In case the computer breaks before you get to read my entire response, here’s the bottom line first. I’d recommend that you continue to stay away from everyone, but even more so, as in completely.*
Clearly there’s too much going on in your family. It's beyond our abilities to fix anything but you and your daughter within a single conversation. What we can do is determine if you're now ready and committed to living an abuse-free life.
Apparently you’re in communication with someone who relays your father’s trash talk. This person is not your ally. They are in fact an unconscious covert saboteur. A person of integrity would say to your father, "Your blaming trash talk doesn’t feel good. It is divisive and abusive. I’m not going to talk with you ever again until you can tell me you’ve completed 25 hours of therapy.”
Re: “Lately, my father has been stirring up waves saying that I estranged myself from the family.” This reveals that you are not clear about the definition of the word responsibility. It’s true. You did estrange yourself, and rightly so; and, if he were to tell the truth, he drove you away and is now lying about his cause in the matter. I've learned to extract myself from any abusive conversation in which another is blaming me. It is irresponsible to interact with anyone (on a social/personal level) addicted to blaming. Whomever is listening to those "waves" is also an enabler pretending to be an ally.
Re: “I visited him once because some friends of his coaxed me to do so.” Not so. Even unconscious lies have an effect. Underneath your reason is the truth.
Re: “I wrote him and told him I don't want to fight with him…” Another lie. Here you are 40 years later, and you’re still fighting with him and the rest. A person who means what they say would not be engaging in any type of communication or interaction with any of them. Unfortunately it reveals your addiction to abuse and drama. What this also reveals is that you dumped him and the rest irresponsibly. Shunning turns from abuse to service, to serving another, when you include an ultimatum as to how each can interact with you again. “I won’t interact with you again until you can tell me…. (insert what you feel would satisfy you/heal him/them).
Re: “His friends tell me…” This reveals your addiction to the drama. A conscious person would stop the person mid-sentence, and say, “Please no stories about him.” This is very difficult advice to take because it’s natural to want to hear about what’s happening. Letting such crap in your mind causes the drama to persist.
You need to get back into choice. Each day you have a choice, no family drama or…. You’ll know you’ve healed you when you have no need to interact with people addicted to abuse. This is important because you’ll now have to watch for your daughter creating similar dramas in her life. She wants nothing more than to grow up to be and behave just like you.
Re: “But, neither of my sisters are supporting my crazy old artist parents.” Another lie. They are in fact using their leadership-communication support skills to foment this drama, mostly unconsciously, mostly using their nonverbal skills. Everyone has the exact same amount of support skills. One uses his/her support skills to either forward or to sabotage (to thwart). Unless each has estranged themselves (completely and absolutely) from your parents they reward with their presence, their occasional interactions, the abuse your father still inflicts upon you.
No one seems to be aware that your father's condition mirrors his integrity. He can't know the source of his illness until he starts to tell the truth to include cleaning up life's perpetrations (read The Clearing House
and Communications in Support of Health
If I were your mother I’d have to be willing to acknowledge that I made something more important than marrying an actualized man. What have I made more important than having my husband treat my daughter with love and respect? What is it about my leadership-communication skills that trained my husband to treat my daughter like he does? What is it about me that trained “baby sister” to attract such a man, and, to reward such sick (the call to the adoption people) behavior.
You imply that your baby sister married the rich lawyer. This was a big mistake on everyone’s part. I applaud you for not pressing slander charges. He could have/should have lost his license. However, for your parents to not insist upon a written formal apology from him is unconscionable; it accounts for all these consequences. Anyone who relates with him now, rewards such abuse.
You ask, "should I be doing anything with my father?" Yes, print out our posts and send them to him (certified mail) and a copy to everyone else. Include in it your ultimatums, “x hrs of therapy or no interactions for life.” Interactions means none. No cards, letters, telephone messages, email, presents, hospital visits (except for death bed last visit). If you don’t think you can do this then don’t show this to anyone, not even your daughter. Issuing an ultimatum and then not following through with it will reveal, as your father well knew, that you didn’t mean “No” 40 years ago. That lie had serious consequences for you and everyone else. I say not your daughter because she would know that you had a choice to complete your addiction to drama and chose not to. On the other hand, she could be your most powerful ally. She can let you know when she hears you starting to drag junk into the now.
This is an potential turning point in your life and the life of your daughter. Unfortunately you’re programmed for more of the same kinds of drama. You need to model for her how to extract herself from abuse. So far you’ve taught her to put up with it.
If I were you I’d communicate verbally your expectations with your daughter. I say verbally because we don’t know what you have communicated about your expectations non verbally; we’ll only know when we look at the quality of her relationships later in life. I say this because I’m concerned that she may already be programmed to hang out with abusive people. For example, to your daughter: “Your job is to find a partner that I like and who likes me. To attract and marry someone like my relatives would be abusive to me. It would mean that I failed you. It would invalidate me. If you marry some abusive jerk I’ll not play that game. Also, explain to any potential partner that my side of the family is addicted to abuse and that we are completely estranged from them. They need to know this up front else they might try to talk you into interacting with them. Are you clear about this?”
What we haven’t addressed is your cause in the mess. What did you do or not do that brought this on? Karma, a consequence for an earlier perpetration of yours? Most likely your mind will hide the incident from you; it’s got a lot invested in protecting you as the victim. Somewhere here, lurking underneath, is a powerful person that has been unconsciously intending all this for some brilliant reason—en route to enlightenment
Thanks so much for reaching out.
Keep checking back here. I may edit or have more.
How to estrange
last edited 4/19/16