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-   -   Support needed. I told my dad he wasn't welcome in my home... (http://www.mothering.com/forum/36-gentle-discipline/1328651-support-needed-i-told-my-dad-he-wasn-t-welcome-my-home.html)

Lazurii 09-06-2011 08:59 AM

I'll try to be a succinct as possible, but it's a complicated situation.

 

My dad was abusive in my childhood.  There was a lot of bullying, threats of physical abuse, actual physical abuse, and emotional abuse (telling us we were stupid, worthless, refusing to let us cry with threats of physical harm, blah blah blah).  There have been several "incidences" during my life, which are what our family calls the major episodes of him blowing up.  My dad has even been arrested once.

 

One of his major temper triggers is normal child behavior:  crying, whining, inability to verbally express what they want, playing too loudly, talking too loudly, etc.  So when we started growing up and moving out thing got better for the sole reason my dad wasn't dealing with children anymore.

 

Enter grandkids.  My son is the first grandchild and he's very spirited.  If anyone has read "Raising Your Spirited Child", BuggaBoo scored a 40 out of 45 on the little quiz.  He has explosive expressions of emotions, screaming one minute and laughing wildly the next.  Needless to say BuggaBoo's personality does not mesh with my dad's.

 

We have been working with my son and with age he has better control with his emotions and is able to express them through speech more and more.  We work with naming his emotions for him, encouraging him to talk about them, and when he's throwing a knock-down fit he's welcome to do so in his room.  He is allowed to cry and make frustrated noises, laugh, be mad, and basically be a person.

 

My dad hates how we're raising our kids.

 

My dad is a major bully to my son in particular, but now that my daughter is growing up she's getting it, too.  They live 4 hours away so that's nice, but interaction with family were getting bad.  My dad would parent over us, place unrealistic expectations on my son, tell him crying wasn't allowed in his hours (at 18 months!), calling my son names (crybaby, don't you want to be a big boy), and threatening physical discipline (usually spanking). 

 

My dad would also create artificial situations so he could punish BuggaBoo.  For example, we were dairy-free for the first 3 years of BuggaBoo's life.  My dad was always trying to give him stuff.  When BuggaBoo was around 18 months old my dad was eating ice cream.  BuggaBoo asked for some, but when I explained that it had milk in it and I would get him something different he was totally fine with it.  He sat down next to my dad, and my dad offered him some ice cream.  Of course BuggaBoo said yes, and my dad said, "Too bad, you can't have any," and ate the spoonful himself.  When my son started crying about it my dad said, "Stop crying, no crying in my house."  So, yeah, stuff like that.

 

The Hubby and I talked to my dad lots of times about his behavior, but he always defended himself.  Last Christmas I confronted my dad and told him if he couldn't be nicer to my kids then he could not be around them.  He said, fine, if that's how it needs to be.  A few days later he came to my home (remember, 4 hours away) to tell me that my children weren't welcome in his home unless they correctly and he's able to punish them as he sees fit.

 

However, my dad (supposedly, I don't believe it however) thought that he could still see the kids.  Through sporadic contact with my kids he was treating them much better.  He still verbally maintained that he did/does no wrong, my kids need redirecting, blah blah blah.  There was a lot of pressure from my family to let my dad show me he changed.  I was wary about it, since we had this all the time was growing up, I felt we were in the "Honeymoon" cycle of abuse.  But I decided to give him a chance.

 

My parents came to visit this last weekend.  My dad was not nice to the kids at all.  He was back to calling names and being verbally rough and parenting over us in our own home and telling my son which emotion he could have, which apparently the only "correct" emotion is happiness.  Yesterday I went to the mall with my mom and sister and left the kids with The Hubby and my dad because they were working on yard projects.  Last night after my parents left I was talking to The Hubby and it came out that my dad was very mean to the kids and actually threatened to spank BuggaBoo, which I have told my dad is never to be done.

 

I called my dad's cell last night to tell him he wasn't welcome in my home.  I got his voice mail so I left the message.  My dad immediately called back but I ignored it and had a panic attack in The Hubby's arms instead.

 

If you're still with me at this point, bless you.  Please, flood me with support on this,  I am so scared about what my dad is going to do and my family is going to do.  The last time I did this the support from my family was split and it made it so hard.  Obviously, because we let my dad back into our life.  I don't want my son to be bullied like that.  I've been working very hard to not become abusive and I just can't let my dad be that way.  But some of my family tells me I'm blowing it out of proportion and that's just my dad.  So, please, again, support me in this!


mamazee 09-06-2011 09:03 AM

I have toxic parents who were abusive, and I am 100% with you on this. You have to set boundaries, and your home needs to be a safe place for your kids. Much love to you and your family!

2xy 09-06-2011 09:06 AM

People do not have the right to treat you or your loved ones badly just because you share blood. Your dad sounds very toxic and I think you're doing the right thing. His behavior towards you over your lifetime is probably a huge part of the reason that you feel so unsure and anxious about standing up for yourself and your family.

If some of your family members take sides in this, that says more about them than it does about you.
 

 


FrugalGranolaMom 09-06-2011 09:38 AM

You are absolutely in the right with your decision. The welfare of your children is what's important and you are doing what is right for them. hug2.gif


sebandg'smama 09-06-2011 09:56 AM

Well done Mama!  You are protecting your children!  

You gave him ample chances to change his behaviour, now you need to create better boundaries, which you have done.  

 

hug2.gif to you, what a hard thing to be going through.

 

I have such a hard time with grandparents interfering...they had their chance, it's not their turn anymore.

 

-Melanie


Viriditas 09-06-2011 10:05 AM

I agree with everyone else.  You absolutely did the right thing.  You gave your dad plenty of chances to change his behavior and he made it clear that he wasn't going to.  You have no choice but to protect your children.  

 

I had a grandfather (and a couple other relatives) who were verbally and physically abusive to my brother and me when we were small children.  I have very clear memories of being terrified to be around these people, and I wish my parents had protected me from them.  I know it must be hard, but I'm so glad you have the courage to do what my parents (and many others) weren't willing to do.


Imakcerka 09-06-2011 10:07 AM

You are doing what wasn't done for you!  Be proud of yourself for stopping the cycle.  If it splits the family then your family needs to do a lot of soul searching.  He's trying to keep up with his bullying.  Don't let him.  He can not change unless he seeks help.  You can do it mama! 

 

 


Rani 09-06-2011 10:14 AM

You followed your heart and your intuition. You tried it their way and he proved himself to be what you knew he was all along.  You gave it a go.  An abuser can learn to control themselves or not. He hasn't.  Don't let family bully you or shame you into backing down from your boundaries. You can send them the "been there done that" tee shirt if they do.  You are right. You are being the strong intelligent, fine mom you are meant to be.


PhillyMama 09-06-2011 10:29 AM

Sending you good wishes and lots of love, Lazurii.

 

What a hard thing you had to do, and I commend you for doing it.   Your Dad is not respecting you as a parent and your kids may have suffered for it if you'd not set your boundaries.

 

 

Reading your OP, the thought of how immature your Dad is popped into my mind, especially the bit with the ice cream. That was just a cruel thing to do to a child.

 

 

You're standing up for your children, and they will see that and feel safe.  What a wonderful lesson to teach them - that you will protect them, no matter what. 

 

Big hugs ((((((((((Lazurii)))))))))))

 


McGucks 09-06-2011 11:38 AM

Lazurii, next life around--can you be my mama?

 

Hooray to you for breaking the cycle, setting safe boundaries for yourself and your children, and for telling your story.

 

We can't really protect ourselves when we are children, but we sure can work hard to protect our own babies.


philomom 09-06-2011 11:43 AM

I hear you, sister. I had to draw some hard boundaries with my family, too. Use this as an opportunity to create a "family of friends" that love and support you for who you and your kids truly are.

Lazurii 09-06-2011 12:07 PM

Everyone, thank you.  It means a lot that y'all love me so much.  I got an email from my mom that was par for the course, meaning she understands why I'm choosing what I do, but it makes her uncomfortable because he takes it out on her.  But I need to come to the understanding that It's not my fault if my dad treats my mom poorly, so I don't need to feel guilt about it.

 

Now if I could just follow my own advice...

 

ETA:  Oh, by the way, my dad says he didn't actually threaten BuggaBoo, he just asked him, "Do you need a spanking?"  Right, like that's not a threat?  Gar!


LessTraveledBy 09-06-2011 12:25 PM

Thank you for choosing to be such a good Mama, even when it hurts. You ARE right in this.


boheime 09-06-2011 01:06 PM

It's never the abuser's fault, is it?

 

I have little family left, and we can only allow dh's family to be around our kids supervised and for limited times. We don't trust them at all.


katelove 09-06-2011 04:14 PM

Sounds like you are doing exactly the right thing to protect your precious children. It must be so hard for you though, especially when some of your family is not supportive. Maybe it would help to tell the unsupportive family members that your decision is not up for discussion and that they need to respect that even if they disagree. If they can't do that then maybe you need to not see them either.


Cyllya 09-06-2011 07:25 PM

Good job! I know from personal experience that abusive parents leave you with a sort of Stokholm Syndrome. They almost always did something positive for you at some point, and it's hard to resist clinging to the hope that they can learn to be like that all the time. So I know it must have taken a lot of strength to do this.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazurii View Post
Please, flood me with support on this,  I am so scared about what my dad is going to do and my family is going to do.  The last time I did this the support from my family was split and it made it so hard.  Obviously, because we let my dad back into our life.  I don't want my son to be bullied like that.  I've been working very hard to not become abusive and I just can't let my dad be that way.  

 

 

Don't hesitate to call the police if you need to. Tell your husband you won't hold it against him if he calls.

 

Quote:

 

 

But some of my family tells me I'm blowing it out of proportion and that's just my dad.  So, please, again, support me in this!
 
Sounds like those family members are the sort who think emotionally abusing a child is okay. It's not surprising; a lot of people feel that way, unfortunately.

kitchensqueen 09-06-2011 07:32 PM

I'm in a similar situation with my parents, and I have had to cut all ties. You are doing the right thing! Abusers have no place in your life, even if (really, especially if!) they're biologically related to you. And with your mom - it's too bad he "takes it out on her" - but she's a grown woman, and it sounds like she might need to evaluate her own relationship with him. And as harsh as it sounds, that's not really your problem. 

 

Stay strong! You can and are doing the right thing for your kids and yourself. 


lilmom 09-06-2011 09:17 PM

I grew up with an abusive father too and for that reason my father has seen my DS a total of maybe 3 or 4 times, and all in public places where he could not cause a scene or if he did, we could just walk out. He will never be allowed to be with my child at his house or my house. My sister does not necessarily agree with me on this, because she was his darling and truly did not experience the abuse the way my brother and I did. But it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks, I know what is right, just like you do!

 

Our job is to protect our children. It is my belief that grandparents are not OWED a relationship with their grandchildren. In a perfect world, everyone would have amazing grandparents and every grandchild would have an awesome relationship with them. But reality is, some grandparents simply have not earned the right to be around.

 

Personally, if I was you, I would be considering cutting out your dad entirely, at least for awhile. I did that with my dad for 5 yrs, prior to my son's birth. I gave him another chance when my son was born, and it turned out that nothing had changed on his end. what changed on my end though, was that I felt I had the power to have him in my life if I wanted to, or if not, I didn't have to. It was great for me. You may not want to do that and that is ok too. Just telling you my experience.

 

YOU DID THE RIGHT THING MAMA. KEEP IT UP!!!!!


ElliesMomma 09-06-2011 10:44 PM

good job! have you considered getting yourself a little "talk therapy" / counseling -- to help you feel sure in your choices to stand your ground with your parents? sounds like your mother is your father's enabler. 

 

they will not change.

 

you can only change yourself. which may mean doing exactly what you are already doing... but becoming more sure and confident in your choices.

 

i wish you luck. it's a long hard journey. but life has a way of giving you the experiences you need to grow in the ways that you need to.

 

i, also, would not leave my children with a person like your father.


Mittsy 09-07-2011 09:22 AM

hug2.gif You are doing the right thing mama, as hard as it may seem! I've been there with my toxic mom, and life is much more peaceful without her in it now!!


Adaline'sMama 09-07-2011 11:59 AM

I have toxic parents that have been completely cut out of our lives for the sake of my child(ren). I think you made the right decision, and I hope your family doesnt try to bully you into going back on the boundaries you have set. Good job!

Lazurii 09-07-2011 12:37 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyllya View Post

Good job! I know from personal experience that abusive parents leave you with a sort of Stokholm Syndrome. They almost always did something positive for you at some point, and it's hard to resist clinging to the hope that they can learn to be like that all the time. So I know it must have taken a lot of strength to do this.

 

Yes!  This is so true.  He can be a fabulous guy, but he can be the worst sort of person, too.

 

Again, everyone, you have no idea how much this is helping me.  I come here several times a day and re-read all your wonderful comments and insights.  It makes me wish we were all together so I could hug each and every one.

 

I want to get counseling very badly, but my dad was so anti-therapy it's hard to actually make the phone call.  My Hubby is probably going to have to do it, but he's okay with that.

 

I've called my sisters yesterday, they are the ones that support me.  They are very proud and stand behind me 1000000%.  I haven't talked to my brother or his wife about it because they're the ones that are less-than-supportive.  Their daughter is 7 months younger than BuggaBoo and they live 2 miles away from my parents in our old house, so they're always over at my parents'.  I feel so bad at how my dad treats their daughter.  He's not as gruff with girls as he is with boys, but he can be terrifying.  She loves her grandpa but is still afraid of him, it just breaks my heart. 

 

My brother says that he is waiting for the natural consequence of his daughter not wanting to spend time with my dad to teach Dad the lesson he needs.  I tell my brother that the natural consequence with me is Dad treated me to badly that I'm not going to let him do that to my kids.  When I did this the first time I was having such a hard time with it my SIL told me that she thought that meant I had made the wrong choice.  That if it had been the right choice it would have been easy.

 

Ooops, sorry, slipped into vent mode.  Still, thank you, I'm feeling much better.  I've been treating myself like I'm sick and giving myself a break from a lot of things.  I'm going to try to get out on a date with The Hubby this evening, just the two of us.
 

 


mamaupupup 09-07-2011 01:30 PM

You are an incredible Mom!  Keep protecting your children and trusting your instincts.  Try not to second guess yourself.  You are doing the right thing.  As life progresses there will be coaches, teachers, maybe even more family who you may chose to exclude from your lives.  That's okay!  Yes, it can be sad.  And, it can be freeing and healthy. 

 

My children (now almost five years old) have never met my father--and he happens to live ten minutes away.  My father was emotionally absent and emotionally mean to me.  My parents divorced when I was a teen and it took me 15 years to figure out what to do with our relationship.  I finally "divorced" him in my mind and have chosen to surround myself with loving, kind, supportive people.  It took a while to get through the mourning process, but it's worth it to me to be free of the stress he created in my life. 

 

My children have asked who my father is and I have answered matter of factly.  They have asked if they can meet him and I have said, "No.  My job is to protect you from people who would treat you poorly.  I don't spend time with people who are mean."  They seemed satisfied with that answer. 

 

I agree with the poster who said "surround yourself with a family of friends." We call it "chosen family" and it works wonders!

 

Thinking of you!


peainthepod 09-07-2011 01:39 PM

You did the right thing, mama. You really did. Therapy will help in ways you probably can't even imagine right now. And I would strongly urge you to get a copy of this book: Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

 

I cut my parents out of my and my children's lives because they were abusive when I was a child and were unwilling to either take responsibility for their actions or change their behavior when my own little ones were born. They'd rather be "right" than have their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren in their lives. That's their choice and not one I can change. It's very sad, but I realized a long time ago that blood doesn't make a family. Love does. My parents don't love me and most likely never did, and I refuse to play nice and pretend otherwise just to save them the embarrassment of admitting to people that they're not allowed to see their only grandchildren. This has made me plenty of enemies within the extended family, but I'm okay with that. My children's safety comes before my need to fit in with a truly dysfunctional group of toxics.

 

By the way, don't be surprised if your parents still expect access to your children even after you cut them off. My father was shocked and threw a mini tantrum when DH and I refused gifts for our son two years after I'd given him the boot. His sense of entitlement is so huge that he actually thought we would let him see our children even though he couldn't bring himself to apologize for his past behaviors and wrongdoing. Unreal. We are not talking about mentally healthy people here. Healthy, sane people aren't abusers. Again, you're doing the right thing. Your children deserve better than your parents can give them. They deserve better than you got. You deserved better, too, but we can't change the past. All we can do is take steps to change our present circumstances for the better.

 

I'm sorry your parents are the way they are. I know what you did took so much courage and you'll probably second-guess yourself for a long time. That's okay. Stand your ground and keep those boundaries firm. You're doing the best thing you could possibly do for your children and yourself. Say it with me now: You are doing the right thing. hug.gif


Lazurii 09-09-2011 11:14 AM

Peainthepod, thank you for the book suggestion.  I requested it from my library.

 

I'm not feeling so anxious anymore.  The first few days I couldn't do anything, we ate out a lot, I had headaches, and was short with the kids (sorry kids!).  Now I'm feeling pretty good, and actually getting excited about being free.  Has anyone else felt this way?  I'm still certainly grieving, but there's more happiness than sadness. 

 

Any everyone I haven't thanked specifically, you've still helped out tremendously.  It was amazing to read so many stories like my own.

 

The thing that gets me is the fact that my dad refuses to change.  I know change is possible, I have changed, so why can't/doesn't he?  Blah.


Mizelenius 09-09-2011 12:17 PM

SUPPORT, SUPPORT, SUPPORT!  You have 100% of my support.  It's natural that your family will be upset.  You've moved the "mobile" of the family and it's out of whack, but that does NOT make it wrong.  They have put up with his behavior (don't ask me why) and your putting your foot down will be-- to them-- a reflection (they will take it as criticism) of their choices. 

 

THANK YOU for being brave enough to do this.  I wish more people would.  I have no idea why abuse is tolerated in our society.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazurii View Post

If you're still with me at this point, bless you.  Please, flood me with support on this,  I am so scared about what my dad is going to do and my family is going to do.  The last time I did this the support from my family was split and it made it so hard.  Obviously, because we let my dad back into our life.  I don't want my son to be bullied like that.  I've been working very hard to not become abusive and I just can't let my dad be that way.  But some of my family tells me I'm blowing it out of proportion and that's just my dad.  So, please, again, support me in this!



 


LynnS6 09-09-2011 03:16 PM

grouphug.gif You've made an incredibly difficult and brave choice. Your dad has repeatedly shown you throughout your life that he can't be trusted to keep children emotionally and physically safe. You have to look out for your health (mental) and your children's mental and physical well-being. You are breaking a cycle that's hard to break. Good for you.


LCBMAX 09-09-2011 07:08 PM

All of the above! And, not only are you a great mom, you're also being a great partner to The Hubby. That you have taken it on yourself to set the necessary limits means you are also protecting him and his fatherly relationship with your kids. So just keep on shining your perfect light! 


anjsmama 09-10-2011 10:12 AM

OP - 

 

My mom made the same decision to break the cycle of abuse when my siblings and I were very young children. We did not miss our Grandpa (why would we miss such a cruel man?). I am 22, and my grandmother passed away this year. Losing the one individual who put up with all of his B/S for 60 some years changed my Grandpa in ways that other life circumstances just could not. He's 78... and he just learned how to speak kindly to children. He just became involved in my life for the first time ever. I have let him have some (supervised) time with my kids this summer and he was nothing less than doting with them.

 

You made the right decision. If your dad ever does TRULY change - believe me, you will know it! 

 

 

 

Btw... The family pressure (especially from her siblings, and sometimes her mom) was very hard on my Mom over the years. As if it was somehow HER fault that my Grandpa sexually, physically, and verbally abused her as a child, and verbally abused us every time he saw us? The support she got from my dad and from the abuse survivors group at our church were her go-to's during the hard times. Tell your DH how much you need his support in this area.... !

 

hug2.gif Couldn't be more grateful to my mama for protecting us, and your kids will feel the same way someday.


Lazurii 09-10-2011 10:20 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by anjsmama View Post

OP - 

 

Btw... The family pressure (especially from her siblings, and sometimes her mom) was very hard on my Mom over the years. As if it was somehow HER fault that my Grandpa sexually, physically, and verbally abused her as a child, and verbally abused us every time he saw us? The support she got from my dad and from the abuse survivors group at our church were her go-to's during the hard times. Tell your DH how much you need his support in this area.... !

 

hug2.gif Couldn't be more grateful to my mama for protecting us, and your kids will feel the same way someday.


Yes!  The Hubby's area of growth is confrontation, so at this time he isn't able to stand up to my dad.  In the past when I wanted him to stand with me on this issue he would rationalize why it was our fault or why it wasn't so bad because he just couldn't do the confrontation.  We talked about this the night I called my dad.  I told The Hubby that I could be the mouthpiece if he was my support.  He agreed wholeheartedly, telling me that he can stand firm in his support if he doesn't need to speak.  And if I have his support I can do anything! 

 

So another way this has blessed my life is my relationship with The Hubby has grown so much deeper.  We have taken his weakness and turned it into strength.

 



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