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father/daughter relationship

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
Hi there, I'm new here and I have a question/need for advice. This is a long one, but it's a complicated one and I would really appreciate you sticking with it and offering me your opinion.

I'm eighteen and my parents divorced when I was seven. My dad moved away and I lived with my mum and my sister from then on until my sister moved out. My sister is nine years older than me so I suspect she was hit the hardest by the marriage breaking up.

As my parents were going through the process of arguing and the relationship was crumbling, I was blanking it all out and can hardly remember a thing about it. I think I was at an age when I couldn't handle it mentally.

Anyway, that's the background, now here's the deal. My sister, for some reason, will not speak to my dad. Apparently my mum took her to the solicitors and got her to agree on a formal document of some sort suggesting my dad had touched my sister in an inappropriate manner (or something along those lines) However, my mum was an alcoholic at the time so I'm not so sure she was thinking clearly.

The point is, I am certain my father would never do anything like that. Furthermore, if you got a document signed by a young girl declaring it and then had it witnessed and authorised by a solicitor, why the hell wouldn't you follow it up and bring some action against the person in question? Is it possible she convinced my sister that my dad is something he's not?

What I'm trying to say is that I'm pretty sure this is the foundation of a lie and it is really hurting my dad. Whenever I speak to him about it he can't bare the thought of his daughter not speaking to him and she hasn't made contact in six years now (they had a brief meeting when she was at University)

My mum never knew her father, he left either before she was born or when she was very young (not sure which) but is it possible that in some sick and twisted way that because of this she doesn't want her daughter to know her father either?

This really has been the biggest problem in my life for a long time and because I still see my dad a lot, has made my relationship with my sister very difficult indeed. I have also been placed in some very tricky positions and caught in between them on numerous occasions. It frustrates me and makes me wonder what it's going to take for them to reconcile.

This brings me onto the crunch of the problem, my grandfather (my fathers father) is 91 and although still fit and well for his age, it is possible that he could pass on at any time. My dad is very close to him and so are myself and my sister. However, this is causing my dad a lot of anxiety because he knows himself now that he would not want to have to deal with the issues between himself and his daughter at the funeral of his dad.

This is a pretty messed up situation that I've found myself in. However, I have fallen out with my sister quite a few times in the past regarding her reluctance to contact my dad. This has in turn, made our relationship pretty patchy but I have still remained very close to my dad and (probably as a result of the divorce and me not living with him) we have only argued on two occasions. I'd say that my parents are the most important people in my life at the moment but we're all usually closer to one or the other and I'm much closer to my dad.

All I want to know is, what advice/opinions can you offer. Should I try to bring them together? Should I leave them to it? Should I try and fish around and attempt find out what really happend?

Please, help me out....

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It is a very difficult situation, I think you will have to tread carefully if you want to avoid upsetting people, perhaps you should try speaking to a councellor or someone that can help you find your own answers. Alternatively, you could speak to your sister if she is prepared to, and see what she thinks about what happened. You say that you think your mum may have developed a story, but it seems strange to me that your sister hasn't spoken to your dad for 6 yrs. That wouldn't be for nothing, coming from someone who has had experience of not talking to her father I would say its a really heart renching thing not speaking to someone that you are programmed to care about. I would say there is definately something not quite right but I would try and talk to all the members of your family to get a full picture, you might not like what you hear but it is up to you to come to your own decisions. I was once told it is much easier to believe the lie than the truth. You were very young and whatever you find, you shouldn't allow it to affect your relationships with them.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thank you for the reply, ironically enough, my mother is a trained relate councillor. Anyway, I know what you're saying about talking to my sister about it but if I'm honest I know deep down that she's not that kind of person - basically if you say one or two harsh or out of place things to her then the defences come down and she doesn't want to hear it.

    She's a very strong-willed person and although I hear what you're saying about it hurting not having a relationship with someone you naturally would, I really feel like she's cut all ties with my dad and doesn't want to know. He has tried on many, many occasions to get in touch with her, meet her etc but she just rejects him every time. Subsequently, I think he's now afraid of rejection and I wonder how many times he can take having the door slammed in his face. Maybe she just feels I have nothing to do with it, which is fine because it's her opinion but I'd disagree because it has effected me massively. It is quite possible however, that because the rift has lasted this long she doesn't want to end it, after all the longer it goes on, the harder it becomes to give in so to speak.

    My dad has been very honest with me (as far as I know) about all aspects of his life and his past and we have a brilliantly open relationship. On the other hand, I do blame my mother for the break-up of their marriage but I suppose if I were being realistic I would have to blame alcoholism as the root cause. My dad offered her all the support she needed but she was living a very different life and was totally messed up (from what I've heard anyway)

    You're right about it being easier to believe the lie and it's hard for me to judge because I only know what I've been told.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Your situation is complicated as well because all you have to go on is other peoples opinions and points of views, you can only get a picture as acurate as the information your being given! With your sister I would just try to listen, if like you say she gets defensive when you comment, it will only make her clam up and you want to understand whats happened.

    It sounds like you are trying to get hold the picture and like you need these answers to move on, I understand that situation, I have experienced that, but you must realise that at some point you will need to let go too, you will know when you are ready for that, in the mean time try to come to terms with what has happened by speaking to everyone. Its perfectly normal to want to blame someone, but remember there are always two sides to a story, and if your mum became addicted to alcohol there was probably a reason behind that. Try not to dwell too much , or else it may start to consume your life.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Regarding my mothers alcoholism, in my eyes (and hers too) addiction is addiction. I agree that in some cases you are driven to drink/take drugs etc more than you normally would but I would say my parents lifestyle and social life (as well as the excessive '80's) were to blame.

    Anyway, regarding the problem, my main fear is the day of my grandfathers funeral. Usually my sister tries to avoid my dad at other occasions but we would both expect her to attend. I have no idea what the hell will crack off then. I keep coming back to thinking this needs to be sorted, and the sooner the better.

    Thanks again for your replies, it helps to get someone elses opinion/advice :-)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Anymore for anymore? So far only one person has shared their thoughts. Anyone about with a similar situation?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    My mum never knew her father, he left either before she was born or when she was very young (not sure which) but is it possible that in some sick and twisted way that because of this she doesn't want her daughter to know her father either?

    Ok, firstly, if your mum is involved like this, then it's more likely to be on a subconcious level, in a desire to protect her daughter, than I concious "I didn't have a dad, so neither will my daughter".

    Second, I'd probably talk to my older sister about my concerns, especially seeing as you have a genuine reason to do so, approach softly softly though, and avoid any implication of placing blame.

    Third, carriage return, I think that your comment was particularly unhelpful and unconstructive, you don't know anything about THIS particular situation, "not underheard" of is a crappy reference.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Anyway, regarding the problem, my main fear is the day of my grandfathers funeral. Usually my sister tries to avoid my dad at other occasions but we would both expect her to attend. I have no idea what the hell will crack off then. I keep coming back to thinking this needs to be sorted, and the sooner the better.

    Why do you need to be the one to sort it??

    Your sister and your dad are both adults. You're not responsible for either of them, so you're shouldering a burden which really isn't yours. They are both accountable for themselves.

    What can you do about this situation? Realistically, I'd say nothing. It's down to your dad and your sister. I don't know whether this is all borne out of a fear of conflict in yourself, or perhaps some kind of desire to protect your dad, but from what you've said you really are powerless to resolve this.

    I know it's difficult and complicated, but I speak as someone who, firstly, has a non existent relationship with her father; secondly, has a daughter who refuses to have anything to do with her and seems to believe some pretty nasty lies told her by her father and finally, is a self confessed people pleaser. So I think I can pretty much see this from all angles!

    I imagine it will be very difficult for you to abdicate responsibility for this situation, but I think you must try, for your own sanity.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miffy wrote:
    Why do you need to be the one to sort it??

    Your sister and your dad are both adults. You're not responsible for either of them, so you're shouldering a burden which really isn't yours. They are both accountable for themselves.

    What can you do about this situation? Realistically, I'd say nothing. It's down to your dad and your sister. I don't know whether this is all borne out of a fear of conflict in yourself, or perhaps some kind of desire to protect your dad, but from what you've said you really are powerless to resolve this.

    I know it's difficult and complicated, but I speak as someone who, firstly, has a non existent relationship with her father; secondly, has a daughter who refuses to have anything to do with her and seems to believe some pretty nasty lies told her by her father and finally, is a self confessed people pleaser. So I think I can pretty much see this from all angles!

    I imagine it will be very difficult for you to abdicate responsibility for this situation, but I think you must try, for your own sanity.

    Thanks, that makes sense actually. If you don't mind me asking, why don't you speak with your dad? I think what you said about me wanting to protect my dad is about right to be honest, I've not really thought about it like that before but yeah, it seems that way.

    Maybe I should just let them get on with it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks, that makes sense actually. If you don't mind me asking, why don't you speak with your dad? I think what you said about me wanting to protect my dad is about right to be honest, I've not really thought about it like that before but yeah, it seems that way.

    Maybe I should just let them get on with it.

    I think you should.

    I don't speak to my dad because - well, it's a little bit complicated so I'll give you the short version. He and my mum divorced when I was about 7, he remarried but my stepmother hated me. He sided with my stepmother against me and they really screwed me up. So as soon as I was old enough I stopped going over there every weekend. We kind of drifted apart. I did try to mend our relationship as an adult and a parent myself, but he didn't care enough to do any of the running, so now I don't contact him. Last time I saw him was about 5 years ago because I bumped into him in a shop.

    As far as your Grandad's funeral goes, do you think they'd actually start someting, or is it just a question of your sister not speaking to your dad?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Is there any way you can talk to your sister about this? Ask her if she was really molested in some way?

    My sister (only 2 years older than me) remembers a lot more about certain events in our lives than I do and so I had a very different relationship with my dad. She remembers lots of arguing and bitterness between my parents which I was too young to be a part of, so Iwasn't effected by it. It's definately had an effect on the way we both deal with family stuff and it's really important that you do understand that your sisters experience will be very different to yours because of the age gap.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Theres always a big battle for the child/childeren in a divorce, and speaking from experience, I find its sometimes to hurt the opposing member. Nothing hurts someone more than their own child not speak to them. And it the best weapon to get back at the ex-marrital partner. Id say, you cant do much no matter how hard u try to bring a friendship back between your mum and sister vs. your dad. He's very lucky to have you to care for him, and would be glad in a subconsious way that you are worried about this. As for your sister, until the day your mother stops feeding crap in her head or she finally realises that your old man is a good fella, she will be reluctant. But ppl grow up and forgive. Mayber the death of your grand father will help her realise that her dad will one day no longer be here for her. But I really think this will be up to her unfortunately.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Cheers for your help everyone :) Some wise words indeed!

    I think I'll just leave them to it for now, maybe one day they'll get back on speaking terms. Thanks again
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