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Tight dad

(18 Posts)
springydaffs Sat 06-Aug-11 14:59:34

I mean mean, not pissed.

I'm in my 50s and I've been thinking about tackling my dad about this. He is in his 80s and I - we all - have just put up with his meanness and selfishness, accepting that that is just the way he is. But this idea about tackling him about it is gaining ground lately and won't go away.

I divorced when my kids were young and was financially shafted by my very wealthy husband (who was mean - quel surprise!) and as a result have struggled very much financially since. My siblings are financially comfortable but I have had years of struggling to make ends meet - really bad sometimes (often sad). The financial difficulties really cast a shadow over my children's chilodhood I now realise - I thought I had kept it hidden from them but sometimes it's in the air you breath.

Anyways, while this was going on, my dad has never offered a cent. My parents aren't wealthy but I am getting a sneaking suspicion there has been a lot more around than we all thought, squirrelled away by my tight dad over the years. My mum is mortified at his profligate spending on himself and has put a stop to some of it, saying that she doesn't want eg a very expensive extension (cosmetic, nothing to do with mobility needs etc) when both me and my brother, whose business has failed, are on our uppers. She was mortally embarrassed at his stonking great flat screen tv and brand new car every 2 years when me and bro were at that point particularly struggling. I have asked my dad only twice to lend me some money, in the £100s, for a vital bill (once to stop a CCJ) and he has loaned it but I have had to pay it back in instalments. If an instalment is late he is on the phone asking me to check up on it.

I instinctively don't look at other people's financial set-up, mainly because you have no idea what is really going on. But it is becoming more than clear that there is a lot sloshing about. And I just wonder why on earth a dad would let his children struggle when just a bit of help would go a long way. Aren't dads supposed to help their kids, even when they're adults? I mean help out a bit to get them through a tight time, show support, do what you can now and again. I know nearly for certain that the money he asked back from me in instalments he wouldn't have missed at all if he'd written it off - or, keep me steady here, actually gave it to me. I was hardly buying a flash hol or car.

the only thing he has ever given me of his own volition is a kettle (with a lecture about electricity wastage or whatever). A tiny thing has just happened - he gave me his ladder. I was pretty astonished at the time but, as he is so ancient, he has no need of a ladder. This was about 5 years ago but recently he needed some work done on his house and my bro, out of work, offered to do it. My dad asked me for 'his' ladder back. "you gave it to me dad!" I said. "Yes I did but it was for safekeeping" he said. He has just called me to say that he's sorry for the misunderstanding but he gave it to me to borrow and now he wants it back permanently because he needs it. "Do you need it regularly?" I said - thinking he could 'borrow' it when he needs it, whereas I need it pretty much all the time. Oh yes, very regularly he said. I very much doubt he does.

Petty, I know (and sorry for long post!). Do I talk to him about how tight he has been? What would I say?? confused. Interestingly, I don't feel bitter, just that this isn't right and why isn't anybody saying anything? Why has he been able to get away with this for so long (all our lives)? the radiators upstairs in our childhood home rusted up because he wouldn't let us put them on; and I wasn't allowed to sit in another room to read, knit, sew etc as it 'used too much electricity'. Our only option ws the telly in the living room practically in the dark with the regulation 25w lightbulbs.

I'm feeling a bit upset about this tbh. What kind of a dad is he? sad

cyb Sat 06-Aug-11 15:10:51

He's a Dad that clearly didn't believe in lending money to you or anyone else. And just because YOU would do it if you had the money, it doesnt mean he has to (although normal common sense would suggest he should)

My Mum is the same, rolling in it but will never offer or treat or anything unless its on her terms and then we ALL have to know about it. And I'm okay with that. She doesnt know any better and its too late to try. I sort of forgive her.

You will never change your Dad, he's 80 for heavens sake. But you could get over it and stop stewing about it, its happened now. Perhaps when he dies you'll get a windfall.

Think about all the things YOU achieved without his financial help and be proud of those

LesserOfTwoWeevils Sat 06-Aug-11 15:39:32

He sounds really mean.
You could talk to him about it, but what would it achieve? He's not going to change at this stage, except perhaps to get meaner.
All that would happen is that he and your mother would just get very, very upset, and you would have got it off your chest. Up to you whether you feel that's worth it.

moonbells Sat 06-Aug-11 15:52:46

Sounds like my grandad. He didn't change either, though in his case there were no savings either.

I have a friend whose husband is like this too - the family is always freezing cold in winter while he goes around the house in shorts (he's ok so they have to lump it)

There's nowt so queer as folk. I'd leave it be; annoying though it is, it won't change anything. And on purely monetary grounds, if you alienate him now and you are in line to get something in a will one day, he might be annoyed enough to change it so you don't... though of course I don't know him so I might be completely off-beam.

BBwannaB Sat 06-Aug-11 15:54:52

Maybe in your youth, when he was saving money on heating and electricity, he WAS struggling financially, most of us do when our kids are young.
Maybe now he is saving his money in case it is needed for a nursing or care home in the future.
Maybe he thinks you are gown up and should be able to look after yourself...

feckwit Sat 06-Aug-11 15:55:23

Well it is his money? I guess he fells if he looks after it then he should be able to spend it, I don't think as a child you have any "right" to it.

I guess maybe one day you will inherit so it seems a bit mean to be moaning about it.

springydaffs Sat 06-Aug-11 16:08:30

I've not said a word, just accepted it, my entire life, as have my siblings (though we have grumbled privately). It's just that recently I've begun to think "this isn't right!" I mean that I think there is something really wrong with it, not just a little bit wrong, not just a bit annoying but actually seriously not right.

Gastonladybird Sat 06-Aug-11 16:21:37

It could also be a war thing- my mil also Like this ( her live of buying out of date food in sainsburys to save is a family joke ). I think part of it is an age thing growing up in 30s/war where there was no waste.

That said I think no good will come of it by saying something - he is not likely to change and will cause bad feeling. You sound like you have made a great job with your family in circumstances so take pride In that.

FabbyChic Sat 06-Aug-11 16:45:43

Sorry but I don't believe parents should help out financially, you stand on your own two feet when you become an adult.

springydaffs Sat 06-Aug-11 17:17:18

I agree with you generally Fabby which is why I have never said anything. However, as I think I am labouring the point mucho, lately I've begun to think it isn't ok when your kids are on their uppers and need a bit of help. Howeve,r good point about possibly saving for the care home etc. the 25w lightbulbs were a sign of a very controlling man I'm afraid, someting we have all generally moaned about but never said anything - you just accept it and are glad you don't live there anymore.

I also think that with my kids I am planning to 'launch' them iyswim. I plan to invest in property for them to make sure they get their feet on that particular ladder. I also couldn't possibly stand by if they were struggling, for whatever reason, without slipping them a few K to help them through if it was appropriate. There wouldn't be any fanfare either, I'd have to do it in a way to cause minimum embarrassment, also bearing in mind their partners' wishes re you can disguise it somehow iyswim. Ijust can't get my head around a dad who doesn't look out for his kids, whether they're grown or not. My bro had a stroke and as a consequence lost his business. They've really struggled these past few years and I do find it galling that my dad didn't step up and offer to help in whatever capacity; instead carried on blithely seeing to himself (not my mum, either, just himself) sad

confidence Sat 06-Aug-11 20:36:06

Speaking pragmatically for a moment: Might raising the issue and risking pissing him off actually perpetuate the problem, by causing him to cut you out of his will?

...Which sounds like it could be substantial.

didyouseewhatshedid Sat 06-Aug-11 22:52:36

He sounds like a tight bastard, end of. My dad was similar and, ultimately, I cut him out of my life. Tightness, meaness, call it what you will is a vile trait. I would never be like that with my children and would never see them go without. Personally, I wouldnt say a thing as he wont listen. I would just go incommunicardo on him and if he starts pestering you, tell him it's because you dont think he's a nice person (which sounds like the case).

maleview70 Sat 06-Aug-11 23:29:13

He sounds tight but I am a believer in sorting you own life out. I left home at 18 and have never asked for anything ofF anyone.

nectarina Sun 07-Aug-11 07:08:22

Put your foot down about the ladder. He gave it to you. Its minor compared to everything else, but its the principle.

Thumbwitch Sun 07-Aug-11 07:17:04

He is mean. I do believe in children learning to stand on their own two feet (learnt from my Dad) but I would not see any child of mine suffer through little fault of their own, especially if there were young children involved as well.
My sis has financial issues, lots of them - and my Dad has lent her the money she's needed as and when, as have I - she always pays it back, she's not a "taker". In the past she was pretty careless with money but has learnt a lot of lessons in the last few years, yet still has terrible problems - if she was just a profligate spender, with no sense or learning, we probably wouldn't still help her out in all honesty - but she has DC who need taking care of too, so we wouldn't let them suffer.

Your Dad is a mean old git, that's the top and bottom of it, sorry. Don't bother saying anything to him - he's gone 80 years like this, chances of him changing now = less than zero.

springydaffs Sun 07-Aug-11 09:46:34

YOu would think, thumbwitch, but a few years ago I got a heartfelt apology for what he'd put me through when I was at home. He was an abusive parent (not sexual abuse) is the long and short of it - very. Just me, mind, not the others. He has changed towards me - it is enduring. The mean old gitness has always been there (controlling), towards everybody not just me, hence not helping my bro out during his crisis. He is seriously tight, seriously selfish.

His dad was a violent alcoholic who spent all the family money on booze so they starved, beat them all up (esp my dad). he's been a better dad than that - if you like - maybe that's how he sees it too. He does try - he's not blindly selfish - but he has been seriously crap as a dad. He's been an abusive, tight, controlling shit. I've a few friends with dads like it and we all just sort of groan under it.

My dad - if he sees that he has got something wrong he turns 180 degrees in an instant. that has always been one of his good qualities. It's the seeing that is the problem. He also apologises - a full apology, heartfelt - if he knows he has got something wrong. Now that's an amazing quality - there's not many people who know the S word, particularly men of his generation. Basically, he's got a conscience.

Thumbwitch Sun 07-Aug-11 09:51:34

Has no one picked him up on it before now then?

I admit, springy, that does piut your chances higher than zero, but not much more if he's been told he's a mean ol' git before and nothing has changed before.

Good luck then - give it your best shot smile

springydaffs Sun 07-Aug-11 23:02:52

No, nobody has picked him up on it before. We were all just kind of crushed by it - somebody said upthread that he is like their grandad and my guess is he is the same age as the poster's grandad. Men of that generation ruled with a rod of iron and didn't expect to be challenged, expected to be obeyed. he's older now, more mellow really, and he's softened in a lot of ways. But the tightness has remained, completely unchanged.

I've always been the one to challenge him (hence him not exactly taking well to being challenged and singling me out when I was younger). i thought all the rules and regs when we were at home were ridiculous and said so - we were't in the bloody army. he didn't like that. If the r&r's had made sense then that would have been another thing, but they were all about him having absolute power and authority.

My opener will probably be about the ladder, possibly leading on to asking him why he has never given me anything, aren't dad's supposed to look out for their kids, protect them etc? He has always been tight about absolutely everything and yet at heart he has a generous nature, it just doesn't get an airing that often.

Somebody said up thread about the will and not challenging him because he might cut me out. That's a bit bleurgh though isn't it? What, let him be a total shit just so I get his money. Meh

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