
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Old 01-23-2017, 12:46 PM
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I think I saw that you're 27 and he's 48, but my other questions remain.
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Old 01-23-2017, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sidewalker View Post
We have just tried to accept it. It hurts both of us, but we cant do anything about it.
It is very, very sad but I think this may be the resolution of the case here. Sometimes there is nothing one can do until the other side is ready. Sometimes they are never ready.

NewTexGal,

Hi,

I am his ex-girlfriend. We are no longer in an official relationship but we spend a lot of time together. We were a couple for almost 2 years and no, we have no children together. I am more in the role of confidant and friend now. People believe I am a „good influence" in his life.

His daughter is 26 and his son is 23. Their father was in prison for 12 years so it was all of her teen years where he was locked up / away.

The dissolution of the marriage between mom and dad is a complicated one. Obviously, they were young, in love and figured marriage is what adults do. It was not until they lived together and grew to know each other better [ rather than physical attraction ] that they were not suited for one another. But, they decided to stay together and she overlooked a lot of his behavior. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, times were difficult so the family moved to Canada. Shortly after this, he left his wife. The children stayed with their mother [ as they still do ]. The mother re-married but he sought out casual encounters rather than a relationship.
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Old 01-23-2017, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tufahije View Post
It is very, very sad but I think this may be the resolution of the case here. Sometimes there is nothing one can do until the other side is ready. Sometimes they are never ready.

NewTexGal,

Hi,

I am his ex-girlfriend. We are no longer in an official relationship but we spend a lot of time together. We were a couple for almost 2 years and no, we have no children together. I am more in the role of confidant and friend now. People believe I am a „good influence" in his life.

His daughter is 26 and his son is 23. Their father was in prison for 12 years so it was all of her teen years where he was locked up / away.

The dissolution of the marriage between mom and dad is a complicated one. Obviously, they were young, in love and figured marriage is what adults do. It was not until they lived together and grew to know each other better [ rather than physical attraction ] that they were not suited for one another. But, they decided to stay together and she overlooked a lot of his behavior. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, times were difficult so the family moved to Canada. Shortly after this, he left his wife. The children stayed with their mother [ as they still do ]. The mother re-married but he sought out casual encounters rather than a relationship.
Thank you for the additional details. I also went back and read some of your previous posts.

My father also tells me the day I was born was one of the happiest days of his life. It doesn't mean much to me and in a way I find it annoying.

I am the first born and my father started an affair with a woman at work while my mother was still pregnant with me. My parents had another child 6 years later. In another 2 years my mother found out about the ongoing affair and filed for divorce.

My dad married his mistress and put her first in all aspects and circumstances of our lives no matter how cruel and vicious she was to me.

My father chose to cut my brother and me out of his life for 15 years. Completely his choice. It's a long story, but when I take the time to share it, people are shocked by my father's choice.

My father and I talk now, but we do not have a close and trusting realtionship. He stomped that into the ground. So yeah, he "tells" me I was important as a newborn and he's proud of me, but what has he "shown" me with his actions through the years? Other people see him as a wonderful guy, but I know more of the story.

I chose to have a realtionship with my father, because it works better for me and my son than no relationship.

Your friend's daughter has every right to her feelings. I believe you said your friend was in the mafia. Your mother didn't want you dating your friend. Don't you think the daughter and her mother may have similar concerns for her safety? You can't fix their realtionship and shouldn't even try. It's not you place, and you don't know the history between them. All you know is what he has told you.

The daughter might benefit from professional counseling-not to repair the relationship but to help her. That much anger and resentment eats away at a person.

Your friend created the situation, in many ways the daughter is a victim of his bad choices.

My advice? Back off.

Last edited by NewTexGal; 01-23-2017 at 04:03 PM..
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:59 PM
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I am sure you have heard this very much but I am very sorry to read your experience, NewTexGal. Like I told the previous poster K6770, my heart hurt reading it. Really, it has been quite upsetting.

As I said before, I do not know my father. When my mother revealed she was pregnant, he cut ties. When she approached him again, at 7 mos pregnant, to at least ask for help, he hit her pretty badly and that was it. He has never attempted to make contact and I do not even know where to find him. When I think of him, my emotion is only blank. No hate but simply curiosity. This is unlike your case, the other case or the subject of this post. All of you know your fathers and can recognize a particular person that did upsetting things to you. Personally, I cannot, and this is why in me there is this belief of always having some kind of positive hope. It is probably immature and childish on my part.

I agree it is not my place to fix the situation between my friend and his daughter. It is not my intention also to get involved. It was simply my intention here to brainstorm on his part. He is actively trying to work on his relationship with his daughter. I listen, but I have no help, as I am not a therapist. Interfering would worsen the situation and nothing good could come.

There is no doubt that my friend created his situation. As a young man, his family should have been first and if family is first, different decisions are made. He acknowledges this. Now, he must deal with the long – term and deep consequences that influence the emotional development of children. He is very good to his son and his son thinks he is a great father. There is simply this divide with the daughter. The brother has encouraged the sister to at least talk to their father but I am sure that annoys her as well. [ being told what to do; suggestions made ... ] My heart is upset for her; I know it must have been so difficult to be a girl that age, bullied for bad decisions of your parent and your parent not there to support you. As I said, she is entitled to her feelings and I know SHE is the victim.

And since we are of similar age, and know many of the same people, we see each other in public outings. I do not approach her but I am kind if she does speak to me. I know when she calls me rude names that it is not me she is angry with but the situation with her father. And I cannot be angry with her.

I did not come here to ask how „I” could fix the situation but rather ways that could work for the two of them : father and daughter. I have seen therapy mentioned and maybe that would work for her if one day, some one could suggest it. He has to take cognitive behavioral therapy as part of his requirements but obviously, that does not address this personal situation. People always suggest to write letters etc etc but who is to know if this works.

Again, it is not my place, but I feel that her father should leave the situation and have patience. But, then, he will be accused of favoring the brother over her again ...

Thank you for all your thoughts. It is appreciated.
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Old 01-23-2017, 07:00 PM
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Yeah family can be complicated. Fortunately, although we can't choose our family, we can choose our friends.

Don't feel bad for me. I'm okay, now...really. I found what works for me.

I hope your friend's daughter is able to find her own peace of mind.
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Old 01-23-2017, 10:23 PM
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Forgiving someone does not mean you are forced to have a close relationship with them.

As side note, this Christmas my birth mother told me that the woman that took me in as child was as much my mother as she was. She told me that she was so grateful that I had someone to love and take care of me when she could be there. There are terrible consequences in this world, but good things sometimes come out of them.
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Old 01-24-2017, 10:26 AM
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Forgiving someone does not mean you are forced to have a close relationship with them.
Yes! Exactly. While the opportunity for a close relationship may be lost, I hope at least some kind of forgiveness makes things manageable.
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Old 01-24-2017, 10:33 AM
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I just hope my hubs daughter one day realizes that the door is always open should she want to walk thru it.
Somehow tho, I doubt it.
It makes us both incredibly sad.
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Old 01-24-2017, 10:58 AM
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I just hope my hubs daughter one day realizes that the door is always open should she want to walk thru it.
Somehow tho, I doubt it.
It makes us both incredibly sad.
Yes, all of these cases are incredibly sad. But, I am glad people here have found their own peace!

As we have said here, the [ adult ] children have their reasons / explanations for feeling the way that they do. But, it is sad when a parent truly wants to make amends and let good actions speak for themselves. I hope that makes sense.
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Old 01-24-2017, 12:29 PM
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My „friend" has 2 adult children; a son and daughter in their 20s. All I know is what I witness or what my friend tells me so please take this into consideration.

Both children realized when they were very much younger that their father was atypical and unlike a regular father. He kept strange hours and their mother did not shield from them he was a criminal. Their father spent a large amount of their youth in prison and this has burdened the children in different ways. [ He was involved in their lives if you consider financial support, calls, visits, gifts prior to imprisonment. ]

During his time in prison, the children's mother [ his ex- wife ] placed it on the children if they wanted to see their father or not. Now, I was very far out of the picture at this time so I can simply relay the information given to me by my friend's son. If the children wanted to write a letter, they could, but it was not placed with great importance. The son has been honest that he did not write much or have much interest to do it. Besides this, the son and father have a decent relationship today. They are close and meet often.

The topic of this post rests with the daughter. The two of them have a very volatile relationship. She says she will never forgive him for the embarrassment of having a parent in prison, of having to deal with the gossip she suffered and his lack of being a parent. I have heard with my own ears of her calling him scum of the earth, wishes he would die and that he could be non-existent. Further, and besides the point, she is open with her disgust of her father dating younger women / women her age. She calls him a pig and addresses him as a man - wh*re.

Her father has tried to make amends. He tells her that she is entitled to her feelings, he understands, he would feel the same way and she can feel that way as long as she wants. However, he said she should get to know him as her father, as a man, his likes, dislikes etc than simply as a criminal. He tells her all the time that when she was born he was the happiest man in the world and think of the times when she was small and he was there for her.

I believe she is entitled to her feelings as well. We all react to traumatic events differently and some recovery is longer than others. I do not blame her for the turmoil as I see a girl [ young woman ] trying to come to terms with much heartache.

Has anyone here learned to make amends with their parent in prison / was in prison? How did you learn to overcome your negative feelings? What techniques worked for you? What did your parent say / do that aided in the process?

As well, I am aware that this is not my place to get involved or increase the drama. But, he [ my friend ] is not the best at asking for help.

Apologies if these are silly questions but I am interested to know how healing is possible. What helped for you and in your case?
No apologies necessary. I am touched by your concern for the reconciliation of daughter and Father. Especially considering that your friends daughter is not kind to you. You really do care and I think that is wonderful. When I was a teenager I was very angry with my dad. He just wasn't there for me and I didn't like the way he treated my mom when he was around. I wanted to get as far away from him as possible. As a teenager I thought I hated him but the truth is our parents are the most important people to us. His daughter needs him and I believe with all of my heart that they will reconcile if he can make himself available and speak good things into her life. He can't push the relationship but he can show his true heart to her. Opportunities will come up for him to show love and not talk about it. He should take the opportunities to show that he can be trusted and that she is extremely important to him. He needs to be steady for her and very patient with understanding that her hurt is real. Prayer changes things. I believe that with all my heart. God brought my dad and I back together and we became good friends. I treasure the years we had together before he passed away. As a parent praying for our children is the very best thing we can do. God will bring opportunities and healing. He sure did for me. I wish you all the very best and I will pray for your friend and his daughter's relationship to be restored.
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Old 01-24-2017, 04:08 PM
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Rose1958, thank you so much for your kind message. The common theme that has emerged is that any relationship will take patience and actions speak louder than words. Hopefully, as you said, such opportunities will arise.

I know that my friend believes in God and he attends his church one in awhile [saw him at Orthodox Christmas ; this is how we got to talking again ] but I am really unsure how often he prays. But reconciliation with his daughter should be his no. 1 intention!

In fact, I will stop by our church and light a candle for both of them today. Thank you.
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