Forum Replies Created
June 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm #58175
Hello to you both again! Thank you for the additional feedback. Inky – I’m sorry to hear your relationship with your father is strained. Some men struggle to express their feelings, especially towards the ones they love. Also, I sometimes wonder whether some fathers in a father/son relationship perhaps don’t feel a little competitive with their child. It must be hard relinquishing the reigns to a younger male. I’m not sure. Just speculating. The issue I describe in this post came up because we happened to visit my in-laws last weekend. We only see them a two/three times a year so it’s all very manageable but when these instances of favoritisms do creep up, I become enraged/perplexed and have to work through those feelings. I’ve tried to resist psychoanalyzing the situation because doing so presupposes that there may be some legitimate reason why his father behaves the way he does. Perhaps it’s all more about understanding why he does what he does while still remaining critical of these patterns of behavior. Anyway, thanks once more.
Aiyana – your post made me smile! 🙂 Thank you for your suggestions. Perhaps my efforts to encapsulate family dynamics across four decades and three generations made it all seem a bit more dramatic than it is day to day. I wish you good luck with your father’s day efforts.
HesterJune 4, 2014 at 12:01 pm #58096
Hi Aiyana and Inky – thank you both for your thoughtful and caring responses. Interestingly, you both advise some form of engagement with my father-in-law. I will need to give that some further thought. To answer a few of Inky’s questions, my husband is definitely his father’s biological child (the three siblings are spitting images of each other). As I’m a relatively late entrant into their complex relationship, it is very hard for me to separate cause from effect. My husband was the apple of his mother’s eye (perhaps he was *her* favorite prior to the onset of MS?). His sister is functional but has a low IQ and struggles with social interactions/friendships (she needs her father more?). His brother is 10 years younger and really never experienced his mother when she was healthy (perhaps he feels closer to his youngest son because of this?). My husband’s ex-wife HATES his family and made no effort to hide this fact. All these and other factors combined may contribute to his father’s favoritism but I still don’t buy it.
My relationship with my stepchildren is very loving and strong but this did not happen overnight. The love and bond with each of his children grew at very different speeds and in very different ways. In a step-parent situation, there’s not that instant deep bond that exists between biological parents and their children. The trust and love needs to be earned and it’s not always easy, which made me doubly cautious to never, ever show any outward signs of favoritism. You have an obligation as a parent to be fair and equitable even if sometimes you feel a bit closer to one child than you do to another. In this respect, my father-in-law has failed in his role. No matter what the circumstances, he should have found a way to rise above it.
I’m reluctant to bring these issues up with him directly. First of all, my complaints would all sound a bit self-serving and petty (you don’t praise us the way you do others/you don’t send us presents/you don’t have our pictures up in your home/you don’t acknowledge our accomplishments etc.), even though in totality they paint a pretty clear picture. Secondly, my husband wouldn’t want me to. I don’t think he would want to emotionally engage a man who, at the end of the day, has hurt him time and time again. It’s easier for him to have low expectations and be in a constant state of irritability when he’s around his dad.
Thank you once more for taking the time to respond. We will keep sending him (framed!) pictures and hope one day he sees in his grandchildren that what’s so obvious to me.
HesterJanuary 10, 2014 at 1:37 pm #48890
Hi Jeff – I am really sorry you are going through a rough time again. I can only implore you to be gentle, kind, and patient with yourself. You did not deserve to be lied to and stolen from and left in such a horrid, calloused manner. The assumption that everyone lies is a tricky one and false in its implication. (Nearly) everyone has lied about something at some point in their life but that does not excuse habitual lying. In fact, I would say that all the people in my life to whom I am close lie extremely rarely and, when they do, it is always for very specific reasons unique to a very specific situation. You say you became more demanding and questioning as you’d catch him in his deception. You were entirely justified in doing so! I believe you understood intuitively and were reacting to what you hadn’t yet admitted to yourself intellectually namely that something was wrong. Perhaps you hoped he would change but he didn’t. I believe firmly that your relationship was doomed from the start. There was never going to be a happy ending. It is impossible to build a relationship on the shifting sands of deception and dishonesty. Perhaps you expedited the end through your insistence and inquisitiveness but what a good thing you did! Otherwise, you’d have wasted precious more months on a relationship that was never going to work. I will bet you he’s done the exact same thing to a whole host of other people. It’s a pattern that he repeats every couple of years, which is why he doesn’t have anybody from his past in his life (I’d say the second-biggest red flag after his habitual lying).
Jeff you will recover and trust and love again. You’re a good person who deserves a kind, caring, HONEST partner. You are not the same person you were three years ago. You’re smarter now and you will not make the same mistake of overlooking or ignoring the many red flags that existed in your relationship with your ex. If you want, check out http://www.psychopathfree.com and http://www.lovefraud.com. I truly wish you all the best. Let me know if you have any epiphanies!
HesterJanuary 1, 2014 at 3:51 pm #48134
Hi Jeff – I am very sorry for your pain and confusion. The loss of a relationship is always devastating but especially when it ends so wholly and abruptly. You mention in your second post that you simply want to move on and feel peace and forgiveness. The Tiny Buddha website offers many helpful tools to achieve this goal but also it will take time for the pain and feeling of betrayal to subside.
I’m not sure quite how helpful this suggestion will be to you but there are aspects of your post that cause me to wonder whether your ex-partner might suffer from anti-social personality disorder (a sociopath), specifically his persistent lies, the intensity of the early-stages of a relationship followed by a complete and sudden loss of interest, theft, the callous decision to take your cat, parasitical/dependent lifestyle, the disconnect between his actions/reality and his words (called “gaslighting”), manipulative and controlling demeanor, the seeming absence of any meaningful, long-term relationships/friendships in his life etc. Only a licensed psychiatrist would be able to tell you conclusively but having gone through a very similar “break-up” with somebody I considered my best friend for many years, I found doing research on the topic of sociopathy helped me understand and contextualize her actions. Obviously, I never met your ex so only you would be able to say whether the shoe fits. Besides, in the end, the peace and happiness you seek can only be found by focusing on yourself. My experience with my former best friend was such a mind-bend but I did come out the other end and as will you. I wish you a happy and peaceful new year.
HesterMay 8, 2013 at 3:22 pm #35291
Carlos and Davina – thank you both for your considerate advice. I cut off contact with my friend more than two years ago and the lack of contact since then has been organic and has felt like the right thing. However, I am getting married in three months and it has put me at a crossroad. It tears me apart that she will not be there, an absence that would have been inconceivable to me in the past. I want to make sure that I am making the right decision. Thank you both for your feedback. It has helped clarify the issue.
DailymouseMay 7, 2013 at 8:39 am #35206
Carlos – thank you for your thoughtful response. It’s an awfully high standard you set for friendships but it’s strikingly appropriate for my circumstance. There’s a childish quality to the lies she tells and for many years I was fine going along with her shifting realities but, as I grow older, I’ve lost interest in her foibles. Maybe I put up with her dishonesty for all these years because I assumed that one day she’d change. I thought that when push came to shove, she’d step up to the plate but we are in our late 30s now and she hasn’t and I don’t think she ever will. In answer to your question, I would not give my children to her because she is irresponsible. In the past, I would explain away her behavior because I believed she had a good heart. I never doubted her intentions but sadly I am starting to look at her in a different light. The degree to which she is reckless comes from a selfish place and not from a place of kindness. Do you believe it is possible for your life’s choices to be driven by selfishness but still be a good person at heart?
Thanks once more for your helpful answer!