To think my father was totally in the wrong?

(40 Posts)
cherrycokegirl Mon 11-Nov-13 13:55:22

I've namechanged but am a regular.

I've recently gone non contact with my parents. There are a variety of reasons why I've done this. My father has severe anger issues and I think there is lots of emotional abuse going on between him and my mother. My father cannot understand why I've gone non contact and thinks the following is ok:

When I was a child he smacked me a lot. Not just the odd tap on the hand or bum if I did something dangerous, but if he was in a bad mood he's start to invent things i'd done wrong, or would make out things I'd done wrong were worse than they are, and would really whack me hard, often around the head.

I remember once, aged 7 or 8, going to a playground with my parents and suddenly getting hit around the head and falling to the floor. I thought someone had attacked me but it was my dad hitting me saying I'd 'stuck my tongue out at my mum'. When I'd done nothing of the sort and was just playing.

The smacking continued on and off until I left home at 21. Even in my late teens/early 20s if I disagreed with him or he didn't like what I had to say I'd end up going flying across the kitchen or with a slap on my face. Or he'd punch me on my arm. Or he'd shout at me so loudly in my face and make me wet myself.

He seems to think the above is normal and has been saying to family members that I'm the one with the problem and that I'm ungrateful, and that that is how families work. Of course, I know the opposite and bring my kids up in a totally different way. But his behaviour still bothers me. I don't suppose I'm ever going to convince him he was in the wrong though am I?

Rosa Mon 11-Nov-13 13:57:12

Of course he is looking to blame you as it sounds as if he used you to channel his anger . he doesn't sound that he is going to take the blame either. Does he hit your mum as well ?

cherrycokegirl Mon 11-Nov-13 13:58:37

Not that I know of, but he behaves in a very intimidating way towards her, and blows hot and cold with his moods. She walks on eggshells around him to say the least.

LittleBairn Mon 11-Nov-13 13:59:28

He will never admit he's wrong because then he would have to face the fact he's an abuser.
The best revenge live well. And without him.

JaxTellerIsAllMine Mon 11-Nov-13 13:59:40

And your Mum stood by and allowed this to happen to a child? sad

happydaze77 Mon 11-Nov-13 13:59:47

He is totally the one to blame.

However, is there a chance he may transfer blame onto your mum now? Can you stay in touch with her somehow?

CailinDana Mon 11-Nov-13 14:00:47

Yanbu. He sounds severely abusive.

Rosa Mon 11-Nov-13 14:00:52

Crikey doesn't sound nice at all . Sounds as if you are better off without him ... It must be hard as he is your dad but I think you are doing the right thing

cherrycokegirl Mon 11-Nov-13 14:02:21

I'm not keen on staying in contact with my mum either tbh, as she was emotionally abusive and backed my dad up.

BigGapMum Mon 11-Nov-13 14:06:35

You are doing the right thing. Stay strong. Keep your resolve.
Do you have any siblings? Were they treated the same way?

PedantMarina Mon 11-Nov-13 14:07:34

You're doing the right thing. And I'm amazed, astounded and seriously impressed with you that you're so clear-headed after an upbringing like that! Well done you.

cherrycokegirl Mon 11-Nov-13 14:07:35

I have one sister, who is 3 years younger than me. She was always the favourite, but I think that was I part due to the fact that she was more complying with the abuse than I was, and quickly started going along with what my parents said/did so that she never got in the firing line.

cherrycokegirl Mon 11-Nov-13 14:08:08

Awwww thank you Pedant, that's a lovely thing to say

Thank you everyone for the supportive replies x

WallyBantersJunkBox Mon 11-Nov-13 14:09:04

YANBU he is totally in the wrong. This is not how loving normal families behave.

He is telling the family negative things about you - meaning he knows he is guilty and is trying to get in there first to undermine you and establish his position as normal. Any family member with an ounce of sense will wonder why he is doing this and know there are two sides to every story.

I remember telling one of my fathers colleagues what he was really like after he angrily cornered me in the supermarket once to question how I could abandon my then ill father after he'd been so wonderful to me. Usually i avoided the topic, but he was so bloody self righteous. The look on his face - blustering, confused, denial - "dad" had obviously painted himself as a complete saint at work.

He left with doubt though - why would I lie, I had absolutely nothing else to lose?

Be kind to yourself and try to focus on positive relationships in your life. X

Joysmum Mon 11-Nov-13 14:09:32

Sometimes you'll never convince people they are wrong, or if you do they'll not admit it.

Life isn't fair or neat, but I wish it was.

LimeLeaafLizard Mon 11-Nov-13 14:13:57

YANBU. His behaviour was terrible and very wrong, not normal at all.

You must be a very strong person to have gone through all of that and still be able to go no contact and post about it.

I doubt your father will ever admit that he is wrong. If he thought that, he'd never have done it in the first place.

YANBU - at all. Your father is not normal, that is not a normal childhood (sorry - should not be a normal childhood sad ) and you are absolutely doing the right thing by going NC.

Are you in touch with your sister?

AnandaTimeIn Mon 11-Nov-13 14:19:30

I'm with Pedant.

Amazing how level-headed (and lovely with your own children) you are having gone through such horrific abuse.

Well done you. And yes, leave them in the past. Your dad will never admit that he was wrong.

cherrycokegirl Mon 11-Nov-13 14:19:47

I'm not really in touch with her at the moment; she thinks I'm treating my parents appallingly

WilsonFrickett Mon 11-Nov-13 14:21:23

He is utterly, utterly wrong. His behaviour is so far from 'not normal' that I'm struggling to express it.

But of course he can't/won't ever be able to admit it. He will never admit he was wrong. So unfortunately you will need to be prepared for lots of bitching to other members of the family about you. But so what, you can let that roll off your shoulders because you are strong and brave and clear. It's not important. What's important is you have broken free and are bringing your own family up in a completely different way.

Wrt to your mum, I suspect she has also been hit/or is scared of him but unfortunately I don't think that's something you can take on. If cutting contact completely is what you want to do, then that's what you should do.

BlingBang Mon 11-Nov-13 14:22:12

I got smacked from my mum fairly regularly as a child, we all did. What you are describing goes away beyond that. Don't let your dad have any more power over you at all. Disengage, I doubt you will get any apology or satisfaction from him - only more grief.

WallyBantersJunkBox Mon 11-Nov-13 14:26:28

You certainly don't want these grandparents around your children, so don't think twice about it.

Interesting what you say about your mum and emotional abuse.

My mum played the victim well when they divorced after 22 years, she had the whole of her family piling on the attention and sympathy. Yet as scared as she apparently was of him she was quite happy to report a long list of things (not all true) my DB and I had apparently done wrong in the day to my father when he got home from work in a shitty mood and stand by and watch him punch the crap out of us, and sometimes positively encourage it. She could swing her fists at us too - she failed to mention this to her siblings.

The most vivid thing wasn't violence though - we had to say sorry to her for making our father angry which upset her. Then we were forced to say "I love you" to her or she wouldn't speak to us until we did. sad

I don't actually ever remember him striking her once, but the family had been told differently - she made out she was a human shield to us.

I often think about how I would be if I was trapped in a relationship of domestic abuse with my DS. I certainly wouldn't antagonize an angry violent man and encourage him to hit my ds. I bet you'd be the same.

Cut them both out - they deserve each other. Do you have a DP? What's his family like? Can you talk to MIL about your feelings? Anyone in the family you can talk to? Cousins tend to be on your peer group level - do you have any you are close to?

Bettercallsaul1 Mon 11-Nov-13 14:30:58

Has there been a particular recent event that has made you go "no contact", OP? Or has your childhood experience suddenly struck you with new force? If there has been no recent, particular reason , your father probably feels your hostility is unjustified because you have never treated him like this before - he may think his behaviour towards you is in the past and that you have accepted it.

His violence and bullying of you was obviously not all right and you need to confront him about it and get an apology, at the very least. It is sometimes not till years later that we realise that we have been mistreated - our self-respect has been damaged and needs to repair before we have the confidence to recognise the situation for what it was and feel anger. It sounds as though your time has come and you shouldn't shirk from confronting your father calmly with his treatment of you and demand an apology. If no apology is forthcoming, then you have to consider whether your relationship hasca future.

Lilacroses Mon 11-Nov-13 14:31:29

I'm so sorry to hear this Cherrycoke. Of course yanbu and your dad was/is clearly a very abusive man. Isn't it awful when you can't get someone to own up to terrible behaviour like this? My Dp had an horrifically abusive childhood and her mum who largely stood by and watched it happen, occasionally making it worse, calls her late husband a "wonderful man". It is really, really upsetting and disturbing. I totally understand your frustration but agree you are doing the right thing in avoiding him.

PrivatePeaceful Mon 11-Nov-13 14:32:14

I'm sorry to read what you've suffered as a child/young adult.

Yanbu to distance yourself, he sounds awful.

BigGapMum Mon 11-Nov-13 14:47:08

This is going to sound like I am justifying your Dad's behaviour, but I'm not. I'm trying to explain it so that you might understand how he came to be like that. I can see so many similarities in my own childhood.

I disagree with most of the posters on here, as I think years ago it was often the norm to hit children quite a lot. I suspect he was brought up just that way. My father also hit me quite a lot, often around the head, and he didn't think anything of it either. I have a dent in my skull to this day, that I don't know how it got there, but I suspect that it was due to him. I don't think he meant it to be abusive. It didn't cross his mind that he shouldn't do it.

However I did not get the violence that you suffered. I was never hit to the ground, or punched, or shouted at in the face to that extreme. Your experience must have been beyond what was reasonable, even in those days, and he must have known that.

Possibly you mum might have seen herself acting as a supportive wife, (after all that may be what she was brought up to believe) not criticising her husband, albeit at the expense of her own child.

Saying all that, if they are still emotionally abusive to you, and cannot or will not see that what they did was wrong and apologise then you are doing the right thing to back away from them.
I went no contact with my sister some years ago and haven't regretted it a bit. In my opinion family relationships can be very over-rated.

EldritchCleavage Mon 11-Nov-13 15:07:01

you need to confront him about it and get an apology, at the very least

You honestly don't need to. And he is unlikely suddenly to admit he is a bastard, realistically.

Bettercallsaul1 Mon 11-Nov-13 15:23:49

No, but the very act of standing up to her father would be beneficial - it would be a positive act of self-assertion against someone who has seriously mistreated her. I, too, doubt if an apology would be forthcoming, but the OP is owed one and asking for one sends out a powerful signal that their unequal relationship has changed.

If the OP doesn't' feel able to confront her father personally - and who could blame her? - she could write him a letter, expressing her feelings. That could well be her last communication with him and , I think, would be very therapeutic.

Hissy Mon 11-Nov-13 17:04:10

you NEED to read Toxic Parents by Susan Forward, and you need to come on over to the Stately Homes thread.

You need to understand that NONE of this is your fault and none of it was right.

you didn't do this lovey, they did, and you cutting them off is the kindest thing you can do for yourself.

ThisWayForCrazy Mon 11-Nov-13 17:07:34

He is still trying to control you. And doesn't like that you've walked away.

Well done you!

My Dad was a heavy handed alcoholic. As a grandparent he sees the error of his ways and is such a gentle person now. But I would have walked away and kept my children from him if he hadn't changed.

Mylovelyboy Mon 11-Nov-13 17:17:11

OP where was your mother in all of this when you were a child. Did he bully her, was she scared of him. I am really sorry this has happened to you. I dont blame you for what you are doing. Have you discussed this with your mother, if so, what are her opinions. thanks

bamboobutton Mon 11-Nov-13 17:30:08

well done!

my fil is/was abusive and dh is finding it hard to go NC.

same as others, family has conveniently forgotten the abuse and deny deny deny. even when they were scrubbing the blood from his carpet(he almost beat a girlfriend to death) they denied he was abusive.

don't waste your breath trying to convince others, none so blind as those that won't see, etc.

ScandinavianPrincess Thu 28-Nov-13 12:39:28

Your Dad was totally out of order and abusive. No excuses. Maintain no contact if you can. These people rarely charge or admit their wrongdoing.
It is ok to feel sad and angry about it. Try counselling if you feel it may help.
You deserve a happy life and it is far more likely to be so without this man in it.

SeaSickSal Thu 28-Nov-13 12:45:44

Of course YANBU. You were physically abused, do you realize that. Have you asked for counselling.

I disagree with most of the posters on here, as I think years ago it was often the norm to hit children quite a lot.

Rubbish. I am 45 years old, and most definitely my siblings and I did NOT get hit. I have an extended maternal family and hitting was simply not done anywhere in that family.

traininthedistance Thu 28-Nov-13 13:02:50

I'm so sorry this happened to you! You are in the right and he is wrong. Whether or not he ever acknowledges or admits it. Have you had any counselling at all?


SeaSickSal Thu 28-Nov-13 13:10:19

BigGapMum, I'm sorry to say that you were abused too but because it was all you knew you have normalized it.

sashh Thu 28-Nov-13 13:28:11

I don't suppose I'm ever going to convince him he was in the wrong though am I?

No, and the quicker you move on from that, realise it was and is unfair the better you will be.

sashh Thu 28-Nov-13 14:14:13

sorry that sounded harsh, it wasn't meant to be. You will not convince him because either he doesn't believe it or he is still enjoying the hold his behaviour has on you.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Thu 28-Nov-13 15:03:45

write them all a letter telling them how they have made you feel, it will help you I think, post it then cut off contact and get on with your life guilt free.

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