My dad and DH have fallen out - what do I do?(309 Posts)
I don't want to drip-feed so apologies if this is long. My dad and my DH have fallen out and I feel stuck in the middle and unsure what to do.
DH and I (both in our 30s) have a 2 month old baby. When my waters broke just before midnight I went to the hospital alone, taking a taxi (we're in London, about 15-20 mins from the hospital depending on traffic). I insisted DH stay home as he wasn't feeling well, I knew I'd most likely be sent straight home, and I wanted him to get as much sleep as possible before I really needed him during active labour. He had his phone ringer on so had he needed to join me at the hospital he could have. In hindsight he feels that he should have insisted he come with me but I've always been very independent - in over 7 years together I've never asked or expected him to meet me at bus stops, walk me home etc - so in his tired and ill state he just accepted my insistence. As it happened I was indeed sent home and he went back with me in the morning when labour had progressed. I didn't think any more of it except feeling probably quite proud of myself for doing that first trip alone when I was heavily pregnant and a little in shock. Again in hindsight, that was probably quite naive of me but it didn't cross my mind to do it any differently.
My dad visited us a couple of weeks back and took DH aside to have a word. I had no idea what it was about as he'd said nothing to me, but it turned out he wanted to tell DH how upset he - and the rest of the family - was that he'd let me go to hospital alone in a vulnerable state. Their stories differ at this point. Dad says that he voiced his concerns but DH wouldn't listen so he lost his temper. DH says that my dad told him he's a bad father, that the whole family thinks so and that they've all - including me?! - been worrying about the hospital incident for weeks. In actual fact my mum says she was concerned (and of course I understand why) but she and my dad's partner made him promise not to bring it up and cause a scene - but he ignored that and did it anyway.
DH says my dad then grabbed him and raised his fist as if to hit him. DH at this point was freaked out by his aggression so pulled away from him and left our flat. All I know is I heard DH tell my dad to fuck off, then saw my dad, who was shaking with anger, chasing after him shouting that he was a fucking coward and to grow some balls. DH refused to come home until my dad had left.
I and my mum tend to believe DH's version as my dad has a history of being very short tempered and occasionally violent - DH literally wouldn't even raise his voice to someone and is the least aggressive person I know. My mum agrees that DH is probably telling the truth - she and my dad divorced partly because my dad was so volatile. He has in the past been held in a police cell after attacking his girlfriend (he claims not to remember) and has threatened suicide and self harm in the presence of, or in order to manipulate, me and my sisters.
To give a final bit of context: DH was already very stressed when my dad visited as my dad is very money and career focused and has on several occasions taken DH aside to ‘talk’ to him about his attitude to these things. DH isn't career-minded and I'm the main breadwinner in our relationship. He's also currently unemployed after being let go at new year and looking for a new job which has been making things hard work on top of having a new baby so he was already very depressed and down on himself and expecting a lecture from my dad made him feel worse. DH has made huge efforts to build a relationship with my dad but has been increasingly frustrated that dad only ever talks about money and doesn't seem interested in him as a person. Equally my dad is clearly frustrated that his daughter isn't being looked after in the traditional alpha male sense and while his approach is often wrong he clearly is just looking out for me.
However, after this fight my DH wants nothing more to do with my dad. He's scared of him, thinks he's frankly psychotic and isn't showing any signs of forgiving him for what he sees as an emotional and physical attack in his own home. My dad has tried to offer an olive branch via WhatsApp but DH won't accept his apology or even speak to him. This was really the last straw.
Now I'm in the situation of my dad wanting to still be part of my - and my baby's - life but logistically this now being difficult (he lives a couple of hours away) and also, to be completely honest, I feel resentful that he went ahead and caused this situation despite my mum and his current partner both begging him not to say anything. He's sending me very nice messages and claiming that he doesn't want to jeopardise my relationship with DH but that's all very well in hindsight - as usual he had to say his piece and to hell with the consequences. He's had a problem with my DH for a while so this was a long time coming but I'm angry that it had to be now when we're already going through a lot. I'm questioning whether I really want this man in my life but knowing how volatile and depressive he is I would, at the end of the day, feel bad for cutting him out. It's also not in my nature to do so.
I do wonder if I and my mum/sisters have been enabling this behaviour for too long. My mum agrees in one breath but in the other is saying he's still my dad and is checking to make sure I'm still sending him pictures of my baby so he doesn't miss out.
I just don't know how to navigate this situation. I'd like DH to at least listen to dad's apology but can also see why he no longer wants anything to do with him. To be honest I'm sure that in time he may come round to at least tolerating my dad's presence. But how can I continue a normal relationship with my dad, and make him part of my baby's life, with such a big elephant in the room? I'm still sending baby pictures to him and replying to his messages but I'm struggling to muster any enthusiasm for staying in contact. Even the mention or thought of my dad makes me feel very down.
Who here is being unreasonable? Am I? Is my DH for not wanting any more to do with him? Or is my dad?
So you dad grabbed hold of him? Or likely did.
He has a history of being of this?
Sorry but if my dad was volatile and tried to hurt my dh, he wouldn't be coming anywhere need or my baby.
What happened when you were in labour is entirely between you and you dh. If you were happy, your dad had no right to give his opinion.
That's how I feel - it's our business and while I appreciate him caring about me as his daughter I don't think it's his place to constantly treat DH like he's a child that he needs to guide through life!
According to DH he grabbed him and raised his fist. He said he really hurt his arm. I have no reason to disbelieve him.
Your dad is the problem not your DH. It is none of his business how you and your DH make decisions. He tried to bully, belittle and threaten your DH in his own home. I can understand why he might want nothing to do with your Dad anymore. Unless your Dad's apology comes with a personality transplant, I suspect it will be pretty meaningless and it won't be long before your Dad crosses the line again.
Tricky one - I think your DH & Dad are both in the wrong - in fact I feel sorry for you that the main men in your life seem to be useless, albeit in very different ways.
It is shocking your DH had you go to hospital alone after your waters broke with your first baby - no one who loves you could fail to be upset by such selfish carelessness. It isn't a matter of how independent you are, it just seems a complete inability to step up t the plate and put you first. I can also understand that your Dad sees you getting no special car in pregnancy and having to earn the money, so your DH just seem a bit pointless.
However, your dad sounds an aggressive prick who handled it all wrong. But for your sake, your DH should accept the olive branch - given his previous failures, he owes you that.
Your Dad is being unreasonable. He seems overly invested in making your dh and yourself do things how your dad wants. You should support your dh.
Juat have a think about how you would feel if your fil kept taking you aside for a 'word' (which appears to be a dictate on how to behave) in your own home.
It was a bit poor that your dh didn't attend hospital with you, what if you had gotten into difficulties?
Well your choice is believing your husband, or sided with your dad who has form for this.
If dh didn't believe me I would be devastated.
Your dad wants contact with your child, what happens when your child is older and doesn't behave how your dad thinks they should?
It is shocking your DH had you go to hospital alone after your waters broke with your first baby -
He didn't 'have her go' she wanted to.
My opinion...... back up your DH. Sounds like you father has been trying to bully him about his job etc and now has ended up almost hitting him.
Given your fathers 'volatility' do you want him around your baby? I wouldn't.
Give your dad a wide bearth and tell him exactly why. Neither of you should have to put up with that interfering and aggressive behaviour
OP I'm sorry you feel this way with a new baby. your dad shouldn't have done what he did. In all honesty, I'd let the whole thing simmer down. I'd accept your DHs choice to not have anything to do with him. Perhaps time will mellow the situation. If you want to have a relationship with your DF then that's your decision. I hope it all works out.
That's a good way of looking at it painted - I'd be livid if a PIL tried to tell me what to do. Actually I only tolerate it from my dad because it's easier not to rock the boat. Maybe I've been not rocking the boat for too long
DH absolutely knows he was in the wrong for not coming with me but I feel mostly responsible as that's how I've allowed - or even insisted - our relationship to develop. He's a brilliant dad so far and absolutely steps up when it comes to his child. I was adamant throughout my whole pregnancy that I'd just keep on doing everything all the time so built up an expectation that I didn't need him. But the point is he knows in hindsight he should have come with me and didn't need my dad to point it out as if he's an idiot (but I can see from the outside how it would appear that way).
I'm with your DH in this. I wanted my DH with at all time in labour but we are all different aren't we so if you didn't then that's all that matters.
With your dads "previous" you have to support your DH (and why is he taking him aside for "little chats")
Why do you want to expose your child to this behaviour? What happens when your baby grows up and doesn't do what your dad wants?
I would be supporting DH and going very low contact myself.
Do not ever feel responsible for your DH's failings. He has to own his behaviour, you mustn't blame yourself for his failure to do the right thing.
Your dad sounds like a massive arsehole.
Stand by your husband.
You dad sounds like an arsehole, and your husband sounds like a loser who'll always disappoint you when you need to rely on him.
I think your DH behaved really admirably, actually. OP is a grown woman, it is not for her father or her husband to tell her whats best.
I'm sorry to say I think your mum is right, that your dad is really quite a violent volatile man - i know this is hard, he's your dad, but really, he beat up his girlfriend! He manipulates you and your sisters, he is a bully. He is bullying you, he is bullying your DH - telling you whats right and wrong, when you sound like a happy little family doing whats best for you.
Much respect to your DH for leaving the situation.
I believe your DH. If your Dad was calling him a coward, that points to him looking for a fight.
I have no issue with you going to the hospital alone being as you insisted - and you were going by taxi, it wasn't like you were negotiating buses. Their issue is just that - THEIR issue. Not yours, not your DH's. With hindsight, maybe it wasn't ideal - but then we all make less than ideal decisions at times.
If you want to see your Dad with your child, then maybe you should organise to see him with/at you sisters? That way you aren't alone with him if he starts on about anything, and it doesn't impact on your DH.
Good luck op!
Part of the reason I'm upset is my dad has mellowed over the years and this is the first time DH has seen this side of him - it's brought back some unpleasant childhood memories for me and made me question whether I even want my baby around someone like that, as many of you have said.
I believe my DH for sure - he can exaggerate sometimes but would have had no cause to straight after the event and he was clearly shaken up.
Thanks for the flowers breezy, parenthood so far has been a challenge what with the unemployment situation and now this!
Your dad is sending messages saying 'he doesn't want to jeopardise your relationship with your DH'? Why would he think that would happen? Or is it something he really wants to happen - does he think he can do a better job of looking after you and the baby than your DH? Your DF clearly doesn't see you as a united couple and seems to want to drive a wedge between you.
What you and your DH agree between you is none of his business. All this 'taking him aside to point out where he's going wrong' is designed to belittle your DH and make him feel inferior. Tell your F to butt out. You can keep up a relationship with him, but I'd keep it at a distance, as someone said, it's only a matter of time before he starts taking your child 'aside' to tell it where it's going wrong...
I think you should stand with your husband on this.
Tell your dad that you know that your husband is telling the truth and before you can even consider him having a relationship with your child, he needs to admit it and properly apologise for it. I bet you anything that his 'apology' is in fact nothing of the sort. Have you read it? Is it 'sorry but; minimising; turning the blame round and guilt tripping'? Or is it an honest 'I was totally out of order I am so sorry, this will never happen again'?
Although, tbh, I'd be quite wary of inflicting him on a vulnerable child, given his history. What's to stop him turning that 'volatility' on the child in a few years? And you being told yeah but it's your dad, you have to still have him in your life, just let him do it?
I think you need to be very firm to your dad - and to your extended family who are as you say enabling him. yeah he is like this but he's your dad, you have to .... ?? You have to what? Allow unacceptable behaviour? Ensure there are no consequences? Suck it up? Let him get away with it? Throw your husband under the bus for him?
Answer me this, if family is so important and relationship with the baby so important, why is it you being asked to accept bad behaviour rather than him being asked to change bad behaviour? Why are you being told ahh but he's your dad rather than it being hey, that's your daughter and your son in law and you were really out of order?
Your dad is an aggressive bully.
It's got nothing to do with your mum whether you send baby photos to your dad, and you really don't owe him anything.
I agree with going 'low contact'. Your dad is a couple of hours away so this needn't be a dramatic thing, e.g. its not like you go for dinner every week and now you're stopping that.
Focus on day to day life with a new baby. That is tough enough without added stress!
I'd be inclined to believe your DH as your dad has got form for aggressive behaviour.
Also, bit harsh to call OP's DH a loser.
Sounds like you married the opposite of your dad.
I think it's still early days for the aftermath of what sounds like a very damaging bust-up. I agree with the advice to let it simmer down for a while, and then rebuild when things are a bit less raw. Can you see your Dad by yourself with the baby for a bit? And maybe take the chance to talk about how lifestyles have changed and you've chosen a way of life that isn't about being 'looked after' by an alpha male!! He needs to understand that your values are different.
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