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I don't trust my dad. What should I say?

My dad has never really had a big part in my life. We live in different states, and he uses drugs. Last week I was visiting my grandparents who live near him, and I was forced to go to his house. My mom asked if I wanted to spend the night and I said no. Then he told my mom I had to spend the night, but luckily my mom said it was my choice. I know he’s my dad, but it’s too late to make up for the times he never called me back or I never knew where he was. How do I explain to my dad that I just can’t trust him?


Dear Absent Dad,

I’m sorry your dad has not been there for you. It sounds like you’ve done an admirable job of learning to manage without him and you’re smart to be realistic. You don’t hate him, nor should you, but you’re not in a hurry to be hurt again. It’s healthier to be clear-eyed about difficult circumstances. You don’t have to explain to your dad that you can’t trust him, but if you feel you need to be honest, you could say, “You’re my dad and I love you, but it was hard wishing you were around. I can’t pretend everything is perfect between us.” Ideally, you can stay in each other’s lives, but continue to be as grounded and sensible as you are. Meantime, I’m glad your mother is there for you.


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BY CAROL WESTON ON 8/24/2011 12:00:00 AM


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