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Abusive step dad dying - I don't know how to feel

(39 Posts)
Tillyscoutsmum Sat 02-Jan-16 22:17:29

I don't know where to start and I have no idea if/how/why anyone would respond but I just need to get this down...

My step dad is very ill. He has tumours on his lungs (albeit slow growing ones). He can't have any treatment because he also has COPD. He currently has pleurisy and my mum has just called to say he's being rushed to hospital because he now has sepsis. All in all, things don't look good.

He was a vile, abusive man when I was a child. I left home at 16 and have maintained contact because of my mum. I hated him but as he has become an old and ill, I've softened slightly.

But I just don't know how I'm supposed to feel about his likely impending death. I feel numb tbh.

I feel for my mum. My nan died yesterday and my grandad and aunt both died over the past couple of years. To lose her mum, dad, sister and husband within the space of 2 years is obviously devastating. I don't know how she'll cope. And then, this is the part that truly makes me a complete selfish bitch, I know she'll be relying and expecting so much from me (only child). I love her but our relationship is strained because she always sided with him, minimised the physical and emotional abuse she witnessed (and was also a victim of) and point blank refused to believe he sexually abused me.

Fuck this is long!!

Anyway. I'm a bit of a mess. I can't do anything practically right now. I'm on my own with sleeping dc's. I feel so bad for not feeling anything sad

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Sat 02-Jan-16 22:27:53

No, what you're feeling is perfectly normal and fine. If these people deserved your love and sympathy than yes you should feel something, but they don't. You have explained it yourself. He abused you and she let him. I'd never have anything to do with either of them ever again if it were me. Just because she's your mother doesn't mean she's entitled to your support. Sounds like karma to me, I'd leave them to it.

CFSsucks Sat 02-Jan-16 22:30:56

I didn't want to read and run.

If I found out the person who abused me was dying, I'd honestly not give a shit, but then I wouldn't have to contend with anyone who would miss him.

It's a tough situation given your mum's response to your abuse, I'd struggle to support her if I'm honest. You certainly shouldn't feel guilty about anything, you've done nothing wrong. flowers

RiceCrispieTreats Sat 02-Jan-16 22:32:32

You can feel however you feel - there is no set standard.

And you also must only offer your mum as much support as you are able and willing to give. Again, there is no set standard : you are the only judge of what works for you.

TheRadiantAerynSun Sat 02-Jan-16 22:51:44

When my Dad, who was abusive to me, died I didn't feel anything. It was so very strange and I tried really hard to make myself upset and cry, but I just couldn't do it (not much of a crier anyway.)

My sister, who he never abused, was very upset and I mainly felt bad that I couldn't relate to her grief at all. TBH I just kept away from her until it was all over. Probably didn't cover myself in glory on that one.

In the end I realised that the only emotion I had was relief that I would never have to see him again. Sometimes I think about it, but in a very detached kind of way.

I don't know if that's normal, but it is how it is.

DozyDotes Sat 02-Jan-16 22:53:07

Look after yourself OP. You sound like an incredibly generous soul. Despite all the reasons in the world to dismiss your DM's pain you still have compassion for her loss. You could never be expected to feel any sense of loss for such a vile man and the fact you've hung in there for your DM speaks volumes about your capacity for forgiveness. She certainly doesn't deserve it.

Rice's advice is excellent. Give only what you can afford and feel however you feel flowers

purplepandas Sat 02-Jan-16 22:56:06

Another one saying that there is no right way to feel. Please take care of yourself and don't be hard on yourself. Totally agree about only offering whatever support you can manage. You are important.

Junebugjr Sat 02-Jan-16 22:58:57

Hi tilly.
Ive been through similar myself. The difference was that it was my father that died and my parents although good friends were divorced.
I swayed between feeling like I should be upset and helped support those who were upset about it like my brother and my mother and his wider family who expected me as the eldest to rally the troops so to speak.
The feeling that won out was if you live by the sword, you die by the sword, I didn't see him and refused to go to the funeral and then cut any conversation dead that tried to reframe him as any kind of decent person. I can't say that I helped my mother through it either as she was happy enough to collude in the abuse. This sounds very harsh, and I think it didn't bring out the best in me, but ive never regretted my actions, despite being pressured at the time to 'let bygones be bygones'
Don't feel pressured into anything you're uncomfortable with, and be true to yourself.

WitchWay Sat 02-Jan-16 23:00:07

You can't make yourself feel something you can't feel.

You can feel sad & sympathetic for your mum & want to support her

To me, not feeling anything means you've got it sorted inside your own head - no longer love or hate, just meh, apathy, doesn't matter.

Don't beat yourself up over it.

Tillyscoutsmum Sat 02-Jan-16 23:11:42

Thanks all. It's nice to hear that feeling 'meh' means I've got it sorted in my head. All that counselling wasn't a waste wink

I hear you on only doing what I can for my mum. Practically, I'm a lone parent to 2 young dc's, live an hour away and have a pretty demanding job so there's only so much I can do. She does have a habit of making me feel spectacularly guilty about not being on hand 24/7 though angry

Just feels like a shitty start to the new year and I sort of hope he holds on for a few months so she can at least bury her mum and recover slightly from that.

Thank you again for the responses. I'm feeling slightly less abnormal

TalkingintheDark Sun 03-Jan-16 00:28:45

You're not the complete selfish bitch, your mother is. She denied his abuse of you, she failed to protect you, and in fact enabled him to abuse you by staying with him, because she put herself and her own needs first. You were way down on her list, not number one as you should have been. That makes her a first class shitbag by any decent standards.

Sorry for being so blunt, and my guess is my comments will make you feel defensive of her and upset that I'm slagging her off so much, but what she did was vile, and your compassion - your obvious compassion, because unlike her, you sound like a lovely, truly caring person - should be reserved for you yourself, and not squandered on her.

You sound like you still doubt that you are entitled to prioritise your own needs, and that you think you would be a bad person for not allowing her to trample all over you to make herself feel better, as she did in the past. But you wouldn't be. There is nothing bad about protecting yourself, caring about yourself; in fact for those of us who were let down and abused by our parents, caring about ourselves is an act of courage and should be something we aspire to, not feel guilty about.

Your DCs need you. They deserve you to prioritise them, and yourself, above her, every single time. You owe her nothing. You didn't bring her into this world, you didn't make any of the choices that led to her being where she is now, you are not responsible for her; and if she stil tries to make you feel you are, that is just another way she is still emotionally abusing you.

Sorry, I have no direct advice on how to deal with your SF's passing, but as far as dealing with your mother's inexcusable guilt tripping of you in the aftermath goes, please try and remember you are not the bad guy in this scenario. Remember, the reason your relationship with her is "strained" is because she failed you massively, not because of any failings in you. This is not something you can put right, because you have done nothing wrong.

I suspect that underneath your numbness there is still a good deal of anger at both of them, and with good reason, but I can understand that you might find it hard to make headspace for that, given how full on your life is anyway. But whatever you feel, it's perfectly valid, and it's your perfect right to handle all this in whatever way is best for you, not for anyone else.

Wishing you a peaceful start to the new year, and a peaceful continuation, come to that!

(Sorry such an essay, wine may be involved!)

Tillyscoutsmum Sun 03-Jan-16 05:00:23

Thank you. That's made me cry.

She's called and asked me to go to the hospital. They've switched all the machines off. She's completely on her own. I'm trying to find someone to come and look after my dc's so I can go over but no one is answering their phone. I am still angry. But I do feel I should be there. She hasn't got anyone else sad

3rd day of the new year and she'll have lost her mum and her husband...

hopelesslydevotedtoGu Sun 03-Jan-16 05:31:36

I would find it very hard to visit him in hospital and see him pass away, and I would actually say no. Obviously up to you what you do this morning. But your mother did choose to stay with him, knowing that would lead to distance from you. I wouldn't feel obliged to dash over there now when that will be horribly difficult for you. Although you feel numb now, other emotions may surface over the coming weeks/ months, and I would be gentle on yourself.

mayhew Sun 03-Jan-16 10:19:34

I would only go to be sure he was dead.

But probably I wouldn't go.

What goes around.

Cabrinha Sun 03-Jan-16 11:03:56

Well, I'm thinking good riddance to bad rubbish.

He sexually abused you.

You say your mum has no-one, who did YOU have when she didn't believe you and support you?

Meh. I suppose it'd be good if you get nothing about his death, as you'd put it all behind you. But glee wouldn't be wrong.

And your mum?
I'd leave her to it.

I know you won't - but I wanted you to know that there are people out there who would find that a perfectly fair response to her letting you down so terribly in the past.

Hissy Sun 03-Jan-16 11:13:44

Id leave her to it on. Telling that she has no-one.

The only person she had, she allowed to be abused, and enabled it AND berated them.

Ask yourself what t would are you to allow what happened to you - repeatedly - to one of your own children? Even just the once?

She made her choice. To support a truly vile and vile human being. She needs to hear the words "be careful what you wish for"

Whocansay Sun 03-Jan-16 11:14:09

This is one of those times you have to think of yourself. Only go if you want to and are comfortable to do so.

Hissy Sun 03-Jan-16 11:16:22

Sorry, iPad...

Ask yourself what it would take for you to allow what happened to you, repeatedly, to happen to on of your own children? Even just the once?

Hissy Sun 03-Jan-16 11:20:14

I know you will go, I wish you wouldn't, but I understand the guilt she'll pile on, and the Fear, Obligation and Guilt dynamic at play in your own head, but know that there are scores, if not hundreds of posters here that know what you are going through and understand what is driving you. We don't judge you in any way, and we will be here to hear you when you come back.

There is a thread called Stately Homes, it's for children of dysfunctional parents like yours. Come and find us if ever you need to, or post here and you'll get as much support as you want, 24 hours a day.

nonetcurtains Sun 03-Jan-16 11:20:33

She does have a habit of making me feel spectacularly guilty about not being on hand 24/7 though
She hasn't got anyone else

so where was she when you needed her? Put yourself and your children first

SmallLegsOrSmallEggs Sun 03-Jan-16 11:23:14

Sorry you are in this position OP.

If not going will make you feel bad then you should go.
If being thete for your mum will make you feel better you should go.

But don't force yourself to go if you think it will make you feel worse.

Do what feels right to you.

It is easy to say you should avandon your mother to her fate but you clearly have compassion and empathy for your dm whether she deserves it or not. So you should do what is possible for you and what sits best with you.

Be kind to yourself flowers

sije Sun 03-Jan-16 11:23:49

Well, your mother doesn't believe that blood is thicker than water, until now perhaps, so don't feel pressured in that respect.

Your wellbeing and your children's wellbeing are paramount. Only spare her what you can and if it's not a lot don't feel guilty.

You are a much nicer person than I could ever be OP, I've cut off people for far less, with no regrets. Don't let your niceness be used against you.

SmallLegsOrSmallEggs Sun 03-Jan-16 11:33:09

Don't let your niceness be used against you.

This is true. If you don't want to go and she trues to make you feel guilty you can always say you know why I cannot be there and leave it at that.

By I meant if you want to be there because you want to be by your mother (then she is a very lucky woman) then you can without it meaning you care about him or that you have forgiven what she did or that anything they did is made ok by you being there.

If that makes sense.

The fact you are even considering going makes you a wonderful person. And what ever you decide to do you will still be a wonderful caring person but you must care about yourself too. (I hope that makes sense)

magoria Sun 03-Jan-16 11:33:35

When my step father died, despite not having him for years it was like a massive weight lifted from my shoulders. It was unbelievably freeing.

Unlike you my mum hadn't ignored the abuse. She hadn't known.

She wanted him back when she found our he was dying after she knew and a small part of me will never forgive her that.

You mother has brought this on herself by putting him and her relationship over the abuse she allowed her child to suffer.

Tell her sorry you can't find a baby sitter and don't go.

Tillyscoutsmum Sun 03-Jan-16 11:37:08

Thank you everyone. Well he died at about 6am. I didn't go to see him but I did go to collect my mum from the hospital and get her settled at home. I've now left her and am back with dc's. She's obviously distraught but was still minimising his behaviour. "I know you had your ups and downs and he was a bit of a nasty drunk sometimes, but he did think the world of you" confused i do feel for her. Despite everything. But I'm glad I didn't go to see him and have to do the pretend sad farewells.

I used to be on the stately homes threads years ago when it first started. It's horrifying how many of us had to deal with it all sad

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