August 22, 2019, 02:25:49 pm


"Welcome to -- When adult children marry and leave home, life can sometimes get more complex instead of simpler.  Being a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law can be tough.  How do we extend love and support to our mothers-in-law, adult children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren without interfering?  What do we do when there are communication problems?  How can we ask for help when we need it without being a burden?  And how do our family members feel about these issues?  We invite you to join our free forum, read some posts... and when you're ready...share your challenges and wisdom."

Upcoming visit with Dad

Started by Pen, April 27, 2016, 08:02:50 pm

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Hi, WW!

As my once every couple of years visit with my dad/SM approaches, I'm trying to pay attention to my emotional state so I can be cool, calm and lovingly detached. There is a lot of baggage there - in fact, my close friends who know our history (and were present for a lot of it) wonder why I spend the time and $$$ to travel all the way across the continent to see him when usually it is a less than fulfilling visit.

Am I making the effort in a weird attempt to insure my DS/DDD will still visit me in a couple of decades?
Am I simply of the "dutiful daughter" generation?
Am I still trying to get dad/SM to acknowledge and approve of me?

I noticed I was starting to get anxious, a little depressed and a bit insecure (about my weight, my finances, my aging face, etc etc etc. Yikes!!)

However, I've decided to limit my exposure this trip - traveling with a dear friend and planning a lot of sightseeing activities w/her and her DS, so I'm not able to spend more than a few hours in the presence of my dad and his wife. My SM might try to make me feel guilty and will more than likely talk badly about me to her AC...but it's about taking care of myself while honoring my dad.

How I wish it could be different! I pray my own AC don't feel this way about me!!

Am I nuts or what?  :P
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


My take is you are not're human. We mature to the place where we know there is no black and totally perfect and no totally imperfect. How could you not have all of this coming up? I admire your approach in going with a friend...with you eyes wide open. You are feeling the inner conflict, the disappointments, the very simple but totally unfulfilled expectations involving kindness and understanding. Your dad is who and how he is and so is your step mother. You didn't get to vote. Over the years, I have seen you come to grips with being supportive of your dear disabled daughter and your dear son...who chose to take his loyalties elsewhere. It the core is your dignity...the contribution you have made to society as a teacher...and your love for your guy. You're not what happened to you...and you're not what happened to others, you're the person you have become over, under, around and through all of that...solid, beautiful, vulnerable.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I love Luise's response to your wonderings, Pen, and I think that you answered your own question by saying "It's about taking care of myself while honoring my dad."  Your don't have to be clear on the motivations for the visit in order to follow your gut.  It is commendable to take along friends who have your back and give you strength at a vulnerable time.  I often have a tendency to regress and revisit old issues internally when visiting my dad, or even calling him.  I get anxious before every trip and put off making phone calls.  It usually goes better than I think, and shorter is always better.  Then I see or spend the rest of my time visiting my mom, with whom I feel I can let my hair down and relax. This is what your friend will presumably offer you.  Be kind to yourself, and remember that you're doing the best you can.  You've got this, Pen! Sending a big hug your way!

Green Thumb

Pen, it is probably all of the things you wonder, mostly probably wanting his love and affection or attention. Try to see this visit as something you do for yourself, to be about yourself.

If you detach from wanting anything from this visit other than to see him alive one more time, it will be easier to deal with. Allow yourself to detach emotionally from the negativity that might be said to you. Because the guilt comments are not about you, they are about an issue inside of the person speaking them. It is not you, it is them. Don't take it personally. Some people are just mean spirited or critical and it is about what is lacking or broken inside of themselves.

And remember, you don't have to explain anything to either one of them, you are an adult. Remember not to justify, argue, defend or explain (JADE). This is you power, so hang on to your inner power. If SM gives you guilt, don't respond, get silent, or respond to her emotion "You wish I was here for another day...." don't let her make you defensive. They are lucky to have you come to visit. So ENJOY it as much as you can and let us know how it goes.


Thank you all!! I feel much calmer and more centered now. This place is magic, lol. I'm looking forward to a wonderful trip  ;D

Frequent travel isn't in my budget these days and my SM will not offer to help (although they are quite well off.) So far my dad is still sharp as can be (93 yrs!) I think part of my emotional state is knowing this could be one of our last visits.

I went through some old photos today. My dad has had quite an amazing life, lots to admire him for amongst the unfortunate issues. My DS would have enjoyed knowing him better, I think. Too bad my SM kept us apart and that Dad let it happen.

Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb