Post # 1
I am not sure what else to do, so here I am, writing my first post ever! My dad has an emotionally abusive, manipulative wife. I don’t want her at the wedding or any other family events and now she won’t even let my dad attend- rather, he won’t stand up for himself. The wedding is 5 months away and I’m worried he won’t say no to her and miss the wedding. He knows how I feel and he has told me that he feels like a prisoner, has a secret email account, and can only call me when she isn’t there. I feel like if I allow her to come, the abuse will continue. Now that I’ve said she isn’t welcome, its up to my dad to stand up to her. Just because there are no bruises, don’t mean there isn’t abuse. If my mom was married to a man that hit her, I would feel the same way.
Any advice? Thanks!
Post # 3
@blessedwithlove: Welcome to the bee! I don’t really have any advice, but I am so sorry your dad and your family are going through this. It’s a tough situation. I think it will only change when your dad is finally able to stand up for himself. But that can take a while.
This reminds me a lot of my grandfather. His wife (not my real grandma) is an awful person. She keeps him from seeing our side of the family, doesn’t let us come to their house, and acts like her two daughters are the only children he has. (They’re not even his kids – they’re from her first marriage.) He tried to leave her and she threatened to kill herself. So he is stuck and miserable with her. I don’t really want her at my wedding, but I know for a fact that my grandpa will not come if she isn’t invited. It would not be worth the months of arguing and drama she would cause for him if he were to come without her.
It might be best to just invite the wife. It may be the only way your dad will be able to attend your wedding. Although, who knows? Maybe the possibility of missing his daughter’s wedding will be the wake-up call he needs to stand up to her.
I hope the situation gets better for you. Good luck!
Post # 4
Ugh, My dad has an abusive girlfriend, too. I don’t have any advice, but just wanted to say good luck, and I hope your dad gets out of the relationship. I know it’s really hard to watch loved ones in an unhappy relationship.
Post # 5
Sorry this is going to be harsh-
Your dad is in a very bad situation which is probably causing him distress and now his daughter is adding to this stress by making him chose between his wife and his daughter. I think you are being unfair to your father. It is his relationship and it is his and only his choice to leave it. All you can do if be supportive of him whatever choice he makes.
Invite his wife.
Post # 6
I agree with j_jaye.
Abusers look for control over all else. Your not inviting her adds fuel to her fire and gives her more reason ‘not’ to allow your father to attend. You say you want him to stand up for himself, but he might not be ready to do so. He needs your support right now. I know you don’t like his wife, but including her is likely the only way he will attend.
Post # 7
Ask your dad how he would feel if your Fiance forbid you from seeing him maybe? Maybe that will make him realise it’s not right for her to do that to him. He should be allowed to see his daughter even without her, they aren’t joined at the hip! And she’s not your mom, so I don’t see why you have to invite her.
Post # 8
If the wife was not abusive, presumably she would be invited since she is his father’s wife.
I would be very careful, OP. Abusers are super manipulative, and if this woman is not included, she might try to forbid your father to see you all together.
Post # 9
Really great thoughts and dialogue, thank you so much. I do think J_jaye and the rest of you are right, it just sucks seeing someone you love- especially a parent- being hurt. Its that ultimate role reversal from child to something else unknown, where you realize your parents aren’t as stable and strong as you thought. In the end I want him there, even if it means she will be too. Tricky… So, say I invite them both to the engagement dinner we are planning (for immediate family to meet). It would likely be the ‘right’ thing to do, but would take away so much of the joy of the event, getting away from the celebration of two families uniting to awkwardness and uncomfortable people (me, my mom, my sister…. and therefore my FI). So what and who is a marriage actually about? The two people joining, but also the two families uniting. My selfish side wants it to be about the joyful union of Fiance and I, with everyone getting along and having fun- which is how it currently is (just without dad and his wife). Adding those two to the mix would take away so much of what I love about the rest of the group. Please ladies, do let me know if you think I’m just being over selfish here (but be prepared to give me some advice on how to let it go!)
PS this is exactly the forum I was looking for, no worries about sounding ‘harsh’, all opinions are valid and appreciated! thank you!
Post # 10
I think it can only ruin your day if you let. My cousin sat her father (who she doesn’t have a good relationship with) on a table with other family friends rather than the family table so as to lessen the tension. Personally I don’t remember seeing anyone but my Fiance and the minister at my ceremony- we even had strangers at the ceremony because we got married in a public place and I didn’t even notice them until I got the photos back and said to mum who is that?.
If step mum makes drama at the wedding just line someone up to step in and shut it down with a swift reminder that the day is about your marriage and not any other family stuff.
I guess I am an optimist in that I think that adults will behave like adults in situations like this. And if they do not it only reflects badly on them.
And to answer your question- I think a wedding is about celebrating not only the couples joining but also family. But everyone has their own ideas.