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Dear Wendy

Son in laws estranged daughter sent me a concerning letter

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This topic contains 43 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by avatar csp 1 week, 4 days ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 25 through 36 (of 44 total)
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  • #844581 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    I mean, your husband is absolutely right, except for thinking that it’s up to him to give a blessing or permission for his daughter to get married.

    I feel like everyone now knows about this situation with Joe except his wife, your daughter, and is talking about it, and she needs to know. When are you going to tell her?

    Also, your husband being livid is definitely not “the worst part.” The worst part is how this fucker apparently has treated his ex-wife and kids, and there’s a strong possibility he’ll treat his current wife and kid like that as well.

    #844582 Reply
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    Ange

    It’s thinking like that – that your husband would never have given his blessing or that he’s unilaterally cutting the husband out of the picture – that is going to lead to your daughter feeling alienated from you when she may need you the most. I understand it’s upsetting news but you need to be a safe harbour for your daughter, not tell her the husband that *may* have so far been good to her is no longer welcome in your house. All that does is give him ammunition to isolate her from you. As much as it might hurt and be difficult to do you need to let her lead the way in how this all goes from here or you risk losing her. Be discreet, offer to meet her elsewhere or go to their house but whatever you do don’t blow this up into angry ultimatums and let your husband become yet another bloke trying to tell her what to do.

    #844584 Reply
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    brise

    LW, it is obvious that you have to show this letter to your daughter only, and to give her a copy. Keep the original. Then, back off. This is not your responsibility. Let her make her own opinion and accept it whatever it is. It won’t come at once, she will need time to absorb this information. It might not change her marriage if her relationship with this man is as good as you say. You have to let her deal with this situation.
    Stop asking questions to Joe. Don’t meddle. You are not a judge in the story, even though it is appalling. This is your daughter’s problem. And the whole challenge for you is to respect your daughter’s decision. All you can do, and the most important, is to say that you love her and will be there for her. You can ask her what you can do to help. That is all. Calm your husband, this isn’t helpful at all. Don’t charge her with your husband’s judgement: she will have enough to deal with the revelation, she won’t be able to absorb both, you might be just cut off if you push to hard. Just give her the letter and let her do. Tell her that you want to support her. The only advice I would give is not to speak to the husband alone at home, for her safety. You are worried for her. That’s all.
    It is too early to decide wether you can still see Joe at your place. In my opinion, he won’t come anymore. You don’t have to have a relationship with him, don’t be close to him. Sorry about that, this is awful.

    #844586 Reply
    FireStar
    FireStar
    Participant

    This isn’t about your husband. He needs to take a beat and realize his reaction can hurt his daughter by pushing her towards her husband. Her focus will be on defending Joe against your husband rather than processing the truth. His tantrum will benefit no one but Joe.
    What you found out has nothing to do with your husband. It has to do with your daughter and that is where your joint focus has to be. She can’t process the betrayal if her father is acting like the victim. Ffs. No one gives a damn about his blessing. I get he is mad but he has to put his daughter’s interest first. And she determines her interests…not him. Give her in the information and then be supportive…in every conceivable way because she is going to need it. Get your husband on board because the last thing your daughter needs now is another man she can’t trust to do the best for her.

    #844592 Reply
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    LisforLeslie

    Your husband needs to learn how to play the long game. This is a chess match, and you have to help your daughter to move around the board so she can get out. If he comes at this directly, it will give this shithead the opportunity to sweet talk your daughter with another round of lies and convince her that you and your husband are bad people with bad intentions.

    That’s what controlling narcissistic people do. And I do think that he’s a narcissist – in that he takes no responsibility for his actions, blames everyone else and puts up a facade that once exposed, means he can’t be with those people anymore because they know the truth about him.

    #844605 Reply
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    keyblade
    Member

    Hopefully your husband is still processing the recent information that your son-in-law and future grandchild’s father has (in the eyes of his kid) been a selfish, abusive, dead-beat to his former family.

    Your husband probably is upset but he shouldn’t be the one to discuss this with your daughter, at least not right away. Sometimes men in certain cultures feel a duty to protect their daughters even when they’re grown up. Hopefully he can talk to a minister and or counseler who can reassure him that tolerating your son-in-law for the sake of your daughter and grandchild is more generous than angrily calling him out would be for anyone else at this point.

    You’ll have to calmly discuss this with your daughter. There’s a possibly she already knows but is wearing love blinders. If she doesn’t know she may need some time. You just have to trust you raised her smart and capable and she will be a good parent regardless of what her husband does or doesn’t do.

    Maybe after its sunk in more, she can talk to her dad, but probably only after he has calmed down and has stopped threatening to punish your son-in-law over his past. Neither you nor you husband were ever entitled to a comprehensive life report of anyone your daughter dated or chose to marry. His sense of frustration and desire to push back against the deceptive persona fed to him makes sense, but he just can’t act on it, now. Take him to therapy if need be.

    #844606 Reply
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    FannyBrice

    Agree with everyone that you need to tell your daughter, ASAP, alone and away from Joe. And that your husband needs to try and control himself for the time being. I would just like to add that when you do tell your daughter, you may want to give Joe’s daughter, mother, and ex a heads up. Your daughter is likely to tell Joe, and since he’s been violent towards at least his ex before, there is a chance that he could come after her or his daughter after being exposed. Speaking with a domestic violence hotline/counselor may help guide you.

    #844727 Reply
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    csp

    LW – I agree with everyone about how you should approach your daughter alone without judgement and give her the information. However, my one thing I would ask was how old was Joe when all of this happened. Was he a teenager and enlisted? I do not mean to be on his side, but many of us would not like to be judged for what we have done between the ages of 16 and 22. If he was older then there is no excuse. If he was young and irresponsible, he might not have had the emotional maturity at the time and might have grown into a different man.

    Now, if it was me. I would take those thoughts and be ready to be the safety net for my daughter and grand child. I would talk to your husband and talk about what you are willing to do and not do if she ends up on your doorstep. Then pray and wait. Good luck.

    #844741 Reply
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    do the right thing

    Can you plan a mother daughter weekend getaway before the baby comes? You need to have one weekend to provide the news to her in a safe place, and a night for her to process and not run back to him for him to gaslight her. She needs a good couple of days in a nice beautiful, relaxing place, that is completely safe. Maybe even before you go, see if one or two of her closest and trusted friends are available to come by a phone call away if she wants the company. Don’t say anything to her friends, but just to know that she can call them for support. I don’t know the relationship that you have with your daughter, but I know with my mom, and my daughters, there is a power dynamic of the mom, being overprotective mom. Having trusted friends supporting her may be helpful. Plan it as a weekend mother daughter spa retreat. Good luck.

    #844748 Reply
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    LisforLeslie

    @csp – it sounded like the rescinded check was recent. The daughter had her own bank account. I don’t know about you but the bank account I had when I was a kid is not the account I have as an adult (and I’ve had several others in between).

    #844749 Reply
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    csp

    @lisforleslie – you are probably right. When I read it again, it could be that recent. Or her and her father got into a terrible fight and he took the money back and she got back at him by sending the file. For sure, this relationship with his daughter is toxic with lots of pain.

    As I listed, I think the LW should tell the daughter, and have a backup plan with her husband ready to go. Whether it is a small savings account with money set aside, or a cleaned out guest bedroom with extra baby stuff in it.

    But, I often think of what my worst behavior was and it was when I was a young adult. Or when I look at people who serve life in prison for terrible things they do when they are young and stupid. Like you see some 19 year old kid doing armed robbery without knowing the world. Or a young dad getting overwhelmed and skirting his responsibilities. You just think they are stupid kids. I was just thinking if he has an adult daughter and a baby on the way, his first fatherhood was probably very very young. He might be a cad, but I would take the lead from her daughter and go from there.

    #844752 Reply
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    Quoka

    @ csp: Even if he was young when he left his family/went AWOL etc, he hasn’t been young for quite a few years now. Even if he was 16 when his first child was born, the graduation cheque incident happened when he was in his 30s at the very youngest. The ongoing refusal to pay child support/help with his child’s medical bills – at some point he was old enough to know that wasn’t the right thing to do and make good on his responsibilities. Similarly, the not sending gifts kept happening after he was mature enough to know better. And so on. Sure, we all did stupid things when we were young (though I’d argue deciding to be a ‘deadbeat’ parent is more than most of us did), but he’s had plenty of time to grow up and act like a decent parent and he hasn’t. So I don’t think he gets much of a pass for his youthful impulsiveness (if this is the cause).

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