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Why do you continue to punish your Dad?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'll try to be brief but this one is very complicated. DSS is an adult with a child. DH and I married when she was in her teens. Both of her parents used her as a weapon against each other. She has had love/hate relationships with both of them. It seems that over the years, whoever had/has the most to offer ($), wins. Whenever dss is mad at dh she cuts him out of her life completely. He writes her letters, leaves her messages, sends her flowers, pleads with her...nothing. she makes him wait and wait. this is the pattern that has been going on since the divorce. it upsets him terribly. she has been a thorn in our side from day one. he would defend her antics until the end but recently he discovered that she's really maniputlating people and a lot of her past behavior was done to intentionally hurt him/me/us. he confronted her in a loving manner, pointed out that he knew what she was about and gave her the opportunity (once again) to discuss her hurts, feelings, his failures, everything...she says nothing and the cold war begins. my question to all of you who felt this pain and the need (there must be a need) to punish a parent....is what do you get out of it and why does it work for you? this man came very close to death recently and that unlocked door will only prevent you from moving out of that locked room if you keep it closed. this can't be good for her or her child so why does she perpetuate this sick behavior? she does this with other family members too and my take on it is to let her go and pray for her and her child. nothing changes, if nothing changes. I keep my distance from her but her dad comes from a very affectionate, loving, interactive family and she is an anomaly and he doesn't know what to do....i don't think there is anything he can do. thanks for any input anyone can provide.
post #2 of 8
I am a divorced child. Meaning that when my parents divorced, my father started to "treat" me like my mom. And my mom thought I was too much like my dad.

When you grow up in that, it makes you want to run away from them.

I have not talked to my mom in almost a year now. It is not that I do not love her, it just seems easier to live my life without her constant belittling. I can never live up to her standards. My father is currently in my life for the first time since I was nineteen. I am not so happy about that, but having a hard time saying no. (my father is an abusive man) I am not sure if I love him or not.

I am not saying that he ever abused your SD. I am saying that if your parents did not handle their divorce well, then it really messes up a child. Sometimes for life
post #3 of 8
Emotions are very weird - even when you understand them (and I'm not sure how old your ss is, but if she is in her early twenties, she probably isn't yet old enough to really understand her emotions).

I love my dad, but I grew up watching my dad treat my mom like sh*t. He has apologized to me (more or less). He is a much softer and kinder man now. But part of me just simply cannot forgive him. I love him, of course, but as a child, I watched my mom crying in the bathroom; I felt helpless and guilty and ashamed as my dad treated my mom with no respect (no violence or even name calling, just a complete lack of respect). I hate him for it and can't let go of that hate, not yet anyway. That hate manifest istself as a careful distence between me and him.

Being a ten year old, watching someone you love (dad) hurt someone you love (mom), is a very hard thing to "get over."

Hope this helps you undersatnd your sd's POV. I know it is hard to watch your dh suffer.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

something to consider

Trust me, my dh is no angel but as far as being abusive to his daughter or her mom, I don't think it happened. There was fighting and yelling but mom was also cheating on dad so....also, mom did a number of both of his childern emotionally, dragging them into court to testify against him (nothing in particular, just how life would be better for the son if he lived with mom, she had more money and could give him more stuff, drums, fancy school, etc.)...ss also uses these tactics against mom from time to time too. Right now, dad is on the receiving end....It seems that when he and I are doing great, she's mean to him and is nice to mom. When mom remarried (it didn't last) she fought w/her and didn't speak to her, but when mom divorced she let her back into her life....and now that she has a kid she has a new emotional weapon to hurt people with. Even before the divorce, she was a strange individual (as her mom testified in court!! and I wonder why she is so twisted). During one of the custody hearings, she wasn't speaking to her mom (she was on her dad's side then) and her mom said to the judge that her daugther was very self-centered and opportunistic and it was just her personality style, it was who she was...I remember feeling bad for dss when I heard her mom talk about her from such a distant, cold place. Anyway, at the age of 30, I believe she's aware of what she's doing and uses it to manipulate and punish both her dad and mom. She obviously has some major divorce issues and until she either experiences divorce herself (which is probably inevitable) or dad dies, her behavior isn't going to change. I just feel sorry for her son. Thanks for your input.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

a new twist

Dad is in the hospital with major surgery coming up. Do I call the daughter that refuses to answer his calls and tell her what's going on....or let it go....as much as I don't like what she's doing I would hate to have to call and say, "uh, your dad won't be bothering you anymore...." without giving her a chance to make peace. On the other hand I don't even want to be bothered with her but should somethng happen to him, this would only further screw her up and again, there's another innocent little generation being affected by this revolving insanity. Suggestions?
post #6 of 8
clear your own concious. If you don't call,and he passes away, it will eat you up to know that you didn't do a good thing. What would he want?

Maybe put a stipuation on her visit. Let her know she can come for a certain period of time and she must behave a certain way or security will remove her.

If she choses not go see her father, then let it drop. As long as you know you tried your best, that's all that matters.

If you don't call, she'll always say something like, "I couldn't see my father because of his wife."
post #7 of 8
This sounds so familiar... except I'm reading it from the step-daughter point of view. I know my dad and step-mom think they are innocent in the whole thing and no matter how many times I've told them the problems I have with them, they don't listen and still think they have done no wrong....

not saying that you have, but have you talked to her about this? I'm willing to bet she has her reasons... and she has some anger that has yet to be dealt with... perhaps you don't see what has hurt her? Not everything that happens to a child of divorce is one sided... and I know if just once, my dad and step-mom owned up to something they did wrong, our relationship would probably be better. That and to stop being so judgemental, but that's another can of worms. So anyway, she's an adult now... talk to her like one.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

been there, done that

Thanks for the viewpoint from the other side. We have talked to her over the years. Together and separately. We've done it in loving ways and we also argued about it. Together and separately. I've accepted the fact that maybe she just doesn't like me, that's ok. It's not that easy for her dad and I understand that. He has sat with her and asked very specifically what the issues were....she says it's nothing that she can put her finger on.....he has brought up things that he may have missed in her childhood, she says no.....I guess this is her way of dealing with people. Like I said earlier, as a teen she did this to her mom (when mom remarried, but things got better when mom divorced) and she does this type of stuff to her brother from time to time. It seems like if you cross her, or confront her with something about her behavior that is not acceptable, BAM, you're on the outs and then the waiting game starts. In the long run, she's only hurthing herself and her son. Should Dad pass away, he's finished with it but her unresolved issues will eventually resurface somewhere else. That's what DH is trying to help her avoid for her sake and her son's.
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