Advanced search

Should my dad look after my sister (34) after a big operation? I think he is being ridiculously selfish.

(205 Posts)
Chillijamntuna Fri 12-Jul-19 05:03:33

My sister has lived abroad for many years in the French alps, she does downhill mountain biking and is very into the young exciting lifestyle.

She has been very bitter that my dad has only visited her once since she moved there in her twenties (it's quite an expensive resort) I suppose because she was the young free and single one, partying, working in bars and flat sharing, she has always popped back to the UK each year so me and my dad (Mum died) have been a bit shit and lazyI suppose (I have had money struggles and been gaining qualifications for 5 years) and she is pissed off and increasingly angry with me and mainly him about this.

Anyway, recently my dad said he'd bought a passport and was going to go and stay with her later in the summer.
Yesterday, she broke her collar bone in 3 places and will soon be going for surgery to repair it with pins and plates.

I said to my dad (thinking it would be an amazing opportunity for him to 'show up' for her) that he could bring his trip backwards and go out there to take care of her as she recovers from her operation.

He reacted SO strangely, he said "well she can't pick me up from the airport so that's £80 for starters on top of two flight to/from France in peak season" then how am I going to get from where she lives to the hospital, the hospital's in another town and what am I going to do when she gets out?" I said "err take care of her, show her that you care, make her cups of tea, help her with practical stuff" he said "well she's got loads of mates can't they just make her a cup of tea?" she doesn't really have mates that she can ask for help, they've all started having babies now and she is also very full of bravado and can't ask for help if it kills her.

I said that it wasn't really to do with money/ practical stuff/ cups of tea it was to do with showing he cares (she often feels he doesn't)

Anyway, I have just had surgery today myself, I am literally bankrupt at the moment and have a two year old but I will go out to care for her if he doesn't. He is living with his partner, in her house paying a portion of rent, has no debts/money worries, owns a property outright, is working a lot and enjoying life in the sense of buying himself things.

To be honest, I'm quite baffled at how selfish he is being. He then got all shirty and said "I'm a good dad". So odd and childish.

The backstory is pretty long so I'll spare you but he brought us up single handedly so maybe he now wants to do what he wants to do but we've never been needy and both me and my sister have always stood on our own two feet and not asked for anything as adults.

IABU to suggest that he do this?

Juells Fri 12-Jul-19 08:16:40

Your dad is clearly not a good dad, but you cannot make someone care.

The sweeping statements in this thread!

XXcstatic Fri 12-Jul-19 08:21:18

Fuck me, MN is a strange place sometimes. God forbid that anyone should have the temerity to move to Foreign Parts or actually enjoy themselves - all parental bonds are automatically severed if you do, apparently confused

Of course, the sister (who hasn't actually asked for help, despite being slagged off as selfish by multiple posters) can manage by herself post-op. The OP isn't saying she can't. The OP is suggesting that, as their DF is going out to see her anyway, he might adjust the timing so that he can help her out. But apparently that's too much to ask because the selfish bitch deserves all she gets for moving abroad and going biking. Or something hmm

Halloumimuffin Fri 12-Jul-19 08:21:34

My friend broke her collarbone quite severely and didn't need any assistance - she was no more immobile than someone with a broken arm.

I think YABU. Your sister chose to go and live abroad, it is her responsibility to return home if she wants to see family, not insist everyone pays large amounts of money to come and visit her. She's an adult and should be able to look after herself, not expect her Dad to spend loads of money and massively inconvenience himself because she enjoys risky sports. Tbh it sounds like she hasn't even asked him to, you are trying to make your Dad feel like a bad parent for not doing exactly as you say.

As for your 'I'm bankrupt and I'll go' don't be such a bloody martyr.

HorridHenrysNits Fri 12-Jul-19 08:21:49


dimples76 Fri 12-Jul-19 08:25:15

I would have been disappointed in my Dad if he had been so remote so I can definitely understand how you feel. I have recently had surgery on a broken ankle and I said to my Mum just come to evening visiting but when I got wheeled back to my bay from recovery it was wonderful to see her (and I'm 43!)

That said given that you have already explained to your Dad how much you think it would mean to your sister there's not much you can do.

NannaNoodleman Fri 12-Jul-19 08:27:13

Christ on a bike! I think my family and I have hideously high expectations of one another judging by some of these replies.

Both my DSis I have/are lived/living overseas for over 20 years. We've always gone to each other's homes for operations, child births, general crises, and also holidays and birthdays, christmases ... etc!! We message and we call.

I absolutely disagree that moving far away from family means you isolate yourself and shouldn't expect visitors.

I don't think the OP's Dad should go over to care for his own daughter because the relationship hasn't been nurtured and they sound like they barely have a relationship. I feel sad for the sister. Maybe you could all start building a relationship.

needsahouseboy Fri 12-Jul-19 08:27:21

Sorry but no think you are overestimating the amount of help she'll need. she's broken a collarbone not her legs. Plenty of people young and old cope on their own after this injury.

mummmy2017 Fri 12-Jul-19 08:27:30

Stop trying to fix a problem that you have imagined.
Wait till your sister asks you for help.
Your dad is an adult , he does not want to go, he is allowed to say no...

Juells Fri 12-Jul-19 08:29:28

I have recently had surgery on a broken ankle and I said to my Mum just come to evening visiting but when I got wheeled back to my bay from recovery it was wonderful to see her (and I'm 43!)

But that sounds like she lives quite close.

nettie434 Fri 12-Jul-19 08:30:15

Not sure if it is the right decision to go in your situation, given that you have just had surgery and can’t afford it, Chillijamntuna. You may be right and this is a chance to improve your relationship. However, given that you said your sister is increasingly angry that you and your dad have not gone to see her, it may not improve things. She is also likely to complain about your dad which is going to put you in a difficult position. I just think that it is important you recognise that this might not work out as well as you would hope.

Gwenhwyfar Fri 12-Jul-19 08:30:59

"She shuns the boring life of family and reliable but boring friends, but wants the perks of it??"

Sorry? When did OP say her sister had SHUNNED having family and friends?
She's single, which might not be from choice, and her friends are having babies, which is totally outside her control.

Myheartbelongsto Fri 12-Jul-19 08:31:04

My father brought 5 of us up when we aged 8 - 17 so my vote is that he inbu as I'm sure he's made many sacrifices over the years.

Your sister knew the dangers!

You are being very hard on your father op.

MyOpinionIsValid Fri 12-Jul-19 08:32:24

Oh for the love of God ! My DS came off his motor bike and smashed his collar bone (and wrist ) - he didnt break his legs, he could still get up walk, make teas, shower, go out etc

Your sister chose to go abroad and live. Shes in France, not outer Mongolia, she could get the ferry back if she so wished.

Frankly what wth you being literally bankrupt hmm you'd be a bigger fool to dash over and add to your debt.

omione Fri 12-Jul-19 08:37:55

It was her choice to go and live abroad so why should your Father but himself in financial hardship ?

NannaNoodleman Fri 12-Jul-19 08:41:51

What distance from our families should we be allowed to move if we want to maintain a close bond?

What about moving for career progression or work opportunities? Or should we just take whatever jobs are local?

diddl Fri 12-Jul-19 08:41:56

Would your sister want him to go over to "care" for her or rather see him as planned when they can get out & about more easily together?

You would be a fool to go over when you can't afford it.

EveryFlightBeginsWithAFall Fri 12-Jul-19 08:43:01

I can’t imagine not going out to see how she is if she was my child

Most of our family live in Cape Town. Bloody horrible flight and used to be really expensive. Didn’t stop us going out there/them coming here to visit if needed

France is no distance at all, and it’s not like he’s not planning on going out there soon anyway

I bought my older dcs up on my own . Didn’t realise now they are adults I shouldn’t bother helping out because I’ve done my but raising them 🤷‍♀️

Notcopingwellhere Fri 12-Jul-19 08:43:35

the sister (who hasn't actually asked for help, despite being slagged off as selfish by multiple posters) can manage by herself post-op.

The OP says that the sister is pissed off and increasingly angry with Dad and OP about not visiting generally, it’s not clear whether she has been pushing for him to visit specifically post-op. As she only had the accident yesterday it’s possible that there has been no specific discussion and she probably doesn’t know exactly how self-sufficient she will be after the surgery.

FWIW OP, I think that you are vastly over-estimating how much help she will need after the operation. That is pretty clear from youbsaying that you thought it would be impossible for her to fly to the UK. You said she had been living in flat shares, but later talked about your Dad staying with her on the planned trip. Does she have her own place living alone now? Do you really know that her friends are shallow and unsupportive or is that just your own take on her social setup?

Your Dad sounds sensible, to be honest. If the relationship is a bit distant already, having him hang around when she is not on top form, with no local knowledge and no experience of travelling outside the UK, will just be extra hassle for her.

Far better to stick to the planned trip when she is fully recovered. And you are being ridiculous to say that you will go if he does not, when you have your own health issue, no money and a two year old! She is not seriously ill or disabled. You do realise that the Alps is full of people having sporting accidents all year round and has world class medical care as a result?

Gwenhwyfar Fri 12-Jul-19 08:52:02

"I absolutely disagree that moving far away from family means you isolate yourself and shouldn't expect visitors. "

My dm never came to see me at uni. My dad only to drive me there.
I lived abroad for 10 years and my dm came once, df and siblings never. I wouldn't 'expect' them to come to be honest, and to be fair, when I visited them obviously got all my food paid for (very rude not to bring food for Christmas according to MN!) and sometimes got financial help with the travel costs as well.

I think it depends how close your family is as well. I don't have children and wouldn't do any personal care for my family e.g. having to take them to the toilet or wash them.

ThePurpleHeffalump Fri 12-Jul-19 08:54:19

I don’t understand all the comparisons with other people’s families.
My extended family runs as a clan. We are emotionally very close and supportive, despite living physically many miles apart, having beliefs from christian tory to atheist communist and from unemployed to supertax bracket. If one member has a problem, help is available without questions.
That’s not what the OP describes. Her sister seems trapped in the annoying teen/early 20s stage some go throughout. AKA ‘It’s all about me’ stage.

MachineBee Fri 12-Jul-19 09:02:45

I moved to another part of the UK 200 miles away but easily accessible by motorways. I’ve had the most ridiculous conversations with my DSis, who travels abroad several times a year and who travels a lot for events. But her reasoning is that I live too far away for her to visit me, but often in the same conversation she expects me to come to her because apparently it’s shorter travelling from where I live hmm.

I’ve lived here for 8 years and she’s been twice. I go to her and to see my Dad 10 times a year.

My DD lived in Europe for 4 years and despite lots of promises the only family to visit her were me and my other DD.

Some people just won’t put themselves out for family, but do have a warped expectation that because you moved away you have to always be the one who returns to them to keep relationships going.

I can understand timid travellers (just) but seasoned holidaymakers - Nah! Just a power play!

OP - I’d stay out of the dialogue with your DF and DSis re this. But once you are in a better place and you’re both recovered, start planning a get together - either at yours, at hers, or meet midway on neutral ground.

TatianaLarina Fri 12-Jul-19 09:04:26

My father would be completely useless in that scenario. He wouldn’t have any idea what to do, he can’t cook anything but bacon and eggs and he would drive me mad pacing around not knowing what to do with himself.

Some people are just not cut out for being nurse.

I don’t think you can force others to conform to your ideas.

Chillijamntuna Fri 12-Jul-19 09:06:06

Thank you so much everyone, its hard with a family as small and intense as ours to see the wood for the trees.

My dad travels 100 miles to stay with me for the weekend every few months because he wants a relationship with his granddaughter but this always mightily upsets my sister who feels forgotten and lonely.

Also her friends out there receive regular family visits because they're mostly rich!

It has been ten years and for the first three years she was there I too was living abroad in Australia and NZ then I came back to the UK and lived in a Buddhist commune earning £100 per month for working there with free food and lodgings.

After this I got a minimum wage job and really struggled to get myself a phone, a car, you know the usual life set up is expensive.

I then got sick of always being poor so I went back to college and got my GCSEs and A levels for two years while working full time as a nanny along side my studies to fund this, I then went to university for four years and had to work outside my studies to afford my car, rent etc then finally I had to do my NQT year.

I got married, nursed my mum through cancer while I was pregnant, had a baby, worked as a teacher full time and all the while I have been paddling like crazy to keep my head above water.

Every couple of weeks me and my sister face time and each month I send her nice card and some english treats, we really do try with our limited resources to maintain our relationship. My dad rings her too but is often met with anger so is a bit repelled I think.

Teamed with everything I have been doing to better myself/ keep my financial situation afloat, I have had very little in the way of any kind of holiday at all.

I have explained all this to my sister but she just goes round where she lives telling everyone the story that she's practically an orphan.

Weirdly, I have made efforts to arrange to visit her from time to time over the years but there's always a reason that it won't be convenient or she is very hard to contact for months at a time (usually because I've said something she disagrees with on the phone)

I don't think Ive had one phone call with her since she's lived out there where she wasn't unhappy/ bringing up the past/ crying but if you saw her social media you'd think she was the happiest person in the world.

I think she has attachment issues because my mum had PND and left when she was a 2 month premature baby for my dad to look after so this is why I find it heart-breaking that he won't show up for her because she is quite damaged by her early years and lack of bond with our mum who was lovely but had schizophrenia and was more like the child all along.

So it's not cut and dry.

I think that seeing me and dad re-triggers old un-dealt with wounds for her and always ends in tears. Her friends seem to get a happier version of her but when she's in the UK she is utterly miserable.

Last year her and I had a huge row on the phone because she didn't even acknowledge my birthday at all apart from a photo of her on her instagram stories saying happy birthday.

Historically we have always sent each other box of treats (not expensive just thoughtful) and I was so saddened when I asked her why she said she didn't even have enough money to buy a card for me and was waiting until the end of the month to get paid. I told her that it worried me that she seemed to work 50 hour weeks yet count afford a card, she flew off the handle at me and we eventually made up because I apologised and I want my DD to know her auntie.

MrsGrammaticus Fri 12-Jul-19 09:06:07

Actually I can see his point of view. He hasn't been over to see her and probably had a vision in his mind of having a nice holiday, seeing the sights etc ....not being stuck in a flat making small talk and cups of tea and shuttling too and from hospital all day long at some expense. Yabvu OP. I could guarantee it'd be the last trip he does.
She's an adult. She's been there decades. She could get herself back to the U.K. for family care or make local plans....,not expect everyone else to turn their worlds upside down. The broken bones not nice, but it's hardly life threatening.

Sirzy Fri 12-Jul-19 09:11:19

It sounds like your trying to cling onto a relationship which isn’t there

Buddytheelf85 Fri 12-Jul-19 09:21:16

*Fuck me, MN is a strange place sometimes. God forbid that anyone should have the temerity to move to Foreign Parts or actually enjoy themselves - all parental bonds are automatically severed if you do, apparently

Of course, the sister (who hasn't actually asked for help, despite being slagged off as selfish by multiple posters) can manage by herself post-op. The OP isn't saying she can't. The OP is suggesting that, as their DF is going out to see her anyway, he might adjust the timing so that he can help her out. But apparently that's too much to ask because the selfish bitch deserves all she gets for moving abroad and going biking. Or something*

I know! I’ve been reading some of these replies just completely baffled. As you say it doesn’t sound like the sister has even requested this help - it’s a suggestion by the OP. Doesn’t seem like an unreasonable suggestion to me given the dad is going out anyway. And as for all the ‘foreign country’ comments - the dad’s happy enough to go when it suits him, and it’s France, not Papua New Guinea.

itsallgoingsouth Fri 12-Jul-19 09:26:18

Well that's a lot of extra info in your last post, OP! It's all about context. Your sister has a backstory for feeling her family don't step up enough for her and I would say you and your father could have visited more often over the years. There are affordable ways to travel now- budget airlines booked well in advance etc. However, you've obviously made an effort with facetime, cards etc She doesn't always reciprocate and a tangle of resentment and recrimination has built up.

The problem lies more with your dad.

All the same, I understand his reasons not to make his first trip in ages to see her one where he's stressed in an unfamiliar country/language, financially stretched and has to play nurse. Does she really need or want him there then other than to prove a point? Could be very counterproductive.

Pinktinker Fri 12-Jul-19 09:26:21

She has isolated herself moving out there. You can’t move to another country and expect your relatives to come visit regularly, it just isn’t fair. She’s also moved somewhere extremely pricey so financially will be an issue. It doesn’t sound as though she has built a real support network for herself out there either. She has friends but they don’t sound like very close friends if she can’t ask them for help...

That aside, he is still her Dad and he should want to go help her. You don’t stop being a parent once your child turns 18 and the desire to help your children shouldn’t really disappear. He should want to go give her some support really.

Reallybadidea Fri 12-Jul-19 09:28:04

Your update about your sister is desperately sad. She must have felt so rejected by your mum and if your dad has made virtually no effort to go and visit, it maybe feels like he's rejecting her too. She sounds very lucky to have you though.

Notcopingwellhere Fri 12-Jul-19 09:31:23

The back story is relevant. You’ve all had a tough family life due to your Mum’s problems and then she died a little over 2 years ago (I say this on the basis that you said you nursed tour Mum when you were pregnant and you have a 2 year old.) That is a hell of a lot going on. Your sister sounds brittle and conducting the family relationship at a distance is not going to help. However you focussing on detail like not getting a birthday present is not really going to be helpful. It looks like she ran away from her problems and has not really dealt with them fully.

I’m presuming she’s single? From the perspective of someone who was single through her thirties, it may be difficult for her to accept seeing you with a partner and child. Perhaps she will find a partner and some peace that way eventually.

VirginiaWolfHall Fri 12-Jul-19 09:38:13

It sounds as if your dad feels deeply hurt that after so many years of raising you and your sister single-handedly she has buggered off to another country and made little effort herself to keep in touch with him. Instead she goes around feeling sorry for herself and making out that she’s been hard done by.

I get that she has issues surrounding your mother. I would suggest that she gets off ‘living her best life’ on social media and gets some therapy instead. Or at least try to address the issue by you know, calling your dad and maybe talking to him about the way she feels. If she’s tried several times to do that already and he’s being an arse then maybe he too needs to therapy to get over his bitterness.

It all sounds like a bit of a mess really that started when your mother left. Now she is dead I think you might all be looking for someone to hang the blame on.

A family get together round the table and an air of grievances in a professional setting with a therapist would probably be the best solution however it sounds as if that would take an enormous amount of will-power and maturity in all sides, along with a strong sense of all actually wanting to resolve relationships is the issue.

Your sister feels short-changed and she is surrounded by big wealthy families all ‘having the best relationships ever’. sad Even though this probably isn’t the case and your sister is seeing life through an insta filter.

Best of luck op, but please don’t jump at your dad for being ‘selfish’. He would have sacrificed a lot for you and your dsis as you were growing up. He probably feels as if all that is being thrown back in his face while having to deal with his own heartbreak at losing his wife at an early age, emotionally -and then later - actually.

VirginiaWolfHall Fri 12-Jul-19 09:39:48

Sorry for typos and grammar - I write in a hurry and forget to read over what i’ve Written.

MatildaTheCat Fri 12-Jul-19 09:45:28

Given your update I would guess that if your dad were to offer to go she would find an excuse for him not to visit.

She does sound sad and messed up.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Fri 12-Jul-19 09:52:57

If your dad has only just got a passport I can imagine that he finds the idea very daunting - finding his way around a new place, transport, shopping, etc., especially if he doesn't speak the language. Looking after someone is a very different thing from a normal visit when the resident would presumably be looking after the visitor and trying to make sure they enjoyed themselves.

And I don't see why your sister is 'bitter' about your dad not visiting before. We lived abroad for a long time and never expected family to visit us, though it was nice if they did. It was much more often the other way around.

Witchend Fri 12-Jul-19 09:54:51

Virginia I totally agree with you.

I wonder if the people saying "it's no problem" are people who travel a lot. I don't. I've never had a passport. It would feel much more daunting to me to travel to a country I didn't know, didn't speak the language etc. than for dh who's travelled a lot through work, or my friend who doesn't travel a huge amount, but speaks several languages fluently.

But she hasn't asked for help. She may not need or want any help. My gran (who lived alone and didn't have a huge supply of friends) did a bad break of her collarbone and arm in her 70s falling on ice. Her reaction when my dad asked her if she needed extra help was a resounding no. She then thought a minute and added, that she could do with someone to do the button on her shirt cuff up. She would have been furious if dad had gone down to help her-very independent she was.

Swoopinggulls Fri 12-Jul-19 09:56:05

From your last post it seems that your father has had quite a hard time of it, and then for several years both his daughters were abroad.

As they get older people often get more stuck in their ways and find individual travel abroad daunting, yes, even those who've previously travelled a lot, which your father hasn't, and he had maybe developed a protective shell too. If he tries to phone your sister and gets a hard time, it's not totally surprising that there's an issue now.

PinkSparklyPussyCat Fri 12-Jul-19 09:56:07

Your dad sounds selfish not visiting his daughter in 20 years shes lived there. No wonder shes cross

Why? She chose to live abroad in what the OP describes as an expensive resort. If you choose to move away it's not up to other people to pay to visit you.

If he's only just got a passport then he clearly hasn't travelled very much. There's no way I would travel on my own abroad.

XXcstatic Fri 12-Jul-19 09:58:46

I agree with PPs that your DSis is desperate to be nurtured by her family. At the same time, with everything she has been through, she is probably also terrified of rejection. This is why she asks you to visit, then makes it hard for you to do so - she is getting her rejection in first, because it is less frightening for her to do that than to let you reject her (not saying that you would, but this is what she fears).

She would probably really benefit from some counselling.

VirginiaWolfHall Fri 12-Jul-19 10:03:40

Thanks Witchend

Op, I also think that you and your sister have been escaping the real issues all these years. You have buried your head in you studies (and done amazingly by the way) and your sis by going abroad and being ‘exciting’. I know a couple of people who have done this - funnily enough to French ski resorts too! - and it’s all about the escaping from deeply families. Life out there is very transient and there are a lot of trusti types out in places like that - along with Ibiza, Goa etc - escaping life and responsibilities in general. Most have the family funds to afford the freedom and fun times. Others, like your sister, don’t, and that can feel very crappy if you aren’t from an exciting and glamorous background. Your sister will have probably been affected by these attitudes.

Disclaimer: not all that move to above places are like this, but from my own personal experience from many moons ago a lot are. Hope I’m making sense!!

VirginiaWolfHall Fri 12-Jul-19 10:05:05

Sorry that was meant to say deeply disfunctional families. I have a foreign keyboard set up that tends to pick up certain words that it doesn’t recognise and delete them!!

CaptainJaneway62 Fri 12-Jul-19 10:05:08

It's a broken collar bone!
I had the same and had to look after myself in my 40s. It is not impossible it just needs some planning.
If she has friends they will help her.
Why worry about a situation you have no control over?
It's not up to you or your dad to sort out this situation no matter if the family are close or not.
She lives in a different country by choice.
If she wants help she can fly home with Airport/Airline Assistance.

Belenus Fri 12-Jul-19 10:08:49

As a parent, I would bloody make the effort to go and see my child.

My parents retired to mainland Europe over 20 years ago. For the first 5 years they were there I was in a well-paid job and I would visit 2 or 3 times a year. They never came back here. Their first visit back was for a friend's child's wedding. I was living about 50 miles away from the wedding venue and initially they had no plans to visit me. It was only when I snapped "do I have to get married or pregnant for you to bother?" that they sort of woke up to the situation. Unless you've been in a situation where families are split between countries it can be difficult to understand the dynamics. Even then, each case will be different.

For many of us it isn't as simple as hopping on a plane. For some people £100 is an enormous amount of money to find. So yes, if someone moves they have to accept that it will change the dynamic of family relationships. If I have 20 days annual leave a year I don't necessarily want to use half of those, every year for years and years, visiting one family member. So yes, I'll phone and write, and message and Skype. But it really does make the thing so much harder than it is when you can pop down the road and have a cup of tea with your mum. Unless you've been there, and I get that many on this thread probably have, you can't really understand how much harder it can be.

HorridHenrysNits Fri 12-Jul-19 10:23:08

That was quite an update. Honestly, I dont know why you're assuming that your sister would welcome your dad being around her when she's recovering and incapacitated, if she usually reacts with anger even to phone contact. You're assuming something would be a kindness and nothing you've said suggests you can assume she would see it that way.

GreenFingersWouldBeHandy Fri 12-Jul-19 10:32:59

It doesn't sound as if your sister would want your Dad to 'take care of her; to be honest, it sounds as though she would be taking care of him (cannot speak the language, unfamiliar surroundings etc).

Has anyone actually asked her?

A broken collar bone really isn't that big a deal. If she has friends who can rally around, she'll be fine.

diddl Fri 12-Jul-19 10:43:32

How did the one visit he made go?

Perhaps it put him off spending his AL there if it didn't go well?

That combined with her always being miserable when she visits UK...

(Where does she stay?)

HorridHenrysNits Fri 12-Jul-19 10:45:18

Yes that's a good point. The previous planned trip involved your sister looking after your dad. With the best will in the world, if he doesnt speak the language and lacks confidence and familiarity with the surroundings, none of which he can simply snap out of, it might well end up with Dsis feeling she has to look after him.

ComeAndDance Fri 12-Jul-19 10:50:15

@Belenus Well I have been living the life being in different country or even continent than family since I was 8yo. So I have a quite good experience there.
I always managed to keep relationships going. With parents/grand parents and in some ways extended family.

We haven’t always seen each other every year (hard when you are overseas). Not even a phone call every week (think about the cost of international calls 40 years ago!)).
But the people I or my parents have lost touch with are people who they didn’t get on with. Eg my dad’s parents.

@Chillijamntuna, you won’t solve the issue with your dad and your dsis. It must be very sad to watch but I can see why it would. Be hard for her to see your dad making an effort for you every other month but not for her. She sounds sad and. Hurt and somehow jealous too.
Please remember that things might not have. Been easy for her either. The flat sharing for years isn’t usual in France and tells me she has had her own struggles too.

pennypineapple Fri 12-Jul-19 11:02:36

If it were my daughter then I would go. I don't really get the "nervous traveller" stuff to be honest, it's France not the moon. If it's a tourist area it's likely that some people will speak a bit of English - enough to allow him to do basic things like get a bus and buy groceries.

But then I used to live abroad (not France but another country in Western Europe) and my family came to visit 2-3 times a year! I guess people just have very different perceptions of what is normal when it comes to stuff like this.

Bandara Fri 12-Jul-19 11:07:35

My father didn't see me for 19 years.

There are a whole range of parents.

kateandme Fri 12-Jul-19 11:08:50

my parents would go in an instants.when my brother and sister are ill,even if not and they need mum and dad they go.(or boy find his way home to us,and we wake to find a lump in his bed haha) but we love him for it.that he can stil count on us.still wants us for that.

kateandme Fri 12-Jul-19 11:09:59

i would go.actually the fact i could go to france for it would be a bloody great bonus!

trackingmedown Fri 12-Jul-19 11:14:33

I’m on the dad’s side in this. It’s one thing to go to France and spend a holiday with your fit, healthy, French speaking child but if your dad doesn’t speak French and doesn’t know the area well I think the visit you are proposing could be hard work and quite intimidating.

We all make choices in life. Your sister chose to move away from family and the support network it provided. There will be pros and cons to that choice and right now she is experiencing one of the cons.

It can be hard for parents when DC leave home. We have to let them go, step back and allow them their independence and build new lives that don’t revolve around them. Your dad sounds like he has made a good job of this with a new relationship, lots of work and an enjoyable life style. IMO it isn’t reasonable to expect him to drop everything at a moments notice to care for another adult hundreds of miles away.

Mummyoflittledragon Fri 12-Jul-19 11:20:19

It is time to stop trying to fix the family dynamic. It sounds as if your sister is always angry, always complaining and you’re the peacemaker.

If your sister wants something, she needs to stop complaining and start asking. All she’s doing is turning your father further away from her. So in fact her rants are having the opposite effect from the one desired.

By piling it on to your father, all you’re going to do is alienate yourself from him. The reasons off the top of my head to why he visits you, not your sister is because it’s closer / easier and no language barrier. Also, you don’t bite his head off. If you continue as you are, he will probably stop visiting you as well

As for your sister needing someone. Many posters have said she doesn’t. I had far far more invasive surgery than this and coped as I explained upthread. Moreover in France, you stay in hospital recovering longer than in the U.K. My dh is French and this is personal experience with the system.

Your father feels nervous about travelling. The best thing to do would be to save up or if he can afford to pay for you all to go and visit your sister when she’s recovered.

EileenAlanna Fri 12-Jul-19 11:22:52

Your dsis was getting increasingly angry at lack of visits from your DF & it seems he was addressing this by arranging to visit her for quite a long stay this year so it's reasonable to say he wants to show willing.
Her problem isn't really a broken collar bone, it's being 34 in a place that's mainly for those living "the young exciting lifestyle." She'll find it increasingly difficult to get bar work the older she gets - they want young staff to fit with the young customer base. Flat shares will become increasingly problematic as she'll be viewed as being their parents generation, not theirs.
You should have a serious discussion about her long term plans & see how she would feel about relocating back to the UK, not necessarily very close to family but near enough for reasonable contact. She probably has acquired a lot of skills while abroad that would be attractive for an employer that she could make use of & is a good age for a total career change, which may not be the case further down the line.

LillithsFamiliar Fri 12-Jul-19 11:25:32

Your update makes it sound like your DSIS wants to complain about 'family' but doesn't actually want to engage. She made the choice to move and continues to choose to live there. She doesn't visit often and puts up barriers when you try to arrange visits. I imagine she would hate it if your DF turned up and tried to play nurse. That isn't what she wants. She wants a distant family she can complain about - not an involved family that demands effort and engagement.
Apologise to your DF. You shouldn't have asked him to care for her. Let him go visit when he was supposed to.

YesQueen Fri 12-Jul-19 11:34:51

She will be fine. I had a long recovery after an emergency limb threatening spinal surgery and my parents live 30 miles away. Neither of them came over and I managed fine alone for the op and recovery

ColaFreezePop Fri 12-Jul-19 12:04:22

OP you are all adults. None of you can control the behaviour of the other.

So leave your dad and your sister to sort out their relationship. If either of them complain to you tell them they need to sort it out between themselves.

As a poster said up thread gently suggest to your sister that maybe she should think about what she wants to do long term in life. It is also worth reminding her that as she lives in France then she isn't having a relationship with your child. While she may not think that is important I've a closer relationship with some of my nephews than my siblings simply because I use see and then look after them from babyhood. These nephews are now adults.

Chillijamntuna Fri 12-Jul-19 12:05:04

Thanks for understanding that it’s all very sad and complicated I appreciate your well thought out replies.
I love my sister and I love my dad. None of us have been or are perfect (far from it) but who is?
I have had loads of therapy and counselling but my dad and sister are less emotionally aware but sadly they’re both very sensitive and easily hurt people.

I should have kept my co dependence at bay and kept my hands off I always regret getting involved.

Chillijamntuna Fri 12-Jul-19 12:05:47

Ps my dad broke up with my mum and we were left with my dad because of mum’s MH issues when I was just 2z

Chillijamntuna Fri 12-Jul-19 12:05:58


nettie434 Fri 12-Jul-19 12:13:54

Was really sad reading your update Chillijamntuna. Well done on how much you have achieved. I really agree with what other posters say about how hard it is to be poor in a resort where almost everyone else is rich and where it is much harder to find bar work etc as you get older. I think that accounts for a lot of her resentment. However, it will take a lot of bravery for your sister to accept that a lifestyle that worked in her 20s may not work as she gets older.

distantdog Fri 12-Jul-19 12:32:21

I find it a little strange that all her friends get lots of visits from their rich families. As I said, I live in the French Alps too and you have lots of different sorts of people who have 'escaped' to this way of life - some of whom will not be wealthy, will not have many connections/family bonds with the UK etc. and who live here because the way of life is so much more affordable/less pressure than the UK. I really, really don't really recognise the idea that at 34 she is getting too old to work in the service industry here confused Or that this is the only kind of work she could find after 10 years of being here. Maybe you find it too 'outing' to say which resort it is...?

Have you met her friends? I wonder how much of it is true and how much is her perception of others having it better/easier than her?

Chillijamntuna Fri 12-Jul-19 12:32:56

Thanks * especially when you feel that you’ve got nothing to come back to in the UK sad

Chillijamntuna Fri 12-Jul-19 12:37:12

I think there is definitely an element of grass is greener, I think she is quite blind to the privileges that she does have and I’m guilty of that myself at times, I think it’s a symptom of low self esteem and coming from a difficult back ground with problematic adults that you have a tendency to think that everyone else’s lives are a walk in the park.

She definitely treats me like Im the lucky one which I resent a bit because I have worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to get where I am now.

GabriellaMontez Fri 12-Jul-19 12:55:19

Yabu to offer financial and practical assistance in his behalf. It's very easy to expect someone else to be charitable.

How can you go and care for her if you're bankrupt?

Also, there are downside of living the kind of young, adventurous lifestyle your sister is. This situation is one of them.

Chillijamntuna Fri 12-Jul-19 12:59:16

Yes you’re right, I’ve texted my dad this morning and apologised, I had literally a few hours earlier come out of hospital myself feeling very vulnerable and sore and just couldn’t bear the thought of her experiencing that on her own.
I think the drug addled brain may have contributed to me being too forceful with my poor dad.

snowqu33n Fri 12-Jul-19 12:59:41

Really sorry about your mother, and also for criticizing your DF up thread.
I think it’s understandable that DSis will resent your dad regularly traveling for miles to see you if he hasn’t been out to see her, and she probably does have emotional baggage from the past.
I disagree with PPs who advise to suggest to your sister that she should question whether her life out there is working for her or not. If you haven’t been out there you are not in a position to advise. She probably wouldn’t react well.
I expect she doesn’t have many contacts she is close to outside of the small world of the resort and so she “vents” on the phone to you. She doesn’t have other relatives she can talk to that way, either.
Her life is probably a mixture of ups and downs, much like yours.
Keep the lines of communication open, and visit when the time is right for you.
I take it your DF is still going out later in the summer, so maybe leave it at that and see what happens.
I expect your DSis is a bit sore after the accident and needs a shoulder to cry on. It may affect her earnings and confidence too. Some people get angry and vent when they are really feeling sad, and she may be blaming herself for the accident.

distantdog Fri 12-Jul-19 13:00:24

OP - I understand where the advice "It is also worth reminding her that as she lives in France then she isn't having a relationship with your child" is coming from but given what you've said I think that isn't something you should say to her.

The different perspectives on which sibling had it easier, which one is "lucky" etc, is pretty common.

It's difficult. I have a bad relationship with one of my siblings because they never came to visit, but the enormous difference here is that this sibling went skiing in the French Alps every year!! And they think I'm being selfish/spoilt/sulky younger sibling for being pissed off with that and not visiting when I go back to the UK. I think your sister needs to understand why you can't (rather than can't be bothered) to visit.

To be honest, I think what your dad could do is offer to fly over and collect her from the hospital and then fly her back to the UK with him and look after there for a while. It's worth a lot more than telling her to get on a flight on her own in that position. She might well say no but he probably wouldn't be much use to her in France and it could well make things worse between them, but he could offer to bring her 'home' for some TLC and from him and visits from you and your DC and remind her that she is important to you both.

SnuggyBuggy Fri 12-Jul-19 13:03:10

OP you can't fix the relationship between your DSis and your DF, even if you could persuade your DF to go it won't be a solution to decades of a dysfunctional relationship.

Chillijamntuna Fri 12-Jul-19 13:09:12

True. I can’t fix it I just hate that there’s so much pain between us all that needn’t be there if we were all invested in finding peace between us.
I don’t want it to be too late before we realise how much we meant to one another.
Sometimes my sister says “I wish I could just disappear” and one of her friends killed themselves out there earlier this year so it always plays on my mind that she is a bit on the edge and we’re her only people and if we’re being shit, we could live to regret it. sad

SnuggyBuggy Fri 12-Jul-19 13:13:13

All you can do in life is try not to be a shit person, you can't change other people. It's hard accepting that your family relationships aren't what you want them to be.

Idontwanttotalk Fri 12-Jul-19 13:25:34

Well your dad is clearly not well-travelled if he has had to obtain a passport to see your sis later in the year. He is probably apprehensive about travelling alone in a foreign country where he has no-one to meet him.

Also, he may fear there is more involved with looking after your sis such as how she will shower, dress and undress. My friend broke her shoulder earlier this year and hasn't been able to do so many things, even now 4 months later. Maybe your dad is worried because he realises there is more personal stuff involved than making cups of tea?

Proteinshakesandovieshat Fri 12-Jul-19 13:35:40

If there are so deep seated issues between your sister and dad, him looking after while she is ill, wi probably not help.

They dont spend time together so he wont know what sort of help she wants if any. If I am ill, my best friend knows that I want to look after myself, but always makes sure she tells me she is there if I need anything. Because we spend so much time together she knows I dont want lifting and laying but will say of cant do something.

Your dad, because she lives so far away, may not get it quite right. She will be in pain and possibly grumpy and/or emotional.

It's a bad time to start spending time together, because of the issues.

This could make the issues worse. Not better.

But to be honest, until your sister seeks help to work through the issues (probably your dad too) nothing will make things completely better.

GreenFingersWouldBeHandy Fri 12-Jul-19 14:00:39

we’re her only people

You need to stop thinking like this. You are not her only people, she has actively chosen to move abroad and build her own friendships/family group.

My sister moved abroad for 11 years because she was running away from MH issues at home. Guess what? They followed her, because it was the actual location that was causing the issues.

Obviously, I don't know her, but I suspect your sister is similar. You say she is 'bitter' - well, that is her own issue and one that she needs to resolve. You can't help her with that. Is she receiving or has she sought any counselling or professional help?

It's not fait to expect your Dad to just get out there and help when his help hasn't been requested (and likely isn't welcome anyway).

HorridHenrysNits Fri 12-Jul-19 14:17:25

This is... not really about the injury recuperation is it?

Yesicancancan Fri 12-Jul-19 14:32:01

You sister moved along way from home and has managed thus far. If the friends she gets drunk with and parties with don’t help her, she needs to reevaluate her life.
There is no rule for your question. Sounds like she wanted to be a free spirit, she is.

distantdog Fri 12-Jul-19 18:37:12

Wow - that seems a little harsh. She has been there for a decade and the OP says her friends are all having kids now, not "partying" and getting drunk.

The problem is, unless you spend some actual time out there (here) with her, you don't really know what her life is like. And that is no criticism of the OP at all who has clearly had A LOT on her plate. And the same is true of the sister - she does go back and visit the UK according to the OP but, still, you need proper lengthy time there to really understand each others' lives.

I still think the offer from DF to either come and visit her when she's better OR fly over and fly back with her post op so she can get some tlc in the UK would go a long way to showing her that she is as forgotten about as she feels. Yes, without doubt, she's got some things wrong about how lucky/unlucky easy/difficult everyone has things but so will the OP and so will the OP's DF because that is the nature of even the most stable of families, and the OP acknowledges that the backstory is a really difficult one all round. flowers

distantdog Fri 12-Jul-19 18:44:31

Also, we have had a fair few British guests who've had various injuries over the years, including collarbone breaks. You simply can't say "it's fine" or "how awful" because every break is different and some people literally cannot lie down flat (which makes sleep so, so difficult which just compounds things). They can all fly home but, without doubt, having someone with you makes the world of difference.

I'm sure her friends will give her a hand (even if they are not that close they all know how crappy injuries of this kind are) but some sign of concern/willing from her family could do wonders... and no, OP, that does not mean you dashing out over there or getting into an argument with your dad.

justasking111 Fri 12-Jul-19 18:45:35

If she hasn`t got good friends after living there many years, she doesnt sound that great herself. DS broke his leg and arm whilst living in Bermuda kite boarding, his friends were great as were his employers, we were ready to fly out but they and he said it was not necessary at all.

distantdog Fri 12-Jul-19 18:52:14

One of the hardest things for her will be that doing these sorts of sporting activities will be a huge part of her whole reason for doing bar work/living in flat shares, making her life out there (without the security of an employer who will look after her, including repatriation to the UK if she injures herself!!!)... I was in a much, much more secure and supported position than the sister when I was injured and it was still quite a blow. As I said, you have to have spent some time with her in that environment to understand what her life actually is like.

Chillijamntuna Fri 12-Jul-19 19:42:24

justasking111 she doesnt sound that great herself this is off the mark!
She has an 'attachment avoidant' personality type because of her very difficult early years and this makes it inordinately difficult for her to reach to to others and ask for help. She is constantly helping her friends out and goes above and beyond for them in thoughtful and practical ways. Your son having good people around him when he hurt himself in Bermuda is part luck and probably because he is not so damaged from early rejection that he can't ask for his needs to be met.

@distantdog I agree

I have spoken with my dad and smoothed things over, apologising again for suggesting he go out there. He had already decided not to and is going for a nice walking holiday out there in September so all's well that ends well.

Lesson learned - don't get involved.

jacks11 Fri 12-Jul-19 20:05:11

Are you 100% sure that he can “just move it forward” if he is still working. I know I couldn’t change holidays on a whim.

Singlenotsingle Fri 12-Jul-19 20:14:44

She might not want someone moving in when she's not well. She might find that she's looking after him, rather than the other way round. And if you go, she might prefer it to be when she's fit, able to take you round and have fun. Check with her first before you start making any arrangements.

Notcopingwellhere Fri 12-Jul-19 20:16:16

all’s well that ends well

But is it though? Has your sister’s op gone OK, does she have a better idea now of how long she needs to be in hospital/what her needs will be, is she upset that nobody is coming to help her?

distantdog Fri 12-Jul-19 21:38:30

^ you could still help her and make her feel loved by checking in with her on this stuff.

As I said, I was pretty stunned by the high level of aftercare I got after my operation (and I wasn't living alone) * but * I did have the top up insurance (for 13 euro a month) which mean that everything was covered 100% and she may not have that (if it isn't part of her employment contract or - as I did as a self-employed person - she hasn't chosen to take it out... which people don't, don't get cross with her if she hasn't).

It's worth checking in with her (gently) and seeing if she's spoken to her GP about how she can get to/from the hospital etc. as a single person because they will help her sort something out if a friend can't do it.

vincettenoir Sat 13-Jul-19 14:18:06

I understand where you are coming from because my Df is exactly the same. I’m sorry that he can’t step up for you both and know how painful this can feel.

SolsticeBabyMaybe Sat 13-Jul-19 16:21:09

I don't think anyone's being unreasonable really.

As pp said it sounds like your dad is quite worried he will get lost traveling alone, he's just got a passport so I'm guessing he isn't an experienced traveller. It also may be way too expensive for him.

I'd definitely talk to your sister about what she will actually need before going OTT about this.

SnuggyBuggy Sat 13-Jul-19 17:27:07

If she isn't able to get out much for the time being would now be a good time to start a regular facetime catch up?

JustAVoidReally Sat 13-Jul-19 17:43:40

I don't think parents are BU in not wanting to do family gatherings and caring for people in whatever exciting country their offspring have gone to live in.

I would be there like a shot if one of mine were bedridden or terminally ill or something. Short of that they can come home as much or for as long as they like.

An exciting life abroad is all very nice but it is not something you expect to impose on people who don't want it. If they want to spend some time with their family, or be looked after at home, they would be better off being in the country their family actually calls home.

FelicisNox Sat 13-Jul-19 18:07:58

I don't think you are BU but I don't think your dad is either.

Visiting for a nice time when you can go out and do lovely things is one thing, going to play nurse maid and be in each other's company 24/7 with not enough to say to each other is quite another. Particularly after a gap of being in each other's lives.

Your sister has lived her life on her own terms and is now having to deal with the consequences of those choices. It's sad but it is her choice.

You say your dad raised you single handed and I dare say he's enjoying his life once again.... he's probably had a difficult life up until now.

He is a good dad.

His job was to love and care for his girls, put a roof over their head, clothes on their back, food on the table and to raise his girls to be independent. He's done that.

Is he being selfish? Possibly. But there's worse things. It doesn't mean he doesn't care.

Talk to him properly and ask him what's going on and also talk to your sister: this is all from your perspective, she hasn't asked for a nurse maid and maybe this will give her the impetus to re-evaluate her life.

Would I go out to my child? Yes but I don't expect everyone to feel the same.

Aridane Sat 13-Jul-19 18:43:49

I was about to post YABU and a whole load of other stuff! However, am glad to see your update, that you’be apologised and are stepping back

Aridane Sat 13-Jul-19 18:46:02

I told her that it worried me that she seemed to work 50 hour weeks yet count afford a card, she flew off the handle at me

I can sort of see why your sister flew off the handle in relation to that comment about not receiving a birthday card!

I hope your sister manages to conquer her demons

skybluee Sat 13-Jul-19 18:55:18

I find this thread incredibly sad.

"Actually I can see his point of view. He hasn't been over to see her and probably had a vision in his mind of having a nice holiday, seeing the sights etc ....not being stuck in a flat making small talk and cups of tea and shuttling too and from hospital all day long at some expense. Yabvu OP. I could guarantee it'd be the last trip he does"

This kind of thing - he's her dad. I never in a million years would put a holiday above helping out a friend or family member. It's France, not the moon, figuring out how to get from one town to another is probably something that takes 2 minutes. It could have been something that brought them closer, she will be mobile, they'd have been able to get out to cafes etc.

We don't know if the sister even wanted him there but I find his attitude quite shocking. Yes, of course, have the nice walking holiday instead of being around for someone post op. I guess that sums up the whole relationship.

DreamTheMoors Sat 13-Jul-19 19:10:46

You said you’ve got a young child, just had an operation yourself and that you’re bankrupt but that if DD doesn’t go - you will. My sister and I are not close either, but if I were given the choice of who I’d want looking after me I’d choose her every time. Your mothering instincts are what she needs - not her father standing there looking at her when she obviously needs assistance. You & DD should be thinking about what’s best for DS - not arguing over whose job it is to go.

distantdog Sat 13-Jul-19 19:18:17

To be fair it's not "France", it's the French Alps - public transport not designed for the tourist industry is extremely limited. Getting to another town is really not that easy without a car or expensive taxis. I have had treatment in 3 different hospitals in the region, at least one of which is completely inaccessible by public transport.

CorBlimeyGovenor Sat 13-Jul-19 19:36:25

I don't think that he should be forced to do, neither should you become a Martyr and go after major surgery whilst bankrupt and with a toddler. That is just daft! She's broken her collar bone, not her leg. She'll have use of one arm and two legs. The collar bone is also easily accessible, so it's not like major abdominal surgery etc. And she, presumably, doesn't have dependants to be cared for. I don't think that your father can be expected to drop everything and rush over there. Has he dropped everything and rushed over to yours re your surgery to demonstrate that he cares? Has he been making you cups of tea and providing childcare? If yes, then he's clearly not selfish. If no, then do you feel that he should be prioritizing your sister over you? (Genuine questions). I don't think him visiting her is necessary. She might not want him to anyway, esp if she doesn't have a spare room etc or they're no longer that close. Why can't he just call her and see if she needs or wants any help, or just call to check up on her. A card and bunch of flowers could show that he cared.

manicmij Sat 13-Jul-19 19:43:00

Perhaps he feels he did it on his own bringing you both up so your sister should manage look after herself. Will you sister be in hospital long or more likely an overnight stay. If your father did feel like going he could go once sister is home. There may well be an element of "she chose to live as she does and where she does" so she can deal with it.

lboogy Sat 13-Jul-19 20:25:44

I think the responses give an insight into how close members are to their family and how much disposable income they have.

You may think you know your dad's financial situation but the fact that he's upset about potential costs for seeing her, I suspect he has less disposable (discretionary) income than you might be aware of.

Even so, sounds like he's done is duty as a parent and doesn't want anymore parental responsibility. He wants a holiday and thus should be entitled to one.

However, if it was my dad I know he'd drop everything to come visit me, but then he has the means to do so, plus we are very close, so there that.

Rachel1874 Sat 13-Jul-19 20:56:11

I think if you move to a foreign country, you should realise that help isn't readily available. Maybe he is upset she went in the first place and never came back. If he raised you both all by himself he is probably a bit hurt by that. No I don't think he should have to go and look after her.

angelfacecuti75 Sat 13-Jul-19 21:50:26

I can see it from both sides....I can see why your sis wpuld miss her family but she chose to live abroad...(my dh 's mum and step fil has moved abroad). I cam see why your sis needs help. But also I can see why your dad , after looking after you for that long feels its 'his time' now that you are both adults and might not feel comfortable about being someone's carer. As long as she can walk and take taxis etc , she'll cope. I'm sure she could take a couple of days longer in hospital surely so they can loom after her as long as she doesn't need to pay for it?! I can't see me leaving my son short though.. but i think men are different to women...couldn't his partner go with him or ur sis help u woth the cost of the trip if u do end up going?

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »