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To want to address past issues with my father?

(22 Posts)
Fedupofplaystation Wed 31-Dec-14 06:17:47

Or should I just accept that it's in the past and move on?
I am happy in every aspect of my life except wrt my relationship with my father. It is at the forefront of my mind atm as myself and Dbro have both recently had babies and, what I see as his 'proud Grandad routine' irks me.
He left my DMum for another woman when I was a child. He's now married to his third wife who he's been with for 10 years. Before that he had a relationship with the woman he left DMum for, followed by a rocky second marriage.
DMum never said a bad word about him during or after their split. Only if I get her drunk now will she admit how awful it was when he left and that he never paid child support - we nearly lost our home.
We saw my father regularly after the split until I stopped going as a teenager. My father will see this as him always having been there for his kids. In actual fact we were usually left with whoever he was in a relationship with at the time.
There was nothing particularly awful on his part, we were just left feeling like an afterthought. There were some worse years where, for example, they'd forget to feed us all day or my DBro's medical condition would be ignored leading to him requiring hospital treatment. Father would probably blame this on his wife at the time.
Nowadays, he likes to make a show of how proud he is of us. Buys presents at birthdays/Christmas, plasters pics of him with his grandchildren over Facebook. In reality, despite living close, we only see him a handful of times a year, usually when I arrange it.
He got married abroad so we could not attend (fine) and then went on about how great it was all the important people in his life were there.
He keeps saying he'll take DD (3) out and that I should get her excited for it. I don't, because I don't believe him.
I had severe SPD in my second pregnancy, had crutches in the house and a wheelchair for out of it. He never visited, offered any help or even asked how I was.
There are so many little things that I could write an essay. I'd love to address this with him and my ideal would be that he'd aknowledge it, apologise and make more effort in future. Would a letter be a good way to do this?
In reality, I'd find it hard to do and don't know whether it would make things worse.
I do not want to allow my DDs to be continuely disappointed by him. Would it be better to slowly reduce or stop contact?

Fedupofplaystation Wed 31-Dec-14 06:30:55

The other option would be to carry on as we are, play happy families the handful of times a year we see him and for me to just grit my teeth when he's making a show of being a doting Dad/Grandad.

JellyMould Wed 31-Dec-14 06:38:49

You won't be able to change him. You don't have to play happy families though. Take a step back from the relationship.

Eebahgum Wed 31-Dec-14 07:25:41

If I were in your situation I think I'd have a go at writing a letter to get it off your chest.

loveisagirlnameddaisy Wed 31-Dec-14 07:43:09

I have things I'd like to say to my mother but I don't think I'd get the outcome I'm looking for. She wouldn't accept what I was saying and I imagine would end up behaving like the injured party. I would then have a damage limitation job on my hands as I know I wouldn't want to be estranged from her.

Think long and hard about what you want to say, what you'd like his response to be and how you'd deal with any possible fallout. It may be enough to write a letter that you show to your husband or close friend and then destroy.

Asleeponasunbeam Wed 31-Dec-14 07:43:25

This sounds so, so similar to my relationship with my dad, even down to how DM never said a bad word about him and the proud grandparent thing once mine and DBs children were born.

My dad died suddenly 18 months ago. I had counselling last year - i found a therapist myself, it wasn't an NHS thing as I'd been failed by that so much before. I didn't arrange the counselling to talk about my dad, it was actually to help with some difficulties with DD. But it turned out that he was all I talked about. And it was too late to have an effect on our relationship. I wish I'd been able to have some good counselling before (I had plenty of very bad counselling!).

A PP is right, you won't change him. But you might change how you feel about him. I learned to stop blaming myself and how my current reactions to situations were rooted in those early experiences. I didn't want to pass on those sorts of behaviours to my own DC, so I worked through some difficult stuff.

If you can afford it and can find someone you like, I'd recommend giving it a go.

BoomBoomsCousin Wed 31-Dec-14 07:44:52

I have a somewhat similar father. I have never tried addressing it with him, but A few years ago I decided I just wouldn't feed or accept his version of his great parenting anymore. So now I am call him out when he makes any sort of allusion to having been good atarenting (or even relationships generally). It's quite freeing but does mean I am sometimes downright rude to him. Which might not be something you're up for.

Asleeponasunbeam Wed 31-Dec-14 07:45:16

I have to admit that his funeral, full of people who'd benefitted from his kindness and generosity, that DB and I had never experienced, was the most difficult day of our lives so far. But we're okay with it now .

TestingTestingWonTooFree Wed 31-Dec-14 07:50:29

I agree that you're very unlikely to change him. You need to find a way to live with him, even if that's reducing his contact/challenging his bullshit. Counselling does sound like a good idea to help with this.

Fedupofplaystation Wed 31-Dec-14 08:58:14

The worst of the bullshit is spread all over Facebook, so challenging it would be very public and public drama is not really 'me'.
I find it particularly irritating when my father's wife texts me to remind me that it's Father's Day etc.
I honestly think I'd be happier if we went NC and I blocked them on Facebook, but as I've never actually raised any of this, it would seem out of the blue to them, and probably would be unfair.

angelohsodelight Wed 31-Dec-14 09:04:23

Ignore Father's Day if you want. Write a letter explaining how you feel with examples of his fuck ups. But be prepared for him to ignore it or just blame you. Might be better to stop seeing him.

BoomBoomsCousin Wed 31-Dec-14 10:04:59

There is nothing "unfair" about an honest reaction to you bio-father never having been a father in any other sense. If NC would improve your life then go NC, you don't owe him a relationship in adulthood that he didn't foster in your youth. But at the same time, you probably want to be sure that is what you want. It can burn bridges and if you later change your mind you may not be able to go back on it. (My own father had a child, my half-sister, in my 30s. I'm glad I'm able to be in touch with her, which wouldn't be easy if I'd gone NC).

But think about what you can get out of any action and what it will do for you. When I have thought about all this sort of thing, what I really want is for him to not just admit he was useless, but to understand how he was selfish and how what he did wasn't enough and to apologise and really mean it. But he's not going to do that. Ever. And what I really need is, as a previuos poster mentioned, to understand how my reactions to his role in my life drive my current actions and to find tools to stop that from damaging my life. And I don't think anything to do with him (NC or a conversation, or anything else) would do what I need. If he apologised today and meant it, I would still, for instance, have a propensity to equate material giving with caring. What I have needed to mend my life is to work on me, not him.

pumpkinsweetie Wed 31-Dec-14 10:13:53

I have a similar relationship with my DF now, unfortunetly though i suck it up and realise this is my lot. It's either that or nothing, we can only try so much.

I know my father loves me, and he isn't the worst father, in his own way he trys the very best he can i guess. But sometimes i wish he would put others on the backburner (friends, aqquintances, wifes fam) to spend some more time with his own daughter. But in reality it's a wish that will probably never come true.

I have thought like you op, could i do this, could i do that, but at the end of the say like a pp said, you cannot change him, just like i cannot change my father and it has taken me a very long time to accept this is the way it will be.
Would love to get to know him better, but it would mean a fallout in me airing my grievances of his fondace of others before me.

43percentburnt Wed 31-Dec-14 10:42:42

It sounds like he plasters public displays showing him as a proud grandfather is just for public viewing. It's how he feels he should be seen by the world.

I would ask him, in person, why he thought it was okay not to pay child support. I think this is a totally reasonable question to ask him. I would be tempted to ask it in front of his wife as this may stop her Father's Day texts etc and show her who he truly is. I think his response may prompt further questions from you.

pumpkinsweetie Wed 31-Dec-14 10:52:28

Although mine doesn't do Fb

Kirk1 Wed 31-Dec-14 11:33:44

Stop doing the running. If he wants to plaster pics of him being "Ideal Grandad" let him make the arrangements with you.

That way you aren't putting effort into a relationship that is all one sided. You'll see less of him but at least the irritation of being the one doing all the running will be less.

newyearsresolutionsnotforme Wed 31-Dec-14 11:40:55

In reality you won't get anything good back, that's the way it is with selfish, self-absorbed people like this. What you might get back, if anything, would be him making himself the victim of it all.

Generally the people that shout the loudest-be it best grandad, greatest dad, mum etc.- really aren't the best. They just believe if they shout loud enough then they'll convince everyone else, and then they may be able to convince themselves.

Reduce contact, just don't bother with him-let him come to you. If he says he wants to come and see you just say 'let us know dates when you are free and we'll see if we are'. Make it always he that does the running- then you'll know the truth about him and won't feel so bad when he bullshits everyone. Take him off facebook or unfollow. Remove the 'tagging ability' so he can't tag you without your permission and enjoy being free from a one sided relationship.

This frustration and hurt you are feeling...you really don't want to pass that onto your children for them to feel it towards your father. Better that he's not there then acts like a broken record and yoyo.

newyearsresolutionsnotforme Wed 31-Dec-14 11:42:26

In regards to the wife texting I would block her number tbh, or if you don't want to go that far then text back 'I'm aware, thank you'. You don't need to send him a card or call him if he was no parent to you.

Viviennemary Wed 31-Dec-14 11:49:06

I don't think there is a lot to be gained by this addressing issues business. He isn't going to see it from your point of view if he hasn't up till now. I agree with taking a step back. Maybe deep down he is feeling guilty.

LittleMilla Wed 31-Dec-14 11:51:21

very similar father here too. his second marriage is in the process of collapsing and I'm his only support.

very weird that he's finally acknowledging after so many years what he's done wrong (he's a boozer). I'm finding the whole thing quite hard tbh and contemplating finding a counseller to help me best manage my feelings and this change in relationship.

I'm sure it's all just bravado and deep down he knows he's messed up. luckily for me (sort of) my dad is finally seeing a counsellor himself so is at the age of 61, finally able to articulate his feelings etc.

saying that, he's a fckn mess right now so I'm not quite sure what our future holds.

Hedgesinthewind Wed 31-Dec-14 12:12:39

Oh my father did/does that sort of thing. We have a polite & friendly, but distant, relationship. He reaps what he sows. My mother didn't divorce him when she should have (when I was 2 and he had his first affair) but stayed with him until I was in my 30s precisely because she knew he'd be appalling about child support & money generally. And in those days there weren't the benefit supports that there are now.

Your father sounds like a dick. Sorry -- I speak from having to put up with a similar sort.

One simple solution could be not to be FB friends with your father maybe?

nooyearnooname Wed 31-Dec-14 12:33:05

Watching this with interest…I have a similar issue with my mum. We have a good / amicable relationship as adults, but she was emotionally absent pretty much throughout my childhood and when she remarried when I was 14, couldn’t wait for us to leave home so she could ‘get on with her life’, which equated to putting her new husband’s needs above her childrens on almost every level from the time she met him.

She has repainted history in her mind, but I haven’t forgiven her and probably never will, and she refuses to acknowledge the past or starts crying if I try and raise it with her. She’s alone now and seems to think it’s my place to ‘look after her’ and make sure she's not lonely…….and I absolutely don’t. You reap what you sow I’m afraid…..I have no desire to cut her off or go NC with her, but there is a limit to the support I’m willing to give her and the time I'm willing to spend with her, and that’s the price she pays for the past. However getting that across to her is a whole different kettle of fish!

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