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What to do if a member of your family sometimes completely ignores you

(20 Posts)
SilentStorm Thu 13-Aug-20 01:46:31

What do you do if randomly, without explanation, your father cuts you off, doesnt answer the phone, doesn't reply to messages, but several months later treats you as if nothing ever happened. He also does this to my children, he will not acknowledge their birthdays at all, but then never mentions it later. I suspect this happens when he's annoyed at me in some slight way.
This has been happening on a haphazard basis for 13 years.
For info- I'm an adult with teenage children and my father is 70. He is not with my mum since my late teens. He doesn't do this to my 2 sisters, but hasnt been in contact with my brother since he was a teen (for similar reasons).

OP’s posts: |
creaturcomforts Thu 13-Aug-20 02:49:35

My mum always did this when she felt she had more going on in her life than she thought was "more important "than my problems. I called her several times during my pregnancy as I was struggling but she was not able to call back for a couple of weeks or when she had time as there was always something else.

Now she has realised I was with an abusive partner she I think feels guilty as she calls more often and takes more interest generally. But it took this before she felt I had a need and that I was probably doing ok in her eyes.

Some people don't see that they need to call, check in or call unless its pointed out I feel, even though they definitely should! I have felt my mum just doesn't feel the need to show concern unless something is wrong and is not capable of thinking ahead and feels if you have a birthday or something else going on that she needs reminding!

I don't feel it's right but could there be a reason like dementia or health problems? Have you tried talking about it?

Sssloou Thu 13-Aug-20 04:10:08

How does this make you feel?

Hurt, scared, angry, snubbed, belittled, confused? Don’t let anyone inflict that on your DCs - teach them that it’s not OK to be treated badly. Your DB did the right thing.

TimelyManor Thu 13-Aug-20 08:38:58

Is it worth keeping in touch with your father, OP? Do you get anything positive from the relationship, when he chooses to engage with you? Or are you always wondering when he's going to cut contact again, always doubting?

Aussiebean Thu 13-Aug-20 09:12:59

You let them go and enjoy the silence.

What you don’t do is apologise for the something they are angry about, especially if you have no idea what you ‘did.’

Aerial2020 Thu 13-Aug-20 09:23:17

Try the stately homes thread, you'll get lots of advice & support.

SilentStorm Thu 13-Aug-20 09:34:00

Obviously it makes me feel like shit, and as a parent myself I can't understand how anyone could treat their child like this, even if they've annoyed you in some way. And it isn't OK to play favourites. So yeah I think he's a dick for doing this.

However I'm not sure if I should make allowances for him being an emotionally stunted man of a certain generation, which isn't all his fault.

I havent spoken to him about it, but have spoken to my mum and one of my sisters. They just say things like "oh you know what dad's like" and don't get involved.

OP’s posts: |
SilentStorm Thu 13-Aug-20 09:35:42

Also particularly annoyed that he would also treat my kids like this too. Not that they notice or care, which shows what a crap relationship we all have with him!

OP’s posts: |
TimelyManor Thu 13-Aug-20 09:57:55

Do you want to keep the relationship going?

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 13-Aug-20 10:11:03

"However I'm not sure if I should make allowances for him being an emotionally stunted man of a certain generation, which isn't all his fault".

What if anything do you know about his childhood?. Chances are what was done to him he has basically carried on in that same vein with you.

He has not been a dad to you really has he?. What you perhaps want from him still is something you will never get. You will ultimately need to grieve for the relationship you should have had rather than the one you actually got.

Its not your fault he is like this and you did not make him that way.
Not all now 70 year old men either behave like he does; he chooses to act like this too because he can (this works for him) and he has likely acted like this his whole life. He has not fundamentally changed with age and he likes the power and control he wields. He has likely abused your mother similarly and he now flitting in and out of your life when he feels like it is also very unsettling to you and your kids (they do not have a relationship with him either unsurprisingly). Your brother and you perhaps remind him of your mother; a woman who he has always hated. Men like this hate women, all of them.

You would not tolerate this from a friend and your so called dad is no different. Your mother's response too is a cop out; all this "well you know what he is like" basically excuses his terrible behaviour towards you. Do not accept that response from her either. She is probably glad on some level that she no longer has to deal with him in any way. You should do the same; walk away altogether.

Aerial2020 Thu 13-Aug-20 10:20:00

The above post is spot on.
Don't make excuses for him. He ignores you because he can. It's hurtful and it's control so you behave how he wants.
He knows what he's doing, even if it is learnt behaviour, he's an adult.
I hope you get some support else where. It really is shit when parents treat you like that.

HRTRefusal Thu 13-Aug-20 10:34:00

You obviously know that you haven't done anything to provoke such a reaction so best not to do anything. Life really is too short to be putting up with shit from people, enjoy the peace this will bring.

SilentStorm Thu 13-Aug-20 10:36:21

Your mother's response too is a cop out; all this "well you know what he is like" basically excuses his terrible behaviour towards you. Do not accept that response from her either

I can't do anything about my mum's repsonse to this. I have tried explaining it to her, she basically thinks I should just shut up and be nice. Short of falling out with her too, i have to accept it.

OP’s posts: |
billy1966 Thu 13-Aug-20 10:47:43

He behaves like this because he can.

You allow him to treat you and your family like this.

Stop his behaviour continuing into the next generation, by blocking him.

Your brother has the right idea.

Take control of the situation.

He is controlling you and your family.

Take back the control.

Perhaps get some counselling to support you.
flowers

Aussiebean Thu 13-Aug-20 11:05:43

So it sounds like you are the scapegoat and your mother is an enabler.

Check the stately homes thread and look into family dynamics.

BlingLoving Thu 13-Aug-20 11:12:59

So, unless whatever you've done to upset him is genuinely a big deal (and I'm just guessing here, but I imagine it's not....), then he's just being a class A prick. I wouldn't have any time for this and I'd be simply ignoring him when he got back in touch. I"d probably send some kind of slightly passive aggressive message during the ignoring/sulking phase saying, "Clearly you feel it's okay to sulk and ignore me . I disagree so please don't bother to get back in touch once you're out of your funk. If you have an actual issue, feel free to contact me to discuss it, otherwise good luck with the rest of your life."

BlingLoving Thu 13-Aug-20 11:13:40

Sorry, I also appreciate that this is your father and that is a LOT harder and that I am apparently in my Rage-PMS day so appreciate this may not be as practical a suggestion as you really need.

NewnameNelly Thu 13-Aug-20 11:26:42

Confront him. Say I understand that you do xy behaviour when I have annoyed you, but do not inflict this on the DC. If you continue, I as a parent will be forced to follow in my DB footsteps and stop all contact with you. I'm coming to you, because this is your behaviour which leads to me and the children feeling hurt and dejected and it is not how we communicate in MY family. The ball is now in your court to either continue and have a good relationship and articulate if someone has upset or annoyed you, or continue ignoring us and never hear from us again.

Shizzlestix Thu 13-Aug-20 12:50:03

Why are you enabling him? I wouldn’t allow anyone in my family to treat me like this.

Finkelbraun Thu 13-Aug-20 13:03:45

You should not tolerate this, and in particular your kids shouldn't have to witness it or put up with it.

He knows exactly what he's doing and I don't think you should be making allowances for him at all. He knows enough not to behave like this towards everyone, doesn't he? I bet there are friends, work colleagues, even other family members who he doesn't treat like this. He only does it to the people he wants to bully, when he thinks he can get away with it.

Your brothers really have the right idea.

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