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How does he sleep at night? And will I ever come to terms with this?

(47 Posts)
ButIForgetMyself Wed 13-Aug-08 21:13:38

I saw my Dad yesterday at a funeral for the first time in ages. He knew nothing about me. He was a stranger. It has brought everything to the surface again and I can't get it out of my head, didn't sleep last night, been feeling like shit all day.

He left my Mum, my younger brother and I in 1980 when I was 6 because he was having it off with some 18 year old who he then married and had three new kids with.

He turned up one day at our house when I was about 9 and said he couldn't have us round for weekends anymore as his new wife couldn't cope with their new kids and us.

His new wife then went about her life quite happily, denying that my Dad had had a family before she came along. Basically, they erased us.

We ended up first in a rented two bedroomed flat, then we got a council house. We struggled like mad. We never went abroad. We had free school meals. My Mum couldn't even afford to buy me a My Little Pony.

In the meantime, my Dad's business took off and we watched him move from detached house to bigger detached house, taking his new kids on holidays to Florida and caravans in theme parks and driving round in BMWs and Mercs. Meanwhile he paid my Mum £17 maintenance a week.

I am now 35 years old and expecting my first baby. It makes me understand even less how somebody could just abandon their children and start all over again. It makes me wonder what we did so wrong that he and his wife couldn't bring themselves to see us one weekend a fortnight. And it makes me wonder why I didn't even receive a birthday card for the last 25 years.

No wonder my brother changed his surname by deed poll.

I don't know how I can get closure on this. It's still doing my head in, even after all these years.

foxythesnowfox Wed 13-Aug-08 21:22:04

I have nothing useful to say, but couldn't pass your post by.

All I can say is you did nothing wrong. He made his decisions on how he was going to live his life.

But you have your own family and ultimately it is his loss.

I do hope you get some peace with this.

ButIForgetMyself Wed 13-Aug-08 21:26:09

My half brothers and sisters found me on Facebook, and added me as a friend. I thought it would be quite nice to be in touch with them, after all, it wasn't their faults.

Now I'm hovering over the delete button... I just can't bear to look at their pictures anymore.

chapstickchick Wed 13-Aug-08 21:28:37

the thing is the future is in your hands -you are carrying it in your tummy and you can change the way you 'do family' fmily love is not about houses and holidays and my ittle ponies family is about love and you have that.

you cant get your head around your fathers behviour purely and simply because its not your problem nothing you did or can do can change that -thosewere his mistakes.

you can never get the past back but you can make the future better -the past is what made you who you are today.....move on and dont be weighed down by your fathers mistakes.

i am able to give the advice wholeheartedly because i too am in a similar situation only my 'dad' is now ill and wants to be 'reunited' i dont think that can happen time has passed.

chapstickchick Wed 13-Aug-08 21:29:17

bifm..........delete them you dont need these reminders imo.

MmeLindt Wed 13-Aug-08 21:31:15

I agree with Foxy, the fault lies not in you but in him.

How do your half-brothers feel about the situation? Do they know your feelings? Could you send them a message to say that at the moment you are struggling with the actions of your father and that you would like to take a break from your contact?

Having a baby makes us think about our childhood and our parents. I think I became more understanding of my parents when I had my children. In your case it is not surprising that you feel even less understanding.

missingtheaction Wed 13-Aug-08 21:36:56

you have every right to be incandescently angry with your father for the way he acted and the injustice he did you. Seeing him is bound to heighten those feelings again. But it does sound as if you manage very well most of the time - give yourself a couple of weeks to simmer down a bit, then maybe you could think about getting some counselling - especially as you are starting your own family now. Hugs.

Carmenere Wed 13-Aug-08 21:37:46

I genuinely believe that certain combinations of people can bring out the absolute worst in the other.
Your fathers second wife sounds pathetic and immature and dare I say it you may have been better off without her in your life. And you can possibly feel sorry for your half siblings who had, not only a nasty cow for a mum but a weak excuse of a man for a father. At least you had one decent parent. I suspect you are the fortunate one in this scenario.

ButIForgetMyself Wed 13-Aug-08 21:43:40

I wish I could be as strong as my brother, he completely cut my Dad from his life, went as far as changing his name by deed poll just before he got married so his new wife and future children wouldn't have any connection whatsoever.

I spent my life just wishing my Dad would apologise, maybe send a birthday or Christmas card, show some interest, then just being bitterly disappointed the whole time.

Don't get me wrong, I haven't been pining or anything, it just would've been... I dunno... nice.

Today I was going to write a letter to him but the last time I did that that I had his wife on the phone telling me he feels awkward and he's not very well, and he does care, deep down.

And to be honest, I know he's not worth the bother, and I shouldn't let him know he gets to me.

But he does.

blueshoes Wed 13-Aug-08 21:51:35

butIforget, usually when people disown something so inexplicably and completely, it is something in themselves they are loathing and running away from.

Please try to believe that it is not your fault. <hugs>

Does your mother know how you feel about this?

ToughDaddy Wed 13-Aug-08 21:56:56

I think that it is a good idea to write him. You can tell him that you care for him but you must tell him everything else on your mind; it should be his burden not yours.

Also, you should take even more pride in the fact the fact that you have made a good life for yourself?

ToughDaddy Wed 13-Aug-08 21:58:24

You sound very balanced which is a real credit to your mom

Portofino Wed 13-Aug-08 21:58:58

Seeing him and having this all brought back must be awful for you and you have my sympathies. My dad remarried when I was 16 and him and new wife and step sisters (not my dad;s) were always popping off to Spain on lovely villa holidays to which my sister and i were never invited. At Xmas we would go round and feel that we were given token pressies when the younger girls got TVs, Stereos etc. I admit it really pissed me off at the time.

But I honestly believe that part of being a grown up is putting all this shit behind you and getting on with your own life. You now have you own family who you should concentrate on and not let the old bitterness get in the way.

I don't know what your relationship is with your step siblings but it's not their fault either...I still stay in contact with my step sisters - though my dad seperated from SM and married a chinese woman half his age. He is now very sad and lonely and suffering the consequences i guess.

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say exactly but - you're 35, put it behind you, love your mum, build your own family. Some are blessed with excellent parents, some suffer crap ones, but it shouldn't define the rest of your life....

Quattrocento Wed 13-Aug-08 22:03:47

I'm really sorry. I met someone once who was the second wife's child in an identical position. Once she had her own children she just couldn't understand or forgive her father for the way he treated his first set of children, nor in fact her mother for the way she behaved and insisted on cutting them off.

It's just not what good people do, is it?

Might it help just to acknowledge the self-centredness and the meanness and think "well some people are like that. I'm glad I'm not."

ButIForgetMyself Wed 13-Aug-08 22:20:59

My Mum won't talk about him, she loathes every fibre of his being.

It's not just the fact he took himself away from us, we were also deprived of a relationship with my paternal grandparents. It was my Grandad's funeral yesterday. I got back in touch with him around 6 years ago and managed to build a few happy memories with him, too late for my Nana though who died in 1995.

My Dad later fell out with my Grandad over my Grandad detesting his new wife - God, it's all so dysfunctional!

Boco Wed 13-Aug-08 22:22:49

Budgie. £10. Got the money?

Boco Wed 13-Aug-08 22:24:11

Oh dear, I'm very very sorry, that was the last text message I received, not a comment on this thread, which I was about to read, and now i'm scared to in case I just said something incredibly inappropriate by accident.

Sorry.

ButIForgetMyself Wed 13-Aug-08 22:29:23

Boy or girl budgie?

Boco Wed 13-Aug-08 22:33:31

Oh good, I'm glad you're not cross!
I have an old friend I rarely see because he lives miles away, but his way of keeping in touch is to text occasionally pretending to try and flog me bizarre things. That was last text message.

Sorry about your dad. My dad also left and took up with new family and I must admit that I still feel very jealous in a way, of the children he was there for, even as an adult that doesn't really go, maybe it's worse actually, when you have your own children, because you can't imagine being able to do that to them.

Have you thought about writing him a letter, even if you dont' end up sending it? That's probably been suggested, but it's a good way of getting all your thoughts down.

georgimama Wed 13-Aug-08 22:35:36

I had a similar situation (no second family though) with my father. I haven't had any contact with him since I was 15. Although I question how he can bear for that to be the case, especially since I had DS, I have reached the reluctant conculsion that he just can't be all there, emotionally, and that I am much better off without him and the disappointments that used to surround our relationship.

Have you had counselling? Do you think it is something you could consider? Relate may be helpful.

Or, as someone else suggested, write to him, tell him exactly how hurt and rejected he was made you feel, how much pain you have suffered because of him, and then burn it.

Do not give him one more moment of power over you.

Kally Wed 13-Aug-08 22:58:09

Some men are just fecking useless. My ex did something similar to this. We split up, (we lived abroad) and he did a moonlite flit to another country. Meanwhile me and three children (one really young one) went down down down... no maintenance, no help with caring for small one (was working fulltime) had to give up job as so many psychological stuff going on with kids at school I was constantly being called up. Couldn't cope at all. Oldest daughter got married to 'move on' left to live in Canada son went in the army,(they have conscription in country of origin) and me and 7 year old came back to UK. All of us split up at a very fast pace. Luckily me and the DC are very close altho separated by miles.
DD1 hates her father, (wrote him off ages ago) son has a luke warm relationship with him, and little DD can't be arsed to speak if when he rarely phones her. He lost out bigtime. Bigtime I say, because they are such lovely lovely kids.
I don't want them dragging around baggage for the rest of their lives and try to be neutral about him, but they remember and can assess for themselves. I am sorry foryou but know that there are millions of others who went through similar pain. It is hard to heal, but I don't think that contacting your half brothers/sisters will do you any good. It'll just hurt more as they seem to have had it easier than you.
Move on. You can't begin to unravel the why's and wherefors, just know that Dads also make huge mistakes and I am sure he lays there with a guilt trip on for the rest of his life. Just like you have questions. You'd never make any sense out of it anyway. Keep focused on your life now. Don't drag it about. Its not worth the weight of it.

KristinaM Wed 13-Aug-08 23:12:16

BIFM - I had a pretty rubbish childhood as well and when i was expecting my first child it all came back to me and i coudlnt stop thinking about it. i coudlnt just "move on". i ended up going for counselling about it which really helped

pushchair Wed 13-Aug-08 23:22:05

Similar story. Dont think you can get closure unless father is willing to acknowledge fault and discuss which mine certainly cant. So put him out of my mind most of the time and have turmoil when some thing happens to bring it to the fore. Hope you feel better soon.

Weegiemum Thu 14-Aug-08 05:13:20

It isn't just men. My Mum did this, in her own way.

She ran off when I was 12, leaving us with Dad. To begin with we saw her at weekends, but then they moved further and further away, eventually having another baby and leaving the country altogether for several years. She wold come back to our town to visit my Gran, and not even tell me she was in the country.

Half sister got everything - private education (not that I would have wanted that, tbh, but anyway), car on her 17th birthday, flat bought for her etc.

In the end we had a bust up big time (it had all been polite and nice, but distant and on her terms) over things I said and did, (much of it my fault tbh), she 'stalked' me on the internet for a while, wrote to my doctor and psychiatrist as I was supposedly unstable and an unfit parent, and I suspect, though could never prove that she reported us to SW where we were investigated.

And now she wonders why I don't talk to her. I have to look after myself, and my family, and basically I don't want my children having a toxic grandmother. they have 2 other lovely Grans! Basically, she wants an "explanation" which she apparantly "deserves" for my behaviour. I think she gave up all right to any explanation when she chose to no longer be my mother, umpteen years ago now.

It has been hard and I have had some pretty hefty counselling/psychotherapy but now I am happy and healthy and glad to no longer have her in my life.

She's probably reading this.

lilacclaire Thu 14-Aug-08 09:45:11

So sorry your going through this.
When you have your own little one, you will realise even more what a useless fecker your dad is/was.
Sometimes, its just about putting on a brave face, accepting it then letting go.
Very hurtful though, but you have not done anything wrong and your not a bad person (thats him).
My dss's mother fecked off when he was 11 (for another man) and he's seen her on average once a year since, he's now 15, no money etc, we struggle sometimes but we manage fine on the whole. Hats off to your mother for raising such a fine person.

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