Post # 1
I guess there’s not much of a point to this other than to get it off my chest…
So my wedding is soon and it’s bringing a lot of emotions to the surface. My parents divorced when I was 3. I have a wonderful step-dad, but I still saw my father every other weekend through the age of 15. He was a shitty father, alcoholic, neglectful, and verbally abusive. I remember him leaving me in cars for hours in the summer while he went into apartments with women. I remember being left alone at camp grounds for multiple nights after he said he was going out for a pack of cigarettes… my mother never knew these things until I was older because I wanted to protect him as a child. I still tried to keep a relationship with him into early adulthood and accept him for who he is. He really did try to love me, he just didn’t know how to be a good dad and his alcoholism has ruined his life in many ways. So cut to the fall out… he married a trashy alcoholic woman when I was in college. We had some words one day and I never heard from my dad or his mom again. So that’s been several years without hearing from them now. I’ve went to my grandmothers house and she wouldn’t answer the door. I’ve called and she won’t answer. I drive past her house sometimes just to see her car in the drive. She’s always been protective of my dad so if he’s mad at me, she is too. Either way, here I am about to get married and it really hurts I can’t invite my grandmother or dad. I want to have a normal relationship with them where I can have them there and in my life. It’s never going to happen, but it’s just really upsetting to know that the woman who I loved so much as a child isn’t a part of my life anymore. Losing my dad sucks and it bothers me he can’t be a part of my life, but my grandmother cutting me off kills me. My Fiance has never met either of them. And my mom and step-dad are the absolute best parents to me. They love me and have raised me so well. I know bringing this up to my mom would upset her because she doesn’t see why I would want people at my wedding who would ruin her day (it was a bad divorce) and I know them being there is unrealistic. It’s just sad for me sometimes. Trust me I know I need to let it go and move on. It’s just hard to accept not being wanted as an adult by a woman who had such a hand in raising me.
Post # 2
I just want to say I’m sorry. Abusers run life long smear campaigns to silence their victims. I my case, my entire extended family believes horrible lies about me and are no longer in my life. Entirely their choice, not mine. It hurts. Being related to people who betray you is freaking awful. As for your wedding, all you can do is be glad about the kind people there. Be around people who really care about you. I too wish things could be different , but in reality they just aren’t.
Post # 3
HappySky7 : thanks for the support. Isn’t it crazy that we want to still be around these people who cut us off? I feel so dumb for wanting a relationship with people who don’t want me, but can’t help it.
Post # 4
I’m sorry, Bee. Childhood pain is some of the deepest, and has such a profound impact on you. I had a very difficult relationship with a close family member. One of the most painful things for me was realizing that person totally failed me, and could never be what they should be to me because of their own shortcomings. It helps the adult me to have an understanding, but not that child me who wonders what I did wrong / why I wasn’t good enough / loveable enough.
Post # 5
des- : that’s actually a very helpful way of thinking of it. That they failed us. I don’t think I’ve ever really thought of it that way. I’ve never blamed myself for it, just always wished it could be different. But you’re right. They did fail me.
Post # 6
First off, it’s not “her” day, it’s “your” day. I understand making everyone happy, specially your mother, but at the end of the day if this is something that is weighing on you this much, then perhaps you should explore if there is a possibility to have them there.
My Future Mother-In-Law and Future Father-In-Law are divorced, he was abusive to her, they don’t speak. (I won’t get into it, but it was really bad – it’s hard for my Fiance to talk about it) However, he still attended my FSIL’s wedding and walked her down the aisle even though she would have preferred my Fiance to do so. Future Father-In-Law still attended the wedding, didn’t sit at the same table, of course, he was seated with my FI’s older brother, wife, and his brother and sister in law. The only portion of it that was awkward for us was splitting our time between the two, but I doubt anyone else noticed.
Future Mother-In-Law kept her composure even when he spoke to her and remembered that he was her daughter’s father, though not a good one, they created a beautiful baby girl who has now turned into a beautiful bride.
It might be harsh to say this, but if it means this much to you to have them there, then your mother simply needs to get over it and try to understand your feelings.
Post # 7
My mother used work in foster care helping find homes for foster children. Something she said to me that really struck me is that most children, given the choice, would choose to go back to their families. They want to be with their parents, the people they love- they just want the abuse or unhealthy situations to stop. Your post reminded me of that. There’s nothing wrong with longing for someone that you loved and who raised you. It’s actually natural and healthy. But the relationship isn’t. Your father definitely isn’t and it sounds like your grandmother isn’t either.
The sad thing is that your grandmother’s behavior is kind of proving that your father didn’t end up fucked up all by himself. She clearly had some hand in helping him along that path.
Maybe you can send her a letter and picture with your engagement announcement or from your wedding after the fact. (If you want to and if having a relationship with her won’t be too painful or hurtful for you.) Sometimes, big life events can help people realize their priorities have been out of wack. Maybe seeing how much she’s missed will help her get her head out of her ass. If not, at least it’s a way for you to update her on progress in your life without her rejecting you to your face and hurting you like that again.
Post # 8
OP, it’s completely understandable that your mother wouldn’t want the man who abused and neglected her daughter there that day when it is suppose to be a happy day.
Does you dad genuinely make you happy? Or does he only bring you pain? Do you genuinely want him there? Or do you only want him there because in a sense you “can’t” have him there?
Typical answer, but you really should go to threapy for these issues. You can be helped through to see the situations more objectively, and to learn how to cope without your father in your life. I agree with the above PP, it’s not “crazy” or “stupid” to miss your father…but it is crazy and stupid to expect him to magically change. Please remember there is NOTHING wrong with you. Your father sounds like he has deep-seated issues which he refuses to confront, so it is what wrong with HIM, not you!
As for your grandmother, I agree with PP. You can maybe send her a letter (it might make you feel better but don’t expect anything back – if you do get something back, it’s a bonus). It’s also a way to feel like they were a part of things, without actually being near you and doing any damage.
Post # 9
nurseinlove : Very true. I guess the problem is who I wish they were vs who they are. In reality they have been vicious and mean to me. In my hopes they are family that function how family should. That disconnect is very very hard.
Post # 10
HappySky7 : yes I completely get it. It’s like you have an idea of what family should look like and when yours sucks, you just want it to be different. It’s like you watch movies/see people in real life with these normal functioning happy families who can move past things and have a happy ending, but when yours doesn’t fit that mold it’s disappointing.
TwilightRarity : the letter to my grandmother after the wedding is a great idea. Thank you!
Post # 11
Oh, darling Bee, my heart hurts for you. I am so sorry.
HappySky7 is exactly right—abusers do run smear campaigns against their victims. My own father did it to me, too.
Your wanting a connection with your family isn’t crazy at all. Bonds formed out of trauma are harder to break than healthy bonds. Think Stockholm Syndrome. There is an excellent book on the subject by Dr Patrick Carnes, The Betrayal Bond. It includes healing exercises. Dr Carnes is recognized by trauma specialists as the expert on traumatic bonding, he’s also on FB.
Those people stole so much from you. Be kind to yourself. Much love and many gentle hugs.
Post # 12
I’m sorry Bee. My father is a neglectful alcoholic who always chooses his women over his children. And it really sucks.
I know logically he will never be the dad I deserved. He is who he is and he is never going to change. But I understand your hope. That he would be there for you and love you.
Your dad is never going to be who you want him to be and your grandmother is an enabler.
Have you gone to see a therapist? They can help you deal with these feelings.
Post # 13
So why exactly “can’t” you invite them? You didnt say you went to granny’s hand-carrying invitations. You have the addresses, right? I think a letter AFTER the wedding would just cause more bad feelings on their side.
Post # 14
I am in a similar position, a lot of us are unfortunately; posts like these pop up on the Bee every month. Dysfunctional, abusive and deadbeat parents- just know that you are not alone!!
I stopped talking to my alcoholic mother a decade ago, the entire family took her side so I’ve been alone. Recently I bumped into my grandmother at the store- I looked at her waiting for something, she said “hey” and kept walking. What kind of grandparent does that?! You said your grandmother hides inside refusing to open the door, that’s just as disgusting!
These people do not deserve you!! They don’t deserve to know you anymore, leave them in your past. Do not invite them, do not send a card/letter/photo/anything after the fact either, just let them go. They don’t deserve to see you happy= because in their messed up little brains they will take credit. They don’t deserve to be proud, they have nothing to do with your happiness today. In their brains there’s nothing for them to apologize for because you turned out fine. Please cut them completely out of your life and never into your children’s lives. They made their choice, it wasn’t you. You owe them nothing!
Post # 15
yupmarried : it’s really nice hearing about other people with similar circumstances. It sucks anyone else in the world has to deal with it, but it’s nice not feeling alone in it.
I would never invite them simply because I know if they came it would ruin my day to see them for the first time in so long on such an important day, but also I know they definitely wouldn’t come. And just inviting them at all would feel like a slap in the face to my mom and step-dad who have raised me and been wonderful loving parents throughout my entire life. I really do see it as their day too. It’s their only day to ever be the MOB and FOB and I want it to be so special and happy for them. Anything that would upset them on my wedding day isn’t worth it.