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Help my cope with my father's unacceptable behaviour...long...sorry.

(53 Posts)
LobstersLass Sun 08-Apr-12 16:04:39

Back story... between 2008 and 2010 we had 4 miscarriages. All at about the 7 week mark. We've had all the tests and have been told that IVF can help, but we've decided not to pursue that avenue. We're to old to have it for free, and we can afford the money, but trying and failing would put too much strain on our relationship, so selfishly, we've decided to be happy together and that's that.

My father cannot bear this outcome. Almost every time I speak with him (about twice a week on the phone) he will drop something into the conversation about wanting to be a grandfather, what a good mother I'd be, how he will pay for IVF. He cannot cope with the fact that we've taken the decision to stop trying for a child.

I have explained to him many times that I find his behaviour very hurtful, and that he makes me feel like a failure. I have explained this to him in a calm and rational manner, and also sitting in front of him with tears rolling down my cheeks.

He normally then desists for a while, before starting up again.

He's long retired, but a couple of weeks he'd done some contract work and made some money, I commented that it would go towards their next cruise. He replied that it was going into the St. Thomas's fund. I thought I'd misheard but then realised what he meant. If we had IVF we would have genetic screening due to abnormalities and that would be done at St. Thomas's. I laughed off his comment and changed the subject.

Last week, my fabulous cousin had a baby. I called my parents to let them know. My father's response to hearing that his niece had a baby? 4-0. Sorry? 4-0. His brother now has 4 grandchildren whilst he has none.
What kind of man takes the opportunity of such lovely news to shove it down his daughter's throat that she hasn't made him a grandfather.
He made me cry that day and I've been angry with him ever since. I've still not spoken to him. I know that the fact we've fallen out is breaking my mother's heart.

I am at my wits end and don't know what to do. How can I carry on spending time around a man that is so cruel to me without bursting into tears. I can't cut him out of my life because that would kill my mother.

I need a coping strategy. Please help.
Thanks for reading.

HappyCamel Sun 08-Apr-12 16:09:02

I have no idea but you are very strong, very brave and have my unstinting admiration.

LobstersLass Sun 08-Apr-12 16:16:22

Thank you for your kind words. It means a lot.

YouChangeWithTheWeather Sun 08-Apr-12 16:18:40

I think your coping strategy should be to keep away from him until he can behave decently around you. Would your mother see you or talk to you on the phone without him around? How does she feel about it?

abbierhodes Sun 08-Apr-12 16:18:51

So you've tried being nice, and you've tried crying?
It's time to let him see your anger. I think I'd have to go ballistic. Scream, shout, rage.
Point out to him that if you were ever to have a child now he'd have no relationship with it anyway, as he's alienated his only daughter.
There are only two possible explanations here:
1. he doesn't know how much he's hurting you.
2. He's really not a nice man.
If it's 1, losing your temper might bring it home to him. If it's 2, then he deserves it.

I really think you need to cut him out, at least in the short term. You need to make it clear that he has hurt you deeply, and until you have a genuine, heartfelt apology then you simply cannot be around him.
Your mother is an adult who makes her own choices- I think she should be taking your side on this. If she is hurt by you two falling out, then that is his fault, not yours. He needs to deal with that, not you.

From your post I get the impression that your dad is a generally good, loving person, who has just really, really got this wrong, rather than an abusive wanker. I hope I'm right on that.

Sometimes good people do pretty shitty things- but they realise, learn from them and are genuinely remorseful. Your dad needs to see the pain he's causing.

noteverjosephine Sun 08-Apr-12 16:20:24

You have made a well considered, personal decision that nobody else should question. You are not a failure. Your choice is perfectly rational. Your father's attitude must be very difficult to cope with and sadly I reckon your father will not change quickly.

Can your mother intercede at all on your behalf? How does she feel about your decision? Do you have brothers and sisters who might have children and so take the pressure off you?

You are stuck between a rock and a hard place if you can't cut contact so you may have to be very brave. Tell yourself that he is being selfish and thoughtless and perhaps the hurt will become less painful.

LobstersLass Sun 08-Apr-12 16:29:03

My mother has asked him many times to stop. But whenever she does she gets the 'silent treatment'. He's a control freak.
Most of the time they're fine together and he's very loving towards her.

The last thing I want to do is make her life difficult. I have been texting my mum (but not mentioning my dad) since the last conversation with my dad - I want her to know that I'm not cross with her.

I know my dad's strategy, it will be to say nothing and wait for me to give up first and go around there to see my mother. Then he will act normal but make a sarcastic comment along the lines that it's nice to see that I've calmed down.

However, this time that is not going to happen. I really don't care if I never see him again. I'm so angry.

But I also know that is not realistic. If I make it clear that I won't be seeing him again, it will break my mother's heart.

I feel that the only solution is to keep putting up with his shit and frankly that is an unbearable thought. Why should I have to put up with this?! I'm a 39 year old professional woman and I'm embarrassed that I can't cope with this situation.

MillieMummy Sun 08-Apr-12 16:31:41

Poor you and poor your mum.

I agree that you should cut him out, as long as you can continue to have a relationship with your mum.

laptopcomputer Sun 08-Apr-12 16:32:56

Also, you need to start thinking that it is not selfish ro decide not to have a child, for whatever reason. Why is that selfish? Are you giving off these vibes when you speak to your Dad - that you actually think you are being selfish in not having children? Is he spotting a weakness and going for it?

Panamama Sun 08-Apr-12 16:36:49

It may hurt your mother but you need to take care of yourself. You sound like you've been through a lot before you reached this decision and the way your father is behaving is making the pain even more acute and is torturing you. The 4-0 comment was appalling. And there is a chance that he may never stop comments like this, and in ten years time it will be him still moping that he could have had grandchildren but now it's too late etc etc. It might not end. You must put yourself first here and not let him wear you down with years of comments and jabs.

oikopolis Sun 08-Apr-12 16:37:01

oh OP i have a lump in my throat for you.

i agree that it's time to go apeshit crazy ballistic mental on him. you've done nice, you've done emotional, now it's time for him to get the rage.

if you go and see your mother again, and he says something sarky, have a proper retort ready. "Dad, you're a nasty human being. And i feel very sorry for everyone who has to put up with seeing you daily. Thankfully I don't have to... thanks for making that so much easier for me by being a complete cunt." <sweet smile>

really.

you do NOT have to put up with this. the fact that he's your father means nothing. see him when you have to; don't break your mother's heart: but don't play happy families with him.

People earn the privilege of "happy families" treatment, and he hasn't done that, so he doesn't get it. simples

oikopolis Sun 08-Apr-12 16:38:25

i also read that "selfish" comment you made about yourself and wondered what you meant, and who on earth had put that into your head.

it's not "selfish" not to try for a baby. "selfish" doesn't come into it!

"selfish" is stealing someone else's baby from the hospital fgs. you're not harming anyone, or depriving anyone of anything by packing in the ttc for your own mental health!

LobstersLass Sun 08-Apr-12 16:39:21

That a very interesting point laptopcomputer. I guess I see it as being selfish because we've decided on this to stop our hurt but I know that our decision is hurting him. And that we could decide to try again, and if we were successful that would make him happy. In fact just us trying again would make him happy.

Actually, scratch that, trying again would not make him happy, if we failed, he would keep pushing. I know that. He won't be happy until there's a baby.

I need to accept that it's not actually my job to live my life in a way that makes my dad happy.

It's a tough one.

Rezolution Sun 08-Apr-12 16:41:33

Just wonder what your husband or partner's opinion on all this might be? Not that it excuses your father's behaviour. He is trying to call the shots and use his money to do so.
I know a little bit about this kind of situation you find yourself in and there is no neat solution. Just do what feels right FOR YOU.
Your Dad has his own agenda but who is helping you with your agenda? Maybe you need to talk it through with a trained counsellor who has no personal axe to grind? brew

mummy2b2011 Sun 08-Apr-12 16:42:43

OP, you poor thing- it sounds awful. I think you do need to distance yourself from your father and emotionally detach. Maintain your relationship with your mother and make it clear to her that your relationship with her won't change. Your mother clearly understands the position that you're in otherwise she wouldn't have asked him to stop- can you see her at your house and at places other that their home?

You must preserve your own mental health; of course you don't want to hurt your mum, but she wouldn't want you to be miserable.

It sounds like a very difficult situation, but I think you should be kind to yourself.

HTHx

AwkwardMaryHadAnEasterLamb Sun 08-Apr-12 16:42:48

Is it possible he's suffering from dementia? Or has he always been this way? So sorry OP...what an awful thing to have to put up with.

foreverandever Sun 08-Apr-12 16:43:06

your dads behaviour sounds appalling and must be so very hurtful for you, he sounds like he is literally aching to have grandchildren. are you an only child?

LobstersLass Sun 08-Apr-12 16:49:03

After the last incident, my husband has suggested driving to my parents' house and having it out with my father. It wouldn't help though. I know that my dad would just make my mum's life difficult once he'd had a telling off from my husband.

My father had always used money to control people. He continually mentions that he'll pay for the IVF. I don't think he can cope with the fact that we have the money to pay for it but are choosing not to.

He is now in a situation that he has to rely on his personality to maintain a relationship rather than his money and he is incapable of doing so. So he's resulting to nastiness to keep me in my place. Well that's the way I see it anyway. Crikey that sounds screwed up. Maybe the counsellor suggestion is very wise!

It's not about him and that's what he's making this.

He needs to know how very upset you are. Maybe your DH can speak to him and tell him to stop once and for all. If he can't accept that then it's about time you put yourself first. That's not being selfish in this situation, it's stopping you getting hurt. It is sad for your mum but that isn't your fault or your burden.

Sweepitundertherug Sun 08-Apr-12 16:50:48

I don't know what to say. But just so you know that ie read and I am very sorry for you.
I think you will have to get Angry with your selfish father

You don't have to put up with this OP. It's always hard when it's a close member of your family that is behaving so unreasonably, even more so when it's your parents. I feel sorry for your mum, it sounds like she's stuck in a hard place being married to a control freak.

I'd assure her that she's always welcome to visit, that you'd love to have her at your home, but that until your dad learns to act in a more adult, less controlling manner (and accepts your choice) you are not willing to see him and put yourself through the stress & heartache that his comments cause. That may hurt her, but as things stand, it's hurting you more.

Give her as much reassurance as necessary, but make it clear that it's your dad that has caused this situation, not you.

LobstersLass Sun 08-Apr-12 16:54:58

AwkwardMaryHadAnEasterLamb - that made me laugh! I've said to him before now that I won't be able to tell when he goes doolally! But no, hasn't got dementia - he's always been like this.

foreverandever - I have a younger brother. He's not got children and is not in a relationship at the moment so none imminent either. My father is more interested in my brother getting what he perceives to be a 'proper job', rather than encouraging him to have children. For information, there is nothing wrong with my brother's job/lifestyle, it's just not what my dad had in mind.

Rezolution Sun 08-Apr-12 16:55:09

Lobster Just trust your DH to handle your Dad. That type of man usually respects males far more than females (not trying to be a stirrer here, just a realist) Let DH have a stern word with him, man to man, and let it rest there.
I don't think you need to be there to hear it all.
Then go for counselling.

foreverandever Sun 08-Apr-12 16:58:07

i would agree with having your dh having a word so matter can be put to bed and also let your father know that your husband has your back and you cant be bullied into anything

LobstersLass Sun 08-Apr-12 16:58:44

TapirBackRider and Rezolution - Thank you. Those are wise words.
Between the pair of you, I think you've written my strategy!

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