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Opinions on how to deal with my father


needy

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Twenty years ago when my mother was on her death bed she said to me "all that matters in life is family". My father married my mother's palliative care nurse within a year of her passing. Lets just say my step mother is a hard woman to get along with. She never made us welcome in their house. They use to come up yearly to visit but that stopped 5 years ago. I use to try to make plans to visit them but they always came up with an excuse why we can't visit. When my husband passed away my father didn't come to the funeral and still hasn't come to visit. In May I wanted to go for a visit but of course it wasn't a good time for them. My children also told me they don't want to go visit their grandfather. They said he is a stranger to them. Every week my father calls me, and tells me how wonderful his life is, he never asks how the kids and I are doing. Today he called and tells me how they have my step mother's son and kids up for a couple of weeks. Her son has MS and isn't doing very well. My father goes on and on how it is important to show family support. Tears were building in my eyes and I told him someone was on the phone so I could cut the phone call short. Not sure how to handle this.

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needy pls keep in mind that any reply given here is how we would handle it or how maybe we think you should, so take it with a grain of salt, as we don't really know you or him. That said:

First I would consider how this all began. He lost your mom and was probably feeling totally lost and terribly afraid of being alone, and so latched onto Mrs (insert nasty word here), despite herself, and she knew this and has dominated him ever since. But it's not all her fault by any means; especially after all this time, he has no excuse to continue this horribly insensitive behavior. Maybe he doesn't realize how much this is hurting you and whoever else (your kids etc), as ridiculous as that might sound, especially if nobody brings it up...and you're not helping anyone (least of all you) by just taking it. I guess I'm saying that it were me, I would let him know. Not in a nasty way, but don't pull any punches either. In fact I might just tell him more or less how you told us just now. And I would definitely end it by saying remember how your mom said "all that matters in life is family" and how HE said how it is important to show family support! Excuse me, but if that's so, why is he showing so little interest in your life, getting together etc? I think he needs to know or have it emphasized how much he's hurting people he cares about

But again, that's me and my take, for whatever it's worth. You have to find your own way of dealing with this, which may or may not include anything I've said.

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My way of handling this situation would be exactly the same as Widower2. Sometimes people just don't see the pain they are causing to others and if it is not pointed out to them, it is very unlikely anything will change. I hope you can find a way to have a more satisfying relationship with your father whatever you decide to do or not do.

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Have to agree with what has already been said. The hard part with situations like this is not getting sucked into the "blame game". It doesnt help anything and in the end, trying to establish who is to blame is just a waste of energy. Maybe write down what you want to say, so you dont have to go in cold, or even write him a letter, if you think hed read it, tho only if you truly feel you cant do it face to face....personally, tho, id talk to him in person. At least then, even if he doesnt accept it, you can at least know youve tried, that you did your part. The thing is, if someone is unaware that they are causing distress, they cant change unless someone tells them *hugs*

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That is a VERY tough situation, and I can sooo relate. My husband's dad did the same thing after my husband's mother died. It was really rough on the family cohesiveness, because we felt that his dad got sucked into a relationship way too quickly, while he was very vulnerable, and the new wife (nurse) was very likely aware of this. It sucks all the way around, and there is no easy solution in my experience. I can tell you that I think my husband had great regrets that he never really made peace with his father over the issue, so that attempting to resolve it in some congenial manner would be preferable. It is not easy, and I am very aware of this. Whatever you decide, best of wishes with it, and I hope you two can come to a mutually agreeable solution, and have the best relationship with each other that is possible.

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I now understand why my father remarried so soon. The woman is a piece of work but she does keep him busy. Maybe my father is just a plan jerk and I should just stop worrying about all of this. My sister told me she use to get so upset at him. My father hasn't seen her children since my mother's funeral. Somehow she has forgiven him and has told me to do the same. My brother on the other hand wants to take a strip off of him. He tries to have a relationship with my father, even bought a cottage in our home town so he could see him. Even doing that our father keeps his distance. I wish I had the courage to be honest with him. Guess this is something I can bring up with my therapist. lol

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Talked to my sons this morning. They both want to go see their uncle, aunt and cousins that are vacationing in my hometown so I booked a hotel for next weekend. They both did not mention their grandfather. Looking forward to the visit.

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Glad you're getting together with those you DO get along with. :) Hang in there.......I'm sure the answer of what to do (or not do) you will work out.

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I know for me when I was having a hard time with my family I finally broke down and just told them what I needed from them. Didn't lay any blame but made it clear that when they a) do this or that I feel like (insert your emotion). I finally managed to get through to my mom by doing that and explaining how I feel when others do this or that. She got it. My sister hasn't responded but I know now that I've been clear about what I need and how I feel without sounding angry and now the ball is in her court. She can choose to reach out and understand that situations are always about her and try and be supportive, or not. But I've gotten it off my chest and feel better about it. best of luck to you :)

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MissingDaniel

Good for you, Needy! Hope you enjoy your visit with the more pleasant part of your family. It's probably a good idea to take a cue from your sons.

I do sympathize with the family difficulties. For me, my husband's family is so much more supportive and easier to be around, but I don't live close to them. My family is here, but it's uncomfortable most of the time. I have a sister who will not speak to me, but I have to be around her every Sunday at family lunches after church. She has yet to even tell me she is sorry about my husband (probably because she's not). My mother seemed to think my husband's death would soften her, but it's made no difference. As long as she is around, I feel a distance with other family members as well. It's better when she's not there, but she makes a point of being there most of the time. I've just learned to deal with it. I made some effort with her years ago, but now, I just don't have the emotional energy, and have so many more things to care about, so I just don't worry about her intolerance.

Continued blessings on you!

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thisishard, part of me really wishes I could be honest to my father he is the only living grandparent my kids have, I wish I could say "hey Dad you are the worse Grandfather in the world". But is this really the correct thing to do to an 80 year old man? As much pain he causes me I highly doubt he is going to change his attitude. MissingDaniel is it possible your sister is a clone of my step-witch. lol Seriously, tragedy doesn't even change them. All I can is wow, and shake my head.

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Well needy, if you say nothing, we know for sure he will not change at all...if you do, still might not, but there's a chance he will, at least to some degree. Again I would not be nasty as in your example below (even though he's asking for it), but would not pull punches either.

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Needy, i think the one thing we can all agree on, is that life is too short to waste it on regrets. If you really want to have your father in your, and your kids lives, you have to give him a fair chance, and that means telling him what you need. He may try to change things, he may not....that part is up to him, but you will have at least opened the door. Or, you can just accept that it wont happen, and have to live with the maybes.....i get the feeling you really dont want that, tho i may be entirely wrong there. In any case, youve already been to hell and back.....this cant be any worse. *hugs* be strong

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What would I do with out you guys? I will see if the opportunity comes up this weekend, generally the step- witch makes sure my father isn't left alone. You never know maybe the angry widow will come out and just let it rip.

Been a rough week. Three funerals this week and I am at the 5 month milestone...........enough said.

The thunderstorms are done and the sun is shining it is going to be a fantastic day!!!

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My father's alzherimer's is worse than I thought. When we arrived at my brother's cottage my father at first didn't recognize us, then half an hour he asked where John was and if he is working. :0(

Step witch tried to stick it to me again. She said she it wasn't a great time for us to come and visit. I told her that it according to her it was never a good time for us to come for a visit and since we aren't staying at her place I don't and never will need her permission to come and visit. I also told her I am extremely tired of her saying hateful things and that I can't be open and honest back to her and that I would really like to change that. Then I said lets start right at the beginning Shirley when my mother was alive and you told so and so that you wanted to marry my father. You should have seen the look of pure terror on her face and she walked away and was extremely polite the rest of the weekend. I have to say it did feel good to get that off my shoulders and the kids and I had a great visit.

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MissingDaniel

I'm sorry to hear that your father's illness is worse than you expected, but am so glad to hear that you stood up to the wife. Good for you! I hope that in the time you are visiting, you are able to make some headway in your relationship with your father, and at least keep that peace with the wife. I think that will be very good for you :)

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My father's alzherimer's is worse than I thought. When we arrived at my brother's cottage my father at first didn't recognize us, then half an hour he asked where John was and if he is working. :0(

Step witch tried to stick it to me again. She said she it wasn't a great time for us to come and visit. I told her that it according to her it was never a good time for us to come for a visit and since we aren't staying at her place I don't and never will need her permission to come and visit. I also told her I am extremely tired of her saying hateful things and that I can't be open and honest back to her and that I would really like to change that. Then I said lets start right at the beginning Shirley when my mother was alive and you told so and so that you wanted to marry my father. You should have seen the look of pure terror on her face and she walked away and was extremely polite the rest of the weekend. I have to say it did feel good to get that off my shoulders and the kids and I had a great visit.

I feel like we should all stand up and do the wave for you! That's the spirit, you don't need to be anyone's door mat.

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Step witch tried to stick it to me again. She said she it wasn't a great time for us to come and visit. I told her that it according to her it was never a good time for us to come for a visit and since we aren't staying at her place I don't and never will need her permission to come and visit. I also told her I am extremely tired of her saying hateful things and that I can't be open and honest back to her and that I would really like to change that. Then I said lets start right at the beginning Shirley when my mother was alive and you told so and so that you wanted to marry my father. You should have seen the look of pure terror on her face and she walked away and was extremely polite the rest of the weekend. I have to say it did feel good to get that off my shoulders and the kids and I had a great visit.

See? Often all it takes to handle a bully is to stand up to them. Good for you and in your face stepwitch!
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