Well am I?(20 Posts)
My Dad and I have a weird relationship. He split up with my Mum when she was pregnant with me, leaving her for my step mum. I am 33 so this isn't a recent thing but there is ongoing history of me feeling inferior compared to my (older) sister who he has always worshipped. She was nearly 4 when he left so understandably was affected by the split, where as I was largely unaffected (or so I thought). My sister is currently over from Australia as has got married this Christmas so there has been a lot of family meet ups etc.
I have as I say, a weird relationship with him. I feel weirdly intimidated by him, and I increasingly find my relationship with my stepmum difficult. Growing up, I kept my mouth shut a lot of the time because my sister was very rebellious and difficult. I always thought my Stepmum was being controlled by my Dad, but as the years go on I see she is very manipulative and encourages my Dad to behave in a certain way by very clever, sly behaviour. She never had children with my Dad. My Dad and stepmum look after my two children (one at school) once a week while I work. They are gone by the time I get home, I do not have contact with them, on the phone or face to face. He lives 10 minutes up the road, he talks at least once a week to my sister in Oz. They adore my children and are kind to them but they don't see them outside of this once a week arrangement. They never take us out for dinner or a drink, they have taken my sister and her husband out four times to eat since the 1st December.
Anyway, that's a bit of back story. This is the bit I'm not sure about:
Every Christmas since I was 16, (now 33) my Dad has given me £100. Obviously, I'm always very grateful for this. It's very generous. This year, I got a bottle of Baylis and Harding bubble bath. Nothing else. No word about the money but he had alluded to the fact I would get it a few weeks ago. I bought my Dad a Leonard Cohen poetry book and a cd, my step mum some nice pyjamas and some professional photos of the children framed and some other bits....am I AIBU to think if he wasn't going to give this year he could have said so we could have all just focused on the children? I know this might sound so spoilt but it seems so pointed to give so little after so long of being so generous. I know finances can be an issue for us all (especially us) but surely we could have all agreed it?
Yes you are being hugely unreasonable. And entitled.
Why don't you take your dad out for dinner? Or call him? Why has he always got to chase you?
You can't complain about having a crap relationship with someone when you don't bother trying.
Also, that's 19 Xmas's.... £1900.
I'm sure your still in profit
They look after your kids once a week but you have no contact with them???
I know it must hurt but yabu
Why don't you make an effort to see him more often if it bothers you? A relationship goes both ways.
It's natural that he's spending a lot of time with your sister now she's home if she normally lives in Australia.
He probably thinks "I look after her kids every week and she never calls me or takes me out for a drink or anything"
Well your using them for free child care really, you don't seem to put any time in. You win
No, we pay him for childcare. £25 a day.
Totally off topic, but if you're paying for childcare don't they have to be registered?
And we have over the years invited them for dinner and various events, the invitation is never reciprocated.
He also accused me of "excluding" from my "do" tomorrow which is a day to see my mum, stepdad, sister and her husband. I actually think he's entitled.
I can see why you would all think I'm being spoilt, I think there's more info I should have provided which would help to produce a clearer picture but would seem petty now. But he accused me of not investing in my relationship with him back in the summer, I explained that with working full time and two young children, life is quite busy but I'd love to go for the odd drink with them but nothing came of it. Perhaps it's that neither of us want to bother.
Thanks all, good to have some perspective.
He does childcare for you and you are upset because he doesn't contact you or take you out to dinner? Surely it should be you contacting him and taking him out to dinner?
And you are upset because he's not given you £100 as a gift? And feel he should have told you this in advance?
This must be a reverse, surely?
Point taken. Thanks for your input. We do once a year pay for them to do away for the weekend too as a thank you, we do appreciate the childcare which is clearly what everyone is focusing on here.
I don't think YABU to be honest.
Maybe slightly if you look at it from the "I ONLY got a bottle of bubble bath" point of view, but if there has been predictable routine every year of you getting £100, he hinted, and you worked from that impression and got them something nice and then you got a cheap bottle of bubble bath I understand why you would be a bit put out.
Take the lead next year and bring it up early that you don't want to do gifts for the adults and maybe get them a small token gift "from" your DC?
There's obviously a huge backstory here as nothing you've said makes them sound particularly bad, but you obviously dislike them.
i just think it's weird for you to say you don't speak with them yet you let them look after your children. And you say they don't take you out for dinner. Do you take them out?
My parents have my boys for a day a week for childcare. We appreciate it so much. We don't pay and we don't shower them with gifts but we do take them out for dinner, pick up things we think they'd like at the shops,etc etc.
I also think there comes a point when your presents to your parents become bigger than their presents to you. We're not quite there yet, but we're heading in that direction. it's not really that odd for a man presumably approaching retirement to think that his adult daughter no longer wants or needs cash gifts.
Thanks Lumpit, yes I agree, more clarity is needed next year from me. I honestly don't mean I would only buy if someone was going to buy for me, not at all, but money is really not plentiful our end and I would really rather just focus on providing for the children. It's weird, I can't explain it all in one thread...he puts a certain expectation on me. As I said, I feel weirdly intimidated by him.
Truth, yes that is the truth. My Dad makes it perfectly clear he is happy just to see my kids once a week, not like my mum or my DH's parents who come and see us or we see them at weekends etc...he doesn't want more involvement. Your post implies I take them for granted, I honestly don't, but the childcare situation is there for my kids and them, they all adore each other but I'm on the pcrephials of it all. My kids and they would be devastated to not see each other.
It just felt a kick in the teeth today when my sister was brandishing her cash (spoilt cow anyway) and I just felt inferior - again. I know we could take them out, but our money doesn't allow for that I'm afraid. And we do send them away for a weekend once a year which we save £10 a week for. I know my sister doesn't live here, but he goes there twice a year and we haven't been out with him in 4 years. See the weirdness?
So actually socially, he sees my sister more than me despite her living on the other side of the world.
I don't think you're being unreasonable to feel inferior. It does sound like he's giving your sister different treatment and i can understand that hurts.
Why would he give her money for Xmas but not you? I think you sound very thoughtful and appreciative of the childcare.
I see what you mean. He has a great relationship with your kids & your sister & shows that but not you.
I honestly think the best thing for you is to let it go, its his issue not yours. Could it be that he has deeper negative feelings towards you (unconciously ie NOT YOUR FAULT AT ALL) because his marriage went wrong when you were on the way? And again subconsciously trying to make up for it through your children? letting the unfairness of it get to you is only hurting you though so be kind to yourself tell yourself its not your fault
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