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My dad is not who I thought he was

(11 Posts)
OneTooManyBathtimes Sun 16-Aug-20 20:38:53

I don't mean on a biological sense, my DNA has proved that (am tracing my great nan's father, hence doing the test) but I mean he's not the sort of person I've always seen him to me.

Growing up he's always been the parent I looked up to, confided in, and always believed him to be honest and open. Him and my mum split when I was 5. Always told me she had been abusive, and I don't doubt that because i witnessed her attack him myself.

Over the years he's always told us things about my mum, made digs at her because she had grey hair early, and as a child we found it amusing to make similar jokes about her knowing Noah, and how old she was, blah blah.

I struggle with my mum still, but accept she may actually have autism, and never diagnosed. I've done a lot of research on this and believe this is why her relationship with us hasn't always been the best. It's a struggle.

BUT recently, my dad's behaviour has shifted, or maybe come to light. He's made comments about my SiL that are downright rude, I've found him lying about stupid little things, and he refuses to even acknowledge that he's wrong. He's made my step mum cry over a painting she did (said purple wasnt in the rainbow) and my mum told me recently that he used to be the one to do all the finances because he didn't trust her.... yet took a credit card out in her name because "he didn't think he'd be able to get one using his name". I know for a fact his credit rating is piss poor still, even though he maintains he's on top of paying debts off (he's not, but doesn't like to be seen as such).

He was annoyed with my brother last year because my bro wouldn't allow him to bring his friend to the meal so he could afford it (so it would come under business expenses, as they were having a business meeting), despite being told FAMILY ONLY. His comment to me was "you'd think he'd make an exception so his dad could be there" but they'd turned their best friend and maid of honour away because they seriously only wanted family. I told my dad it was my brothers decision. Was also annoyed because had they saved up, they'd have been able to afford it, but they were able to pay for McDonald's the nights before and for breakfast....

Then my sister got married in Feb. Was supposed to be May but they changed it, and my dad was angry because it gave him less time to lose weight. It was all about him, and how he appeared, rather than the fact my sister wanted to move up north earlier as she was living with my in laws at the time because she's escaped a Bad place recently before that (she wasn't living with her fiance at the time, strict religious) (and good timing too otherwise she'd have been stuck with everything going on)

Dad and step mum both lost their jobs when covid hit. Understandable that he'd be upset, but he refuses to work for other people, even though this job was working for a friend. He took it as a personal thing, saying that his friend chose to let them both go because she doesn't actually like them (not the case, but my dad is probably just envious of her for having her own business). The way I see it is that I'm order for her to pay the people she ACTUALLY still need a, she had to let them go. Neither of them did anything NEEDED. They weren't doctors. My dad helped them reclaim unpaid bills. Step mum helped organise meetings. Both could be done by the doctors/friend.

And now my brother is getting married in Sept, and his fiance moved over here just as lockdown happened so they had enough time to get married. She lives in Norway, so her family won't be at the wedding, but they're more than ok with that, as they're happy to pay for a big party when life is easier etc. My dad on the other hand, was angry he couldn t be there. "You've done this so we won't be there you know we can't afford it." He had 8 weeks to put money aside, which could easily be done because we worked it out for him. But he's happy to spend £25x3 a week on takeaways etc. That would easily have covered their fuel to get to the wedding.

He has previously said to me and my brother that he was always good at manipulating his mum into agreeing to things. He also didn't believe me on several.occasions, despite never lying to him because I never felt I needed to do so. The lying started when he didn't believe me.

He doesn't believe that mental health is a real thing. Told me that I wasn t ill I was just pregnant, when I had severe Hyperemesis, had lost 35lbs in 6 weeks, and was suicidal because of how sick I was. Then told me all parents are tired, that's how things are, when I was again suicidal and extremely sleep deprived after just giving birth to my daughter, and my son was having sleep troubles.

He also constantly talks about me having more kids even though I never wanted some, and mentioned about us having another one THE DAY AFTER ID GIVEN BIRTH. He ignore me when I tell him not everyone feels the same way he does about kids.

Oh, and apparently it's his job as a grandparent to raise his grandchildren properly. And that the love for a grandchild is more than a love for a child.

OP’s posts: |
OneTooManyBathtimes Sun 16-Aug-20 20:49:11

I know it's long. There's a lot more.

He constantly needs approval. He's been working on a lot of things during lockdown. Paintings, wood carvings, etc etc. The need for validation is ridiculous. Always posts jokes/memes etc to get people to like on facebook, shared them in the family chat when we know he's stolen them from friends.

Oh, and his biggest fear was that he wouldn't be the favourite grandparent. But he barely interacts with them when we visit them, and talks in a stupid voice to them over video, and will try to discipline them if they play up DESPITE me just doing so beforehand, as though what I've said isn t the right thing.

He complains about his lack of a job but won't ever apply for one. Step mum will, and is happy to work. She's a very good receptionist, administrator. She had covid and is now a wreck with anxiety so isn t yet ready to leave the house for work, but will work from home. But my dad just doesn't like working for other people because he doesn't like being told what to do. Yet his own business ideas never work, because he won't take criticism etc etc. Then wonders why people don't interact, or aren't amazed at what he's done.

I just needed to vent. I don't know why he seems to have changed recently, but he obviously has always been like this and I've not noticed. But I don't like it, and don't know what to do.

OP’s posts: |
Shouldbedoing Sun 16-Aug-20 20:56:46

It sounds like the scales have fallen from.your eyes and what you see now, you can't unsee. And that's hard, because we're biologically programmed to trust and love our parents. He sounds like a very unpleasant man, to me. Try writing down these actions of his as a cold straight emotionless non judgemental list of events.
Not good, eh? I hope you have a supportive partner and friends. You need to create some distance and thinking space away from his influence. You sound very capable and kind, especially about your mother.

Dramalady52 Sun 16-Aug-20 21:21:23

I think also that you might want to review your opinion of your mothers behaviour from this angle. She may well have attacked him out of frustration at what appears to be years of controlling and gas lighting behaviour.

Els1e Sun 16-Aug-20 22:14:26

💐💐 I have nothing useful to add but hope you’re ok. I think as others have said you are seeing what is rather than what you think.

picklemewalnuts Sun 16-Aug-20 22:24:17

It's so disappointing- and disorienting- when you realise someone isn't who you thought. He may get nasty with you, when he realises you've cottoned on to who he is.

It's a clever web they weave, people like this. The narrative is always in their favour, always makes them out to be the hero. It will always be someone else's fault.

I'd try and have as little to do with him as you can, and tank a bunch of flowers to your mum.

OneTooManyBathtimes Sun 16-Aug-20 22:39:00


It's so disappointing- and disorienting- when you realise someone isn't who you thought. He may get nasty with you, when he realises you've cottoned on to who he is.

It's a clever web they weave, people like this. The narrative is always in their favour, always makes them out to be the hero. It will always be someone else's fault.

I'd try and have as little to do with him as you can, and tank a bunch of flowers to your mum.

Yes, that's exactly what its like. He's never the one at fault.

I found it hard when he praised me for going to uni and doing well, especially when he was the one that had told me I shouldn't go. He wasn t sure about my sister's husband because he'd had a mental breakdown a few years back and was worried he only wanted my sister for sex etc (weird thing when he could quite easily just go off on his own you know?? Don't understand my dad's thoughts on that)

And now with my brother and his fiance, he's said my brother is being led "astray", that she isnt clean/pure/worthy because she has had sex with someone else years before she met my brother (can you see a pattern here?) We've grown up religious, but even so I know full well I don't believe she's "unworthy/unclean". He really was rude about it. Yet he forgets we know he had a fling with a woman while he wasn t married, so there's so much hypocrisy coming from him!

OP’s posts: |
OneTooManyBathtimes Sun 16-Aug-20 22:44:57

Oh, I've been trying to mend my relationship with my mum. It's hard as we clash, and she often gets treats from me and the kids. We've also been helping her sort her debts out as she mostly got them once my dad left, and she wanted to come and visit us (we lived with my dad).

It was so strange... we'd been talking to my nan (mum's mum) and she said my dad had knocked on her door and told her he was taking over the famiky money as mum couldnt do it, but my nan found it strange because she's always known my mum to pay exactly for things, never borrowing money.

Then we've also had conflicting stories about what happened to the house they used to own, and why they changed surnames.

I think what started it off though was finding out they'd never saved my birthday money from my mum's side of the family for 5 years. When I finally got my bank account they'd set up for me there should have been 300 or so in it. There was nothing. They've never said anything, but I know they probably used it to pay bills, or food, or debts. There's no point asking now. They won't ever admit it

OP’s posts: |
picklemewalnuts Mon 17-Aug-20 08:02:42

I don't think your mum had a snowball's chance of standing up to a man like that. Everything you have heard suggests he's the one who was financially abusing her. He spent all the money, then left her taking the children.

I wonder whether the times you saw her attack him, he'd previously driven her to distraction and goaded her into it? It's quite a common pattern for an abuser to position his victim into a place where they lash out to protect themselves. The abuser then gets to play victim.

I'd be really careful of him around your children. He's already undermining you now. Seriously, keep your distance. You may need a bit of counselling to help you unravel what's gone on.

What does your husband say?

OneTooManyBathtimes Mon 17-Aug-20 10:13:02

Yeah, I wonder about that with my mum, but she herself has a temper and has used emotional blackmail with us before. I've been pretty wise to it from about the age of 14 though, and she's definitely mellowed. Neither are perfect but she definitely was misused.

DH has been a bit off with him for a few years because of a Christmas present DH had researched and bought for DF. DSM asked if we had the receipt because DH wasn't happy with it (wasn't the one he wanted). DH has basically not really bothered since then as he's put weeks of research into the present to make sure it was what he's wanted (DF is just picky and unless it's what he wants he's not happy.)

DH also snapped at DF at my sister's wedding. DF had been chiding him I'm guessing about football. DH is a Gunner, DF a Red. DH gets very defensive of the gunners. DF did apologise for upsetting him, but DH has never liked being made fun of, or joking around in that sort of way.

DH does like to try and see the good in people but he is aware of what DF is up to and is happy to stand up to him.

OP’s posts: |
Shouldbedoing Mon 17-Aug-20 17:13:26

Sounds like your DH will be a good support for you putting some distance between you and your father.

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