My Dad and my DD a problem I haven't figured out yet...Mods please move if posted in wrong spot! Sorry. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 01-17-2011, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Not sure where to post this disclaimer first... Also this is super long so sorry in advance.

 

DD is only 19 months old now but this is a problem that will be coming up sooner than later.

 

Background: My father is not a man I can say I am proud of on any level. As an adult I can now see him for what he truly is. Selfish, narcissistic, lazy, emotionally absent and physically absent. My parents divorced in a very ugly drawn out way when my brother and I were very young (5 or 6). Their divorce was brutal on us and I remember much of the ugliness that went along with it and far long after it. We lived with my mother until my brother chose to live with my father when he was 12 or so. I stayed with my mom.

My dad could have been the poster child for deadbeat dad. Never paid child support until my mom dragged him to court. He got a couple of weekends a month of visitation but either bailed on them or took us and then made us spend the weekend watching him while he was golfing with his buddies or playing baseball with his buddies or basically living his life while we had to sit there and watch. He was emotionally abusive to me because I was a difficult child that was unhappy with how little my father seemed interested in my life. He missed birthdays, school stuff pretty much all of it. He would bad mouth my mother when we visited, tell us to lie when we visited one of his girlfriends if she asked what we'd done the day before when we were with another girlfriend of his etc..

 

I mean I could write a novel with all the crap that fills my head thinking about all the empty promises he has made and how I spent so much of my youth just not understanding how he did not care. It still leaves me confused and hurt. I struggle to get past it and just accept that he doesn't care. He really just doesn't care for anyone but himself. Basically I am a little girl still with major daddy issues.

 

So when I became pregnant, surprise that it was, I told the family and eventually had to leave him a voicemail telling him the deal because he never returned any of my calls. I wanted things to be different with my daughter and him than they were for me and him. I wanted her to have a grandpa who she knew and loved. 

 

DH even spoke to my father alone (he is so not the confrontational person) because he knew how much it was hurting me that my father was still not interested in my life now that I was pregnant. My father swore to DH that he would take an active role and really put an effort in...

 

So fas tforward to the birth itself and he actually came to see me in the hospital with baby and DH. This absolutely blew my mind and made me so incredibly happy because even after all these crappy years I still wanted a relationship with him and needed one. So that was great that he came and visited and because we only live about 3 hours away I was hopeful visits would continue.

 

We went to CT to visit my family there twice a couple of months after DD was born. We stayed with my grandparents as usual (I have been staying with them since I was a kid as opposed to my father) and my dad came and saw granddaughter and held her and cooed and was good. He even called me a couple of times up until the time she was about 5 months old.

 

So fast forward to now and it has literally been a over a year (15 months I guess) since I have even spoken to the man let alone seen him. I have been to CT to visit family numerous times since then (at least a dozen) and he has never shown up or called or anything even though when I am there he lives maybe 10 minutes away. He now has a couple of girlfriends in the Philippines who he met online who he travels to see regularly. I mean literally at least every 2 months for a least 2 or 3 weeks. So he can actually travel and put an effort in to see someone if he chooses to.

 

I don't know at what point I quit trying. Well I have quit trying but here is the dilemma. It isn't just me anymore. I can handle the hurt of him not caring or choosing to be a part of my family but I just don't know how to deal with DD in regard to it. She is going to ask questions about her other grandpa she sees in pictures. DH's father btw is the most wonderful grandpa we could ask for. It's not like I am going to tell her he is dead or something because he's not. I don't want to really tell the truth which is that grandpa just doesn't care enough to see you. I don't want to hurt her like that. He doesn't stay in the Philippines all the time so he could see her otherwise I would just say he lives abroad. He doesn't call or write or anything though, he hasn't seen his granddaughter in over a year. She talks more every day, I am dreading when she is a little older and inevitably the questions get asked about other grandpa.

 

I know this is a few years down the road but I doubt things will change. I am at the point where I make no attempt at contact with my father. It hurts me and I am so done with him as far as I am concerned...Ok so the bottom line is what do I say to her? Do I still try to foster a relationship for them?? Should I make an effort at communication for her sake? She deserves to have loving grandparents and she does, except for my father who loves no one but himself. It is tricky because my entire family all live in the same town as my grandparents and I see them all regularly and he lives there too and they see when I am not there but they know at this point that things are not good between so they don't ever bring that fact up.


I am really sorry this got so lengthy, daddy issues could fill a volume for me. If anyone has any perspective I'd love to hear it! And, if you actually read all this you are my new hero and I am thoroughly impressed! 

 

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#2 of 22 Old 01-17-2011, 12:15 PM
 
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My dad is alot the same way and I did recently give up.  He made an effort, for awhile, but in the last 2 years he hasn't at all. 

 

So I'm letting go.  My kids are older and know that we used to see Papa alot and don't anymore.  And I've had to explain to them why Papa doesn't come to any of their things and doesn't talk to them or come see them. 

 

I think what you do is up to you.  You can try to make them have a relationship, but if he isn't interested, you'll only end up getting hurt again.  Leave it open, let him know when you'll be in his area and free and leave it up to him.  I'm all for making sure my kids have a relationship with their grandparents, but I can't force it.  There's only so much disapointment I'll let my kids suffer through. 

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#3 of 22 Old 01-17-2011, 12:26 PM
 
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You can't make your father love you and your DD the way you both deserve to be loved. His behavior is entirely beyond your control, and there's nothing you could have said or done differently that would change things. This is all on him. It sounds like he's either unwilling or totally incapable of being the man you have every right to expect and want him to be. For the health of yourself and your child(ren), I would finally let him go. This is his choice--always remember that.

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#4 of 22 Old 01-17-2011, 12:37 PM
 
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Find another grandpa. No joke! Family is who you choose to have in your life, not just those who are related to you. I live far from family and also have one nonexistent FIL (has never met my two children, doubt he knows their names, and DD1 is almost 5), but we have a few local people who have adopted my daughters as their surrogate grandchildren. They have the kind of relationship most wish they could have with their grandparents but seldom do, even though we're not related at all. It's beautiful, and we're blessed to be growing our family in this semi non-traditional way. smile.gif

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#5 of 22 Old 01-17-2011, 12:43 PM
 
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This doesn't have to have any bearing on your DD at all.  She doesn't have or expect to have a relationship with him.  She may someday ask you about your father or ask who the guy in the pics are, but if she does and you tell her it's your dad, I am nearly certain that she will not then think "why doesn't he care about me?"  Those are your feelings, not hers.  I do think you should be careful not to put them on her, though.  Like, there's no reason to explain to her "He's your gf, but he never cared enough to come see you."  

 

My children have met their maternal g'mother and both paternal g'parents.  My 7 yr old has asked, like twice, where my father is.  My father, who I never met, died when Milo was 3.  I told him that.  I don't think he ever would have thought, then why didn't he care enough to come see me.  I also have a living g'father myself, who Milo's never met.  He probably has a vague idea of who he is and that I really don't like him.  I don't think he has for one minute been worried about why his great-g'pa has never come to see him.

 

I really, really don't think this will be an issue for your DD unless it is pointed out to her.

 

eta:  If you know he's a selfish hurtful person, I wouldn't try to push him into having a relationship with her.  Sounds like the kind of person you'd like to stay away from your kids.


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#6 of 22 Old 01-17-2011, 12:54 PM
 
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This is a huge issue for you, no doubt. It's a non-issue for your DD, at least assuming he stays out of her life and doesn't keep popping into it and building expectations.

 

Really, kids are not crushed by the lack of a grandparent. Good thing, since many die, etc.

 

My DD doesn't even care that DH's father is out of the picture. Far from crushing her, she does not care. What's to care about? How could she be attached to a man she's never met?

 

Same with me - my father's mother died when he was 14. Obviously I never met her. While I felt kind of sad for my dad's loss when I was old enough to understand (and much more so now), I wasn't sad for myself at all. Why would I be? His father was crazy and eventually died in a mental hospital. As an adult, I feel sad for my father, but me? I never knew him. I'd be sadder to hear the school bus driver died than some guy I'd never given more than 10 seconds thought to.

 

Yes, you have reason to feel sad about it, but these feelings are all for you.


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#7 of 22 Old 01-17-2011, 01:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ldavis24 View Post
Ok so the bottom line is what do I say to her? Do I still try to foster a relationship for them?? Should I make an effort at communication for her sake?

 

 


You don't say much to her about it at all. It's really your issue, not hers.

 

My kids barely have grandparents. My DH's parents, who were wonderful, have both passed away. My father abused me as a child, so has VERY little contact with my kids. My kids do see my mom once or twice a year. They are having happy childhoods anyway. They are loved are loved and cared for.

 

Your hurt and pain on the subject will be the only clue your DD has that anything is wrong. The more you let it go and move on and focus on the wonderful things in your life, the easier it will be for her. And I'm saying that as someone who has every single reason in the world to be bitter about my father. He abused me for years. It's really best for my kids for me to let go of all that pain and live in the present moment, which is pretty wonderful.

 

I really like the book "you can heal your life" by hay. It has great exercises for releasing the past and moving forward. You don't have to be confused and hurt anymore.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#8 of 22 Old 01-17-2011, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all so much for your thoughtful replies. Especially Linda, I can literally see the strength in your words for all that you have overcome...

 

 

Honestly, the idea that the most harm could be done by me projecting my own daddy issues onto dd hadn't even crossed my mind and now that it has I am going to have to work hard to avoid that. It is my baggage, she doesn't need it.

DD has a wonderfully amazing and sensitive daddy who is so intune with her and they really really have a loving special relationship. I feel lucky myself to have found such a wonderful man, I am a firm believer that your relationship with your father can really affect all your future relationships with men and when I was younger (high school) I was paranoid about not being with the kind of guy my dad is. Ever. Even in high school that was on my mind.

 

I feel like I am finally ready to try and let him go just completely but my fear is that periodically he does pop in my life to make me have all these horrible feelings again. It is also frustrating because my extended family know what he is like but they don't really "know"...So my grandmother knowing he is a sleeze still tries to encourage us to see each other. As in "you should go see your dad" etc...

 

I am also paranoid he is going to show up on my doorstep when he is 75 with no where to live, no one to care for him and begging me for a place to stay..Paranoid yes but the reality of his life is that this could happen down the road..Thats a whole other can of worms though.

 

Thank you all mamas for your heart felt words. It's amazing the ability a father has to hurt without even doing something.

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#9 of 22 Old 01-17-2011, 02:15 PM
 
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This is a huge issue for you, no doubt. It's a non-issue for your DD, at least assuming he stays out of her life and doesn't keep popping into it and building expectations.

 

Really, kids are not crushed by the lack of a grandparent. Good thing, since many die, etc.

 

My DD doesn't even care that DH's father is out of the picture. Far from crushing her, she does not care. What's to care about? How could she be attached to a man she's never met?

 

Same with me - my father's mother died when he was 14. Obviously I never met her. While I felt kind of sad for my dad's loss when I was old enough to understand (and much more so now), I wasn't sad for myself at all. Why would I be? His father was crazy and eventually died in a mental hospital. As an adult, I feel sad for my father, but me? I never knew him. I'd be sadder to hear the school bus driver died than some guy I'd never given more than 10 seconds thought to.

 

Yes, you have reason to feel sad about it, but these feelings are all for you.


Essentially this.

 

Both of my father's parents died before I was even born. As an adult I can appreciate how very young they were when they passed and how sad that was, but as a kid I simply knew that some kid had grandparents and some didn't.

 

My mother's parents were both alive. I had interactions with my grandmother, but she could be very critical at times and those interactions were not necessarily always positive. I loved her, but hearing her criticize my mother was hard. My mother's father was an alcoholic and out of her life long before I was born. I never met him. I know my mother wrote him at least once telling him about who she had become and her family, but she got no response. She went to his funeral, us kids did not. He simply wasn't in our lives and I viewed him much like I did my father's parents. Some people have grandparents they know and some don't. Honestly the relationship with my very critical grandmother caused me a lot more distress than the non existent relationship with my maternal grandfather did.


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#10 of 22 Old 01-17-2011, 02:21 PM
 
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Thank you all so much for your thoughtful replies. Especially Linda, I can literally see the strength in your words for all that you have overcome...

 

 

Honestly, the idea that the most harm could be done by me projecting my own daddy issues onto dd hadn't even crossed my mind and now that it has I am going to have to work hard to avoid that. It is my baggage, she doesn't need it.

DD has a wonderfully amazing and sensitive daddy who is so intune with her and they really really have a loving special relationship. I feel lucky myself to have found such a wonderful man, I am a firm believer that your relationship with your father can really affect all your future relationships with men and when I was younger (high school) I was paranoid about not being with the kind of guy my dad is. Ever. Even in high school that was on my mind.

 

I feel like I am finally ready to try and let him go just completely but my fear is that periodically he does pop in my life to make me have all these horrible feelings again. It is also frustrating because my extended family know what he is like but they don't really "know"...So my grandmother knowing he is a sleeze still tries to encourage us to see each other. As in "you should go see your dad" etc...

 

I am also paranoid he is going to show up on my doorstep when he is 75 with no where to live, no one to care for him and begging me for a place to stay..Paranoid yes but the reality of his life is that this could happen down the road..Thats a whole other can of worms though.

 

Thank you all mamas for your heart felt words. It's amazing the ability a father has to hurt without even doing something.


Response to the bolded: YOU have the power to accept him or not when he periodically pops in. Also, you "know" him in the way that you say your grandmother does not. And yet, you still want him to have a relationship with your daughter? It sounds like this man has never had to face the consequences of his actions. He can treat you poorly, yet you still take whatever he dishes out. You're even imagining taking care of him as a old man. You. Don't. Have. To. Take. This. 

 

Fwiw, my now grown daughter had her grandmother (her absent father's mother) bail on her (in a bizarre, somewhat dramatic fashion) when she was around 7. Completely gone from her life from that moment onwards. I don't think she gives that woman a second thought. My daughter pretty much had only one grandparent -- my mom (my dad had passed away by then). She's fine. I don't think she ever felt unloved or lacking in grandparental attention.

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#11 of 22 Old 01-17-2011, 04:37 PM
 
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I feel like I am finally ready to try and let him go just completely but my fear is that periodically he does pop in my life to make me have all these horrible feelings again. It is also frustrating because my extended family know what he is like but they don't really "know"...So my grandmother knowing he is a sleeze still tries to encourage us to see each other. As in "you should go see your dad" etc....

 

very politely tell your grandma no. I like the phrase, "I can see how you would feel that way, but none the less, this is what I've decided to do." Then change the subject.

 

And you do control how much he pops into your life, and what impact those pops have on you.

 

This might sound really out there, but I prayed to have my negative karma removed. I feel like having a horrid parent is really heavy karma, and I felt like it followed me right into adulthood. I finally prayed to have it removed, to just have that part of my karma taken away, so that I no longer have to function and feel like "the adult survivor." 

 

But living in the moment and being fully present with your family (your DH and your sweet baby are your family!) really is the key. You are very blessed right now.

 

Peace!

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#12 of 22 Old 01-17-2011, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I feel like I am finally ready to try and let him go just completely but my fear is that periodically he does pop in my life to make me have all these horrible feelings again. It is also frustrating because my extended family know what he is like but they don't really "know"...So my grandmother knowing he is a sleeze still tries to encourage us to see each other. As in "you should go see your dad" etc....

 

very politely tell your grandma no. I like the phrase, "I can see how you would feel that way, but none the less, this is what I've decided to do." Then change the subject.

 

And you do control how much he pops into your life, and what impact those pops have on you.

 

This might sound really out there, but I prayed to have my negative karma removed. I feel like having a horrid parent is really heavy karma, and I felt like it followed me right into adulthood. I finally prayed to have it removed, to just have that part of my karma taken away, so that I no longer have to function and feel like "the adult survivor." 

 

But living in the moment and being fully present with your family (your DH and your sweet baby are your family!) really is the key. You are very blessed right now.

 

Peace!

 



This is it exactly! I feel like so much baggage has been following me since I was little and felt like I grew up before I was supposed to. I see myself sometimes as that little girl still, desperately wanting to have a great Dad and always hoping he'd change. Show a little more interest etc. One that really helps is just to watch DH and DD together. He is the father I always wanted for myself if that makes sense.


Thanks all again for the thoughtful responses, I love my MDC community, it's like an invisible hug some days!

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#13 of 22 Old 01-17-2011, 07:21 PM
 
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My family is very involved in my children's lives, DH's family spent a few years popping in and out of the picture and now and never will be in the picture again. My children do not care at all. DD1 is 8 and I've told her that DH's parents are not around, she went ahh, and that was that. My 4 year old has no concept of one family and another one. She knows who my parents are but has never questioned if daddy has parents. Dh made it clear to ILs a couple years ago that popping in and out of our lives was no longer an option, he does have unsolved issues with his parents, how can you not in families like this,  but we don't discuss it in front of the children. Someday when they are mature enough, we will explain why is was not healthy for us to have a relationship with the ILs. 


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#14 of 22 Old 01-17-2011, 07:35 PM
 
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Quote:

 

Honestly, the idea that the most harm could be done by me projecting my own daddy issues onto dd hadn't even crossed my mind and now that it has I am going to have to work hard to avoid that. It is my baggage, she doesn't need it.


I would like to gently suggest that you go and see a caring counsellor regarding your feelings around your father.  It can be a safe place for you to sort through your feelings and help give you strength to move forward.   This could be a gift for you and also for your daughter.  It sounds like your relationship with your father has greatly affected your life and you may need a safe place to grieve the loss of what you hoped for; and make space for acceptance for what you have.

 

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#15 of 22 Old 01-17-2011, 08:44 PM
 
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OP--I am blind posting as I don't have time to read all the posts right now, but wanted to reply.

 

Two things.  First, I know how hard it is to have a parent who lets you down like that.  I have been in therapy myself over the years, and I won't get into the details, but I have come to the conclusion that my own mom is never going to change, and I have stopped giving her chance after chance to do so, but it still hurts.  I don't know that I'll ever completely quit dreaming with a small part of myself that I would one day wake up and have the mom I deserve.  So, I guess what I am saying is that I really feel for you because it truly sucks to be in your position with your dad.  Therapy helps... 

 

That said, I also come from a place in which my own mom had no contact with her own dad (who was alcoholic and sexually abused another child) and I never once "missed" having a relationship with him.  I had three other grandparents who were alive for most of my childhood and that was enough.  Really only two of the three were involved much at all.  Maybe your daughter will feel some void later down the road from not having a relationship with your dad, but I kind of doubt it based on my own experience, and the experiences of friends who were born after their grandparents passed away.  I think their situations were a little different because they wondered a little more maybe about what it would have been like to have a relationship with them, but if you never really know your grandparents, I don't think it scars too many people.  Also, and more importantly, look at what your dad has done to you.  Do you want that for your daughter?  Protecting her from the ups and downs and losses you experienced is much more important, in my opinion, than struggling to force a relationship with someone who is not emotionally available to provide you or your daughter with what you're looking for. 

 

I hope whatever you choose, you find peace for yourself with this. 

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#16 of 22 Old 01-17-2011, 09:11 PM
 
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I agree with so many of these wise mamas.

 

Your daughter will not know the difference.  Her reality will include X number of grandparents.  It probably will not even register, not for a long long time, that she really has X + 1 grandparents.  Like a PP said, this is your baggage, not hers.

 

I also agree that if you're concerned about the impact of his popping in-and-out of her life, then you should make the decision now that he will not be allowed to do it.

 

I think you need to take a long hard look at who he is.... NOT who you want him to be or wish we would have been.  But who he actually is.  And make the decisions for your daughter, your family, and yourself based on that.


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#17 of 22 Old 01-17-2011, 11:14 PM
 
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I think you are projecting your own daddy issues onto your child who doesn't have any.  She doesn't care that she has another grandfather that isn't involved.  The only reason she would care is if you keep pushing him to be around and he ends up letting her down.  You need to accept the fact he is never going to be the father you always wanted.  Nor will he be the sort of grandfather you want for your daughter.  She has one good grandfather and that can be enough for her if you will let it.  My niece has one set of amazing and super involved grandparents and another set that doesn't care at all.  This never bothered her when she was young and now she doesn't care so long as she isn't forced into seeing the cruddy ones for too long.  Your situation will be even easier because you can just not have to see him at all.  You do have your own issues about this though so I think therapy would be something you should try.


 

 

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#18 of 22 Old 01-18-2011, 05:41 AM
 
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I agree with those who say that this won't be an issue with your daughter unless you keep pushing him to be involved or talk about it with her.  She has plenty of other people involved in her life, and having a grandfather who is not involved is not at all parallel to having a father who is not involved.  I'd let your father go and be thankful for the people who are involved in her life.

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#19 of 22 Old 01-18-2011, 07:13 PM
 
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 Just wanted to add another BTDT to hopefully help you feel better about this. My mom's mother abandoned her when my mom was about 2. My mom had sporadic contact with her growing up (apparently she'd show up at Xmas & make a big to-do), then when she reached her teens it was entirely prompted by my mom. By the time my brothers and I were old enough to understand even the most basic facts of it, Mom had pretty much given up trying to maintain any sort of relationship. Neither my brothers nor I could have possibly cared less. As we got older and really understood, we completely support my Mom, and if anything are glad we didn't have any added drama that her occasionally being in our lives would have likely caused. I definitely don't feel like I "missed out." I really don't have any use for someone who would treat my (totally awesome!) mom like that. Obviously my mom's feelings are more complex, and I know she sometimes wonders if she is still alive & how she might be doing, but overall I'd say we were better off without her.



And I honestly don't remember how it was addressed when we were really little, but since both our grandfathers were dead, the idea of a grandparent who was in pictures but not real life wasn't that strange to us.

 

 

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#20 of 22 Old 01-19-2011, 10:51 AM
 
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I just wanted to add 2 things to all the great advice above. It's interesting you describe your self as a little girl, because when you say that you don't know how to explain to DD that he won't be around and doesn't care, I think that is really you (as a little girl) asking that question, and then you (as an adult) still struggling to answer it.

Also, it is great you're starting to realize you need to let it go. Part of that is going to be letting go the dream of what you wanted your father to be like as a kid AND as a grown up. That means grieving. It also means accepting that he is who he is and that has nothing to do with you. Nothing you have ever done made him treat you this way, and nothing you could ever do would have changed him. Another part of letting go means you accepting that no one else can ever fill the hole he left in your heart--you are the only one who can fill that hole, by giving yourself all the love and acceptance that he never did. hug2.gif
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#21 of 22 Old 01-19-2011, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spring Lily View Post

I just wanted to add 2 things to all the great advice above. It's interesting you describe your self as a little girl, because when you say that you don't know how to explain to DD that he won't be around and doesn't care, I think that is really you (as a little girl) asking that question, and then you (as an adult) still struggling to answer it.

Also, it is great you're starting to realize you need to let it go. Part of that is going to be letting go the dream of what you wanted your father to be like as a kid AND as a grown up. That means grieving. It also means accepting that he is who he is and that has nothing to do with you. Nothing you have ever done made him treat you this way, and nothing you could ever do would have changed him. Another part of letting go means you accepting that no one else can ever fill the hole he left in your heart--you are the only one who can fill that hole, by giving yourself all the love and acceptance that he never did. hug2.gif

thank you Spring Lily. These very thoughtful words touched me.redface.gif

DD is going to have a great time with the grandparents she has. Many of them! The only burden she needs to deal with is being spoiled rotten by all the people who love her and dote on her!
 

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#22 of 22 Old 01-20-2011, 10:54 AM
 
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My father has never been involved in my life.  I visited him when I was 8 and 14, not staying with him but only having lunch.  Recently he contacted me on Facebook and I told him that I am not in a place to have a relationship with him and don't need his negative presence (I've been dealing with a lot of abandonment issues lately.)

 

My children do not know anything different than one grandfather and two grandmothers.  DD started asking about why I don't have a father when she was about 4 and I told her matter of factly that my father isn't a good father and so we don't see him.  She's excepted that.  But I didn't say anything until she asked why, and I would do that same with your child.  MANY kids don't see their grandparents due to distance or their grandparents are dead or just absent.  


Mama of three.
 
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