My Eldest Daughter Left Home and Doesn’t Want to See Me

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a working man in my 60s. My older daughter left home because she and her mother weren’t really compatible. I feel so alone from not being able to see her that I’ve lost my will to live.

My daughter is the quiet and easygoing type, but my wife always harangued her and pushed her to aim higher in everything.

My wife hurled verbal abuse toward my daughter and even became violent. I defended my child as much as I could, but my wife relentlessly berated her while I was at work.

It has now been four years since my daughter left without telling us her whereabouts. I know her contact information and I’ve tried to reach her several times, but she doesn’t respond.

My younger daughter — the only one who knows where she is — meets up with her once a year. Via my younger daughter, I asked my older daughter why she dislikes me, too. According to my younger daughter, she said, “It’s because he didn’t help me.”

I asked her to pass on that I was sorry. My older daughter told her sister that she has no intention of seeing me. I have a profound sense of loneliness each and every night. How am I supposed go on in life?

G, Ibaraki Prefecture

Dear Mr. G:

It must be tough to be estranged from your child. You can’t get back the time that has passed, but you can make up for the lost time going forward. I suggest you face the past.

You seem to think that your wife is responsible for you losing contact with your daughter, but that is not true. Your daughter’s resentment toward you for not being there to help her when she was suffering through her mother’s treatment is just as strong as how she feels about your wife — or even stronger — considering the sense of sadness that accompanies being let down.

Let me suggest that you reflect on how much contrition and regret you can put into an apology, and then keep sending messages to her.

I don’t know if that will help soothe her feelings. Even if you don’t get a reply, continue to wish for her happiness.

Suppress your expectations for your children and just keep praying for their happiness. It is not an easy thing to do, but I think it is the final duty to perform as a parent.

You are feeling lonely every night now, but you should understand that you have put your daughter through a similar amount of difficulty and loneliness. You should keep that in mind as you wait for her to contact you.

Please be careful not to make your other daughter also feel abandoned during this time because of your feelings for the older one.

Masami Ohinata, university president