To want to spend time with my Dad?(12 Posts)
This is my first ever post (long time lurker) so I'm throwing myself in at the deep end but am prepared to accept if I am deemed to be unreasonable!
I don't want to go into too much detail in case I out myself in RL as my family situation is quite identifiable but a bit of background - I have a close relationship with my DDad and always have had since I can remember. I am his only biological child but my DM has DC from her previous marriage that are much older than I am. My DDad for all intents and purposes brought my half siblings up as they don't really have much to do with their DDad (although he is in their lives). Despite this, they are not really close to my DDad because they're all (including my DM) rather emotionally detached for reasons I won't go into. I am not very close to my DM or my siblings because of the emotional detachment but they are kind of close as a unit. My DDad and I are much more outgoing and open so a completely different kettle of fish altogether. My DDad has helped all my siblings out over the years, with money and physical help (which they have all taken for granted) but they never do anything nice for him in return, which upsets me and makes me feel bad for him because of how much he's had to sacrifice over the years to feed, clothe and keep a roof over their heads whilst their DDad did nothing to contribute to their upbringing (he left my DM for another woman when they were very young and my DM was in too much of a bad place mentally to force him to face up to his responsibilities).
My DDad and I have interests in common and there is a place we both want to visit as a day trip, which I suggested we do soon as there is a particular offer on which makes it cheaper to go. However, my DM doesn't like it if he and I spend any time together without her, even though she has no interest in the things we are interested in! She goes off with her other DC/DGC/BF on trips and holidays without my DDad and he encourages her to do this but she doesn't like it if he does the same and actually gets quite nasty about it! If it wasn't for me and my DH my DDad wouldn't be treated to nice days out as my siblings only do that sort of thing with my DM, so I always compensate for this because I feel like he gets a bum deal in our family and I am the only one that can even things out a bit to show that he is very much loved by my DH and I.
So am I being unreasonable for wanting to spend time with my DDad? My DM just seems to have a way of turning everything around so it's all about her and I feel guilty...
Your mum is sounding very selfish from this post. Perhaps you and dad should ignore her and bring up her trips alone without him. If she can be trusted to go without him, why not the other way round?
I do wonder if she has picked up on the way you gravitate towards your dad and maybe feels like you favour him over her? Perhaps she wants you to feel about her as her other children do and she's unsure as to why... You won't really know unless you talk to her. I wouldn't accuse her of being jealous though. You'd have to ask why you can't treat your dad to a day away.
Of course YANBU for wanting to spend time with your dad. Even without the odd family dynamic, you have interests in common. DH gratefully waves DS and I off to the cinema to see the films he doesn't want to see but we do!
"She goes off with her other DC/DGC/BF on trips and holidays without my DDad and he encourages her to do this but she doesn't like it if he does the same and actually gets quite nasty about it!"
I'd be pointing this out to her next time got nasty. You don't have to start a fight, just express puzzlement - 'well why is this a problem when you do the same, such as <specific incident> with <siblings> last month? I don't understand your problem with this.' She may not actually be aware that she does it, or how it looks from someone else's perspective. Some people struggle to see other people's point of view, they just can't step into another's shoes!
I'd hazard a guess that you stepping into the breach (as it were) feels like a bit of a reproach for how she treats your dad, and her nastiness is really her being defensive. She knows deep down she's in the wrong, and doesn't like it being pointed out to her, however subtly and however unintentionally. She may not be conscious of doing this.
Regardless, don't allow her to affect your relationship with your dad. It is independent of your relationship with her and your siblings, which is how it should be.
I like to spend time with both my parents together and separately. Yanbu.
It's quite hard at the moment as they have a relative staying with them, who I won't be in the same room as. But we are making it work.
I also encourage dh to go off and spend time with his parents on his own. Either with both of them or one of them. I think it's important.
She is being selfish and, personally, I would tell straight. The relative mentioned above forbid me and mum spending anytime together unless she was invited. Both me and mum pointed out that she spends time with her mum on her own and never asked anyone else to go with them and to basically get a grip.
What would happen if you invited your mum to the day she's not interested in?
Thanks for all your replies.
Beefles - yes I'm sure she knows that I gravitate towards my Dad more than her. I guess it's an odd thing to not feel close to the woman who gave birth to you but she's always been so emotionally unavailable about everything and I think that's why I've never been (and never will be) close to her. I have lovely memories of my DDad telling me silly stories as a child, playing with my toys with me etc. and he worked long hours so I didn't really see much of him, whereas I have no memories of these things with my DM because they didn't happen.
She is very mentally fragile (again I can't go into why) so neither my DDad or I like to push it too much with her by confronting her behaviour as it's likely to escalate into a WW3 and my DDad would have to live in the aftermath of it. He will tell her when he feels she needs telling but often he just leaves it for fear of 'pushing her over the edge'.
Testing - She claimed she was interested in going to this particular place when it was brought up, but I know it doesn't interest her so she just said it to cause an argument (she is also not good with stairs and I'm not sure she realises that there are hundreds of stairs in this particular place!). She came with us before to a place she had no interest in and it sucked the enjoyment out of the day because she was bored! She is also a very highly strung person and so actually makes things stressful when they don't need to be.
"She is very mentally fragile (again I can't go into why) so neither my DDad or I like to push it too much with her by confronting her behaviour as it's likely to escalate into a WW3 "
Is she really, actually, fragile? Because that sounds far more like 'manipulative' to me. She's got both of you walking on eggshells afraid to say boo to a goose, because that;s how she get to be the boss.
I work in mental health occasionally. I can't say I've come across (m)any people who would be caused harm/distress by their daughter going out for the day with their husband. If the day is objectively unsuitable I wouldn't invite her. Can you suggest something easier for the 3 of you and keep the planned day for you and your dad?
Mentally unstable or manipulative.
My mum has severe mental health problems. We don't walk on egg shells around her in case we tip her over the edge.
I have mental health problems and Aspergers. I don't use it as an excuse to get my own way. I can still recognise that dh enjoys time with his dad, alone. That sometimes my brother may want a trip with our dad alone etc.
Your mum sounds jealous and manipulative rather than fragile.
Have a lovely time with your Dad.
Sorry I know this sounds like I'm laying into your family but your siblings sound selfish too. I've only known my step father since I was 16, I've never lived with him and always try to do nice things for him even visiting his elderly mother occasionally as he is married to my mum, treats her kindly and is a nice person. Who cares if he's not actually related to me.
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