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If I confront the elephant in the room, it will end badly

(46 Posts)
hermioneweasley Tue 05-Nov-13 22:05:34

I am gay, in a happy long term relationship and we have kids.

My father has never really come to terms with it, but we don't talk about his lack of acceptance. His difficult in many ways - not just my perception but all in the family agree. I have the most difficult relationship with him though because of the sexuality issue, and I don't pander to him as much as the others do.

Parents always stay in a hotel when they come to stay, but next visit all are booked up. Email exchange I say why don't you stay with us. Mother replies "your father coesn't feel comfortable, let's leave it at that"

I don't want to leave it a that. He does something hurtful/offensive/attention seeking every couple of months and we have a big blow up. I am sick of appeasing and enabling his shitty, selfish and controlling behaviour.

I want to email back and ask exactly what he's uncomfortable with, but I think it is very likely to blow up badly.

Do I suck it up?

I am just so sick of being hurt and swallowing my feeling for the sake of family harmony, I don't feel like letting this one go.

lazarusb Thu 07-Nov-13 17:12:04

toffeesponge I think she was saying she had zero expectations of her parents, not partner.

I'd love to offer you some advice but my granddad stopped speaking to my dad when he started living as a woman. I was stuck in the middle & ended up a focus for both of their bitterness and anger.

I'd tend towards the confrontation though myself I think.

Greensleeves Thu 07-Nov-13 17:04:45

I say kick the elephant's arse, get it all out in the open and if there's no way after that of having a relationship where you can be yourself without him being a bastard (even a passive-aggressive one) then I would be seeing drastically less of them. I am NC with my mother too for similar reasons.

If nothing else, your kids will pick up on the fact that Grandad has got some sort of problem with your family that isn't talked about. I wouldn't have that.

Sorry you have to deal with his ignorance. And sorry that your mum is showing so little backbone. Christmas really concentrates these things.

hermioneweasley Thu 07-Nov-13 17:00:13

Thanks for ongoing support. Why didn't I call my Mum? Cowardice I guess. I will talk when I see her response, i'm sure.

Bonsoir, I don't believe i'm imposing anything at present, just asking for Clarity about why he's not comfortable. I really don't know what you mean, and I haven't posted i'm AIBU so i'm afraid I won't engage further with you if I don't find it helpful.

lifesgreatquestions Thu 07-Nov-13 16:55:12

OP, it sounds like you are addressing the elephant in the room, you can't make him though, unfortunately. But with your every breath you can be clear.

tribpot Thu 07-Nov-13 16:51:19

What are the OP's terms? She can't not be gay for the day.

Eh? So it's reasonable for her to kowtow every time to him, but not him to extend same her?

Bonsoir Thu 07-Nov-13 16:37:29

Why do you feel the need to impose upon your father that he only sees you on your own terms?

olgaga Thu 07-Nov-13 14:52:35

But Hermione, why not talk to your DM instead of emailing her?

halfwildlingwoman Thu 07-Nov-13 13:53:18

I don't know about confronting it per se, but I would be tempted to draw a line. "If you want to see me and my family you are always welcome in my house. If you feel too uncomfortable, fine, forget it. I won't facilitate any meetings. Mum, you too are welcome, with or without Dad."

We are heading for NC with ILs, FIL in particular. He is so racist and homophobic that I don't want him near my DC.

hermioneweasley Thu 07-Nov-13 13:45:27

Thanks for your help everyone.,I am emailing to find out the reason

I like the idea of calling, but he's very hearing impaired so I don't think it will work in this case.

trockodile Thu 07-Nov-13 13:18:14

This sounds like a really difficult position for you to be in-but no, I don't think you should shy away from discussing the "elephant" either.

I don't know if you have heard of the documentary by Shane Bitney Crone- www.imdb.com/title/tt2357788/ "Bridegroom" it talks about his relationship with his partner Tom Bridegroom, how hard Tom's family found it to accept that he was gay and about how Shane's family were able to not only accept but embrace it particularly after Tom died unexpectedly. I wonder if it is the sort of thing that might at least open your mothers heart and to see the damage lack of acceptance does to families, even if your dad wouldn't watch it. Good luck anyway-I don't think that you should have to accept intolerance or grudging acceptance from your family.

on Netflix

olgaga Thu 07-Nov-13 13:14:03

I'd like to also point out that "Your father doesn't feel comfortable, lets leave it at that" could mean lots of things!

Why don't people speak on the phone any more?

toffeesponge Thu 07-Nov-13 13:10:43

wakemeupnow - having zero expectations of your partner is no way to live.

olgaga Thu 07-Nov-13 13:05:25

Offred, I was simply pointing out that OP needs to take into account her DMs awkward position. Forcing the issue might well make DF squirm but it won't be very satisfying in the long run if it drives a wedge between her and her DM.

Dahlen Thu 07-Nov-13 12:56:24

I guess it depends on whether you want to be the flagship for making the political personal. If you make a stand about this, you may well damage your relationship with your parents irreparably.

Assuming that your father's refusal to stay is because of your sexual orientation, his behaviour is offensive. Discrimination against someone on these grounds is actually illegal. OK, in this context, it's never going to be a legal case, but the principle stands.

If you are prepared to live by the consequences of a big blow up (i.e. accepting the fact that you may have no relationship with him in future, and your relationship with your mother may also be damaged or severed for good), I'd confront him about it.

You know him best, but if he's actually polite to your DP in her presence and prepared to actually visit you, is it perhaps a possibility that bringing this into the open and talking it to death might actually result in him having a change of heart and getting over his prejudice?

Helpyourself Thu 07-Nov-13 12:25:30

What is he like in person to your partner and DC,OP?
Would dealing with this ridiculous (but until very recently mainstream prejudice) result in throwing the baby out with the bath water?

Offred Thu 07-Nov-13 11:25:47

Yes, he has to choose. Irrational prejudice or his child IMHO.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 07-Nov-13 10:52:57

He's entitled to his feelings but he's not entitled to reject and offend his own DD out of hand. hmm If he wants to say 'I can't deal with you being gay' .. that would at least be honest.

Bonsoir Thu 07-Nov-13 10:24:21

I think you need to respect your father's feelings about not wanting to stay in your home. He is perfectly entitled to those feelings.

Offred Thu 07-Nov-13 10:22:50

And millymollymandy - that's put what I was trying to say a lot better.

Offred Thu 07-Nov-13 10:22:10

It is not an issue of compromise I think. It is an issue of behaving with respect or not.

Offred Thu 07-Nov-13 10:21:01

The op isn't responsible for her mother's choice to stay with an abusive man olgaga. That's a really unhelpful post IMHO.

I also don't think it is acceptable to tolerate homophobia by saying things like "some people just don't feel comfortable with things like this" deepfriedsage. Those people may never feel comfortable with homosexuality, they still don't get to have their prejudices enabled and tiptoed round because they are damaging and unacceptable prejudices.

Don't think you'd have said the same if the issue was racism rather than homophobia.

tribpot Thu 07-Nov-13 09:59:00

Surely if your mum were truly desperate to avoid confrontation it she would have come up with a socially plausible reason for why they couldn't come that weekend. Rather than a bald 'your father will not stay with you, end of' statement. She's not wanting to smooth it over - at least with you - she wants you to collude with her in appeasing your father's insane prejudices.

I'd be tempted to take BeCool's idea one step further and phone your father as if the conversation with your mother had never happened. Invite him to stay. And when he says no, ask him why. And then when he says it would make him uncomfortable, ask him if it's because you're gay. But at least it will be an open discussion.

olgaga Thu 07-Nov-13 09:58:33

By the sound of it, the only outcome will be that you will make life more difficult for your DM.

deepfriedsage Thu 07-Nov-13 09:54:01

I agree with a pp, they have compromised by staying in a hotel. I think some people just can't deal with certain things in your case it is sexuality. You either accept them as they are, or you cut them out.

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