Complicated relationship with Dad

Monday, November 19, 2012

For the past many years, I have been eating Thanksgiving at my Dad's house. My stepmother told me that as long as she was able, she would always have Thanksgiving at her house. So I just assumed I'd be going there again in a few days. My sister called me last night and told me that Dad and Barbara would NOT be having Thanksgiving at their house. My sister was worrying that maybe Barbara is ill in some way, but that there was no explanation given to her and when I found out what was up, to let her know. My sister goes to church with them, lives just 3-4 miles away from them and gives Dad his diabetes shot on a regular basis, so she's kind of in the loop.

So I called my dad and he said it's true, no Thanksgiving dinner at their house, and the decision had been made weeks (months?) ago. My younger stepsister's family was going to Vegas. My other stepsister was supposed to be in Vermont working as she has been doing for several months (but she returned home over the weekend). I was supposed to move out of the country (which didn't happen as long ago as August). Dad and stepmother decided to remodel their house this week. I live 50 miles away, and wasn't aware of their plans.

Y'know, the only thing that has me down is that neither Dad nor Barbara bothered to let me know in any way that they were cancelling Thanksgiving. I find out 2nd hand from my sister. My feelings are really injured. My sister is cooking at her house so I guess we'll go there. If my dad and stepmom didn't want to have it, it's okay, I could have had it at my house instead--everyone knows I don't mind cooking.

Dad was very apologetic and blamed Barbara for not calling me. My stepmom is a nice person and wouldn't deliberately hurt my feelings. She had a head injury 11 years ago, and she's not the same capable person she was. I get that. She probably doesn't even know my number or where it might be written down. I don't know if my number is in her cell phone. My dad is in his 70s and he's pretty depressed about having an injured foot. He explained how he isn't in the habit of calling people preferring the written word. I didn't recieve an email either. I hate that talking to my dad makes me tearful almost every time, but my feelings are hurt that he didn't tell me about this leaving it to my sister to relay to me.

Last September my daughter and I met up with my dad at a family reunion on his birthday. This particular reunion is not my favorite as very few relatives that I know come to it any more. But I went for my dad to spend time with him on his birthday. I had greeted him when I arrived and a few minutes later it was time to get our food so I got in line and saw him sitting by my daughter. AFter I got my plate, I sat by my daughter but Dad was not there--I assumed he was getting his plate. I sat at that table with a bunch of relatives that I didn't know and a daughter who had her earplugs in her ears, and he never appeared. I finished eating and looked around the room for him--and he was gone! He didn't even say good-bye! I had driven 50 miles to be with him on his b-day and he just disappeared. I was tearful again and didn't want to put on a show so I left too and boo-hooed for 10 minutes, shaking up my daughter a bit.

I feel so guilty sometimes for not having a better relationship with my dad. I hardly ever call or visit him. He's usually pretty busy too and he and his wife like to travel when they aren't working (Tax season is coming--their busy time). I have knocked on their door to discover no one home many times when I spontaneously visit them. I would visit them more if they would actually invite me as it is a pretty long drive between our houses. I don't think they miss me really even though they'd probably like to see me more.

On the nice tip, my dad just loaned my mom 50,000 to build an addition on my sister's house. My parents have been divorced since 1972, so that was kind of out of the blue. I appreciate that he did that of course as it helps my sister and mother a lot, and apparently he has it to loan. My sister is buying her house from my dad too, so I guess it makes sense for him to participate in expanding it.

I get tired of every time I call or hang with him, I'm in tears though.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Previous posters have given some good advice! If you can, perhaps talking with a therapist might help. Best wishes. emoticon
    2347 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    i'm SO sorry that you're going through this. relationships with parents can be so tricky. i think you need to decide for yourself what you want to get out of your relationship with your dad - is it just the connection, or are you also looking for validation, advice, etc. maybe you can start emailing with him on a regular basis, or even text messaging (if he's open to that). but in the end, you need to figure out what it will take for YOU to feel better, and try to get that in some way, shape or form.
    2347 days ago
    I am sorry to hear this......... Relationships can be very fragile. You mentioned that your Dad likes the written word rather than phone conversations. Could you write down exactly how you feel in a letter? Maybe if he read it in black and white, he would more readily absorb how you are feeling. It could be a start to working your way back to a better relationship before it is too late...........
    I hope that you have a good Thanksgiving with your sister. emoticon
    2347 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/19/2012 8:21:20 PM
    I wish I had words of wisdom to help you through the tough times with your dad.

    Hoping your Thanksgiving at your sisters does not bring you to tears.

    2347 days ago
    I hope this will pass and your relationship will develop closer again!

    I lost my Dad almost seven months ago and more than ever I realize the importance of maintaining caring relationships with family. I was lucky, I never went through a difficult stretch with my Dad (both my brother and sister did).

    Maybe try something kind of sentimental and hokey? Mail him (and your stepmom too if you want) a card for Thanksgiving, expressing why you are thankful to have him as your Dad. You might receive a desirable response, or none at all... but at least you put it out there.
    2347 days ago
    I am so sorry things are awkward for you with your dad. Do as much as you can to stay in contact so that if he were to die tonight, would you be able to sleep with a clear conscience? My mother is difficult, and as much as she pushes my buttons and generally makes my life a living hell, I sleep like a baby every night because I know I am doing the very best I can for her. You can come over and have Thanksgiving with us....even if it only on Spark.
    2347 days ago
    I learned recently that perceptions of what is going on in a difficult relationship can be so skewed on each side. You said that you don't call him often--maybe try doing it more and see what happens? If it doesn't help, you have to stop letting it get to you and get on.
    2347 days ago
    I'm sorry your relationship with your Dad isn't what you'd like it to be. Family relationships are difficult and can be more so on the holidays. I hope you know that you are loved by many people and that we here in Sparkland are thankful we have you.

    2347 days ago
    emoticon emoticon Relationships can be so hard and complicated. Sorry you are struggling and know that I am here to listen if you need an ear.
    2347 days ago
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