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Divorce/separation

WEDDING HELL

67 replies

tunaday · 30/10/2011 19:48

My daughter has just annouced she is marrying her bf in Nov 2012. She wants my ex (her dad) there.
We divorced after I found out he had changed my Mum's Will so he could steal my inheritance money, taken a huge chunk of my Dad's life savings, re-mortgaged our home by forging my signature, racked up £250,000 of debt also by forging my signature, stole from clients at work and used the money to pay our daughter's uni costs. He ended up in prison for fraud (only for stealing off clients not from my family). I ended up homeless, penniless, and beyond angry. This happened in 2006 and I am still furious. He has never apologised to me or my family. He has apologised to our daughter but always shifts the blame onto everyone but himself. I can't face the thought of having to see him at the wedding and am angry that my daughter has forgiven him (I feel she is being disloyal to me. Petty ,I know, but that's how I feel) and wants him there. I can't get excited about the arrangements which I know is unfair on my daughter but I don't think she realises I am utterly dreading the day. My brothers find it hard to accept that she has forgiven her father for what he has done to their sister and late parents too. Has anyone any advice about coping strategies up to and for the big day? I feel sick at the thought of being in the same room as the thieving ...............!

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PoppadumPreach · 30/10/2011 22:15

I don't think I can "advise" you in what is the correct thing but I am utterly sympathetic to your predicament and think I would be gutted if I was in your position.

I think you need to tell your DD (in the most non-confrontational manner possible) exactly how you feel about seeing your ex. Forget the fact it is at her wedding, just make her understand why it is so hard for you. You should definitely not make it a debate about whether she has chosen him over you as that will only end in tears.

I am so sorry you are going through this, and for what you have been through, and please don't feel guilty about feeling the way you do.

LunarRose · 30/10/2011 22:24

Tell me exactly how you expect a relationship to be "better" with someone who has abused you. Yes normal circumstances, normal divorces, things are usually better at a later date. What exactly is the bigger picture in this situation?

Yes if someone values the "perfectness" of their big day over the awfulness that they mother has been through I think that is very sad indeed.

ColonelBrandon · 30/10/2011 22:28

Have no doubt that your exH, given what a good liar he is, has the bare-faced nerve to brazen the day out. But has your dd given thought to the atmosphere at her wedding if he's there? The talk/gossip/half of the assembled guests hating his guts/the awkwardnesses...?

tunaday · 30/10/2011 22:33

I wonder if she has thought through the implications? She's not going to have him 'give her away' or let him make a speech (I couldn't resist telling her that nobody wants to hear what he has to say ) but nevertheless it will be awkward for everyone because they will all feel uncomfortable/awkward. I think DD is still in a bit of a daze at the thought of being married, that maybe she hasn't really thought this aspect of her big day, through. Then again, she finds its very hard to put herself in anyone elses shoes I think. She is loyal and forgiving and I feel I should be proud of such qualities but in this case I feel she is overly forgiving. She isn't a religious person so it's not forgiveness born out of faith.

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LunarRose · 30/10/2011 22:36

loyal?

Actually I would have a really serious discussion with her.

mablemurple · 30/10/2011 22:47

Whoever said that the focus of the whole day will be on him has it spot on, and you should tell her this. Also, I would ask her what she would do in your shoes - that should make her think a bit more about the whole situation. Does she know everything that her father did?

tunaday · 30/10/2011 22:50

I think all dd can think of at the moment is what you call 'the perfectness' of her big day. Her boyfriend proposed mid-Sept and already the venue has been chosen and booked and she's utterly focussed on dress hunting now. I feel that she's not thought about the atmosphere on the day and is just concerned that there be no hurling of insults etc etc. Colonel Brandon is totally right in saying my ex will brazen the wedding day out. He is absolutely shameless. Most people wouldn't dare put their heads above the parapet in their local community after being strewn over the front page of their local rag, yet he seems totally immune to feelings of disgrace, shame etc. He will act as if nothing has ever happened of that I am sure. I am hurt that she can put his presence above the feelings of myself and my family not to mention her fiance's family and all of their friends. Since she's told me about the wedding, all the ugly feelings that were finally starting to recede a little, have started popping up again! Arggggh! Thank you for all your input.

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tunaday · 30/10/2011 22:54

Yes, she knows everything her father did. She couldn't believe what I was telling her at first but she had to when the police rang her to tell her they wanted to look through her bank statements and found stolen money had been paid into her bank account and again when it all finally made the papers. She's so considerate of her father's feelings but I did point out that he didn't exactly consider hers in acting in the way he did.

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omaoma · 30/10/2011 23:07

o god, this is so awful for you i couldn't read and not post.

your daughter sounds as if she has entered fantasy land with the wedding planning - a sort of bridezilla situation where you are turned slightly mad by it all but one where the real-life fallout is much much worse than usual. i guess that's understandable if she's had a really hard time recently. from what you say, could she might be like this a bit anyway? eg, in insisting on being 'kind' to her dad when what he did is so horrific, rather than being angry which would seem a more obvious reaction.

the only thing i can think of is some kind of counselling together??? can one do that as a mother-daughter rather than a couple? or if not possible, perhaps there's an intermediary both of you trusts, who could act as a sort of referee in this discussion.

omaoma · 30/10/2011 23:09

could it be possible that your daughter subconsciously feels in some way complicit/guilty for what happened - because some of the money went to look after her. and is trying to redeem herself by being overly forgiving of her dad.

tunaday · 30/10/2011 23:36

I had never thought that there could be an element of complicity/guilt bearing in mind one of the reasons her father gave for his actions was to pay for her education. That's a really interesting and good point. I also think at the moment my dd is in a post-having-been-proposed-to-gosh-I'm-going-to-get-MARRIED state of euphoria. I also think she needs a lot of security bearing in mind what she's been through. It certainly hasn't put her off marriage that's for sure! I would love counselling together but dd didn't rate any of the counsellors at uni and think the experience has made her anti-counselling. I don't know why she isn't more angry than she is - I think even she is mystified by this. She said she can't be angry about anything for very long. I don't know if this is true and if it is whether it's a good thing or a bad!!!!

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BoozeDilemma · 30/10/2011 23:51

As an aside...would it be possible to maybe compromise a tiny bit? eg Dad accompanies her to church, then sits down to watch the ceremony and leaves quietly at the end before all the huggings and greetings etc. Leaving you to enjoy the really fun bit at the reception, where you are honoured as your daughter's steadfast and loyal parent, and where you will be surrounded by friends and family. Is this an option?

I hope you can both work this one out [hug]

ColonelBrandon · 31/10/2011 01:42

Yes, it does sound as if dd is in wedding fantasy land, having no concept of what she is asking of people, especially you. In fact she may feel that the magic of her wedding will make all things well or at least right in her world for one 'perfect' day. What a shame that what should be such a happy event to attend and recollect is going to be associated for so many people with anxiety, pain and distress.

fannybaws · 31/10/2011 05:57

Tunaday, what was life like up to 2006?
Was your ex a kind and loving Dad and husband?
I wonder if your daughter sees what your ex did as an aberration in a previously good life, a weakness fuelled by anxiety about providing a lifestyle?

omaoma · 31/10/2011 09:54

if she doesn't trust counsellors any more, what about a trusted intermediary?

what about counselling just for you? might help you make sense of what's going on in your relationship with your daughter and find your own peace, beyond just the wedding. i guess the bottom line is that however much a situation seems objectively 'right' or 'wrong' (even to us outsiders), you can't force your daughter to feel the way you do. perhaps it would be helpful to look at how you can start to resolve the intense feelings of betrayal and anger you feel, over time, and ensure they do not affect your relationship with your daughter. i am not saying it isn't completely natural and understandable that you feel these things btw.

it's hard to feel her failure to feel anger is normal/healthy, that instead it's part of some attempt to cope with what must have been a massive betrayal of trust, love and loyalty she felt for her father - but i am someone who is often very angry so don't know if i am a good touchstone! re fanny's point - perhaps it's just such an immense alteration of her perception of reality (from 'good' father to 'hideous, unfeeling human being') she still can't really take it in? i do wonder whether her 'not rating' the counsellors she's seen is because she didn't want to hear what they were saying. counselling isn't necessarily an easy process...

SolidGoldVampireBat · 31/10/2011 10:01

Some people find it impossible to get angry at those who have mistreated them: they want to cling to the person even more. I think your DD is one of these; for whatever reason, she wants to hold on to her love for her father (mind you, she is his DD and aware that she has his genes etc, this is something else which can make children determined to defend and stay loyal to a bad parent). I think you have to accept that your DD is entitled to her feelings, and that it's not really acceptable for her to be sent to a counsellor to have her thinking 'corrected'.

WhereYouLeftIt · 31/10/2011 11:20

"I think all dd can think of at the moment is what you call 'the perfectness' of her big day. Her boyfriend proposed mid-Sept and already the venue has been chosen and booked and she's utterly focussed on dress hunting now. I feel that she's not thought about the atmosphere on the day and is just concerned that there be no hurling of insults etc etc. "
Right, in that case you owe it toher to sit her down and spell it out just what she will actually get if your X is there. Spell it out just how his presence would affect not just you but all your side of the family. That he will be the focus, not her. The atmosphere. And possibly the nudging and pointing from her fiance's family, and the "how can he show his face" comments from one and all. IF HE IS THERE THERE WILL BE NO PERFECTNESS. Tell her through gritted teeth that you can accept that she has forgiven him, but that she needs to consider that nobody else has or can.

I think the complicity theory might have some merit here; a combination of paying him back with forgiveness, and commuting his selfishness into selflessly providing for her so he can't be all bad. The brain can do wonderful things to convince us (against logic) that we are not actually drowning in chaos and there is order out there to depend upon. BUT- and it is a big but - the time for clinging to such small comforts is past, and she needs to face the reality that she is creating for her family. If she's old enough to marry, she's old enough to face up to this.

tunaday · 31/10/2011 12:55

Thanks so much for all your thoughts on this. It's so helpful and is really making me think. I will at some point perhaps have to tell her that it's not just me who will find the day uncomfortable to say the least and that his presence will spoil the day for lots of the guests and by extention could well spoil it for her. It's a good point to tell her that while she's forgiven him that many people are still absolutely livid. It's a fair point that it's easier for me to make a clean break from my ex than it is for her bearing in mind he's her biiological father. I also have to accept that she feels as she feels and I can't make her hate him or not want him there. I think I will look into counselling too. It may help me work out if/how to bring this up with dd and to deal with the anger that's welling back up again. One of my brother's in particular is really upset at her decision and his partner said maybe there's some way he could talk to dd.

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tunaday · 31/10/2011 12:59

The 'do' is going to be a civil ceremony in a hotel so it would be harder for dd to restrict ex to ceremony only if the whole shebang is in the same place. There's not going to be a church do followed by a reception somewhere else otherwise a compromise would have been easier. If he was a normal person he wouldn't want/dare to attend the reception but sadly he is impervious to what others will think/feel. Teflon-coated doesn't begin to cover it.

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zumm · 31/10/2011 13:04

Do you suppose your ex will attend? Is there any chance he will come up with a good excuse why he can't come? I can't imagine he'll especially enjoy having to face a lot of people who can't stand him? Then again...

tunaday · 31/10/2011 13:19

Zumm sadly he will def. attend. He has even had the chutzpah to express his 'hurt' at his brother and SIL not being invited. He has no idea that most offspring wouldn't give him the time of day under the same circumstances and that he is bloody lucky to be in his dd's life at all. He just doesn't get it.

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SolidGoldVampireBat · 31/10/2011 13:40

There is the risk that the more the rest of the family try to pressure your DD to reject her father, the more determined she will be to keep him in her life.

tunaday · 31/10/2011 18:08

It's a minefield. I've not felt able to say anything to DD thus far for various reasons: alienating her; driving her closer to hated ex; stressing her out healthwise; spoiling what is a happy occasion for her etc. I really appreciate all your collective wisdom. I didn't expect such an amazing response. I'm new to mumsnet and am absolutely bowled over by the time and thought you show. Thank you sooooo much everyone.

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zumm · 31/10/2011 18:28

Tuna, I have to say you come across as incred thoughtful and kind. Maybe the gods will smile on you for the dreaded wedding and all will go well... there's prob some great Buddhist lesson in all this but after a day with a 14 mth out, I'm too tired to work it out. But boy is your daughter lucky to have such a lovely mum. Courage!

tunaday · 31/10/2011 18:40

Thank you for your kind words zumm. I can still remember the knackeration of life with a toddler and my dd is 26. My little treasure is still a source of dilemma-age but at least she has stopped spitting out the food she doesn't like and putting it on my plate and at long last goes to bed without demanding another glass of water and then having a tantrum. So it's not all bad!LOL

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