Daddy Issues (my own)

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by SuZir, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    My dad is a difficult child and can be a miserable s.o.b. He has all kinds of issues, has had hard core substance abuse issues (talking about physical alcohol dependency and several DTs, amphetamine psychosis and what not), but has been mainly moderate user last decade or so to my knowledge, has had pouts of drug induced mania (also with other than with amphetamine), has lots of characteristics of Borderline (BPD) (says he has also an official diagnoses, but I don't know for sure), is total attention w***e, tends to run hot and cold, is superficially charming but very untrustworthy and has caused me a lot of pain.

    However he is my dad. And only living relative.

    We have had our moments. I do have some really fond memories of him from when I was very young. After he was mostly MIA during my adolescence, we got closer and built a better relationship when I was a young adult. Then, soon after easy child was born he met a new, somewhat famous women and they married. He dropped me and mine like a wet sock and paraded in magazines how happy he was to finally have a family and how his wife's kids and grands felt like his own. I didn't get even a Christmas card in many years. That hurt - It really did.

    He has now been divorced from that wife quite some time and after the divorce he again remembered that I existed. I have had limited contact with him since that but I have not let him anywhere near my boys. He has been hinting about getting closer to me sometime now, last year quite persistently. Says he wants to learn to know my sons etc. and fix things between us.

    Last winter I was very much in crisis and when he was very persistent and I ended up buying few of his paintings and telling him to sod off and that I would not give him anything more. Lately he has been back calling and coming to my office. Not trying to sell his paintings this time, but trying to get me to lunch with him etc. And even giving me one painting (which I absolutely love, it is very special for me) for free. I do know he has been selling quite well lately so he is not likely in need of cash right now, so that is not why he is after me, I think.

    He is an artist, quite good in fact, and for years (I have bought a piece here and there to mainly get rid of him. Or because I have actually liked it a lot. If I'm honest (and not let the bitterness intervene) I guess I have ended up with collection of his favourite/best works; and paid very much underprice. So his motives have not been purely money he has been able to get from me. And some of his works, especially a sketchbook about me when very young and similar about difficult child as a baby, are some of my most priced possessions. He has been basically out from my, and even more so from my sons' lives, Joy's whole life and hasn't really done almost any works about him. Especially I would very much want some sketches of him, my dad has gotten classical art education and is an awesome drawer, I in fact love more many of his sketches than his big, finished works.

    And let's face it, what I know about, he has lately been behaving himself.

    He would want to be bigger part of my life and get a part in my sons lives. Of course if my sons and my dad want that, I can't stop it anyway. difficult child is already an adult and easy child will soon be. But at this point my dad tries to get to them through me so I have my say. Letting him be part of my sons lives would of course let them vulnerable to him. And I don't know how much they would get from it, maybe something. But to be honest, it is unlikely either of my boys would get so invested that they could get hurt, (at least if we warn difficult child not to give my dad any publicity boost, but even that is not a threat now that difficult child is abroad, while my dad is somewhat known in this country, he doesn't have any name outside of art circles anywhere else), so mostly I'm apprehensive because I'm worried I could get burnt again. Last time was bad enough, not wanting to go through that again. Then again, if I don't let myself get too emotionally invested, he can't hurt me like that again even if I let him be part of my life.

    He is who he is and there is not changing that at the lightest. But he is not devoid of good characteristics and I do know for sure (after all, I just have to look that sketchbook he did about me) that at least once he loved me the best he could. That may not be a whole lot, but it was his best anyway.

    And he is my dad.

    Sorry for being long-winded, just musing how I should handle him. It's not easy decision for me in one way or another. And my brains say one thing and heart another. Blah!
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  2. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I say be honest and let them know the whole story. Let them know he is a come and go kind of grandpa so not to make plans or depend on him. Treat him like the grandpa that lives far far away and you only get to visit once every year. LOL They should know him and he should know them but be up front with them and let them know you wont keep them from the relationship you just want them to be realistic about what that relationship might be.
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I think I'm in reality more afraid how much I may get burnt myself than about my sons at this point. For them, even at best, my dad would be just 'Oh, you are my grandfather, interesting to get to know you'-type of relationship. For me, it is my Dad. Despite everything, I am emotionally connected. I doubt my sons would build that much of emotional connection to him. They are young and very busy with their own lives, 'new' grandfather would not have much space in their universe.

    Of course getting to know him would kind of be their right. He is part of also their history. And while easy child doesn't seem to have gotten much from him (some mannerism and enough looks that one can believe they are related and some talent for drawing), difficult child does have more in common with him. While he doesn't look anything like him, he has the same intensity and drive, and quite a few of his character flaws too.
  4. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I can certainly understand. My parents burned me pretty bad not that long ago and I am having a very hard time forgiving that. I just don't have the energy for it anymore.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Don't stress yourself over it. Yes, he is your dad who hasn't been there, a lot like mine who hasn't been there. Yes, he loves you. So does mine. My kids see him rarely and he doesn't seem all that invested in them and they don't ask about him much.

    If you feel he will hurt you, evaluate why you feel the need to engage him again. That he is your dad is not a good enough reason. That you love him could be.

    There are plenty of parents who don't act like it and are not in their kid's lives and everyone survives. If you want to give him another chance, do it, but tell him how you feel. And stick to your own boundaries. The important people in your family in my opinion are you, your husband, and your two boys and they come first. At least, (I shouldn't have attached my own values to you) that is how I feel about my family. Any other relatives are secondary to my husband and kids.

    I understand your longing for parental approval and love. We all have it. Some of us, due to horrible behavior on our parent's part, decide it's not worth the price and don't even want it anymore. But that does not seem to be where you are.

    Good luck making a decision that is best for YOU (I am more worried about YOU than your dad) :) You seem to have a good head on your shoulders!
  6. anthonyinjaxon

    anthonyinjaxon New Member

    My dad was never in my life because my mother said he was a looser and she did not want me around him, my step father was mean to me so mom picked 2 losers. I would never poison my kids minds had my wife and I divorced, she died in 2006 of breast cancer. Let kids make up their own minds about their biological parents whether it be mom or dad.
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I wish I had some wise advice, but obviously I got nothin'...
  8. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Dstc: I feel little silly, because me getting burnt isn't recent. More like over 15 years ago. And my dad didn't actually do anything to me, just dumbed me and mine like a wet sock. And to be honest, if he would had done that to a yet another drinking binge or two or to backpack around the world for five years, I wouldn't had been hurt much, but just rolled my eyes and thought that he is who he is. But playing a 'dad' and 'granddad' to someone else, and taking so much joy out of it publicly and at the same time dumbing me and my kids, that really got to me. I know it is childish and he is an adult and I was an adult and he had a right to spend his time and Holidays with people he enjoyed being with and he didn't have any responsibility of me and all that. But right or not, I was angry and hurt.

    I thought I had long ago forgiven and let all that go, because he is who he is. There is no point to expect anything more from him. But it doesn't seem to be so simple.

    MWM: Why I feel a need to engage him? That is a good question. Because he is my dad kind of feels like a good reason to me. But there are others. I do feel my sons have a right to that heritage too. Right to know him. And he has a right to know them. I do want him to sketch and paint my easy child and also difficult child now that he is an adult. I'm very curious to see them through his eyes. And I have, after years and years of trying to desperately assimilate to my husband's family, turned back to look and appreciate my roots and background. But I'm an only child. No cousins and everyone else but my dad already dead. There is no one else but me and him left to remember.

    It is that peculiar, but profound, loneliness, when you walk in cemetery full of candles, most tombstones having five or ten or fifteen of them, at Christmas Eve twilight with shopping bag full of candles and light them, one by one, in front of the long line of tombstones that don't have any other candles lighting them. Just walking there, when you can see from far away that one dark spot of tombstones in that huge cemetery full of candles and light, almost no single grave without but that cluster of yours. Having your husband and your kids with you doesn't take away that kind of loneliness.

    For years I tried to arrange our Christmas Eve (yes, in our culture Eve is the most important day of our Christmas celebrations) schedule so that we would had hit the cemetery my family is buried when it was still day light (and when sundown is around 3 p.m. it is a challenge I assure you), just so that it wouldn't be so concrete that there really isn't anyone but me left. But that really messed up our timetable so I decided not to be a sissy and stop trying to avoid the truth.

    Other than that; my dad can be really engaging person, when he puts his mind into it and I do enjoy his company at times. He is lots of things, but he is almost never boring and he can be great fun.

    And yeah, I do love him anyway.