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slr0031 April 1st, 2014 07:08 AM

Can someone help with family situation
I have had conflict with my dad and his wife for a long time. I am a married adult with children of my own. I have not seen my dad for 2 years. I have called and sometimes we have an ok conversation and other times it will be awkward or he will not answer the phone and take weeks to call back if at all. He called end of Jan on my daughter's birthday and as I was not near the phone I did now answer. I called back in literally 10 min later and left him a message. I called again the next day. He has not called me back and it is now April. I got an email from him yesterday asking me if he and his wife can visit next month. I have felt very anxious and stressed in the past dealing with problems that circulate around his wife and no longer want to deal with it. I told my dad almost a year ago that it would be best to not expect me to have a relationship with his wife. He completely ignored it. I want to be able to see my dad again but feel sadness and resentment that I have to be around his wife to be able to do that. I want to communicate how I feel but know it will anger him, he probably will not talk to me anymore and then I will feel tremendous guilt because of it.

KayKay April 1st, 2014 01:27 PM

Re: Can someone help with family situation
Okay, I went back to your original thread before responding to this one just to make sure I remembered the situation correctly. :)

I think that Lucy gave you some fantastic advice in that thread. In it, she mentioned that your dad being angry and not speaking to you is emotional blackmail. You are about to fall for it again. :(

You said you were in counseling, and I hope that you are still able to speak with someone despite your move. I sense from your post that you're just not in a place where you can see your dad quite yet. The way I see it, the best thing to do is the thing that does least harm to your relationship with him, since you do hope to repair it at some point. The thing to do is decide what that option is. Is it worse to have him angry and not speaking to you while you work through your issues? Or is it worse to have him get his way and run roughshod over you when you are weak? You're the only one who can chose that.

Two things I want to say. First, "No" is a complete answer. You are allowed to say "No" to his request without trying to get him to understand your feelings. Just "No." Not "No, Dad, I can't have a relationship with your wife and I want you to understand my feelings" because that opens up a discussion. It sounds like that discussion is what gets him angry and pulls you between feeling hurt and feeling guilty. "No" is an answer. If he insists on a further explanation, you can give him something vague and true and related to you that he can't bully you about. "No. I can't. I've got to deal with some stuff first."

Second, you should never feel guilty about doing what is necessary to protect yourself.

Keep posting. It'll help to talk it out. And may I suggest you reread your first thread? Lucy did a great job. :)

snafu April 1st, 2014 05:16 PM

Re: Can someone help with family situation

slr0031 April 2nd, 2014 06:42 AM

Re: Can someone help with family situation
Kaykay thank you. I am kinda teared up because nobody really understands this stuff. I feel like the family on my dad's side just kinda hates me now. They also do not talk to me anymore. Which further puts pressure on me to act in the proper way. Thanks for going back to my original post. I agree. I think Lucy did give me really good advice. I am back in counseling. I had talked with a different therapist for about 10 months before we moved here last summer. I really miss my original therapist. She did really understand the situation. My current therapist is also good, but the previous one was there through almost a year and saw things for what they were.

The best thing I can do that does the least harm to my relationship with my dad is to agree to the visit and do my very best to put on a fake face. I have been thinking about that and my mind always seems to to imagine how angry it may make me to have to do this and how it may not change anything unless I keep doing it. I don't really know which option is worse, having him be angry at me and continue not being in my life...I don't know how I can live with it and the guilt, even though as time goes on I think I am feeling less guilty. Or giving his his way and feeling anger, anxiety and hurt over the fact that my dad will not have a relationship with me unless I embrace his wife. I want to tell him I want to see him and that I think it would be better if we choose a different way to visit but I know that choosing this will probably damage things beyond repair. I am struggling because I do not like ether choice I have. I will reread what Lucy wrote.

It helped to read what you wrote about saying no also. I don't want to hurt anybody I also don't want to keep getting hurt myself.

KayKay April 2nd, 2014 07:56 AM

Re: Can someone help with family situation

Originally Posted by slr0031 (Post 69577)
The best thing I can do that does the least harm to my relationship with my dad is to agree to the visit and do my very best to put on a fake face.

I get the impression that your dad will never be pleased with what you do. You said in your other thread that he doesn't feel you get "excited enough" to see his wife or "thank her enough." Do you really think that your fake face will be good enough that it won't harm your relationship?

slr0031, it's okay to be angry with your dad. You are an adult, your dad is an adult, his wife is hurting you, and he is angry at you for being hurt. This is abuse. You are allowed to be angry and say No to being abused.

You have children. Do you want them to see you stressed and worried and upset when your dad is visiting with his wife? They'll pick up on it.

Many years ago, when my kids were young, I had a relationship with my two sisters that was rocky (to say the least). Long story short, they were bullies to me and did some really cruel things. I was in my late 30's, and believed that because they were my sisters, they were allowed to behave that way and I had to accept it. My husband finally pointed out to me that my sisters treating me the way they did was affecting our kids. Most directly, one sister had stolen money that was supposed to be mine (which would eventually be my kids') but indirectly, I spent so much time upset about my sisters that I was not being the best mom I could be to our kids. That was eye opening, and gave me the strength I needed to cut ties with my sisters. I realized in a heartbeat that my obligation was to my kids, not to my sisters or my dad who wanted me to keep putting up with them so there wouldn't be strife in the family.

Keep thinking about it. Keep finding your inner strength.

I want to add that if the family members on your dad's side kind of "hate" you now, they are bullies too. Truthfully, they don't hate you as much as they hate the fact that you won't just do what your dad says to shut him up and make him happy. Your dad's behavior is making their lives miserable. You can't worry about them. You have to worry about you. They can figure out their own relationships with your dad.

slr0031 April 2nd, 2014 10:54 AM

Re: Can someone help with family situation
I do not believe I can be fake enough in a believable way to appease my dad. I know it will just open the door to more problems in the future. Everything you said is true. My husband has pointed out to me how this affects our kids. I do not want to take my kids' grandpa away but I also do not want be stressed about it around them and it does carry over into other parts of your life. I am mad about all the time I have spent in mental energy over the situation. Thank you, this helps a lot.

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