bio dad & difficult child guilt

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Steely, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    So, you know, difficult child has been pretty stable since H.'s death. Somehow mortality and life has sunk in to his little brain, and he has been able to control his impulses..........
    but reality is raising it's ugly head again..........
    and so much of it has to do with BD, aka bio-dad, butt dork, brain dufus.........who never, EVER, does what he says.
    It is driving difficult child over the edge. He tells him he will be over at a certain time to talk to him, or see him and he NEVER, EVER does it. It has gotten to the point where difficult child is asking me to step in and make it better - and I have to tell him I cannot. He is old enough that he has to start implementing his own healthy life rules, and not rely on me.
    Lately though, his reply to me has been
    "well then I want to kill myself".
    This is an old standby for Matt. Something he says when he feels powerless, and hopeless. I told him that tonight. That it seemed to me that he felt as if he had no control over the situation, which is why he is telling me these statements, but yet he does. He can state healthy decision to his dad, and not be his victim. However Matt does not "think he can because it would make his dad too sad".

    God, I just want to tear BD's head off for making the last 17 years this sorta hell for his kid. At the same time - this will be something Matt has to live with for his whole life. He has to learn how to set his boundaries in a healthy manner.
    None the less, I kick myself for ever making the decision to marry BD in the first place. I feel horrible for Matt..........and yet..........I cannot. He has to accept his life the way it is, and deal with it consequently.
  2. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I had to deal with stuff like that as a kid and as I was a easy child I can't imagine dealing with it as a difficult child. With that said though, here is my message to Matt:


    It "opposite of blows" but as much as you may love or care about him, you wound up with a dad who probably shouldn't be a dad. Dad's are men who act mature, responsible and who keep their promises. Mine didn't do much of that when I was a kid and it hasn't changed too much over the years. My mom and him divorced when I was 4, mom remarried when I was 6 and he adopted me but I still saw my bio dad. Kind of. He would promise me the moon and stars but very rarely deliver. "Hey hon, I'll come get you and we'll go camping this weekend!" pfffft. Never showed. Stuff like that and more. In my case, I didn't see him regularly until he started dating the woman who is now my step-mom. She came from a "good" family and I think he wanted to show them what a good dad he was.

    It took me years but I finally understood something. It wasn't anything to do with me at all. I wasn't a bad kid or rotten daughter....he just didn't (for whatever reason) have the committment in him to be a dad. Even to this day (and I'm almost 38 years old), he'll tell me if we need anything, just call. The few times I have, I shouldn't have wasted my time. He has an excuse for EVERYTHING. Does it still hurt? Sure. But at the same time, I've realized that it's not me. It's him. He's the "fun" guy who's great when things are going well. If things don't go his way though, he throws a fit. He also has 3 more kids by my step-mom and as long as they act the way or do the things he thinks they should, he's great. Step out of that zone though and they are horrible, rotten kids and he doesn't know where he went wrong to deserve such treatment. Yeah, they are teenagers (14, 17 and 20) and by no means are they perfect. But they are still good kids who act like kids do.

    My grandma gave me a letter once. Dad had written it sometime after the divorce and grandma had kept it to give to me when I was older. After reading it, I could see that she was trying to show me that Dad really does love me (and I know he his own way) but something jumped out at me when I read it. Almost every single sentence in that letter started with the word "I". I want to do this, I want for this to happen. No where in there did he express concern about what was best for me as his child or what I may want.

    When your dad says "Hey, I'll be over at such and such time so we can go do something".... say Great Dad! and then make other plans. If he shows........great.....bonus! If not, you didn't bank your whole day on something that may not happen. Does that type of thing make the hurt any less? No. Can't lie to you there, but it does help. Once you realize that he's a grown adult who can't live up to his promises and it has NOTHING to do with does make a difference. He's your dad, it will always hurt if he doesn't come through. Nothing can change that. But by accepting that he's also human and has limitations, it makes it easier. I know you have absolutely no idea who I am and probably dont' give a rat's patootie but trust me....I know what I'm talking about here. You know inside who you can really count on. It may be different than who you WANT to count on, but still, you know who's really there for you. Depend on THEM. Anything more is a bonus.

  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Oh,'s so hard to see our kids disappointed over and over and over by Dad, who is supposed to love them and care for them no matter what. I am so frustrated at Miss KT's useless father for the same reasons...and then, she has his useless hiney up on a pedestal, and is continually hateful to Hubby, who has been there, supported her, etc. since she was 7. I know how you feel...I want to just slap that man silly...if I thought it would do any good. Sending hugs to you both.
  4. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Wow............thanks guys. This board's compassion and insight never ceases to amaze me.
    Mstang..........I will read that to Matt. Because it seems that is exactly how he feels, and he needs to hear it from someone else. I have heard him say the same words you just wrote, over and over.
    He did finally call his dad back tonight, after an hour of us rehearsing it, and told him he would see him Thur., not tomorrow. He had a spring in his step after that conversation, and I pointed out to him (I know how overly motherly of me) that he felt better because he took control of the situation and no longer felt the victim.
  5. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Well then he's one up on me. I never had the guts to do that. At this point, if I tried, there's quite a bit built up and it could get uuuuuugly so I just don't bother. But Good for him!!!
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My oldest sons father left him when he was 10 months old and has only seen him three times since then. He hasnt sent child support or called or sent presents at any regular intervals. A couple of times over the years he would get a hair up his hiney and call and promise to send something as a gift and Billy would get all excited waiting for it. Can you believe he once sent a used radio? Used!

    Over the years Billy came to grips with the idea that his father just was the way he was. It didnt help that he had a whole other family with 4 other kids in it. It really didnt help that Billy was named after his father...and his father before him and that whole family basically ignored him. Trust me when I say that name will end with my son. He wont carry on that legacy. He got lucky to have a good step father who loves him and treats him as one of his own. Tony considers himself to have 3 boys...not just his two bio kids. That is Bills loss.
  7. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Steely, my son went through exactly that same thing when he was that age. Promises were never kept, plans were made and he never followed through, visits were scheduled and he never showed up or even called - nobody mattered at all but HIM! In my sons' case, he was treated this way by their dad while his older sister seemed to be the favored one, the one who he cared about. Turns out he was only using her and manipulating her too, just in a different way.

    It took my son many years of getting his feelings hurt over and over again before he finally realized that it wasn't him - it wasn't through any fault of his own or any shortcoming on his part. When he was a few years older, more mature, and looking at the situation as an adult, he could see it for what it really was - his father is simply an :censored2:! He's not a nice person at all. He's incapable of really caring about anyone but himself. Other people simply don't matter to him. They are important to him only for what they can do for him, what he can gain from them, even his own children. Now that my son sees his father for what he really is, he doesn't feel bad about himself any more. He regrets that their relationship couldn't be different but he knows that it's not his fault. If anything, my daughter was more hurt than my son - she kept holding on to her faith in him and then was bitterly disappointed.

    I know how much it hurts to see your child be hurt like that. It's such a helpless feeling. Hugs to you and your boy. It will get better.
  8. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    What a frustrating situation. I can understand how painful it must be to have such a flake for a Dad.

    I had to develop a "15 minute rule" with one of my friends. She was the same way. She'd suggest something, I'd plan my day around the activity, then she'd either be running so late it would have to be postponed or she'd not show up at all.

    So I developed the rule. I told her I'd wait 15 minutes. If she appeared- great! If not, I'd go about my business with my back-up plan.

    Like it was stated above, it gave me control and made me a lot less resentful. I know the pain of having a flaky friend doesn't come close to the pain of having a flaky Dad but The Rule might be something that Matt could implement for himself.

  9. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Mstng's message is wonderful, I hope you do read it to your son.

    My girls have gone through this as well. At 20 and 24, they've both chosen, finally to simply ignore their father. It seemed every time they would call or make an attempt to communicate with him or see him (he stopped regular visitation when they were 12 and 16), they got kicked in the teeth, and told how screwed up (only not using that term) their lives are. He ignores birthdays and holidays, yet blasts them for ignoring fathers day and his birthday. The law straw was last summer when their father completely ignored Oldest's wedding day, didn't call, didn't show. Neither girl has had contact with him since.

    I think it takes age and maturity to come to grips with this (omg did I just almost call my difficult children mature?!).. at least, to slowly accept that the situation is what it is. That doesn't make it any less painful. For years I bit my tongue and did my best not to bad-mouth their father, but now that they are older, when they complain to me, I will give them my honest opinion. Which is that their father is likely mentally ill, will never change, does love them in his own way but is simply incapable of maintaining a relationship with them or being supportive. He just .. can't .. do it. Period. I've had to work on my own acceptance of this as well .. and it's not easy. It may be "his loss," but he's not the one suffering from it. Not in his mind, anyway.

    Many hugs to you and your son.
  10. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Thanks guys.
    Interestingly, today is Thursday and Matt has not bothered to call his dad as promised. Part of me thinks he should keep his commitment, but most of me just thinks I should stay out of it. I told him yesterday that his dad left a message on the other phone. And Matt said, yea, but he told me he would call me on my cell to set up Thursday, and he never has, so I'm not going. Hmmmm.....Again, I will just stay out of it. I think Matt is trying to hold his dad completely accountable, something that will never work. But that is OK, as long as Matt is OK with the reality that creates.

    I guess my other concern is that Matt is just so depressed lately. It is hard for me to tell if he is just completely engulfed in his depression and not wanting to do anything because of it - or if he is really trying to be healthy in this situation.