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So was my father 'just a sperm donor' so therefore I was not entitled to want to meet him?

(37 Posts)
BubbleGirl01 Tue 20-Jan-15 19:00:24

My father left my mother when I was around 5. I did not see him again from the age of around 7/8 until I was 38.

Contact with him was cut after we moved 200 miles away due to my stepfather's job (and I do believe my mother intentionally moved to cut contact especially as she did not tell my father we were moving!)

I do have some memories of him of him doing fatherly things and of visiting after the divorce and I have always had the sense that I was very close to him and was completely devastated by him 'abandoning' me which of course I could not/was not allowed to articulate as a child especially as my mother hated his guts and would not countenance so much as his name being mentioned. He told me he changed my nappies, fed me, taught me to ride a bike etc.

My mother was disgusted that I wanted to meet him a few years back (due to having DCs of my own and always wondering about him and whether he was alive) and declared that he had had no impact on my life at all neither did their very nasty divorce apparently and said he was no more than a 'sperm donor' and referred to him as my 'biological father only'. This was something that contributed massively to her cutting contact with me completely amongst other stuff.

I have not been able to forge a relationship with my father as an adult as it really is too late now. I didn't have any trust in him as he was demonised by mother and I guess I was a bit scared of getting involved/my DC getting involved as my mother accused him of violence during their marriage although he disputes that and my mother certainly was not scared of him as I remember her screaming obscenities at him.

He moved on, has been married to his 2nd wife for over 25 years and brought up her children and I can't get past my bitterness about that as he did not financially support us despite having quite a lot of money and that's something he wanted to conveniently forget when I met him a few years ago.

I still have a lot of guilt in my 'betrayal' of my mother though and sometimes late at night irrationally think that I was in the wrong to want to meet him and open the can of worms that I did, especially as my siblings agree with my mother, that I did a 'disgusting' thing hmm.

I do think he was more than a 'sperm donor' though and portraying him as that massively minimises the feelings that I had for him and the impact the 'loss' of him had on me. AIBU?

2rebecca Tue 20-Jan-15 19:10:02

I think parents often aren't very grown up in the immediate aftermath of divorce and often don't put the children first.
Of course he wasn't just a sperm donor, hemarried your mother and lived with your mother until you were 5 and sounds as though he was pushed away by your mother rather than cutting off contact.
Yes he could have paid towards rearing you but many men who have a difficult relationship with their ex see the money as money being paid to their ex not money for their child and that colours their actions.
It sounds as though your father could have done more to try and keep up contact but if your mother hated him that much she could have made that very difficult for him.
It sounds as though your mother is still putting herself and her feelings about her exhusband above your needs and feelings here. If I was your stepfather I'd be concerned that she still has such strong feelings for him and doesn't seem to have moved on.
You haven't betrayed your mother, I think your mother betrayed your needs and interests.

HerRoyalNotness Tue 20-Jan-15 19:10:35

No you are not. And if I didn't know better, I'd ask if you were my sister?!

I have a similar tale. A mother hell bent on breaking contact with my bio father. Tales of domestic abuse (which my aunts can't believe, but I suspect, yes, there was some of it), refusing to let my father give me a teddy one xmas after they split up. No contact whatsoever between us, until he found us when he was 50 as he'd had a heart attack and wanted to reach out.

He sent a letter to my mother's home, addressed to me, and for me, which she opened to ensure he hadn't written any "rubbish". It turns out after I met him, it was her that was full of rubbish! Like lying to him about getting my stepdad to adopt me by saying he was a Dr and he would pay for private school and we would share in his estate. All lies, my stepdad was very much a working class tradesman.

I think in some aspects, she wanted us apart so she could a) control me b) so that I didn't find out she was untruthful c) prevent my choosing to live with him

I don't think of him as my father (met mid 20s) as he was not there. He didn't contribute financially either, but that's a little hard as he had no idea where we were, and then we were adopted so his obligations stopped with that. I'm glad I met him, but viewed him as part of the extended family, he had 2 more DC, and a lovely wife, and I often think how great it would have been to have them as I was growing up. They were quite upset when I told them about my upbringing (which wasn't terrible by any stretch), but was filled with little love, criticism, control and manipulation.

JoanHickson Tue 20-Jan-15 19:16:16

I was dragged through a bitter divorce. My ex and CSA what a joke. He doesn't see the dc. I probably bring him up more than the dc. I tell them history they forgot and things he did, mostly good, often benign and sometimes bad. None of us are perfect he loves people he lives with and forgers those he doesn't, did the same to his parents. They are not sperm donars, they are Men with issues who loved the children and now have a warped way of being a nrp.

LittleBairn Tue 20-Jan-15 19:26:01

This is very similar to my fathers history. His mum first abandoned all her children for a couple of years then swooped back in taking my father with her to the other end of the country and then blackened his name.
For many years while my father was suspicious of her tales (she is toxic and was extremely abusive) he also wondered why his father didn't try harder for contact and paying child maintance.

Once he built a closer relationship with his older siblings the truth really came out but by that point, like you have found yourself, it was too late for a proper relationship.
But over the years they did keep in friendly contact which they both came to value. He died recently and I get the impression my father is glad he did manage to build a friendly relationship with him even if it wasn't a fatherly one.
There was no bitterness and regret in the end but my dad did take many years to accept that the past couldn't be changed and let go of his resentment.

He seemed a nice man but I do very correct people he wasn't my grandfather, that title belongs to my step-grandfather.

fedupbutfine Tue 20-Jan-15 20:06:56

Yes he could have paid towards rearing you but many men who have a difficult relationship with their ex see the money as money being paid to their ex not money for their child and that colours their actions

please don't make excuses for parents who refuse to financially support their children. There is no excuse - other than the other parent disappearing without a trace and not opening a case with the CSA. You cannot say you cared about your children if you didn't give two hoots about whether their basic needs were met and you really don't care if you're not prepared to contribute. I think few things in life are black and white - most of the time things are a murky shade of grey - but the non-payment of maintenance is huge and is always, always inexcusable.

grocklebox Tue 20-Jan-15 20:12:31

If he had wanted to see you or pay towards your upbringing, he could have done so. Blame her for some of it, but you can't keep away a parent who wants to be with, certainly not so easily.
Perhaps dismissing her account of the marriage (she says there was violence, you deny it, not really your place to do so) and looking for him when he never bothered with you felt like a rejection of her?

ApocalypseThen Tue 20-Jan-15 20:17:24

I'd also add that perhaps if he's not really making the effort now, it might give you some insight into his behavior then.

I'm sorry. I know these remarks are hard to read.

BouleSheet Tue 20-Jan-15 20:30:16

My dh has a dd. She's grown up and they have a tricky - distant relationship. Her mother definitely stood firmly in the way of their relationship. Unless he agreed to see her when and as often as her mother wanted he was not allowed to see her. To the point of hiding in their house when he called/driving away like a robbery heist when he came to visit. He lived abroad so every visit was well planned in advance and all his holiday time was used up in his visits to see his dd. Yet I would not be surprised if she thinks he never bothered. He always paid for her though the amount depended on his own income which was not always steady but then it was never declared by her and in later years she tried to claim that he had never paid a penny. It's possible his DD thinks that he never did. Now I have been married to dh for 21 years, he is not an angel but he is a very good and loving dad to our children. He would have been the same to his first child but without any support. His own upbringing was lacking in parental guidance so he does get things wrong but his intentions are good. Unfortunately emotions get in the way of better judgement and her mother believed that dh was not good enough for her or her dd (she left) and she was very very angry about something (how her life had turned out/what a disappointment dh was). Maybe with good reason. I would say that they both failed their dd - along with two sets of grandparents who could have been more supportive. It's a shame but nobody's perfect and some people are less perfect in some situations than others and you came off worst in that situation. Maybe you need to come to terms with the fact that it all went awry through no fault of yours and that your parents probably started out with better intentions than they finished up with. My dh was advised by two different counsellers to "let go" of his dd. Their point being that all the angst in the world was not going to change his ex's feelings towards him and ultimately she couldn't be made to co-operate better. He didn't give up but really he might as well have for all the difference it made to his dd's attitude towards him. She is certainly predisposed to be disappointed in and disapproving of him.

JoanHickson Tue 20-Jan-15 20:34:57

I believe the psychiatrist told my ex to leave the dc alone too. I am sure he was not accurate in sharing the situation and I am sure they worked out he had issues. We were upset at first, as time went on I realise they were right to keep someone narcissistic away from dc.

BubbleGirl01 Tue 20-Jan-15 21:12:28

I am really not on his side and have only met him once and had sporadic email contact which ended as I did not want to read about him being busy organising his step daughter's wedding when he wasn't at mine.

He should have supported us although of course my mother did not make it easy for him by moving away so he wouldn't have known where we were. My mother admitted to me that she married my stepfather for his income, I can imagine her telling my father she didn't want his money and he did tell me she refused to take it when he tried to pay her on his visits when we would take us out to the local Wimpy but I took that with a pinch of salt.

When I was around 14/15, an older sibling (not his child) told me he had tracked us down and contacted my mother asking to see us (my older brother was his other bio child and he had adopted my 4 older half siblings when he married my mother at the age of 20) and she had refused, never discussing it with me. I was so terrified of her that I never raised it as during an argument when I was about 13, I blurted out that I wished I'd gone with my father and she tried to strangle me! I also remember being terrified that he had 'found' us due to the brainwashing that he was a monster which she projected onto me as I was the most like him and his family apparently.

God, I am so bloody ridiculous! The more I type, the more I wonder why I am questioning myself AGAIN. I suppose the loss of my whole family is something I have to accept I will never come to terms with and move on from. <<slaps self repeatedly>>

Thank you all for the replies. Sad to see similar circumstances for others thanks.

JoanHickson Tue 20-Jan-15 21:33:36

He could have saved maintenance in trust for you, he didn't because it suited him to have a better income for himself.

2rebecca Tue 20-Jan-15 23:54:18

He could have tried again aged 18 and offered to help pay uni costs etc or tried chatting to you when you arrived home from school one day age 17/18 but you might have refused to talk to him but he could have tried more..
Your mother sounds very keen to put past men behind her and let new men take on the fathering role if she had 4 kids by a previous partner/ husband when she met your dad and ejected that man getting his kids adopted by the new man who she then later ejected. Perhaps husband 1 died but it seems sad none of her 6 kids got to grow up in contact with their real fathers but had the latest stepdad.
There is a good book on parental alienation syndrome which describes the way your mother stopped your father having contact with you and brainwashed you against him. Fathers with residency can do this as well, it's just more frequent to see mothers behave like this because they are more often given residency.

VadaSultanfuss Wed 21-Jan-15 02:52:52

I think from what you've said about your mother your Dad may have made a decision to 'let things lie' and although it looks as though he walked away from you he may have done it for your sake to try and keep your childhood as calm as could be. Back in those days fathers were not likely to get custody of children so he knew you were going to have to live there with her. You said she tried to strangle you when you mentioned your father at age 13 - he probably knew that she would have made your childhood a misery if he'd persisted in your lives.

It sounds like it has always been a no-win situation for you. To have your dad in your life would have meant enduring abuse from your mum.

The CSA was not around back then. Ideally he would have saved up money for you but I doubt this means he didn't love you.

My parents had an awful divorce and both made many, many mistakes. I know they both love me but a lot of it has stayed with me. People do the wrong thing, because they are in pain and their kids are in pain. It makes people want to run away, lock their feelings up and throw away the key.

Coyoacan Wed 21-Jan-15 05:24:19

Who is really to do the be alls and end alls of your parents relationship, OP, but you have a right to have a relationship with your father and your mother has no right to make you feel like you are being disloyal in doing so.

Take the chance to get to know him. Try to ignore your preconceptions. Take him as an unknown man, who might be good, bad or indifferent.

My ex was violent with me and we split up before my dd was born. But his parents were always so lovely I kept in touch because of them. My dd actively disliked her dad as a child but as adults they are getting on very well. A lot of water has flown under the bridge since then, but I am glad for them both that they have a good relationship. I really don't think your mother has any right to feel otherwise.

ChasedByBees Wed 21-Jan-15 05:43:55

Your mother has been selfish and abusive toward you. I'm sorry you weren't able to forge a new relationship with your dad, it must have been hard hearing him plan his step daughter's wedding. Did you tell him how hurtful you found that? I wonder if more emotional honesty might help. It must be nearly impossible to have a relationship when you have the politeness of strangers but with so much undercurrents of emotion.

I doubt your father was as bad as your mother said based on why she has done towards you. You did nothing wrong in contacting him.

Mrsstarlord Wed 21-Jan-15 05:53:02

There are some very biased responses on here, clearly influenced by people's own unresolved anger and issues. Bubblegirl - I'm sorry that your parents allowed their own anger to impact so much on your relationshis. Your mum sounds like a very angry and irrational woman and whilst she may feel justified in that, it's wrong that she does not seem to have prioritised you over that anger. It sounds like you feel let down by both parents and you are grieving for the things you lost whilst your parents played out their games with each other and that is completely understandable. I don't have any answers but would suggest that some counselling might help you, you can't change what has happened but you can learn to feel ok about it.
And if ever there was a cautionary tale for separated parents, and a lesson in why not to get caught up in your own anger - this is it.
flowers for bubblegirl

TrendStopper Wed 21-Jan-15 07:10:01

In 10 or 20 years time I can just see my ex coming back into our dds life and making out that it was all my fault that he didn't see her when it was the exact opposite. My exh likes to twist things & things are never his fault.

How much do you really know about what went on and did he make an effort to see you. Are you blaming your mum because she was there & your dad wasn't. Sometimes it's easier to take out our frustrations on the people closet to us.

JoanHickson Wed 21-Jan-15 07:30:47

Trendspotter, don't worry your dc will know if your an honest person from living with you. If you have a good relationship with your dc you should be able to talk through things when your ex shows up.

TrendStopper Wed 21-Jan-15 08:47:30

Joan - my exh is very manipulative. He even has his new wife believing that i am the baddie & fighting his corner. Although she knows that he doesnt bother to make an effort.

BeggarsCantBeChoosers Wed 21-Jan-15 09:22:11

No, you most definitely anbu. Meeting your Dad is the most natural and basic of instincts and your Mum has not been fair to you.

She could have protected you a different way, by waning you and helping you make sure you're safe around him. But instead she allowed her damage to spill out into your view of him too. You need to be allowed to make up your own mind.

He is your flesh and blood. Your Mum is not being balanced by cutting you off or making you feel guilty like that.

I hope she comes around in time, and that you can have contact with both of them if you want to.

OTheHugeManatee Wed 21-Jan-15 09:40:29

OP, from what you recount it sounds as though you could legitimately be far angrier with your mother. As a PP has said, she sounds selfish and abusive towards you (she tried to strangle you FFS hmm ).

I'd have another go at making contact with your dad. But don't raise your hopes too high. It might be too late to build the relationship with him that you yearn for sad

diddl Wed 21-Jan-15 09:54:01

Well if he was around until you were 5, he was hardly just a sperm donor!

It could easily be a combination of things-resistance on your mum's part, limited effort on his.

Influence of his new wife/family?

of course you want to know him & your mum & siblings are overreacting enormously!

The divorce is many years in the past & everyone is an adult.

You are not asking your mum/siblings to accept him back, just understand that you want to see him.

It should have no impact on them at all!

Do they tell you what friends you can see??

OTheHugeManatee Wed 21-Jan-15 11:37:59

Re-reading your OP, I think YANBU to go against the 'party line' from your mother. She sounds like she has worked very hard to demonise him and ensure you make no contact. Though we can't know the truth of the situation, I wonder what she might have to hide? Her reaction to your making contact with your father seems pretty extreme.

In any case your mother sounds to me like a pretty abusive person. The guilt you feel for 'betraying' her is a telltale sign here - it sounds like she's got you and all your siblings well caught in her FOG (fear, obligation and guilt).

I can't know what your father is actually like, but YANBU to be reluctant to accept your mother's presentation of him as 'just a sperm donor', especially as that doesn't tie in with your memories and feelings at all. Effectively she's asking you to deny the reality of your own experience in order to align yourself with hers. That's pretty abusive IMO.

FriendlyLadybird Wed 21-Jan-15 12:31:59

The people who say 'if he'd wanted to see you he would have done' forget that, pre-Internet, it was a good deal more difficult to find people than it is now. And if you don't know where someone is, it is very difficult to make any sort of payments towards them.

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