Divorced Mom & Dad still have issues

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-09-2003
Divorced Mom & Dad still have issues
5
Tue, 09-09-2003 - 11:35am
Hello all! I'm new to this particular board and looking for some advice. My Mom & Dad were married for 30 years. My Dad was happy but I always felt he did not treat my Mom well. He was verbally abusive, never helped around the house, didn't allow her to have friends or spend time with her family and was sometimes physically abusive if she stood up for herself. I was married in 1992 and divorced in 1997. After I left my husband, my Mom left my Dad and my father blamed me. Then he blamed it on the fact that she was going through her "change" and needed medication. He thought I should intervene and I wouldn't. My father has since remarried and still states he has no idea what went wrong with him and my mother and thinks they got along wonderfully (and they did as long as it was all his way). He says my Mom left everything behind (house, car, boat, pool, snowmobiles, motorcycles, summer camp, dog, furniture, etc.) for no good reason. My stepmom (who is the sweetest person) has seen the verbally abusive and controlling side of my father and has told me that he has admitted to her that he may have been that way with my Mom. My stepmom seems to be able to respond to my father in a way that does not make him angry but makes him see he is being unreasonable; my mother was unable to find this method. I am bothered by the fact that my father still maintains, in my presence and in the presence of others, that he is innocent and doesn't know what went wrong between my Mom and him.

My Mom has been with her boyfriend for almost 6 years now and he treats her well. She seems happier than she ever was with my father.

I was remarried last weekend. My father made many attempts to intervene up until the wedding date because my DH is self-employed and, in my father's eyes, he doesn't have a job. (My DH brings home more $ in a day than I make in a week.) My Dad tried many times to lecture me about my DH but I told him that if he had any issues with my DH, he should discuss them with him as I was not going to be stuck in the middle. The issue has since subsided, for now.

Our wedding was a small one, parents only, and my Dad graciously offered to buy dinner for everyone after the ceremony. My mother was uncomfortable with this, so she did not participate. My father was sad that my Mom wouldn't join us. This was the first time my Mom & Dad have seen each other since their divorce. My Dad behaved respectably, asked Mom how she was and shook her boyfriend's hand. Mom was curt and avoided my Dad. After the ceremony, my mother's boyfriend warned my Dad, while they were in the men's room, that he didn't like him and wasn't going to be his friend. My father hasn't mentioned this to me.

I can see both sides. I understand that my Mom is angry at my Dad for the way he treated her. (I always stood up to him, even if it meant a beating. Now that I'm older and don't depend on him for clothing and shelter, Dad is learning to respect his boundaries with me. Since I'm an only child to both parents, it's quite an impact when I don't visit for some time.) Mom taught Dad how to treat her by allowing him to get away with abusing her for 30 years. I think she needs to accept her part as well.

I try to stay out of the middle but I'm very disappointed that Mom's boyfriend chose my wedding day to speak to my Dad. I think my Mom's boyfriend was disrespectful to speak to my father like that on his daughter's wedding day.

I'd like to be able to tell my Dad, the next time he brings up the subject, that he should accept the part he played in my Mom's unhappiness and learn from the experience. I'd also like to make my Mom and her boyfriend aware that she is also responsible for her own unhappiness with my Dad because she allowed the abuse to continue. I'm growing tired of my parents always blaming the other, however, I don't want to stir up problems between me and my parents. Should I just say how I feel and accept the consequences or should I just ignore the childishness?

B.J.

Mommy to Samantha Renee 12/11/04

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2003
Tue, 09-09-2003 - 12:10pm
Island1120,

I am wondering if you have inherited your father's controlling side, even if it is just a tiny bit. I am saying this because you are asking for a lot of things, things out of your control. You cannot control how people behave. You cannot force your father to come to terms with his abuse, he has to do this on his own. (The fact that your father admitted his abuse to his new wife, is a giant step int he right direction, perhaps the divorce shocked him into behaving better). Your mother was a victim here, it was not her fault that her husband abused her. She probably stayed in the marriage for you. Your mother's boyfriend did not stir up trouble during your recent marriage ceremony, they spoke privately in the bathroom, nothing happened because of this right? You cannot control what people say to eachother, you are not their judge, you are their child. Love them for who they are, and if they ask for your opinion give it.

good luck,

-D

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-09-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 1:10pm
D-

I understand I can't control my parents. I didn't think it was unreasonable to expect them to behave cordially, especially on my wedding day, as I do for them on any other day.

My DH and I had originally planned to elope, but at my parents request, decided on a small wedding with parents only. My father wanted to have the ceremony at his house but I knew it would be too awkward for my mother. My mother wanted us to invite her sister, but we would've had to invite all other aunts and uncles. We chose a neutral location, which added to our expense, and stuck to the parents only rule. I don't know how much more considerate I could have been.

I agree that my mother is a victim to some extent. However, staying with a man that is abusive to you and your child (especially for 30 years) is of no benefit to anyone. I was born 7 months after they wed and I moved out when I was 22. Had she ever wanted to leave, I would have been the first one to help her. I'm not judging her, just acknowledging that she played a part in her own unhappiness by tolerating the abuse, and learning not to make the same mistake myself.

As for my father, I agree that the divorce shocked him into behaving better. However, on several occasions, during conversations while others, including my stepmother, are present, he will say something to me like "I never hit your mother, we never had any problems, right?". If I respond with a "Wrong", I know it will result in a blow up. So far, I've been able to escape without giving an answer. Whatever he is or isn't ready to accept is his problem. I don't know why I get dragged into their battles.

I'm sick of one parent telling me something bad about the other. I love them both dearly, despite their imperfections, as all humans have, and it hurts to hear anyone speak negatively about them. I wish they'd resolve their issues themselves and leave me out of it. I've expressed this to each of them more than once, but they just don't seem to get it.

My mother's boyfriend is the only one who confronted the person he had an issue with (although he could've chosen a more appropriate day) but his anger is based on exaggerations made by my mother. I only learned of this because he was bragging about it 2 days later.

I already dread holidays because I currently run from one parents' house to the other but they're never willing to take a trip in my direction. Now I have inlaws, who live 2 states away, to visit on holidays as well. My DH and I hope to have a family someday and my parents will have to decide if it's more important to them to fued or share special occasions with their grandchildren, peacefully. I'm not going to run myself ragged running from house to house nor am I going to referee my parents on every special occasion. They are going to have to learn to play nice or not play at all. That is their decision and not in my control.



B.J.

Mommy to Samantha Renee 12/11/04

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 2:25pm
Thanks for responding and explaining the situation, it sounds very difficult. I have to go through the same thing with one of my parents. My mother will not bad mouth my dad too much. But, I have to keep my mouth shut in order to avoid some kind of confrontation with my father. If he bad mouths my mother I just tell him, "Don't ever tell me that again." I try to stop him mid-sentence if he starts up. It sounds like your father is asking for some kind of validation that he was a good husband, don't give it to him. It sounds as if he doesn't deserve it, I know it is frustrating and causing unneeded drama in your life, so my advice is to not open that can of worms with him. He is not dumb, he will figure out that you don't want to talk about it, and will eventually not ask again.

I have never been married, but I know I would hate it if my mother's boyfriend was boasting about some confrontation he had at my wedding. This sounds terrible.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-09-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 2:40pm
Danielle:

It's nice to know that someone else understands where I'm coming from.

I'm just annoyed with them lately. It will all blow over eventually, the sooner the better.

Thanks for lisenting and for the advice :)

B.J.

Mommy to Samantha Renee 12/11/04

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-28-2003
Sat, 09-13-2003 - 11:31am
Hi,

I'm divorced from a man very much like your father. I was married over 22 years to this monster. But it's been 6 years, I've remarried and have gotten on with my life.

All 3 of our dd's can see both sides of the way the marriage went. I've been called the evil bi*ch from hell by xmil (not that I really care--she's the wicked witch of the east to me)that I destroyed xh & all 3 of dd's lives. Yea whatever

But for the sack of the girls I now invite xh over to my house for Xmas--it's the one day of the year I can be the bigger person and do something kind for him.

Yes you need to tell your dad that he must take responsiblity for his behavor, it's totally on him. My xh tryed to kill me in front of our youngest dd. XH stills says it never happened. He refused to accecpt his behavor. You really just need to support your mom in this.

Samantha