to think I am losing my Dad - v long sorry(15 Posts)
I am a grown up only child with one DD aged 11. My childhood was very difficult with an alcoholic, abusive mother and a kind but weak father. My mum died some years ago. My dad was already living with someone else and they subsequently married. I always got on very well with his second wife. She died a couple of years ago.
My dad has got married again and she is now trying to stop him seeing me altogether. They are both c80 years old.
I have always felt wary of his new wife - she is very different to me, extremely critical, on the lookout for something to take offence to and doesn't have good relationships with her own children's partners. As my Dad said in her eyes you are either for her or totally against her. Despite my doubts about her, I have never said a bad word about her to my dad. He had some doubts before he got married but I held my tongue. She has said nasty stuff about his second wife but I have not repeated this to him - I did challenge her about it though.
I have really tried to build a relationship. Things between us all seemed to be OK with them coming over to ours and vv. However, over the summer contact became less frequent and the few times I have seen my dad recently I have been told that his wife has made various accusations about me or my DP/DD. All of this is really trivial stuff (eg my DD was rude - she is a shy 11yo, my DP is rude or has stared at her, I have been curt once) and the accusations keep changing. I have thought back, examined my conscience and genuinely can't think of how or why she is saying this.
She is now accusing me of trying to break up their marriage and trying to stop my dad seeing me altogether. Anything I do is seen as wrong. She has successfully stopped my dad coming to see me a number of times recently. She checks all his emails. If we talk on the phone she is listening in and my Dad is obviously scared of saying the wrong thing so just says yes or no. So, I avoid phoning.
I feel she is trying to bully my dad into choosing between us. I have begged him not to feel he has to. He wants an agreement where he can see me once a month and talk on the phone once a week. He is deeply religious and is asking the local priest to provide advice. I will go and see the priest soon.
My dad is quite wealthy and I have always been his sole beneficiary. When my mum died he got their house which he sold even though they were separated. I didn't get any money at the time. At new wife's behest they are now thinking of moving to a different country where the inheritance laws are different and she stands to inherit a substantial amount automatically regardless of what his will says. (his second wife left all her money/her share of the joint home to her relatives - so that's not an issue).
He recently tried to set up a power of attorney so I would have control over his finances if he lost his marbles. New wife is objecting and is now trying to force him to change that - not sure where that will end. My dad is 80, tired and just wants a quiet life. I can forsee him hardly seeing me or his GD or complete alienation. I can also forsee him coming under pressure to change his will. This is so distressing. Part of me wonders if I should ask him now for my Mum's share and then he can do whatever with his money.
Would I be unreasonable to do so?
Sorry this is so long - it's like a victorian melodrama!
Wow - he is indeed a very, very weak man.
And I think its very mean too that you didn't get at least a little something when your mum died.
Prepare yourself for battle, i think. It sounds like his current wife is looking to secure all his assets and you may well end up with nowt.
i can think of two women I know in your exact situation and they ended up with zero. Man up, get yourself a good solicitor, stake your claim and get your entitlements.
I don't know what your legal rights are in regards to inheritance. I guess the issue I see is if you're going to lose him emotionally if you focus on that aspect.
I think you'll have to choose between your inheritance and your dad.
yes, he is very weak - he should have protected me as a child and didn't. That particular legacy has stayed with me all my life. This is very upsetting for him now though and I can see it is tearing him apart. I'm in bits too.
I have no legal right to ask for my Mum's share - it's far too long ago. Nor is there anything I can do now legally to protect anything. He can do what he wants.
I am very worried about the move abroad. No access to the NHS for a start. Am urging him to get proper tax and legal etc advice about all the implications in the hope he may see sense. I've not spelt out the issues re the different inheritance laws as I suspect this will be repeated then used against me.
I can forsee losing both him and any inheritance. My only thought now is to ask him for my mum's share now so I don't lose everything but even that is risky as I suspect that would be used as evidence against me meaning he would be forced to cut off all contact. I am extremely reluctant to ask him and feel very uncomfortable even thinking it.
I don't think you can mention inheritance issues without it being used against you. I would concentrate on explaining to your dad that you are worried about a move abroad because of practical reasons such as access to healthcare, difficulty in family providing any help if he needed it, etc. Could you talk to his priest and explain your concerns?
I do sympathise, my DF is also married to a domineering second wife, albeit in no way as bad as your SM but I know he would choose her over me and his only DGC in a flash.
From the little you have said, I can't help wonder if he is being psychologically and financially abused.
There is a lot of information here www.elderabuse.org.uk/Mainpages/Abuse/abuse.html, perhaps you could try ringing their helpline for advice. The move abroad is especially concerning.
I think you need to keep this simple. Bake a batch of cookies, write a 'sorry' card through gritted teeth and call at the house. Don't arrange a time that can be cancelled, just arrive. And do that once a week/fortnight. Be silky smooth with her when you are there. If she has a problem with it, talk seriously to your dad and the priest about being bullied, because that's what it is. To sum up, I would ignore the row that she's trying to cause to normalise the split - if you are thick-skinned and beyond reproach, her behaviour will seem more unbalanced.
It's Ireland. The irish healthcare system has suffered drastic cutbacks and I don't think he would have much access on a long term/permanent basis. (he wants to avoid the irish tax system so may try not to be resident - all a complete nightmare)
I will definitely talk to his priest and explain my concerns especially about the attempts to force him to choose between us. I am hoping that the priest will at least support a commitment to see me once a month and talk once a week but that will only apply in the UK). That said, the priest has been reported as saying some things such as new wife is his first priority now (implying he should choose) and that daughters often have difficult relationships with their fathers. So want to look him in the eye and explain things.
Thanks for link re elder abuse. I do think this is putting cruel, unjustifiable pressure on my Dad so I will talk to them. He's certainly very upset but I can see him bowing to the pressure. Other than this issue, he describes her as the perfect wife.
Blankety I do think this has gone beyond the cookies and sorry stage though I do understand completely where you're coming from.
They have been over to ours (and vv) numerous times in the past and I have made a huge effort but am now being told (the allegations change all the time) that one or other of us has been rude (my DD, DP or me). I have looked back and simply can't think of a thing/trigger. I don't see that I have anything to apologise for and if I do I'm concerned that would be used against me and it would still continue.
I have thought of just turning up - not easy as it is an hour away - but know this could just result in an awful row. I know she would have a go. I don't want to put my dad through that.
I will try and talk to priest for now. Some of the stuff in the elder abuse sounds so familiar.
He does sound vulnerable, as well as weak.
I know you said it has gone past the turning up with cookies stage, but if you are there being nice to your dad it will give you chance to have 5 mins with her at some point and steer the conversation around to an admittance that she is trying to keep you away so she can have his inheritance, of course your phone will be on voice record so you will have your evidence and then need to decide what to do with it
Yes I know it's gone past turning up with cookies. But realistically your dad is unlikely to feel he's in a position to 'choose' you, especially if the priest counsels him to make his marriage a priority. Therefore a thick-skinned approach and refusing to engage is probably the only way you're going to get to see your dad. If that isn't worth it for you - and I can understand why it might not be - I don't think there's likely to be another way.
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