Traumatic year & now silent treatment

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confuseddaughter

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Traumatic year & now silent treatment
« on: October 31, 2020, 12:06:45 PM »
Hi everyone, Iím looking for some third party views because I often doubt myself.

Iíve had the most awful year of my life. I lost my second child halfway through my pregnancy in a very scary and horrid way. Itís been devastating and I am still grieving my child but being strong for my first child. No one expects to need to plan a funeral for their baby. Iíve also been going through lots of testing and consultant appointments to try to understand what happened and whether I can risk trying again. Itís been really hard work clawing myself back to feeling okay.

Iíve been very open about my pain with my dad and I thought heíd understood. Heís always been very controlling but weíd reached a reasonable place in our relationship I thought.

5 months after losing my child my dad called me to ďask my opinion ď on him having a child with his girlfriend (younger than me). I was very balanced and said he should go ahead and that I would love and support his child but that it would obviously be difficult for me right now having lost my son. People who have lost a baby generally avoid babies and pregnancy for a while. He wanted me to meet up with him and his girlfriend but he can be quite insensitive and I felt nervous that he would say something that would upset me. I also didnít want to pretend to be excited for them to be trying for a baby when Iím still grieving mine. It felt like he didnít understand why I might struggle. It also became apparent that he wasnít really wanting my advice, he was just manipulating me so Iíd be more supportive of his plans. I messaged him to say that I hoped heíd understand but I didnít want to meet in person because I prefer to avoid pregnancy chat etc at the moment with people. I thought we could still have phone calls and I could see him on his own with no baby chat. Obviously I still want him to be grandparent to my living child whoís fond of him.

My bereavement counsellor said that she thought my way of handling it all was very emotionally mature and that it was v reasonable of me to not want to see them as a couple over this period.

Since then my dad hasnít spoken to me at all for nearly 3 months. I sent him photos of my first child and he hasnít responded. My sister told me that he told her that he was disappointed that I wasnít more supportive of him through him trying for a baby. He always gives me silent treatment when I donít do what he wants. Eventually he will probably contact me as if nothing has happened.

What should I do? Half of me feels his behaviour is unforgivable and I donít want to speak to him ever again. Half of me thinks maybe itís a misunderstanding and I should let it go if he contacts me.

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Hepatica

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Re: Traumatic year & now silent treatment
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2020, 12:20:24 PM »
Wow. First of all, as a woman who experienced a miscarriage I send you my condolences. This is an incredible loss. When it happened to me it was the time when I felt the most alone I had ever felt. I was working full-time and many of the women I worked with were getting pregnant and having babies, so numerous baby showers I was expected to attend. And I was a mess. An absolute mess. Nobody cared. It was this cruel expectation of me celebrating those women, while keeping silent about my loss that I look back on as incredibly painful.

So, what your father is doing is unacceptable to me, yep, perhaps unforgivable.  >:(  I am sitting here furious for you. It is unacceptable that he would be so selfish and insensitive to ask your advice at this time. It is even worse. It is cruel. I don't care that he is a man who has never experienced pregnancy and loss. There is no excuse for his behaviour.

And then giving you the effing SILENT TREATMENT! Oh I'm so angry for you.

You poor thing. Please consider closing the door on this man. He is not going to change and I foresee much more insensitivity if you try to relate with him. I wouldn't share another personal thing with him and I would work on a tight personal support network as you recover. He has lost his right to ask your advice, seek your support and frankly anything. He is not a safe person.

Please keep yourself cared for and safe as you grieve and recover. You don't need this ridiculous extra pain in your life. It's not a misunderstanding. He is without conscience to act this way and at his age, he probably is not changing. He'll do it again. Perhaps you can forgive him some day, but keeping unsafe people at a distance is the ultimate act of self-love and care and his feelings should not be considered esp. at this time, as you are healing.

I'm so sorry this happened. I'm so sorry about the loss of your baby.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2020, 12:24:02 PM by Hepatica »
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SunnyMeadow

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Re: Traumatic year & now silent treatment
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2020, 12:44:10 PM »
Your father's actions are unacceptable to me too!  What kind of a person does this? And a FATHER to boot, as a fully grown man he should know better.

confuseddaughter, you handled your father's question and request with the utmost maturity and class. He on the other hand, needs a few courses in empathy, respect and caring.

I wouldn't let this go, don't ignore this. His behavior is unforgivable. Unless he does a complete turn around along with profuse apologies, he isn't worth your time. Obviously he is wrapped up in himself. Let him be.

I'm sorry confused.  :sad2:

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confuseddaughter

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Re: Traumatic year & now silent treatment
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2020, 01:09:32 PM »
Thank you Hepatica and SunnyMeadow. Thank you for confirming what my intuition was telling me but I think I was also scared to face. My husband hates any conflict and sometimes it means I find it hard to know if I'm being unreasonable because he will always encourage me to avoid any conflict.

Hepatica I am so sorry for the loss of your baby too. You were very brave to attend those baby showers. I don't think I could do it, certainly in the immediate aftermath.

I obviously completely understand people having babies and have congratulated all my friends who have fallen pregnant over the past few months but they have all completely understood that they needed to be sensitive. None of them have expected me to talk lots about their pregnancies or to be especially involved. At the time it felt so painful to have my father of all people making me talk in depth with him about his pregnancy plans. Even my bereavement counsellor was shocked that I'd be in such an unusual situation. However, I tried very hard at the time to give him balanced and good advice and to not let me own feelings impinge too much.

One bit that really upset me was that he asked me to talk to his girlfriend about all my medical research about what happened to me to help her (her first child was a born a bit early but completely healthy). That was one of the biggest factors for why I didn't want to then meet up with them soon after the chat because I didn't want to be backed into a corner having to advise someone all about my loss when they have never experienced something like this.

SunnyMeadow - he will never apologise because he never does that. My sister argued with him to try to get him to see that I wasn't being unsupportive of him choosing to have a baby but that I was just protecting myself and by extension my own family. He completely refused to see her point of view. My sister was actually surprised when I told her what I'd actually said to him because she said it sounded like I'd been very supportive which wasn't at all the impression he'd given. My husband overheard my whole conversation with my dad so I know that I was very reasonable and supportive.

Hepatica - I think you are right that he is unsafe. Thinking more about it, he must have thought about the fact that I might find the conversation difficult. He even asked me in the conversation how my mental health was - which also offended me a bit as I don't think grieving your child is anything to do with mental health. When they discharged me from hospital I asked if I should be prescribed any anti-depressants or anything but the nurses all told me that I wasn't depressed or needing meds, I was just a grieving mother.

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Hepatica

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Re: Traumatic year & now silent treatment
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2020, 01:43:33 PM »
Dear confuseddaughter,

There are a number of red flags there that are unusual and worrisome. How he pushes the topic of babies onto you when any normal person would know that is a no no. And then slyly asking about your mental health? These behaviours show complete lack of empathy but something more, almost like he's baiting you.

The good thing is you behaved above board and put him in his place by being the mature one, but now he's giving you the silent treatment because he didn't get his supply - drama. Please don't ignore these red flags bc they can and probably do indicate further mistreatment of you. I know he's your father, but as many of us know here, disorder can make a person cruel, even when they are a close relative.

Keep these red flags at the forefront of your mind when dealing with him again in future. I'd say getting the silent treatment from him is your reason to slowly back away yourself and when he returns, grey rock him to the max. bc if he's really disordered he may try to hurt you again.

It's good that you know what you are dealing with and remain strong and take good care of yourself.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2020, 01:45:17 PM by Hepatica »
ďThere is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's
still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where
there is a confidence and tranquility." John O'Donohue

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MamaDryad

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Re: Traumatic year & now silent treatment
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2020, 02:04:06 PM »
First, I am so sorry for your loss and hope you have a lot of people in your life who do validate and support you as you grieve. The way you set boundaries was indeed impressive and mature and would be so even without the trauma you've experienced.

Your father is way out of line, and I think you know in your gut that you're not overreacting. I want to encourage you to trust your perception and understanding of the situation and of his personality; you've known him all your life, and you know who he is. Don't let your ideas of who he *should* be get in the way of seeing who he is. I agree with others here that he is being deliberately insensitive, and I hope that you will do whatever you need, without guilt, to keep yourself emotionally as safe as possible as you heal.

I have a lot of side eye, incidentally, for spouses who are "conflict-averse" in a way that always puts the burden on you to bear up silently under poor treatment. I hope that your husband can come to understand that you have a right to protect yourself against people who hurt you.

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Duck

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Re: Traumatic year & now silent treatment
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2020, 01:23:32 AM »
No one has brought this up yet, but I find it annoying he would bring this up with you at all.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the upside down nature of our lives - that we are like parents and our parents are like our children. I am annoyed many times that not only did my parents make big mistakes raising me, I have to soothe and comfort them about their mistakes. I somehow have to give them counsel and comfort. Lately, I have been thinking about how backwards that is.

I would be very annoyed if my parent asked for advice and support about having a child. If my father dated someone younger than me, I would not want to have anything to do with his sexual and reproductive life, including any discussion. Scratch that. I donít want anything to do with that part of his life regardless of who he dates.

In your place, I would be like - even if I was not grappling with a life changing tragedy, which I am - do you not have any friends/ counselors/ peers/ spiritual advisors/ doctors to discuss this with?

His girlfriend is sort of in a ďstepmotherĒ position in relation to you. It seems very awkward to me even without your painful situation. With your bereavement, his behavior is unbelievably inappropriate.

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Hilltop

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Re: Traumatic year & now silent treatment
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2020, 04:20:11 AM »
I'm so sorry for the loss of your son, its heartbreaking and I can't believe your dad wanted to talk to you about pregnancy and babies, it is so unbelievably insensitive and I'm angry for you.

You handled the situation with a lot of emotional maturity and most people would have understood and been sensitive to your pain.  I guess this tells you where your dad is at, not able to give you the support you need.  He hasn't been able to offer basic understanding and really has been cruel towards you with the silent treatment.

I can't believe he asked about your mental health, of course you are grieving it's a natural response.  It reminds me one time many many years ago when my washing machine flooded my kitchen and my parents were visiting and I cried in frustration.  What was my mothers response "oh you are having a breakdown".  Ok then, perhaps I'm just frustrated.  That's the thing with these types they are unable to process your emotions, they can't deal with them, they don't matter to them, there is no empathy and what happened to you is the end result of that lack of empathy.

The silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse.  Your dad is an adult and should be able to talk to you if he has a problem with how things were handled, by choosing to use the silent treatment its a form of punishment to try to get you to fall back in line.  He is hurt is he and what about your feelings, where do they fit in?  Take this silent treatment as a gift and give yourself time to think about where you want the relationship to go.

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confuseddaughter

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Re: Traumatic year & now silent treatment
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2020, 06:40:33 AM »
Thank you for all these sensitive and insightful replies. They have helped me process my thoughts so much. They have helped me to feel more in touch with my intuition and less confused.

Hepatica - I think you are right about red flags. I hadn't even considered that on some level, conscious or subconscious, he might be deliberately hurting me but the more I think about it, the more I think you are right.

MamaDryad - what you said really resonated with me "Don't let your ideas of who he *should* be get in the way of seeing who he is.". I think the part of me that would overlook his behaviour is the part of me that wants to believe that he is a normal, loving and well-adjusted father. You are also right that I know him better than us and should trust my feelings on this. Also 100% on your comment re spouses!

Duck - you are right that it was an inappropriate conversation irrespective of my loss. Something that I have always found difficult with him is that he says very inappropriate things sometimes which is one of the reasons why I didn't want to meet up with him because I didn't trust him to not suddenly talk in depth about their sex life or something.

Hilltop - Thank you for your kind words. You are right about empathy. My dad really struggles with empathy and I've often seen him have little comprehension or sympathy for anyone who is struggling with things in life. The silent treatment is very childish. When I sent the message saying that I wouldn't be able to see him but that I hoped he understood, I assumed he'd call me if he wanted to clarify anything. The fact that he's not even acknowledging my living child's photos is very childish, especially as none of this has anything to with her.

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nanotech

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Re: Traumatic year & now silent treatment
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2020, 11:44:34 AM »
The concept of emotional incest keeps coming to mind when I read about how your dad is with you.
Itís a completed lack of boundaries.
Itís the whole thing of when something dreadful happens to you, instead of receiving sympathy and kindness, you just get the opposite.  You get attention, but itís unhealthy attention. I think it is deliberate hurting.
I lost a baby at thirteen weeks and it was as if Iíd let the whole family of origin down. I was  emotionally arm-wrenched to move on very quickly.
I got home from the hospital to find out that my mum had got me a job for the following week- because apparently I Ďkept cryingí and mum thought I would be better off Ďtaking my mind off it.í  :stars:
It was a miscarriage with complications and emergency treatment and Itransfusions. So there were some health issues of my own also to get over.  But there I was, frogmarched back to work.
The job was awful. It was just me in an otherwise empty room with a switchboard- not seeing or speaking to anyone all day. I remember thinking that it was good that I didnít have to talk to anyone all day because I kept sobbing. But if I was thinking that, then I shouldnít have been there. The boss screamed at me on the phone a few times, because he said my voice was too soft and because I asked him to repeat himself. 
I just remember either crying, or feeling numb. I honestly think my mum wanted me out of the way.(I was living with her at the time while me and hubby saved for a mortgage).
I think back now to how I would have been if that were my daughter. I instead would have been keeping her close, being there for her, lots of TLC, letting her cry, talk, rage if she wanted to. I wouldnít have been pressuring her to work. Grieving is so important.
Be that kinder parent to yourself.
Remember that your dad wonít change. He canít empathise.
Youíve made the right decision. I should have said no to that job.
Iím so, so sorry for your loss. ❤️


« Last Edit: November 01, 2020, 11:50:57 AM by nanotech »

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confuseddaughter

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Re: Traumatic year & now silent treatment
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2020, 01:48:35 PM »
Nanotech- I am so sorry that your mum treated you like that and that no one stepped in to protect you. You poor thing.

My dad has finally responded to the photos I sent of my daughter but just with a quick comment. Itís so childish that he doesnít just say whatís bothering him. Anyway I sent him a brief message asking him if there was something bothering him. I know I could have just ignored him but I felt that for me the best option was to be up front and see what he had to say. No response yet so we shall see.

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Adria

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Re: Traumatic year & now silent treatment
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2020, 03:07:43 PM »
I am so sorry for the loss of your baby. How terribly devastating. You sound like a very special person by the way you handled your father's insensitivity.   You are a class act in every sense of the word. 

When I was younger, I had an ectopic pregnancy and nearly died. My mom and dad never even bothered coming to the hospital to see if I was okay. My in-laws came and kept asking where my mom and dad were. It was awful and embarrassing. I think because of their callousness, I never really grieved the loss. It just didn't seem to matter as I was so traumatized by their lack of empathy and caring along with losing a baby. When I went home, it was like nothing ever happened and nobody said a thing.

It hurts me to my core that your father  took it to the next level by talking about him having a baby with some woman who is younger and may be in a position of a step mother to you.  He clearly crossed a line there.  One, by talking to you about his sex life, yuck! and Two, doing this to you after you had just lost your baby.  And, now because you couldn't handle it (for good reason) he gives you the silent treatment.  Narcs always know how to bait and leave you flailing when you are hurting the most.  That is their specialty.

Maybe don't respond to his silent treatment. Try to push him out of your mind. When he calls, let him go.  When he realizes you aren't playing. he will try to reel you back in, but if you can stay strong and gray rock him, you may be better off (at least for the time being). Now is not the time to put your energy into his drama. It's time to try to heal and hold your family together.  Now more than ever you come first.  He took one of the most painful parts of your life and made it all about him, and when you didn't play along, he ousted you.  He gave up his rights to interject himself into your life whenever he feels like it anymore

At least now, your dad has really shown his true colors and you can really see what you are dealing with.  Read as much as you can, so you can learn how to navigate this situation.  It sometimes seems so surreal. But knowledge is power when it comes to narc behavior. Stay strong, honey. Be patient with yourself right now. Hugs to you, Adria





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nanotech

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Re: Traumatic year & now silent treatment
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2020, 08:50:03 PM »
Adria I canít believe your parents didnít come  to see you. Why oh why. Iím so sorry you went through all that. Itís hard enough WITH support.
Confused daughter thank you for your kind sympathy. I agree with Adria that your dad seemed to want to make your pain all about him.
Itís like they donít get the basics of this parenting lark. Okay heís met someone younger and he wants to have a child with her. IN THAT CASE he should be very VERY sensitive and caring toward you, choosing his moment and reassuring you about the whole thing that heís doing.
He shouldnít have even brought it up to you right now.
 But no. Not only does he NOT do any of that, but he asks you to give HIM and the GF reassurances on their OWN insecurities. It is a PD trait- they can only interpret a crisis in terms of themselves and their immediate lives. My dad does this all the time. I used to do it too. (I had fleas when younger).
I began to see how I sometimes did this and stopped. Luckily I married a man with loads of empathy and I discovered I had it too - just hadnít been taught how to express it too well.
The ONLY tperson they want us to feel sorry for is them.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2020, 08:54:17 PM by nanotech »

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confuseddaughter

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Re: Traumatic year & now silent treatment
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2020, 07:40:41 AM »
Thank you for these replies. They have helped me to feel supported.

Adria - I am so sorry for the loss of your baby. An ectopic pregnancy is frightening and sad. Your parents barely deserve to call themselves parents by not coming to your hospital bed. I am going to do some more reading on narcissistic behaviour.

Nanotech - you make an interesting point. I hadn't considered that he has essentially made my hour of need all about him. I do find myself doing this sometimes too and I am working very hard on my own fleas.

To update, my Dad finally replied to my message about my daughter. It was a v brief, disinterested reply. I asked if something was bothering him. He then told me all about how disappointed he was in me for not supporting him. I said that I had supported him but had just said that I couldn't see him for obvious reasons but that that didn't preclude us keeping in touch etc.

He also told me off for telling my mum (his ex-wife) about his plans to have a baby and said that he couldn't trust me anymore and wouldn't confide in me anymore. Obviously I explained that I just spoke to my mum because I wanted some comfort plus she obviously would find out that he was having a baby anyway. Turns out he found out because my brother told him that I'd told my mum ( a whole other story, my brother and I are basically estranged as he provided no support after my loss and is generally dismissive of me and incredibly sexist which I can't have around my daughter). Anyway I then said that I was disappointed that he obviously hadn't grasped the enormity of my loss and that he showed no interest in his granddaughter. Of course I now am being ignored again.

On top of that I found out last night that my extended family are all having zoom catch ups that I can only join through special arrangement because of my "issues" with my brother. This was via my uncle.

Basically I feel deeply disappointed that half of my family (brother, father, grandparents, aunts, uncles) have all talked about me and taken the view that (even though they see my point of view) I am the one who can be excluded rather than that my dad is in the wrong or that my brother is in the wrong. My brother didn't even wish my daughter happy birthday this year despite it being soon after my loss and him being well aware of it.

Really this is a time where some family support would be nice instead of being ostracised for Christmas simply because I didn't want to meet up with my dad and his girlfriend to chat about babies. I am now trying to make my peace with estrangement from a chunk of my family because I think this kind of treatment is unacceptable and the emotional immaturity and lack of communication is unacceptable too.





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Hepatica

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Re: Traumatic year & now silent treatment
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2020, 08:55:01 AM »
Dear confuseddaughter,

You're not alone. I'd say all of us here have been betrayed by not just one family member, but a system, a disordered family system. And it hurts like hell when you begin to see it, as you have now, very clearly.

I went through a process with my family not dissimilar. It began with me setting boundaries and a narcissistic family system does not like boundaries. That's on them though, confuseddaughter. Not on you. Everything that you wrote is clear to all of us. They are out of line, esp. in the case of your father. It is crazy that he would talk to you about the private pregnancy plans with his girlfriend and esp. the timing of it. Crazy!! You are not wrong here to set boundaries. Trust yourself.

Trust yourself also that your brother is toxic too, red flags being that he is sexist and plainly insensitive. Your examples are clear. He runs to your father when you are clearly doing something that is for your own self-care and they all begin to exclude you, when they should be surrounding you with compassion and care. It's topsy turvy world as are all toxic families.

I know how much it hurts when you realize that it is a group of people and they are family. That is a horrendous feeling. I'm sorry you are experiencing this.

Toxic people behave this way. They divide people. That is one of their red flags I would think. They are so insecure they rally other folks to be on their side. They create a side, even at the expense of the welfare of their own children. They don't care. They are so terribly insecure it is all about them - as was said above about your father. This is classic toxic behaviour.

It's ok to not have them in your life. In many ways your father does not deserve another word from you. And your brother sounds awful as well. Remember that these things harm you. Every interaction is harmful and it is unlikely they will have an epiphany and change into kind, compassionate people. You have to be your own best ally right now.

I't's ok to realize they are not good people and protect yourself and begin your healing process. I know it feels lonely and that is what this support board is here for. It is ok to focus on yourself and what you need now.

I'm really sorry though. I remember well how hard it was as I began to wake up to the cruelty in my family. It was when I set a boundary with them and then I was immediately set up as the family scapegoat.

Being around toxic people is not healthy in the long run. It is draining and not good on your body stress systems. When you turn to self-care and healing you do an honourable thing for yourself by breaking a pattern. It's not easy. I won't lie, but it is better for you in the long run and definitely better for your daughter.

I will say again, trust yourself. If something feels wrong it is wrong. I see very clearly that what they are doing is wrong. The support forum here will bolster in this knowing, as I know how easy it is to doubt what is happening. Just remember it is not about you. It is about them. You did nothing wrong here. You did an absolutely normal thing by protecting yourself from discussing babies with your father.

What they are doing is not ok and you don't have to engage with them further. Practice great self-compassion at this time. As well, don't share anything personal with any of them. They are not safe. Practice maximum chill and grey rocking. Be boring to them. When you need support talk to your therapist or a person who is not a part of the system. They get to know nothing about you now, other than polite, impersonal interchanges - or if you go no contact, nothing at all.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2020, 09:43:52 AM by Hepatica »
ďThere is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's
still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where
there is a confidence and tranquility." John O'Donohue