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Is it ok to not be sad?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

My father has cancer and I just feel a little angry, not really sad. I mean, I was a little angry before the cancer and I think I kind of "wrote him off" a long time ago. It feels odd. Am I being too cold and unfeeling? Is it ok to feel this way? I keep wondering if I am just trying to hide real emotions but I can't find much sadness in me. I feel sad for the rest of my family that has to cope. I don't want my dad to suffer. I feel bad for my mom but think she will be better off. That sounds horrible doesn't it! It's not like he was a horrible father or anything.

 

He's a redhead who often worked outside and never wore sunscreen. A few years ago he got melanoma. Not really surprising. He doesn't exercise, he doesn't eat well, he has no spirituality, he works, stares at the TV and buys things the TV tells him will make him happy whether he has the money or not. 

 

He was an alcoholic and almost died in his 40's, I've been expecting this for 20 years. He smokes 2 packs a day. So the Melanoma has now come back in his lungs. Not a shocker. He stopped drinking many years ago and began abusing pharmaceuticals. He almost died last year from an overdose, although my mom & I are the only ones who know that. It was a mystery to everyone else. I thought he was going to die and I haven't really wanted to see him since. Does that make me a horrible person? Is this really how I feel? Is it ok? 

 

The anger mostly started when my mom began to confide in me. He would steal her pain meds, the ones she needs. I caught him more then once. I mean, the Dr.'s gave him his own too. It pisses me off. He was never a hard worker. He always looked for some easy way out. In the last several years he has been cruel to my mom, trying to belittle her and push her down. 

 

The thing is, I don't feel like I should judge him. This was his life, I want to see him compassionately but it is hard. I need to let the anger go. I guess that will happen with time?

Is something wrong with me for feeling this way?

post #2 of 9

Please feel free to feel how you feel, honestly.  My father died of cancer over 4 years ago and while I've always been sad that he's gone, I don't miss him and didn't feel a lot of emotion when I found out about his diagnosis and prognosis.  I was sad when he passed, but never felt any regret about how I dealt with him or our interactions when he was sick.  He wasn't a very nice person and I can't fake emotions I don't have - and neither should you.

 

It's so hard when a parent is ill and possibly dying, because you WANT to feel the way you think you should; the way you would if that parent was the parent you wish they had been.  And it gets complicated when they were not, because you don't wish them pain or suffering.

 

Therapy has been a great outlet for me, and I would highly recommend it.  I wish you peace during this difficult journey.

post #3 of 9

No , there is nothing wrong with the way you feel !

My maternal Grandmother alwyas made me feel worthless and she belittled me and insulted me every chance she got .

Well , she died 2 years ago , and  people told me , they were sorry !

Well I am not ! Why should I be ?

I mean , I am not cruel or heartless , quite on the contrary , to this day , I miss my wonderful paternal Grandparents , who died 17 and 12 years ago , every single day !

But her ? No !

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by *green*faery* View Post
The thing is, I don't feel like I should judge him. This was his life, I want to see him compassionately but it is hard. I need to let the anger go. I guess that will happen with time?

Is something wrong with me for feeling this way?

 

I think it's ok to feel whatever you are feeling. It sounds like it's been a very difficult and painful road with your father and I don't think there's a "right" response. Reading your post it sounds like the anger is really hard for you. If it is, I hope that you can find some healing from that, not for your father's sake or your mother's sake, just for you. Sending support to you!

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the replies. The anger is very hard for me, it makes me uncomfortable and I feel guilty for feeling it. I feel anger towards my children at times and I feel horrible about it, like I should be able to control my feelings better! I think I would like to get counseling, but the one time I went to a councilor it was a bad experience (for post-traumatic stress). Maybe I should try again:) Thank you again for your thoughts!

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by *green*faery* View Post

Thank you for the replies. The anger is very hard for me, it makes me uncomfortable and I feel guilty for feeling it. I feel anger towards my children at times and I feel horrible about it, like I should be able to control my feelings better! I think I would like to get counseling, but the one time I went to a councilor it was a bad experience (for post-traumatic stress). Maybe I should try again:) Thank you again for your thoughts!

 

Anger is something that used to be very hard for me; I wouldn't say it's easy for me now, but it's less uncomfortable. I found counseling helpful, but IME, there are a wide range of counselors out there. Some that are great, some that are mediocre, and some that are downright terrible. It's hard to try again when you've had a bad experience. Are there people you can ask for recommendations of counselors? Maybe posting in your tribal area for recommendations for counselors in your area? I will continuing to think of you and to send support to you. hug.gif

post #7 of 9
Time does heal. Eventually you will be at peace with situation. In the meantime, don't judge yourself. Your feelings have a reasonable source. Feelings always do. It might not be reasonable to someone else, but it's reasonable for you. You might also be holding down sadness that comes from disappointment that you were not better treated and loved (and then would naturally be feeling sad now). That disappointment, if you feel it, is natural and should be mourned as you see fit.
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Time does heal. Eventually you will be at peace with situation. In the meantime, don't judge yourself. Your feelings have a reasonable source. Feelings always do. It might not be reasonable to someone else, but it's reasonable for you. You might also be holding down sadness that comes from disappointment that you were not better treated and loved (and then would naturally be feeling sad now). That disappointment, if you feel it, is natural and should be mourned as you see fit.


Yes , that ! thumb.gif

post #9 of 9

I have complex relationships with both my parents, and they both now have serious illnesses (one terminal cancer, one heart disease). I also struggle with a mix of emotions about their illnesses, and feel guilty about any emotion that isn't pure grief. I think that when a parent with whom you've had a troubled relationship begins to die, you mourn the loss of the relationship that you wanted and now will never have. Anger comes into play there, a sense of unfairness, a sense of powerlessness. It's really hard. I agree with those who've recommended therapy.

 

One bit of advice that I have is that if you do group therapy, make sure it's a group (like al-anon) who understands the mix of emotions you're going though. I tried going to a support group for caregivers of people with cancer, and while I got some support there I also ended up feeling judged by some of the members whenever I had anything negative to say about my mom. When your parent is dying, most people only want to hear how devastated you are. They don't want to hear anything negative about the sick person or your relationship with them. I've encountered this with extended family too...my mom has always had a saintly image and now, well, I have to go elsewhere if I want any support dealing with her many problems.
 

I hope you find the help you need! And remember, you didn't cause the relationship to be the way it is, and you can't make yourself feel differently because his life circumstances have changed. The relationship is what it is. Big hugs!

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