- April 3, 2014 at 5:16 pm #436885
Looking for a little bit of advice, or reassurance… or something.
I am turning 22 this April and will be 23 when I marry my fiancee (and best friend) next year.
My father and I are not necessarily on speaking terms, and haven’t been friendly for about 5 years now. I put this towards my stepmother, as well as his trumped up ego. To give you a bit of background, my mother left my father not long before I was born due to his controlling (borderline abusive/overprotective) nature. After the split I originally lived with my mother, but her second husband was… lets just say, unfit to be a stepfather (my mother moved to the U.S and is still there to this day). I went back to my father and all was great between us as I was little, and I was a proper spoilt daddy’s girl.
Cue my father + stepmother getting married when I was 10, and they had their first son together (my half brother) not long after. Two years later, they had my half sister. About 2 years after that my hormones were all over the place and I was diagnosed with depression/bipolar. This is where the alienation began as my father does not believe mental health conditions exist, rather, he is of the opinion that people can magically change their own situations by themselves and they should be happy with their lot. I was kicked out not long before my 17th birthday purely for being sexually active and going on contraceptive. I finished out the rest of the year at school and worked two jobs to pay my own way in school fees to graduate. I turned 18 not long after that and as you can imagine, started partying pretty hard (which I don’t really consider to be out of the norm). From the rare contact I had with my father (in which he would call me to “check if you’re alive”) he told me constantly that I had an alcohol problem and I had done nothing but bring shame onto our family and our last name and he wished he could disown me for tarnishing our family with such a brush; basically said that I was worth nothing to anyone until I settled down, found a man (to live off, not that I’m anything like that), lived “in a place with opportunity”, and had my own car, house, money in the bank etc.
Flash forward 3-4 years and thats exactly what I have now – our own house, our own cars, our own money + savings, three dogs, stable job (that I love!) – aaaaaaand its still not good enough. Its the equivalent of being told that the A on your report card isn’t worth anything unless its an A+ or better. Its such a slap in the face, working so hard to be happy, and make someone that is still a core part of your life, proud of you, and they actively refuse to be.
My fiancee proposed to me in January and as I didn’t have friendly contact (or should I say, barely any contact) with my father, but do with his family, I shared the news. They were a little shocked but were ecstatic. The news eventually filtered its way around the family until my father left me a quite abusive voicemail as to why he wasn’t the first person I called when it happened. So I sat down, called him, and told him quite coolly (and maturely, I like to think) way that yes I was getting married, and even if he had no intention to reconcile things with me in the long term, could he at least make an appearance at my wedding, walk me down the aisle as tradition so I didn’t have to do it alone, sit there and not bring up the past for a maximum of 5 or so hours. I didn’t actually think that would be much to ask of a 50 year old man – turns out that it was. He said that he needed “time to think about it” – and this is probably where I went wrong but I flipped off the handle at that point. I told him that it should really be a no brainer that if your eldest daughter is getting married, you make an appearance, at least see how happy she is and if you want to bugger off out of my life again that was his choice. We argued and eventually we negotiated that he had a week to make up his mind either way.
Two weeks later I had heard nothing. Called, no answer. Left a voicemail and sent a text. No reply. Add another week onto this, with no contact, and I’m quite irritated – leaving me to send him a big text message about how he made the biggest mistake of his life, and that his ignorance is of a high enough level to show that he wants nothing to do with my life and he will never meet his son in law or his own grandchildren, and he’ll never hear from or see me again. I then proceeded to block his number from my phone, block him from all social networking, and change my email address, as I didn’t particularly want the stress of the backlash I would have gotten for actually thinking about myself and my feelings for once.
My question to you ladies is, how am I supposed to feel? Am I supposed to do or say anything or is it only fair for it to be up to him to make an effort to be a part of my life?
At this point, my cousin (who is like a brother to me), or my fiancee’s father (who’s been more of a father to me then my own) is more than likely the person who will walk me down the aisle, and thats not what I wanted at all, and while my father may feel bad for not being there in the future, I’m the one thats feeling bad in the now.April 3, 2014 at 5:31 pm #436887
Hi Courtney, sounds like you need a massive hug and a punching bag… I’m happy to be the hug, but not the bag.
That is so much to feel at any one time!! I think, the best thing to do right now, is nothing. You have over a year before the wedding. So much can change. he has a year to think about what kind of relationship he wants with you, and if he truly wants to get in contact with you then he will.
I think the line where you said you were trying to make him proud has to go. Stop living your life for him, and start living your life for you. Nothing will ever be good enough for him, that much is obvious. his opinion shouldn’t impact your life any more. you’ve tried, he’s not put in the same effort, so wash your hands of making him happy, and focus on your happiness. you deserve happiness hun, don’t let his bitter attitude ruin that for you.
if you’re feeling bad now, does that mean you regret blocking him? it sounds like (and I certainly don’t blame you for it) that you finally got to the end of your rope and snapped and rashly blocked him in every way shape and form because you just didn’t want to deal with his crap any more. but now that you’ve had the time to cool down and rethink about it, is your decision different? have you heard along the grapevine about him trying to contact you? I know he certainly had the opportunity when you were calling and texting, but you know the saying, you don’t know what you’ve got til you lose it. maybe you putting that distance between you has helped him come to his senses.
It’s great you hear that you have so much support from your fiance, his father, and your cousin. has your mother been involved in any of this? is she flying in for the wedding?
I think, when talking about how you’re supposed to feel, there is no right answer. you’re feeling how you’re feeling, and that’s okay. but I would think about the future. How do you want to feel by the end of this year? how do you want the relationship to be? is it possible for that to happen?
I think, when you’re ready (and do take your time), you should unblock his number from your phone and let him contact you. let him make the effort to mend your relationship. and when/if he does, make sure you tell him that you come first in your life, not him. you will focus on your marriage and your happiness, and if he isn’t willing to support you in that then he can leave. if he does call you and blow up at you, then you have to have an answer ready, but I can’t tell you what that answer will be.
Sorry if that’s too long a reply. I wish you all the best hun! go give your fiance a hug. I always do that after I’ve been stressed. they’re good huggersApril 4, 2014 at 4:25 pm #436911
Oh Courtney that sounds awful! I cannot imagine what you are going through, all I can do is offer a little bit of advice.
I don’t think anyone can tell you how to feel – you have obviously been hurt by your father’s treatment (and not just this last time), so I think you have every right to be angry with him. I think you do need to ask yourself though whether you want to cut off all contact with him forever. Perhaps, in a few months, you could unblock him and see whether he takes the initiative to contact you. If he does, make it clear that you aren’t living your life to please him and that you are living your life to please you – the only one who matters. If he doesn’t like this, then he is free to walk back out that door. Your father does sound pretty controlling, so you need to make it clear that you won’t be putting up with this behaviour.
As for having someone else down the aisle, I don’t see anything wrong with walking yourself. You are clearly a strong woman who has looked after herself when no one else would – do you really need someone to give you away? Why not walk down that aisle with your head held high knowing that it was your actions that brought you there that day?April 8, 2014 at 9:16 am #437079
I’m asking that you and all the other people on this forum read my whole post before you reply.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say you acted immaturely in your response to your father.
You didn’t need to to the whole rant about never seeing you again or your FH or your children. You could have just gone “Since I have not heard from you I assume you do not wish to particiapte in my wedding or my life and I will not expect or welcome contact from you from this point forward.”
But I can see why you said it, because you are really, deeply hurt by all his actions, not just his recent ones.
However from the way you describe the situation I get a strong feeling that though you haven’t been in close contact for quite a long time you still seek his approval and want a realtionship with him because he is the only parent that you really have.
Think about how upset you are at not having him walk you down the aisle, or even having him pretend to be happy at your wedding for your sake. How after the week deadline was up it was yopu who contacted him, three times.
The feeling of badness you are feeling (I believe) stems from you finally cutting him out of your life. Sure LOGICALLY it makes sense as he brings you nothing but headaches and drama. But emotionally? You just cut off one of your parents from your life (Technically your only parent) and that is huge.
This is something you are going to need to deal with, the grief, sadness and sense of loss will be almost as much as if he had died – possibly worse because he isn’t dead you have chosen to make it so in your life.
My advice? Take some time out to write down and process what you are feeling. Anger, sadness, sense of loss, grief, resentment, relief, everything you have cooped up inside.
You might need to see a councilor or thearpist to help you through it.
Come to terms emotionally with what has happened so you can accept it and make peace with it.April 8, 2014 at 9:39 am #437082
Also your situation sounds kind of similar to me.
I made a decision as a young adult to no longer have a dad.
It was hard at first – Giving up the parent who I so desperately wanted to be close to and have a relationship with? Shouldn’t I try harder to be everything they want? Then they will love me and we will have a perfect realtionship and everything will live up to the picture of what a family is supposed to be in my head.
But I realised that wasn’t working. No matter what I did it would never be enough or overcome the past events and make me happy.
Again your situation and mine sound close:
Parents divorced when I was young, I was a daddys girl and he got remarried and I was no longer number one to him and that really hurt. I mean of course he has to put his new family first but we never did anything just the two of us, ever, after that point.
He was consistantly unreliable whenever I placed trust or responisibility in him and every time I got hurt so badly and I beat myself up for expecting something different (when he kept proving that he wasn’t going to take the chances I gave him to rebuild our relationship).
So in my mid to late teen years I stopped opening up to him emotionally. I never trusted or relied on him again. By removing that component of the realtionship he has lost all power to hurt me.
I don’t want or need his approval, opinions, respect or anything else he might offer.
I’m not angry. I do not blame my mother, him or my step mother for any of it.
I just accept that I have a father but not a dad.
It sounds like this is what you have just done.
You need to acess for yourself whether or not your father may one day be a man you can trust and rely upon, to have an open relationship with and be a good presence in the life of your children.
But you need to base this on evidence of past and present behaviour – not on what you hope.
April 10, 2014 at 2:18 am #437264
I think bothEmeraldBride and Kittikats have valid points, I certainly don’t think K is trying in any way to be cruel or offensive, but simply to explore alternative points of view (in fact I was going to make a similar point myself). Although I agree with a lot of what the pther girls have said, I think I’d also like to break down the situation and reply myself as it sounds like this is something you really want support for.
In the end there is no right answer, as it will vary wildly depending on your individual situation and relationships,however we can offer insights from our own experience.
Relationship with your mother:
I can relate to some degree, having a dysfunctional family myself; my mother and maternal family abused me, and I lived in pretty dire circumstances for most of my life. I can certainly understand not feeling the need to have a relationship with her (though I don’t know your specific situation); but I do wonder if you are in communication and if she will be atending the wedding, as this may contribute to tension with your father considering the circumstances of their divorce.
Living up to expectations:
I think other members have addressed this pretty well, you’ve lived yyour whole life trying to live up to the expectations of someone who has never done the same in return. I think it amazing how far you’ve come (mine is a similar story) and you need to recognise that it was you who made those changes and turned your life around, not him. You need to learn to appreciate how far you’ve come and love yourself.
I do think your father had the right to feel hurt and angry about not being told directly. It is basic etiquette to contact immediate family first, so he probably felt slighted; and it is understandable that he wasn’t very receptive when you called the first time to discuss it. However I don’t think leaving abusive voice messages etc. is in any way ok.
His attendance at the wedding:
In the end, he is a variable, things could go wrong, he could get upset, cancel at the last minute or make a mockery of your big day; you could have anyone in his place who you trust and care about, or who has been there for you. One of my friends had her best friend take her down the aisle as her family were all in Russia, and it was still beautiful. You can also choose to have no attendant lead you, which a lot of brides now do.
Your explosion over the phone:
On this point, I completely agree with Kittikats. Despite your history, you completely over-reacted, in the end you were waiting for him to be ready to discuss it. He wasn’t ready, you pushed it, and then you got very upset and blocked him completely. There’s no telling if your already strained relationship can overcome this, and I think it may be a matter of forgiveness from both sides and a willingness to talk about it calmly. It is totally understandable, this is very personal and touchy for you, it is a difficult and painful situation which has lasted your entire life, and it is being dredged up at a time when you want to be happy and excited; however becomming nasty and pushing him away will not solve anything or change how painful it is, in a way it is running from the issue.
‘How am I supposed to feel?’
The answer is simpler than you think, feelwhat ever you need, process that emotion, analyze it, talk about it with a professional; but most of all, let it out. This has been festering for years, there’s no right way to feel, only understanding and expressing yourself.
Ám I supposed to do or say anything or is up to him?’
Well it is up to both of you. No one person is at fault, you have both made mistakes in this situation. There is no ‘good’ or évil’, blows were dealt on both sides. You were the last to say an ill word, so I would not expect him to come to you first; he probably feels hurt, indignant and angry. It is unlikely he will just let that go. In this case, it may be worth you going to him first in oder to offer the olive-branch. As much as he has hurt you, to be the bigger person can mean admitting you did something you’re not entirely proud of; there’s no shame in that. Don’t come into it expecting an apology from him, or for everything to become peachy; he sounds like he’s stubborn and has a nasty temper, so he may stand his ground; if so, take it with a grain of salt and calmly give it more time.
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