To be angry on behalf of my friend's daughter?

(122 Posts)
GiantHaystacks Sat 27-Jul-13 21:35:43

I have just come back from my friend's house and feel really pissed off on behalf of her dd1. My friend got married to a guy she met at university, they had two dds and both became successful in their respective careers. He became so successful that he decided to reward himself with a 20 year old new wife who was a catwalk model. He then proved how much he loved his dds by moving to Paris, thereby ensuring he had fuck-all to do with their daily existence. He does, however, make himself feel better by inundating the dds with a slew of expensive toys and clothes as that obviously compensates for him being a self-absorbed prick.

The reason I feel angry is that my friend's dd2 is too young to fully understand what is going on but her dd1 (10) refuses to acknowledge the gifts her father sends her and has to be dragged kicking and screaming to visit him for the school holidays (where he again gets to prove how fundamentally decent he is by spending throwing money at her). My friend is making her dd1 attend counselling sessions about this and is busy devising strategies to 'ensure dd1 maintains a good relationship with her father', even though this comes at some personal cost to her own relationship with her daughter and even though she has been left with all the hard work involved in bringing up children. I think she should be pleased that her dd1 can see her father for what he is and has the self-respect not to be bought off with gifts and holidays. Why should dd1 be forced to spend time with someone who has lost her respect? Why does dd1 have to be counselled out of following her own instincts in order to placate her father's need to feel like he's still a good guy?

I feel so angry that this girl has a strong sense of self-respect but it is being ignored. It's horrible that a 10 year old is already being gaslighted and by her own parents too.

That is awful, poor girl. I suppose your friend is just trying to do her best though.
You are a good friend for caring but I suspect up you will have to grin and bear it and give advice when it is asked for.

Good on you though.

youarewinning Sat 27-Jul-13 21:40:06

Perhaps the mum thinks the counselling will help her discuss and work through her anger at her father?

She has every right to be angry, and I know people get very negative towards parents who leave for someone else, but he is still her father and it is possible he loves his DD's even though he doesn't love the mum.

Perhaps look at the presents as his way of showing the DD's out of sight not out of mind? And the 'holidays' aren't holidays - they are the fathers way of seeing his DD's - his contact.

You sound very angry at this father?

WorraLiberty Sat 27-Jul-13 21:44:32

I expect the Mum knows her DD far better than you (not meant to sound sarky btw) and if she thinks counselling is the right thing, that means she's doing her best for her DD.

Lots of children display anger and other emotions during and after a divorce

Counselling can help them come to terms with confused emotions...such as loving and hating a parent at the same time.

SaucyJack Sat 27-Jul-13 21:47:45

YABU!

Your friend sounds like a fantastic woman who is trying to do the best for her dd in the long term.

Lots of NRPs leave the family home, and lots of children only see their NRPs in school holidays if they live a fair distance away, and IMO neither of these things are serious enough to warrant breaking contact with the father. 10 is simply too young to decide for herself she no longer wants contact with her father over childish resentment because he has left her mother.

Also, google gaslighting. You've either used it erroneously or are being plain hysterical.

GiantHaystacks Sat 27-Jul-13 21:49:13

Well the dd1 was crying her eyes out in her bedroom at the thought of having to spend the next two weeks in Paris with her father and his new wife so I do feel very angry about this guy. His dd1 is being asked to pretend she doesn't have feelings that she does, in truth, possess, in order to prop up his fantasy that he is still a good father. I think there is an element of girls being taught to be placid and obedient in order to please the male authority figure going on here as well, even though this guy has chosen to contribute nothing but money to her life.

GiantHaystacks Sat 27-Jul-13 21:51:57

I think she is being gaslighted. Her experiences with her father are telling her something about his personality which she doesn't like and doesn't want to spend time with but people are denying her her own instincts to tell her 'No, that isn't so. He's a good guy really. You have a duty to spend time with him.'

fakebook Sat 27-Jul-13 21:53:02

It's none of your business.

If her mum backbited the father or prevented contact she'd be in the wrong and she's also in the wrong for trying to make her Dd maintain a relationship with him. She can't win either way.

4thfloor Sat 27-Jul-13 21:57:12

The DD1 will not want to leave her mum , because her mum is the the one she is with just now.

However the mum is doing the right thing by getting her dd1 to see her dad

It sounds like the mum is handling a difficult situation in a mature and good way.

You don;t know the in and out's so rather than being angry on behalf of your friends daughter, it might be more productive to support your friend

MammaTJ Sat 27-Jul-13 21:58:25

Their mum is doing what she sees as best. You role is to support them all in this.

GiantHaystacks Sat 27-Jul-13 22:00:15

This divorce happened three years ago and the dd1 still feels like this. I think the fact that her father moved to another country and has hardly anything to do with her, apart from expensive presents and the odd holiday (at his convenience) has enabled her to gauge exactly how much respect he has for her and, yet, she is being asked to trade in her self-respect and be 'bought' off so he can feel good about himself twice a year.

Is this the message we have for girls - stop crying, stop moaning and let someone buy you expensive clothes, instead of treating you as a full human being?

ChippingInHopHopHop Sat 27-Jul-13 22:00:42

You saound very angry at this father

I can't think why hmm

Giant - I also think it's unfair that she is being made to go and spend time with him when she doesn't want to and that she is being told that her instinct is wrong sad I'm sure her mum is doing it with the best of intentions, but in your situation I'd have to talk to her about how it might be impacting her DD in ways she might not have considered.

4thfloor Sat 27-Jul-13 22:02:36

I had problems with my ExDH that ended in divorce. I told my children 'he's a good guy' because the fact that our relationship broke up should have no influence on a child making them take sides.

I seriously doubt either parent is 'gaslighting' her.

Has this struck a chord with you because it happened to you too?

TheFallenNinja Sat 27-Jul-13 22:05:24

It's none of your business.

WorraLiberty Sat 27-Jul-13 22:05:34

She could well settle in and have a brilliant time OP

Of course she's going to miss her Mum but I'm quite sure she still loves her Dad every bit as much as she always has.

I'm glad her Mum is big hearted enough to do what she sees as best for her DD.

All this will iron itself out over time and I'm sure everyone will get used to the new situation.

You do seem to have a disproportionate sense of anger about this though...perhaps that's clouding your view when it comes to the Mum?

GiantHaystacks Sat 27-Jul-13 22:06:41

I'm not sure the mother does have the best interests of dd1 at heart. She is one of those women who immediately puts a man's needs in front of a woman's, even when that woman is her own dd, because that's the easiest way to keep the peace. I should add she also receives most of her income from her ex-husband. I think she is worried about annoying him.

thebody Sat 27-Jul-13 22:07:45

no sure what the dd is capable if telli

GiantHaystacks Sat 27-Jul-13 22:08:55

No, this hasn't happened to me but I have a dd who is the same age and I can't imagine forcing her to do something that caused her so much distress. My 10 year old knows her own mind on things.

HoneyDragon Sat 27-Jul-13 22:09:29

I think you should be proud of your friend.

My friends dd has a shit, EA father. She sees right through him. Each time he calls she does her best to get them to talk to him etc.

It's got to the point were mediation have been involved and even the are erring on the side of the children's decision not to see their father.

I'm so, so proud of my friend who has done her utmost to ensure they have a relationship with their father, despite his total lack of financial and emotional involvement.

Instead of siding with the dd against her mum you should support them both smile

ChippingInHopHopHop Sat 27-Jul-13 22:10:19

It gets worse doesn't it sad

Are you close enough that you are able to help her DD with this?

thebody Sat 27-Jul-13 22:10:32

bloody I phone!!! capable of telling her counsellor?

but advise to you op Is to back away...

you never can really understand another's relationship or parenting.

Jan49 Sat 27-Jul-13 22:12:51

I don't think the mother is doing anything wrong. Thank goodness the father is willing to spend some time with his dc, even if he 'throws money' at them. How do you know he's only doing this to make himself feel good? He might be doing it because he loves and misses his dc.

A 10 y.o. is too young to understand the consequences of choosing not to see her father. Also, the mother who does all the childcare will get a break if the dc see their father.

Is this the message we have for girls - stop crying, stop moaning and let someone buy you expensive clothes, instead of treating you as a full human being?

This isn't "someone", this is her father. In addition to buying clothes he hopefully spends the time with them and it helps their relationship. I'm not sure in what way you think he doesn't treat them as full human beings.confused She is spending time with her father. She isn't keen on seeing him. She probably isn't keen to go to school either or go to bed, but parents can insist dc do things without the dc 'trading in their self-respect'.

I think you should stay out of this.

GiantHaystacks Sat 27-Jul-13 22:15:05

I think one of the reasons I am so annoyed about this is that there isn't much I can do about it. I don't want to bring it up with my friend because I think she knows, in her heart of hearts, that it is wrong but circumstances have conspired to make her financially dependent on a man who lives in another country, doesn't see much of his family and yet still manages to have them all dancing to his tune.

phoolani Sat 27-Jul-13 22:16:45

I don't think you're being unreasonable (though you do seem a bit too personally angry at the father's actions). Whilst 10 is too young to fully understand the consequences of her decision to not see her father, it's certainly not too young to have her feelings respected, and she absolutely shouldn't be forced to visit her father when she clearly doesn't want to. She obviously has a great deal of anger towards him and visits should be put on hold unless/until she can resolve them with counselling. And if I were her mother, I would also want her to attend counselling to make sure that her anger is only about his abandonment and not something else entirely. But whatever the reason why she doesn't want to go, there's no harm in suspending visits temporarily unless/until she's comfortable re-starting them.

GiantHaystacks Sat 27-Jul-13 22:18:23

If he 'loves and misses' his dds then why did he relocate to another country when there was no reason to do so? He and his new wife have the kind of jobs that mean they can live anywhere. The dd1 can see his hypocrisy when he says he wants to see her (but lives so far away he doesn't have the inconvenience of having to deal with her all the time or when she might need him).

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