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#1 of 11 Old 04-03-2003, 09:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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First of all, I think I need to greet my hosts - I don't think I've ever posted here before - I sorta feel like I'm walking into the Men's ONLY Club unannouced - but I know it isn't like that here.

I guess I'll get right to the point - I know you guys like that.

You see - it's like this - my husband is a very sensitive loving guy - and wants so very hard to be a good father - but has such horrible examples. His Father was very abusive when DH was a child. My DH has done a great job of having an adult relationship with his father and keeps his true thoughts and feelings about their past, politics, interests, etc. to himself - so as not to ignite any rage, because FIL doesn't take kindly to differing opinions - so don't you dare say anything negative about the President. Well, FIL sits there all day in front of the TV and gets madder and madder at those liberals - and he knows we are liberals - and I'm more open, free and honest about my thoughts with FIL - so he has been really attaking me - so DH is a.) put in the middle b.) remembering all the other abuses in his life by this man and also upset by his latest escapade and c.) shaking with fear and anger etc. . . .

I don't open FIL emails anymore - they upset us all too much - and time is healing the wounds from the latest escapades. But I realize that so many problems that DH has with confidence in his ability to "provide" and feeling empowered over his own life and even his confidence in his own parentiing skills - are effected by the fact that he has never really gotten out his rage and the injustice of what FIL has done to him. FIL has NO IDEA what DH really thinks about things what his interests are, etc - because DH is always very polite but doesn't share much. I don't blame DH at all - that is a level of trust that FIL has never earned.

Anyway - it seems the more I talk with other guys the more this theme comes up - Fathers over/disem/powering their sons. It seems to be a rather common problem. Do you know of some good books that we could get on dealing with this father/son relationship problem? What are your experiences/views on this? How do you overcome this in dealing with your own sons?

Many thanks
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#2 of 11 Old 04-03-2003, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wrote this before I realized how many responses here are from women too, I am welcome to thoughts from females, too!
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#3 of 11 Old 04-04-2003, 07:15 PM
 
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I once read, I wish I could remember where, that men do not grow up until their father's die. While I am sure that is not true in many cases, in some I think it may be true, due the prisons abusive men put their sons in. But I am not a son or a man, so what the heck do I know?
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#4 of 11 Old 04-05-2003, 12:54 AM
 
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To El Casey S:

Your FIL and my father seem to be quite similar.

Indeed, you are putting your husband in a position when you are "open, free and honest with thoughts" towards FIL. Although your husband need not feel "in the middle" (or something like that) it's still happening. Have you considered why you even waste your time stirring things up with this man? I think your energies could be spent better elsewhere. FIL seems hopelessly narrow-minded.

My father has mellowed with age. But before he had a near-death cardiac event he was still quite fiesty and I chose not to engage him and keep the relationship superficial. No sense trying to strive for a relationship that will never be.

Your husband quite likely suffered a lot (as I did) and he probably continues to suffer (like I do) from the effects of being raised by a tyrant. It has been suggested that people like us suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder- and that's a serious thing. Whatever the case, we will never know the exact effects of brutal fathers because emotional distress cannot be measured. So, we keep plodding along trying to do the best we can.

There are lots of books and resources out there. If yor hub is serious about a better quality of life his search will lead him there. I did a mens' discussion group once, directed by a professional, and it was fabulous. I gained a lot of strength from it---it's comforting to know others are struggling just like me. In the meantime support hub as much as he can. He is taking on a monumental task right now---that is, attempting to change what is likely many generations of dysfunction all by himself. It's not an easy thing to do and he has absolutely no examples to follow.
(As for books try the following authors: Terrance Real and John Bradshaw.)

Humanity is in it's infancy with regard to mastering emotions, particularly the male gender of the species.

Good luck
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#5 of 11 Old 04-05-2003, 05:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Dear Aredee,

Many thanks for your reply! And We have 2 Books by Terrence Real - one called "I Don't Want To Talk About It" and the other "How Can I Get Through To You" they are very good, and I have read stuff by Bradshaw - may even still have stuff from him in my library, but I don't remember. Sorry!

I guess I'm having to examine some stuff anew now. I usually do just ignore him and play nice nice - and it works - but the last episode started because he started up, once again, sending his poisonous conservative stuff to us. My DH said, well, if he keeps this up, we have enough stuff to send back as rebuttle. I thought that was unhealthy and not a good response - tit for tat - but then, after quite a bit of garbage - I did send him a few articles. like DH suggested - and then it started (I knew better!!).

I get so upset at the way that tyrannt has my DH so cowed. I can only imagine what DH's childhood must have been like. I had/have such a sense of wanting to protect and defend and yes () revenge my DH. But I have managed to really try to be assertive - and not insulting. But with that man assertiveness is a direct threat - and no one has the right to speak anything other than what he wants to hear. And he never sees that he is out of line by responding to assertiveness with horrific insults and threats. The rage in that man is not comprehendable.

I honestly think that FIL is so enraged at the liberals that he is attacking me as his outlet - and that he loves his political party more than his family members. I guess I'm trying to defend myself from the thought that I might be putting my DH in harms way. We are 4,000 miles away and that is good - but the ILs come 2x a year and they are expected in a few months.

DH says (and I believe it) that FIL has mellowed with age - but he still says he can't wit for FIL to die. So - carmen - you may have something there. there is no changing the man - there is no talking sense to him - so why try? I just sometimes think DH needs to face that demon before he could really live.- maybe Oedipus HAS to overcome the father in order to grow??


Still chewing on it . . . Thanks!

PS: DH has yet tro read this thread - but I just informed him of it and when I quoted aredee saying:
He is taking on a monumental task right now---that is, attempting to change what is likely many generations of dysfunction all by himself. It's not an easy thing to do and he has absolutely no examples to follow.

Humanity is in it's infancy with regard to mastering emotions, particularly the male gender of the species.

He showed interest and will read it soon - he's got some things to do first!

What a treasure you all are!
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#6 of 11 Old 04-05-2003, 02:24 PM
 
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Will FIL will be staying in a hotel or someplace other than your home during this next visit? Seems like you would want to at least provide yourself a FIL-free zone to rest at night. Good luck.
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#7 of 11 Old 04-06-2003, 03:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, after the second letter we informed him we would be calling the hotel accross the street for him. Thanks for the support!

BTW - what are you doing in Moscow??
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#8 of 11 Old 05-14-2003, 01:51 AM
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There's a good CD set on Fathers and Sons at www.sacredpathproductions.com/products.html I highly recommend this set of CD's.

As far as books, Iron John by Robert Bly has some interesting insights from a mythopoetic POV. Look in the men's studies section of a good bookstore and for authors like Bly, Keane, Harding, et al.

Ironically, we're going through this very situation with my IL's (the siblings-in-law not my MIL or FIL, thankfully). My own family got weird years back but some reality experiences mysteriously made the snap out of it and things are swimming at this point. Sometimes we're glad we're on the other side of the continent. We no longer get email or phone calls for the siblings-in-law. It's a real downer but we know and hope that'll change eventually. We try not to take it too personally, which isn't very easy sometimes, knowing that even the staunchest neocon can come around and be tolerant at least, eventually. I sympathize with you.

I have a box of books from the office recarpeting still to unpack. If I run across more titles regarding fathers & sons, I'll PM you if you like.

All the best,
Dov
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#9 of 11 Old 05-22-2003, 12:18 PM
 
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Hi Everyone,

First of all, thanks for letting me into the forum, even though I am female. I read this post and just had to ask for some advice.

First of all, my husband is a great father and husband. We have two sons, ages 3 years and 8 months. My husband is well educated, has a great job and is very confident. It is not unususal for him to have to stand up in front of hundreds of people and speak, and he enjoys doing it.

However, whenever his father visits he turns into a different person. He is incapable of action and often doesn't hear what I say, because, according to him, he is afraid of his father.

A couple of examples:

Last weekend DH father and his wife visited. They would occasionally pick up the baby (8month old). On one occasion, FIL weas holding the baby and the baby started crying. After waiting about 30 seconds and noting that he was still crying, I went to get the baby to comfort him. FIL sneered at me and said "well, then take him" and was clearly upset. By the way, we see them only about 5 times a year, so the kids are not used to them.

ANyhow, this has happened before. About a year ago, FIL's wife picked up my older son, and since he did not know her, he started crying hysterically (he is also shy by nature). I urged my husband to go and get our son three times, and finally pushed him towards FIL's wife but his feet did not move. He was frozen. I finally went and got my son

We discussed it afterwards, ad nauseum, and agreed that next time the kids were uncomfortable with FIL or his wife, DH would take the kids. We even discussed it the morning of their visit last weekend.

When I asked my husband why he did not just pick up the baby when he started crying, he said his father would have seen that as confrontational and would be mad at him for years. DH said that he asked his father three times if he could hold his son, so he would stop crying, but FIL said no.

It has to be said, that I always take the baby if somebody is holding him, and he starts crying. I did that with several other guests last weekend (it was a birthday party for my oldest son). So, I do not treat FIL different than any other person. Usually people are more than happy to relinquish a crying baby.

Anyhow, these are just a couple of examples. Sorry about the long rant. DH really is a great husband and dad, and at any other time, he would not hesitate to attend to any of his sons if they were crying.

DH did not grow up with his father, his parents divorced when he was 2 or 3 year old. He said he would visit his father 2 weeks out of the year, and his father would put him in front of people and ask him "who do you love more, me or your mom"? My husband would squirm, his father would laugh, and DH would eventually say that he loved his father more. There are other examples like that, but I am sure you get the picture.

So, is it possible to get DH to "be himself" when FIL is around. DH says he wants his Father to die and just wants to maintain a superficial relationship with him. He says it would take years of counseling for him to ever resolve this issue.

I am hurt, DH is hurt, any suggestions?

PS I'll get the books

Lise
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#10 of 11 Old 05-22-2003, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by lise brit
DH says he wants his Father to die and just wants to maintain a superficial relationship with him.
These are my husbands exact words!

Just an aside on my case - my FIL called off the visit! MIL is coming alone and we are thrilled. We haven't even heard from him since he called of the visit and he usually calls every week. I'm sure he is just waiting around for my DH to realize how bad I am for him and come around to FIL's way of thinking:. This pathetic victim thinking will not work with us anymore - it's his problem, he will have to work this out on his own- Right now I'm reading a book called "Mastery of Love" by Don Miguel Ruiz which I think would help DH in his relationship to his father - in ALL relationships. It bases itself on the theory that most all relationships are based on Fear and fear is the opposite of Love. So far it is good - I'm not finished - but I can see so much of the manipulation and fear and how unhealthy it is - and certainly our husbands have a lot of fear of their fathers - or fear of their own rage at their fathers - or fear of themselves.

What I don't get is how I am "supposed" to act. We will be married 16 years tomorrow and I am to the point where I think I have the right to my thoughts around my FIL - which is why he hates me - because I am not afraid of him (actually I am afraid of his rage, but I won't live in that fear - I acknowledge it and go on). I think being able to be true to yourself and set your boundaries is imoprtant - and I think our DH's would be better off if they could do that too. But noooo - they want to play the victim too - look how Papi has me cowering, bad Papi - see wifey (mommy) - protect me from him! He is more like his father than he wants to admit.

About Bly and Iron John - I actually bought it for a friend of mine in German. I knew of it (never bought it for myself or read it) and it's basics - and thought he'd benefit from it - and he did! So, maybe I should get it for us now - in English! I did my masters on Joseph Campbell and learned a lot about Bly in the process. My problem is that I keep picking up my DH's bread for him!! He doesn't read this stuff for himself.:

O well, gotta go! Big day tomorrow! He really IS a great guy!
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#11 of 11 Old 11-02-2003, 12:27 AM
 
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Hi Out there.

It sure sounds like FIL needs to hear the house rules.
AND OBEY!!!!
If this is too hard for FIL, then he can not visit until the kids are old enough to know the he is wrong.
You have to protect the kids, regard less of FIL feelings and immature attitude.

Years ago, I poured a bucket of water over someone who had the nerve to smoke in my house, after I had asked him to step outside. "Well, it's a f#@* free country" He said.
"i agree" I said, "and where there is smoke there is fire".
I have never seen him since, I wonder why???


Take care
Silving
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