Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Those of you who grew up not seeing your dad

(35 Posts)
Molly333 Fri 11-Mar-16 22:58:45

Hi I would appreciate any feedback from how your life panned out and how you emotionally coped please . The train being my children hvnt seen their dad for about four years , he of course tell everyone he's desperate to see them but in reality he can't be bothered and has let them down spectacularly as well as abusive . So I know they are best not seeing him but I can tell they still feel sad and different

Bailey101 Fri 11-Mar-16 23:00:52

I've seen mine once (at a funeral) in 25 years. Not having him around has never hindered me in the slightest and I am certainly not emotionally damaged by his absence.

WeeHelena Fri 11-Mar-16 23:09:31

I think 100% absence is better and healthier than an unhealthy sporadic one.

My df died when I was very young but somehow even though I missed out I think it's better than the possibility of having a totally disinterested or emotional inept one.

Pinkheart5915 Fri 11-Mar-16 23:13:17

My dad left my mum for another woman when I was 12 he saw me on a Saturday for a month after than then just stopped coming no contact. His other woman was pregnant so I guess he choose them over us.

I am now 25 and have no contact with him and I am fine, I have my own home and a dance studio, am married to a lovely man, have a ds 6 months old and another on the way. I have an amazing relationship with my mum. I am happy

My baby brother was 8 when he left he is fine also, has no contact with dad either. Brother is a chef in London with a nice flat and he has a good life.

My sister was 10 when he left again is fine she works for a magazine in New York.

I think it's better to have one parent that loves you more than anything and puts you first. Than having two when one of them doesn't want to be there

SchnooSchnoo Fri 11-Mar-16 23:13:52

It's not the worst thing that has happened to me! Yes, it's come with its emotional baggage, but i feel pretty over it, and have done for years. I had sporadic contact with him during adulthood. He died last year, and I did feel said that I felt I never really knew him, he was never really there for me, but there you go!

Molly333 Fri 11-Mar-16 23:24:36

Thank for your replies it's helping loads . I worry they will want to see him and will be let down again one day x

Tomboyinatutu Fri 11-Mar-16 23:27:28

My dad was gone before I was born. I have a really close relationship with my mum and I never felt like I missed out and I wasn't bothered about friends who had their dads around. My son hadnt seen his dad in four years until recently, he met him once and then told me he doesn't want to see him again and hasnt mentioned him since. I think it affects some children more than others

Friendlystories Fri 11-Mar-16 23:38:28

Never met mine, he left my mum when she was pregnant with me for another woman and never pursued contact. I'd be a liar if I said it didn't affect me growing up, I wondered what was wrong with me that made him not want to know me. I had no confidence with men as a young woman and made some pretty shit choices because I was pathetically desperate to be loved and rid myself of that 'must be something wrong with me' feeling. Having said all that I can see as an adult (and having been told some stuff by my mum and other relatives which wouldn't have been appropriate for me to know as a child) that he was, in fact, a selfish arse who would have contributed nothing good to my life or upbringing if he had bothered to stick around. Despite the fact that his absence did cause some damage to my self esteem I honestly think his presence would have caused more, I think I ended up with the lesser of two evils. Unfortunately I'm not sure there's any way to prevent a child feeling the lack of a parent, especially when that parent actively chooses not to be in their life, my mum filled the gap as well as any parent could have but I still felt rejected. I wish I could tell you your children won't be affected by not seeing their dad but the truth is they probably will, what I will say is that you have more ability to judge, as an adult who has their best interests at heart, whether seeing him would in fact be even worse. My mum didn't stop him seeing me and DB but she didn't chase him to have contact with us either, with hindsight I'm glad and I think I've ended up a fairly well adjusted adult even if it took me a little longer than some people to get there. I'm sorry if my experience isn't 100% positive but I'm not sure this kind of situation is ever black and white, ultimately though if your DC's father isn't actively pursuing contact that probably tells you all you need to know about what kind of dad he would be, if you have to pursue him and 'persuade' him to see them they're probably better off without him.

bbpp Fri 11-Mar-16 23:50:28

My dad was abusive and refused to see me when my mum ran away with me. I never missed him, although as I got older father's day would upset me when you see posts like 'Your dad is the one person who will always stick up for you!' etc, as I missed out on that. There was a period from about 8-12 where I felt quite abandoned. I thought 'if my dad doesn't even love me why would anyone'

I know for a fact though my life has been much better without him. There might have been wobbles and thoughts and 'what ifs', but he was a twat, and I guess what I wanted was a good dad, not my dad.

I met him again when I was 18 because I'd been curious, and a few weeks after the company which collects child maintenance (I've completely forgot what it's called) contacted him because he'd not paid any at all. So he insulted me, gave death threats and ran off the France, apparently hmm. It is possible they'll want to see him in the future but I didn't find it upsetting, really, it was a closure, 'yep, he is definitely a dick'

SoThatHappened Fri 11-Mar-16 23:57:29

Very sporadic and unhealthy. Mum didnt want us seeing him. He said he did but never bothered.

Mum didnt help by telling lies and denigrating him encouraging us to call him shit bag and other horrible names.

Mum was a nut job herself. I got two parents who never once put their child's best interests first.

titchy Fri 11-Mar-16 23:59:47

Never been that bothered tbh. Had a bike and apparently told people that was more useful smile

bbpp Sat 12-Mar-16 00:08:06

OK reading other's posts got a couple more things to say. the 'If my dad doesn't love me why would anyone' does stick around, and is quite damaging to self esteem, it was just most upsetting at 8-12. You need to be making clear that it's not anything about them, they're wonderful. And actually I'd say when I got into 14-16 I was quite needy (and a bit obsessive and weird) with relationships, wanting people to like me and always assuming that they didn't. Could have been to do with my dad, could have just been me. I'll never really know.

I don't think you should talk very badly about him either. My mum really tried not to but if she did I found it quite upsetting, part of me is him after all. It was quite insulting in a way, and I'd rather have not spoke about him at all.

OhForCodsHake Sat 12-Mar-16 00:16:13

SoThatHappenedthanks

Whendoigetadayoff Sat 12-Mar-16 00:19:33

Never met my dad who left mum when I was few months old. No contact nothing and he's now dead. Yes it affected relationships when older but only in that I've always been seen as v independent and that's not ideal In a two way relationship. Hard when was kid cos in those days no one was in my situation but by time I was teen lots couples splitting and the damage for pals then was worse than for me. I'd never known dad, never had to have the upheavals of friends moving house and needing to do alternate weekends at dads pad or get used to step siblings or step parents etc.
Biggest impact it has had is than when split with my DC dad I was determined we stay on good terms and kids wouldn't find it harder than needed to.
Everyone's home life different. I know ole th folk with terrible parental reltionships because of treatment or generation gap or disinterest or distance.

weegiemum Sat 12-Mar-16 00:30:13

for me it wasn't my dad, it was my mum. She moved 500 miles away and then to the south of France.

Funny enough I'm nc now.

Some parents just don't care. I'd rather keep her emotional baggage away from my dc. My dad and stepmum are gloriously great grandparents! My stepmum (since i was 15) is my mum, in my book!

LadyCassandra Sat 12-Mar-16 00:38:40

Interesting as I have been talking about this with my sister recently. My dad left when I was 8 and she was 4. He saw us every fortnight because he had to and we always felt like we were in the way. Our relationship with him now is practically non-existent and we both talked about how it may have been easier if he'd abandoned us completely rather than what he did. I think it has all come to the surface because our kids are a similar age to us then, and we can't imagine either of our husbands doing what he did. Our DM made sure we never thought it was our fault and she is now reaping the benefits of being a good mum.

WeiAnMeokEo Sat 12-Mar-16 00:58:39

My dad left my mum for her friend before I was born, and the moved to the opposite end of the country where they had my half brother a few years later. I had contact through letters, then met him when I was 16.

My mum was always careful not to slate him to me, but the wider family were obviously not his biggest fan. I take after him a lot both physically and psychologically, so I always felt like I was on the outside of her family whenever I felt or reacted in a way they couldn't understand and Ideveloped a complex about that. ThIs got significantly worse when she married my stepdad, who was emotionally abusive. I had a lot of the issues PPs mention - desparation to be loved leading to poor romantic relationship choices, crippling anxiety around not being liked which affected all my relationships and also led to me just not having any sense of self really.

My dad's wide also saw me as a threat to her family so contact with all of them, including my half brother, has been strained. They've now separated so I am hoping my relationship with my dad can improve a little.

Despite all this, I am continuing to work theough the issues and I feel like my experiences have made me who I am. I guess the only thing I'd change in my situation would be having a really solid mother figure who didn't compromise her chil d's well being (however unwittingly) for her own romantic relationship. I think that would've made a huge difference.

amarmai Sat 12-Mar-16 01:27:06

whichever way you go-stay or ltb - it's going to have repercussions. Women often lay the blame for the _ve repercussions on themselves and of course so do others ,but there is now way to know it wd have been better if you had done the opposite and it's never just 1 person's fault. So accept the unavoidable fact that nothing and no one is perfect. Whichever way you choose there are +ve s and _ves. In the end , if you can say you tried your best and yes you made mistakes,you did well . If your dcc want to see their father and he is willing, let them . That way they can come to their own conclusions about him and you can guide them not to blame themselves.

HormonalHeap Sat 12-Mar-16 08:28:07

Such a useful thread, thank you. I live with it every day, always wondering what's the best way to stop my two dcs blaming themselves for their dad's absolute lack of interest or involvement. Unfortunately they can see how my dh (their stepdad) dotes on his kids, so they can't help but wonder what they have done/not done to deserve it.

I think a lot is down to the child's temperament. My dd 18 got the measure of him years ago and has now completely detached. She knows in her head the fault lies with her dad not her, but has no confidence in her looks or ability to attract guys. Ds15 still makes an effort with his dad, saying nothing when he doesn't show up/doesn't hear from him for months, just suffering in silence. It's hell.

GlitteryShoes Sat 12-Mar-16 08:32:32

I have had very little relationship with my dad since I was 8 and I genuinely don't think about it unless a specific issue crops up. I have still made good relationships as an adult, I've been married nearly 20 years and am a foster carer so deal with lots of types of families. I think as long as someone cares, children will be ok. The one thing I wish had been different was my mum used to really bad mouth my dad and I felt I had to take sides. If she had been neutral, it would have been easier for me ( though everything she said was true)

ddeemummy Sat 12-Mar-16 08:49:54

Have had very little contact with my dad since I was about 14. Spent most my teenage years confused and insecure. Think its been a big factor in my depression ive had on and off since I was 16. I obviously felt very jealous of my friends still do a bit but having my own family has put things into perspective. Im relieved my kids wont have to go through it as Husband is so dedicated to them. Its funny though I spent years as a child seeing him been abusive then when he finally went spent years missing him.

Husbands dad died when he was 4. Hes been very effected by it but again since having family of his own hes happier in himself. His mum remarried when he was10 and has never been able to form any bond with step dad. They get on ok now but even when I first met Dh he resented him.

Zaurak Sat 12-Mar-16 10:14:37

My father left when I was young (affair, DV etc) and the courts forced access. There then followed over a decade of emotionally abusive behaviour, weird shit like kidnap threats, late night death threats etc along with all the usual grubby things like badmouthing our mother etc.

As soon as I was able I stopped seeing him. He never followed up contact.

Fifteen years after that he tracked me down and I got a long, self pitying monologue about how he'd always longed to see us, your bloody mother, etc etc. He now wants me back in his life as I've had a child.

He will see my son over my dead body, frankly. There is absolutely no way I want that cowardly abusive bag of shit anywhere near us.

Anyway, in answer to your op, yes, it had an effect. Luckily I have a wonderful stepfather who is all the good things my father is not.
This may be controversial but I think my mother tried really hard to not slag my after off to us. She really did make an effort to make sure we had s relationship. This is the PC thing to do but honestly it would have been better for me to just have heard it straight. Whatever you do make sure your kids know they're loved at home and that absolutely none of this is their failt

LobsterQuadrille Sat 12-Mar-16 16:08:31

My ex H left when I was pregnant. DD is 18 and has never had any contact with him although he did email her last year, out of the blue. She wasn't interested although I told her (and meant it) that it was entirely up to her - it's been easy enough because he lives overseas and hasn't been involved in any way. Much worse, as PP have said, would have been continual broken promises or sporadic contact. DD has always known she has one house, one committed parent and a lovely paternal grandmother whom we see and speak to regularly.

The real effect on DD is that she sees men as being slightly superfluous in general. She has always been extremely opposed to my having a relationship with any man and has done her level best to frighten them off (and there have only been two). The weirdest thing she ever said to me was several years ago and it was that she'd always hoped that ex H and I would get back together ..... bearing in mind she wouldn't know him if he passed her in the street and the small fact that he's remarried with two children ...

TimeToMoveOnNow Sat 12-Mar-16 16:59:32

Well your DC have a massive advantage over me in having a a parent who cares about how they might feel about this and how it will affect them OP so I would say that they should do OK flowers.

I didn't see my dad from the ages of 7-38, nor any of his family such as my grandparents. My mother was very bitter about him leaving her and I suffered for being most like him (NOT) so was scapegoated and badly abused by her and my siblings. I used to dream that my dad would come and rescue me from them (I was a 'daddy's girl' before he left). He didn't of course and was pretty disinterested when I finally 'found' him as an adult as he had a new family.

It has affected me massively. As a child due to my mother's abuse but also the 2nd 'rejection' as an adult.

I think as long as you don't bad mouth him (sure you don't), make sure the DC know it's not their fault he can't be arsed to see them and that they know that you are there for them unconditionally, then you are doing a very good job.

confusion77 Sat 12-Mar-16 18:41:57

Parents split when I was 3, dad had affair with mums 'friend'. Saw him weekends for a few years then we moved a 2 hrs drive again. He never came to us. I occasionally saw him maybe once a year. He too chose wife over us.

I had some time in my teens where it really bothered me. I would drive myself to visit other relatives and he would never turn up.

I have had though, the most amazing step dad anyone could wish for.

Dad reappeared aft er a 30 ish yr absence. Wife had kicked him out. I don't feel anything other then a bit sorry for him. Lonely old man.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now