To have left my dad's wedding without saying goodbye to him?

(123 Posts)
stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 22:17:50

My dad got married yesterday. My sister and I both went to support him, with our children. Total 20 guests. We both made an effort despite rarely seeing him, following an acrimonious (sp!) divorce from our mother when we were teenagers, and him still being with (one of) the woman he left her for.
Anyway, our kids were asked to bring up our wedding presents after the lunch (it was an 11-3 dry wedding).
My son (aged six) snatched the present we had brought from his sister (aged 4) resulting in it dropping on the floor. He immediately started crying, such is his response whenever he knows he has done wrong/ has to do something he doesn't want to (e.g homework). Also he was tired from an early start and long drive.
My dad asked if it could have broken, I said yes. There was a hushed silence (ugh) as he opened it, and yes it was broken. My son continued to cry and walked to me. I told him to leave the room and I would speak to him in a minute, that I was very cross with him.
My dad followed him from the room, and so I did too. (My dad hasn't seen him since last year - dad's choice not mine). My dad told me that my behaviour, in sending my son out of the room, was worse than my son's accidental breakage.
I felt this was grossly unfair as my dad doesn't know my son, hadn't actually acknowledged the gift, and had made me look very bad in front of his guests (who I don't know - his OW's family).
I hated walking back into the room to everyone looking at me, and my dad going to his now wife and speaking to her, then calling my son over and reassuring him that all was fine and not to worry. When my son returned to me (by choice! not summoned!) my dad walked over and told me that this was his day and I wasn't to upset my son again.
I went out and spoke to my sister, who reassured me that she'd have gone mental had her kids done that. I went in and thanked his wife and congratulated her and said goodbyes to a few people I'd been introduced to, I did not approach him, nor him me.
Was I out of order? Was he? He never sees my kid, I wasn't going to beat him ffs I was upset he'd broken the f'ing present! And that my dad didn't acknowledge said gift! I would have replaced it if it had been acknowledged, and if I hadn't been made to feel like a shit parent. My dad, fwiw, barely raised me thanks to his affairs, and when he did was critical and unpleasant. Yet still, the people pleaser set inside me, seeks his approval.
AIBU, and what do I do now? So sorry for the mammoth post.

CocktailQueen Sun 01-Sep-13 22:21:37

Yanbu. I would ave done the same with my son. Your dad was bu acting as he dd, ESP as he oesn't know your DS. Sounds v awkward. Hugs.

Spongingbobsunderpants Sun 01-Sep-13 22:23:36

I think your dad sounds quite horrid and controlling, I'm afraid. I know stress on a big day makes you do and say all sorts of things but he didn't handle it well. How was your relationship with him prior to the wedding? Was there any underlying tension that could have informed his reaction?

Pigsmummy Sun 01-Sep-13 22:24:36

Surely it was an accident your son didn't mean to break present?

Spongingbobsunderpants Sun 01-Sep-13 22:26:40

Sorry, I realise you have had a fractured relationship with him from your post, but what I meant to say was, was there anything said between you immediately prior to the day that could have got him to act like this? Or is he like this all the time?

EldritchCleavage Sun 01-Sep-13 22:27:01

Well, your father got to play the good guy and kind grandfather in front of his wedding guests, which I suspect is all that mattered to him. As for not saying goodbye, it's not polite but if'd you'd gone up to him, was there a high chance he'd have been off with you anyway? All in all, it sounds like a good thing you don't see him much.

Spongingbobsunderpants Sun 01-Sep-13 22:27:26

Pigs I think I would have been cross at the snatching thing though, not the broken present.

Whereisegg Sun 01-Sep-13 22:30:05

Maybe he felt that your son was embarrassed about dropping the gift, and the situation could have been more quietly dealt with in front of others.

I know that I don't know your son, but demanding your child leave the room (full of strangers) who, from what i understand, were all watching this gift giving, seems a little harsh.

You say he snatched, could he not have been excited to give a present?

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 22:32:13

Thanks for replies. No my son certainly didn't mean to break it - he just wanted to be the one to hand it over, so snatched it carelessly resulting in it dropping.
My dad and I have huge amounts of tension - ten years ago he refused to come to my wedding because my mother asked me not to let his OW attend (my old babysitter from when they were together - who he started a relationship with during their marriage). My dad wouldn't come alone. We have gone through years of not speaking, and for the last year have spoken fortnightly on the phone, but haven't seen each other, on the few times it's been arranged he has cancelled as he is germ phobic, and as I am a teacher with two young kids, we often have colds etc.
I don't know whether I should phone and pretend it never happened (almost certainly what he'd choose), or write a letter asking to be excused from his life! He makes it clear he doesn't like me, yet phones fortnightly and is angry when i don't want to speak for 30mins+. Last xmas I drove out to his with a hamper I'd made of his faves I remember from childhood, and I got a cup of tea and hurried out as my dd had a runny nose.

antimatter Sun 01-Sep-13 22:32:20

You clearly didn't like what he did in the past, you don't like his current behaviour (i.e. your comment that he doesn't see his grand kids) - why did you go to his wedding if you don't like him?

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 22:34:10

Eldritch that's exactly what i think he wanted.

And Whereisegg, I know, that's why I'm worried that IBU.

ChasedByBees Sun 01-Sep-13 22:34:19

YANBU but as to what to do - what do you want the outcome to be? I'm guessing he won't apologise (he'll probably wait for an apology). Would you be happy if it ends up drifting into no contact? He sounds like a waste of space so I'm loathe to suggest you make the peace.

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 22:34:54

Antimatter, because he's my dad and he asked me to.

frogspoon Sun 01-Sep-13 22:35:12

It was an accident, but at 6 he is old enough to know not to snatch, which led to the accident.

You acted in a very reasonable way in sending him from the room. You did not shout at him in public, nor did you hit him. He will have learnt that what he had done was wrong, even though it was an accident.

Also you did not upset him as he started crying anyway when he realised he had done wrong.

Your dad's behaviour was unreasonable, however I think that you were also a bit unreasonable and rude to leave without saying goodbye.

Just because he was rude and unreasonable, that doesn't excuse you to act the same. Next time rise above it.

Spongingbobsunderpants Sun 01-Sep-13 22:35:38

How do your children feel about him?

ChasedByBees Sun 01-Sep-13 22:37:10

Xposts. At this point though does it matter if you ABU? If you feel you were, apologise to your son. Your dad was BU and being very off with you - you don't owe an apology to him.

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 22:37:30

Thank you frogspoon, I just felt so hurt that my parenting was being judged so harshly, and that he had totally ignored my (ok broken) gift.

My kids like him, but tbf they like everyone!

Whereisegg Sun 01-Sep-13 22:40:06

I can't see why he should apologise?

He thought you dealt with a situation badly, said so, and asked that his wedding day was a calm/happy day.

He should apologise for being a pretty in/out dad, not coming to your wedding, but this?

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Sun 01-Sep-13 22:41:29

I think you were unreasonable to leave without speaking to your dad (basically flouncing) BUT I totally, totally understand why and I think you would have to have the patience of a saint to maintain reasonableness in that sort of situation.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Sun 01-Sep-13 22:44:05

I think you were maybe a little harsh on your DS, but I also agree with Eldritch that your dad seems to want to look like the big man and the benevolent dad/granddad in front of others. There's a touch of King Lear in the wanting the grandkids to make a big display of bringing presents to him. And he presumably still sees you as the child to be told off and corrected, not a parent in your own right.

Does having him in your life really enhance it? Sounds like a lot of hassle you could do without to me.

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 22:44:14

Yes Whereisegg that is exactly what he felt. I just wondered if others would think I did handle it badly, and what I should have done. Everyone was watching, my son was upset, and I chose to send him out. Maybe it was a bad call. What would you have done?

Whereisegg Sun 01-Sep-13 22:56:49

I just think (hope) I would have been a bit more sympathetic in that he was excited/nervous/embarrassed about approaching his little known grandad in front of staring strangers, as I imagine you were yourself.

He must have been bloody mortified when he dropped that present.

Look, I'm no bloody perfect mother at all, I shout, I mutter behind closed doors, I lock myself in the bathroom with a cup of tea frequently!

He was a shit dad to you, I get that, but in itself I don't see this as controlling or awful, I would have wanted to follow him out of the room too to let him know it was no big deal, an accident.

Clearly everyone thinks differently, so I may well be wrong.

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 23:03:14

Thanks, I just don't know. I've replayed it over and over and I just wish it had never bloody happened. Shit like that always seems to happen (i.e. I prove myself to be a bad person) whenever I am in my dad's presence, but it genuinely doesn't seem to happen anywhere else (and I see a lot of people!) I will talk to my son about it again in the morning, I think he knows I was angry about the snatching not the breaking, and I hope he doesn't feel that I deserted him in front of strangers when he was already really upset.

Whereisegg Sun 01-Sep-13 23:06:42

You are not a bad person op, and I am sorry if you feel I have implied this.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Sun 01-Sep-13 23:09:02

You're not a bad person. If your father has made you feel with his actions that you are, then he's definitely let you down.

Talk to your DS in the morning and put it all to rest. I suspect you overreacted (a little bit, IMO, after all 6 yos do drop things and get clumsy) to what your DS did because you are on edge about being perfect in front of your dad, perhaps? He doesn't come out of this sounding very nice to me - to say you had been a bit hard on your son would be one thing but the 'your behaviour was worse' sounds like him enjoying telling you off like a kid.

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 23:09:37

No you haven't, I appreciate all the answers I've had - I'm just dwelling on the incident and wondering what to do re contacting my bloody father.

EldritchCleavage Sun 01-Sep-13 23:10:06

If your father makes you feel that bad that regularly, then think carefully about how much you want to expose yourself to that. The relationship has to work for both of you, not just him.

Mitzyme Sun 01-Sep-13 23:10:19

You are definitely being unreasonable since you asked.
Your 6yr old little boy dropped the present. He was probably excited and your reaction compounded that. Sort out your issues with your father and don't take it out on your little boy.

SomewhereBeyondTheSea Sun 01-Sep-13 23:16:22

Your father was undermining your parenting. He sounds an unpleasant control freak. Do you actually get any enjoyment from your contact with him, or do you continue with it because you feel obliged?
Eldritch sounds spot-on. Think about what she's said.

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 23:17:25

Fair enough Mitzyme, do you think I should have done anything to make sure he understood snatching/breaking the present was unacceptable, or just have ignored the incident and comforted him? Fwiw, it cost about £50, and I wasn't thrilled about it, but do obviously feel it was handled badly.

SquidgyMummy Sun 01-Sep-13 23:17:51

^
what mitzyme said
you didn't need to send your son out of the room; it was an accident and you were way too heavy handed with him.
Your dad was right in saying the accidental breakaage was not as bad as sending him out of the room.

However, bigger picture, you had bad parenting from your father and now you are trying to justify what you did.

I think you need to apologise to your son for shaming him, and explain that you were flustered because it was your dad's wedding.

Whereisegg Sun 01-Sep-13 23:18:03

What Eldritch said.

Your relationship with your dad, doesn't have to be your children's relationship with their grandad.

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Sun 01-Sep-13 23:20:35

He dropped it because he snatched it Mitzy, which warrants being told off in my view! I imagine op perhaps compounded the situation because of her understandable stress.

Your Dad, Imo, has not earned the right either to parent you or have any say whatsoever in how you discipline your son. He has opted out of both of those roles. I would leave him to build the bridges, and concentrate on your lovely children. If your Dad doesn't put the effort in, then it's his loss.

SquidgyMummy Sun 01-Sep-13 23:21:18

Also, why would your Dad really thank you for a broken present in that scenario. He obviously has issues too, but neither of the adults here handled themselves that well, but to be honest i think your Dad was more concerned that your son was not unduly upset. (Which i think is a good thing.)

You wanted to please your Dad (but that is all about your unresolved issues with him.)

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Sun 01-Sep-13 23:23:16

How is snatching and breaking a fifty quid present not a telling-off offence for a 6 year old!? Am beginning to feel a bit sorry for my dcs, as they would definitely have felt the sharp end of my tongue if they'd done that!

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 23:26:27

Squidgy - I think if I had been in my dad's position I would have commented on the thoughtful gift and said not to worry to both my son and I. Instead I was the baddy, my son was innocent, and the present irrelevant. I'm on here because half of me agrees with mynameisnot (thank you!!!!) and half of me agrees with you. And thank you so much to egg and eldritch!

Whereisegg Sun 01-Sep-13 23:27:29

I wasn't suggesting that snatching and breaking a present wasn't worthy of a telling off, just that a nervous and excited child who, upon seeing what he has done bursts into tears, could probably have benefited from a quiet word away from all the strangers once he had calmed down, rather than ordering out in front of an audience, with a more serious chat at home.

SquidgyMummy Sun 01-Sep-13 23:29:05

How is snatching and breaking a fifty quid present not a telling-off offence for a 6 year old!?

the context: (from the OP)
He immediately started crying, such is his response whenever he knows he has done wrong/ has to do something he doesn't want to (e.g homework). Also he was tired from an early start and long drive.

The 6 yo acted thoughtlessly because he & his sister were asked to bring up the present and he wanted to be the one to give it to his grandad.

Whereisegg Sun 01-Sep-13 23:30:45

Perhaps your dad viewed this wedding as a new start for all of you, he may have been just as nervous as you, he may be sitting at home wondering why on earth he felt the need to get involved with your decision.

You won't know unless you talk to him.

His answers will let you know if you want to remain in contact or not.

SquidgyMummy Sun 01-Sep-13 23:36:12

OP, I don't mean to have a go at you, but because you (understandably) have a difficult relationship with your Dad, it appears you want everything he does to be wrong, but my opinion is that he actually did right by your son.

The wanting your present acknowledged sounds like the people pleasing part of you needing to be satisfied.

Your poor 6 year old son made a mistake, He shouldn't have snatched, but he didn't deliberately smash the gift to the ground.

wherisegg approach would have been best, but it is hard to think straight when emotions are running high. just make sure your son understands that snatching was wrong, but you were also wrong to shame him.

SquidgyMummy Sun 01-Sep-13 23:38:02

Also, I would write your Dad a letter.
Run it by the wisdom of Mumsnet if you are unsure. So often the wrong things can be said if not thought through

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Sun 01-Sep-13 23:38:07

I don't want to remain in contact, but that's because I don't much like him, the way he tries to control/talk down/embarrass me, or who he is.

However, he is my dad and the kid's grandad, and up until the present got snatched/broken, the day had been ok (bar the enormously inappropriate section of the sermon where the registrar went on about the two of them falling in love the first time they met, and detailing it, offensive to my sis and I given he was married to our mother and having an affair with someone else at the time). So I was probably pretty stressed, and handled it badly. A cuddle and a proper talk with my ds later would have been more appropriate. We did chat about it after and he was cool about it. He's a lovely kid.

So now I have to contact the twunt and be nice. Frankly it never needs to be mentioned again as we don't discuss things other than the weather...

I feel better for discussing it though, so much appreciated all who have replied.

Mitzyme Sun 01-Sep-13 23:38:23

My response was an instinctive ( protective ) one to your little boy. I didn't mean to sound harsh towards you. You have clearly not had the loving parenting from your father that you should have. Learn from that and like me don't repeat our parents mistakes.

SquidgyMummy Sun 01-Sep-13 23:42:12

Well you are not obliged to contact him unless your DCs want to see him and you are ok wth that.

Just glad your DS is ok. smile

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Sun 01-Sep-13 23:45:18

I don't see why you do have to contact him and be nice. Or to have any conversations with him at all, given that he tries to control you and put you down.

If you really feel you must, send him a card saying something like

'Dear dad, congratulations on your marriage and I hope you had a lovely wedding day. I know the present-giving moment didn't quite go to plan but DS and I are cool about that now so hope you are too. All the best, fu'

Then just leave it. Don't contact him, get on with your life.

Whereisegg Sun 01-Sep-13 23:46:38

You definitely do not have to contact him, actually.

He clearly stresses you out and is thoughtless (the dell in love at first sight bit is terribly unthinking of him!)

If he wants you or the children in his life, he will let you know and you can respond accordingly.

Whereisegg Sun 01-Sep-13 23:47:20

*fell

Viviennemary Sun 01-Sep-13 23:50:27

It was really unfortunate that the present broke but it did. But that's not the main reason for all this is it. You just have a difficult relationship with your Dad. So there's no point in dwelling on this one incident. I agree you have to move forward now and put this behind you and not to be still talking about the broken present and the upset it caused in five years time. Best forgotten IMHO.

volvocowgirl Sun 01-Sep-13 23:55:57

No you weren't unreasonable. I think you should just remove him from your life seeing as he makes you feel so bad. I also think you didn't overreact to your son from your description, but that it's probably one of those things where you had to be there to judge it fully. But you're doing he right thing by checking your son is okay about what happened. Please stop giving this man too much thought, he doesn't feel the need to be a good father to you, so why should he be able to judge your parenting.

Bogeyface Mon 02-Sep-13 00:07:23

I don't know whether I should phone and pretend it never happened (almost certainly what he'd choose), or write a letter asking to be excused from his life!

Nope, you do neither.

You either a) dont answer his calls at all and make it clear you are no longer having contact or b) write him a letter that tells him (not asks, tells) that you no longer wish to have any contact with him. If it would help, include your feelings about him putting his heart into his affairs instead of his children and about his utter selfishness over your wedding. If you are going NC you might as well get all your feelings out there.

Bogeyface Mon 02-Sep-13 00:08:12

he doesn't feel the need to be a good father to you, so why should he be able to judge your parenting.

If you do write to him, I suggest you put that in the letter.

daisychain01 Mon 02-Sep-13 05:22:12

F'up this sort of situation reminds me of the maxim "you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family"! And also that if something is going to go wrong it tends to happen at weddings!

Firstly, if you can, may I suggest you try to put the whole sorry story behind you, don't give yourself a hard time, what is done is done. The most damaging thing to do is to continue to replay the event over and over, it will just become increasingly painful and uncomfortable for you.

I can imagine that after the history with your father, you had probably gone to the wedding as a way of putting the past to one side and being there as your DFs daughter to share his day. I can also imagine it was quite an effort! I actually admire you being the big person by so doing. A lot of people would have said "why should I bother?" But you did the right thing. One thing you will be able to do, when all the crap stuff is in the dim and distant past, is to say you did the right thing.

Let's face it, your father is unlikely to change, he isnt going to be the type of person you would wish for, but he is still your father, that wont change. You could just ring him up after he and his new wife have returned from honeymoon, for a general "how was the honeymoon?" type of chat and say (again casually, not make a big thing about it) sorry about the present, DS just got a bit over-excited, I'd be happy to replace the gift as we want you to have something nice to remember your day, blah blah blah. Just keep it very light, not getting into the detail of a post mortem of what happened done. This might diffuse the situation, it puts a lid on it and just enables you and your father to move forward. The alternative is to ring him up and just not mention it, but my concern is that it could just fester in the future and then becomes increasingly difficult to clear the air.

Lets face it, you probably wont get any big apology from him, he probably feels he is in the right. What you know is that the truth of the matter is it wont change anything, even if he doesnt realise that - people can behave in weird ways in an embarrassing situation, and there is rarely a clear cut right or wrong, it was just a really uncomfortable situation on that day, and the sooner you can move on from it, the better IMO!

pigletmania Mon 02-Sep-13 08:06:28

YANBU I would not contact him again, he does not sound nice at all

pigletmania Mon 02-Sep-13 08:10:51

have his number saved in your phone, so when he calls and you know its him you dont answer, hopefully eventually he will give up

ChasedByBees Mon 02-Sep-13 09:16:29

Please don't feel you have to keep in contact with him. You really don't.

PigOnStilts Mon 02-Sep-13 09:25:19

I have a similar relationship with mine too sad and yes I still seek approval from the old bastard.

However, you should be more concerned about what your son thinks and feels. It was an accident, he's six, and he would have already been embarrassed in front of anybody, you didn't need to make that worse! I'd have left the room with him, had a chat, calmed him down and brought him back in to say sorry.

PicardyThird Mon 02-Sep-13 10:28:43

You were too harsh on your ds. He's only 6. It was an accident and he must have felt awful dropping the present in front of all those expectant people. Sending him from the room (humiliating) and (effectively) saying you'd 'deal with him later' was horrible, tbh.

That, though, is a separate issue from your father. I think there is too much history and hurt between you for an issue like this not to be made into an issue between the two of you - I don't say that against you, but rather to perhaps gently suggest that you consider whether this is a relationship you actually want to pursue.

coco27 Mon 02-Sep-13 10:35:58

YABU
Your dad quite reasonably didn't want unpleasantness on his wedding day.Any decent child would have been in pieces over breaking the gift (which your DS was) He doesn't need further 'discipline' and more importantly you can't just go wrecking the atmosphere at someone else's celebration

coco27 Mon 02-Sep-13 10:36:41

The history with your father is a separate issue.

LouiseAderyn Mon 02-Sep-13 11:01:01

I really struggle to understand why so many people persist in pursuing relationships with people who contribute nothing positive to their lives.

Your dad was a shitty husband and a shitty father - I honestly cannot get my head around why you agreed to attend this wedding in the first place, when he was marrying the woman he cheated on your mother with, and when he had refused to attend your wedding. All the way along, he has made it clear that OW is his priority and you are bottom of the pile - the insensitive comments about love at first sight hammer this home.

Stop worrying about what he wants or how he feels - he clearly gives no thought to what you want or feel. Cut your losses - I guarantee you will be happier.

As for the wedding, I think you responded in the way you did because you were stressed. I would be inclined to write my dad a letter saying that he has no right to an opinion given that he was and still is such a terrible parent and that you would like no further contact because he is a negative force in your life. That would be my approach anyway - life is too short to spend it trying to please selfish wankers!

LouiseAderyn Mon 02-Sep-13 11:05:10

And actually, if anyone does deserve to have the atmosphere wrecked at their celebration, it is your father and his new wife - theirs is a marriage built on the betrayal of his family. I don't think that everyone deserves a lovely happy wedding, no matter how they got together in the first place. I think some people deserve a train wreck wedding where they are forced to confront the truth of what they did and who they hurt.

I think that dressing it up like they are Romeo and Juliet is beyond insulting and if that had been my dad, I would have walked out mid ceremony.

whatever5 Mon 02-Sep-13 11:49:44

I think that you were too harsh with your son but it's understandable under the circumstances and your father had no right to "tell you off" about it considering that he's not been much of a father to you.

I would have really bitten his head off if he had told me that it was "his day and you weren't to upset your son". What a nerve! He didn't even worry about not spoiling "your day " when he decided not to attend your wedding.

He sounds very self centered.

coco27 Mon 02-Sep-13 11:56:05

If you don't agree with the wedding then don't go.
It is just plain bad manners to create a bad atmosphereon someone's special day

MammaTJ Mon 02-Sep-13 12:00:06

Sounds like my Dad. One one of his rare visits, he told me off for making my DD say 'ta' for a biscuit and taking it off her when she wouldn't. She was 18 months old and he had seen her once before.

I no longer speak to him, I haven't for 10 years now, such a relief.

VenusRising Mon 02-Sep-13 12:06:56

I wouldn't worry about it.

Give your DS a hug, and get on with your life. Accidents happen, no doubt your DS picked up on your nervousness and was nervous himself.

Sounds like your dad was bigging himself up by putting you down and trying to manipulate your family unit.
Underming your parenting with an audience and trying, unsuccessfully to drive a wedge between you and your DS is pretty classic.

Don't bother with your dad, he sounds very self centred and a bit toxic.

You're probably better off without him in your life. I wouldn't take it personally- he would have done the same if another person had presented him with the opportunity.

ceebie Mon 02-Sep-13 14:29:24

Honey, the thing that I am picking up most from all of this is that you are torn internally between not liking your dad and not particularly wanting contact with him, but at the same time yearning for his approval. I think you are feeling a little hurt because neither your parenting nor your present seemed to meet with his approval. I could be very wrong of course. YOU know you are parenting well, so please remember that - your sister was supportive to you too, of course! Don't worry if, in retrospect, you could have dealt with the DS snatching incident slightly more serenely - none of us deals perfectly with every incident all the time, particularly in stressful circumstances! Never mind, you know you are doing a great job, so don't fret.

ceebie Mon 02-Sep-13 14:33:08

PS If you choose to keep in contact with him, then do so whilst investing less of your own effort and emotions in him. The hamper you made is such a thoughtful gift, and a more worthwhile recipient would have been hugely touched and grateful. Next year buy him a CD of whatever's the top of the charts, even if he doesn't have a CD player. Then it won't matter if he's ungrateful.

cjel Mon 02-Sep-13 14:40:52

My first thought was why did he have to open it if it could have been broken and ds was already crying?

tangerinefeathers Mon 02-Sep-13 14:41:14

Shit like that always seems to happen (i.e. I prove myself to be a bad person) whenever I am in my dad's presence, but it genuinely doesn't seem to happen anywhere else

as others have said you were clearly stressed at being around such a difficult person - he does sound difficult, and that's being generous, given how he betrayed you all, and got overly stressed out about your child's behaviour. Your DS would have picked up on the atmosphere as kids do and snatched the present... I really hope you stop going over it in your mind soon and remember that to turn up at all to such a wedding is a pretty generous gesture on your part and for him to turn around and tick you off about your parenting (one moment of your parenting) is a bit rich.

he sounds awful.

Xales Mon 02-Sep-13 15:00:40

Your dad is a hypocrite thinking he has any say over how you raise or discipline your child as he couldn't be bothered with you and having not seen your DS in over a year has no close relationship.

You may have over reacted slightly however you didn't scream and shout at your DS or smack him around and I doubt you were going out of the room to hit him either.

Unfortunately I think no matter which option you had taken at that moment it would have been the wrong one for your father to use against you and make you look bad.

I would consider just not contacting him again, not returning calls and cutting him out of your life. He doesn't seem to provide any benefit to it.

thebody Mon 02-Sep-13 15:10:42

the relationship between you and your dad is not the relationship between you and your ds.

you are clearly a great mom who made a judgement call, some day harsh some not. so what. we all do things we regret as parents. it was a little incident.

your dad on the other hand made colossal mistakes in parenting and in marriage. he has got a bloody cheek to judge you.

you do know your ds has probably forgotten the incident don't you?

Pinkpinot Mon 02-Sep-13 15:22:37

I would have comforted the child, and not made him feel worse about an accident
I do think sending him out if the room in front of those people was harsh
My son would have been mortified

differentnameforthis Mon 02-Sep-13 15:52:58

Antimatter, because he's my dad and he asked me to

You choose to go, regardless of what has happened in your past, don't blame that on your dad. You could have said no. Perhaps you should have said no.

Don't be a martyr, op! It doesn't help anyone. Do you always do as people ask you? You even compromised on having him at your wedding because your mum said so (there is NO reason why grown adults, when divorced, can't suck it up for one day & be in the same room. It was unreasonable for your mother to put conditions on YOUR day!

I would have been angry wrt to the breakage, but would have dealt with it out of earshot of the other guest so not to bring attention to myself on someone else's day.

or write a letter asking to be excused from his life! What. The. Fuck? Why can't you just say it isn't working? You ARE still seeking his approval & you need to stop (I have been in this position, so I am not saying it is easy) but you are also still seeking your dm's approval too.

When did you last stand up to either of them & say no, or do what YOU wanted instead of what they wanted you to do?

So now I have to contact the twunt and be nice No you don't, not if you don't want to. OP, you are an adult now & don't have to suffer his crap if you don't want to.

daisychain01 Mon 02-Sep-13 16:46:18

It probably isn't a good thing to completely cut a parent out of one's life -

It is frequently the case that offspring seek 'approval' from their parents, which can often be sourced to the parent being extraordinarily controlling and domineering. Agreed, some of the father's behaviour described by the OP sounds remarkably insensitive, but if doors are closed with no way back, that may not be the best long-term solution.

Given that there is a grandchild involved in this situation, it may be in the best interests of that child for the OP to maintain some sort of 'arms-length' relationship, if only to give the child the option as they grow up whether they want a relationship with Grandad.

Despite the history, maybe the step Grandmother could prove to be a positive influence in terms of making the Grandad more aware of his behaviour. Staying open to future possibilities, whilst getting on with your life, might be a more considered approach.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Mon 02-Sep-13 20:34:08

But if the parent is 'extraordinarily controlling and domineering', what are the benefits of someone continuing to subject themselves to that? Or to offering the same experience to their children? How is that in the child's best interests?

differentnameforthis Mon 02-Sep-13 23:55:20

It probably isn't a good thing to completely cut a parent out of one's life

Why? If this were ops friend, would she put up with it? It is no different just because it is a relative.

SunshineMMum Tue 03-Sep-13 10:08:22

YANBU I think that sometimes, when there are a lot of hurts, something like the incident is just the straw that breaks the camel's back.

EldritchCleavage Tue 03-Sep-13 11:34:46

Bear in mind your father might have told you off however you had handled your DS. Because that is what your father is like and that is how he chooses to treat you. Don't torture yourself thinking if you had got it 'right' he would have been ok with you. I'm not sure that's the case at all.

kali110 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:04:45

If you dont want to stay in contact with your dad op dont. Does sound like your dad still thinks of you as his child.
Btw i dont think you did anything wrong with your son. He did something he knew was wrong and you took him out of the situation.

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Tue 03-Sep-13 14:40:54

Thanks again for all of the support and feedback, it really has been invaluable. I know it's not healthy but I really have been dwelling on this and what to do next. My ds is happy as ever btw, not bothered one iota, although if asked I'm sure he'd remember and I am also sure he is less likely to snatch a present if presented with the same circumstance!

So my dcs got a card from my dad today. It reads:

Dear Grandchildren,
Thank you for coming to our wedding. Everybody enjoyed meeting you and said how good you were and interesting to talk to. Thank you for the wedding favours you made for the other guests. Don't worry about the little broken present. Looking forward to seeing you again soon. Come to our house, and we'll visit you soon. We will speak on the phone every week.
Love GD.

There is also a note for me.

Dear FU

The GC must not worry about the broken present. What is important is their enthusiasm and generous spirits.

Thank you for helping to make our wedding day a success. Thanks for the idea of having the kids prepare boxes of sweets for everyone. We love having the children feel that they are special and an essential part of family events.

Love GD.

So all of my feelings are raw again and I am not sure what to make of it all. I didn't expect the present to be acknowledged or comments on my parenting. I am very upset, and about to get the kids from school. He has met my kids about two or three times a year maximum for one or two hours (not at all this year), by his choice. He does phone regularly. Everytime he sees me he makes me feel like shit, and he often achieves this on the phone too. What he says, and what he does, are so different. He completely messed up my mum through manipulative, controlling behaviour (and cheating etc obv), and I think he might be doing it to me, or maybe I'm paranoid. But he obviously wants to see and speak to my dcs. I just don't understand what he wants - I guess to see the children occasionally and speak at us regularly. My sister find his behaviour just as upsetting and challenging, despite her being the blatent favourite growing up lol, ain't no favourites now!!!

It's impossible to cut him off, I need to facilitate his relationship with my dcs don't I?

SunshineMMum Tue 03-Sep-13 16:03:38

Wow is it possible that he wants to make up for his bad parenting by being a better Grandparent? That is quite an affirmation about how lovely your children are and sounds like he thinks that they are a real credit to you.

Davsmum Tue 03-Sep-13 16:15:40

I think your Dad's notes are lovely. He may regret the way he spoke to you?
You have 'issues' with your Dad and this will obviously affect they way you felt over the incident at the wedding.
Sounds to me he didn't want his Grandson to be upset over what happened and tbh I don't think what he said to you was that bad! Dads will say things like that - but the problem for you is you don't think he is entitled to because he was absent from your life. He was not saying you were a shit parent! Its about the incident - not all your parenting skills!

It would be nice to encourage your children to have a relationship with your Dad - sometimes crap parents make excellent grandparents!

Pinkpinot Tue 03-Sep-13 16:25:16

They are really lovely notes

pigletmania Tue 03-Sep-13 16:40:41

Wow that is different, they are lovely notes. I would give it another chance and if it turns bad again not to contact

ChasedByBees Tue 03-Sep-13 17:45:26

The notes are nice, but you don't have to continue a relationship you find upsetting or damaging. It isn't impossible if its what you want.

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Tue 03-Sep-13 20:10:33

Thing is, the notes are lovely, but he chooses to never see the kids! And when he does, he literally picks them up for a photo to be taken and then shoos them away. He doesn't speak to them! He says he will never babysit/have them to stay (I havent asked - he told my sis re her kids, it's never come up with us), when we go there he speaks at me and ignores them and criticises me if they interuppt us.

Oh God I could go on all day. It's boring and I probably sound like I'm making excuses. They are nice notes, but to me they are false promises and fake thanks. Genuinely feel like I'm going nuts over this. I get on great with my in laws, mother/sis, friends... He turns me into a paranoid wreck.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Tue 03-Sep-13 20:32:45

You are not going nuts OP. I get it, really I do.

Words are a lot easier than actions. I notice the tone of command that comes up a lot in his language 'The GC must not...' 'We will speak on the phone every week..' It has the ring of someone who knows the right thing to say, and who can perform when required, but isn't interested in a) things that aren't done exactly his way, and b) the hard graft of dealing with kids, which is, let's face it, most of it.

In terms of what he wants, I think he wants control. I think he wants to have exactly the kind of relationship he wants with you (putting you down, treating you like a child) and with your DC (benevolent granddad who saves them from harsh mummy but doesn't have to make tough decisions or put in much effort).

However, he doesn't automatically just get to have what he wants. The fact is, you are an adult now and you are in charge of your own family here. When you say 'It's impossible to cut him off, I need to facilitate his relationship with my dcs don't I?' you really don't if you don't want to and it makes you unhappy.Think about that carefully. Just because your dad wants it to happen, doesn't mean it has to happen.

I would just take no action for the time being while you process all this. Don't reply to the card, don't phone, don't suggest any contact to either him or the DCs. If he does ring, talk to him neutrally and if he starts putting you down, immediately give a reason why you have to go - you nee to get something out of the oven, the doorbell's ringing, whatever - and just say goodbye and immediately put the phone down. If you don't want to make any big decisions yet, protect yourself in the meantime.

Doha Tue 03-Sep-13 20:45:21

I think the note to you is a deliberate mind fuck..

birdofthenorth Tue 03-Sep-13 20:54:05

Yanbu. Suspect your dad was playing to the gallery. I think you did pretty well to bid farewell to his wife etc before departure tbh and without slamming a door

daisychain01 Tue 03-Sep-13 21:37:07

Why not just hold fire on making any specific decision on what to do next. So keep the door ajar. Maybe take no action and see how things pan out and whether he makes some inroads and attempt to reconnect with his DGCs. Time can be a useful tool! It will show if he means what he says.

Rather than dismiss his cards as mind games. If you dont allow him to play games with your feelings , he cant. If you keep a check on any expectations, then it will ensure you wont be disappointed.

SeaSickSal Tue 03-Sep-13 21:49:33

I think the notes are nice and I wouldn't really listen to the people telling you they're unpleasant. I think that when you put something like this on a forum people will give you advice which reflects their own axes which they wish to grind rather than what is best for you.

It sounds like it was a very tense occasion and you were trying to do your best for everyone and some of the tension spilled over.

I think the notes are attempting to build bridges and are meant to be kind.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Tue 03-Sep-13 21:56:28

I am one of the cynical people about the OP's dad's motives but I think daisychain's advice above is well pitched. Stand back and do nothing before anything more drastic if you feel unsure, and see how he lives up to his statements.

AgentZigzag Tue 03-Sep-13 22:11:34

Did your Dad compose the notes himself do you think fukk? If he's never shown any ounce of thoughtfulness in his life.

Or could they be more down to his new wife?

I'm probably more prickly than other posters because I think he's still trying to tell you what to fucking do with the 'The GC must not worry about the broken present.', or in other words 'You will do as I say and let the matter drop (so to speak), and I've told the DGC the same so they know to challenge it if you try to disobey me'.

What is it about him that you think your DC will benefit from?

Not the undermining of you in front of them I presume? Or the betrayal, lack of trust, exclusion, or guilting you into being at his beck and call?

Can't understand it myself, sorry for it being your dad OP, but he sounds like a total wankstain.

Davsmum Wed 04-Sep-13 10:30:11

Some of you are making this man sound likes some sort of monster. The OP ( understandably) has issues with her Dad and feelings of hurt from his past behaviour.
Isn't it time you sat down with your Dad and had a talk and say how you feel?
You assume he said something via your sister?
There must be many grandparents who have little time or patience with grandkids.
My parents would have criticised me too if my kids interrupt when we were talking. Older generations tended not to allow that!

You don't have to see your Dad - you don't have to let your kids see him if you don't want to - but he is their Grandad and he may eventually have a different relationship with them than he did with you.
Just see how it goes and don't look for problems every time he says and does something. Perhaps you read too much into every action from him.
Parents are not perfect.. They have personalities - they can be critical and controlling and overbearing - The problem is you do not have the sort of bond with him that can let you override or tolerate that in him.

Just be honest with him and tel him when you feel affected by him.

cjel Wed 04-Sep-13 11:32:56

I didn't read anything lovely in those cards, I found them creepy and not the sort of wording my caring dad would have madex

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Wed 04-Sep-13 11:48:42

My Dad can be a little bit controlling and nit-picky of the kids, but he also has them overnight, picks them up from school, cooks them tea regularly and sits chatting to them for hours. Ie he puts his money where he is mouth is in terms of having a relationship with them (an indeed with me!) Your Dad has not earned the right to take that tone with you or your kids. He sounds like he is repeating the patterns of behaviour that hurt you as a child, and hurt your Mum.

I wonder if it might help to talk it through with some kind of counsellor? Might just help to clarify some of the patterns of family behaviour in your own head, and work out a way of moving forward that works for you and your dcs. What your Dad wants is not important here, he burned those particular bridges many long years ago imo.

Davsmum Wed 04-Sep-13 13:03:36

For goodness sake there is nothing 'creepy' in those notes!

If everyone who had a Dad like that cut them out of their lives there would be loads of kids who never saw their grandad!

Not every grandparent is a lovely cuddly, kind, demonstrative teddy bear! They are who they are but if you think they are so horrible then you can distance yourself from them.

Far worse things are said in done in my family without anyone feeling that the person is trying to control them.
Its different personalities, different generations.
You put up with what you are prepared to put up with - You can't 'change' people but you can be honest with them about how you feel.

Your Dad can't know how upset you are unless you tell him - He can't guess!

Stellarpunk Wed 04-Sep-13 13:19:45

I think that there are a lot of people on this thread who haven't the first idea (probably quite understandably) about narc parents or why emotionally abused kids go NC.

FWIW I didn't understand it either and it took me ten years to 'get it' with my DH and his relationship to my MIL. I think the idea that abused kids can simply 'sit down and talk it out' with said parent is IMO a bit naive. But understandably so if you have no personal experience yourself.

OP - I would suggest rather than talk to him, spend a couple of hours talking it through with a professional, this may help you get your own thoughts in order - then you can decide what needs to be done.

Stellarpunk Wed 04-Sep-13 13:20:44

Oh and the notes are controlling... but well written and carefully considered. I would be cautious.

cjel Wed 04-Sep-13 14:23:42

didn't say notes were creepy 'for goodness sake' said I found notes creepy and not like my dad would write!!
Davsmum. As you say you're family says worse. doesn't mean I have to like it or that it is good and right.

Davsmum Wed 04-Sep-13 15:14:35

Stellarpunk - I agree that talking to a professional would be helpful if you are unable to talk to a parent.

I still cannot see any 'controlling' in those notes. It looks like he was trying to be polite without being 'over the top' gushy - perhaps due to knowing they have a 'strained' relationship.
Had the note been from a Dad you were very close to - I would have thought it a bit formal and cold - but under the circumstances of the relationship it seems to be an attempt to 'make an effort'
I think its possible to read far too much into things - and if you look for something you will certainly find it.

Retroformica Wed 04-Sep-13 15:16:12

As long as you were fair and calm telling son to go out, I can't see the problem.

I probably would let him contact you.

coco27 Wed 04-Sep-13 16:02:45

your dad sounds lovely, both at the wedding and in his notes.
if the only thing you have against him is having affairs when you were smallmaybe it is time to move on?

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Wed 04-Sep-13 16:18:50

hmm

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Wed 04-Sep-13 16:20:26

coco27 what about the fact he 'makes her feel like shit' every time they speak in person or on the phone? Does that count as something she can 'have against him'? hmm

Stellarpunk you're spot on when you say there are a lot of people who just don't get this because they have never seen it in action. I am glad to say that my own dad has never been like this but I have seen it now on the, let's say, other side of the family. And I can absolutely see echoes of that in what is going on here.

Stellarpunk Wed 04-Sep-13 17:46:00

thanks snazzy. smile It took me a long time to see it myself. I was forever nagging him to 'ring his mum', 'to make and effort', 'dont the kids deserve a gran?' etc etc. it was only when i went through a severe crisis last year that I saw her finally for what she is, a manipulating coward who is completely out of touch with reality.

The narc/abuser parents mindset is essentially totally different to a 'normal' parenting reaction. Difficult to see in detail - but gather your evidence and look at the bigger picture.

OP - how does your Dad make you feel? That's the key i feel here.

Davsmum Wed 04-Sep-13 17:56:14

People cannot 'make you feel shit' You are responsible for your own feelings if you are an adult. You cannot 'blame' other people for how you feel.
If you feel that way then you have to work through it.

As for not getting it - I DO get it! I had a mother who was manipulative and controlling and who had a drink problem! I experienced it direct and not through someone else's experience. I don't hold my mother responsible for how I feel now. Its something you have to deal with.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Wed 04-Sep-13 18:06:31

So how do you deal with your mother now, Davs? Is she still on the scene?

charitygirl Wed 04-Sep-13 18:15:55

Fuck your dad, he sounds awful. By his actions shall you know him. And you do.

20wkbaby Wed 04-Sep-13 18:16:38

I think you were a bit harsh to send him out of the room. If he was crying because he knew he had done wrong a look would have been enough to let him know you weren't happy. You could have apologised for the broken present then taken your son aside afterwards.

That said I hate when I'm feeling flustered over something like this for someone else to make a fuss and make me feel embarassed. If he was so worried about having a nice calm wedding why come over all grumpy. All he had to say was, 'Don't worry no harm done!' and let you get on with it.

These kind of situations where a lot of little irritations compound each other happen quite often in my family and result in a lot of speaking through gritted teeth etc. The thing is they blow up out of nowhere because they are something and nothing.

I think tbh you may be feeling it more because of your history with your Dad.

Davsmum Wed 04-Sep-13 18:53:12

Snazzyenjoyingsummer

No,..she is dead now.

Firstly,.. I must apologise if my last post sounded harsh - of course if someone is physically attacking you and you feel scared - they would be the cause of that. I was meaning that if you feel bad or like shit, when someone is harsh with you - its not their fault. The way you feel is down to how you think about yourself and your own insecurities- and yes, they may have started this when you were a child but you cannot go on blaming someone for how you feel now, as an adult.

Its not easy to deal with this on your own but you can learn to change the way you feel.
People are who they are - and some people may be controlling. They have no idea that someone feels shit because of what they have said or done.
You can either take steps to deal with it - or 'heal' it or you can make a decision to cut these people out of your life.
I learned that my mother had her own issues. She did love me, She didn't intentionally try to hurt me, She was a damaged human being. It was impossible to talk to her because she would attack you verbally in a cruel way but I never stopped making the effort.
However I felt about her - I knew for sure she felt a whole lot worse about herself.

cjel Wed 04-Sep-13 19:39:59

Davsmum - that's a bit simplistic and not realistic, of course if someone is calling you names and being verbally aggressive or nasty you will be upset. It is their fault just as much as if their punch hurt you. I agree that it is not good to carry things from childhood but no one likes to be spoken to badly and criticised. It does make us feel bad and is definitely their fault for saying it.

The same is true if we are praised we feel good. our feelings are affected by those around us.
In your case it is right you don't carry the hurt from childhood, but if you were called fat, a horrid cruel mother it would hurt. Yes you can train yourself to shrug off the hurt but that doesn't mean they haven't caused it.
People are built to have relationships with others and that includes being affected by those relationships.

Stellarpunk Wed 04-Sep-13 20:02:31

Hmm but the point I'm making is that the behaviour of the parent to the child has conditioned the child to have a specific set of responses to certain scenarios/triggers.

But to reiterate; the behaviours of the parent to the now adult child have not changed, or seemingly not changed in the op's instance. Thus, they (i.e. parent and the child reaction) fall back into the standard rote behaviours.

I think that's why NC is so effective for the abused - they are literally taking the power back in a way which doesn't leave them vulnerable to further abuse. Of course, it flies in the face of convention - i.e. that two adults sit down and work it out.

Honest question; is it possible for people with personality disorders to have insight into their condition?

AgentZigzag Wed 04-Sep-13 21:08:18

Agree with your post to Davsmum, cjel, it's great to have the ability to protect yourself and take control of situations with these kinds of people, but that doesn't excuse them from saying whatever they like.

And you can't assume everyone is able to buy in to the belief they're not to blame for how the other person's behaving, some never can and others half believe in themselves but still can't shake of that crushing guilt.

Especially when you've been brainwashed (as most children are whatever their homelife) that what they've experienced is the norm (as Stellarpunk said).

Davsmum Thu 05-Sep-13 11:17:10

cjel

THEIR behaviour if their fault of course, it is and I would never excuse someone for their unacceptable behaviour- but your own reaction or feelings are down to you.
If I was called a fat, horrid, cruel mother as you suggest,- it would not hurt me! I know I am none of those things - They are just words from someone else!
I was not talking about training yourself to shrug off any hurt - I think its important to understand and recognise why you feel hurt and learn to deal with that - certainly not 'shrug it off'
I think as adults we have a responsibility to sort out ourselves so we do not in turn create the same problems with our own children. You cannot change other people - you can only change yourself.

Of course, you can always cut problem people from your life if you want or need to - but you have to be mindful that whatever issues you had with them are still there inside you.

daisychain01 Thu 05-Sep-13 12:38:48

I concur with davsmum advice. Very sound!. Also it is a good idea to have some independent counselling, which might include cognitive behavioural therapy. CBT is great for recasting one's perceptions of situations and enabling you to handle relationships so that they don't damage you. It gives you choices and makes you feel empowered because you don't have to be the victim of someone else's behaviour eg being left feeling like crap when you come off the phone.

The interesting thing I found was that a change in one's interactions with the person by being strong, assertive not aggressive, being prepared to stand your ground can really drive them to be more respectful towards you. They notice the change and it makes them have to alter. I am talking from personal experience. I will admit, for one relationship I was struggling with, it worked very well, but for another the relationship did still fall apart, but that was because the other person decided they wanted no more and chose to walk away. I don't feel bitterness for that, it was actually the right thing to do, in retrospect.

The nett effect can be that you preserve the relationship rather than closing the door on it.

I still maintain that there are alternatives to closing off a parent from your life. It could involve a lit of regret later, but then each relationship is individual At least its worth a try, surely.

daisychain01 Thu 05-Sep-13 12:47:34

Agentzigzag saying most children are brainwashed is extreme. But maybe it reflects your own experience. I don't see educating, guiding, nurturing children as brainwashing. My DS formed opinions of his own from a young age which we have discussed over many a teatime and those views have been a blend of his own thoughts as well as from sources including his family. Apologies if its off topic, but I was taken aback when I read that!

Davsmum Thu 05-Sep-13 15:42:48

I get what Agentzigzag meant by 'brainwash' Its not really brainwashing in the extreme sense but whether we are aware of it or not, some opinions or views of our parents are pushed onto us and we do the same to our children. Even if we encourage them to have their own views - I think they can sense our 'disapproval' or 'disappointment'

Of course as we grow and become independent we will change our views but I think often some of what we learn from our parents stays in a 'brainwashed' type of way. Perhaps 'conditioning' is a way of saying it?

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Thu 05-Sep-13 20:20:42

Thank you again for comments and feedback - it has comforted me to know that opinions are split, I am not alone in being suspicious of my day's behaviour and card/note. This is huge to me. I don't know how to describe his control over me - I am acutely aware of his disapproval, and become jumpy and accident prone when he is around, I am keen to tell him of achievements but they are never good enough - my pride is always followed by a fall. I recognised how unhealthy this was, and following my wedding when he did not attend, did not speak to him for about five years. When I became pregnant I got in touch, and we stayed in touch. He demands the lengthy weekly phonecalls, and if I say I need to go and hang up (pointedly after saying it five times, but not rudely) he calls back incessantly letting it ring through until I answer. Then he acts like it never happened and keeps talking. My kids have eight grandparents (thanks to divorce and adoption), seven aunts/uncles, and a bunch of cousins, if we spoke to them all for an hour a week, plus school/work/homework/clubs/play dates, I would never have quiet time with my kids. This is an example of my poor time management and selfishness apparently.

Anyway, thanks all for the food for thought. CBT is worth considering, as is a return to counselling, as is simply trying to be firmer and more thick skinned. Cutting him off will make him more determined to drive a wedge between my kids and I (as he did between me and my sis and our mum in our teens), and that is the last thing I want. Feeling more clarity and strength from your words, now to make a plan to make contact... Might wait a week!

ChasedByBees Thu 05-Sep-13 20:29:54

That phone thing is really weird. Really really weird. It seems designed to say what he wants is far more important than what you want/need.

He will not have any power when it comes to coming between you and your children. As a parent, it would have been hard for your mum as he is meant to be equal in a sense. He's now one generation removed. None of you have to see him if you decide that.

You could improve your time management skills if he feels you have such a problem - tell him you only have 20 minute to speak as you have to go out / whatever. Draw the conversation to a close at around 17 minutes and if he's not ending at 20 minute - "right I really do have to go, speak soon!" Hang up and unplug the phone. He should not dictate when and for how long you have to speak.

Do you think he would describe that as selfish? (It's not BTW)

AgentZigzag Fri 06-Sep-13 18:18:59

I've just had a look at the difference between brainwashing and conditioning, and it's subtle grin

Brainwashing is an about turn in the way the person thought before, I suppose I was using that word because I was talking about the negative side of manipulation when someone's brought up a child and still using the same techniques to control them as an adult.

I agree that how you were treated as a child isn't an excuse for crappy behaviour as an adult, but because it's the same person (both being treated like that and the person doing it) it's hard to tease them apart.

Also agree the phone thing is weird. If you think about a phone call, you can put the phone down at any time, so being compelled to keep talking when you're feeling so uncomfortable means something must be going on. And I don't see it as a weakness not to have found the recipe for fending them off.

What's stopped you from saying you're going and then switching it off/ignoring it OP?

The fact he's left you feeling you're the one who's selfish just shows how effective these techniques are, and how practiced they are in them.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Fri 06-Sep-13 21:03:40

The phone thing is bullying. Don't give in. Follow ChasedByBees's advice. Tell him you have 15 or 20 minutes and then you will have to go, at that time say goodbye and hang up, then immediately unplug the phone. You may have to leave it that way for an hour or two depending on how persistent he is. Also put your mobile on silent so that if he rings that, you don't have to listen to it but can see that it's him ringing and no-one else.

If/when he challenges you about this, do broken record and repeat that you had said to him you would need to go after 20 mins. If he starts down the 'you are selfish' route, tell him you are not interested in personal criticism and you will be leaving/hanging up if he can't be pleasant. And do it.

I'm aware it's all easier said than done. But it can be done. You might actually feel quite exhilarated to see that you can do this, you can take the power back.

stopthebusiwanttogetoff Wed 11-Sep-13 22:46:23

God sorry I only just saw these replies. I have been thinking about all the stuff going on with dh and I (newly separated) and hadn't seen. My emotions are a joke right now - basket case doesn't come close.

Thanks so much, so nice to have some concrete ideas to try to improve my relationship with my dad, and enable a relationship between him and the dcs without me going nuts.

I haven't had the energy to contact him yet but I will, I feel guilty about having ignored him for so long, but I really ain't in a good place right now.

Anyway, thanks and sorry.

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