was this emotional abuse? (sorry long)(46 Posts)
Namechanged for this.
My DF is on the AS (diagnosed late in life) I have always had a difficult and painful relationship with him but do not know how much to put down to his difficulties with communication and how much could (and perhaps should) be classed as a form of emotional abuse. I hadn't thought about it this way until recently I told some things to a family member who was really, really horrified.
My DF clearly hated being a parent, spent as little time and emotional energy on us as possible and when he did, tried to control everything, otherwise he would be so unbearable with anxiety and rage we did anything to keep the peace.
He was extremely critical of me and did'nt see any worth in the friends I had or the things I was good at. When I tried to tell him he had really hurt me, he would often say really mean things (like I should have been aborted) and withdraw in cold silence.
When I became a teen, he would swing between trying to treat me like a small child to be ordered around and making v inappropriate comments about my developing bust (Benny Hill style). There were some allegations that he had inappropriately touched a young teen intern and honestly, I think its entirely possible. He gets very, very upset at all the child sexual abuse trials going on and (until the stuff on Savile came out) maintained there were just 'different standards then'. He also said 'Worse things happened to children in the Holocaust'.
When I unfortunately suffered an attempted rape at knifepoint, he laughed and told me that 'I did get into some silly situations'. If I ever try and talk to him about what he has said or done that has upset me, he looks at me blankly and says it never happened and I am 'imagining things' and 'must be ill in the head' again.
Things improved after I disengaged completely for a while when he was repeatedly calling me up and leaving messages that I didn't deserve a promotion at work I had had. Now I don't get anything like the verbal attacks I once did, he will just moan and moan and moan about some little thing so that my time with my DM is ruined. Yet he can be absolutely charming and lovely to my brother - gauche and awkward yes, but sweet and obviously trying.
I have done as much as I can to learn about AS and the difficulties he experiences with appropriate behaviour/speech. But our relationship is still tense and cold.
I am courteous and try to respect his needs but honestly feel no warmth or love towards him. Although it does hurt when we are together as a family and he treats me very differently to my sibling.
My family member thinks I am bending over too far to please him, but I don't know what is just the result of him never having had the support he needs to parent well. Can any of you advise please?
I know this man is your father but wow. Why on earth do you let him do this to you. He is a purposely cruel man and you really shouldn't feel obliged in any way shape or form to spend time with him just because he is your father.
Absolute nasty piece of work.
Is he like this with your mother? Does she defend you?
No, he is only like this with me.I find him a creepy tbh, and don't feel that way about other children or adult friends with AS. My biggest fear is he may have harmed a young woman or even a girl.
I have an uncle like this, and it was crap when we had to get together for family related do's. The rest of the family couldn't just go non contact because we knew that when we had to deal with the court of protection, he would have made life spectacularly difficult. Long story.
I get where you are coming from.
I would try and mentally detach from this individual (hard as it sounds - I just had to get my brain round the fact that my dad would have been a lot happier if he'd not had kids), and just try to manage as best you can with the understanding that the person that contributed to your being is not someone who should be involved in your life.
You have mentioned your mum - how on earth is she managing with this situation? Do you have an ally there?
It is fairly minimal contact tbh. He has never been to see me and isn't interested in doing Grandad type things with DC (which is a relief actually as I would not allow them alone with him and he has not access to any other children or young women, otherwise I think I would be taking other steps).
My DM wasn't there when a lot of the more obviously awful things were said and has only recently started to believe me. It is hard for her - he is fussy and obviously has difficulties which she has long been aware of ( she pretty much parented alone and was a really lovely, warm mum otherwise I think I would be a lot more fucked up now!)
I think she is doing her best with a very difficult situation. Her marriage to him seems pretty good although it isn't what I would wish for her. I would just prefer to see her alone.
I am just genuinely unsure about whether this is just a person who struggles to 'get' appropriate and is prone to AS-related anxiety and rages which he has never been helped to handle, or whether it was deliberate? I don't want to be unfair to a person who can't help it.
In practice, your DF's treatment of you have been extremely emotionally abusive, this is true whether or not it was deliberate.
I think you need to think about is how it affects you now, rather than what the root causes are.
How would it be being unfair to your DF if you were to limit contact for your own well being.
I think he sounds like a total knob & I would be inclined to completely disengage yourself - which I think you - from him.
Perhaps try to only see your DM who, I agree, must have done a great job for you to be ok.
You know, I'm wondering if he's actually your really father ? Perhaps things go deeper ?
Any rate, break all ties & look after yourself.
Thanks for everyone's concern. I really appreciate it. Tbh, contact is quite minimal - one short phone call a week. We are hosting for Xmas though (gulp) but having my brother around helps a lot.
DF hasn't gone off on one for years, not since I threatened him with NC (and meant it). Its just..never a nice family gathering. It always saddens me. And it keeps me away from my DM more than I would like - and keeps her away from a closer relationship with her GC. We don't gave any other GP in the country so I feel sad for my DC too.
I think the main reason I chose to stay in contact (minimal though it is) is that I actually don't care that much what he thinks of me any more. I don't have as solid self-esteem as I would like but I have managed to stay out of depression for over ten years now through practising CBT and learning to be kinder to myself. If I felt he was a serious threat I wouldn't do this to myself. All the same, it really does help that you all don't think I am some kind of drama queen.
willow I have wondered actually. We bear no physical resemblance to each other at all. But then my DS doesn't look like either me or DH - but we definitely know he is ours!
He also threatened to cut me out of his will when I said if he couldn't stop saying nasty things to me, I would have to stop seeing him. I said I didn't care about the money. But it struck me as an odd reaction at the time.
NotMe33 I think it's fair to say that lots of people, maybe most, don't have the solid self-esteem that they would like. You sound remarkably resilient and self-contained. You should be proud of yourself for that! .
Well done being free of the black dog as well (that's what Winston Churchill called his depression). I have been free from mine for a similar length of time. I think it has just come with getting older and having more life experience and better coping strategies.
NotMe I'd be a bit worried about how you are posting, not sure if anyone else is picking up on this, "… main reason I chose to stay in contact … is that I actually don't care that much what he thinks of me …"
Sorry love but I think you do. I can't understand why on earth you'd want to have him over for Christmas, he sounds as if he's got you all where he wants you TBH.
Because he will be with my DM....Have to admit not looking forward to it though. Forced jollity anyone?
My DM does come to stay with us sometimes (we live more than a day trip away) but she feels she can't leave him for more than a couple of days. I think she feels well and truly torn
so that means sometimes she does stand up to him, protect you and put your relationship first? Or is that "torn" as in Mum does what he wants and then feels slightly uncomfortable about it but expects you to let it lie?
She has stood up for me when she has seen stuff yes. She does love me. She also wants to keep her marriage together, which is her choice. But I can see that makes for a difficult balancing act for her.
Bear in mind that what we are looking at these days is the moan moan moan behaviour rather than direct criticism of me. I have a big celebration coming up and I have made it clear to her that I would love to see her there but don't want to invite him as I know he will basically ruin the day. I know she finds that very hard because she isn't someone who likes to hurt anyone - and she wants a big happy family which is not what we have got.
The situation you have mentioned in your last post is for your DM to decide upon. You have made your position clear and conveyed it to her. Tbh, if your DF is like you have described with you, I'd be surprised if he doesn't replicate much of it with your DM. He was verbally abusive to you when your DM was not around. He modified his behaviour when you gave him an ultimatum. You say your DM doesn't like to hurt anyone, maybe she hasn't disclosed to you how he behaves towards her when there are no witnesses.
He sounds like a massive idiot. It's not because he doesn't know how to act and can't help being inappropriate, if it was then he would apologise/show some remorse when you told him that it upsets you.
That's a good point Vijac.
And I will ask my DM cheapskate. It would figure. He seems to worship her although I do find a lot of his behaviour controlling towards her. When I was a child she just wouldn't go out if he gave her guilt trips about it. Now she is much more confident and has a regular sporting club she likes to attend for a day a week and despite his protests she goes anyway.
That's great that she has got more assertive - sorry, I don't mean to put her perceived needs above yours! It's just that you do have the option of going NC from him, the sticking point is your DM. If I divulge that my DM did not want her DF visiting her on her deathbed and this meant she couldn't see her DM (whom she loved deeply) before she died either, you will understand how I can empathise with your situation.
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