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It's been 4yrs since I spoke to my dad, I don't want a relationship with him so why do I feel so bad?

(15 Posts)
Narketta Sun 09-Aug-09 16:12:09

My mum and dad divorced when I was 15, I was the oldest of four children, my brothers were 11 (twins) and my sister was 4.

Dad wasn't around much when we were growing up, he used to spend a lot of time either fishing or at the pub but when he was home I have some lovely memories of him being a great dad.

When he left it was like he blocked us from his mind, he didn't send birthday or christmas cards, he only phoned very occasionally, he would arrange to pick my sibs up for the day and not turn up leaving mum to pick up the pieces.
By this time I was busy enjoying being with my friends and socializing and seeing as dad wasn't making the effort I kind of got on with life and pushed any thoughts of him to the back of my mind.

By the time I was 22 I had bought a house near where dad lived and thoughts of him started to niggle at me, I couldn't bear the thought of something happening to dad and us never having tried to have a relationship so I got intouch with him, he seemed over the moon as by this point my sibs after all the times he had let them down wanted nothing to do with him.

Things were strange in the beginning, dad felt like a stranger to me, after all he had left when I was a little girl and now I was a woman he didn't know the person that I had become and he treated me like the 15yr old he remembered. We slowly rebuilt some kind of relationship, dad introduced me to his wife and me and her became good friends, I started to visit them regularly and we would go out for meals and days out,
but very soon dad started to talk about him and mum and the divorce this was ok until he decided to lay all the blame with mum, I was and still am very loyal to mum, she raised us alone and I respect, love and admire her for that but every opportunity he had he would go on and on about how it was her fault and that he had tried to make things right and it had been hard for him because he had loved her.
I told him that I wasn't interested in the past I wanted to move on and he should too as it wasn't fair to his new wife that he keep harping on about what a bitch he thought mum was.

Anyway me and dad carried on seeing each other but it was only if I made the effort, he would say thing about my sibs that wound me up,
for example he once said to me "If I saw your brothers in the street I wouldn't recognize them, and after all this time if they came knocking on my door I'd tell them to clear off"shock

Dad saw me go through a lot in the time I had a relationship with him but at the age of 31 when I met my now DH and got pg with DS dad turned into the worlds biggest hypocrite saying about DH "whats he ever achieved?" "He's a loser" and best of all "What if he does a runner and leaves you holding the baby?"
This was the end of our relationship, I laughed at him and said "What if he does leave me holding the baby? i'll cope like mum did when you left her to bring up 4 of us alone".
There was a row and I walked out of his house and have never looked back, That was 4yrs ago. I am a better person without him in my life. I look back at that time and know that dad was and probably still is bitter and twisted.

So if I know this why do I lie awake at night feeling angry for the hurt that he caused me and my sibs,
guilty that he will grow old without his children in his life,
pity because if he'd been more of a man things didn't have to be this way,
sadness for the relationship that I will never have with dad.

I don't want to feel like this anymore, will it get better over time or will I always feel like this?

Sorry for the long post, I really just neede to vent.

Narketta Sun 09-Aug-09 18:14:29

just bumping in the hope that someone can tell me things will get better.

secretskillrelationships Sun 09-Aug-09 18:25:13

I think it's always hard when you have such a challenging relationship with a parent. My belief is that we are hardwired to love our parents and strive to do that even when their behaviour suggests they don't deserve it. This puts us into a state of internal conflict: on the one hand 'love parent' on the other 'keep away from people who hurt me'.

You sound like a wonderfully together and mature person who takes enormous responsibility for yourself and your actions. Your father simply isn't that grown up. He won't take responsibility for his actions and is keen to blame others.

The best advice I can give, after years of trying to deal with two challenging parents, is to acknowlege to yourself how you feel about what he's done. Try to distance yourself emotionally. Give up hope that he will change. A good therapist can help you get to the bottom of the childhood issues still surfacing with your father. The more you can do these things the less his behaviour will bother you.

Try the 'stately homes' thread as there are many more of us dealing with challenging parents.

Narketta Sun 09-Aug-09 19:13:48

Thanks secretskillrelationships I will take a look at the stately homes thread.

fruitstick Sun 09-Aug-09 19:16:58

I haven't spoken to my sister for 3 years and have to remind myself that I'm not sad she'a not in my life, I'm sad she's not the person I would like her to be.

Narketta Sun 09-Aug-09 19:22:24

You know something fruitstick that's just how i've felt about dad...It's like the dad that I remember as a young child never existed and everything was a lie, I'm sad that he's not the dad that I thought he was.

FouxDuFaFa Sun 09-Aug-09 19:25:23

For me, it got better over time.

I'd accepted that my dad had been a terrible parent to me, but thought that I'd give him a chance to have a relationship with his grandson. He hadn't changed, clearly couldn't be bothered and we now have no contact.

I don't feel guilt, anger or sadness, although I used to think about the same things you mentioned. Eventually I decided that yes, he must have issues of his own, but if he can't or won't seek to address them, then it's his own fault. He's paying the ultimate price for his wilful (in my opinion) emotional immaturity - losing his family. In the end, I had to accept that I would never be able to understand him or his actions.

It upsets me when my ds wonders why he doesn't have a grandad and I suppose at some point when he's older I'm going to have to answer some serious questions.

Blood is not thicker than water - I have people in my life who have done more for me and mean more to me than him. I'm sure you have too, so try to concentrate on them and your own family.

lizziemun Mon 10-Aug-09 09:48:17

I know exactly how you.

Sorry I haven't got time to post now taking dd1 out for the day but will post later.

ilikeshoes Mon 10-Aug-09 10:27:20

I had similar realtionship with father, i think its because you sound like a good sensible person, and you cant understand why he would be the way he has and is being, if that makes sence, and you want to change them, and not see them waisting there lives, its all psychological.smile

muffle Mon 10-Aug-09 10:53:40

I haven't seen my dad for about 17 years. My story is similar to yours - oldest of several children, my parents divorced when I was a teenager and although my dad had behaved very badly I made an effort to stay in touch. I was rewarded with him bitching about my mum and the rest of the family.

It was so tedious and hypocritical (he was abusive and impossible and the problems in the marriage were largely if not all his fault) and I just couldn't be doing with it, so I did cut off contact. I felt I had tried, and he just couldn't be an adult about it. He's never said sorry for abusing and bullying his family. He's never admitted for a second that he isn't perfect. With someone like that there's only so far you can go I think.

My sister tried for much longer than I did to be nice to him and the results were no better - he actually continued to be abusive to her. She's finally seen sense and doesn't see him either (as far as I know).

I don't feel bad at all now - haven't for years. I have a DS and as far as I'm concerned I'm doing him a favour by making sure this abusive person is not in his life (something my mother failed to do for me a long time and I feel it's important).

I have my own website and because we have a fairly unusual surname someone did track me down a few years ago to tell me my dad was gravely ill (he's very old now) - but he survived.... I can honestly say I was pretty unmoved. I don't know if somewhere inside me these feelings do exist and will come out for example if I hear he has died. But what I consciously feel is that he had his chance and I don't want to have anything to do with him. That may sound harsh but I'm happy with it - so in answer to your question yes I think you can and will feel better about this. I agree therapy might really help you too - I have had it and it is great for gaining perspective and a sense of who you are now, not just as somebody's daughter. You are in charge of your life now - I think for survivors of a difficult childhood, if you can embrace that, it's a great feeling.

muffle Mon 10-Aug-09 10:58:26

I should add that I also have some memories of my dad being a lot of fun and loving him very much when I was small. But as others have said, small children do love their parents and don't understand the bigger picture about how irresponsible or unpleasant a person may be until they get older.

mrswill Mon 10-Aug-09 21:00:03

To answer your question - no, you wont always feel like this at all. My relationship with my father was much the same as you describe, and the feelings that followed, the disappointment he was not the person i wished, the bitterness at my younger siblings being treated so carelessly, and finally the acceptance of those feelings and the fact that i was never going to have a 'real' father and all that comes with it, were a massive lesson in my life. Basically that you cant force someone to act and feel like you desperately want them too, you can take a horse to water etc.
I cut off contact with my father years ago now, because of the problems you mention, and my life is no worse from it. I have a family myself now and am still close to my immediate family, and feel no need to involve him with it, as we are happy as we are. The sad thing for these folk is when they are needed they make a choice not to be tthere, but when they are not needed, they tend to turn up. your feelings will fade eventually, and you have your own family to concentrate on which will make it better.xx

Narketta Mon 10-Aug-09 22:15:46

Thanks to everyone that has taken the time to read and reply and share your expieriences. I don't know how it is for others sharing the same feelings, but I know that mine tend to come and go.

I can go for weeks without thinking about my dad because I have such a lovely life without him and i'm surrounded by people to love and be loved by, but then every so often I start to think about him and it gets me down. The annoying thing is I feel guilty for him being alone and I know its not my fault he brought all of this on himself.

lizziemun Tue 11-Aug-09 07:26:25

It easy to say don't feel guilty as he made his own choices as an adult. But it very hard not to.

For me and dad never got on since i was about 13yrs and when finally left when i was 22 it was a relief. And yes like your dad mine rewrote history to. He had an affair and it was going on for over a year before left and yet he blamed mum.

For the first 6mths i kept in touch with him (neither my brother or sister wanted to know), but he stopped returning my calls so i left it. I then had sproradic contact for the next 8 yrs.

I invited him and OW to my wedding, but he chose to go on holiday instead. Once he found DH worked with computer he only contacted me when he had a computer probelm, and yes i would ask him to fix them just so i could see my dad.

Anyway When i was pg with dd2 (2 next month) he found he had abestoes (SP) so having just dd1 about 6 times and she was 3.6yrs he suddenly remember he had 'children' & a 'grandchild' and would come over once a month. Unfortunly he died in Jan this year so didn't get to see DS who was born in march.

Anyway now i rambled on and on i get to my point.

Yes i was upset when he died but i wasn't devasted as I learnt years ago if I wanted dad in my life then i had to accept it would be on his terms. Which may be seeing once a month or once in a blue moon.

I think this is the only way to go with parents like them.

greeneyedg1rl Tue 11-Aug-09 07:53:47

I had a very difficult relationship with my dad, too. He died a couple of years ago. I knew he was very ill and was going to die, but made no effort to see him - I live over 100 miles away, had no interest in driving all that way to be told what else I was doing wrong and to see what he had done to himself (alcoholic). I honestly thought that I would feel nothing when he died because we hadn't exchanged a civil word in years and years. Instead I found myself mourning him, but not just him and the actual relationship that we had, but mourning the fact that I'd missed out on having the kind of dad that I wanted and deserved. I still am intensely jealous to see people with a good relationship with their parents.

after that ramble - for me, the issue has been the wish for what might/could/should have been, not the actuality of what was IYKWIM. I feel that you have to let go of what you wish could have happened - you have tried to change the outcome, there's nothing more you can do. Your dad has made his choices and only he can make other ones. He is an adult, after all, and is the one who has to make the choice to change himself. You have tried your best and there's nothing else you can do. As long as you can come to accept that, you can get on with your life. It does get better over time - or it has for me - but that doesn't mean that I don't occassionally stamp my foot at the injustice of it all.

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