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Old 06-16-2008, 02:09 PM   #21
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thanx for the good thoughts. nothing to be sorry for. life is what it is. i took advice offered here, sent a quick email but not a card and it seems to have worked out well. in the email i just did a generic happy father's day and told dad about my day with family (including, mostly, brother's in-laws) here.

in the return email, my father complained that my brother hasn't written to him and that he didn't expect any better. gave me some oddly inappropriate advice as if he was unaware of my age and told me he was proud of me though i don't know why; he hardly even knows me. it is like he is trying to say what he thinks he should have been saying all the years of his emotional & physical absence, so of course it comes out awkward. he's trying. but if he was a sea turtle hatching out of an egg from under the beach, he'd never make his way out of the sand on his own.

i realize people can do what they can do and otherwise they can't. mostly i can live with that, though maybe not as gracefully as simple girl's dh, especially when the people are close to me. i get too emotional and involved.

dad pretty much just took off after he and mom divorced when i was about 14. took me to dinner once a week back then (which was more than he ever associated with me when he lived with us) but then when we left jersey (i was 16), he nearly completely left me, emotionally. not a phone call, not even a birthday card from him since then.

i recently learned that he was abandoned by his father at 16. like mews' friend, i hardly know that family at all. i've known everyone on mom's side (including, at one time--before they started dying off--over 60 cousins). but i only even met my paternal grandfather twice in my life. in searching for my dad last year i found one of my 2nd cousins in california and one of my dad's first cousins in new york who took me to lunch and told me what he recalled of my grandfather. i thought maybe we were the blacksheeps but turns out no one in that family knows anyone in that family. what a waste of good blood. from what i've learned there's a lot of really interesting people there. my grandfather sounds like quite the character. i feel a bit robbed that i didn't have a chance to know any of them.

so this is how my father was raised. he not only didn't value family, likley he felt betrayed by them. then my mother left him (i think she was perfectly in her rights as she could not motivate this guy and they were together from when she was 14 or 15 years old, so it isn't like she knew her options early on). and then my brother abandoned my father when he was a reckless teen (my brother has since apologized to me for possibly wrecking my relationship with my father). so dad was abandoned by his father, by his wife and by his eldest son. but he took it out on his youngest. sometimes life is comedy. sometimes it is trajedy. apparently, the jokes on me.

i am working on this out of a sense of obligation but not just to my father and not even just to myself. i want to help break the chain of generations of fathers and sons who do not speak to each other. my neice and nephews have never met their grandfather. my brother now says he is worried to let his young children become attached to an old man who they never knew but might soon die. but i think mostly he is afraid to face the pain he caused his father, even if he was unconsciously reacting to the pain his father caused him.

also i can see where i patterned some my other relationships based upon the bad one i had with my father. i have tried to fix some of those but mostly, on attempt, they just break and so i am working to break the pattern instead. i do not know if that is possible but at least i can make myself aware of it so that it might not act as such destructive an agent in my life in the future. that all might cause him a little pain as i work through this. my hope is that this is helping him more than hurting him and he tells me that is the case. the transition from stagnation to growth is often accompanied by pain.

my mother never felt left out of our lives. outside of my father's side of the family, my family life was always very well integrated into my own. huge family reunions twice a year. large family dinners with every holiday. weekends boating together. vacations shared. i grew up in a family of friends. my father excluded himself from this. even when i think back to vacations in my childhood, i don't recall him playing with us, i recall him playing pinochle with his friends and me in futility trying to get his attention.

even now, i went though 18 months of trying to find the guy. literally seached the country. no one knew where he was. i finally find him. i send him my phone number. he still hasn't picked up the freaking phone. i'd fly up there to take him to lunch tomorrow if he would just call me. just once. be my father. he can't even do that. he was never excluded from my life. he does that all on his own.
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Old 06-16-2008, 03:22 PM   #22
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Oh Lazy, I feel for you. I know it doesn't seem like it to you, but you are so fortunate to recognize and realize the damage done in these kind of relationships. Your "dad" simply doesn't really know any better, emotionally. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but it is exactly the case with DH's dad. He has never called on a birthday, never willingly seen us at holidays, never shown more than a few minutes worth of conversational interest when we drive to see him. He never went to ball games or wrestling matches, or spent time with DH growing up, ever.
As someone said, do whatever contact you do, for you. He may well lack the capacity for the kind of love you are so capable of sharing. Find other more deserving outlets for that love, and like you said, watch for this pattern in your relationships. I could often play pop psych with friend's relationships with their dads, based on their boyfriend choices. Bad father/daughter relationship = lousy man choices as an adult.

And Happy Father's Day to you from the garden plants, Lazy! You need a pet!
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Old 06-16-2008, 06:37 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
Oh Lazy, I feel for you. I know it doesn't seem like it to you, but you are so fortunate to recognize and realize the damage done in these kind of relationships. Your "dad" simply doesn't really know any better, emotionally. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but it is exactly the case with DH's dad. He has never called on a birthday, never willingly seen us at holidays, never shown more than a few minutes worth of conversational interest when we drive to see him. He never went to ball games or wrestling matches, or spent time with DH growing up, ever.
As someone said, do whatever contact you do, for you. He may well lack the capacity for the kind of love you are so capable of sharing. Find other more deserving outlets for that love, and like you said, watch for this pattern in your relationships. I could often play pop psych with friend's relationships with their dads, based on their boyfriend choices. Bad father/daughter relationship = lousy man choices as an adult.
Dear Sarah,
Bite me. My Dad, who i respected greatly, was a "cool" father by your lights. He also provided and sheltered and taught by example until his early death. Result is that i am not emotionally outgoing. Like to think that it makes the flashes of emotion i show more meaningfull, more highly valued. Because i am who i am i'm with the woman i'm with, who had a non-demonstrative perfectionist WW2 POW father. Was her choice lousy? Not if you ask me, and i'm fairly unbiased. 30 years together June 4th. Lots of different people, lots of ways to live a life, not about to judge LGNB's emotional lifestyle as better or worse than mine - just different.

(oh - since it's the net - view the "bite me" as a "Jane, you ignorant slut" kind of comment - no serious offence meant)
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Good father until alienation performed
Old 06-16-2008, 08:08 PM   #24
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Good father until alienation performed

Parental Alienation (also called Parentectomy) can be researched by anyone googling on that topic. I won't cover the pros and con here.

I was a pretty damn good father to my children, until about age 11-12 for both my children. At that point, my wife-at-the-time, along with her live-in mother-in-law, began a process best described as promotoing the Daddy-Is-A-Boob (as portrayed on many TV commercials.): weak, worthless and un-wise.

Following the divorce, I was sundered from my children completely. My ex-wife (and another party, now decxeased) PAID my children not to talk, call or communicate me in any way ... and the kids became willing participants.

At this point, they have only called to assure themselves of their share of my Mom's inheritance after her death (I was executor), or to demand huge amounts of money for dubious projects. I fear i have spiked the cannons of a dual set of entitlement fantasies.

My son has cursed me and threatened to beat me up or kill me for injustices he perceives have been done to his mother. My daughter, a newly converted Pentacostal Evangelical Christian, has condemed me to the Lake-of-Fire as a Reprobate (rejected by God and unworthy of salvation). Each has told me in years past that everything that has gone wrong in their lives can be traced to me and my behavior.

I still send birthday and Christmas presents, and the occasional letter, to them and to my grandchildren, which all appear to fall into a Black Hole.

My lovely DW (6th anniversary just celebrated) did give me a Father's Day present ... herself, with renewal for the next 30 years ... along with two orders for the latest of P. D. Q. Bach videos.
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Old 06-16-2008, 08:23 PM   #25
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Wow Calm, sorry I did, um, something there, I'm not real sure what it was.
Congrats on your long years of marriage, we hope to be there in another 15 years!

I'm not sure what I said that referred to a "cool" father, but I did mention that my DH's dad was (and is) not really a very nice guy or supportive to DH, but DH is a fine man in spite of (or because of) that experience.

My dad is awesome, and besides my DH, is my most favorite person in the world. Most folks call me his "clone" and I worked beside him in the family business from the time I was old enough to walk beside the transplanter in the field. He's a "cool" dad.

So, yeah, sorry about whatever gotcha there, but I promise I was trying to show some love to Lazy, not PO the rest of the world. Cool?
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Old 06-16-2008, 08:49 PM   #26
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Hey LGFNB,

I've been following this and just wanted to add a couple of thoughts. First of all, I really respect your effort to reconnect with your dad.

I believe you may be opening yourself up to some hurt here. Even so, nothing worthwhile is without risks and possible emotional pain. I lost my dad at the tender age of 20 and still feel a big sense of loss. There is something special about the father figure in all our lives so I can understand the turmoil you must be feeling.
Hang in there and follow your heart on this one.
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:03 PM   #27
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Wow Calm, sorry I did, um, something there, I'm not real sure what it was.
Congrats on your long years of marriage, we hope to be there in another 15 years!

I'm not sure what I said that referred to a "cool" father, but I did mention that my DH's dad was (and is) not really a very nice guy or supportive to DH, but DH is a fine man in spite of (or because of) that experience.

My dad is awesome, and besides my DH, is my most favorite person in the world. Most folks call me his "clone" and I worked beside him in the family business from the time I was old enough to walk beside the transplanter in the field. He's a "cool" dad.

So, yeah, sorry about whatever gotcha there, but I promise I was trying to show some love to Lazy, not PO the rest of the world. Cool?
Hope we cool! my play mode doesn't always show off well. i was responding to what i percieved as the characterization of non-demonstrative Dads as being lacking in some way. i see a certain nobility in the reserve of people like my Dad - he was not without emotion, but kept it in check, as did my honey's father. There were benefits to having that kind of father. Unfortunate that LGNB's personality and his father's didn't jibe, but i'm not sure it is his Dad's fault, or that there is any fault. Doubt that my gal would have been attracted to me had she not had the relationship with her father that she had - consider that your DH would be a very different man with a different father - and perhaps not the man with whom you would have wanted to be. Lazy is who he is through his father's influence - had his Dad stuck around Lazy could have been scared straight! or not - no idea - but it may be that his life is better for things having happened as they did. I'm with Candide: this really is the best of all possible worlds!
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:09 PM   #28
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We are cool, Calmloki and I am appreciative of your further thoughts on the subject.

Scooter, that must be really really tough, even after all this time. I am sure sorry that it all turned out that way. It makes me think, well, of my signature line, which is my new favorite quote whenever I am tilting at windmills.
Sounds like you've done the best you can and maybe one day they'll appreciate the effort.
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Old 06-17-2008, 04:32 PM   #29
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while love is often a given, it can not just be taken and not returned without deteriorative effects. though trust and friendship might be first offered without prejudgement on initial contact, they are not everlasting entitlements rather subject to periodic review &, when required, withdrawal.

i am well aware of causes and effects. though i don't place blame, i do enjoy and am not afraid to explore influence and motivation even of the most deeply seeded sort. i've ignored lots of good examples and picked up on bad ones people have placed before me or tried to teach; all my doing. no excuses. mostly i’ve picked up on what amused me. i neither credit nor discredit my parents for neither how i chose to perceive the world nor how i act upon those perceptions. as i’ve always been quite a strong character, more likely i influenced them at least as much as they might have influenced me.

even with as much work as i've done to know & control myself, certainly parts of my life still require tweaking. i don't consider myself damaged even if i still can't balance a checkbook. i have very many healthy relationships, way more than ones lacking. my most intimate relationships were not based upon the one i had with dad. if anything, the relationships i patterned on the bad one i had with my father were with people who never would have had a chance with me otherwise. perhaps the damage done which made me blind to that combined with my generosity gave us the only chance we’d have had to be friends.

some people are just takers, like my father, and while i’ll grandfather existing takers in to some extent--i’ll give 75%--i've had quite enough of 3/4ths of that. there are those who simply do not know how to give. you may consider that stoic and proud. but i consider it selfish, cold & lacking. when i realized how my father's relationship with me affected some of my other relationships, i confronted some of those friends about this.

one in particular, a very good friend who was originally one of my college professors, admitted that she was not being a good friend but that this was the way she was. i told her that now that i can see our relationship more clearly, that i'd still be willing to continue giving 75%, but i wanted 25% back. i'm not giving 100% to get nothing in return and she agreed that was more than reasonable.

she loved it when i took her sailing on the lake, or boating down the intracoastal with my parents. she loved it when i called to make a dinner date. but she never called me. she loved doing things with me but never initiated contact. so i started looking closer at all those types of relationships. the people who love to hear from me but who never call. again, that's not all my relationships. i have lots of good people, some i've known since before grade school who call to say hi and visit from around the country. lovely people, healthy relationships with those who know to work to maintain friendships. people are not to be taken for granted.

so i tested my new found theory and new found powers of observation on suspect relationships. sure enough. i'd call and call and call and everything would be just fine. then i stopped calling. days, weeks, months past. like my father, they don't even know if i'm alive or dead. why associate with that? it hurt me to let them go but with my knew found recognition of this pattern, it hurt more to keep them.

i don’t believe that my dad doesn’t know any better. he’d not an idiot. i know my friends knew better because i confronted them on it. what happens is that these people either never get challenged in their life or they never accept one. they project this aura of pride but that is bull, nothing more than an excuse to avoid intimacy with those they otherwise say they love. it is avoidance to explore themselves and seek out what has caused their patterns. it is sleep. it is unconscious living.

i’m not sure what was meant by the “emotional lifestyle” or “scared straight” comments, but i certainly am not who i am due to the influence of anyone. that it might seem that anyone influenced me is merely a coincidence as i take full responsibility for me.

scooterguy’s point that those around him changed regardless of how well he tried to maintain his relationships rings very true to me. my step-sister and i see my step-father (her father) with completely different eyes, she having been fed such terrible stories by her mother since she was a child. also i lost a friend to new agism just like you lost your daughter to christianity. so sad when anyone tries to take a concept as simple as god to try to understand a concept as complex as god. and so easy to corrupt such concepts to even use them against those who love you.

purron, sorry for your loss. i have so much trouble making my way through this world even with all the help i’ve had that i think i would be a complete basketcase by now had i buried a parent so young in life. you must have great strength.

in my case, since i was so close to mom and not so close to a dad who would not allow himself to be close to me, having found my father alive right after having buried my mom, well, nice to be chatting with him again, but how oddly anticlimatic.
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