what to do with dad...

Avatar for tinderdoc
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
what to do with dad...
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 4:38pm
My dad has always been the type to avoid crowds. He's always the first one out of the church building after services. When family would come visit while I was growing up, he'd go to his room and wouldn't come out until they were gone. But he has NEVER done what he did this weekend. I turned 27 yesterday. Mom started planning for my b-day late last week, asking me where I'd like to go for lunch (we were going to celebrate on Sunday), and telling my husband and I to invite as many friends as we'd like. Well with school and all, I hadn't gotten around to calling anyone yet by the time she called Saturday. She wanted to know if I'd like to do something on Monday nite. I have school and usually stay pretty late at nite during the week, so I told her I probably wouldn't be able to. I knew something was up, and I could tell she was upset. She said that my dad didn't want to do anything with a bunch of people, so I should go out with my friends on Sunday, and we'd do the family thing maybe the following weekend. Well, I was kind of stunned and hurt, but then I told her I hadn't invited anyone to go out with us yet, and I wouldn't if it was going to be a problem. 'No no, you invite your friends.' I told her it wasn't a big deal, let's just do the family thing on sunday like originally planned. I heard her tell dad that I hadn't invited anyone to go with us, and would he go out for my birthday on sunday. He threw a fit and told her to get out of the room. so she started crying, which made me want to cry. we finally decided to go out as a family and dad could go or not go, whatever he wanted to do. I invited my best friend (who has been to all my birthdays since 3rd grade) and her brother. Sunday rolled around, and after church, dad got up and left, didn't even look at me or say a word. We went out for lunch, went back to the house for cake & ice cream, and of course dad wasn't home (avoiding the massive crowd of friends i invited). Everyone left except my husband and me, and eventually dad found his way back to the house. He walked in and went straight to his room. That was the last I saw of him. Didn't say happy birthday or anything.

I saw mom today. She gave me an envelope with my name on it written in dad's handwriting. in it was a $1000 check to me from dad. Is it for my birthday? Mom told me a couple of months ago that they'd help me pay for a $1200 test I had to take in May. Maybe it's to help cover the exam fee? My husband and I are having money problems, but i've never asked dad for help, but is he trying to help us financially? At this point it's silly to speculate. I'm just really hurt and don't know what to think about this "gesture" (if that's what it is) from dad, and I'm not even sure I want to keep his money.

Avatar for cl_starrzz_n_moonzz
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 7:59am
You said he has been this way his entire life? Thathe atempted to step out one time and you were proud? Has he ever been to see a doc about this? My sister suffers from anciety to a point that she has trouble being around my mom, dad , me, her daughter(my adopted sister), and my DH. She said she has always felt this way even though she loves us all just so many people make her feel nervous. She is now on medication, but when she was around (before she moved to another state) her hands would shake and she would be so quiet. She never said no she wouldn't go somewhere ie walmart and such but after she got medicated she said it would scare her to death. That she would have to wait in her car before she could move. It isn't something they can control and they don't like to do it they are just scared to death. Maybe you could sit down and talk to your dad about all this and work things out. I am sure he doesn't want to push you all away maybe he just doesn't know how to keep from doing it? What seems easy and funny to us can be the hardest thing for another to do. As it is easy for us to be around many friends and family others it is like torture, not because they hate us and don't want to be around us just that they can't help it. You said he has been this way all his life? Then maybe you all should plan for now on to just do a little family thing and celebrate friendds totally seperate. Even if they have been friends for all your life. Just try to be helpful dealing with this with your dad. I know it is hard for us, but even one of my friends would make my sister a rattle of nerves. Go and talk to him about the check. Let him know you love him and tell him how you felt when he did what he did and you may get an explanation for why he does this and then you all can go from there. Just try not to hold a grudge be open minded when you go to him. And Happy Belated Birthday to you!! I know I still get a cake and buy my DH a cake and we go out to dinner. I feel you should always have a cake no matter if you are 100 it is your special day!! Let us know how thngs work out. Remember we are here. Until then~~~~~~Michelle
Avatar for tinderdoc
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 11:43pm
In response to your thoughts, I felt the need to defend my mother. Have you been to an ADULT family party? Do you celebrate your siblings', parents' or SO's birthday? By 'party', my family (excluding my father for the first time in my life) and closest friends went to lunch. My mom had a birthday cake for me at the house. I hope you don't have a birthday without one. We visit, then go home. This 'party' that we had did not involve hats or noisemakers. It's something that I know other families do as well (my DH's family goes all out for birthdays).

My father has had a rough life, this I know. I do love him and have accepted the way he does things my entire life. My DH doesn't understand how I can still be in the same room with him after all the things my family has been through with him (this instance was just one in a long line of things he's done that has hurt/insulted a member of the family). You say my father goes into hiding because of all these birthdays that my mother throws us? As I said in my previous post, he has been like this his whole life, and that means even before he met my mother. But it is a characteristic that you can change. It is difficult, but it can be done. I am very much like my father when it comes to crowds, but because I will have to deal with people for the rest of my life in the career I have chosen, I make myself learn how to be around people and interact with them better. He could do the same. In fact, I've seen him attempt to do so. I was very proud of how he stepped out of his shell for the brief moment that he did.

The purpose of my post was to vent my frustration regarding my father's absence during my birthday. He never did acknowledge that I had a birthday. How would you feel if your father did the same to you?

Avatar for leslie2353
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 8:11pm
Why is it so hard to understand MEN? Your first sentence: "My dad has always been the type to avoid crowds. He's always the first one out of the church building after services. When family would come visit while I was growing up, he'd go to his room and wouldn't come out until they were gone.

Your dad is obviously tensed, and he get stressed out BEING WITH CROWDS. My dad's like that. My DH's like that. My BIL's like that. It has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU or your BIRTHDAY, but this is obviously very UNCOMFORTABLE FOR him. Stop thinking about you, and think how he's feeling inside. It's too bad that each year he has to go thru that! It's too bad that your mom still treats you like a CHILD, having birthday parties with ALL YOUR FRIENDS. Every five years, or every ten years should be something more of a celebration, now that you're an adult, that's why your dad goes into HIDING. Can't you see that your dad just doesn't know how to express himself with you? He's crying inside, BUT HE STILL LOVES YOU! By giving you that check (you needed that money) is his way of showing that he does. So, give him a hug, and accept his gift as his way of wanting to be with you, in his special way.

Avatar for cl_2and1more
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 6:39pm
I'm sorry that your dad has upset your birthday. I hope that you had a good time with your mom and friends.

First, I just want to say that it is impossible for me to know why your dad would act this way. But from the background that you gave, I would guess that he suffers from anxiety. Some person just can not be ina crowd of people. I worked with a lady like that. It was in retail. So whenever we got too busy she would slip out the back and leave. A real help with a rush. Some people have it so bad that they never leave the house. This is just a guess, and I could be way off base. You know him and have been around him your whole life. You could judge that better.

I assume that you can go to him alone and ask him about the money. Does he do alright in a one-on-one conversation? If you can talk to him just excuse the behavior and get to the point about the money. Then tell him it really hurt your feelings that he didn't even acknowledge you on your birthday.

And for know on, keep times with your dad just small family things. Maybe visit him one at a time in a seperate room during these things. If he does have panic attacks, it must be terrible for him. I hope that he would see a doctor and get some pills to help.

Let us know how you are doing.