Why I Cut My Dad Out of My Life.

Dear friend,

I wanna write you a letter on how and why you should cut cancerous people out of your life, using my own life story as an example:

I. Cutting cancer is the answer.

Life story — truth be told, my heart was made of gold as a child. But after a while, a dark cloud loomed over me. Rather than bringing joy and making me feel gleefully — he brought pain and sorrow. I hated going home, and would count the hours until he would pass.

I sometimes wondered, if he died— would everyone be better off? Just a thought in my head.

My dad held down my family — deadbeat dad, who led us into the deepest darkest seas. To the point our family couldn’t breathe.

His gambling addiction, his lying fictions, his diction to my mom was all false.

He was cancer in my life. I didn’t want his tumorous growth to infect me and my wife.

So one day, I had to say goodbye. I love you dad, even though you fucked up our family. But I know your dad fucked you up. So I forgive you.

But I’m sorry — you’re like my mom said, a black cloud looming over me. Thoughts of you give me nightmares — I will never forget your devilish stare.

I know you have a lot of pain and sorrow. But fucking — you can’t borrow your debt from the past, and think that others will atone for your sins.

I’m glad you didn’t take to the bottle or gin; you just smoked.

But you brought positive harm on the family. Gambling away umma’s hard-worked salary. You were nothing but empty calories.

I want to make my own reality, without you. Now I cut you out of my life, my skies are white and blue. I knew it was the right decision, and I pray for you and your soul. Because I know you can change, if you just wanted to.

II. I hate Confucian culture.

Okay, so, I was raised in this Asian Confucian mentality:

Respect your parents above yourself.

I remember as a kid, I thought that was bullshit. I respected my mom, but never my dad. But my dad would always evoke the:

You must listen to me. Why? Because I’m your dad.

I knew there was a serious moral and ethical problem here — how can a man, who all he does is stay at home, smoke cigarettes, physically and mentally abuse my mom, and doesn’t work or earn money — dictate how I should live my life? Or how my mom should live her life?

I know a lot of people who fall victim to feeling indebted to their parents, just because they are your parents.

But frankly speaking, that is bullshit.

My buddy stoic philosopher Epictetus taught me,

Only listen to your father if he is good. If he is not good, just bear with him.

I take it a step further:

Only listen to your father if he is good. If he is not good, cut him out of your life.

Of course, this doesn’t just apply to fathers. It can apply to mothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, wives, husbands, partners, ‘friends’, bosses, etc.

III. What would you do if you got diagnosed with cancer?

If you knew you had a cancerous tumor — what is the logical thing to do? Cut away the cancerous tumor.

I’m not a doctor, but I believe there are surgical procedures where you can literally cut away the tumorous growth. Or you can blast that shit with chemotherapy — which causes you extreme pain, but it might save your life.

The same analogy applies to cutting cancerous people from your life. To be honest, cutting my dad out of my life caused me a lot of pain. Mental pain, anguish, feelings of regret, guilt, and self-blame. I felt selfish, self-centered, and like a bad person. I felt like I was forsaking all of my Christian values.

But I realized:

I need to be selfish, for the sake of Cindy, my future kids, my mom, and my community.

So cutting my dad out of my life was like blasting myself with chemotherapy. And we all know how people look during chemotherapy treatments. But in the end, if they survive, they are victorious.

IV. Post-cancer removal

I’m lucky. I think I have more mental fortitude than most people I know. I have an adamantine mind — imagine wolverine, except I have a calloused, stoic, brain. Dealing with a lot of childhood trauma caused me to gain ‘post-traumatic growth’ — childhood trauma caused me to become stronger, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Now, I still feel bad for my dad. I have empathy for him — I know ultimately, his dad (my grandfather) fucked him up mentally. But at the same time, my dad made certain actions in his life, which he needs to take personal responsibility for, and not blame others:

  • Reporting my mom’s workplace for having illegal workers (Latinos) working under-the-table, telling the owner it was my mom’s fault, in order to get my mom fired from her job, and to lose her income. Which is really fucked up, because my mom was the sole bread winner — and without my mom having money, my sister and I would have no food or house to live in.
  • Grabbing my mom by the hair, banging her face against the kitchen counter, because she refused to give him the rent money — which he wanted to gamble (in order to ‘earn’ the family money) in Reno.
  • Calling my mom a worthless bitch at least 20 times a day; openly in front of me and my sister. This taught me to respect women.
  • Threatening to kill my mom (he told me this straight up).

When I decided to cut my dad out of my life, I was pretty fucking terrified. I was afraid he might literally get a gun, go to my mom’s workplace, and shoot her. And then commit suicide.

Or perhaps, he would commit suicide, and leave a note saying that it was my fault. So he could have the last laugh.

V. Why am I writing this?

I’m good now. I don’t get nightmares no more (I used to get them for almost 4 years).

I didn’t invite my dad to me and Cindy’s wedding — because I knew he would fuck shit up. And he actually found out we got married by reading my post on how I photographed my own wedding.

I’m a renewed man. This is my new philosophy:

I need to be self-centered, and selfish — in order to help the greater good.

I don’t need no more mental or emotional baggage from nobody. I will never give shit to others, but the new thing is:

I will never take shit from others.

This applies to everyone. To family, friends, strangers, and especially my dad.

I’ve been too weak and meek my life. My heart was too soft. That fucked me up.

I’m gonna be radically selfish now — in order to help all of humanity. I’m gonna walk in the footsteps of Jesus, sharing messages of positivity, but doing it with a golden stoic-chainmail of armor. To channel my inner-King Leonidas from the 300 spartans, to channel my inner-Wolverine.

My life’s purpose is now this: to be a protector of the weak.

I grew up in poverty, and my mom suffered. To me, my mother is my personal saint. She sacrificed herself for me and my sister. She is like my mother Mary — she gave me strong morals, ethics, and taught me how to live a beautiful life. To serve others, and to make hard decisions in life.

I thank mostly Seneca — thank you, you gave me the Stoic armor I needed to overcome my personal fears in life, and to no longer take bullshit from nobody.

VI. Be strong.

So friend, the reason I write you my life story is to encourage you to cut cancerous people from your life.

I have no idea what your life situation is — but if you’re being crippled by a cancerous, poisonous person in your life, be brutal. Blast that person away from your life, like chemotherapy.

If you want your family, your friends, and local community to be strong — you need to first cut the cancerous people from yourself.

Seek to cut away the negativity from your life, so you can spread positivity to others.

I hesitate to give you advice, because I have no idea what you’re going through. But here were my personal remedies:

  1. Block phone numbers, text messages, emails: I blocked my dad’s email in Gmail by auto-deleting any email from his address. I blocked his number on my phone, and text messages.
  2. Block related family: I also had to block the phone number of my aunt— who is taking care of my Dad. It is like cutting away the neighboring cancerous tumors. You need to remove all of the cancer, to recover.
  3. Read Stoic philosophy: Christian philosophy didn’t help me at all. Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, were the only guides that actually helped me. I read all their books, perhaps at least 3-5 times, and had to constantly meditate, reflect, and build my mental strength (like going to the gym). I still read Stoic philosophy on a daily basis, Seneca’s Letters live with me. I also adopted SENECA as my new name (on Facebook), so I can remember— to always be strong.
  4. Getting support from loved ones: I talked a lot to Cindy and my mom. They both supported me 100%. Thank you Cindy for giving me the strength, and thank you umma for helping me make the right decision. You two are the strongest women in my life, who inspire me.
  5. Curing my sickness before curing others: If I knew I had cancer, of course I need to treat my own sickness before seeking to help others. I know my life’s purpose is to help and empower others. But how can I help others, if I first don’t cure my own sickness?

I don’t got the answers in life. I’m just trying to figure out shit for myself, and my close friends. But I hope that I can use my own life and example as an inspiration and motivation for you— for you to make the hard decisions in life, and to always be strong— mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Never forget friend, you are stronger than you think you are. You have a steel spine. Your soul is pure and kind. Your life’s purpose is divine. So throw out the black wine, hit rewind in life — and cut away the cancerous people from your people with a hot knife.

Be strong,


eric kim portrait by cindy

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