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Should I agree to meet up with dad? I'm 20.

(42 Posts)
ToMeToYou Mon 11-Feb-13 18:43:37

I'm not a mum, was googling and a mumsnet thread came up and I think getting 'mum's' advice would be really useful.

When I was 9, my Dad had a very messy affair with a 19 year old girl who at the time had a 4 year old son, he hid it for a while allowing our family life to get horrendously bad before one day packing up and leaving unannounced. He left it to my mum to explain and did not come and see us for over a week. When he saw us he made no effort to talk about anything but pretended everything was normal and got cross when I reacted confused and angry at him. After a few more 'meet ups' where he acted similarly, being very angry and talking with excitement about his new wife and family, he then disappeared without warning abroad for a few months.
He returned and again, expected me to get on with him fine and not ask questions or really react in any way other than a positive way. He became verbally and physically abusive as he got more frustrated I wasn't buying into his fantasy of me staying with him every other weekend. I was scared of him.Things deteriorated until it went to court and my dad was ruled to not have contact with me alone or any custody.
I spoke to him briefly via letter at 16 (I was really struggling with things and had some informal counselling with a teacher) and my dad explained his view of things, but mainly blamed my mum, saying she was making me hate my dad and stopping him see me. None of that is true in any way. He would send me photos and news about his other children, my half siblings, and expect me to be interested and couldn't understand how upsetting I found it. I cut contact.

I am now at University and really happy with my life, my dad is very much out of my life and not something I feel upset or hurt about on a day to day basis like I used to when I was in contact with him. It was a huge step to cut him out, and took a lot of confidence. For the last year I've thought of it as one of the best things I have done as it really has made a big difference to my happiness and outlook on life.

Now, today, I got an email from him stating forcefully he is coming to visit me (at uni) as we need to talk. This is after a year of no contact whatsoever. I feel angry he is using a tone in his email that I am like a child, someone he can boss about and scare into seeing him by using such an alarming tone. I am though, quite scared he is going to just turn up. I don't want him to ever be able to hurt me again.

Most of me doesn't want to see him, but a small part wants to hear what he has to say. I am really stable in life though and don't want to disrupt that, I'm scared of him and have in many ways heard all he has to say and come to the conclusion he has treated me badly and does not, right now, have a place in my life.
I'm close to my mum and siblings and will talk to them about it later.

Any advice though?

CartedOff Mon 11-Feb-13 18:53:04

I think seeing him could undo a lot of the work you've done on yourself. You say you are happier now and it certainly sounds like it. Letting someone who is emotionally and physically violent, disrespectful of your boundaries and primarily concerned with himself wouldn't be good for you. The fact that he offers you no choice over the matter says it all, really.

Remember that you do not owe this man anything. You are not obliged to have one final meeting with him or to hear him out or anything like that if you don't want to.

Are you in halls or a private residence? Is that where he wrote to?

ToMeToYou Mon 11-Feb-13 18:57:24

Thanks for your reply, he emailed me. He doesn't (I hope) know where I live at uni.
I know all that you said is right, but I guess there is always the normal doubt. Recently I've started thinking about his emotions and how it must be to loose his child and them want nothing to do with you. But I know exactly what he did to deserve that and that he is not good for me. In a weird way, I just hate thinking how much I distress him by not letting him see me etc... I do know that I shouldn't worry about though...

CatelynStark Mon 11-Feb-13 19:08:42

I wouldn't see him, especially as he's been (and is being) so aggressive with you.

I didn't see my biological father from 4-24 and the only good thing that came from our 'reunion' was meeting and developing a relationship my my three half siblings. He was a nightmare and I quickly cut off contact with him.

It sounds to me as if you really don't need the upset that meeting him might cause, as he's not approaching you in a conciliatory manner. Some people just never change, I'm afraid.

You sound very sorted and intelligent.

If you want to hear what he has to say but don't want to actually see or talk to him, could you email him back suggesting he write you a letter, saying what he wants to say, rather than his first idea which was to demand a meet-up?

You could say you'd be more comfortable with this, as you'd then have time to think about whatever it is he wants to say, before deciding whether you wanted to respond or not. If he objects to this, then he is not putting your best interests first, and you may have a better idea whether you want to have any involvement with him.

balia Mon 11-Feb-13 19:13:36

If the email had been apologetic/conciliatory/understanding or in any way an olive branch, I'd probably say - what do you have to lose? See his side; it is not a crime to leave an unhappy marriage.

BUT - scaring you and being threatening is not a good sign. I would contact campus security/police and express your concerns. Email your Dad and firmly state that you are not comfortable about him simply turning up and that you have alerted the authorities and will not hesitate to press charges if he turns up. (In order to bring a prosecution for harrassment, you have to prove that the other person knew that the behaviour was distressing to you - you could say you have taken legal advice if you think it will make him take notice)

However, you could also say that if his real aim is to attempt to have a relationship with you, then you will not automatically dismiss it, despite the hurt and difficulty of the past, but it must be on your terms. State what those are. If you want some time to think about it all and do not want him to contact you until you say you are ready, say so. If you are willing to keep in touch on an email basis, say once a month, say so.

My daughter is currently in this situation. After a very difficult relationship culminating in physical abuse, she has made it clear she will only see him when she is ready. I know how much courage and heartache that took, and also, as you say, how much better her life has been, so you should be really proud of yourself.

Isabeller Mon 11-Feb-13 19:29:27

He sounds like he has expected you to behave like an adult towards him from a very young age when he has not been behaving this way himself. "Do it my way" "I want you to do it now!"

If you do decide to meet him I would suggest having a wise third party present, preferably someone he would not feel as inclined to boss around.

There is also a brilliant technique I learned in Alanon Family Groups called 'bookmarking' which basically means arranging to talk in person or on the phone with a trusted friend immediately before and immediately after doing something difficult.

You are clearly a very empathetic, thoughtful and mature person and it's moving to hear you trying to understand your dad's point of view. Please focus on yourself and your wellbeing. Get all the support you can from your uni, counselling/GP/tutors whoever seems best to you.

Very best of luck with this.

BOF Mon 11-Feb-13 19:37:36

I'd tell him to go fuck himself, I should think.

Xales Mon 11-Feb-13 19:38:52

He was verbally and physically aggressive. You were so scared of him that no contact was ruled by court.

You got back in touch only 4 years ago and rather than accept and admit that he made mistakes everything was someone else's fault not his.

He is now telling you that he will be coming to see you like it or not.

My dad was not in my life for many years. I made an effort when I had DS (nearly 12). We have probably seen each other half a dozen times in these years with me doing the driving. Now he has other grand children DS is as superfluous as I was. I regret the decision to make an effort as I think it would have been better in some ways for DS never to have met him rather than meet someone who is completely disinterested.

You don't have to meet him. You can walk away if he turns up. You can contact the police if he harasses you in any way.

It is your choice.

Doesn't sound like he has changed in the slightest from what you have said though.

StrawberryMojito Mon 11-Feb-13 19:44:30

I have no relationship with my father, I know I have at least 2 half siblings somewhere. In my life I have veered between wanting to meet him and them and being very happy as I was without him.

I had a major wobble when I was about to turn 30 and tried unsuccessfully to find him. That was 3 years ago and couldn't care less now.

My advice to you- don't meet him if you don't want to, you sound like you're doing brilliantly without him. But keep an open mind about how you may feel in the future.

Doha Mon 11-Feb-13 19:48:51

No honey l really don't think l would meet up with him. You are in a good place in your life just now and you don't need your boat rocked.

Perhaps if you really really want to know what he has to say ask him in an email but that may just unsettle you.

He doesn't sound a particularly nice man the way he has treated you as you were growing up and the way he lays the blame at your mums door is despicable.
Do you have any brothers and sisters who share your dad (not his current family)?

Doha Mon 11-Feb-13 19:51:59

Just reread your initial post.
. I am though, quite scared he is going to just turn up. I don't want him to ever be able to hurt me again.
If you honestly feel like that. Forget it. You can't have a relationship with someone you are scared of

he hasn't changed much has he?

i'd bounce the email. it'll look to him like he's got the wrong address.

(but you can cut and paste the email if you want to save the content before you do it because it may disappear from your email, depending on what email software you use.)

BOF Mon 11-Feb-13 19:56:38

How do you bounce an email?

theartofloving Mon 11-Feb-13 20:09:07

I would say (having had the same kind of experience as you, but I'm further down the line) that you would do well to email him and make it clear to him that informing you he is coming to see you is not OK. It's a complete lack of respect for your boundaries. That might not mean you aren't open to dialogue in future but this isn't the way forward right now.

I completely empathise with how you think about his emotions and how it must be to loose a child and them want nothing to do with you and hate thinking how much you distress him by not letting him see you etc.. I've been there myself. But he is responsible for himself and you must think about number one here, because he isn't doing that while he is scaring you. I'd say keep the door open but only when it's mutual and you're ready. Don't let him bulldoze you into anything, that's not good for you, or him ultimately. Good luck.

Whocansay Mon 11-Feb-13 20:20:08

If you aren't sure, maybe you could buy yourself some time and email back saying its not convenient right now? To be honest I would simply ignore any further communication. If he's anything like my poor excuse for a father, he probably wants something.

betterthanever Mon 11-Feb-13 20:31:53

You have done so well handling everything that this so called father has thrown at you over the years, including abuse. I feel that he wants this meeting because he is trying to somehow get your forgiveness so he can feel better about himself, not to bring you happiness. I don't trust his motives and whilst you are 20 now, I still think the meeting would have to be in your best interests for it to be worth undertaking. Do you think you would gain from it, or do you think you have already got the answers to you questions really?
Agree with what the others have said about not gong alone if you do want to go. Please don't meet him out of any feeling of obligation or guilt - only if you think you will benefit. Good luck with university - keep having fun and watch those boys, you know what some of them can be like.

BOF, i have a mac so i use the mac mail programme. not sure how you'd do it in outlook, but you could try a similar method and see if it works.

- click on the message in your inbox
- click on 'message' menu (along top of screen)
- click on 'bounce'

short cut is shift +apple key + B

but be warned - this deletes the message from your mailbox and will send a bounce message to the sender. if you want to keep the message, forward it onto yourself before you bounce it.

it's fantastic! i've gotten rid of a few unwanted emails that way.

BOF Mon 11-Feb-13 20:57:26

Thanks Claude.

ToMeToYou Mon 11-Feb-13 21:34:15

Thanks for the replies. I knew all that in my head, just needed 18 other people to say it to me!
It is true, if I saw him it would be simply out of guilt and for his benefit only.
I replied saying I don't see any point in meeting up or wish to have a relationship with him and that if there is anything urgent he wants to let me know he has my email address. I also said I found the tone of his message unnecessarily forceful and forgetting that I am a 20 year old who can make their own choices.

smile thanks again smile
I also talked to my mum and siblings so am no longer having doubts.

BOF Mon 11-Feb-13 21:53:42

Good for you.

Isabeller Mon 11-Feb-13 22:19:17

You are a star grin well done, dignity, clarity and assertiveness - I could learn a lot. Congratulations thanks

betterthanever Mon 11-Feb-13 22:52:22

You are a star well done, dignity, clarity and assertiveness - I could learn a lot. ditto

CatelynStark Tue 12-Feb-13 08:22:38

Well done. I bet your mum and siblings are really proud of you.

I really wish I had been so sorted at 20! smile

perplexedpirate Tue 12-Feb-13 08:27:26

Good for you!
You sound ace OP, enjoy uni. smile

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