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December 15, 2021 at 2:13 pm #1101007Learning101Guest
A long post, but if you can read it all and share advice, it will be very appreciated.
My dad had 5 kids in his first marriage (had them from 17-27), then 2 in his second. I’m from his second marriage.
My dad was an attentive, providing father in his first marriage, compared to his ex-wife’s major neglect and cheating and abuse (though they were both verbally and physically abusive to each other, although my dad swears he only protected himself from my mom’s hits and never hit back). When they separated, the ex-wife had the kids (my half-siblings) living in absolute filth, avoidable filth, because she cared for her many dogs more than her kids and let dog crap be littered everywhere in the house.
One thing I’m confused by. Before he took custody of the kids and moved to the another state we live in now, he admitted that he didn’t want to take custody, saying having his new wife (my mom) take care of 5 kids would be unfair, messy, and he didn’t want to be tied had to ex-wife. My mom convinced him to take custody, saying he’d regret if he didn’t. Why would he hesitate?
One half-sibling didn’t come with the family when they moved to another city, so my mom raised my four half-siblings for a few years and later on and had two kids, including me. All of my half-siblings used to be or are currently estranged from my dad.
At 18, my two half-brothers decided to move out with no plan, eventually dropped out of college, and it angered my dad and made them no-contact for years. My two half-sisters? One was kicked out in the middle of the night at 20/21 because they found out she was lying about having sex/seeing a guy, and a few years later, they suspected my other 21 y.o. half-sister of doing the same, asked her to come clean about it, and she decided to move out instead. They were estranged for years.
Then, over a decade ago, after years of being estranged with all my half-siblings, my dad took my mom/me/my full-sibling and visited the city they’re originally from and that they moved back to, in an effort to reconnect with them. Everyone was polite and receptive, but for various reasons, it didn’t last as a long term reconnection, and he’s still estranged from most of them. My 5 half-siblings are now consistently re-connected with their mother as well.
Most of them, I should say. My two half-brothers reached out intermittently after that decade-ago visit and my dad and them occasionally talked, mixed with periods of estrangement, and now they both regularly talk. Another thing that bothers me: one half-brother he recently reconnected with is because he found out he was in jail, and he still is, and they talk nearly every day. Compare this to my half-sisters, where he will call them “those dumb bitches” and whatnot. When they were estranged, my dad called my half-brothers bad things too, but I don’t get the name calling at all.
Not to excuse it, but explain it, I think he calls them “bitches and hoes” because they ended up doing a lot of the bad choices he’s seen people in his family/the hood grow up to do — become pass arounds with no direction. But while they might had that past after they left the house, their lives seem semi-stable and semi-normal now, with families and jobs. But more than that, it just also gave me pause that my dad was insistent on re-connecting with my half-bro when he found out he was in jail (for solidarity, support, stuff like that), but he won’t talk again with my sisters. I think his logic is that he already tried that a decade ago and wasn’t wanted, involving them in their lives would just re-enter him in the family drama and his ex-wife life who he was trying to avoid, etc. Still don’t get the bitches and hoes though. That’s your children, no matter what. What did they really do to you, all in all? Damn.
My dad a horrible family history and upbringing himself, and I understand him trying to grow and change through it all. But all this rubs me the wrong way and I need clarity on his confusing behavior.December 15, 2021 at 3:40 pm #1101011ronGuest
I’m glad you saw the good side of your Dad, when he was raising you. On the whole, he doesn’t sound like a good person. He essentially abandoned his 5 kids for what he saw as second wife’s convenience. It sounds like he knew about their awful living conditions, but still did nothing. Did he at least pay child support? From what you wrote, your mother cared more about your father’s first family than he did. Your Dad also seems to be sexist, with a huge double standard. A guy who was a father at 17 calls his 21 year old daughters hoes for having sex? Wtf! Your Dad seems to be big into blaming others.December 15, 2021 at 7:23 pm #1101021bloodymediocrityParticipant
Sorry, you may love your dad, but it’s clear to any outsider he’s a raging misogynist. He had to be dragged into being a parent at all. He uses sexist insults and cut contact because a 20 year old had a boyfriend/had sex. This is not normal or acceptable. Your father’s blatant favoritism to your brother only underscores the point that he doesn’t respect women, even his own flesh and blood.
This is going to take years of therapy to sort out.December 16, 2021 at 7:52 am #1101041HelenGuest
Your dad is an ass. You’re absorbing his misogyny (wtf is a “pass around”) A 21yo having a sexual relationship is normal. Your siblings are struggling because their dad is shit. Unless you saw their mom’s filthy home for yourself don’t believe your dad’s assessment on it. He talks shit about anyone he doesn’t agree with. I would guard yourself around him, God knows what he says about youDecember 16, 2021 at 9:07 am #1101048
Everyone above is accurate. ? that you only know your dad’s side of the story about his first marriage.
Also pretty sure he’d call you a ho and a “pass-around” (that’s gross by the way, please don’t ever use language like that to describe women) if he found out you were having sex.
My MIL has 4 adult children from her original marriage, who she left behind as children, and from whom she’s completely estranged. Why? Because she’s an asshole with what i think are pretty significant mental health issues. Your dad is estranged from his kids because he’s an asshole.December 16, 2021 at 9:15 am #1101049
Also, did you slip up above and was there domestic violence with your mom too, or was that a typo?December 16, 2021 at 9:28 am #1101051
He’s a sexist asshole, that’s why. I can’t even imagine thinking of my kids that way. He’s a shitty, terrible father and if he has any complaints about his kids he needs to take a good long hard look in the mirror, but he won’t because he’s a jerk.
He’s not trying to grow and change from his bad childhood- he’s perpetuating the same thing. Treating his first kids terribly because they inconvenience him.
Please stop trying to understand, and you might want to check in with a therapist to unpack all of this very twisted dysfunction. Especially since it’s bothering you and you feel so conflicted.December 16, 2021 at 9:30 am #1101053
No Kate, the mom was violent. He was just defending himself.
Don’t believe a word your dad says.December 16, 2021 at 10:12 am #1101055Learning101Guest
@Kate – No DV stuff with my mom. Just with my half-siblings bio mom, and he said there was no hitting back, just physical defense. They did intensely verbally abuse each other, though.
Thank you everybody for your responses. I have a lot to think about. It’s maddening to me, really. The possible resentment toward his children. Did you know that he blatantly told us he loves us more than he does them? It just makes me think, “No one told you to ruin your life 5 times. And ruin, because that’s how you think of it. No wonder you hold so much resentment for your young, dumb self. “Wow, raising one kid is hard.” Impregnates a 2nd time. “Wow, raising two kids is hard.” Gets wife pregnant a 3rd time. “Wow, raising three kids is hard.” Knocks her up a 4th time. “Wow, raising four kids is hard.” A 5th time. I know he was trying to make a mess out of a lot of things, working multiple jobs to take care of his family, but he was also just irresponsible.
It’s hard to reconcile it all. The fact that he was the ideal loving father for me, but that he tried and essentially gave up on them. I know the situation is made more complicated with the ex-wife, him trying to overcome his astoundingly shitty childhood, etc. But some of this is really shocking to realize.
For me being called a “pass around”, possibly kicked out…I don’t know. I am inexperienced and my parents were always very overprotective of me. I was homeschooled and isolated during high school and there unspoken rules around dating (I wasn’t allowed to, or it would come with a lot of drama if I did) during college and I’m sure now.
I’ve wondered if my mom would also let me be kicked out like she co-signed my half-sister being kicked out in the past. I’m not sure. I go back and forth. On one hand I see her taking “mercy” on me compared to my half-sister, maybe my dad too (as fucked up as that sounds, I think with my dad his reasoning would be let me try better with this daughter, but it can also go the other way, with him being furious) versus her own blood, especially thrown out in the middle of the night, but on the other hand, if I did something “bad enough” (like having sex with a guy and hiding it and lying about it, I guess?), she go along with it…
I’m going to have a conversation with my mom about this, but to pose the question to y’all for objectivity: what made her take in 5 kids and raise them as her own? That still baffles me to this day, and that is a huge, caring undertaking. Like, why my dad and all his baggage? They of course love each other and my dad really strengthened my mom’s self-esteem and self-belief in herself, defending her against her user brother, sometimes emotionally absent parents, and supporting her in her dreams, so aside from compatibility, I think that also plays into why she fell for him and chose him. But damn, 5 kids though. Don’t understand that.December 16, 2021 at 10:35 am #1101058
Your mom has a heart, that’s why. Therapy is good for this kind of stuff.December 16, 2021 at 11:18 am #1101063
Your dad really hasn’t been an “ideal” father for you. He’s poisoned your mind with all this misogynistic bullshit and judgment about people, isolated you, and you believe his lies. You believe that having sex is really bad and something to be punished. To your dad right now you’re a reflection on him and how well he’s doing now. You look up to him and go along with his bullshit. I wouldn’t be surprised if you did something he didn’t approve of, he’d come down even harder on you as a result.
Your mom and why she took in your dad’s kids, I don’t know, she probably bought into all his crap about his evil ex like a lot of women do, and she cares about kids.December 16, 2021 at 11:21 am #1101065
A less charitable guess is she wanted to pull a power move on the ex by taking away her kids.