question...dont know how to title this one (long)

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by DammitJanet, Dec 8, 2007.

  1. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Ok...this has to do with the relationship between my boys...particularly Jamie...and my father.

    Jamie is very upset with my father and my step-mom Pat right now and really could not care less if he ever saw or spoke with them again. It breaks my heart that he is feeling this way because my father is 81 years old and Jamie has always been his favorite of my boys and gosh...its all so complicated!

    Some background:

    My dad married my step-mom when I was pregnant with Jamie and while I was "invited" to the wedding, they knew I lived 5 hours away, had no car and they sent the invite a week before the wedding. I was 7 months pregnant and broke. There was no way I could go. It was more than obvious I wasnt wanted there. Ok...I understood. I was still legally married to one man, had a 3 year old, and pregnant again by someone else that my father didnt know. Ok...probably not the daughter he wanted around. I understand.

    Fast forward.

    I got my life much more together. I graduated college but working was difficult for me because of the kids. Cory made it next to impossible for me to work when he was young because no one would keep him. Day care was so expensive with 3 of them that I would have spent more than I would have made. I stayed home until he was in 3rd grade and then I got a good job.

    Over those years I kept most of the conflict that may have arisen between me and my parents away from my kids. I also never let them know that we may have been They simply didnt know any different. Most of their friends were in the same situations and if they really wanted to do something bad enough like play sports...we did without to let them do it. Or my dad came through for like summer camp. He did pay for them to go to 4H camp a couple of years for a week.

    He also always sent me Xmas gifts or money for the boys when they were growing up.

    Now here is the rub. My stepmom has 3 kids all around my same age. They are all more successful than I am. One much more. We are never allowed to mingle the families. Ever. Its almost like me and mine will contaminate hers. We were never allowed to be there on Xmas day.

    But to keep my boys from knowing all that I always told my kids that it we had to be at home to share Xmas with MY mom. (Like I gave a rats behind about We normally went up and saw my dad a week or so later and stayed overnight....a few times he even got us a motel room because it was "too much" for Pat.

    I never let on to the boys what was going on. I made it an adventure. I knew what was going on. I knew we were the second class part of the family. I got it...but I never let the kids know.

    Well...Jamie is now getting it. The last several times he has been to my dads things have been said to him about how they (the boys) would never have had what they had if my dad and pat hadnt done all that they did for us. Things have been brought up about how my dad has sent me money when the boys were growing up to help out with them. He sees first hand how if Jamie calls and says he can come down to see them but Pats kids want to be there, they take first place.

    This has all made Jamie furious. He says they are F'ing with his memories. He doesnt need to know any of this. He always saw his childhood as good and fun. His parents were good to him. His Papa was a great guy that he looked up to. He doesnt need to know about our finances back in 1990 or who bought what for him for Xmas in 1995.

    I dont know how to handle this. I am afraid that my dad is going to die with Jamie being mad at him which will end up with Jamie feeling so guilty because Jamie feels things sooooo deeply.

    I have worked through the fact that I am a second class citizen no matter what I do. I can never measure up. It doesnt much matter to me anymore but I cant stand the fact that they are now hurting my kid. Shun me all you want but dont take it out on him. Its not his fault I was a difficult child. He has done all he can to make his Papa proud...heck he followed his Papa's footsteps into the Marines!

    The boy was almost in tears last night on the phone talking about this stuff.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Aw man, that just breaks my heart. :frown:

    I'd reinforce to Jamie that his grandfather did do those wonderful things for him and his brothers. No one made him do it, the man did it because he loves them.

    Jamie is getting his first lesson that the adults you grew up believing were "perfect" are just as human as everyone else. It can be a tough thing to swallow. But in my opinion it's a valuable life lesson.

    Okay. So grandpa is a bit stupid for letting his wife dictate who can be in his home at any given time. Maybe he tried, it didn't work, caused problems in his marriage, so he picked his battles and settled on a comprimise. Who knows? But he still wanted you all in his life, and still managed to fill his role as grandpa even with the witch with a capitol B as his wife.

    Most men wouldn't have bothered. It might do good to remind Jamie of that.

    My girls went thru this while my step dad was dying. My Mom had to unload and didn't hold back cuz she figured the girls were old enough to hear the truth, ugly as it was. easy child told me she was torn between loving the grandpa she'd always known and hating the man he was with my mother.

    It took them awhile to work thru it. They now choose to remember him as the grandpa who was always there for them. What happened between my mother and stepfather is soley between them. They know the truth, just choose not to let it interfere with their happy memories.

  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    See that is the place I guess I have come to in my life. I can accept that my dad has been there for me and the kids when it has counted and if he had to put me over to the side a bit for the good of his marriage...oh well. Pat has treated him well in these last years of his life. I know he is well cared for and that is a huge load off my mind.

    I can accept being pushed aside for her a bit.

    I also think it makes a big difference in that this is the way I was always treated growing up. It isnt such a shock to me. I guess I can pat myself on the back that I must have not repeated that way have I always knew I was worthless from an early age but I didnt treat my boys like that and I guess they thought momma and daddy were superman. Ideals die hard.
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I was made to feel the same way growing up. Which is just one of many reasons I was more than happy to move to ohio with husband after we married. I didn't want my kids growing up around the same stuff I did.

    Evidently we did do an awesome job of not repeating their way of parenting. lol

    Oh, my girls are getting the lesson reinforced with husband's brother, too. They always saw him as "nice old uncle ****" til he and his wife ran out on the responsibility of caring for mother in law as her health deteriorates. And now they also realize that he's always treated them as second class, only I buffered 99 percent of it when they were kids.

    husband's brother is a total jerk. lol Oh, well. His loss.
  5. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    I think Daisy is correct - Jamie has realized that his grandfather - a man he obviously idolized - is human. Complete with shortcomings and faults. I remember the day I realized that about my own parents.

    My other thought is that he may be being protective of YOU - seeing how there is a double standard in regard to you versus HER kids. Our boys tend to be protective of their mammmas.

    I would be honest with Jamie. He's an adult. He can handle the truth.

    I'm sorry for you Janet. by the way - don't ever consider yourself a second class citizen. Don't buy the lie.
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    It's a rough lesson but it is part of growing up. Yes, I know it
    is a bit more extreme than most families but once we are adults we often have to face that our "heroes" were in fact just humans
    who made some good choices and some poor choices. It is painful
    but it is also freeing. Somehow it allows each of us to live with our own imperfections when we accept that all of God's
    children are imperfect.

    Because Jamie now knows the truth about the not so pretty side
    of your Dad he should be able to make the decision as an adult
    whether it makes sense to punish an 81 year old man for past weaknesses or whether it makes sense to forgive the past and
    enjoy what's left of the future.

    I think it is important that Jamie (and all easy child's) be gently
    reminded that although they are easy child's they, too, have faults and
    will make mistakes as adults. Hugs. DDD
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    I think the bigger problem for Jamie is not so much that he is upset for what happened in the past as that they are now pushing it in his face NOW!

    I really dont know why anyone finds the need to go into all this with him anyway. I doubt highly that my dad is doing this. I have a feeling its all my step-mom. My dad may well say some blunt things and be clueless much of the times but I dont think he would ever come out and tell Jamie anything bad about me. Its just not his style. We have never ever been able to get him to say one bad word about my mother and he was not treated well by that women at all. The worst thing he will ever say is "well that is just your mom honey." So I cant see him saying anything really horrible about me. He may have said something and Jamie misconstrued it. Pat on the other hand most likely has said something.

    My dad resents the fact that Pats kids charge him to do things for him around the house. We dont charge him...Tony and my boys will work their hind ends off helping him but we live hours away and cant get to him on a moments notice and Pats boys live right there in town. Pats boys are both professionals...we are blue collar. Dad tells Jamie this and Jamie doesnt understand that dad is telling him because he is proud of the fact that he can rely on us and not them. I understand that deeper meaning coming from him. Maybe its that "Yankee" charm or the fact that he grew up in a family of 8 kids in the depression...but he is very slow to show emotions and fast to be negative. so much fun...
  8. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Jamie's realizing how things really were. Yes, your dad helped. But in the matters of the heart, Pat's kids were first. If you were a difficult child or not, your kids are just kids- his grandchildren. They didn't do anything to him.

    OMG, they charge him? Too bad your dad doesn't stand up to Pat. It is his fault for allowing her to behave like that all these years, and still now trash talking you to them. I would be mad at him too. Especially since you are the ones he can count on, who don't CHARGE for help.

    on the other hand, anger will eat him up. It's better to let it go. I don't talk to my mother or grandmother, and I don't care. I don't let myself care, they aren't worth it. It's hard to tell someone how they should feel though. Pat seems like she's trying to make him feel bad, she's throwing it back in his face the help they gave? Why? Not nice! Wouldn't you give more to the kid who had the least? I would, it's not the grandchildren's business. Tell him that Pat is a creep.-Alyssa
  9. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Janet---I think for some women--women like Pat and my former stepmothers (yes that is plurarl---lack self esteem. Where you see yourself as a former difficult child---she sees you as competition--after all, you are his only daughter. They see women like us, women who have lived their lives by their own terms, without endless apologies and tremendous---because when we erred we learned and moved on. We built our lives without the help of a "man" and the men that we chose to be with allowed us to be individuals and not the Stepford wife she chose to be.

    Jamie is a good boy---he will do the right thing. He will swallow his "pride" and continue to see his Papa because he knows that it is the right thing to do. And our boys---our PCboys---they always do the right thing in the end!! (it just may take them a while to get to that end! after all, they are human)
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Yes Jamie will swallow his pride..but he will never ever cash a birthday, xmas, easter or any other check my father sends him. He has them all stacked in a drawer. I saw them one day and I asked him why he never cashed them and he just shrugged and said he wouldnt take anything from him but wouldnt elaborate.

    We are a funny bunch I guess. We dont want to say anything to hurt each
  11. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    You are hitting pretty close to home with this one, Janet. These are issues for me that husband and I are working on with the help of our therapist lately. It's not at all pleasant. I know that you are not alone in feeling second class or that your father is quick to point out your faults but never anything good about you. The last time (9 years ago) that I spoke to my father, he very proudly told me that he never felt good about anything any of his children did well - and we did plenty - because "it was the lease I expected from you." I was suppose to feel better about that?

    I'm going to put a different spin on it. It's not that he's putting any of his grandchildren second, he's putting his wife first. You're not her daughter, and she doesn't see your kids as her grandkids. He's keeping the peace in his house by keeping his wife happy. It's unfortunate that she's a witch to you and your kids in the process.

    I hope that Jamie and his grandpa will find a way to come back together. I'm with Daisy, Jamie's grandpa could have easily walked away and he didn't. My husband's father moved from Oregon to Maine when he was 5 and never spoke to him or his brother or sister again. husband saw him once when he was 19 years old, and still doesn't have an unkind word to say about him. (husband doesn't have an unkind word to say about anyone.) Dear old dad is lucky he never met me.
  12. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    {{Janet}} I agree with everything everyone has said. Daisy really hit the nail on the head every time.

    Jamie's a man and he can handle the truth - it stinks that for some reason they are talking about ancient history NOW, as if they want credit for something that is behind everyone. You're right, it's probably more Pat than your dad.

    I think that it's okay for Jamie to put his hand up and say, "I do not want to discuss this. What's past is past. Let's discuss now and enjoy THIS time together." If he harbors any resentment, that's not for you to work out. You can certainly talk with him about the many ways in which your dad did help out and provide for you and your family. But Jamie is the one who will have to one day put this into the proper perspective.

    I don't agree with the way in which your dad handled things, and I sure hope that you truly do not consider yourself anything less than deserving and wonderful - because you ARE. But, your dad did things the way that seemed okay in his head along the way. Nothing can change that. Just like you're able to put things into an 'order', if you will, that makes sense to you and enables you to move on and have whatever relationship you have with your dad, so will Jamie. Talk to him about it - but then you have to let him work it out in his own heart and head alone. He definitely has a right to be angry, and he also has a right to detach for a little while. If he should be angry with anyone it's Pat, but then again, she has been there for your dad, as you said, caring for him.

    We're all perfect in our own that suits us. We can't be everything to everyone, and we certainly cannot change the past, but we can appreciate the now. I hope that Jamie can learn this - it's something that takes a lot of growth and maturity and he may not be ready yet.

    Hugs & Peace.
  13. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Well I dont' know anything about step mothers or Dads that got remarried and left their kids behind for whatever reason.....but I DO know this Janet -

    I'm a good person, and I have never ever considered you second class or worthless for a single solitary spark of a second. You're first class in my book - I don't give a hang about where you grew up, how much money you had, who the babies daddy was, how many times you got married, weren't married, what your kids did or didn't do, think thick, BiPolar (BP) or crazy - I consider you a dear friend and I love you from the bottom of my tiny little heart.

  14. VLong

    VLong New Member

    I was thinking today about what the board members that have been here since my beginning on the board (oh, about 9 years ago!!!) mean to me and you are all a part of my "family"... so, ditto what Star said!!!!