For years I've had a deep ingrained hatred towards my so-called father. I went to therapy for two years for it, but I still have a lot of resentment built up. I've never had a real conversation with him, and I don't plan on ever having one with him in the future. I don't want to work it out because I do not want a relationship with him. Unfortunately, I have to live with him. I am currently in school and living with my family. I applied to a couple of new schools for the Spring semester, so if all goes well, I will be living on campus, but until then, I have to deal with my dad. But I can't even stand looking at him, let alone speaking to him.
My sister and my mom have told me I've been too hard on him, but I couldn't care less. He has put my family through extremely difficult circumstances, and has not once apologized for his actions. I am otherwise pretty happy with my life, except for the fact that I have to deal with him on a daily basis. I wish he would just go away, but that's not an option. Is there anything at all I can do to ease this tension?
— Bitter Brianna
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Dear Bitter Brianna,
You say you want to ease the tension in your family, and yet, the intense hatred you're holding on to says otherwise. Your dad isn't going away, and even if you want to cut him out of your life, it sounds like he's still very much included in your mother's and your sister's. I don't know the reasons for your anger, but obviously they run very deep. The process of letting go is no easy task, and I commend you for trying to work things out with therapy, but holding on to this bitterness is only going to serve to hurt you. While I certainly won't suggest you make any kind of amends with your dad — anger is a very necessary emotion and often a method of protection from future wounds — you can recognize his inabilities and your grievances, but take your rage out of the equation.
First of all, get out of the house. Apply for a student loan, drop down to a part-time class schedule, take another job, or rent out your friend's closet, if necessary. This living situation sounds incredibly unhealthy, and I would guess that by physically removing yourself from his presence, the tension would naturally decrease. When you do see him, stay reasonable; if your anger overwhelms you just leave and that will automatically deescalate any impending conflict. And certainly, continue therapy — your campus health center should have options available for you. You're obviously still experiencing the impact of the relationship with your father, so even if you don't want to work through it for your family, do it for yourself.