Father's day and resentments

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Nancy, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My father is 92 and lives in an apartment about 15 minutes from me. These past two years have been strained but I have tried to maintain a friendly relationship. It's always been a difficult relationship. He is an alcoholic and I came from a very dysfunctional family that I worked very hard to overcome. Things were going ok between us until they broke down Christmas 2010 when he insisted on serving alcohol to my sister and her family even though I expressed concern over difficult child just finishing rehab and it being a trigger. Words were exchanged and I have not spoken to my sister since. But I tried to maintain a relationship with dad because of his age and there was no use in having the last years of his life with hard feelings. It really was my sister who should have been more understanding about the whole thing anyway.

    Fast forward to today. I made a steak and baked potato on the grill and easy child and I went to his apartment with that and his gift. His car was not there so I used my key to enter the security door and tried to use the other key to go into his apartment. The key didn't work, tried it several times. easy child suggested we drive up to the bar he usually goes to and sure enough he was there. Now understand he does not drink much at 92, a beer or two, and I could care less at this point. So we go in and he is at his special table that they reserve for all the old timers and he is surprised to see us. I asked him if he changed his locks and he said yes, that I never come over and when I do I never use the key so he decided to change it. I told him once again that I do not consider it polite to enter his apartment with my key when he is home out of respect for his privacy but evidently that doesn't make sense to him. He considers it rude on my part or something.

    He then said he forgot my husband's birthday and didn't have his checkbook with him but he will mail a check tonight. I told him not to bother and that we did not want his money (he didn't forget, he has all the birthdays written in his wallet and looks at it all the time but I don't care).

    He opened his present, a shirt and I put it in his car. I left the steak wrapped in foil on the table, kissed him on the cheek and left. He flipped his hand at us as we left in a dismissive and hurtful gesture.

    Of course I was near tears for quite a while and easy child tried to cheer me up. I came home, made dinner for my husband and had a nice visit with easy child. And then I sat down and wrote him an email telling him just how hurtful his actions were to me and that I was glad my daughters have two parents who unconditionally love them no matter what and that I never felt that from him. His love was always based on who he liked at the time. I told him I was sorry he was spending his last years with so much bitterness and hate and that I saw his gesture towards me and it was hurtful. I told him he won and that if his goal was to let me know he didn't trust me anymore he accomplished it. I asked him to please not recognize mine or husband's birthdays anymore but I asked that he treat my daughters the same way he treats my sister's kids.

    I thought about not sending it, that I should just let him have the last years of his life feeling however he wants and then I said no. Just because he is 92 does not give him the right to treat me or my family like **** and that if he wants nothing to do with us anymore that is fine. It was time I let him know the way I felt and the way his actions have hurt me.

    I can't ever imagine treating my family the way he has treated us for so many years.

  2. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Dear Nancy,
    I am so sorry for your dad's response to your lovely gesture of dinner. You even hunted him dowm! I am sure the heart ache is tough today. I hope you can consentrate the rest of your day on your husband.
    My dad and I have not been on speaking terms for awhile-over my difficult child as well. This is so common in our families. They just don't understand, and in my case, they want to keep me in my life long role as caregiver to the rest of the family-can't do it all since difficult child has been so much work. I am sorry about your sister as well-have a sister who is tough too. My only respite from these 2 people in my family has been to cut them off for periods of time. I let them make the choice to return and then I set limits-each time gets better but by the end, it still won't be health.

    Good for you not being a door mat and sending the email. I think we so often don't share our feeling with our family ,so nothing changes. It could go either way but, you have said your peice. The rest is up to him. ((((Hugd)))
  3. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest


    I am so very sorry. You did the right thing. As you know, we cannot control how others react.

    I'm hoping you and your husband and daughters are having a nice evening.
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    So sorry this is your day. Ditto AlabamaGirl. You can only control how you react, and I think speaking your peace is a good thing. I hope the rest of your day went well.
  5. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Oh nancy. I am sorry you are going thru this. It's so hard when our mommy hearts and our daughter hearts hurt in unison. Please know I understand how you feel. Like being squeezed to from both sides. It hurts even more when we realize that we methodically put our own lives on a different path and then our kids (difficult child's) treat us with the same disdain our parents did.

    Forgive me if I am projecting too much. I just want you to know I get it and I care. And I recognize and honor and admire that you chose a different path for your own marriage and family.

    And I too think you did the right thing by sending the email. Your dad likely won't understand. But I understand that you needed to stick up for yourself and draw a line in the sand. And no more chasing him-k? You and me both- no more chasing difficult child's-both parental and our children. Deal?

  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sig, you always know what to say to let me know you really understand. No more chasing, it's a deal. I am actually relieved to give up the facad that everything is ok. I won't pretend anymore that he cares about anyone but himself. My throat started to swell and tears came to my eyes and then I just realized it's time to let go.

  7. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I understand. All my dad got was a very short phone call. I've had to focus on my family instead of my relationship with my dad. He was abusive and while he has changed a lot it still isn't enough of a change to not hurt tremendously on days like this. I think he was a bit surprised I even called him. He just doesn't care one way or the other if I did or not.
  8. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    You and easy child took time away from husband on Father's Day to pay a kind call on your dad. After reading what happened next, it reminded me of a saying a very wise person I worked with a long time ago once said to me when I was in a similar situation, "All you can expect from a cow is a kick."

    Sometimes people mellow with age, sometimes they don't...relationships are complicated. I don't understand the dismissive hand wave or where it came from...you just delivered a steak and baked potato to his BAR TABLE for crying out loud! After he didn't acknowledge your husband's birthday! All I know is that it hurt you and it hurt easy child to see you hurt. I'm astonished at 92 he has a computer and even knows what to do with email, but he may apologize, who knows? In any case, you know what he is like, you offered an olive branch which was dismissed, and it's OK to protect yourself from future rejection. I'm sorry you're hurting, and sorry easy child had to witness it.
  9. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    CJ it's not a computer, it's a presto mailbox which is a one way printing machine where you can send email to an elderly or disabled person so they can get communication from family and friends and stay more in touch. I bought it for him several years age and pay the yearly charge on it. I chose to send an email because it's nearly impossible to say those things over the phone to him, he just doesn't listen or twists what you say or starts to give you his list of grievances. This way he can read it over and over and show my sister and they can both spend hours talking about me. But I know I did not say anything that was not true and there is nothing in it that he can argue with.

    If he started to be like this at 92 it would be different but he's treated me like this all my life and its time he understand how hurtful it is.

  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Hugs, Nancy. DDD
  11. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I am so sorry that he isn't capable of accepting your love. I'm sure easy child sees, and appreciates, the stark contrast between him and her own dad.. Know thaT she also sees that you've reached out, regardless. She will remember that and respect you for it always.
  12. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Hugs Nancy.... sounds like you did a lot for your dad on Fathers day and he did not appreciate it at all ..... yes time to move on from the hurtful past and take care of your own.

  13. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I am so sorry that you are hurting. My eyes got teary just reading this because I know what you mean. My brother (former difficult child, estranged from my mom) and I have started communicating really well. And just about a month ago, I said something about my mom being a prima donna and that I worked really hard NOT to emulate her and it resulted in raising a son who feels so darn entitled all the time - just like her.

    And this situation with difficult child takes every ounce of patience I have - which makes it hard/impossible just to gloss things over with my mom. We've all ready had 2 dust ups and I am fairly confident we are heading for a 3rd...I have no more room in my life for games.

    {{{{hugs}}} It's Monday and the only holidays in the near future are easier ones...fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween...we are off of the emotional wagon for a bit!