- 6 years ago
- Wedding: March 2013
(I apologize for this being so long… I reviewed it and don’t see anything I could leave out to make it any shorter)
My parents divorced when I was 11 years old. Our life before then was close to a nightmare – my father was abusive and an alcoholic to my mom and my brother (who’s younger) but not to me. He was very dictatorial towards me, but for some reason, I was the only one in the house who was (mostly) spared from his abuse.
Watching what he did to my family, I grew up afraid of him anyway (but probably thankful that I was spared) and after the divorce, he lost partial custody of us (meaning he lost all custody that he had) due to his refusal to stop drinking (and driving us home to my mother). All he had to do in order to keep seeing us was sign an agreement that he wouldn’t drink when we were over, but he didn’t want anyone telling him what he could and couldn’t do, so he refused.
When I was 14 was the last time I saw him until the age of 22. He had gotten remarried to a woman with three kids and didn’t tell us (we found out through our grandparents). However, I quickly came to terms with a life without him and learned that it was a better one. Me, my mom and my brother are close. I moved out to live with Fiance, but I owe almost everything to my mother.
At 22, I “ran into” him at our Grandparents’ (his parents) 50th wedding Anniversary. It was terribly awkward. He made me dance with him in front of everyone and my grandparents (my only living ones) were so happy, everyone was crying… it was awful. I’m now 27. Since then, I’ve probably seen him 4 more times… but we talk via email semi-frequently. We never addressed our past.
I got engaged about a year ago and told him, only because I was going to see some of his family and knew they would tell him. He went into daddy-overdrive. He suddenly wanted to help pay for the wedding (mind you, he never contributed toward any of my college or dental or medical bills, he was completely MIA for almost 9 years) and in his mind, he was walking me down the aisle. I PANICKED. I sent him this email declining any financial support and at this point, I wasn’t even sure he was invited, so I had to tell him he was only to attend the wedding as a guest.
I decided I needed therapy to deal with this and mostly learn how to talk to him, so in the last few months, we’ve spoken over the phone about our past. He almost exclusively blamed my mother and actually blamed us kids, too. He claimed we ignored his attempts to contact us over those 9 years and that he was waiting all that time for us to come around to him. He denied having an alcohol problem and claimed my mother had a worse one (which I wouldn’t even blame her for). I finally had the courage to write him an email containing all the thoughts I’ve had for the last 27 years. It wasn’t accusatory – it was very factual. He basically de-valiated all of my feelings and at times, told me I was flat out wrong for feeling the way I did about the situation we grew up in and our lack of relationship.
My brother hates him and barely gives him the time of day. I don’t HATE him… I mostly pity him. He has nothing (his second wife left him, too) and I really think he’s self-destructive and a narcissist. I’m less afraid of him now that I’ve had the courage to tell him how I feel, but I still don’t feel a lot of love toward him. I feel like he’s preying on my compassion and trying to insert himself into my life. He has already said he wants me by his side when he’s on his deathbed, because he has no one else… that’s a lot of pressure.
My question is, can I and should I exclude him from the wedding? I know my mother would probably be more comfortable without him there (she’s not contributing financially toward the wedding either, btw), but she has no living family. All of my aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc are on his side. So, it would mean inviting everyone in his family except him. And I think it would be the nail in the coffin in our relationship. I already made him promise me he wouldn’t bring any negativity or hostility to the Wedding if he came, to which he responded, “If you have to ask me that, then I don’t know what to say to you,” which is hardly a response in my opinion.
I’m nervous. I’m scared of making a decision that will ruin our day, but mostly, I’m scared of making a decision I’ll regret (either way). I’m trying to get to a point where I can get a better gauge on his behavior before the wedding, but it’s hard for me to make plans with him… I don’t want to disrupt my life for him.
What do I do?