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AIBU to consider finally changing DD’s surname, now XH is dead?

(108 Posts)
Conflictedingrief Mon 06-Jul-20 09:16:38

Name change - Korean lady, rivers of corn, Wooly Hugs etc!

We had a real shock last week - XH had a heart attack at work, and the paramedics could not revive him. He was in his early forties so a total shock. Mixed reactions from me, sad obviously because he was so young and he is my child’s father but mainly a sense of relief that he couldn't hurt us any more.

He was a nasty piece of work, violent, financially and emotionally abusive, I’ve had MANY threads on here about things he’s done including being arrested for DV to his poor fiancé in front of my daughter three times in the space of a couple of years. She is now 11 and has not seen him for many years following this third DV incident and SS involvement. It took a CAHMS referral and months of counselling before she stopped having nightmares - she was terrified of him. He was welcome to call/Skype her but these had dried up to less than once a month, so he wasn’t a present fixture in her life at all. Even though she hadn’t seen him in a long time she is still affected by what she witnessed - she had to do an autobiography for school and wrote in quite harrowing detail about that night, so much so I emailed the teacher just to check it wasn’t going up on a notice board somewhere, as it made for some shocking reading! My poor girl has been through so much - she is safe now though, and I’m doing my best to show her love every day.

We left him when she was 15 months old and he had decided to “teach me a lesson” by sellotaping her into her high chair and cutting her hair off. Since then we have found a little house, got two lovely cats, built a happy life for us. I’ve even met and married the KINDEST and most lovely man you could ever meet, who comes with two lovely kids of his own so our family is complete. DD adores her stepbrother and stepsister and we are really happy.

She has in the past expressed sadness that she is the only one with a different surname. DH, DSS and DSD are all, for eg, Smith, I have double barrelled my maiden name so I am St John Smith, she is Parker (not real names, but same number of syllables). I asked XH many times if he would permit me to add my surname to DD’s name so that she would feel part of the family - he always refused, as a control thing more than anything else, he wasn’t seeing her at all (and certainly wasn’t paying any child maintenance for her - current CSA arrears stand at over 12k!). However, he has now died so I have sole PR. I know it’s early days and it’s still raw, but if DD is still keen shall I do it? Her new surname would be the equivalent of Parker St John Smith which is a HELL of a mouthful, but I think it would be fairer than for eg making Parker a middle name and keeping only mine as surname.

So AIBU to consider this? Or a cold hearted cow as he’s not even in the ground yet?

OP’s posts: |
bestbrowsintown Mon 06-Jul-20 09:18:51

I'd leave it completely up to your dd. I probably wouldn't even mention it for a year.

RobinHobb Mon 06-Jul-20 09:18:55

Do it :-)
If your daughter wants to still.

HeddaGarbled Mon 06-Jul-20 09:19:57

I think she’ll need some time to process her feelings around her dad’s death, but in a few months’ time, I’d discuss it with her. She might ask first, of course, which would be ideal.

littlefireseverywhere Mon 06-Jul-20 09:21:26

I’d do it, or just get rid of his entirely & make hers the same as yours.

Boom45 Mon 06-Jul-20 09:21:48

If it's what your daughter wants let her do it. Just make sure she's not going to get attacked for it by his family or whatever if she does it straight away. If it's likely to upset or anger other people I'd do it quietly in 6 months or so when they're less likely to notice/care/kick up a fuss.
You owe nothing to him by the sounds of it and it's your daughters choice at 15 I think but dont let her feel guilt or be given guilt by doing it really quickly. She might have some very complicated feelings about losing an abusive parent at her age.

NataliaOsipova Mon 06-Jul-20 09:22:01

As your DD is 11, I’d sit down and have a serious conversation about it. Ask get what she would like to do, give her all the options and let her think about it....and make the decision for herself.

Not cold hearted at all - why should you fake grief for someone who treated you so badly? As long as you’re respectful of the fact that this was her father (which you clearly are), I think that’s fine. Do what’s in your DD’s interest.

Trailing1 Mon 06-Jul-20 09:22:37

If it's what your daughter wants I would say do it, maybe when things have calmed down over her father's passing. I'm so sorry to hear about the traumas you and your daughter have faced, you are truly survivors.

JudyGemstone Mon 06-Jul-20 09:23:14

You can do it by deed poll online, it's easy and cheap.

He sounds utterly horrible. Good riddance to him.

Reluctantbettlynch Mon 06-Jul-20 09:24:39

Either let her mention or leave it a while before bringing it up. I would also let her choose what she does about 'Parker' she may not want to keep it or she may want it as a middle name. She can always add it back in at a later date if she wants to.

formerbabe Mon 06-Jul-20 09:24:40

We left him when she was 15 months old and he had decided to “teach me a lesson” by sellotaping her into her high chair and cutting her hair off

This is the most awful thing I've ever read sad

But yeah, I'd wait a bit and let the shock dissipate and then ask your dd what she wants. But sounds reasonable to me

AlternativePerspective Mon 06-Jul-20 09:24:42

I would give her some time to process his loss and then bring it up.

I wouldn’t feel too much guilt about it though, sometimes bad things happen to bad people....

PS: please tell me the fiancé also got rid of him?

Itsjustabitofbanter Mon 06-Jul-20 09:24:47

If it’s what your daughter wants, then yes. Drop his name entirely

MaintainTheMolehill Mon 06-Jul-20 09:24:58

I came on the thread to say no. Read a few lines and you should definitely change it but I wouldn't bring it up for a while, she will be dealing with complicated feelings as you know around what he did and his death.

She sounds brave like her Mum though and will be fine flowers

BabyDancer Mon 06-Jul-20 09:25:55

I'd ask her in a few months, giving her the option of a double barrelled name, your maiden name or remaining the same.

Thepilotlightsgoneout Mon 06-Jul-20 09:28:50

I’d give it a couple of months, just to let the dust settle. Then see what she wants to do.

Just because she didn’t see him, don’t assume she won’t care or grieve his death. I lost a father that I never really saw and it’s quite complicated - you need to grieve the relationship you never had, and the fact that you are now never going to have it.

TeenPlusTwenties Mon 06-Jul-20 09:30:30

Would your DH adopting her be something any of you would consider?

Leave it say 6 months and then mention the surname options to you DD and let her choose. (Unless she is about to start secondary, in which case you could get on and ask her what surname she wants to be known as there? You don't need to explicitly link that to her father dying.)

Disfordarkchocolate Mon 06-Jul-20 09:30:49

I would probably wait for her to bring it up as she has previously mentioned wanting the same name as everyone else. There is no hurry, she can take all the time she needs as she is only 11.

She may well need some additional mental health support before she gets there, her feelings will be very conflicted.

Soontobe60 Mon 06-Jul-20 09:31:32

I'd say tread slowly here. Your DD may well be grieving for the father she never had, she may have been hoping that he'd change and become a loving dad. Now that's never going to happen. In fact, I'd look at getting some counselling for her so she can work through her feelings. I'm sure you've done everything you can do to keep her safe and loved, but she's coming up to a difficult time in her life, teen years, and may well be very confused.
A close friend of mine had an awful father who beat her and her mother regularly, he really was a cruel bastard, but when he died she completely fell to pieces (she was 30) and even now talks about him as if he was parent of the year. Constantly posts things on Facebook about how wonderful her dad was and how he's now with the angels in heaven! It's her way of dealing with the trauma she suffered growing up.

bluebluezoo Mon 06-Jul-20 09:32:32

I think she’ll need some time to process her feelings around her dad’s death, but in a few months’ time, I’d discuss it with her. She might ask first, of course, which would be ideal

This. It is always advised to not make any big changes after a bereavement.

Bear in mind she may not feel the same as you- ie relief at his death, and in a lot of ways this is a more difficult loss than if they had been close. She’s lost her dad, will likely feel guilty about not being more upset, while also grieving the loss of the father he never was, and questioning why he was like that...

I lost my father at the same age. Get her some counselling. When she’s worked through her loss she can decide whether she wants to keep that link or not.

SoupDragon Mon 06-Jul-20 09:33:28

She has in the past expressed sadness that she is the only one with a different surname.

Definitely change it.

How does your DD feel about his death though? Now might not be the right time to do it and there is no rush. I would probably leave it for a few months to see how she is first.

shinyredbus Mon 06-Jul-20 09:33:32

Let her grieve then bring it up in a few months.

Qwicks Mon 06-Jul-20 09:34:05

Just because your daughter disliked him/was scared of him on the surface don't assume that's she's feeling relief over him dying, whatever she's actually telling you. I can't even begin to think how utterly conflicted she must feel so I think barrelling through a name change to erase him completely is probably not the right thing for her at the moment.

Conflictedingrief Mon 06-Jul-20 09:34:20

Thank you, thank you, thank you... you have made me feel like it IS a good idea. I think it will make DD so happy. I will wait until it’s not quite so raw, then bring it up and see what she says.

It was his memorial service on Zoom on Saturday and it was just awful... we went, because I thought it would be closure for DD, but his family were singing his praises and saying how honest, loyal, and wonderful he was, that he loved his kids more than anything, and he would t hurt a fly no matter what some people said, blah blah blah, and I’m quietly screaming HE WAS A TOTAL BASTARD AND NONE OF YOU REALLY KNEW HIM but couldn’t say a thing!! Hardest 60 mins of my life. Still, at least Covid19 meant it was online and not in person, as in. It sure I could have kept quiet if we were face to face! They’ve always denied he did any of the things he did and refused to even hear me, so they think I am a total arrogant and evil bitch for keeping DD way from her father. If only they knew... but they’d never believe me.

And no, the fiancé did not leave him... she said she could not, as he owed her too much money, and he did most of the childcare while she worked, so she couldn’t. I really feel for her now... she’s going to have to handle this all on her own. sad

OP’s posts: |
pinkyredrose Mon 06-Jul-20 09:34:47

I'd drop his surname entirely and give your yours.

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