Author Topic: Difficult Relationship w/Dad (LONG)  (Read 1017 times)

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feellikeachild

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Difficult Relationship w/Dad (LONG)
« on: October 22, 2011, 05:02:09 PM »
My situation is the opposite of most of those posted in the Adult Daughter/Son forum so thought it best for me to post here.  I apologize in advance if things stream together....there's so much in my head that I want to get down on "paper."

My parents live on the other side of the country from me and my family (DH, DD 11, DS 7 1/2).  They are lucky in that we have a family member that works for a major airline so that they have the ability to fly to visit as long as there is an available seat.  That said, they refuse to buy a ticket at major holidays/birthdays in order to visit with us (as you can imagine, open seats at holiday times are hard to come by). I've stopped asking them to buy a ticket, stopped asking if they plan on coming for holidays, stopped telling my children that they MAY come - only to find out that they couldn't get on a flight last minute....it's too painful for the kids, and, frankly, I've finally reached the point of not caring anymore.  Before you ask - we've visited with them in the past at holidays, buying tickets at $1200+ for the 4 of us, and trying to be pleasant while visiting.

They took a trip to visit a major attraction area earlier this month, and flew back through our area to visit us on their way home - they were here for a total of 1 1/2 days.  During that time, my father decided to show me some pictures on his camera, which he handed to me.  I accidentally dropped it, and caused the lens (fully open) to bend.  The look I got was unbelievable.  At 42, I felt like a 5 year old child again.  There are many times where he makes me feel like a "child in trouble."   I held back the tears, sucked it up as he sat at the table turning the camera off and on, pushing the lens, etc. to see if it would fix itself.  He then told me he'd only used it twice and it was brand new; that he'd looked all over for this particular color case and had to order it online. I apologized for dropping it (got no acceptance), and I told him that when he got back home, to see if it could be fixed and to let me know the cost of the repair.  If it was not fixable, let me know the original cost and I would reimburse him for that.  I felt that was reasonable; I got no response.  When they returned home, I also sent an email reminding him of my offer and stated that it was an unfortunate accident.  I've not heard back, but from what I understand from my Mom, he bought it as a closeout from an online retailer and they are no longer available. 

I think I did the right thing about the camera.  However, a series of emails went back and forth between my younger (gay) brother and my father about their stop to visit my family.  The last one was inadvertently sent to me - or maybe not - i can't decide.  In the course of the emails, my brother had asked how the visit went and how things went with me (the last I saw my parents was Christmas, 2010, at which time my father and I had an argument - I apologized, he did not).   My father's reply was that I dropped his camera and broke it, followed by "some things never change" and no mention of the fact that I offered to pay him for it.  He then moved on to say that my DS is "still a BRAT" and that there is "no discipline and I don't think there ever will be."   My brother replied that he thought that my DS's behavior may have changed since then, but guessed not.   To put things in perspective, my father is 6'3" and his form of discipline from when I was a child was to scream at me at the top of his lungs; stamp down the hallway to my room if I had run away from him because I was scared to death; stand at my door yelling at me to "Open This G-d Dam- Door NOW!" and, once I let him in, to spank my butt so hard that it would leave handprint marks.   The only childhood memories I have of him are the arguments, the yelling, the spanking, etc.  I REFUSE to discipline my children in this manner.  Crazy thing is, my son gets nothing but compliments from his teachers at school, and behaves like a typical 8 y.o. boy at home.  My father, however, doesn't agree; I also don't think he enjoys spending time with my DS - if he'd take some time to get to know the kid, he might actually find something that they have in common and could enjoy doing together. 

ANYWAY - I was beyond upset and told my DH that even though I had been looking for cheap flights to go and visit them for Thanksgiving, there was no way I was going to go based on his comments.  Since I now know how he really feels about my DS and I, I don't see the point.  To add insult to injury, my Mom was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's this past summer, and I've been attempting to talk with her more, and want to visit more often.  I feel that my father is going to be a major roadblock to my being able to do those things, mostly because even if my Mom said she wanted to come visit, I believe my father would tell her no or find some excuse (like work - he's a "retired" workaholic who still works 60+ hours a week by choice).  I already feel that I lost out on my relationship as an adult with my Mom because of the physical miles between us (I see other women out shopping with their Mom and their children and I choke up); now I feel like I'm going to miss out on trying to spend quality time with her before she forgets who I am.

Again, sorry for the length...... It just makes me so mad to think that grandparents wouldn't WANT to visit their grandchildren as often as possible if they had the option!  I also think that my father is extremely selfish and prideful, and won't apologize for anything, even if he's called out on it (ie., Christmas argument).  I bit my tongue  more than once while they were here (listening to him complain about the friends that they went away with, complain about his job, complain about his vehicles, complain about the insurance company he's working with to get life insurance, etc.).   

Am I nuts to think that I should stop trying to have a good relationship with him?  My DH said the telltale sign for him was when I said, after their last visit, that "I thought I was doing really well; I thought I was doing better at dealing with him" - I shouldn't have to change who I am just to please him (which I guess is what I've been doing my whole stinkin' life).






Offline Pen

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Re: Difficult Relationship w/Dad (LONG)
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2011, 06:35:31 PM »
Welcome, FeelLike. Please take a minute to read the Forum Agreement and How This Happened under the topic Open Me First on the home page. We ask all new members to do this to make sure we're a good fit.

We have a few women who are dealing with a similar situation even though it seems most posters are here because of problems with their inlaws or adult children. I can relate to your story a bit; my DF and SM moved across the country and don't seem too interested in us; they are super-involved with SM's kids and grandkids though. I have finally come to terms with it thanks to this site. I occasionally get sad, but mostly I'm OK.

I'm sorry to hear about your mom; I hope you can find a way to see her. It's not the same as being there, but would she be able to use something like Skype? At least you could be face to face more often.

You'll find support and comfort here as you progress towards changing your reactions to the things you can't change, if that makes any sense.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

feellikeachild

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Re: Difficult Relationship w/Dad (LONG)
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2011, 08:30:14 PM »
Thank you, Pen.  I appreciate knowing that there are others out there like me.  It has taken me at least 7 years to get over the fact that my parents won't/choose not to visit us/me - initially, I took it EXTREMELY personally, especially since we had just moved to the midwest, and gave birth to our son the same year.  Each time there was a "nope, not gonna get on the flight" kind of call, I spiraled into a huge, sobbing mess.  My son will be 8 in less than a month, and I can now honestly say (finally) that I just don't care anymore.

You'll find support and comfort here as you progress towards changing your reactions to the things you can't change, if that makes any sense.

You are SO right, Pen - and yes, this does make sense.   It all takes time.  I can't change their behavior, I can only deal with it, let it roll off my back.  It's not worth it to me to be in a sad state in front of my DH and children - when I'm miserable, they're miserable (whether we all realize that's what it is or not).  I just have a hard time coming to terms with what I think I should do - part of me says stop trying so hard, don't bother trying to make plans to go visit, avoid my father at all costs since he makes me feel so bad.  But at the same time, it seems so unfair - I love my mother to death and would do anything for her....why should I have to give up that relationship just because of my father???  talk about conflicted!

And I never even gave Skype a thought!  That would be a good Christmas present too (a webcam, that is). 


Offline Doe

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Re: Difficult Relationship w/Dad (LONG)
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2011, 07:43:05 AM »
Hi-

My dad decided not to visit me after a stupid incident about 20 years ago.  He has plenty of money and flies over me to visit my siblings on the other side of the country.    I was invested in my kids knowing him (the only GP left) and I don't fly so I drove them 3000 miles RT every year to see him for many years.  Even though we had fun doing it,  I spent years being annoyed with him over the situation.  Finally, I spoke to him about it and he gave a superficial apology and I realized that it was a waste of time to spend any more energy in that direction.

I still love him but haven't been to see him in a couple of years.  He's 88 and alone and don't feel compelled to go see him anymore.  We email and I think he's satisfied with that - I know I am.

Offline lancaster lady

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Re: Difficult Relationship w/Dad (LONG)
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2011, 03:12:19 PM »
hi and Welcome Feelikeachild,

Do you think your Mom would come and visit you alone seeing how your Dad works all the time ?
She could perhaps come with a friend , or onboard assistant .
It seems sad that you two are missing out on your relationship because of a bully Father .
Skype is a great idea !

sesamejane

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Re: Difficult Relationship w/Dad (LONG)
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2011, 06:51:36 PM »
Is your mom computer literate though?  It doesn't sound like your dad is going to be very helpful.  I feel for you.  I have no relationship with my foo, and when my parents were alive, it was no better.  Hang in there, and don't waste any more of your precious time, energy, emotion on papa. 

Is your dh family supportive?

Offline Doe

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Re: Difficult Relationship w/Dad (LONG)
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2011, 08:30:04 AM »
Oh, you might want to change your forum name, too.  How we label ourselves has a powerful affect.

Offline Ruth

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Re: Difficult Relationship w/Dad (LONG)
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2011, 08:53:31 AM »
I would suggest that you write a long and explicit letter to your father.  Your are very fluent and I believe it would help you move past this part of your life that is still stuck way back there.  Your father is history, and he has no power to hurt you any more.   You don't need to fear him any more.  I'd write a long letter including the pain he caused you re. this stupid camera incident, the way he terrorized you as a child, the way he views your children, and all the painful specific incidents you need to confront him with.  He is probably an individual who is incapable of seeing the truth, but you can only try..  He is a selfish, mean spirited, petty, insensitive bully, and I wouldn't let him around my children for a new york minute unless he turned his act around.  My DD has these issues with her DF, (my ex) and if you read some of my recent posts I described the recent incident with my g/c.  Bullies prey on fearful (kind) people, and my DD has no fear whatsoever of her DF.  He is now off limits to the g/c.  Its time now for you to live your own life, and make all the trips you want and can afford to visit your mother, and act as if that F isn't even in the room if you must visit on the premesis.  You can make some wonderful memories with your mother, and I fear if you don't take advantage of the opportunity, you will always regret it. 

sesamejane

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Re: Difficult Relationship w/Dad (LONG)
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2011, 08:32:16 PM »
I agree with the idea that if  you want to see your mom - do it!  sooner rather than later.  Pop will just have to 'deal' with it, but you probably need to develop a thicker skin.  Know that Papa is pretty messed up, and it is not your fault - none of it your fault.  See him for what he is - a bully with an inferiority complex who has to push someone around!