My formerly abusive father is dying. Help me confront him.

Post date: 2022-01-24 14:50:17
Views: 25
Trigger warning: child sexual abuse, child abuse. My father thinks he is dying, and based off of what he told me he probably is. He hasn't been abusive towards me since before I moved out. He found religion at some point and has made strides to improve. But I know a family secret involving him that will probably be revealed at some point.

And that is why I need to talk to him: the secret involves my sister, as a toddler. Also, I don't remember most of my childhood. I am hoping he will be willing to help me remember. And, I want a chance to tell him how his choices affected me, long term.

So, my parents got divorced when I was 10. I don't really remember much before that. I remember some specific traumatic events but other than that, it's blank. My father was physically and verbally abusive to me, and neglectful. I remember that much at least.

When I was 14, I wanted answers and did not feel able to talk to my parents (my mom is also abusive). So, I snooped and found court documents, etc., that indicated that after the divorce, my 3 year old sister told my mother that she was sexually abused by my father. In some of the documents, my dad was accusing my mom of making it up. While snooping, I found journal entries of my mother's questioning if my little sister was just saying stuff and if my father was capable of molesting his child. So, based on that, I believe that my sister did disclose to my mom that she was being sexually abused by my dad.

Since I found out this information while doing something I wasn't supposed to be doing, I didn't tell anyone. Until then, I was not aware of these allegations against my father. It was traumatic learning this about my father. Based on my personal experience, it is within the realm of possibility that my dad did indeed molest my sister. He used to look at us in a really creepy, lecherous manner, like when we were in bathing suits. He used to give me shoulder .assages I did not want. And he used to watch us change our clothes. I have possibly reasonable explanations for all of this... and I also have many psychological symptoms of being sexually abused as a child.

Anyway, I have spent my entire life up until a few years ago trying to pretend I don't know what I know. And, since I learned this information over 15 years ago, I wasn't even sure if I was remembering correctly.

So.... since we still don't talk in my family, I snooped again, a few years ago. I found the results of a polygraph my dad took, asking if he sexually abused my sister. He failed it. He had to hand write an explanation for failing. The explanation he gave for failing it was (paraphrased) "a few times I had an erection while the kid was on my lap, a few times I was thinking about porn while changing the kid's diaper, so maybe that's why I failed. and I'm not even sure if any of this actually happened."

Since I found the polygraph report back in 2020, I have estranged myself from my father as much as possible. I haven't told him why. I need to address it, because I am done pretending I don't know what I know. I have been estranging myself with the intention of talking to him about this when I am ready. However, considering that he is now dying, I have to be ready for this conversation sooner rather than later.

I want to give him a chance to explain himself. I would like him to tell me if he sexually abused me.

So, does anyone have any experience with confronting a formerly abusive parent? I have a therapist who is working with me on this, and I know it might be fruitless or he might disown me or whatever. That's all fine. I just need to give him a chance to explain himself before he dies. And, right now, since I refuse to pretend anymore, I have been a bit cold with my father despite his diagnosis. If he explains that he didn't do it, in a way that I believe is true, or if he admits it and asks for my forgiveness and confesses to my sisters, then I would be happy to support him in what he is going through.

I need to do this sooner rather than later due to looming death which is why I am asking metafilter for some enlightenment. There were good and happy times with my dad. I love him. I miss him. I want to be there for him. And I need to look out for myself instead of doing what is best for my parent like I've been doing my entire life.

Thanks for any advice or insight or whatever.
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