Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
I don't think I want to see my father(14 Posts)
I originally posted this in AIBU as I genuinely thought I was being a horrible daughter. Since posting there, lots of comments suggested that I move this to relationships.
"I do visit my father, but I feel like I don't want to. I feel incredibly guilty about this as he says he misses me and my siblings, but there are a lot of things that happened in my childhood which I now understand which make me feel this way.
When I was younger I was a daddy's girl, no matter what he did wrong or how much he failed at being a father I still idolised him and would defend him whenever my mother's side of the family or teachers at school tried to fault him. When I was 7 years old he had an affair with a 17 year old, leaving home and his four children. The youngest was just a baby, and from then on he refused to acknowledge my little brother as being his child despite the fact that he was the spitting image (and still is) of his first child. My brother has never seen him.
My other two brothers and I would visit him every weekend. Now that I am older, I am not sure why this was the case as he would go out drinking every night we were there and spend the next day in bed. My stepmother (the young girl that he had an affair with) was responsible for looking after us during this time, so we barely saw our father. When we did see him he had no idea how to look after us and would give us alcohol as a treat. I was drinking in his home from as young as 8; wine, vodka, whiskey, sambuka, beer etc. He didn't see a problem with this.
As I am older now my mother talks to me about some things that happened back then. My father paid no maintenance and one week my mother was struggling to buy our school uniforms and we had no trainers. She wrote a letter for my father asking if he could get us some shoes and when I gave this to him he ripped it up and laughed. He never gave my mother any money as he saw it as him giving her money, rather than his children. He used to threaten to report her whenever I went around and told me he would get my mother fined/sent to prison. He didn't seem to care about the position this would put us in, just his own pettiness. He was physically and mentally abusive to her in their relationship and I have vivid memories of calling the police on him when I saw him strangling her.
He would make me and my siblings fight each other and then join in when one of us hurt the other as "punishment". He'd force us to play games with him and then get angry when he lost and send us to bed. He'd wake me and my older brother up at 4am and take us outside when he was drunk and falling over, leaving us to try and drag him home. When I got older and decided I didn't want to drink he would take it as a personal affront and get angry at me. He would get me to say outloud that I'd shoot my own mother for his own personal satisfaction.
Despite all this and the fact he rarely spent time with me I still liked him as a child. I'm 24 now, and I can see clearly how absolutely insane most of this is and how I wouldn't dream of doing any of it with DSD. Yet I still feel guilty for not wanting to see him. He doesn't seem to realise how bad he has been, or the impact it has had on me. I don't know how to talk about it, but I find it hard to respect and want to spend time with a man that abused my mother and is an alcoholic digging himself an early grave. His mother died of diabetes and his father or liver disease (alcohol induced). His lifestyle has given him diabetes and he is an alcoholic, so I fear he will go the same way and for years now I have been trying to mentally prepare myself for that.
AIBU for not wanting to spend a lot of time with him?"
No, I don't think you are. Do you know the Stately Homes threads on here? Lots of people on there with abusive parents who will know exactly where you're coming from - including the guilt.
Things are getting too much for me right now and I don't know how to deal with it. I convinced myself this behaviour was "the norm" for so long and that was how I dealt with it. Having spent so much time with my DP and his daughter, I realise what I experienced was most definitely not normal. The way my father talked about/treated my mother was not normal. Separated or not, regardless of differences, my partner would never dream of speaking ill about his ex in front of his daughter. Mine would poison my mind about her and try to get me to hate her. I feel so sorry for my mother because I grew up believing so much of what he said and idolising him and I can only imagine how disgusted and defeated she felt at having to do everything for her children and us being too young to realise the truth.
I am supposed to be seeing my father this week to give him his birthday presents. I feel I cannot do that until I address the questions eating away at me, questions I have needed to answer to for so long. I feel I cannot ask these in person as I have no idea how he will respond, I question whether he will be violent or not. I need to ask him, I need to know why so many things happened. But he is my father and I am crushed at the thought of upsetting him as he is excited about seeing me/getting his presents etc. I just can't pretend anymore. I'm so torn.
I need to know why he left my mother and his children for an affair with a teenager and put all the blame on her.
Why he brought that teenager to the birth of his 4th child.
Why he never acknowledged that 4th child, my brother, as his own for the rest of his life. He has never met his father, he just refused to take responsibility for him. He is his son.
Why he brought that same teenager... now my step mother, to our family home. I have memories of being screamed at by my father not to shut the door and my mum crying at me to shut it in her face, I listened to my mother.
I have memories of my father strangling my mother and me calling the police on him numerous times.
I've reached a point where I can't ignore these things that happened anymore, and I feel ashamed with myself that I have for so long. They just never seemed "that bad" to me. I am being treated for depression now and medicated, so I don't know if that is what has changed my perception. I am thinking of just texting him and letting him know that I don't want to hurt him but I just need to know why...
Honestly I don't even like to be in my father's company on my own, I usually do so with my older brother present. The younger one has stopped all contact, but was too young to remember the worst years of my father. My older brother and myself were usually the ones taking the brunt of it. I'd go with my brother and try to talk about these things but I know it would end in a fight between them.
It reminds me of when I was at my father's one weekend and we had stayed awake for him as he had asked us to. We were 9&10, it was 2am. He told us that he saw our mother out in the town and when we didn't join in his bashing on her he got mad. He started saying things like "oh you love your mother do you, well go to your mother then!" He then took my older brother outside and strangled him, telling him to "cry for his mum."
Next weekend we were there again.
Go have a look at the stately homes thread. It might give you a place to start the healing process.
I also think you should come down with gastro next week and cancel seeing him. Send him his presents by mail so you won't have it hangina over your head and require you to see him again soon.
Start minimising contact. Don't aanwer the phone when you knows it's him. Disable voice mail so there is no message to respond to. Be very unavailable for then next few months.
Then use that space to talk to a counsellor, do some research and get yourself into a position where you are strong enough to handle confronting him.
I am sorry you went through such crap. Your mum sounds like a real star and it is good that you have a realised how wrong this all is while so young.
What a vile man Renotry - sorry, I know he's your father and your love him, but he seems to add nothing positive to your life at all.
Please tell your Mum that you can see things more clearly now, and that you understand what she has gone through over the years. I would imagine that would really help her to know.
Also your poor younger brother - it must be so hard for him seeing his siblings having a relationship with the father who doesn't acknowledge his existence.
Maybe some counselling would help you?
Thank goodness for your DP who is showing you a normal father/daughter relationship - I hope you can build a brighter future for yourself, based on that.
Awful, awful, awful.
Of course you feel confused. Your father was obviously drunk most of the time and probably has little/distorted recollection of what he did, so talking to him is unlikely to be any help unless he chooses to sort out his drinking.
I came across this organisation which might help?
Children do love their parents. They have little knowledge how a father ( in this case ) should treat their children because they have little experience in life. Children look to parents for love and protection - it appears you received parenting just from your mum.
I know you loved your dad, but as an adult you see how vile he is. Don't confuse the natural childhood love you had for him. ( children often adore their abusive parents - fostered children are a prime example - they miss parents who did vile things to them).
As for your questions, I'm unsure he will ever know why he was so vile. Your brothers parentage - it no doubt suited him to rewrite history. The money - he wanted it to spend on himself. He brought your step mum to the house as he will have been full of a sense of entitlement - your step mum was a child at 17.
He strangled your brother and mother as he was a horrid person, rotten. The best thing he did was to meet someone else and leave. If not your story may be very different. The police see strangulation as very serious in domestic violence.
I totally understand why you would cut all contact - he will hopefully have a miserable old age, he deserves nothing more. You on the other hand deserve a wonderful life. Seek counselling. Stay strong.
I'm so sorry you had such an appalling father.
There is no point confronting him and asking questions. The reason he did those things is because he's an alcoholic arsehole with no morals, no sense of responsibility, no thought for anyone but himself.
If you confront him he will lie, deflect, shift blame, talk a lot of nonsense, and probably won't remember most of it. More importantly he will get angry and he may even get violent.
There is no answer to your questions other than that he is an awful, awful person.
The way to tackle this and the impact it had on you is through therapy.
Hi Renotry I agree with the previous poster who said to be ill next week.
You can't change what he did but you can try to deal with the impact its had on you & to make a decision about what role he has in your life & in your childrens life from now on. Focus on yourself, you do not need to feel guilty about not seeing him.
I remember from the aibu thread that you cannot get any answers from him, as he will refuse to speak about it & adopt a victim position if you try. If he won't give you any explanation, then as people have said, try a counsellor or talk to your mother about why you had to go back week after week, I'm not laying any blame on your mum here but there must have been reasons why. Text him if you want to, confront him if you want to but I said before, he may well have rewritten history & refuse to take any responsibility for his actions. He is unlikely to tell you what you want to hear. Tell that friend of him who messaged you on fb to fuck off, its none of his business.
Concentrate on yourself, how to heal yourself & put your guilt over not seeing him to one side for a moment. That's more important than giving him a birthday present. Put yourself first
Your father is an abuser. The things you describe are not normal and not acceptable.
You can't change him and you won't make him understand, no matter how you try.
Protect yourself. If you don't want to see him, stay away. If he asks why, give him one simple, clear example, saying 'This has been on my mind recently, and I don't want to visit at the moment.' He won't take it well but that's his problem.
Oh, and don't blame yourself for going back, week after week, in your childhood and since. It was expected by your father, your mother, and it was part of your life. You accepted it, at first you weren't in a position to do anything else and later it was a habit.
Thank you for all the responses, they are very nice to read as this isn't something I talk about with anyone really. Whilst I would like to talk to my partner about it I don't as we had very similar fathers and his has now passed away as a result of the drinking, so I feel me talking about my father is very triggering and upsetting for him. Plus he is more of the sense of if my Dad hurts me, he'll kill him (not literally, but you know, protective).
Twinklestein - If you confront him he will lie, deflect, shift blame, talk a lot of nonsense, and probably won't remember most of it. More importantly he will get angry and he may even get violent.
This is what I worry about. He's punched me in the face and smashed my head against a wall as a 10 year old so I can't expect that he wouldn't do something now. He got into an argument with my 24 year old female best friend last week and called me demanding that I go and "knock her out". Erm, no.
midnightvelvetPart2 - talk to your mother about why you had to go back week after week, I'm not laying any blame on your mum here but there must have been reasons why.
At the time my mother wanted a break, she saw us going to her fathers as that break. And although she did look after us and raise us she wasn't perfect. She was also very childish and petty and saw it as him having to be a parent like she did rather than looking out for what we needed. I told her on many occasions I did not want to go around. The only time I was allowed to stay home with no contact was for a few months after my step mother called me an ugly child and verbally abused me.
I told my mother about this thread and asked her why she made us go every week. Her words were "if I had known how bad it was I would not have sent you." I guess we did a poor job of articulating and didn't mention certain things as we didn't realise they were "wrong". i.e "Mum I drank a whole bottle of wine this weekend and spent the whole night throwing up as an 11 year old and Christmas day hungover!"
Your father, quite obviously, has a great deal of problems and has
a lot to answer for. I would suggest that his own upbringing was probably very difficult and there could be undiagnosed mental health issues.
I had a very abusive father and felt guilty for many years because I couldn't/didn't love him due to his abuse of his family. For many years I hated him and was tortured mentally by the memories of his behaviour. Eventually, I went into councelling as I was suffering from depression and anxiety, a lot of which stemmed from an unhappy/dysfunctional childhood. My therapy helped so much. I now, quite rightly I think, see him as a very sad, pathetic but very sick and weak man. Probably a lot of his behaviour was learnt as a child from his own dysfunctional upbringing.
It sounds as if he believed that your mother had an affair and he was therefore not the father to your youngest brother. Lots of things go on between parents that as children we know nothing about. Relationships are highly complex.
I don't believe your father will ever acknowledge or take responsibility for what he has done. I expect, that in his eyes, he hasn't actually done anything wrong and he would probably put the blame for everything on everybody else anyway.
You do need to talk to a trained councillor to resolve the pain and guilt that you now feel. The clock cannot be turned back but you can, with support, lead a healthier, happier future where your father pays little or no part in your life. I know he is your father and we often feel that we HAVE to love our parents but we don't. Love has to be earnt. He is a sick and damaged man and your life will be much richer without him in it.
Join the discussion
Please login first.