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Dear Captain Awkward,

In a few months, my big sister’s getting married, and I’m a bridesmaid. Awesome!

The problem is that my estranged father will be there, and I legit cannot be around him.

My parents are divorced and Dad was always weird. When I was 16, he and I had a massive argument where he physically hurt me and I ran away. That was the last time I saw him. He mailed many long, convoluted, ranting letters about how horrible I was and how he would set me straight. I never responded. Mom had my back, and Dad disappeared.

But just before my eighteenth birthday, he cleaned out my savings account. It was full of money given by my late grandmother, before she died, for college. There was nothing legally we could do; the money was gone. Mom just gets by, financially, so I took out loans for college, and am paying them back. They’re large, and it’s tough, and it still stings, and when I as much as THINK about Dad I start to get angry.

Now, Sister also hates Dad, but they’re in touch. He would probably disown her, too, if she didn’t invite him to her wedding, but (probably to cement his invitation) he mailed her a VERY large check when she got engaged. Sister’s totally sympathetic, and I’m not angry at her for inviting him. She’s seating the two of us far apart at the reception, and sticking him with one of his annoying colleagues so they can keep each other occupied.

But a couple weeks ago, Sister grudgingly passed along a message from Dad saying that he hopes I’m doing well. This is the first communication we’ve had in years. It didn’t make me happy.

What do I do if he weasels through Sister’s precautions and tries to talk to me? My instinct is to run away, but he’s notorious for trying to drag people in, against all social etiquette. And though I like to think I can stay cool under pressure, I’ve got my own temper issues and if he won’t leave me alone, I’m very, very likely to yell at him.

I really don’t want to ruin my sister’s wedding. Or, be a part of my dad ruining it.

Sincerely,
Bitter Bridesmaid

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