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My dad, I can't cope with his utter indifference.(16 Posts)
I don't see my dad very often. I tend to plan to visit my sister who lives in his town. There has always been a long history of Dad having two daughters, the one he loves and I am the other one. So if I see my sister, my sister invites my Dad along to see me. She thinks she is doing the right thing by engineering this meeting. Dad is indifferent to me and I am sullen and silent around him, my sister does all the hard work of trying to make jolly jolly conversation between us all.
Conversation involves dad talking endlessly about his annual foreign holiday to Australia, he goes once a year every year to visit his old work colleague and his wife and two sons. He also visits my cousin and her three daughters. My cousin moved to Australia specifically to be as far away from family as possible, so no luck for her having my Dad come to visit every year. Dad tells me long and involved tales about how he lavishes gifts and days out on these three cousins kids.
He asked about two questions in total all day about myself and my three kids. He never asks after my work, always my husbands work, and I lied because I knew if I told the truth Dad would just crow about what a waster my husband is. I can't tell Dad anything real about my life, he would just use it against me and slag me and husband off to anyone else who will listen. He just about remembers my childrens names, didnt ask anything about one of my sons, and just asked over and over if my other son is in the remedial class or if he is doing alright (he has it in his head my son is educationally lacking.). Again. i fob him off with one word answers.
They go to an evangelical church, and I went too today, and the sermons there are so lovely and inspiring, full of charming homilies about family members showing each other Gods love.
So I feel guilty about this but I feel like I can't take any more from Dad and if I visit that town again i will point blank refuse to see my Dad. I know my sister thinks she is being a good Christian trying to engineer cosy get togethers, but my Dads indifference to my existence is utterly toxic and I feel utterly crap.
Can anyone relate? So depressed today.
Ok, there will be better people than we along soon, but in the meantime
1) Have you told your sister how you feel and can she see what he is like towards you?
2) When did this start? Teenage/before?
I really sympathise as my Dad is also difficult and also believes he is fantastic Christian, when actually he's self absorbed and arrogant.
It has been going on my whole life with interludes when we got on quite well, like when I was about 20 and when my kids were young and I used to visit him with my kids.
My sister can see what he is like, she just says isn't he terrible and yet she lends me books about how to be a Christian involves loving and forgiving our Dad,she is a massive martyr and puts up with his behaviour. He is also a big sugar daddy to her giving her expensive jewellery all the time, which seems to motivate her, it wouldn't motivate me. So I don't think she knows what it is like to have him be so indifferent. Because he doesn't treat her like that.
So blue your DF is insensitive to others and shows his approval by buying expensive gifts for those he favours. It sounds as though you and your family hold no attraction for him because being associated with you doesn't enhance his social status in his eyes.
Apart from the fact he is your DF and therefore you are programmed to want his approval do you actually like him? Does his good opinion of you actually matter or are his values so different from yours that you don't respect him?
It all sounds very painful and trying to get him to notice you and show you affection just for who you are seems doomed to fail. Can you let go of the need for his approval? It would hurt less.
It sounds like not seeing him is best for you and for your family. It's chewing you up and he sounds frankly very unpleasant, playing favourites like this and dissing you.
You're on the outside looking in, and it's a cold place.
Its unfortunate if your sister does not understand but she surely must be able to see how different he is in the manner he speaks to you both.
About forgiveness, someone posted this wonderful link a while back. Its actually quite liberating, for someone with a Christian faith christian forgiveness
It seems to me that in this case, if your father genuinely changes then you could be open to rebuilding a relationship. But atm there is no real relationship, just you pining for something loving that isnt there. And you can tell your sister that. Being open to a genuine change - not a false 'oh lets all be nice together' change ... is perhaps as much as is reasonable or fair to ask of anything.
btw, once you cut someone like this out of your life, its amazing how much better you feel. the sadness for what should have been never really goes, but you might very well find yoruself feeling a lot less down and more optimistic.
I liked the link, Meerka.
We have had good times in the past, myself and Dad. He used to phone regularly for news. Now he just doesn't. A few years ago we adopted and it was in very trying circumstances. I didnt hear anything from my dad about it. Eventually when we got together for a meal in a restaurant, he only wanted to talk about his good news, getting a big pension so he could afford foreign holidays. I couldn't believe his insensitivity, and I have never heard him say anything positive about our new family member. Dont even know if he considers this child a grandchild of his (and I feel he should!) so since then things have been strained.
I know i am constrained by wanting/needing approval which is always withheld. This is why seeing him is the horrible experience it is. I wish I could get out of feeling this way. When he goes on about giving gifts to my cousin's kids, I am saying in my head "Why go all the way to Australia to impress relatives who don't care, when you have grandchildren in your own country whose names and ages you are unsure of?"
Also my sisters church yesterday had this big long homily about loving Christian homes where dads and mums all love their children so much. He sits there watching all this, God knows what he is thinking. I think he thinks its all a load of crap but he goes to keep my sister company.
You can't second guess what he's thinking/feeling so don't even try.
You can't control the way he behaves.
You can tell your sister you don't want to see him. You can work on yoursself to stop needing/seeking his attention. You can live happily ever after with the family who love and need you and without him.
There comes a time when we have to accept our parents are who they are, rather than who we want them to be. And act accordingly. It hurts, but not as much as the wanting them to be different and being crushed when they aren't.
I'd go NC for a bit, just to give yourself some breathing room. You might feel mostly relief as this obviously pains you. You can then decide where to go from there...
NC is no contact.
OP, I accepted a long time ago that my dad quite simply isn't interested in me. He's only interested in my brother if my brother makes the arrangements, does the travelling, etc. It hurt, for as long as I carried on letting it hurt. Once I stopped having any hopes or expectations regarding him, things got easier. He just does not feature in my life now, at all. Most definitely his loss.
Ask your sister to stop engineering these meetings. They are not helping you.
Agree, complete triangulation via your sister, however well-meant. If you see your dad, try doing so without her, see how it goes and relate directly. He sounds v self-absorbed, if not narcissistic and very hurtful. Bet he has no idea of his part in this and the distress he causes you but blames you as being difficult for tour "sullenness" as witnessed by your dsis. Do whatever you have to do to Stop playing along.
Some good advice here.
I am an evangelical Christian, but sadly know lots of people who don't put it into practice. It isn't a problem with God or with Christianity, but rather just the way some people are.
Your DDad seems very set in his ways and sadly you're bearing the brunt of his coldness.
I think your DSis is trying to be sweet, but the effect is that you're having salt put in the wounds and it isn't doing you any good.
Focus on your DP and your children.
I really like my sisters church and after long discussion with my children I want us all to go there next Sunday. May see dad and sister but may not and want to go just to show the children what the church is like. Also to show dad, guess what I have three kids, fancy that, and no we don't want a free steak dinner out of Dad (He has said in the past he wants to meet me but not with my kids. Or " bring the girl" he said once. His own grandchildren!!!!!!
Sister was a Christian since age 15 when I was 13, then I became a Christian at 19 and was very happy in an evangelical church. My husband is from a more liberal background so we have been trundling along to a liberal church for a few years now and even dh is admitting we might as well try somewhere new. so going to sisters church is a way of showing kids what other choices might be out there. We couldn't go regularly as it is a very long drive away. My Dad is a lapsed Catholic, he fell out with the church over having got a divorce, or so he says, now he goes to the church with my sister I think just to keep her company.
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