Update: Coming out as Poly to my Dad..Dealing with aftermath...Thoughts? (long) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 39 Old 01-30-2011, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone. I know this is going to be really long but I feel so lonely and just need a place to vent.

 

The first thing you should all know is that I am in a safe, loving Polyamorous relationship with two men: J. my husband and G. my boyfriend. We currently have one daughter and another on the way.

 

My dad had been getting pretty nosy about things here and wondering why I was having some hardships with J.'s parents. I felt like the time was right to be honest with him about my choices. Here is the E-mail I sent:

 

 

Hey Dad,
 
I'm really sorry that this e-mail has been taking me so long. I open this page everyday and just stare at it, trying to figure out how to word this. What I have to tell you is complicated, and the last thing I want to do is ruin anyone's holiday. I've been very worried about how you would take this news, especially after the extremely negative reaction we got from J's parents. Your opinion of me is very important, but ultimately I have to do the things that feel right for my family. This is absolutely not something I'm ashamed of, but it is not the social norm, so I understand if it is upsetting to hear. Please try to keep an open mind and heart while reading this.
 
The truth of the matter is that G came to live with us to become part of our family. This was not a surprise that I sprung on J or anything like that. He and I discussed it many times before anything was ever decided.  We ironed out many worries we both had, read everything we could find on the subject, and came to a decision together. We both feel that all this brought us closer, and that if we didn't already have a rock solid foundation of love and trust in each other that this would never be possible.
 
One point that we could not agree on, though, was when to tell our parents. I wanted to tell you and J's parents before G came here, so that we could address any concerns ahead of time, while J wanted to wait for everyone to get to know him first so that they couldn't just make assumptions about him, and try their best to talk us out of it. 
 
G told his mother right away. She was surprisingly accepting and as a result she and I have corresponded quite a bit and have grown close. His family is wonderful, and has been so supportive of all of us. I really wish they didn't live so far away.
 
J's family on the other hand, is a different story. His mother snooped around the bedrooms "touring" our new apartment, and then started interrogating J as soon as she got him alone. He didn't want to lie, and felt panicked at being cornered like that. I'm not sure what he blurted out about the whole thing but there was a huge blow-up. At first they assumed it was a fling I guess, but once they found out it was permanent the "shit hit the fan" as they say. They called him and e-mailed him all the time, saying terrible things about me and telling him to take DD and go. After awhile of that, they decided they were going to take the friendly approach and J's dad sent out an e-mail to everyone in their family apologizing and giving them a link to polyamory on wikipedia. Needless to say, it's going to take more than that for things to be repaired between us.
 
This is not my first polyamorous relationship. When J and I met I was part of a triad with an already existing couple. My friends had no qualms about this, as it's more socially acceptable for a guy to have two girlfriends. Things have not been so easy this time around. I've been shunned by a few of my friends, who prefer to only spend time with J now. There has been a lot of gossip about me, and a lot of "friendly advice" for J. 
 
All of this change has been extremely stressful on all of us, especially with the new baby coming. We knew that it would be and I'm ready to accept all the consequences that come along with a decision like this. Everyone's idea of family is different, some people come from split homes, some people only have single parents. We are incredibly blessed to have each other, to love and support each other, and no amount of outside influence is going to change that.
 
We are prepared to hear any concerns and answer any questions you might have.  
 
I love you, Dad.
~S
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#2 of 39 Old 01-30-2011, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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His reply:

 

 

 

S.
Let me, first, say this; Do not respond to this e-mail. And, really, do not attempt bring a lightness to this situation.
Grandma and I cannot, in any way, condone this.
Gathering from, not only, your decisions, but the insistency with which you've portrayed your comments, you will have no problem sleeping in the bed you've made. So it will be.
With that being said, You, and YOUR family, go live YOUR own lives.
Grandma and I will miss you and DD, but cannot continue with such a cloud hanging over. It is too much for either of us to handle.
Honestly, you don't even seem to care about what you're creating. And it feels like this is more than the last straw.
In ending, let me say; No matter how you feel about monetary matters, you and J still owe Grandma that money.
I can speak for her in saying that she does not require any correspondence, only efforts to pay her back,.. via mail.
If, for any reason, you do not understand what is being said, then you definitely have much more growing to do. Good luck with that.
To say this is as gently as possible, do NOT place either of them within my proximities. Understood!?
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#3 of 39 Old 01-30-2011, 06:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, as per his wishes I did not reply. I was hurt and a little angry but mostly just shocked. A few days later I get a call from Grandma telling me how disappointed she is in me, how she used to brag about me (I'm not sure what about, all I ever did was get married and be a stay at home mom, not that that isn't wonderful, but is it really news worthy?). She can't hear very well but just kept repeating about what a horrible person I was, and how she thought I loved J and our daughter, and how we owe her money. Then she hung up. It's been about a month and then today I get another e-mail from Dad:

 

 

I do not wish to have a conversation. But there are a few things that I need to get off my chest. With that; You have really hurt me!
I am haunted every day and night not knowing how to be or feel and, with much difficulty, still attempt to take care of everyday business in a good way. This is a needed attempt to relieve some of that.
I am embarrassed, and ashamed.
With my last e-mail, I was really trying to be careful so that I would not say something out of anger that I would, later, regret. In so doing, I figured that I would give you enough credit so as not have to explain every little thought, word, or comment. However, the decisions you've made causes me to question giving you credit at all.
I, truly, wondered if what I said had left any impact on you. Or, since I believe you knew what this would do, did you just decide to make a final stand (for whatever reason) and turn your back on your immediate family?
Let me say; I am not disowning you. You will always be my daughter. But how that is acted on is a very fragile sheet of ice, and you've placed more weight on it than it can handle.
Let me tell you something; On top of embarrassment and shame, I am completely insulted.
You think that this was all some sort of secret?
You think I didn't know that something wasn't good right from the beginning?
You think that I never put two and two together, clear back to your teenage days?
And you think I've never found the letters buried in the things I had to dispose of, because you didn't care whether someone found them or not?
I never said anything because that's what fathers, who love their daughters, do. They continue to forgive their child, and give them another chance to listen, and learn something. I guess you figured you had nothing more to learn. And that I, as your adult father, was just too stupid to know any better.
I knew you were lying about your past situations long ago. And I really hope that embarrasses you!
Now, I'm going to tell you something else. You can either listen, or ignore once again. But one day, all the consequences of your decisions are going to come to a head. One day, things are going to fall apart, and you will have nowhere to go, and nowhere to turn. And you will have children to take care of!
When that happens, you will be greatly humbled. And you will experience true fear. And you will know something greater than yourself. Maybe then, you will feel remourse. Maybe then, you will know who you really are, where you really come from. Maybe then, you will discover what it's like to face everyone you have hurt, all at the same time.
What you do to yourself, you do to me. And what you do to me, you have done to everyone that I come from. I am ashamed.
Since you think that you reached the maturity of an adult long ago, I must let you go through all the hardships you've opened the door to.
When you've reached that last end, you can come back to me. Then I will consider your level of remourse. But let me be very clear; ONLY YOU and the little ones, if you still have them, can come back. It is not a child's fault for the selfish decisions of a parent.
So go live your life, and live it up good. But be ready for what comes next!
Don't look for any more voluntary correspondence from me. I cannot handle it.
I will have to live with the haunts, and wait for the day that you find your way back. You, very simply, will have to live with yourself.
And the one thing that I never say; Good Bye.., perhaps until that day.
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#4 of 39 Old 01-30-2011, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Whenever he lectures me I get so confused. He has such a vague way of talking, and when I ask for clarification he gets mad at me. I can honestly say that I have no idea what he's talking about bringing up these past hurts I've inflicted on him. Our conversations have always been one sided: him talking me listening. 

 

As far as the letters he mentioned. They were buried in my boxes in storage at my grandma's house. She asked him to move all my stuff down to the basement. I was living with some friends at the time and could not immediately come pick it up. It sat there about a week. Those letters were to a long distance boyfriend and had absolutely nothing to do with my dad in any way. So I guess he's blaming me that he went through my personal stuff and found some sexy talk he didn't like.

 

I'm really not sure what to do about this anymore. I'm extremely uncomfortable with the vague threats in his e-mails. Help me understand what he is going through and what my next course of action should be, or just some general support and encouragement. I would really appreciate it.

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#5 of 39 Old 01-30-2011, 06:31 PM
 
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And you will experience true fear. And you will know something greater than yourself. Maybe then, you will feel remourse.............

 

They're from a different generation and this stuff is shocking to them.

Go and be happy. luxlove.gif

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#6 of 39 Old 01-30-2011, 06:33 PM
 
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I am honestly speachless.  From your dads response you'd think you had told him that you are a serial child rapist or something horrible!!  Wow, I cannot believe his response.  I'm so sorry.  One thing that I noticed is that he feels its ok for HIM to write you these emails and for your grandma to call you, but your not allowed to email or call him.  He can't have it both ways.  

 

The only piece of advice that your dad gave that I agree with is when he said  

 

Quote:
So go live your life, and live it up good

 

I totally agree with him there.  Go live your life with J and G and enjoy yourself!  I'm sure you are amazing parents.  Being poly doesn't make you a bad parent or a good parent!  

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#7 of 39 Old 01-30-2011, 06:35 PM
 
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This sounds like such a crappy situation for you :(  I'm not sure I understand what your dad means about the hurt you've inflicted on everyone and what you need to feel remorseful of.  I don't understand his vague threats either about what is to come.

 

For what it is worth, I think it is wonderful that you've built a family you really love with J and G.  What fortunate children to have three parents to love them!  I came from a home with only my mom.  To have two daddies is a joy beyond words to me.

 

Only you know what is best for yourself and I don't see how having a husband and a boyfriend living together with you is hurting anyone.  If the three of you are happy and healthy then there is no shame in that.

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#8 of 39 Old 01-30-2011, 06:35 PM
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Whoa! For real?
 

This is WAAAYYYY too intense for simply being poly. It sounds like there is so much more going on here, Mama. Have you paid any $ to GMa that you owe her?

 

I would do that and keep a long, hard distance from Dad. It seems like this is stacked on top of other (possibly unfair) opinions he has of you, from how it reads. What do you think?

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#9 of 39 Old 01-30-2011, 06:57 PM
 
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Although maybe email wasn't the best way to convey such important news, your email sounded mature and well thought out. I'm so, so sorry it wasn't received better and that your dad isn't willing to give the love and support you were looking for. I'm glad you've gotten support from G's parents at least!

 

Will you be able to pay your grandmother back? I would do that as quickly as possible, and then let the situation lie. I think it will be up to your dad to pick up the relationship if he wishes. Hugs!

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#10 of 39 Old 01-30-2011, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for the show of support!  grouphug.gif

 

As far as the money to my Grandma goes, we will be paying her back with our incoming tax-return, as was always our intention. It was a bit insulting to me that my dad and Grandma thought that I wouldn't. I could really tell where their concern lied greensad.gif

 

The opinions my father has of me, I would say are unfair. Of course it's hard to see your own flaws but I can't remember ever deliberately doing anything to hurt him. As a child I went out of my way to be a good girl (re: silent and obedient), and as a teenager I avoided him. He worked from 3pm to 11pm with an hour commute. There was very little food in the house so I mostly stayed with friends, got back by 11 and went to sleep. There was next to no conversation between us on the weekends, and the few times I tried reaching out to him, he would give me these long rambling lectures and chastise me for not taking his sagely advice. I was very lonely and would cut myself in visible places, hoping he would notice. Eventually there was a suicide attempt. He took it very personally, almost as if I did it just to hurt him.

 

I could go on and on about our messed up relationship, but the reoccurring theme is: My dad's inflated ego vs. my feelings and decisions.  

 

The more I think about this the more I'm starting to realize that things are probably better this way shrug.gif

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#11 of 39 Old 01-30-2011, 07:55 PM
 
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Hey,

 

I can't say that I myself fully understand a poly-amorous relationship, but I'm not here to judge, but hopefully help to understand what your Dad is probably going through. I think he is shocked. As is understandable, even though he says he has known about it for a long time. Maybe he did know, but was sort of in denial about it, as he mentioned hoping that you'd learn something or change etc. I am really sorry that there is discord between you and your parents that is so difficult to go through. I think he is probably angry, maybe at you, maybe at himself (thinking "what did I do wrong?") But really, in the end, I think all the harshness is a manifestation of his hurt. I am a firm believer that behind ALL anger is a broken heart. It's not to say it's RIGHT for him to be anger, but I think it's a pretty natural response when one is hurt. You might be thinking what is there to be hurt about? I guess it's the same as when parents feel hurt when they find out their child is homosexual. I think people feel like they've been lied to or something.  It sounds like he is finding other stuff from your past to add on to his anger much in the same way couples like to bring up random past events that really have nothing to do with their current argument. I think it's a defense mechanism. I think the best thing to do is give him time. And even though he said DON'T ANSWER, I honestly think a simple e-mail or even a snail mail letter saying "Dad, I know you're angry and I accept that.  I love you, and I hope that one day you will be able to love me for who I am" or something along those lines and then just let it go and live your life. Just as our parents really have no control over us in the grand scheme, we also have no control over them. I think one of the hardest things to do as a human is to accept that the only person you can control is yourself. So my advice is to just love him where he is at, hope that he too will come to that same conclusion.

I really hope this gets better. I hope that one day you are both able to really open up about your relationship and heal.

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#12 of 39 Old 01-30-2011, 08:01 PM
 
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Oh mama, I am so sorry that you are not in a supportiave situation on either side. I know you were looking for you father to be more open than J's parents, so this must have come as quite a blow. He does come from a different generation where this behavior is not acceptable. As someone who has cut off complete contact with my immediate family (my mother's side), I want to let you know that even though it may be for the best, it is so hard. There will be days where you just want to call him up and see how he and grandma are, there will be holidays where you sit and wonder what they are doing, and there will be huge family events (deaths and marriages) that they will possibly not tell you about. Severing contact with a family member is easier said than done, and hopefully he will come around and start to understand where you are coming from.

 

I think it is likely that he didnt know you were lying about your previous relationship, but that after you told him you are poly, he put all the pieces together and felt like he had been taken for a fool. No one wants to be taken for a fool, so its likely that he was upset about the fact that he didnt realize this earlier, and he lashed out. Please try to remember that even if he says that you are always welcome to "come back" when you are "feeling remorse", he isnt going to take you for who you are. Its a bad safety net to rely on (not that you are relying on it).

 

I hope you and J and G are able to keep your family life stable during this stressful time. Without the support of your dad or J's parents, it could be harder for your DD. Im sure you will make it work :). Congrats! Im sure you are looking forward to your  new addition.


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Adaline love.gif (3/20/10), and Charlie brokenheart.gif (1/26/12- 4/10/12) and our identical  rainbow1284.gif  twins Callie and Wendy (01/04/13)

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#13 of 39 Old 01-30-2011, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you guys for trying to help me see some things from his point of view. I suppose he has a right to feel upset for having been "lied to," although I don't really think that not talking about something private is the same as lying. I can understand how not being open about it at first can feel like a betrayal of trust. Our relationship was never one where I could feel comfortable talking to him about anything that made me vulnerable, but maybe he didn't know that I felt that way.

 

I did end up taking your advice, IndigoKoi. I sent him an e-mail:

 

 

 

Dad,
I appreciate your honesty of emotion. I know that things have been incredibly rough for you over the years, and that you attribute some of this to me. You've done for me what you thought was best, and while we have not been close for a very long time, I have always understood that you cared for me. 
 
I do feel the need to correct some assumptions made about my intentions and decisions. In no way did I ever make a "final stand." I'm very confused as to where you got this idea. It took a great deal of courage to be honest with you about my life choices, but it never crossed my mind that it would cause you to not want to speak to me any more. I certainly would never "turn my back on my immediate family" as you and Grandma have done. My intentions were the exact opposite, the e-mail that I originally wrote you was a plea for understanding and an effort to be closer with you. I felt that my silence on the subject was driving a wedge between us and I had hoped my honesty would bring us closer. I'm very sorry that you took it another way.
 
I understand that you feel hurt, embarrassed, and ashamed. If, after you have worked through these feelings, you would like to resume contact, I will be here. If, someday, you would like to talk to me about these things you have mentioned in your e-mail, I am always available for questions and respectful conversation.
 
~S
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#14 of 39 Old 01-30-2011, 08:31 PM
 
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I don't think you really lied to him by keeping your private life private, but it's jut the way he perceives it to be. And of course, our perceptions are our reality. Bravo to you for having the courage to be honest. That really does take a lot of guts and it's definitely not the easier path to choose.

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#15 of 39 Old 01-31-2011, 12:24 AM
 
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:clap  I think your reply was much more respectfull and mature than I could have ever done. There comes a point in our lives that we have to be who we are- consequences be damned. No matter what mold you break by being yourself it's always difficult. I applaud you for your COURAGE and your STRENGTH!  


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#16 of 39 Old 01-31-2011, 08:07 AM
 
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I think that you last response to your father was perfect. I am so sorry that you are not getting the response that you want from your parents.  It sounds like you have never really gotten the response that you wanted from them.  I wouldn't cut off contact though.  I would send birthday and holiday cards and letters outlining what your dd is doing and everything about the new baby.  Send pictures of your WHOLE family enjoying parenting and birthing.  You sound like a loving open person and you should continue to let your parents see you as such, even if they can't respond in kind. Eventually, hopefully they will seek some counseling regarding their rash decision to cut you and more importantly their granddaughter and future grandchild out of their lives.  Be thankful that you have built a loving and supportive family for yourself.  Also, just wondering...do you have siblings?

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#17 of 39 Old 01-31-2011, 08:45 AM
 
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Im so sorry  you are going through this.  He sounds religious which would make poly a HUGE no no...I think you responded perfectly also. By him saying..."im going ot email you anytime I feel like it to harangue you but don't you dare email me back because you are in trouble" is a pure power play - a way to control and to feel justified in his actions toward you. Its also a way to keep from feeling guilty because then he doesn't hear back how what he said is wrong or unjustified.

 

Hugs to you and stay strong. You are doing what is right for YOUR family....and at the end of the day, true family is there for you ...and often true family is not blood kin.

 

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#18 of 39 Old 01-31-2011, 08:57 AM
 
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Coming out as poly is sort of like coming out as GLBT. Parents don't understand and tend to freak. They're likely to throw a temper tantrum about it, and say all sorts of things.  I take the "Savage Love" school on that. Parents should be given around a year to get used to the idea and to throw their fit. You should tell them "This is who I am. This is how I am living my life. You may not approve, but you need to know the truth. I expect you to treat me politely and like an adult." You put up with their BS temper tantrum for about a year, and then you withdraw if they can't act like adults after that.

 

Your dad has pulled the "walk" card on you, in order to get you to fall into line. Don't. Tell him that you love him. Tell him that you have to live your life. Tell him that when he wants to accept your family as it is, and can act kindly, he is welcome back into your life. Tell your Grandmother the same thing.

 

I'd also give them some information about poly. There really isn't a PFLAG group for polys, but there are some good books.  I'd send them Sex at Dawn (for the research) and The Ethical Slut (for the relationship how-to and ethics). You probably have your own favorites, though.

 

You didn't do anything wrong. He's acting like a five year old. So is Grandma.

 

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#19 of 39 Old 01-31-2011, 09:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverTam View Post

I'd send them Sex at Dawn (for the research) and The Ethical Slut (for the relationship how-to and ethics). You probably have your own favorites, though.


I agree really wholeheartedly with most of what you said, but I'm not sure I'd send them The Ethical Slut. I think they might find the language (even just the title) shocking and potentially confrontational. I do think TES is an incredible resource, just not sure it would do the trick here.

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#20 of 39 Old 01-31-2011, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwanValkyrie View Post


 

I could go on and on about our messed up relationship, but the reoccurring theme is: My dad's inflated ego vs. my feelings and decisions.  

 

The more I think about this the more I'm starting to realize that things are probably better this way shrug.gif

 

Sigh. I have a similar situation with my Dad, and reading these INSANE messages yours sends you are reminding me of the same recurring theme you so succinctly sum up. So good work on that, you're handling the 'analysis' component of this well, it seems.

I think the 'year-long temper tantrum' is NOT for you to witness or be part of. Let them grow up and find you if/when they have something to offer. There is no reason for the controlling, abusive way he is 'speaking' to you.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverTam View Post

Coming out as poly is sort of like coming out as GLBT. Parents don't understand and tend to freak. They're likely to throw a temper tantrum about it, and say all sorts of things.  I take the "Savage Love" school on that. Parents should be given around a year to get used to the idea and to throw their fit. You should tell them "This is who I am. This is how I am living my life. You may not approve, but you need to know the truth. I expect you to treat me politely and like an adult." You put up with their BS temper tantrum for about a year, and then you withdraw if they can't act like adults after that.

 

Your dad has pulled the "walk" card on you, in order to get you to fall into line. Don't. Tell him that you love him. Tell him that you have to live your life. Tell him that when he wants to accept your family as it is, and can act kindly, he is welcome back into your life. Tell your Grandmother the same thing.

 

I'd also give them some information about poly. There really isn't a PFLAG group for polys, but there are some good books.  I'd send them Sex at Dawn (for the research) and The Ethical Slut (for the relationship how-to and ethics). You probably have your own favorites, though.

 

You didn't do anything wrong. He's acting like a five year old. So is Grandma.


Excellent advice, all of it! I don't want to excuse your father's appalling behaviour, but I do think it's fair to give him some time to process things. A year sounds like a good time-frame.

 

I think you've handled this with remarkable grace and maturity. hug2.gif


Mama to a preschooler and a baby.

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#22 of 39 Old 01-31-2011, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You people have been so wonderfully supportive, I know I keep saying thank you, but really it means so much joy.gif

 

To answer some of your questions...

 

I am an only child. My mom and dad divorced before I was one and Dad got custody of me. My mother was absent through much of my life but we are recently attempting to reconnect. I was raised mostly by my grandparents, but Dad decided to move us a state away when I was 13 to be closer to his spiritually like-minded friends. 

 

My Dad follows a branch of Native American Spirituality, my grandparents were Jehovah's Witnesses, and I am Pagan. While I would love to educate my father with books and resources, I know from experience it wont work (especially with titles like those, lol). When I told him I was interested in Paganism, there was a similar butting of heads, after which I gave him some materials to read. Poor thing! They made him fall asleep eyesroll.gif

 

I'm fully prepared to give him just as much space as he wants, but I do like the idea of sending him Christmas cards and pictures of us being a healthy, happy family. I'm not sure how he would take it though. I could see the gesture being warped around to something like I'm rubbing his face in how happy we are without him, which would not be my intention at all shake.gif

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#23 of 39 Old 01-31-2011, 02:30 PM
 
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I know I suggested letting it go and not responding, but I have to say, your response was perfect. Really. Hugs again!

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#24 of 39 Old 01-31-2011, 03:18 PM
 
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I think you're behaving admirably!  It takes a lot to remain emotionally cool when you're being verbally assaulted.

 

I hope this doesn't seem like "standing up for him".  But you said you were kind of confused as to why he interpreted this as a "final stand".  My reading of his email was, he was aware of your private life.  Perhaps not fully understanding of the way you were living it, but at least aware that you were not "living the average lifestyle".  That some how you knew he knew, he knew you knew, but that you never talked about it out of respect for his position on the situation.  But now you've chosen to "throw your personal life in his face" by sending an email outlining every detail for that "non-average lifestyle".  In doing so, he now feels compelled to act on something he thought you two agreed not to discuss. 

 

I'm not saying he's right, I just felt like I understood why he thought it was a last stand and wanted to share with you. 

 

I'm sorry you're experiencing this.  Parents that don't understand their kids are separate and their own person, are very hard to deal with on an ongoing basis.  :(

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#25 of 39 Old 01-31-2011, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think there may be some truth to that from his point of view. He has often said things to me like "I know you better than you know yourself. I'm your father, I know everything about you." Always with a vague threatening undercurrent that seemed really out of place for the light hearted conversation we'd be having. Although I wasn't aware of any sort of unspoken agreement about my sexuality, he might have thought there was one.

 

 

I've also been doing a lot of reading and soul searching and stumbled across something called Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It seems to me that my father fits a lot of the criteria. I don't want to jump to any conclusions, though. Do any of you have experience with this?

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#26 of 39 Old 01-31-2011, 07:33 PM
 
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On the money front, rather than seeing it as a sign that money is more important to them than you are, it may be a sign to them of something else -- that you can't take care of yourself, you need other people to bail you out, that your priorities are of, etc. It may not be about the actual money to them, but what your need for the money symbolized to them.

I could be wrong

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#27 of 39 Old 01-31-2011, 08:10 PM
 
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Even though I can see where your father is coming from in that my belief system also says it is morally wrong, I cannot grasp the disowning you (even though he claims he isn't), abandoning his grandchildren, and taking personal affront at your behavior. The emails you sent were calm and well thought out. You could not have been more diplomatic, as far as I can see (and, remember, I'm coming from a very traditional/Christian perspective). You are an adult and you have the right to make your own decisions. I am sure he is concerned about you, but he'd be happier if he just let go.

 

If my child told me they were doing something like you are, I confess I would feel it important to tell them how I felt about it, but I would not abandon them nor my grandchildren. Even now, my children sometimes do things I don't agree with (they are teenagers). I tell them how I feel, but let them make their own choices. Perhaps the best thing you can do right now is love him and accept that he is what he is. It is possible that he'll have a change of heart in how he treats you after more time has passed.

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#28 of 39 Old 02-02-2011, 08:38 PM
 
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I can't help you with the NPD thing, as I've only ever heard of it in passing.

 

Relationships with parents are hard.  It sounds like you told him to try to do the right thing by everyone.  And I can scarce think of a better way you could have worded those letters.  So kudos, and hugs.

 

I think he's afraid.  It sounds like he is afraid that this will turn out badly for you, and he's afraid for you, and thus (by extension) for himself.  There are many reasons that a person could fear the consequences of a poly relationship.  (I'm not trying to convince you that you shouldn't be doing it, it sounds like it's working quite well for you and you're in a relationship where it will work in the long term . . . I'm just trying to see his viewpoint, to see if I can help you see his response differently.)  Maybe he can't imagine a poly relationship working in the long term (especially if his relationship with your mother failed).  Living with one other person is hard, living with two is probably harder.  Maybe he fears that this will somehow make your daughter become "abnormal" and affect her life negatively in the future.  Maybe he is worried that you are secretly unhappy with your decision and want to be convinced out of it.  Maybe he's worried for your soul, if he believes that what you're doing is a sin.

 

It also sounds like he's taking it personally that you're not taking his advice.  I can definitely relate to this, as this has always been a theme in my relationship with my father.  On the other hand, my dad recognizes that it's just that: advice.  It's not a dictum.  And even if I do make a mistake, and he did try to warn me about it, everyone has to learn some things for themselves.  He knows this, and even says it.  So it's not really the same.  But I suspect that there is a similarity, which is that he feels he really does know some things better than me (and chances are that some things, he does), and when I don't listen it pains him to see me make a mistake (in his eyes) that was preventable.  He's trying to save me from myself.  Maybe a little offensive, but I'm trying to learn to see the love behind it.

 

It is in some ways like coming out as GLBT, and that means you might have to accept that he may be willing to hold out forever for you to realize that this is not really who you are.  I have a trans friend whose mother insists on calling him "she".  It's not accidental.  She also tries to convince him that he was so feminine as a child . . . I think it's because she really loves him and thinks that this is a choice that's going to make him unhappy.  He doesn't feel that it's a choice, and also feels that it would make him a lot less unhappy if she could just accept it.  But it is as it is, he can't change her reaction just like she can't change the fact that he's trans.

 

I think the only thing that you can do is allow him to see (maybe try to convince him to look so he can see?) that it IS working for you.  There's no guarantee he ever will, and if he does it might take a very long time.  It's possible that 20 years of a stable, happy, poly relationship would not strike him as sufficient evidence that it was an acceptable life path.  And if that's the case, there's certainly nothing you can do to change that for him.  It sounds like he is trying to express his love but also set up boundaries . . . (please don't take this the wrong way, I'm still just trying to see where he's coming from) like you would do with someone who has an addiction that they have told you they don't want to get rid of.  Maybe if you imagine it that way - if you had said all the same things, but substituted "heroin" for "poly relationship", would his reaction have been the same?  Would it have been appropriate in that case?  Because chances are pretty good that he considers poly relationships to be just as scary and dangerous and self-destructive as heroin.  Again, I can't make this clear enough, that's not my opinion.  But it might be his.  If you look at it from that perspective, can you see the basis of love that (probably) underlies his words?

 

Not that I think any of that necessarily makes it any easier to actually DO anything about his reaction.  But it might help it not be quite so hurtful, I hope.


On a farm with our kiddo (nearly 2), two dogs, two cats, ten goats, two donkeys, nine sheep, a bunch of chickens, and a husband (in the winters). We have another on the way!
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#29 of 39 Old 02-08-2011, 08:19 AM
 
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I can really see both sides and I am a bit surprised that people here are seeing your dad's e-mails as something really far out there. I thought his response was actually rather calm.

 

I think you are working from such different world views that they simply cannot be reconciled. You dad feels you are being selfish and hurting your child. You feel what you are doing is just fine and that your dad is not accepting enough. (If I get it correctly.) So, in the end, you both will keeping feeling like each os right and the other wrong. I just don't know where you can go from there. I think it is unreasonable to think your dad should accept your choicec, just as I think it is not realistic for your dad to think you will change something just because he says so.

 

I still think that many (the majority) of people would have reacted worse than your dad. It also seems there are a lot of old things coming up in what he is writing, and none of us know enough to comment on those.


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#30 of 39 Old 02-09-2011, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by LessTraveledBy View Post

I can really see both sides and I am a bit surprised that people here are seeing your dad's e-mails as something really far out there. I thought his response was actually rather calm...

I still think that many (the majority) of people would have reacted worse than your dad.                 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow, LessTraveledBy, how much worse could it be without being fully abusive?                                                                                                         

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