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to be feeling this way?

(52 Posts)
kaylasmum Wed 09-Jan-13 14:29:47

I have 5 dcs, my eldest 28yo dd and 26yo dd have a different father from the others. We met when i was 17 and he was 18. He was in this country studying to be a pilot. He was sponsored by the government and I always knew he'd have to go home one day.

We were together 4 years. The day he left was awful, we loved each other so much. We kept in touch for a few years but we both knew he would never be coming back to this country. Eventually we stopped all contact and I met another man who took my dcs on as his own. I told my dcs all about their natural father. My dd has always found it difficult and for years has wanted to find him. My dc did'nt seem too bothered.

Two days ago my dd called me and told me that she thought she had found her father on facebook, she asked me to look at his profile. It was him, it turns out he'd heard she was looking for him and he set up a facebook account so she could contact him.

He told her he loves her and has never stopped thinking about her. He is married with 3 dcs, One of them a little girl that he has named after my dd. My dd and ds are so happy to be in contact with him and I am very happy for them too but this has stirred up some deep buried feelings that I have. I am feeling really down and can't really explain why.

KobayashiMaru Wed 09-Jan-13 14:33:12

Out of interest, why did you have 2 children with him if you knew there was no future in it? And more importantly, why couldn't he stay in touch with them after he went back? If he "never stopped thinking about her" why didn't he or you ever do anything about contact?

Maybe you're feeling down because you feel guilty about some of the choices you made?

kaylasmum Wed 09-Jan-13 14:41:33

I had no say in the matter, he had to go home as if he did'nt his family would have been held accountable. My dcs were unplanned, very irresponsible I know but these things happen. I was a single parent and was unable to make phone calls to Iraq, I relied on him to call me but eventually the calls stopped.

I don't feel guilty about the choices I made. What else could I do?

kaylasmum Wed 09-Jan-13 14:43:47

Oh and by the way I was'nt asking to be judged as a parent!

KobayashiMaru Wed 09-Jan-13 14:45:21

Letters, emails, contraception after the first unplanned pregnancy etc would spring to mind.
I'm not saying that you should feel guilty, just that I would in that situation.

Long absent fathers when traced by adult children usually say that kind of crap, "I love you and I've always thought about you"....not very much if you never bothered your arse to see them, talk to them or pay for them though. Why do adult children get sucked in by this?

KobayashiMaru Wed 09-Jan-13 14:46:14

And he named another child after an existing child? hmm Thats just creepy.

harryhausen Wed 09-Jan-13 14:47:55

Can you put a description on what kind of feelings you are having? It's hard to know how to respond otherwise. For instance, do you have still have feelings for him? Are you angry? Sad? Worried? What?

nickelbabe Wed 09-Jan-13 14:51:13

why didn't you get married?

CaptChaos United States Wed 09-Jan-13 14:52:56

Kaylasmum you made your choices and you lived with them, no one is any different really, they just make different choices.

I understand how difficult it would have been for their father to contact them, given that Iraq was in a state of civil and foreign war for almost all of your elder DC's lives, for a lot of that time communications have been nigh on impossible due to sanctions etc.

YANBU to feel down about it all now. Maybe it would be a good idea to find a counselor to explore why you feel this way?

CailinDana Wed 09-Jan-13 14:53:03

I think Kobayashi is being a bit harsh but I agree with the essence of what (s)he's saying. It's a bit rich for a father not to contact his daughter for 28 years and then claim to love her and to have never stopped thinking about her. Iraq is far away and has been in turmoil for a long time but there is such a thing as a postal system and email. Even a phonecall once a year wouldn't have been too difficult I think.

I also echo what harry asked - how are you actually feeling?

I suspect the difficulty is that you've got almost 30 years of love, anger, passion, pain and everything that comes with life to process and deal with because you put it on ice when he left. Did you shut down emotionally when he left because you had two small children to look after?

It sounds a bit like you have romantic feelings for him in your op? I would be interested to know if you ever felt anger for him? And how you feel about your children being excited about talking to a man who effectively didn't keep up contact and, whilst he might not have been able to stay because his family would have been punished at the time, he really could have made some contact in the last five years. Also how you feel about your DH? I think it would be useful to put some labels to the big bag of feelings you've got about the last 30 years.

It must have been a difficult position to be in - society still wasn't that accepting of single parents and I seem to remember that 30 years ago was Iraq invasion so some people will have viewed you and your children as outsiders.

And CaptChaos is right some counselling might be a good idea.

I think most people whose dc have got in touch with an absent parent will feel all kinds of things, as it will stir up a lot of feelings you had pushed away over the years. You didn't choose to part from him, so you probably still feel some grief for the loss of an important relationship. You may (or may not) have some negative feelings about why he didn't stay in touch. And you may (or may not) feel odd that he was out there to be found when your daughter tried, when you had decided not to do anything similar yourself. And/or that your relationship with your daughter will be altered by her suddenly having another biological parent who claims to be besotted with her.

It's ok to be confused. It's a confusing situation to be in!

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 09-Jan-13 15:52:33

I'm glad your ex finally enabled DD1 to find him, as she was looking for him. Hope it doesn't backfire - anyway, sticking to your title, YANBU to feel stirred up, a large part must be connected with a degree of anxiety about how things will pan out now for your 2 older DCs. I'd definitely consider some kind of counselling.

sooperdooper Wed 09-Jan-13 16:02:24

Wasn't there an option of you going with him?

sooperdooper Wed 09-Jan-13 16:03:12

Sorry, I don't mean to be judgemental, I just don't really understand why you didn't, seeing as you were happy & had 2 children together

5madthings Wed 09-Jan-13 16:06:43

Yanbu to feel conflicted/confused etc by this at all.

I have to say I find it very odd he named his new did after the did that you had together. Does his wife know their child is named after his dd who he has had no contact with and presumably never supported financially.

5madthings Wed 09-Jan-13 16:07:20

Not his new did, his new dd.

BattlingFanjos Wed 09-Jan-13 16:13:45

If the OP IS struggling with feelings of guilt and regret is is really productive to be judging her life choices at this late stage? She made her decisions (I as a stranger have no opinion on them) and has asked for advice on her feeling down.
Kobayashimaru you seem to be coming across very harsh, "did you mean to be so rude?" comes to mind.
CaptChaos however has very good advice.

Hope your DD manages to find the relationship she was looking for with her father. YANBU to feel this way, but yes counselling may be good to sound it out

maddening Wed 09-Jan-13 16:20:14

I think it is as you never finished it - he was taken away by circumstance.

If he had died for example you would not have stopped loving him but would have moved on - as you have in your situation but now he's is contact with the dc and it is stirring up feelings that you probably haven't consolidated. It doesn't mean you love him or that you don't love dh - you just have feelings you need to resolve

I agree counselling might help.

DSM Wed 09-Jan-13 16:36:39

The apostrophe goes between the n and the t.. E.g. Didn*'*t

Sorry it's really bugging me.

Moving on - I fail to believe he thought about his DC's all the time, and in 20odd years didn't bother to contact them at all. You couldn't call Iraq, but surely you could have posted a letter? Couldn't he have? Could he not have saved up enough money over 20 years for a visit?

KobayashiMaru Wed 09-Jan-13 16:39:19

Might be harsh, but I don't think its at all rude. You can't just say "sure what could I do" when you are talking about children, especially when there is plenty you could have done. OP's children have one parent who abandoned them entirely and another who takes no responsibility for the situation. It's them that will need the counselling.

KobayashiMaru Wed 09-Jan-13 16:40:31

And yes, she did ask for advice about her feeling down. It's not much use to ignore the glaringly obvious reasons for feeling down, is it?

kaylasmum Wed 09-Jan-13 19:09:30

kobayat - what gives you the idea that i have'nt taken responsibility for my actions. you do'nt know me or how i'm feeling. as for your suggestion of e-mails, i did'nt have any access to computers or know anything about them 25 years ago.

i did write letters, he showed me how to write his address in arabic. I lost the address. When i got married i changed my kids names and moved house. He told my dd today that he has been searching for her over the internet for years but was looking for her under her old surname, he also said he named his daughter after her because he wanted to hear her name. I don't find that creepy at all.

He seems genuinely happy to be in contact.

kaylasmum Wed 09-Jan-13 19:11:26

oh and DSM as far as him saving up to pay a visit, with all thats been going on in Iraq over the years that would'nt have been easy for him.

aderynlas Mexico Wed 09-Jan-13 19:18:37

Hope your eldest dc get some positive things from contact with their dad op and that you feel better soon.

smornintime Wed 09-Jan-13 19:18:55

Out of curiosity, how did he know she was looking for him?
Think about the time frame people, 25 years ago e-mail was not commonplace

KobayashiMaru Wed 09-Jan-13 19:24:36

Of course it wasn't 25 years ago, but it has been for a decade. It's not hard to find people with a bit of effort.
You lost his address so that was that? Ah come on.

BattlingFanjos Wed 09-Jan-13 19:27:30

Kobaya it is also not much use to jump on the OP on what you see as her failings as a parent and prominently display your judgy pants. Quite counter productive in my eyes as the OP now seems to have focused on your negative comments rather than the positive advice she's been given, wouldn't we all?
Also, I'm wondering where you read that the OP hasn't taken any responisbility for the situation she found herself in over 20 years ago, I certainly have not found that in her replies and am assuming you do not know get personally?

Perhaps I am also judging too quickly and this is actually a projection of your feelings.

KobayashiMaru Wed 09-Jan-13 19:30:17

Probably you're right, I'll leave this here. I identify with the children here, a mother who had children knowing the father would not be around, an absent father who has never tried to know his children, and nobody taking responsibility for what comes from all that.
Good luck to the adult children anyway, I hope they get whatever they are looking for.

BattlingFanjos Wed 09-Jan-13 19:34:39

In that case, I hope you're ok and whatever bad feeling there is, is resolved for you soon. My replies have been written with good intentions, hope they came across that way x

MamaBear17 Wed 09-Jan-13 20:29:35

I think a long lost love resurfacing would naturally stir up old feelings. You have every right to feel the way you do and should probably talk to someone in RL to help you deal with it. You are naturally feeling down because you will be thinking through all of the 'what ifs'. Make sure you get yourself some support if you need it. I think you are completely right to encourage your kids having contact with their dad and it is lovely that you are happy for them. Any questions that they have over his whereabouts or why he didn't make contact sooner belong to them really. If they accept his reasons then that is their choice and they do not deserve to be judged. You sound like a lovely mum x

RyleDup Wed 09-Jan-13 21:06:08

No I don't think you're unreasonable to be feeling this way. It must have been hard for you when he left, particularly if you still loved him. This is bound to stir up all sorts of emotions. I hope your dd's find what they are looking for when they finally get to meet him.

blairsmummy Wed 09-Jan-13 22:10:01

Jesus, is this really a place people come to for advice? I am the DD in question, and it is my mum who has posted this question. Judge not, lest ye be judged. Mum was looking for anyone with similar experience i think, or maybe just some words of comfort.

KobayashiMaru- I have to ask, as you are coming across as extremely bitter, have you been through a similar experience yourself? "Why are adult children sucked in by this?" Your views seem very black and white. You should knwo, life has many grey areas.

Is there actually anyone here with first-hand experience of this sort of situation who might be able to come up with some productive advice, as opposed to venting biased views?

Creepy-please define? Her name is Lian, it is the arabic version.

blairsmummy Wed 09-Jan-13 22:13:17

Thank you to the people who have been supportive of course. This is a fantastic time for me and my brother and we see it as hugely positive. I have wanted this for 25 years, my dream has come true.

BattlingFanjos Wed 09-Jan-13 22:43:55

Glad to hear it blairsmummy good luck to you all and I hope you enjoy every bit of it smile

Rightly or wrongly people will have opinions just disregard and take on board what you need to. All the best to you all x

BattlingFanjos Wed 09-Jan-13 22:44:19

Glad to hear it blairsmummy good luck to you all and I hope you enjoy every bit of it smile

Rightly or wrongly people will have opinions just disregard and take on board what you need to. All the best to you all x

It might be worth starting a thread in relationships or lone parenting depending on what your Mum wants to explore. There are a lot of supportive people on MN. For some reason AIBU seems to involve some quite polarised views.

It might be worth being more specific about what element of similar stories you want to explore. Latent feelings or your children meeting a birth parent are both threads I've seen many threads about.

Good luck to you both smile

blairsmummy Wed 09-Jan-13 22:51:23

Yeah, i think this maybe is the wrong place for such a sensitive and deep rooted subject. I think the area of my mum's emotions needs to be resolved, i will do all i can to help her.

Thank you both for your positive comments. I know life is not all about positive comments though! People will have their views...

BattlingFanjos Wed 09-Jan-13 22:54:31

It can be if you want it to be, I manage to float around ignoring the negativity people send out 99% of the time I believe this is known as delusion

Hope you found somewhere with more help and you/your mum are more than welcome smile

blairsmummy Wed 09-Jan-13 22:58:27

haha smile Well nothing can take away from the happiness i feel at finally finding my father and knowing that he has thought of me as i have thought of him. I have to say, it was kind of upsetting reading people saying things like " i refuse to believe he thought of them", but it does'nt matter, these people do not know him.

I'm pleased you are happy Blairsmummy - and I think the people who have chosen to judge on this thread probably don't have the first clue about life in Iraq, the expectations that would have been placed on your father by his family and the Iraqi government, the repercussions his family would have faced if he didn't return, the difficulties around marrying a British woman and bringing her to Iraq which they would have had to have faced if they had got married.

Kobayashi we are talking about a country where people can't find their relatives who lived in the same house as them, a country where electricity is still off more than it is on, where not everyone has access to clean water.

You say that internet has been around for a decade.... In March this year it will be a decade since the second Gulf war started and Iraq was once again plunged into total chaos. People disappeared from the streets, bombs were exploding in residential areas, ALL lines of communication were controlled by the state. Iraqis were afraid and often completely unable to contact family members in other areas of the country let alone outside.

People I know didn't speak to their siblings for fifteen years because it wasn't safe to do so.

Yet here you are saying the internet has been around for a decade and "it's not hard to find people with a little bit of effort" - until recently the majority of people in Iraq had to use their effort to stay alive, to keep their families fed and warm. I'm glad you don't understand this - but because you don't, then you really shouldn't judge.

You may wish to read the Baghdad Blog by Salam Pax to find out just how difficult day to day life was in Baghdad a decade ago. Yes there was internet - but as there was no electricity a lot of the time, and any communication could be monitored it was not only incredibly difficult to get online, it was also incredibly risky to try to contact the UK - seeing as how we had effectively invaded them and all....

RyleDup Wed 09-Jan-13 23:05:50

Good luck with it all blairsmummy..

I am also sure he thought of you - as I said, I know people from Iraq who were unable to contact their family in the UK for fifteen years because it just wasn't safe for them to do so. That lack of contact did not mean that they did not think of each other often, or love each other less.

I don't think people without an understanding of what Iraq is like, and was like, should judge. The cultural differences are massive, and the state controlled so much, that it is virtually impossible to appreciate just how difficult life in Iraq has been for many people, for many years.

You don't hunt down the leader of a country and execute him because he's been ruling well.....

Actually, I do have some experience of this. My DM's DF was a pilot, stationed in the UK who had my DM with my DGM. There was a war, things happen. However, my DM still feels strange not knowing her DF after 60+ years. Still feels a bit lost. I do wish people would think a bit more before making rash decisions about their children's future.

I'm glad you're happy blairsmummy. However, it could equally have gone the other way and he never managed to find you. I don't think I would have had DD knowing I wouldn't be there for her.

kaylasmum Wed 09-Jan-13 23:45:46

Thanks to everyone who has been supportive. We should have been more careful re contraception but I was young and naive. We did talk about me and the kids going to Iraq to live but thank goodness we did'nt, life would have been awful for us.

When our contact ceased I thought I was doing the right thing for my dcs. I know now that I made a huge mistake and I have to live with that for the rest of my life.

What I wanted from posting here was advice on my feelings towards my dcs father not condemnation for my decisions.

Hi, kaylasmum have you checked out the Relationships board on MN? AIBU is not a good choice for ambiguous, difficult issues with relationships...

Footface Wed 09-Jan-13 23:54:23

You did what you thought was the right thing at the time. You can never know if things would have been better/worse/ different if we make different choices.

What I'm trying to say us don't beat yourself up over things you can't change, you did then for the right reasons

blairsmummy Thu 10-Jan-13 09:11:21

CoolaSchmoola-Thank you so much for your informed and insightful input. You have hit the nail on the head in a way that i wasn't even able to! Maybe now people can understand the situation a little better.

Footface- Thank you also for your words, i hope they are reassuring for my mum. You are right, there is no point beating yourself up over things you can not change, the only thing to do is move forward and deal with each issue as it comes.

I definitely agree that the relationship forum would be better for this issue.

The bottom line is, mum and dad did meet, they had me and my brother, they loved each other very much, but sadly, because of the way our world is, they were ripped apart. Maybe if the world was not such a horrible place to live in, we could have lived happily ever after as a family. But then we wouldn't have my other siblings. Everything happens for a reason. And my mum can't have done that bad a job, look how bright and articulate i turned out grin

Kaylas I probably would have made the same choice in your shoes - both to stay and give my kids the opportunities in the UK and about contact.

You were the one dealing with upset children on a daily basis - I bet the contact unsettled them when they were young and as Coola rightly points out Iraq was/is a very different and difficult place. There was no way of knowing that the political situation would change when you were making your choices. You might the right decision at the time and your DC now have the opportunity to build a relationship with their father.

If you want to explore the feelings towards your DCs father then relationships is absolutely the place to do it.

I wish you well with the hard journey you're all going to go on. There was an article in the Guardian about getting back in contact. I'll dig it out. It might have links to support groups with this sort of experience.

blairsmummy Thu 10-Jan-13 10:27:15

Tea- Thank you that would be great. I am currently online reading the aforementioned Baghdad blog and talking to my father on facebook, talk about mind blowing! I have a huge family over there!

I sent it to Kaylas

I can't even begin to imagine a life in a country like Iraq - I guess there are lots of joyous personal moments in amongst a lot of suffering, for a lot of people over time.

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