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When did crap parents come up on your radar....

(11 Posts)
Dirtybadger Sat 28-Dec-13 01:15:41

I know lots of people on here have less than ideal relationships with either one or both of their parents on here. Many have gone NC. As my Dm is my main confidante, I feel it's the only place I can ask. Obviously I can't ask her.

As a child and teen I have resented my Df for various reasons. I always, upon reflection, put this down to my own self importance or some sort of indulgent fantasy that he wasn't nice (when in fact he was 'normal' and 'nice').

As a "proper adult", now, though (23) I am starting to think maybe I was on to something. For the last year or so I've grown more and more convinced that, actually, maybe he isn't great. And maybe just because he's my dad, he doesn't have to be. Though, obviously, that would be simpler. A bit of me is still nagging myself about the fact that I'm being hypersensitive/touchy/neurotic about it, though. I am all of those things in general, unfortunately.

For context;

I love my Dm more than anything I care to think of, really. We are fairly similiar in lots of ways. They have been married over 25 years. A lot of the stuff that makes me angry at him is stuff he has or does do to her, not me:

-He does and says things that really upset my Dm. Little insensitive things. He never does much in the way of apologising, either.
-He was the one to dish out 'discipline' in our childhoods (my Dm was physically and emotionally abused to extremes as a child so has never laid a finger on me). I resent the physical punishment
-He cheated on my Dm (she doesn't know that)
-He has never told me he loved me. But maybe that's a male thing? I don't know
-He neglects my mother completely for the computer/other hobbies
-He is still in contact with the "OW". Although he ended their affair some time ago.
-He has very little patience with me
-He belittles me
-He hits my dog despite me specifically telling him not to

I know they all look like pathetic things (except the cheating, obviously) but they really grate on me. I know he isn't a horrible abusive man and I suppose nobody is perfect, but I can't help growing cold towards him. Do I risk ruining my parents' relationship by 'holding on' to these things?
I live with them. That's probably relevant too. I have recently split up with a Dp of 3.5 years so have probably been clinging to my mum a bit. And been ready to be more critical of other men (ExDp serial liar/cheater). Maybe it's jealousy because I have to share Dm with him? I don't know. I think the fact that his mother (who I was close to) was left for the 'OW' also makes things worse. I feel like his poor treatment of my Dm is an insult to his own mother (whose death I have never really come to terms with). And that he should know perfectly well how it feels to be a young adult with a cheating father!

So I suppose my question I being a bit unreasonable in thinking so badly of my Df or am I just beginning to see him for what he is, now I'm a "grown up"?

The guilt of thinking that I am being unnecessarily critical of my Df is eating away at me. Today he called me pathetic and my response was to sit in a wardrobe crying for 2 hours. I can't tell if I am truly being upset by mean behaviour or if I am just being way too sensitive (either way I was truly upset) and need to get a grip and cut him some slack. My dm came up and told me to take no notice, etc. Obviously he didn't acknowledge anything was wrong.

Thanks for reading. Deep breath.

StarSwirl92 Sat 28-Dec-13 01:49:44

As I have grown up my parents have ceased to be the all knowing all powerful controllers of my life and started to become people. I live at home too, I deal with a lot of their respective idiosyncrasies by just shutting myself out because I can't take the fights caused by trying to make them acknowledge things. I think you've seen your Dad as a person separate from his job as parent and realised you wouldn't want anyone else to speak to you as he does, so why should you accept it from him? We're all just humans doing our best in the end.

FolkGirl Sat 28-Dec-13 02:01:02

It took me nearly 40 years to realise that the shitty negative view of me held by my parents wasn't strictly accurate and was, in fact, only held by them.

Or more specifically my mother.

My upbringing was abusive emotionally and physically. But as an adult I can see that the emotional abuse I suffered at the hands of my mother was shared by my father and that the only way he could deal with that was by 'punishing' me - as is so often the case when the victims of bullies become bullies themselves.

He was physically abusive to me but did apologise eventually when it became clear to all of us that my mother had made him that way. Yes, he could have chosen to respond differently, but he was clearly so worn down by my mother, I would imagine he didn't know which way was up most of the time.

I know that my mother's EA towards my brother and I continued until we cut her out nearly 2 years ago. It's only now I'm beginning to see things more clearly.

I always knew things weren't right, but assumed it was because I was unloveable and wretched, because that's what I'd been told my whole life.

FolkGirl Sat 28-Dec-13 02:05:09

My mother was one of those particularly unpleasant people who pushes and pushes and goads and pushes and then when someone finally stands up to her and says, "FGS, FolkGirl'sMum, shut up!" cries because someone has been nasty to her.

FolkGirl Sat 28-Dec-13 02:06:33

Oh and often took herself up to her bedroom and cried and wailed loudly in the hope that one of her children would come upstairs to comfort her. When in fact the only reason she was up there crying in the first place was because someone (usually me) had stood up to her and decided not to take the shit on that particular occasion.

FolkGirl Sat 28-Dec-13 02:07:47

You're just beginning to see him for what he is.

He is a man who impregnated a woman and you were the result. There's nothing special about him. He's unpleasant and you're just beginning to see that.

Kitttty Sat 28-Dec-13 02:18:10

yep - even just one of the items on your list of 7 would be enough to rationally describe an abusive character...nothing is pathetic as you question.

Well done you for your perception. Cut him out and rise above it.

Good luck

Dirtybadger Sat 28-Dec-13 02:44:12

Thanks for your responses.

FolkGirl sorry to hear they were both so shitty. I am fortunate to have my Dm. And my dad was okay too, usually. I was sort of scared of him but he never did anything particularly awful unless I was being naughty/lazy (I was a very lazy and messy child/teen).

Kitttty I can't cut him out (or do you just mean ignore it?) because we live together. I was in no hurry to move out as I share the housework with them, contribute financially and am generally much happier living with my Dm than I would be alone (as I would be) but after tonight and the last few months I think I shall continue to save up in order to be able to get a place of my own after I finish studying. If dm is as unhappy as I think she is, then having somewhere for her and my younger brother to go might be good for her if she ever wants to make a difficult decision...

Misfitless Sat 28-Dec-13 02:47:17

Firstly, none of it sounds pathetic. You are not pathetic. Nor do you sound self-important or anything resembling an indulgent fantasist.

Do you have siblings Dirtybadger?

I sense that you don't as you have mentioned any, but if you do, it might be useful for you to discuss this with them, to get an alternative perspective.

If not, how do your other relatives respond to him, and him to them? Do your aunts/uncles hold him in high regard? Are they relaxed and comfortable in his company?

I do know that some people who are positively horrible can be amazingly competent at putting on a show of being really nice people outside of the home environment. Others can take on different personas when guests are in the house, though, so answers to these questions might only help a little, and perhaps not at all.

Please don't feel guilty. Your feelings seem reasonable to me, tbh. I would find it very difficult, if not impossible, to like him, too, from what you have told us in your post.

Try to clear the guilt away, and respect your own instincts and opinions. You have the right to feel that way. Perhaps you are over-sensitive, perhaps not, but that doesn't make your feelings invalid, or wrong.

I'm sure it serves your father very well that you are going round in circles questioning whether or not you are being too hard on him.

I did go through a bit of a mind-set change about my parents at around your age, too, and I'm sure it's natural to do so. It did come as quite a revelation to me, as it dawned on me that my parents had made some pretty shit decisions, and were far from perfect and quite often wrong.

Having just re-read your post, he sounds pretty ghastly, Dirty. IMHO, sitting in a wardrobe and crying for 2 hours does seem an extreme response, but by chipping away at your self confidence over the years, it's no wonder you have little resilience to his nasty comments.

He sounds cold and cruel and emotionally abusive.

Is there any chance of you moving out any time soon? Have you considered counselling?

The weight of knowing that he has cheated on your DM (who is unaware) is a terrible burden for you to have carry. Does he know that you know? Has he ever shown remorse for this , if he does know that you know?

It's also especially cruel that he hits your dog. To me it sounds like he does this to hurt you, although I could be completely wrong, of course.

Dirtybadger Sat 28-Dec-13 03:20:04

I do have siblings. Younger one wouldn't be much use. He's much like my father. Not that he's not a nice boy but doesn't say much. Not very empathetic. Probably wouldn't be that interested. I have considered speaking to my older sister but am not confident of her reaction (she is closer to him than myself or brother)..but it's a possibility for the future if I feel brave enough.

Our family like my father, I think. He's quite quiet so there's not much not to like. Keeps himself to himself. He's got a good sense of humour (if a bit mean/dry) so I think people enjoy his company. Men more so than women.

He doesn't know that I know. I kept it quiet because it had ended and I didn't know enough to be able to bat off lies if he decided he was going to frame me as a liar. I'm also concerned about unnecessarily making my mum unwell. She doesn't cope with minor stress well let alone this. She essentially had a breakdown about 10 years ago and I wouldn't want to trigger another without the resources to look after her (home of my own, mainly).

I'm a student so haven't really got the option of moving out for another year or so. I am and have saved as much as possible for this, though.

The reaction was Ott but probably a result of frustration (he called me pathetic because the dog is scared of the dark so I gave up trying to take her for an evening walk) and generally feeling down (split from ex recent) plus my general hysterical imposition.

And finally I hadn't thought about that with the dog. I think its more a case of he believes I'm too soft and he knows best. So it's ok and he can do as he pleases, despite the fact I have undertaken training in dog training/behaviour and she is my dog. He doesn't care that it upsets me so much. I try not to leave them alone because I don't trust him to play by my rules with her.

Dirtybadger Sat 28-Dec-13 03:22:40

Disposition not imposition.....

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