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Feelings towards me deceased dad

(4 Posts)
SystemicFailure Mon 19-Oct-15 12:32:46

Sorry if this is long and rambling. I'm a regular but NC.

My dad died when I was 12, which was 18 years ago. I was sad at the time of course but because I was only a small girl I didn't really know my dad as a person so over the years, to be honest, I haven't particularly missed him.

My dad had a reputation as a lovely, kind person and had lots of friends. At his funeral the crematorium was packed with some people having to stand outside because so many wanted to come and say goodbye.

I've always accepted this 'myth' around my dad but now I am married and expecting my PFB I've actually started to question all of the platitudes and come to the conclusion that I don't/didn't/wouldn't have liked my dad as a person. There were a few things that he did that I would LTB if DH did them now and most certainly once PFB is here.

For example, he would go to the pub at least four nights a week so I'd only see him for about an hour a day when he got in from work.
When I was about 10-11 he'd go out on Saturday nights and not come home until Sunday morning, most of the time when he came home he was still pissed.
I never ever remember him having Sunday dinner with me and my mum as he was either still out from the night before or at the pub. Similarly, he never had Xmas dinner with us.
When I was helping him clear out his work van once I found a very very hardcore porn magazine.
He did absolutely nothing around the house, everything was my mum's job.

Most of this was excused by my mum because he 'worked hard' and was a 'man's man'. No, I think he was actually a thoughtless, selfish cunt.

Now I'm PG with PFB my mum often says bits and pieces about what my dad did, how my dad was a good dad etc. and I just want to yell at her that he treated her like a fucking doormat for years and if my DH was even an ounce as twattish as my dad was I'd never see him again.

I feel like my mums rose-tinted reminiscing about what a wonderful dad my dad was is getting in the way of our relationship now that I'm PG- I want me and my mum to enjoy this time together but I feel like my dad's getting in the way! I don't really feel like I can say anything to my mum about this (i.e. my dad wasn't as great as you think) because I know this'll upset her.

I also feel as though my mum doesn't like DH because DH isn't like my dad. I know that sounds daft but I think she sees DH as a bit of a ponce/sissy/woss. She hasn't said as much but I can just tell that she doesn't think it's right for him to be so involved in my PG or to be hoovering or staying in rather than out at the pub. As I said, she hasn't said anything that I can react to IYSWIM but it's there bubbling.

I just wonder if you've any advice or tell me to get a grip!!

timelytess Mon 19-Oct-15 17:08:58

There is absolutely nothing you can do about your mum. She has to live her life in context of her experiences, and her 'survival' depended/depends on her seeing things the way she does. With counselling, she might see things differently, but if she's not feeling bad about her relationship with her husband, why not let it lie? If she thinks she had a decent relationship with a good husband and father, why not leave her to it?

You're pregnant and you want something different for your child. Your dh is different. Well done.

Now for you, I would suggest starting with a counsellor as soon as possible - there will be a long waiting list if you're going nhs, so see the gp right away. You lost your dad - bereavement issues might well affect your parenting. Your dad wasn't the person people suggest - deception (even if well meant or unaware) in families is very destructive. You are very angry with your mum. Your mum is very irritating (lots of us are. some of it is because our daughters carry resentments from childhood, some of it because we are just downright annoying) and you don't want to be disturbed during your pregnancy or your child's early life by rows you're having with your own mother. Having a counsellor is great, you can say what you want, usually (but not always) without hurting them.

Its worth making the effort to sort out your head, ideally before the baby comes along, but oh, if counselling is ongoing when your baby is young, what a blessing that would be. Your life can be wonderful, your parenting can be amazing, you don't have to be like your dad and you don't have to feel annoyed by your mum. Make the appointment, get help.

springydaffs Mon 19-Oct-15 17:47:03

I wonder if this is a type of bereavement. Complex bereavement it's called, but bereavement nonetheless.

That meh feelng you said you had following his death - well, his death would have had more of an impact than you may realise. Your mum would have been incapacitated with grief for quite a while. I don't know how old you are but back in the day they didn't know much about general psychology and kids often took a back seat, forgotten. In a way you effectively lost both parents for a while when he died.

It's common for the deceased to be assigned almost mythical qualities by those left behind - especially if the deceased was less than perfect when they were alive! Afa your mum's rose-tinted grief is concerned he was perfect in every way - I don't think she would take kindly to you saying otherwise..

But you never got to do the teen thing with your dad - rebellion. You never got to think and say he was a shit (even if he wasn't, it's a right of passage). You have probably had to tip-toe around your dad's shrine. And it turns out he was far from perfect!

That loveable rogue thing was of its time - we've come so far with that stuff, we just wouldn't put up with that now, don't find it remotely 'loveable' but a pita, reprehensible, irresponsible, a total turn-off on every front. She won't see it like that tho. And as she has deified your dad no man would not only come close - unless he was a loveable rogue too - I can quite see she find a modern man a bit wet. Her stuff, her memories, her preferences, her grief idealising your dad's memory.

I agree you could do with some counseling to address all this. There are many strands to it and you may need to bash it out in a safe space where you can say what you like, work it all out, without hurting anybody. You may or may not find as you come through the process that you do want to tackle your mum about this - but imo you need to go through the process, airing your true feelings, to find out what you want to do.

RoisinIwanttofightyourfather Mon 19-Oct-15 17:50:32

An old friend of mine's earliest memories are of his mum tucking him up in bed, kissing him goodnight and reminding him if he needed anything to just pop next door as she and his Dad would be at the pub.
Most mornings he had to get himself up for school along with his siblings. They often went without lunch as there was never any money in the house and they were the kids who smelled.
When his Mum died she had the biggest funeral the town had ever seen. Everyone told him what a great character she was, how funny, such a great story teller. He remembers a moody hung over lazy grump. She only perked up when going out drinking.
So my friend would empathise with how you feel about your Dad.

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