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Father demanding to see grandchildren(40 Posts)
Hi all, longtime lurker, first time poster here so be gentle! Long backstory to this, basically my parents are divorced, dad remarried which is not the problem; he has always been mentally unstable, has had a few breakdowns and been sectioned a couple of times. He has gone nc with myself and my three brothers at various times over insignificant things, all very messy and unpredictable.
After 7 years of nc, he contacted each of us last xmas and wanted to try again, I met with him and after a very pleasant meeting, the phone calls started - I was in the wrong for not informing him when my youngest ds was born although we were nc at the time and I had preeclampsia which took a long time to recover from emotionally and physically so really wasn't in a good place to contact him. We agreed that he would get over this and not mention it again, the have been a few phone calls that start off pleasant and then he drags up something from the past and it gets very nasty, very quickly, it usually ends with him crying on the phone and me placating him.
Anyway, he has decided he wants to see my two ds for an Xmas visit and I have said no, not at the moment because of the unpredictability of his moods and I don't think its in their best interests. He said that he had a right to see his gc and I said that it is my job to look after their best interests and I don't think seeing him would be of any benefit (they are 10 and 5). He said he would call to the house to see them and I told him that wouldn't be a good idea and would not improve relations between us. He hung up.
He called back, I didn't answer the call as I knew it would be a ranty nasty one. The message he left said that he was going to tell everyone that I was preventing him from seeing his gc and then his wife came on the line saying I was never to darken thir door and I was a little bitch and she hoped bad things came my way. This convinced me that I was doing the right thing by both my ds and by myself.
But am I? ive been mulling it over and am now wondering if I have done the right thing. I know a visit would make an old man very happy but I just don't think I want my kids exposed to his highly unpredictable moods - very emotional, can turn nasty very quickly, etc. they have a great relationship with their gran (my mum) and have never asked about their grandad. Any advice from anyone who has been in a similar situation would be much appreciated and thanks for reading
You're doing the right thing.
Imagine the pair of them saying that stuff to your children. No point introducing someone who'll mess with their heads into their lives.
I have thankfully never been in your situation, but I am a GM.
Your children do not need anyone in their lives who bring nothing to them. And anyone who speaks or treats their mother so badly has no right to 'demand' anything and I believe has no business having anything to with the children.
Your children have at least one loving GP which is more than many have. Stick with that one!
You are right OP. He doesnt want to see them for their benefit. This sounds like a whim. And he and his wife sound like nasty bastards.
You are doing the right thing. It should not be a grandparent at any cost. The potential for your children to suffer is greater than any potential benefit to them of a relationship with a person who behaves as you describe.
They've got on perfectly well without him for most of their lives.
Thank you all so much for your replies, I feel so much better now! I have been for counselling since the birth of my last ds re the emotional impact of preeclampsia and possible pnd and the relationship with my parents inevitable came up; my counsellor said that if a relationship, any relationship, is not a beneficial one then end the relationship; I try hard to remember this but it's hard at times, he is my dad and I adored him. I do wonder how I'll feel when he dies, I do think I've tried my best and given him so many chances but the love has been ground down at this stage, there is nothing left anymore. Sad but true. As for my ds, their paternal grandparents are both very much alive, we only see them a few times a year due to a four hour drive away but Skype regularly so they are very much a part of their lives too, we are very lucky. Thanks all for your sage words
Oops supposed to be a smiley face there!
My Ex had MH problems which made him emotionally very unstable... His mum used to say he should see my DS when he was unwell for her DS benefit.. I never allowed it when he was unwell. A decision I don't regret.
You are doing the right thing.. You are protecting your children and putting them first something he sounds incapable of
I can understand you questioning yourself- we have a connection to our parents despite whatever bad behaviour they have inflicted on us in the past. However your primary responsibility is your children and to safeguard their happiness and wellbeing. It doesn't sound like contact with your Dad is the best way to achieve that.
For what it's worth we had a slightly unbalanced female member of my extended family take a bit of a shine to me. (I don't know the specifics of her MH issues as she died when I was 12). When it seemed like we were having lovely chats between the two of us she was actually saying the most outrageous things to me including a year long campaign to get me to believe my father had murdered someone.
I laugh now thinking back to some of the mad claims she made but it wasn't all that funny at the time. And I do wonder at the adults around who let her take my off into a corner for private talks when they knew she was seriously impaired in some way and not a nice woman at all.
You don't owe your Dad anything but you owe it to your DCs to look out for them.
His reaction, and that of his utterly charming wife, proves that you made absolutely the right decision.
He is throwing a tantrum because he hasnt got his own way, and what do we do with tantrums? Ignore them.
One thing though, rather than let him keep the control, I suggest you go NC now. Change your numbers etc if its practicable, if not then you can get call barring for your landline and there are apps that can do it on android phones if you have one that wont do it. Learn from this and dont give him another chance, I can understand why you wanted to try this time but he has proved he hasnt changed, so dont give him another one.
Ignore, ignore, ignore.
Definately the right thing.
Of you can, keep a recording of that message and any others.
You never know when it wil come in handy.
"He said that he had a right to see his gc"
Actually no he does not.
You absolutely did the right thing; you must protect your children from such malign influences like your toxic dad and his cowbag wife as well.
Its not your fault your dad is the way he is; you did not make him that way (that lies with his own family of origin). Such disordered people do not change.
tooi right you should protect your children from him! well done for doing so!
i'd set a cat among the pidgeons myself, and suggest that you were considering it (taking into account your df history and weighing up the pros/cons etc) but then his dw piped in and showed you that this behaviour wasn't a MH issue, it's a concerted effort from the pair of them to threaten and intimidate you, and for that reason, you'll be saying not now, not ever. his DW need never worry about you 'darkening your door' but that throwing out curses usually bounces back on the person that throws it, rather than the intended victim, so to be mindful..
My mum went NC with her mum to protect me. She did the right thing. I have never missed not having another nan and never got mixed up in crap because the way things were was normal to me. I'm in my 40's now and a mum myself. I appreciate how hard that must have been for my mum but she did it for me and was right.
Just chiming in to say you are doing the right thing.
A friend of mine has a similar situation with her father. He is mentally ill, and self medicates with alcohol. She has tried a few times to build bridges, before her DC came along, but realised that however lovely he was at first, it would always deteriorate to nastiness after a few weeks of contact.
This is a person with lots of lovely friends, who she does lots for. She also looks after her MIL far more than her SIL does (the MIL's own DD). She is not the sort of person to fall out with people and go NC, willy nilly, in other words.
Your father has no "right" to see his GC. But you do have a responsibility to protect them from him (and his wife, who also sounds deeply unpleasant).
Yep grandparents have no "rights" whatsoever. The only right to contact they may ever have is if they have been acting as main carer for a DC and even then it's not that straightforward.
I'm no contact with my mother and stepfather. A long time ago I made peace with this decision. That's all you need to do. Don't take on responsibility for other peoples emotional responses to the decisions you make. Life is too short to waste time and energy on people who aren't good for us. I have cut off vast swathes of relatives who were bad for my mental health, who were toxic or enabled/defended my mother. My family may have shrunk massively but my god do I feel better for it. Don't agonise over this, you've done the right thing.
Change all your numbers and move on.
Some people will tell you, as someone always does sooner or later, that you're being hard-hearted, but they will be wrong. I think such people have an image of dear little white-haired old people who can be a bit, you know, difficult but whose heart is in the right place etc. They may not even have met someone who is truly toxic so they simply will not understand. Given that your father has major Issues which he has no hesitiation in dumping on his own children from a great height, what is the chance that he'll be that much nicer to his grandchildren? My suspicion is: not a lot. Even less with the Bitch Cow from Hell encouraging him to be thoroughly unpleasant. None at all given that he is all about his rights and demands, not what positive things he can (theoretically!) bring to his GC's lives.
A lot of nonsense is talked about poor old grandparents anyway. I'm a grandmother and I'm nowhere near old. Even if he is, though, it doesn't automatically mean he has turned into a nicer person. It's often quite the reverse.
Thank you all so much for your comments, I have decided to go nc and will not be answering any calls from them. He does have a habit of sending nasty letters (by registered post) and myself and dh have decided that if one arrives, dh will read it and let me know of anything important (like health issues) and destroy it. I did get a text msg from the wife, will update later, someone at door x
You are definitely doing the right thing. While children can cope with occasional odd behaviour from someone they know well and like, a strange adult being nasty to them or acting abnormally is going to be hugely distressing for them.
None of this is your fault. Your father is clearly mentally ill and unfortunately his current wife either has MH problems herself or is an unpleasant and rather stupid person. It's fine to keep them at a distance and completely fine to involve the police to enforce this if necessary.
If a letter arrives, can you tell by the envelope that its from him? If so then you can refuse to accept it and it gets returned to sender.
Oh dear god, I thought I had it bad with mine!
Oops, posted before I was finished! I got a text from his dw last night, she is ok in small doses but does have a nasty streak, the text was 'hope you are happy trying to destroy and upset your dads life but it won't work...he has always been there for you and you took advantage of his good nature, you are selfish and have no conscience" she is highly pissed off as she has to listen to him whinge and cry about it all now!! I do feel better about things today, there is no going back from this now, do they really think I'll ring them and say " ah go on then, you've convinced me its a good idea to let you into our lives"! Done and dusted for good this time.
Aargh, messages keep disappearing on me! Re the letter, if he does send one the address will prob be written by his dw. I have destroyed all his letters ages ago as they were full of hurt and blame, when he discovered this, he was livid and said that he had kept copies in case they were ever needed. He is mentally unwell and has been for a long time, his dw is very good at 'mothering' him which is actually what he needs and seems to be how their relationship works.
He has always had problems accepting responsibility for his actions, anytime he went nc with myself, my three brothers or his own two brothers, it was always our own fault. he never realised he was the common denominator!
It feels really good to write this all down, many thanks to you all for your replies and comments, it really means a lot.
refuse all registered lettersm let him pay for the service, only to have them returned.
you don't need to receive any news from them, you really don't. NC is NC.
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