Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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My mother has left my father and been to Egypt without telling him. It has been roughly a year and a half next month since they have been separated. She is now back after having spent nine months in Cairo. Since May of 2002, I have spoken to my father briefly, and we do not seem to agree. He seems to think that my mother left because I was not successful at the university level and that she uses him as an excuse and so on. Basically what I am trying to say is that several arguments and discussion with my father through time did not yield to anything. He asks for answers, but unless you give him the answer that he wants to hear you are a liar.  I am so cold with him, and don't want to tell him anything. I don't feel that I should as long as the root of the problem is there.

Numerous priests and a bishop have mediated trying to solve the overall problem; unfortunately they were not able to get to my dad. I have heard numerous suggestions and tried them. ..The bishop I spoke to thinks my father has hallucination and that he might be suffering from chemical unbalance.

My dad thinks I am to blame for their separation because I have done what I can to support my mother, providing accommodation for her before her return from Egypt.

I am not sure who to talk to anymore, since the people that I do talk to, I think have run out of advice. If you could please try to give me some insight, on the issue of not talking to my dad, when is it ok and when is it not? I think that is the main thing for me, and also about answering my mom, about her question "If father was to change his thinking would I mind her going back or not?" I don't feel comfortable answering it; am I right?

I really appreciate you taking the time to read this message even when it does not make sense. I do realize that it would be greatly helpful to have a fixed spiritual father to talk to about this, but it is hard when you see so many Abounas mediating and failing. So please any input will be greatly appreciated. Thank you, and please remember me in your prayers.

You realize that you have not given me much information to figure out what is really going on in order to be able to make a conclusion. All I can tell you now is, if your mother is considering returning to your father you should encourage her because no matter who is at fault the Holy Bible is clear "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate" (Mark 10:9).

As for your relationship with your father, I do not know why the bitterness. Did you ask yourself why you have problems at college? And what you should do about it? Your family problems should not affect your study and if it is the other way around that your problems at college are affecting your parents' relationship you definitely should try to figure out what is the link; but in any case you need to work harder in order to succeed in your school.

You are asking if you should keep in contact with your father while the commandment is "Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you" (Deut 5:16).

Be the peacemaker in your family, for it is written; "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Mt 5:9). If your father has really a chemical imbalance, then this is a good reason for you to stand by him and help him as a sick person not to abandon him or stop dealing with him. If he had any other disease would you agree to be alienated from him or would you feel pity for him and try to help him? Pray for both your parents and for your own self that our Lord would help you and show you the way to overcome this tribulation and bring peace to the family.

You need also to surround yourself with a support system, and the best support that you can get is from your spiritual father. I know you lost faith in them because they meditated and failed but do you blame them for this failure? May be the failure is because your father is really sick and needs professional help! I am sure that if you start talking with your spiritual father, you will have a lot of peace and joy.
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