Open letter to my father, Dan Hogan: our relationship hurts


Hunter Hogan

I have been trying to write this letter for many hours, but I have not made much progress. I made a short list of notes, I tried some coping techniques so that I could write, but I have spent more time staring at the screen or holding my head in my hands than I have spent writing.

My life has at least two categories of pain. The first is obvious and tangible things like poverty. The second might be called unresolved feelings. It is natural and healthy to feel pain after some events, such as losing a job or a relationship ending. Time does not heal all wounds: reflection and healthy grieving heals those wounds. I have a backlog of unresolved feelings from painful events, and I need my wounds to heal.

I do many things to resolve the painful feelings, and I have overcome many things. In the last few years, when I am unable to resolve a feeling, I have discovered that writing about my feelings, and sharing it, always helps me feel better. I have been unable to resolve many of my feelings about our relationship, so I am writing about what has happened and how I feel.

The quantity of issues, the complexity of the issues, and the emotional burden, however, makes it impossible for me to write a complete opus about our relationship and my feelings. To heal, I must write something, so for now, I will outline the issues as best I understand them.

To be clear, I am writing this for my benefit: I do not expect you to change.


  1. Your communication with me is appalling:
    1. You have a successful business teaching people to communicate with each other, but you rarely apply those skills to your communication with me.
    2. You sometimes ask me for information, and then you attack me for giving you the information. The best example is when you made me promise to keep you updated about my life and then you attacked me for “complaining” because the only things happening in my life were negative.
    3. When we talk about anything, you almost always ignore most of the things I say.
    4. A similar, but distinct, problem is that you sometimes obsess about an idea. When you obsess about something, you ignore everything–facts, people’s feelings, different perspectives–and you repeat your idea ad nauseam and often without alteration. (See, for example, 7 November 2014, 8 November 2014 @ 11:15 AM, 8 November 2014 @ 12:40 PM, 19 November 2014, 21 November 2014 @ 2:54 PM, 21 November 2014 @ 4:53 PM, and 21 November 2014 @ 7:37 PM.) When my sister was pregnant with my niece, for example, you ignored all of the issues, facts, people, and feelings involved, and you obsessively repeated, The baby does not have a choice. It did not matter what the topic was, that was your reply. It did not matter that no one else understood your point, you did not elaborate.
  2. You consciously choose to be ignorant about the facts of my life. Even though you regularly ask me to share with you, you tell me that I can talk to you about anything, or you demand that I talk to you, you regularly say things like, I need . . . mentally / emotionally let you go.
  3. Despite your frequent decisions to distance yourself from me and despite you ignoring most of the things I tell you, you try to make decisions for me, you attack me, and you say that I am not doing enough to help myself.
  4. I cannot depend on you. For at least 20 years, you have invited me to talk to you about things, but too often you do not reply to my questions (you go off-topic), and in the last few years, you write things such as, I’m getting overwhelmed. . . . I don’t need to understand more about your situation.
  5. You often try to manipulate me. You especially attempt to use money to buy my compliance with your desires.
  6. You have betrayed my trust many times:
    1. We have a car that we both own. You had to take over payments because I was unemployed and after about 18 months of unemployment, I ran out of cash. You then worked out a scheme with the bank: you did not send a payment, and on the 31st day of the payment being late, the bank “repossessed” our car. Unknown to you (and unknown to me at the time), Justine went to the bank and offered to pay the balance of the loan. The bank officer you were working with told her that he had already worked out a deal with you before it was repossessed. Illinois law required the bank officer to accept Justine’s money for the car and immediately return it, but he broke the law because of his deal with you. A major reason I was unable to leave Justine after she became abusive was because I did not have a car.
    2. You gave my contact information to third parties when you knew I did not want you to do that.
    3. You opened mail that was addressed to me.

You say you want to by my partner in decision-making, but your actions make that impossible. You behave as a dictator, you are willfully ignorant about important aspects of my life, you arrogantly refuse to admit your willful ignorance and only once have you admitted that your fallibility but even then you did not say that your imperfections affected your ability to make decisions for me, and you are vengeful.

Your offer of help

  1. I did not ask you for help: you wrote to me. Furthermore, you did not write and offer a specific solution, you asked what help I needed.
  2. I told you what I needed. You did not gather any information that was not already available to you through multiple channels.
  3. You obsessed on the idea of a residential treatment, even though you did not mention it in your first email and you did not have any new information.
  4. I explained that residential treatment is not a good medical treatment for me.
  5. You continued to ignore everything I said and obsessed with your idea.
  6. You attempted, and are still attempting, to manipulate me by using your money to get what you want.
  7. I am not going to choose a medical treatment that will not help me–and in fact, a residential program could harm me: you do not know what happened to me in the United Kingdom.


In the past, we have had major problems. Starting around 2003, however, and ending in February 2010, I very much enjoyed and valued our relationship. I learned many things from you; I shared many happy days with you. I have slowly lost nearly everything in my life, and for the last few years I have struggled with my grief over losing my father and my friend.

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