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When Dads don't care about their kids- how to not feel hurt?

(34 Posts)
rosepepper2010 Tue 20-Oct-15 13:13:00

I have posted before - basically I returned to the UK a few months ago and my not so "DH" has not really done any of the things he said he would (send money, call kids etc).

My friends have told me that my DH has been laughing about the fact that we have left and he does't have to bother about us etc

He is definitely a narcissist I cannot believe I didn't see or realise.

He has done so many disgusting things but i feel so physically ill that his two gorgeous children are trying to call him etc and he doesn't bother with them and he is actually laughing at us.

How do you look at your children without your heart breaking for them or get over the fact that you have given them such a poor excuse for a father?

tribpot Tue 20-Oct-15 13:31:28

I'm not sure you ever do. (Not very helpful, I realise, but true nevertheless). I'm reaching a point where I am going to have to say something to either my mum or my aunt as they both are still very angry about what a rubbish dad and grandparent my dad has been. (I have to say, compared to some on these boards he isn't that bad but he's never been very interested). They both get cross about why he doesn't see his grandchildren more. I've pointed out said grandchildren couldn't give a shiny shit. Fortunately due to my mother's excellent decision to divorce and marry someone not crap, the grandchildren have a large and loving blended family so they're not missing out on anything.

So I don't really want to hear them banging on about it any more. It doesn't help me to keep dredging up the past, the kids don't care, so ultimately it's his loss.

You're at a very different stage and in a very different position, I appreciate. My mum will never forgive my dad for being a crap dad, I recognise that. Your kids will have to get through this and it will break their hearts. It's his choice to be a shit dad, not yours. Yes, you could have chosen more wisely but hindsight is a wonderful thing. It's too late to fix the mistakes of the past, you have to go forward. And ultimately it is better for them to be away from such a damaging influence, surrounded by the security of your love. Eventually they will become indifferent to him; can you imagine anything worse than your own children being completely indifferent to you? Well, that's his choice.

rosepepper2010 Tue 20-Oct-15 13:37:13

yes thanks tribpot. When and how did you learn to become ambivalent about your Dad? or did you not feel that attached because he was always away.

I think i am most upset because the children are so loving and good. They have had a really hard time with the move and all that and he has done nothing but make life very fucking hard.

It makes me ill to think of him laughing at us in the pub that we re not his problem anymore because we've gone.

In the meantime the children are asking why 'dad never answers his phone" would love to say because he doesn't give a toss about us!!

Swisswatch Tue 20-Oct-15 13:40:06

I had a poor excuse for a father (different country, couldn't be arsed to call etc) and it definitely does scar you a bit. Having a wonderful mother really compensated though, especially as she never slagged him off, even though she could have had every reason. With hindsight, I' don't think I would have been so restrained!

You need to talk to him about how much contact he is able to give in a realistic way. It may be only skyping every fortnight. But it would be better to have a concrete idea (even if it seems pitiful) and for the kids not to be dissapointed, rather than randomly phoning your ex and never getting through to him.

I also think that getting the kids to draw pictures (depending on their ages of course!) and sending those can build bridges. We did a lot of that and although he was still shit at contact, some of those pictures are still up on his wall at work.
I guess if worst comes to worst you could set him up on Moonpig so the lazy fucker can send cards... I don't want to think I'm saying that you should do his job for him, it's just that I think my mum smoothed things over and, yes, it helped.

Sorry he is being such a douche. Hope you're ok.

passmethewineplease Tue 20-Oct-15 13:40:59

I think you just learn to live with it?

To me DD is the most funniest adorable little girl you could meet. For someone especially her own father to not want to see her makes me incredibly pissed off.

DD thinks he is busy looking after his cat.hmm I haven't got the heart to tell her the truth. that he's a raging cunt

tribpot Tue 20-Oct-15 13:45:25

I should clarify, my mum didn't slag my dad off when we were growing up, it's only recently she's been a bit less guarded.

It took a very, very long time (well into adulthood) for me to reach a state of indifference about his behaviour. You can't make it so your kids don't have to go through this, unfortunately.

rosepepper2010 Tue 20-Oct-15 13:55:36

Thanks for all your responses.

Do you think it is better then to cover up for him? Make excuses etc.

My family don't see why I should and our standard of living is about to take a massive plummet and few other things going on which will really impact on their lives.

My parents think I should tell them the truth that it is because Daddy isn't sending money etc

or does telling them the truth damage them as well?

Thanks swisswatch it might be time to say OK call them once a week or something and see if he can manage that (bet he doesn't - which will of course be my fault).

sorry you have this too passmethewine (love your name!!!) you feel so hurt on their behalf but the Dad is the loser (even when you call them a raging cunt it doesn't do them justice!!!)

LucySnow12 Tue 20-Oct-15 13:57:07

It's heartbreaking for your kids but as long as you are there for them, they will be ok. I think if they were my kids, I would tell them that sometimes grown ups don't do the right thing and it has nothing to do with them. Talk about it with them. My eldest brother has 4 kids - all in their 20's. He is a fantastic dad but his wife has loads of issues - stole money and jewellery from her own kids and loads of other sh*t. Yet his kids have grown into really good people. I think as long as a child as one parent who loves and is there for them, they will be ok.

Swisswatch Tue 20-Oct-15 14:03:51

Rose - honestly, try and keep any massive slag-offs to yourself (and friends, and family). My stepfather was a classic for going off on rants about how crap the maintenance my father paid (often late) and you know the only affect it had on me and my brother? It made us feel apologetic for existing and putting everyone in such a stressful position. It's why I've got a really bad relationship with my stepfather now and I think why I'm always feeling as though I owe the world something for just being here.

I don't think you should necessarily 'cover ' for him. I just won't think they need to have it thrust under their noses about how crap he is. It's a huge period of adjustment for them and the only thing they know now is that their parents love them, even when circumstances are chaging. I honestly would call once a week for now, and see if that works. How fucking shit for you though.
I have an ok relationship with my father now, and have never dared though to tell him how many times I sobbed because he just didn't seem to care. There doesn't seem any point. He is a selfish lovely man, and now I have kids I understand him even less than I ever did.

rosepepper2010 Tue 20-Oct-15 14:11:11

Thanks swisswatch that is a good point. I need to think of it like that.

I am under enormous strain now because of him but trying to dig us out of the hole he has landed in.

I was determind not to feel resentful but i just don't see how I can cope with looking after them, rehousing us (again) and trying to find a job and work full time to support them - and be positive about him it feels a step too far but i know i have to think of them first and foremost.

Namechanger2015 Tue 20-Oct-15 14:17:02

I am in a similar position, my XH will see the DC when and if he fancies it, but it's not very often, and he tells them he wants to see them all of the time, but he can't because they are busy (they recently started a gymnastics class on Saturday mornings hmm).

On the odd weekend when he does want to see them, he will always make them change any existing plans - e.g. party invites, by telling them they need to start making decisions about what they want to do with their time - e.g. go visit friends, or spend time with daddy.

They are 8, 6 and 3, just too young for this emotional blackmail. I have refrained from slagging off daddy to them, and always stay neutral, but it breaks my heart seeing them trying to please him by sacrificing things they really want to do, in order to spend time watching tv with H.

Parents also think I should tell the DC the truth - e.g. that daddy said he will see you this weekend, and now he has decided not to. But I think they would be so hurt by this. It's a really difficult balance.

For those of you who have grown up with rubbish dads, is it better to gradually cut contact altogether over the years, or to encourage some sort of relationship?

It's killing all of us to stay in touch with him when he just doesn't care. We have moved on and have a big supportive family around us, it feels like he just drags us all down and the DC are always upset when they see him and he doesn't engage with them.

rosepepper2010 Tue 20-Oct-15 14:22:02

yes namechanger - so horrible and frustrating. You and the children try to please him and he just swans about not giving a toss.

Does he financially support them?

It would be lovely not to have any contact with them but like you say is this more upsetting for the children?

Totally relate to just being dragged down by them and also them making zero effort and just watching tv with them. We haven't got to that stage yet as he hasn't bothered to see them yet but I know at best he would go around his sisters and watch telly whilst shouting at them to be quiet so he can hear it.

Namechanger2015 Tue 20-Oct-15 14:26:59

No, he doesn't financially support us at all at the moment, I am working and trying to support us, but he is denying receiving divorce papers etc so it's taking a very, very long time to resolve this and get some funds from him.

He is supposed to be having them for a few days over half term, but the DC don't want to go as they don't do anything with him - it's always tv. I gently persuaded them to go for 3 days, and then he made them give up an activity and come for an extra day.

The DC have no excitement whatsoever about going with him, and in the meantime I am cancelling/postponing fun things we had planned for this weekend.

I'm looking into getting some counselling for them, as the 8yo in particular it taking it quite hard and is very susceptible to his emotional blackmail. I feel so, so sad for her. In a fantasy world I would tell him to bugger off and leave me and my babies alone. In reality I think this will happen over time anyway.

Just like you I feel guilty that my shit choices let to my DC having a crap dad.

timelytess Tue 20-Oct-15 14:27:36

If dad isn't interested in his children, tell them he will be when he grows up. Its taken my dad nearly sixty years, and the death of his wife, the absence of most of his contacts, to show that he values me at all. It doesn't make me angry but I do think its a bit late.

Namechanger2015 Tue 20-Oct-15 14:28:34

tess that is awful sad. Very sad that you had to go through that.

Isetan Tue 20-Oct-15 14:30:51

How do you look at your children without your heart breaking for them or get over the fact that you have given them such a poor excuse for a father?

Easy, I prefer to invest my time and energy on things that will benefit DD, feeling guilty about another adult's twatery, will not benefit her.

Children have an uncanny knack of making the poor decisions of their guardians, all about them. Talk to your children and let them know that their father's behaviour is a poor reflection on him and not them. I blabbed on about parenting being a skill that some people just aren't very good in and for such an important job, there is very little training.

DD was very fortunate to have access to a child phycologist to help her through the trauma of being abandoned by her father. She still has questions that she is slowly realising may never be answered but she has a box under her bed where she posts her questions and how feels about her absent Dad.

It is very important for you and your children, that you process your feelings about their father because like when they hurt themselves and look to you for validation about their feelings, they will be doing the same with their thoughts about their father.

I also question the emotional intelligence of your friends telling you such information, they could have simply said he was a dick.

LucySnow12 Tue 20-Oct-15 14:42:01

I have found, with my own kids, that the best way to help them understand/ come to terms with disappointment, sadness, worry is to talk about a time when I was a child and felt the same way or experienced something similar. It makes them feel not alone. That we all feel the same things.

rosepepper2010 Tue 20-Oct-15 14:42:42

Thanks Isetan - lots of really good advise and points. You are so right I need to focus on the positive aspects and what I can influence. Just a shock at the moment.

I also thought it a bit wrong of my friends to tell me this - TBH they all really hate him but I have not been talking to anyone for a while as not been up to it and only just feel up to conversations but I also thought it a very hurtful thing to say. Especially when it's all relatively early days.

Well done name changer sounds like you're coin a amazing job - I hope i can finanically support us! Have to somehow!

Timelytess - Must be very hard to bother with your Dad now, he doesn't deserve you but well done for being the bigger person.

jessifleur Tue 20-Oct-15 15:22:39

My FIL is kind of like this - just completely unreliable and never willing to make the effort to see my DH and our two sons. It's not that he doesn't love us when we're there, I've never seen anyone embody the phrase "out of sight, out of mind" better than he does; we live abroad so some actual planning has to be involved. It breaks my heart for DSs and for my husband who used to hero-worship his Dad (when we first got together) and now thinks Dad is a feckless idiot! My DH is such an amazing Dad he can't understand why his own father won't make the minimal effort to see us. I used to organise everything and do the 'smoothing over' but DH has asked me to stop and has drawn a line in the sand - we'll only meet up with his Dad is there's some nominal effort on his part... safe to say I'm not looking forward to our visit to the UK at Xmas hmm
Oh also my parents are the most amazing Grandparents EVER - unfailingly helpful, really supportive etc etc which just makes FILs crapness stand out even more blush

Isetan Tue 20-Oct-15 15:25:51

My first sentence was a bit smug, as I didn't mention it took me a long time (five years) to stop thinking and acting like I had the power to influence such a feckless man. Mediation and contact has recently ended and even though DD was hurt, it was important that we both went through the process and we are a stronger team for it. DD's dad has the impression that he can waltz back into her life in her teens (the idiot thinks that a pubescent teen abandoned by her father is going to be waitrenowned for their that's why it's imperative that I support her in building self esteem so that

You're still in the early days, so don't beat yourself up, it will take time but you will eventually get off the emotional roller coaster Just don't forget to look after the most important person in your children's lives in the interim, their mum.

Take it from someone whose come out the other side, you'll probably be financially poorer but you will emerge stronger and a better parent. Ex doesn't pay maintenance and is financially better off but I get unlimited unsolicited hugs and kisses and the absolute honour of raising an extraordinary little girl.

Namechanger2015 Tue 20-Oct-15 15:30:04

How do they get away with not paying maintenance for so long? I can't keep up all our expenses for much longer on my income; do Child Maintenance Agency not do their job? Or did you opt for no maintenance (unlikely I know!)

IsYourNameMichaelDiamond Tue 20-Oct-15 15:32:55

Sorry OP that was me above as jessifleur rambling away - I hadn't realised how much this upsets me until I happened on your post but sorry for selfish wallowing! You'll be great and for my part being as honest as possible without being critical is the best line to walk (easier said than done I know!) flowerswine

GingerIvy Tue 20-Oct-15 16:10:38

When the dcs question why the ex disappears for months on end and isn't bothered to stay in contact with them, I have always just said "I don't know. It's his choice, and we can't control what he chooses to do." Once or twice, they've asked if he was angry with them (meaning is that why he hasn't seen them), and I explain that it's not their fault and they've done absolutely nothing wrong. He is just making poor choices. They understand choices as for their own behaviour we talk about making good choices and poor choices.

GingerIvy Tue 20-Oct-15 16:18:31

They don't know that he hasn't paid maintenance in almost 2 years. I haven't told them that. What would be the point?

rosepepper2010 Tue 20-Oct-15 17:41:53

No Isetan you are right and didn't sound smug at all.

I really appreciate everyones feedback and hope I can be like you all are and rise above it.

In my case DH is in the middle east. i got legal advise but that was not good news at all!! Basically not a lot I can do.

So I have to downsize massively!!! plus get a job. But I think they will be positive moves as I will meet people and get my own life.

I am lucky as my family have been great and so supportive or I really don't know what i'd do.

Plus support on here as always is great and I really appreciate everyone taking time to give me their perspective whether from their own experiences as a child or when dealing with one of these awful men.

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