Should I go no contact? Am I playing the victim?

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confuseddaughter

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Should I go no contact? Am I playing the victim?
« on: July 15, 2021, 03:57:29 PM »
Last year I lost a baby late in pregnancy. It was devastating and traumatic. I worked hard to heal for my living child. 5 months after it my dad called me to ask my advice on him & his partner (younger than me) trying for a baby (parents had an acrimonious divorce which was v toxic, another story). I was v supportive but did try to broach that it would be hard for me as I had recently lost a baby. No sympathy was shown except to ask how my ďmental healthĒ was (you mean grief?!). After the call, I felt very emotional about having to see them so I sent a polite text saying that I was avoiding pregnancy and pregnant ppl at that time so wouldnít be able to see them in person. My counsellor told me that I handled it v maturely. Thereís a whole level of toxic history that meant I didnít feel safe that he would be gentle in his approach of talking about their pregnancy plans.

Fast forward and itís now been a year of not seeing him. No calls, nothing. We had one interaction where I asked him if he was angry with me and he said he was v disappointed in me not supporting his plans to have a baby (not true as I was supportive) and also told me he blamed for some other stuff and was angry that Iíd told my mum about his pregnancy plans (brother told him). I tried to explain that it wasnít personal but was just what I needed to do because of the pain I was in. I also expressed sadness that he didnít understand the depth of my loss and wasnít interested in how his living grandchild was (no questions about her in that time but he did send a Christmas gift). 

In the mean time I have had a healthy baby after a v v difficult pregnancy. Due to the pandemic l ended up keeping the pregnancy secret as I didnít want the horror of having to tell everyone when I wasnít ready if I lost the baby.

I told my dad about my new child, ready to make peace and put things behind us in the way that births and deaths usually allow. However, he set numerous hoops that I had to jump through. Having a new baby and a toddler is hard, Iím breastfeeding and I also struggled with a lot of postpartum blues as my grief for my lost baby resurged. Instead of kindness and any sense that he was sad to have not been part of supporting me through pregnancy (including two invasive operations), he just dwelt on how I had wronged him. He told me I was strange and weird for keeping my pregnancy secret and heíd never do that - even though he then called me to tell me his partner was 12 wks pregnant which is clearly them waiting for the ďsafeĒ point but I never had a safe point in my pregnancy. A tiny gift was sent only after I called him at a time convenient to him. Interest in meeting the baby was only shown after Iíd done a further evening call (hard with young children to do evening calls as anyone whoís done it will know). I was sent a birthday gift with the receipt in it showing a spend approximately a quarter of anything my siblings get. He then didnít see the baby because I didnít answer his evening calls for a few weeks (I texted to explain that I couldnít do evenings) and so he wouldnít  arrange a date over email or text.

Anyway cut forward and Iíve been ostracised from other family things. No one on my dadís side of the family has met my baby, nor my dad or my brother. Only my grandparents have sent a gift. My sister is visiting from abroad staying with him and Iíve just had a voicemail from my dad wanting to ďsee how I amĒ but no mention of asking how my children are. He knows an ambulance had to be called for my babyís breathing and that tests are being done on his white blood cell levels. I think the voicemails are just so he looks good and can say heís trying because heíd just email, text or call during the daytime if he really wanted to fix our relationship. Heíd leave messages really asking to meet my child who is now three months old.

Basically Iím at a point where I know Iím contributing to it being bad as I could call him back but I donít want to. I donít want to make a fuss when his baby arrives. I donít want to play happy families because my sister is visiting. If he wanted that heíd have invited me when she arrived. If he wanted that then he wouldnít be turning all my family against me. If he cared about me, heíd realise that Iíve had the worst two years of my life and show joy that I now have my baby. But then I wonder if Iím playing the victim here?

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Cat of the Canals

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Re: Should I go no contact? Am I playing the victim?
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2021, 06:15:09 PM »
It doesn't sound like you're playing the victim to me. It sounds like -- despite an ongoing difficult relationship with your father -- that you have made many attempts to make peace and move forward, and it's somehow never enough. Not only that, your attempts to make peace seem to open the door for him to pile on the guilt. No wonder you don't want to play happy families. I certainly wouldn't.

I can't say whether you should go NC or not, but I do think it sounds like limiting contact and doing your best to not worry about your dad's ENDLESS needs would be best. You have yourself and your family to think about. It's not your duty to take care of your parent, especially one so uninterested in ever considering your needs.

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Should I go no contact? Am I playing the victim?
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2021, 06:32:56 PM »
You arenít playing the victim.

I remember you posting your story when your father shoved his own wanting to have a child in your face right after that devastating loss of your child. Heís a very selfish man, with zero empathy, to make the understatement of the century.

You have a lot on your plate and your father is completely focused on himself, as ever. Your responsibilities are to take care of you and your sweet babies. Heís not a good father or grandfather. Playing games and setting up hoops to have excuses to put you down when he could choose to offer care and support. Itís sick and you donít need that.

I feel for you as I have a father like that as well. I was ill after one of my babies was born and he made things much more difficult for me by smearing my ďmental healthĒ (I got chills when I read that phrase in your post) and showing no interest in the children except to make me look bad and himself so wronged. He played the victim in a situation that had nothing to do with him, where a decent person would have been giving, but he felt horribly wronged exactly because it wasnít about him. And punishing me and my kids by withholding support and affection for us all, and projecting his own selfishness onto me. Much like your father is doing.

His going a whole year without showing any interest in you and your family tells you what you need to know.  No matter what is going on in your life, no matter what he has said or done, he expects you to cater to him. No responsibility or care. Just false accusations to justify himself and punishing behavior. This relationship is a one-way street. Bullocks to that.

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Andeza

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Re: Should I go no contact? Am I playing the victim?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2021, 07:14:35 PM »
There's just so much wrong with his behavior... CMC and Cat have covered the majority quite nicely I think.

This is just not what a healthy relationship looks like. Not the relationship of a father to adult daughter, not that of a grandfather to grandchildren... I almost feel like he's trying to compete with you. I desperately hope I'm wrong, because that would be a very icky thing for him to do in the face of your loss. But then... disordered individuals have no handle on what is and is not appropriate concerning their adult children.

You aren't playing the victim, you actually ARE a victim. You HAVE suffered a terrible, terrible experience of the kind that is almost unfathomable to those that haven't been there. Your healing journey from that alone is likely to go on for some time, and now you have extra heaped on top of it.

NC is an intensely personal decision, and that'll be for you to decide. But there are questions that you need to ask yourself that can help you find clarity. Just a few.
 - Is this relationship beneficial in some way?
 - Is continuing the relationship only exposing you and your family to more trauma/abuse?
 - What is the likelihood of your father improving his own personal life in such a way as to become a healthy individual for you to be around? Be really, brutally honest with yourself on this one.
Remember, that there are no real deadlines for life, just society's pressures.      - Anonymous
Lasting happiness is not something we find, but rather something we make for ourselves.

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confuseddaughter

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Re: Should I go no contact? Am I playing the victim?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2021, 09:53:26 AM »
Thank you for your replies. I find his behaviour really messes with my mind. The calls at times when he knows I canít take them for instance. I have to keep reminding myself that if you want to talk to someone then you call them at a good time or you message first.

My familyís general dismissive attitude to my loss has also caused me to doubt my right to struggle with him having a baby etc.

You arenít playing the victim.

I remember you posting your story when your father shoved his own wanting to have a child in your face right after that devastating loss of your child. Heís a very selfish man, with zero empathy, to make the understatement of the century.
Thank you for remembering my post last year. I think you know how devastated I was and to be honest still am. Grief doesnít ever go. When I said to him in the call where he told me I was strange/weird, etc that Iíd felt really triggered by him telling me his pregnancy plans so soon after I lost my baby, he said that it wasnít straight after it and he was v dismissive that I could still have been grieving at 5m. My brother told me that I couldnít be avoiding all pregnant people so I was clearly just doing it to my dad. But I still grieve my baby even now over a year later and I find everyoneís pregnancies difficult let alone my own father?! Your description of your father is so similar to mine. He made everything about himself. My keeping my pregnancy secret from everyone became me trying to hurt him. Everything is about him. I have no doubt that he is also smearing my mental health to other people.

I
You aren't playing the victim, you actually ARE a victim. You HAVE suffered a terrible, terrible experience of the kind that is almost unfathomable to those that haven't been there. Your healing journey from that alone is likely to go on for some time, and now you have extra heaped on top of it.
Thank you for reminding me of the gravity of what Iíve been dealing with. I have to say that I answer your questions honestly then the answers would indicate NC.

It doesn't sound like you're playing the victim to me. It sounds like -- despite an ongoing difficult relationship with your father -- that you have made many attempts to make peace and move forward, and it's somehow never enough. Not only that, your attempts to make peace seem to open the door for him to pile on the guilt. No wonder you don't want to play happy families. I certainly wouldn't.

I can't say whether you should go NC or not, but I do think it sounds like limiting contact and doing your best to not worry about your dad's ENDLESS needs would be best. You have yourself and your family to think about. It's not your duty to take care of your parent, especially one so uninterested in ever considering your needs.
All very true and good advice.

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Should I go no contact? Am I playing the victim?
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2021, 10:32:20 AM »
I donít know what kind of grief support you have, but I just wanted to add that itís completely normal that you still grieve your child! Itís a pain and awareness that I believe never completely goes away. Miscarriage and stillbirth grief is largely an invisible grief in our society. Even abortion comes with lots of grief. Your new child cannot and does not replace the child that you lost. Heís a different person. I have had two miscarriages, and we named those babies, and were able to bury one in a cemetery with a Mass said. My living children are aware of them. My family called me morbid and sick, because they didnít do that. I believe itís better to acknowledge reality vs. stuffing it down to make other people comfortable. My mother talked about her miscarriages and how sick she was after years later more than I ever have, but whatever. It just went to further show the hypocrisy and imbalance. My parents claimed all the emotional space in the relationship. My feelings and needs were only ever an inconvenience. It looks like the same dynamic at play for you. How dare your feelings take precedence over your dadís, in any circumstance.

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confuseddaughter

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Re: Should I go no contact? Am I playing the victim?
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2021, 10:40:21 AM »
Thank you. Luckily I do know that my grief is for life. I too held a funeral for the baby I lost and gave them a name. Iíve also had the attitude from some family members that Iím ďmaking a fuss over a foetusĒ, being morbid, etc. But I birthed my baby, held them and will always love them. Iím sorry that you have been through the same pain. Itís truly a horrendous loss to go through.

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pianissimo

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Re: Should I go no contact? Am I playing the victim?
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2021, 12:18:13 PM »
The conversation about your father asking you for your advice reminds me of how my parents try to relate to me. The way they understand a good relationship between us is them finding something common between us. But the conversation serves to their emotional needs. In your case, your father and you have something in common, trying for a baby. There is chance he felt some kind of bond with you that you are going through the same thing, but, because of the lack of empathy for whatever reason, he expected you to support and comfort him. As a bonus, this interaction leaves you feeling bad because you are able to empathize with him about the difficulty of the process but you are not in a position to give him whatever he needs. Hello obligation and guilt.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2021, 12:59:03 PM by pianissimo »