December 12, 2019 at 6:26 pm #327365
I’m having trouble working out how to deal with a situation.
Earlier this year in March my Parents called me and my Dad informed me that he had gone out with work friends to a party and gotten drunk. In his drunken state he slept with a random woman he met there. He kept it from my Mum for months and only came clean after she found a bunch of stuff on his laptop and dug it out of him. According to him the woman was blackmailing him into buying her goods or she was going to tell her husband. I have no idea if that is what was actually happening. I have no trust of him anymore. My Mum wanted to try and go through counselling and not throw away 30+ years of marriage. He was belligerent through a lot of it and I know she was probably pushing at him as well which is understandable. They kept up with the therapy for a couple of months before deciding they should divorce.
Ughh, where it gets worse. A month after this all started for me in April. My own wife announced that she is a lesbian and left me. Already down from my parents stuff my ex decided to kick me while I was down and make that the time to leave me. I was obviously devastated and have been doing a lot of work to get myself through it and remain sane/ not want to throw myself off a bridge.
At the time everything went down I laid into my Dad and told him how I was feeling and that our relationship is now not good. There was a bunch of stuff from the past that came up that I let out at him which I think was needed. I know that he has always had a bad deal with stress. He is a carpenter who has always wanted a better life and wanted to be doing something else but he had a family to provide for. A couple of years ago my Granddad passed away and we weren’t able to say goodbye to him back in the UK. He didn’t really talk about it but I know he was upset that he wasn’t there when it happened. I think a lot of what he did was from wanting control over things that he doesn’t have control over. He’s always been pretty overbearing. I’ve always just receded to keep the peace and just do whatever he wanted for the most part.
I know my Sister is just wanting things to go back to the way they were. She has had issues in the past and no-one wants them to resurface. My Dad is just trying to buy her things that she needs and sweep everything under the carpet. I don’t think it was an affair. I’m not sure if it was a recurring thing and my Mum just happened to stumble on it. As I say I don’t really know what to believe. I made it clear when I was letting him have it that he has needed therapy for probably decades and that I can’t take this stress level anymore and he agreed to go to therapy. I know he probably is just thinking he can just do what I ask and go through the motions and get back to his normal pattern that he is used to. I don’t feel like I’ve ever had boundaries in the past and have just fully taken everything he’s launched at me. I know that I probably shouldn’t allow that anymore.
My Mum has said that he is going to be there at the house for Christmas Day. I’m not sure how to deal with this or going further. Do I just try to decompress and remove some of the old injuries and treat the wounds before setting boundaries to have a now limited relationship????December 13, 2019 at 5:23 am #327399InkyParticipant
People aren’t perfect. I wish we were. Your wife could have told you her preferences before you got married. Your dad could have kept his paramour in line (blackmail??). Your dad could have been stone sober at that party. Your dad could have locked his computer down or kept it clean so your Mum wouldn’t have found this crap. Your dad could have looked at the therapy with your mom as a GIFT, as she could easily say, “I’m Done” after thirty years of marriage!
As a daughter of a clumsy cheater I suggest doing the Christmas thing as per usual. Your dad knows you are disappointed in him. That is punishment in and of itself. If I had an affair and my kids found out I’d be mortified. Mortified off the planet. You’ll be giving the gift of some semblance of normalcy to your sister and mom. Let your dad deal with the fallout.
December 13, 2019 at 10:29 am #327431
- This reply was modified 8 months ago by Inky.
You wrote about your father: “He’s always been pretty overbearing. I’ve always just receded to keep the peace and just do whatever he wanted for the most part“-
-having read your previous threads, this is how you operated with your now estranged wife, with her too, you did whatever she wanted for the most part. She wanted to party without you into the night and early morning, proceeding from clubs to people’s apartments, to continue drinking and dancing and whatnot, and you went with it, you agreed to this kind of behavior.
It is most important that you no longer do or go along with whatever someone else wants to do. It is time to set strict boundaries with your father, to not give in to him anymore. Start there and expands your assertive, proactive behavior with everyone else in your life.
anitaDecember 13, 2019 at 6:13 pm #327461
I’m not sure how much of it was clumsiness and just him not knowing what to do and it all just erupting like this. I have a feeling he wanted out for a long time and just kept going with everything as ‘Normal’. I know I’l probably have to just grin and bear it for my Mum and Sister but just always seems to be a thing in our family of not talking about something until it becomes a huge matter, everyone gets upset and then it blows over and goes back to ‘normal’. Having been dumped by my wife and betrayed by my Dad i’m not really wanting ‘normal’ anymore.
I know I need to set boundaries now. I’m not wanting to be hurt by people anymore. I’d rather just not be around them. My sister and other family always makes the point that he has always worked hard for us and given us a lot. Which I get but at what point does that give him the right to have been angry at us for stupid stuff in the past or be able to sneak around behind everyone’s back and insult my Mother and the family the way he did. He messages me at least once a month saying he’s thinking of me and to let him know if i need anything. I know he just wants a way to go back to normal. I’m sure he will try to give me a bunch of money or stuff for Christmas. Despite me yelling at him that I never wanted stuff I just wanted a connection. Which I’m not sure he knows how to do just thinks that providing for the family and be able to pay for everything is enough.December 13, 2019 at 6:27 pm #327463
“I never wanted stuff I just wanted a connection” is a powerful statement that you made to your father, loud and clear. Clearly, you don’t want to go back to .. his same-old normal, or your sister’s or anyone’s. Seek your normal, which is an honest, trustworthy, loving connection with another person.
“he has always worked hard for us and given us a lot” of material stuff. What does the song say: “All we need is love”? Sure money is necessary, food, shelter, clothes, but outside the very necessities we need simple, honest love (that connection you mentioned) more than anything. Without love, we are very sad well fed, clothed and sheltered people.
anitaDecember 14, 2019 at 7:04 am #327509
Feel like I’ve lost a lot of connection this year with my Wife leaving and my Dad’s betrayal. Although my friends have helped a lot and I feel closer to my workmates who are like my second family. When all this happened months ago my therapist said that i’m going to have to almost get by on less essentially. Not going to be able to give 100% and have patience that i’m not going to have the energy and strength that I did before. I think i’m just going to have to apply that from now on. I’ve definitely overextended into others in the past and not received it back from certain people. Although my Sister and other family seems to think that it can be covered by as you say the necessities of life from my Dad. But whenever I’m there I just feel odd, we’ll sit in the living room and watch TV and we’re just getting by and not really there. Feel like I want to just take off to the mountains sometimes.December 14, 2019 at 7:37 am #327525
Interesting, the way you put it, that you prefer to “take off to the mountains” to be alone rather than “sit in the living room” with people (family members) who disregard your feelings, sweeping those under the carpet. It’s distressing, isn’t it, that odd feeling, to pretend with others that nothing is going on when there’s so much going on in your mind and heart.
Is this how you feel?
anitaDecember 14, 2019 at 11:26 am #327547
I feel like we have always just been making do, going through the motions. There’s other families that function well, have huge business empires or just have an understanding with each other at least and are happy. I feel like everyone has something that they’re neglecting or have wanted and have just had to make do with the situation. I’ve never known my Dad to be ‘Happy’ He has plenty of hobbies and interests. None with my Mum, or with any of us. I have been the one to try and insert myself in them. But i’ve never been good with music, he plays Bass guitar, I’m not good at bike riding, he used to do mountain bike races in the past. I’m an artist and he is a good illustrator so in the past we’ve shared that. But he was never really into Movies as much as me, we would go to a movie on the odd occasion but he would say he always falls asleep so he doesn’t want to go. I’ve made efforts in the last few years to got to car shows with him and at Christmas I had everyone put $50 in a pot for us to do a group thing during the year, like go rafting together.
My Mum has always been interested in Writing and reads a lot. I’m into writing and have my own (getting nowhere fast half finished screenplays and short stores). She wrote a short kids book about 10 years ago. But didn’t really do much with it. When she was going through her cancer treatment. I took the book and formatted it, painted illustrations for the cover and inside and got it printed and put it on amazon for her for Christmas. She loved it but, why wouldn’t she have tried to do that herself. It feels like I’m amongst these volcanic islands that sometimes erupt and I get the shock-waves all the time. I have never had an eruption myself.
My Sister has had issues in the past, although none really her fault. She had an abusive ex-finance she was with in the UK while my parents, my ex and I moved to Canada. She had surgery during that time and also a bad car accident and I know my parents felt very helpless. As did I. When the relationship ended she reluctantly at first moved to Canada. She has since found that she has liked it and found friends and a boyfriend currently. Although she still has the effects of PTSD from the ex-fiance. Which a few years ago resulted in a suicide attempt. She has since been doing a bit better.
I did what was expected of me, went to college. Not into construction like my Dad was, he didn’t want that for me. He told me to get into money and computers. So I sent to college for CG Animation. I ended up becoming a VFX artist for TV commercials when we moved to Toronto form the UK. I met my Ex just after college and she came with to Toronto. They weren’t overly happy that I’d married a non-British person and they were a little bit racist towards her Lithuanian ways. I’m sure they’re glad now that she’s left me. They probably think they get their son back now. Feel like they only see me as a 12 year old and want to put my drawings up on the fridge.
Feels like a waste, all the drama seems to take up time and effort that could have been better spent. I know my Ex saw it as being a lot worse than it was because they didn’t like her too much. They seem to have an idea of the way things should be and don’t want to deviate at all. Despite now being grown up and living in another country and the world changing a lot quicker nowadays as it does. Feels like I have to pretend that everything is okay to keep the peace.December 14, 2019 at 11:54 am #327551
“It feels like I’m amongst these volcanic islands that sometimes erupt and I get the shock-waves all the time. I have never had an eruption myself”- profound, intelligent, creative (the writer in you).
“Feels like I have to pretend that everything is okay to keep the peace”- that’s you absorbing others’ shock waves, isn’t it (quote above). I see the following equation here:
“pretend that everything is okay to keep the peace” = “I get the shock-waves all the time”.
But whose peace are you keeping; who is enjoying peace because of your sacrifice?
anitaDecember 14, 2019 at 5:03 pm #327579
I guess the peace in between the eruptions. There’s been so many that I don’t want to rock the boat even more. But i’m still torn between that and wanting to avoid the pain. I guess everyone spends their life wanting to be seen/heard/understood.December 15, 2019 at 9:58 am #327675
I read all your posts on this thread this morning. I will retell some of what you shared here and comment (my comments follow the *s):
March 2019, your father told you that he went to a party with work friends, got drunk and “slept with a random woman he met there”. A few months later, your mother found out some stuff on his laptop, and he confessed to that night. He told you that the woman he slept with blackmailed him “into buying her goods”, threatening him with telling her husband about that night.
* She didn’t threaten your father with telling your mother about it, but threatened him with telling her husband. Very strange, I would think she wouldn’t want her husband to know, that it would be against her self interest to tell her husband.
“I have no idea if that is what was actually happening”-
* It doesn’t ring true to me because of what I wrote above, and because it is more likely that he had a longer term affair with this woman, not a one night drunken affair.
* Remembering your previous thread, it is quite interesting that your now estranged wife, while married to you, and with your consent, used to go partying and drinking at night, into the morning in clubs and in random people’s apartments after the clubs- and yet you were quite confident that she didn’t have sex with anyone during those nights out.
You wrote about your now estranged wife: “They (your parents) didn’t like her too much. They seem to have an idea of the way things should be and don’t want to deviate at all”-
* I too don’t like your wife for the fact that while living with you as a married woman, without an open marriage agreement between the two of you, went out clubbing and proceeding after the clubs to random people’s apartments to drink and party into the early hours, while you were home alone. I too have the idea that this behavior shouldn’t be, and I don’t see myself deviating from it.
Your parents, having been married for over 30 years, attended something like marriage therapy for a couple of months and then decided to get divorced. A month later, your wife left you. As those things happened, you talked to your father, told him that the relationship between the two of you “is now not good”, and brought things from the past to him, “letting him have it”, “yelling at him that I never wanted stuff I just wanted a connection”, and you told him that he “has needed therapy for probably decades and that I can’t take this stress level anymore and he agreed to go to therapy”.
You wrote that your father was a carpenter, but “always wanted a better life and wanted to be doing something else”, but he had to provide for his family. His father in the UK died a couple of years ago, and your father, living with his wife and you in Canada, wasn’t there when it happened.
You wrote that your father has “always been pretty overbearing”, and that you’ve “always just receded to keep the peace and just do whatever he wanted for the most part”-
– again, remembering your earlier thread, you did the same, receding to keep the peace and just did whatever your wife wanted for the most part, agreeing that she does whatever she wanted, so to keep the peace.
Your sister too has issues with her/ your father, “and no-one wants them to resurface”. Your father buys her things in his efforts to “sweep everything under the carpet”.
You wrote that “it seems to be a thing in our family of not talking about something until it becomes a huge matter, everyone gets upset and then it blows over and goes back to ‘normal'”
You wrote that your sister and other family members “always makes the point that (your father) has always worked hard for us and given us a lot”, and that he messages you “at least once a month saying he’s thinking of me and to let him know if I need anything”. You anticipate spending this month Christmas with your parents and sister, and that your father “will try to give me a bunch of money or stuff for Christmas.
* The rest of input and suggestions at this point:
1. You referred to your father having had a sexual affair with another woman while you and your sister were adults, as his betrayal of you. But his affair was not a betrayal of his adult children.
You don’t know enough about the nature of the relationship between your parents over the years, and really, it is not your business what he has done in the context of his marriage since you and your sisters have been adults.
His affair and their divorce is a matter between your father and your mother. Treat the issue as that: none of your business.
2. The dynamics between your parents, and between your parents and you and your sister, these dynamics (sweeping issues under the carpet, and so forth) are very well established. You can’t change them. You telling your father that he should have therapy, that’s a very, very long shot at changing these decades old established dynamics, very unlikely.
If you think that you can change these dynamics yourself (outside let’s say a long term professional family therapy where all people involved are motivated to changed these dynamics) by saying anything to anyone involved, again, I think that it is very, very unlikely to happen. Don’t bring anything up over Christmas/ future get together events with your parents, don’t let anyone have it, don’t rock the boat with them.
It is only in your personal life, away from your parents, and sister and estranged wife, that you can establish new and healthy relationship dynamics of your choosing.
3. It is admirable, that your father sacrificed so much so tp materially provide for his family. Let him know you appreciate it very much. You don’t have to accept any more money and expensive gifts from him anymore, but let him know that you appreciate his decades long physical work to provide for you that way.
anitaDecember 15, 2019 at 6:58 pm #327773
1. I know my parent’s relationship is really none of my business and if they we’re having issues and decided to go to counselling for their issues and then broke up that’s fair enough. But cheating on my mother, telling her and us a bunch of lies. Insulting my Mother by going behind her back. I’m angry about that, he could have gone about it all in a different not as destructive way.
2. He has actually been to some therapy. Shouldn’t we try to address some of the issues that we all have. I’ve been to therapy for my issues and the injuries I’ve taken from my breakup and his recent injuries. What happened i’m fairly sure is from him not dealing with things the right way stuff that just sits bottled up until it erupts. It kind of stands to reason that he should see a professional to learn how to deal with things like a normal person. Or should we just keep going along like it always has and then the next thing happens.
3. I know he worked a lot for us. Does that become a good reason to hurt your own family? I’m not sure what amount of pain equals the amount of work. 30 years equals the right to cheat on your wife and lie to your family. Does he still have some stuff saved up. What if they stayed together and he felt like he had accrued enough years to be validated in hitting my Mum. I personally would have just preferred they never had me if there was always going to be a price to be paid. I’m going to be the one supporting them in retirement anyway so I guess that’s the payment.December 16, 2019 at 5:19 am #327913
“It kind of stand to reason that he should see a professional to learn how to deal with things like a normal person. Or should we just keep going like it always has and then the next thing happens”-
– depending on what the next thing is (the italicized). All you shared so far is that he cheated on your mother (one event, likely more than one), kept it a secret and later lied about it. You didn’t share yet what it is that he did and still does wrong to you and to your sister and to your mother. In your most recent post you suggested that he hit your mother (“hitting my Mum”). You didn’t share that before. Do you mean that he physically hit your mother?
Clearly if he sometimes hits your mother or you, or your sister, neither one of you should be in his physical presence, whether he goes to therapy or not, and you shouldn’t be in his presence (talking to him about no longer hitting other people).
So what is it that he did and is likely to be doing against you and others during Christmas let’s say, the next time you plan on spending time with him in his home?
December 16, 2019 at 6:23 pm #328021
- This reply was modified 8 months ago by anita.
He hasn’t to my knowledge actually hit my Mum. He has threatened to throw her through a window apparently when they had one of their regular arguments. I’m sure he would if the outcome wouldn’t be his children never seeing him again. I just don’t understand how that level of anger is ‘normal’ to them. Even my Sister was defending it as just how some couples deal with each other. There was very little other end of the spectrum, Never really heard him say he loved her. Only bought flowers when he had to and fulfilled his obligations. Has never seemed like he even likes her.
I also don’t understand why he is this way when his Dad was the same. He apparently had to get in-between his parents when his Dad would get aggressive. When I blew up at him I mentioned that he just doesn’t have the emotional vocabulary to deal with other people in a decent way. When he doesn’t get his way or even if he feels like its not going his way. He’ll shout everyone down to get his way. Which obviously he’s paid for with all his work. I just don’t understand why he would even have a family if he resents having to work so hard to the point where he’s laying into people all the time. He can be chill sometimes but he’s very quick with an I told you so if it turns out you make a mistake that he warned you about. There’s not much room to make your own mistakes.
I guess I also had similar with my Ex where I wasn’t able to contradict anything or counteract something without her telling me I was restricting her. The words ‘I told you so’ would never have gotten half way out of my mouth.
I think for Christmas I’ll just keep the peace for my Sister and Mum’s sake. Everything else I’ll just have to play by eye I guess. Just not having much trust in myself. Everyone else seems to have a lot more experience manipulating people than I do. Feel like I can get taken advantage of more easily than others.December 17, 2019 at 7:33 am #328109
I read your recent post and re-read your previous posts. Two things occurred to me:
1. You are not afraid of your father and you have no problem asserting yourself with him. When you found out about him having had an affair, you “laid into my Dad and told him how I was feeling and that our relationship is now not good.. I let out at him which I think was needed.. I made it clear when I was letting him have it that he has needed therapy for probably decades and that I can’t take this stress level anymore and he agreed to go to therapy”-
– you let him have it, told him he needs therapy and he agreed to go to therapy- an aggressive father would have not stand for you letting him have it; would have told you something like: how dare you tell me that I need therapy! An aggressive man/ father would have ended that exchange with you quickly.
“When I blew up at him I mentioned that he just doesn’t have the emotional vocabulary to deal with other people in a decent way”- you talked to him as if he was a child and you were the parent scolding his child for misbehaving, or for not using words correctly.
If you were a child who grew up scared of his aggressive father, you wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing what you did, and he was a scary father, he wouldn’t have submitted to your demand that he goes to therapy.
Thing is, you didn’t assert yourself with your wife, which leads me to think she was not passive and submissive. So it is not that you learned to be assertive with all, including with a scary father; it is that it is easy to be assertive with him because he is.. passive and submissive, at least in personal relationships within his family.
2. Your empathy is with your mother and not with your father. You blame him for everything and she gets none of the blame, he was the one “cheating on my mother, telling her and us a bunch of lies. Insulting my Mother by going behind her back”-
– but what is it that she did to him?
I suppose you heard her blaming your father for cheating on her, telling a bunch of lies to her and to his own children… and insulting her by going behind her back. It may be that you are simply repeating what you heard her say to him, when she fought with him, or to you when she told you what happened.
It is possible that you heard her blaming your father for and belittling the positive he did for the family throughout the years (scapegoating him), and you believed her. Children believe what they hear over and over again, and often enough what children hear one of the parent say about the other is not true.
I suggest that you re-think your beliefs about your parents- question your father being the-bad-guy, the Guilty One, and your mother being the-good-guy, the Innocent One.