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Old 04-02-2017, 06:59 PM
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Hello all!
I think I am posting this on the right place in this forum. I'm 22 and my whole world recently got flipped upside down. My dad was just sentenced 10 years (he is federal)... it came out of no where and very unexpected from him so I am just having some trouble coping. He has been in the system since September but just now got his sentence and found out where he will be going (6 hours away from me). I guess I'm just struggling trying to get a grip of this whole thing. Feeling bad for him and what he has to go through for 10 years/trying to hide whats happening from friends and some family/trying to not see my dad differently myself. It's taken quite the toll on me so I figured I would come here and see if this would help talking to people going through the same thing. I would love to talk to some of you!

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Old 04-02-2017, 07:03 PM
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Hello ....I'm sorry about your Dad I know that has to be hard for you. I'm guessing he's Federal? The 6 hours sorta gives me that impression.

Welcome to PTO...I'm glad you found us
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Old 04-02-2017, 07:08 PM
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Hello ....I'm sorry about your Dad I know that has to be hard for you. I'm guessing he's Federal? The 6 hours sorta gives me that impression.

Welcome to PTO...I'm glad you found us
Yes, he is in federal! Should have said that from the start. Was hoping it would be closer but I suppose it could be worse.

I'm glad to be here! Hoping it gives some comfort/support to talk to others in a similar situation. It's hard for others to understand when not dealing with something like this.
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Old 04-02-2017, 07:12 PM
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If you need info on the Federal System (phone calls, visits, mail etc), there is a forum for those specific topics: FEDERAL PRISON SYSTEM

And when you need to vent or need some moral support, this forum that you're in (Adult Children and Siblings of Inmates) is really good for those issues

EDIT: Yeah, the Feds are notorious for sending folks far from home, despite knowing that family support & contact / visits are vastly important!
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Old 04-02-2017, 07:13 PM
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Welcome to PTO. Sorry to hear about your dad. Just know he is not his crime and you can still love him the only you did before!!
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Old 04-02-2017, 07:18 PM
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If you need info on the Federal System (phone calls, visits, mail etc), there is a forum for those specific topics:

And when you need to vent or need some moral support, this forum that you're in Adult Children and Siblings of Inmates is really good for those issues

EDIT: Yeah, the Feds are notorious for sending folks far from home, despite knowing that family support & contact / visits are vastly important!
Thank you for that info!! I think I am finally getting down all the calls/visits/technical stuff. Took a while and wish I found out about this form when I was trying to figure it all out haha. Would have been helpful!
I think I'm mostly seeking out some place to talk to people without judgement as a lot of us are going through similar things. It's hard for others to understand.

Ugh, there is a place 25 mins away from our house we thought he would be sent to... then got a call saying he got sent somewhere else. The system makes no sense He is in a transitional spot right now until next week.
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Old 04-02-2017, 07:19 PM
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Welcome to PTO. Sorry to hear about your dad. Just know he is not his crime and you can still love him the only you did before!!
Thank you for this. Most of the time I can do this but once in a while his crime just hits me and I start overthinking and go into a depression/confused/panicked mode. It's still all new too though, so hopefully that will go away soon. He's still the same old dad I've always known.
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Old 04-02-2017, 07:24 PM
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Thank you for this. Most of the time I can do this but once in a while his crime just hits me and I start overthinking and go into a depression/confused/panicked mode. It's still all new too though, so hopefully that will go away soon. He's still the same old dad I've always known.
It is all new and your feelings are normal. You honestly might have the feelings but less frequent. He needs you as much as you need him. I know it sounds weird saying you need him but it will help you understand more. If that makes sense. You can private message me if you like!
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Old 04-02-2017, 07:57 PM
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Welcome. Yes we are all in the same situation and we are all here for support. Sorry about your dad...but just remember he's the same man you grew up loving and him commuting a crime doesn't change his love for you.
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Old 04-02-2017, 08:52 PM
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My dad went to prison about 6 years ago.

No doubt, it tore my family to pieces. Yes, your world is upside down. Yes, you're having to hide things from friends and some family members (I had to tell my family because I have a very rare last name and it was going to hit the news and I wanted them to have warning).

But what about YOU? How do you reconcile the man sitting in prison with the man you think of as your Dad?

The answer is easy to read, but not quite as easy to do. Your Dad is not the sum total of his convictions. None of us are the sum total of the worst things we've done in our lives (and isn't that a good thing?!). Your Dad is still your Dad. He just had a secret that you didn't know about before. Now his secret is out, but all those other memories and feelings from before? Those are still part of him, part of you, and part of your relationship.

The violation of trust was, for me, the worst of it all. I felt like, after I knew his secret, I couldn't trust him anymore. It's a very long involved story, but suffice to say that he had opportunity to help himself not end up in this mess, and he chose to not take advantage of that opportunity. And since I was the one who provided the opportunity (before I even knew that that was what I was doing), I had serious trust issues.

How do you overcome those trust issues? Well, you start by acknowledging what you CAN trust. You can trust your feelings. Those are yours and yours alone. If you love him, there is nothing wrong with that. I loved my Dad before he went to prison, I loved him while he was in prison, and I love him still, even though he died (in prison, of lung cancer) three years ago.

So there's something you can trust. You can also trust in your own instinct. You know your relationship with your Dad better than anyone. No one else can know it as intimately as you do because no one else is you, and no two relationships are the same. So when people tell you "If he were *my* Dad, I'd do..." you might want to remind yourself that your Dad is not that other person's Dad, that your relationship is completely unique and that you know more about that relationship than anyone else possibly can. So trust your own internal compass to direct you (that even goes for what I'm saying here).

I lost my belief in my entire life-long relationship with my Dad. But eventually I came to realize that all those other things - teaching me to play cribbage (and cheating at it!), teaching me to fish, teaching me to drive - ALL those other things still happened, and they still had meaning, no matter what the charges against him were.

My Dad was sentenced as a sex offender for 10 years of "hands-on" crimes against a minor. His sentencing made the news (Do NOT read the news, especially not online news and double-especially not the comments section if he did/does make the news). Reporters called (and went to voicemail). There was no hiding - from the world, from my family, from myself. I couldn't pretend it didn't happen, and I couldn't pretend it wasn't as bad as it was. But I could and did remind myself that he did other things than just his crimes.

I'm very sorry you're having to go through this. It is life-altering. It does not have to be the end of your relationship with your Dad unless you want it to be that. My sister never spoke to my Dad after his arrest, not even when my Dad was dying and desperately wanted to apologize to her. I had to do some "tough love" actions with my Dad at the beginning, but by the time he was diagnosed, our relationship was fairly stable again.

So yes, life will feel upside-down for a while. But you will adjust - humans are highly adaptable and can get used to almost anything. And you will develop a new normal. And your relationship with your Dad, while changing, will only change severely if you want it to. Your Dad is probably horrifically embarrassed (and I don't even know his charges) and publicly humiliated and may be trying to push you away from him in an effort to protect you. If you want to be pushed away, allow him to do so. If you don't want to be pushed away, tell him that.

I am happy to answer any questions you have, offer my support as fully as possible, and I promise not to judge you no matter what decisions you make from here on out.

The first year is the worst. It gets better after that. I've been in your shoes, and they're not easy ones to wear.
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Old 04-02-2017, 09:33 PM
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My dad went to prison about 6 years ago.

No doubt, it tore my family to pieces. Yes, your world is upside down. Yes, you're having to hide things from friends and some family members (I had to tell my family because I have a very rare last name and it was going to hit the news and I wanted them to have warning).

But what about YOU? How do you reconcile the man sitting in prison with the man you think of as your Dad?

The answer is easy to read, but not quite as easy to do. Your Dad is not the sum total of his convictions. None of us are the sum total of the worst things we've done in our lives (and isn't that a good thing?!). Your Dad is still your Dad. He just had a secret that you didn't know about before. Now his secret is out, but all those other memories and feelings from before? Those are still part of him, part of you, and part of your relationship.

The violation of trust was, for me, the worst of it all. I felt like, after I knew his secret, I couldn't trust him anymore. It's a very long involved story, but suffice to say that he had opportunity to help himself not end up in this mess, and he chose to not take advantage of that opportunity. And since I was the one who provided the opportunity (before I even knew that that was what I was doing), I had serious trust issues.

How do you overcome those trust issues? Well, you start by acknowledging what you CAN trust. You can trust your feelings. Those are yours and yours alone. If you love him, there is nothing wrong with that. I loved my Dad before he went to prison, I loved him while he was in prison, and I love him still, even though he died (in prison, of lung cancer) three years ago.

So there's something you can trust. You can also trust in your own instinct. You know your relationship with your Dad better than anyone. No one else can know it as intimately as you do because no one else is you, and no two relationships are the same. So when people tell you "If he were *my* Dad, I'd do..." you might want to remind yourself that your Dad is not that other person's Dad, that your relationship is completely unique and that you know more about that relationship than anyone else possibly can. So trust your own internal compass to direct you (that even goes for what I'm saying here).

I lost my belief in my entire life-long relationship with my Dad. But eventually I came to realize that all those other things - teaching me to play cribbage (and cheating at it!), teaching me to fish, teaching me to drive - ALL those other things still happened, and they still had meaning, no matter what the charges against him were.

My Dad was sentenced as a sex offender for 10 years of "hands-on" crimes against a minor. His sentencing made the news (Do NOT read the news, especially not online news and double-especially not the comments section if he did/does make the news). Reporters called (and went to voicemail). There was no hiding - from the world, from my family, from myself. I couldn't pretend it didn't happen, and I couldn't pretend it wasn't as bad as it was. But I could and did remind myself that he did other things than just his crimes.

I'm very sorry you're having to go through this. It is life-altering. It does not have to be the end of your relationship with your Dad unless you want it to be that. My sister never spoke to my Dad after his arrest, not even when my Dad was dying and desperately wanted to apologize to her. I had to do some "tough love" actions with my Dad at the beginning, but by the time he was diagnosed, our relationship was fairly stable again.

So yes, life will feel upside-down for a while. But you will adjust - humans are highly adaptable and can get used to almost anything. And you will develop a new normal. And your relationship with your Dad, while changing, will only change severely if you want it to. Your Dad is probably horrifically embarrassed (and I don't even know his charges) and publicly humiliated and may be trying to push you away from him in an effort to protect you. If you want to be pushed away, allow him to do so. If you don't want to be pushed away, tell him that.

I am happy to answer any questions you have, offer my support as fully as possible, and I promise not to judge you no matter what decisions you make from here on out.

The first year is the worst. It gets better after that. I've been in your shoes, and they're not easy ones to wear.

I just private messaged you. Thank you so much for this.
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Old 04-03-2017, 05:15 PM
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AR1234 - I'm going to echo Ginger M's comments but from the other side. I'm a father who was jailed, so my wife and my 3 (grown) daughters had to deal with it. My arrest also was major news. Fortunately my sentence was 3 years and I'm now out.

I know my girls were deeply hurt and also wondered if they really knew who I was. But as Ginger said, in the end, the strength of our relationships over many years meant more. I'd say we are not only close, but closer than ever. I wrote them lots of letters from jail, and phoned them, and they wrote back and we opened up new channels of communication through the anger and hurt and pain that I caused. At one point I wrote them all a rather long account of what I had done and why I thought, or had come to think, I'd done it. That helped a lot I think. I'm sure they still don't really understand - how could they since I don't really understand myself and I'm sure they still bear anger - who could they not? But as Ginger says, that's not everything. If your overall relationship with your Dad was good before this, it can be again.

I don't know what kind of person your father is, so this may not suit you, but my suggestion is to be as open as you can with him. Don't hide your hurt and disappointment (I'm pretty confident he knows it's there....) but don't hide your love and caring either. there was a lot I couldn't say before I was sentenced for legal reasons but after that I could be more open and was. And in one sense it is/was life-altering, but in our case no more so than many other things that happen to us in life.

I guess if I were going to say one thing, it would be not to discard love in the service of hurt and anger; that would be bad for both of you.

Good luck and don't hesitate to ask/PM if I can be helpful to you.
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Old 04-03-2017, 06:44 PM
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AR1234 - I'm going to echo Ginger M's comments but from the other side. I'm a father who was jailed, so my wife and my 3 (grown) daughters had to deal with it. My arrest also was major news. Fortunately my sentence was 3 years and I'm now out.

I know my girls were deeply hurt and also wondered if they really knew who I was. But as Ginger said, in the end, the strength of our relationships over many years meant more. I'd say we are not only close, but closer than ever. I wrote them lots of letters from jail, and phoned them, and they wrote back and we opened up new channels of communication through the anger and hurt and pain that I caused. At one point I wrote them all a rather long account of what I had done and why I thought, or had come to think, I'd done it. That helped a lot I think. I'm sure they still don't really understand - how could they since I don't really understand myself and I'm sure they still bear anger - who could they not? But as Ginger says, that's not everything. If your overall relationship with your Dad was good before this, it can be again.

I don't know what kind of person your father is, so this may not suit you, but my suggestion is to be as open as you can with him. Don't hide your hurt and disappointment (I'm pretty confident he knows it's there....) but don't hide your love and caring either. there was a lot I couldn't say before I was sentenced for legal reasons but after that I could be more open and was. And in one sense it is/was life-altering, but in our case no more so than many other things that happen to us in life.

I guess if I were going to say one thing, it would be not to discard love in the service of hurt and anger; that would be bad for both of you.

Good luck and don't hesitate to ask/PM if I can be helpful to you.
I can't thank you enough for commenting, it was actually very helpful to read a post coming from my dad's side. As you said happened with you and your daughters, this has actually made my dad and I closer than ever. Beforehand, our relationship was at a downfall due to his alcoholism, so we only spoke about once a month and he was not very involved in my life. Now, we email every day and talk on the phone twice a week. He knows more about my life and vice versa than ever before. I definitely don't think I'm hiding my love/compassion, but the issue is more of the opposite.

My dad likes to act like the "macho superman dad" kind of guy, but through drinking he became very emotional. Eventually it got to the point where he was very depressed, and our relationship reversed to where I often felt like I was the parent. I was the one consoling him, worrying about his feelings, worrying he was going to hurt himself, etc. He seems very very strong right now, but I'm scared that depressed/suicidal individual is still somewhere inside him. Therefore we haven't talked about his conviction almost at all. Mostly because before the sentencing we couldn't, but now we still haven't. I'm sure he would just deny it all as he has already done to me, but I am worried to tell him my true feelings.

Anyways, I'm going on a rant again. Thank you so much for your comment. I am so happy things are well for you and your daughters, and thank you for giving me an insight into how my dad might feel and how he might not even understand what happened. It's hard when you question if you even know who your parent is anymore, but I am trying my hardest to see my dad as the guy that took me to my baseball games and taught me every valuable lesson in life. Thank you.
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Old 04-03-2017, 07:28 PM
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Thanks. I'll say one more thing about this, which is that many men in prison, including me, having screwed things up for their LOs outside, feel the need to be extra strong while inside. I didn't want to inflict further suffering on my kids. At one point they told me that didn't help them, and they wanted to know what I was going through, ups and downs. That helped me be a little less 'macho'. That may be part of what your Dad is doing. But people are different, situations are different. My view would be that you would be entirely fine to 'call' him on what he did and how he hurt you, since that is a reality both you and he have to deal with.

Hope that helps.
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Old 04-04-2017, 05:27 AM
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we haven't talked about his conviction almost at all. Mostly because before the sentencing we couldn't, but now we still haven't.
Give it time. It took my Dad about a year to stop blaming me for him being in prison. It took about another year for him to start talking about things, and even then, it was only hinted at. Then he became friends with another inmate who encouraged honesty in him. The final year of his life (his 3rd year in prison) was when he finally started piecing things together enough to have meaningful conversations about him.

It's okay to nudge gently at his boundaries, but if he's not ready to go there, then let him sit with himself a month or two before bringing it up again. Having our boundaries nudged can lead to growth - having them trampled generally causes people to withdraw into a defensive posture which is not only not a an optimal growth scenario, but generally causes people to dig in their heels and actively resist growth. Mostly carrot, little stick.
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Old 04-04-2017, 05:32 AM
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I'm scared that depressed/suicidal individual is still somewhere inside him.
At 6 months in, your Dad may still suffer from depression, but he'll have had the opportunity to see what happens inside if a suicide attempt is not successful. He will probably be depressed. I don't personally know anyone who is or was in prison who didn't report being severely depressed at least part of the time while they were in. But pain often leads to growth. We don't change our behavior when things go well, we change it when things go badly. But suicide? I really doubt it.

My Dad tried to kill himself during his arrest. He was taken to jail and put in a suicide prevention cell (glass walled, no bars, with one guard who had to watch him 24/7, no clothing other than undies and a thin tee). He never tried that again, tho' as with all things, if a person is really intent on doing themselves harm, they will. It's rare for a suicide attempt to be successful, and it's rare that people even try, because the repercussions are worse than the depression.
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Old 04-04-2017, 05:33 AM
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Welcome to the PTO boards.. Glad you found us sorry you had to. Keep reading! There is a wealth of information here for you.
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Old 04-04-2017, 06:28 AM
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I've been reading you post AR1234 and find the advice you have been given helping me immensely. Some things I wondered myself has come up in the post. Like the timing when to bring up to my son what and why he did it. I know to let him bring that up in his own time but I think it would help me better understand why he did it. He was a good person, really he was. This too was his hidden weakness. Our daughter feels the same as we do but our oldest son doesn't want to talk about it much less let his two children be around his brother's children. Yes it messes up family. I'm sorry you are going through this, but with the help we get here it makes it a little easier to cope. Each time I post a reply rather it be how our experience is or hopefully some helpful advice it releases some of the stress. I'm ready to get my son I once knew back again but do realize he's the one that has to improve himself.
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Old 04-10-2017, 08:30 AM
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AR1234, your post hit home in a big way. It was many, many years ago, but I also was a young man, 17 when my dad was sent away to federal for 6 years. They sent him to a completely different state, 1200 miles away, and our world also was turned upside down. My mom sold the house and moved the family to that state to be near him, and I stayed behind since I already had my college plans, financial aid, etc all lined up in my home state.
To say it was one of the most defining events of my life is an understatement. It affected everything that came after, for our whole family, but not all in a bad way -- mostly the opposite.
In the beginning there were a lot of emotions -- anger, confusion, fear and uncertainty about the future. But eventually we all found our new paths to follow.
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Old 05-08-2017, 03:21 AM
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Smile My dad too!

Hello,

I was right where you are about 9 years ago. My dad is now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with a few months until he is sent to a halfway house then eventually home confinement. It is pretty rough and life changing for everyone in our family.
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Old 05-08-2017, 02:52 PM
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Welcome to Prison Talk AR and Patientlyy. I'm glad that one of your Dads will be released soon, and the other prison sentence will eventually end too.

A 10 year federal sentence will earn 470 days of regular good time (15 2/3 months off). The only other program that earns additional time off is the residential drug abuse program, RDAP, up to another year off but he will have to qualify to take RDAP, and to earn the extra time off, two different things. He must have had a substance abuse problem within one year of his crime, and the best documentation is having it mentioned in the presentence investigation report which was prepared by a US Probation officer.

He may get to spend the last portion of his remaining prison sentence in a halfway house or on home confinement, maximum of one year. He will still be in bop custody, just not in a prison. His unit team can tell him the amount of HWH they will recommend for him.
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Old 06-05-2017, 10:43 PM
prison_daughter prison_daughter is offline
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Hello

I just joined Prison Talk and can totally relate to how you are feeling. I am 29 years old and my father will soon be going to prison in order to help aleviate my brother's sentence. This whole thing came as a shock to me. I feel an immense amount of pain and then a numbness at other times. I am starting to feel withdrawn to everyone in my life because I find it hard to relate to them or their problems. This is the hardest thing I've ever had to face. My father is 68 years old and the idea of him in prison breaks my heart. I worry so much about him and wonder what types of things he will miss out on, like my wedding, first child, etc.

Glad to find a support group that helps me feel like I'm not alone in this nightmare.
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Old 06-05-2017, 11:29 PM
AR1234 AR1234 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prison_daughter View Post
Hello

I just joined Prison Talk and can totally relate to how you are feeling. I am 29 years old and my father will soon be going to prison in order to help aleviate my brother's sentence. This whole thing came as a shock to me. I feel an immense amount of pain and then a numbness at other times. I am starting to feel withdrawn to everyone in my life because I find it hard to relate to them or their problems. This is the hardest thing I've ever had to face. My father is 68 years old and the idea of him in prison breaks my heart. I worry so much about him and wonder what types of things he will miss out on, like my wedding, first child, etc.

Glad to find a support group that helps me feel like I'm not alone in this nightmare.


You are not alone. I've had all those emotions too, as you can tell by my post. But this is important, so please read: things have already gotten so much better.

I still struggle with relating to others' problems - I've become much less sympathetic which I'm not proud of, but maybe that will fade in time. On the positive side - I'm happy again. My dad seems happy as can be. He's found his place in his prison... he has friends, he has a job. Everyone refers to him as "old man" as a term of endearment haha. I have visited him 2 times - both times we kept getting interrupted because too many people came up and said hi to him! Before this, my dad was a bit of a loner. So this is good. He even has one friend forcing him to work out every day haha. My dad and I talked through everything, and we have come to terms with what it is. We even joke about prison stuff now, it has become comfortable. Not in a sense of dismissing his charges, but making the best of a bad situation.

It still breaks my heart that my dad will most likely not walk me down the aisle whenever I get married (assuming I will be married in the next 10 years). I've expressed this concern and heartbreak to him, and we've talked it through. It's not fun having a parent in prison, and it can be awkward explaining to friends or a new significant other where your dad is. But that's life. It will get so much better, I promise you. 3 months ago I could barely breathe and I felt like my world was crashing around me. I still feel like that from time to time, I have my weak moments. But we've made the best of it. We send pictures to each other, we have a scheduled call 2X a week, we email. We have a closer relationship than we did before all of this happened, shockingly. Keep your head up. You'll have your weak moments but that is OKAY. That's the most important thing I learned on this forum. Feel free to message me whenever
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Old 06-06-2017, 04:35 AM
fbopnomore fbopnomore is offline
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Welcome to Prison Talk. You will find much nonjudgmental support here.
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Old 06-06-2017, 08:35 AM
jessicahope17 jessicahope17 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AR1234 View Post
Hello all!
I think I am posting this on the right place in this forum. I'm 22 and my whole world recently got flipped upside down. My dad was just sentenced 10 years (he is federal)... it came out of no where and very unexpected from him so I am just having some trouble coping. He has been in the system since September but just now got his sentence and found out where he will be going (6 hours away from me). I guess I'm just struggling trying to get a grip of this whole thing. Feeling bad for him and what he has to go through for 10 years/trying to hide whats happening from friends and some family/trying to not see my dad differently myself. It's taken quite the toll on me so I figured I would come here and see if this would help talking to people going through the same thing. I would love to talk to some of you!
Hi!! I'm new to this site as well, today is my first day. First off, I'm sorry about what you and your father and entire family are going through. I know it's hard, but as long as you let him know that you're there for him-that will mean more than anything in the world to him. My dad went to prison for life when I was 10, he's been gone for 18 years and is never coming home. I'm the only person in my family, the only person in the outside world actually, that communicates with him. His mother has passed, his brother has passed, my mother doesn't want to communicate with him and neither does my brother. Anyway, I think what makes me feel better is knowing i'm not alone. The worst part I've dealt with since I was a child is the shame or idea that my dad is in prison somehow makes me less than. It makes me not a normal kid, a kid with a disadvantage in life, it was and still is humiliating for me to talk about my dad being in prison bc I feel like it's a reflection of me or who I am. I know logically it's not true, but that's how I feel. I'm glad you posted and hope you have a good day girl!
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