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Relationship with father bothers me, particularly because he acts like I matter less than everyone else

(24 Posts)
lottieandmia Fri 12-Jul-13 19:48:29

I know I have a toxic father and there isn't anything I can do about it but for various reasons I'm not at a point where I can cut him out of my life even though he talks to me as though he wouldn't care if I died tomorrow. I've tried to reconcile myself to the fact that, he isn't ever going to see my as his daughter.

There is this one thing he does though that really gets to me. He takes photos of my children on their birthdays and makes a big effort to make really nice pictures and then sends them all to his sister and my cousins. If I ask him if I could have one he says no, and keeps the rest of them all locked in his bedroom and doesn't even put them up in his own house!

I know this sounds bonkers but I'm just ranting really (there are far more other boring stories in the same vein) because there isn't anyone else I can tell. It bothers me because my camera is broken and I can't afford a new one at the moment. I don't have any pictures of dd3 up in my house and she often asks why. I just think he must be giving these pictures away (to people who probably don't even want them) just to spite me. Surely most people don't behave like this?

CailinDana Fri 12-Jul-13 20:11:16

That is very strange behaviour. But it's also strange that you continue to see him and let him see your children in spite of his behaviour. Why?

Sheshelob Fri 12-Jul-13 20:14:31

I agree with Caillin. There is never a "good time" to lance the bad dad boil, so why not go ahead and do it? I am 7 years clear of mine and it is good. It doesn't mend the past hurt but it stops you from being hurt afresh.

What is stopping you, OP?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Jul-13 20:16:40

To give you a psychological term... he's a whackadoodle. smile Actually it's a power thing. He controls their images, he pisses you off... objective achieved. I imagine you can't distance yourself because you're currently reliant on him for something... money? accommodation? a job?.... but you can certainly stop him doing these photo sessions. Could you talk to your sister and cousins?

lottieandmia Fri 12-Jul-13 20:16:47

Because I'm a lone parent and I have 3 children, one of whom is severely disabled. I have no other family (only child) and I need my mum's help sometimes. Perhaps I am kidding myself and I could cope without them. My mum wants me to believe I can't cope without her - she often says it!! It's mainly practical things like my disabled dd gets home from school on school transport and the other two need picking up and I can't be in two places at once.

Also when I try to not see them my dad comes round and knocks on the window.

QueenofWhispers Fri 12-Jul-13 20:17:16

My dad is like this. I ignore him as much as I can. I even moved countries. Shit thing is though, since my sisters and I are close I end up having to see him for their sake.

LeBFG Fri 12-Jul-13 20:17:31

This is not normal behaviour from a dad or grandad. I can't explain the whys but I just wanted to say - you're not bonkers.

lottieandmia Fri 12-Jul-13 20:26:41

The problem is we live in the same town. To move would be a huge upheaval - my disabled dd has a great special school that is really good for her. I have had a nagging feeling for years that they are not healthy to be around.

Several years ago I was very ill and in hospital and my parents treatment of me was cruel - they did some really awful things to me. Since I got better I have managed to distance myself from them a bit more. But stuff like this crops up still.

Sheshelob Fri 12-Jul-13 20:38:21

You might find that you feel a lot stronger without them dragging you down. There is nothing worse than your parents feeling compelled to demonstrate how much they dislike you. It seems impossible to people who have had normal parents but there are some parents out there who get a kick out of emotionally abusing their children.

Would it hurt to look at the possibilities? Just see if it is realistic. You can take control of your life and be free of them forever. Otherwise you are just waiting for them to die, which is no way to live.

tallwivglasses Fri 12-Jul-13 20:47:02

I don't have parents or any family support. My DS has a care package so that when I can't be there when he gets home his paid PA is there. Speak to your social worker urgently.

lottieandmia Fri 12-Jul-13 20:50:33

You are right. It feels like a hard thing to do though. Probably because I've been conditioned to believe I can't cope on my own. They also try to control me by offering various other types of help. My mum is more confusing - she can be lovely then turn on you, then switch back....and so on.

lottieandmia Fri 12-Jul-13 20:52:45

Thanks tallwivglasses, we don't have involvement from SS but school recently asked me if I would like to try to get some help from them - how easy is that to do?

Sheshelob Fri 12-Jul-13 21:25:05

You can do it. You really can. And getting some help from the social services could give you the help you need to break free.

You are way more capable then they'd have you believe. And getting away will allow you to get on with your life without being bullied, belittled and undermined.

I'm so sorry your parents are like this but they will never change. So you need to put yourself first and leave.

lottieandmia Fri 12-Jul-13 22:55:37

Thanks Sheshelob. I know you're right.

lottieandmia Sun 14-Jul-13 00:11:29

Today I have tried to avoid them - had a lovely afternoon at my friend's house. When I got back my mum phones me at 10pm and has a go at me because I can't force my ex-husband to live in a bigger house than he does so that the children have more room when they go to visit hmm Then had a go at me about the photographs. Apparently the photographs are nothing to do with me and I have no right to have any opinion about what is done with them. Which is obviously rubbish since I have to sign forms to allow school to photograph the children.

Argh! I'm just so annoyed with myself that I answered the phone. I had had a good day up until that point.

Mixxy Sun 14-Jul-13 02:25:41

Both of them sound awful.

You poor thing.

Walkacrossthesand Sun 14-Jul-13 07:45:40

Time for some 'Yoda' - 'do, or do not - there is no 'try''. You said up thread that you were nervous of taking steps to reduce contact with your parents - I think it's worth having all your plans for the new way of life in place before you really pull up the drawbridge. Will it be possible to get a grandparent-free care package in place before school restarts in September? Will you be able to manage on your own in school holidays? Until you start to feel like the one in charge, and can cut them out completely, be very careful where you draw the boundary lines - trying to 'cut them out' and then having to grovel for their help will set you back, and be grist for their mill of nastiness. Ignoring calls would probably be so 'unlike you' it would make them come round and knock on the window, so what would you do then, etc..

The big shift here is that you are starting to feel that you don't have to put up with this - which is great! Go, Lottie!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 14-Jul-13 08:38:10

"My mum is more confusing - she can be lovely then turn on you, then switch back"

What you're describing is 'emotional or psychological bullying'. By being nice/nasty in turn and making you believe that you are completely dependent on her, she keeps you very close and in a child-like status. Your father's bullying is more overt, that's all.

I'd echo the advice therefore to make yourself less reliant on your parents and get your help from elsewhere. Also recommend (if you don't have it already) that you get caller display on your phone so that any calls from mum at 10pm can be safely ignored. smile

lottieandmia Sun 14-Jul-13 13:20:38

'she keeps you very close and in a child-like status' - this is exactly what she does. I feel so silly that I haven't managed to break away from this yet. Walka - you are right, I need to start the process of getting help now from elsewhere. I had a meeting the other day at my dd's school and was asked whether I had thought about applying for help from direct payments.

I am afraid of what they could do if I remove them if I'm honest, which is silly but it's how I feel.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 14-Jul-13 13:28:40

What are you afraid of? What could they actually do? And... whatever answers you give to those questions.... who would it look worse on? A woman taking responsibility for herself and her family, being more independent and making a fresh start? Or the parents of that woman throwing their toys out of the pram?

lottieandmia Sun 14-Jul-13 17:41:00

What they'll probably do is phone various people up in our family and tell them how awful I am and what I've done to them etc. If they don't get their own way they generally turn very nasty and threaten me.

However, I do realise of course that it's impossible to have people like them in your life without them causing pain.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 14-Jul-13 18:20:17

Then you plan your detachment a little more carefully and spend some time cultivating various members of your family and making a bit of a fuss of them. 'Operation Love Bomb'... if you like. Be your normal, lovely self and then, when the stories start, those family members will simply refuse to believe them.

What kind of nasty things could they threaten you with?

lottieandmia Sun 14-Jul-13 22:34:13

In the past the threats have always been implied - I suspect they are empty tbh.

The other members of my family live far away so I don't see them enough to be able to influence them. There are a lot of people who don't see what my dad is like and how aggressive and how much of a bully he is - he puts on a nice face to other people and they think he's lovely - and he cab certainly appear to be the nicest person ever. He's vile to my mum as well as me and when he is, she phones me for sympathy! But has none for me when he's attacking me. But we are the only two people who see him like that.

lottieandmia Sun 14-Jul-13 22:37:09

In any case, my plan is to detach from them more and more, but not in a nuclear way like telling them up front. Before my councilor retired she helped me a lot with my own perception of myself and removing them from it. Perhaps I need more therapy to help me carry on detaching and not to give them any footholds.

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