Author Topic: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28, 46, 55, 69.  (Read 17226 times)

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cicero

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18
« Reply #30 on: November 26, 2013, 09:56:53 AM »
My dad was just at my house. Not even 9am on the morning after our talk with my parents last night. He said "since I'm not supposed to say anything to you anymore, I brought this printout for you to read." The printout was details about Bipolar Disorder which he then told me he thinks my mother has (I'm 99% sure she doesn't). He then described to me a particular incident in which he went in to her bedroom....(bunch of way TMI information)....

I told my father that this is exactly the kind of thing he is not allowed to discuss with us. I asked him why in a million years he would think I, their daughter, would want to hear this? I told him he is always welcome at our home but not if he is coming to talk about his relationship with my mother. Unfortunately, I had hope after last night but this morning taught me that he doesn't really get it.

I feel bad if he feels like he needs someone to talk to but as my DH pointed out, he can hire a counselor for that. I'm his daughter, not his therapist. I told my sister what happened and she was furious.

Anyway, my parents are obviously very resistant to change and this is a great example of that. I have a feeling that I will need many, many gallons of spine polish before they do finally get it. That is, if I don't reach my limit and issue a cut direct first...
You can't change your father, but you can re-train him to a certain degree. i did this with my 80 something YO father. he does something that is not only illegal [in my country] but dangerous (talks on teh cell phone while driving, and no he doesn't have a hands-free gadget, it costs money, so he doesn't bother). So whenever he calls me during the day now, i first ask him "are you driving" and if he says yes, or starts to mumble I.Hang.Up. I've told him a thousand times not to do it, he doesn't listen to me, so *I* won't have these phone calls with him.

You may need to do this with your father. IOW, when he shows up at your home and starts to talk, or brings a Printout, you simply say "wait, if this is about mom I told you i don't want to hear". if he persists, show him the door/hang up the phone. lather rinse repeat.

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English1

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28
« Reply #31 on: November 26, 2013, 10:02:15 AM »
They both want to move on, but they both feel stuck there, I think. It's gone on for so long, it's now their normal.

I can understand a reluctance to move out and face up to starting a whole new life. 

How practical would it be for them to divide the house into two separate apartments? Might be cheaper than selling up/moving on, and it would give them the privacy and separate lives they really need. I knew a couple who did this and lived happily in the same building (but not with each other any more) for years.  A small apartment of their own would be better than a miserable larger shared living space.

Pen^2

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28
« Reply #32 on: November 26, 2013, 10:56:40 AM »
It sounds like your father, at least, has interpreted the talk you and your sister had with him and your mother as, "You're making stuff up. We don't want to hear made-up stuff." That's why he got on the defensive immediately when you first brought it up ("But she is that bad! Let me give you a billion examples to prove it...") rather than responding to what you actually said. And coming over today with printed "proof" seems to be him trying harder to show you that he's not making it up. Your mother's probably of the same mindset, but she didn't go the extra mile to show it, so it's not as easy to say.

Unfortunately for him, he's missed the point completely. I'm sure you were very clear, OP, but he's stuck on the idea that there is something wrong with your mother and he has to prove it for whatever silly reason. When he's told that he's behaving badly, he responds by deciding that he needs to show that your mother is worse. He's really fixated on finding reasons why she's bonkers. It doesn't matter what the problem is--he needs to stop making it the problem of you, your sister, and his grandchildren. As you've said, if he wants to talk, he can get a counsellor, not rely on his daughter.

I think refusing to discuss it with him was a wise move. You don't want to reenforce this behaviour at all. I hope things start to go more smoothly as you "re-train" them until they realise how to behave in a more civil and courteous way for their family.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28
« Reply #33 on: November 26, 2013, 11:03:50 AM »
OP maybe you should invest in a squirt bottle or clicker :D

JenJay

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28
« Reply #34 on: November 26, 2013, 11:28:31 AM »
You need a phrase you can repeat whenever he starts up. Something quick and simple like "Dad, stop!" The idea is you and your sister say it every time he starts in about your mom and then you redirect the conversation to something else. You want to break this habit of venting to you, basically, so that eventually he hears you saying it before he starts bashing her and skips right to a new topic. That goes for your Mom, too. You may need a few "Okay, if you only called me to complain about Mom I gotta go. Love you. Buh-bye." but hopefully they'll learn.

GoTwins

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28
« Reply #35 on: November 26, 2013, 11:45:02 AM »
OP maybe you should invest in a squirt bottle or clicker :D
LIKE  ;D

weeblewobble

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28
« Reply #36 on: November 26, 2013, 01:33:47 PM »
Well, of course, they're resisting.  You've informed them that you will not allow them to behave like self-indulgent children any longer. You are going to require more of them.  The passive aggressive "I'm not allowed to say anything anymore"  jabs, the oversharing, the attempts to force you back into the position of counselor, these are all efforts to try to restore the status quo.  You just keep doing what you're doing.  Which is awesome.

SamiHami

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18
« Reply #37 on: November 26, 2013, 02:15:31 PM »
My dad was just at my house. Not even 9am on the morning after our talk with my parents last night. He said "since I'm not supposed to say anything to you anymore, I brought this printout for you to read." The printout was details about Bipolar Disorder which he then told me he thinks my mother has (I'm 99% sure she doesn't). He then described to me a particular incident in which he went in to her bedroom....(bunch of way TMI information)....

I told my father that this is exactly the kind of thing he is not allowed to discuss with us. I asked him why in a million years he would think I, their daughter, would want to hear this? I told him he is always welcome at our home but not if he is coming to talk about his relationship with my mother. Unfortunately, I had hope after last night but this morning taught me that he doesn't really get it.

I feel bad if he feels like he needs someone to talk to but as my DH pointed out, he can hire a counselor for that. I'm his daughter, not his therapist. I told my sister what happened and she was furious.

Anyway, my parents are obviously very resistant to change and this is a great example of that. I have a feeling that I will need many, many gallons of spine polish before they do finally get it. That is, if I don't reach my limit and issue a cut direct first...

My, I need to put on my sunglasses...that is one mighty shiny spine you've got there!  8)

Kudos to you! It'll take time, but you'll retrain him (and her), especially since you have a sister on board.

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Amara

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28
« Reply #38 on: November 26, 2013, 03:26:24 PM »
What struck me so odd in your original post--and what might be contributing to the ongoing problem--is that nothing has changed for them. They live in the same house, different rooms, yes, but the same house. Neither one apparently has any real sense or feelings of a new life, new choices, new home, or new relationships. They both seem stuck in the past so their approach to you, their daughter, is also in the past.

I suspect their behaviors won't change until their relationship sees some real changes. So if you want those changes, you, OP, must be the one to do it. Good luck! It is a most unpleasant situation.

Mergatroyd

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28
« Reply #39 on: November 26, 2013, 03:44:59 PM »
I'm kind of thinking they should sell the house and BOTH leave. 

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28
« Reply #40 on: November 26, 2013, 09:36:29 PM »
I thought of something else. If your dad refuses to eat with the family, and your child asks you why he's not eating, don't cover for him. Make HIM answer the question. Make him face the consequences of his decisions.

doodlemor

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28
« Reply #41 on: November 26, 2013, 10:16:27 PM »
I thought of something else. If your dad refuses to eat with the family, and your child asks you why he's not eating, don't cover for him. Make HIM answer the question. Make him face the consequences of his decisions.

Absolutely.  Let them try to explain their bizarre behavior to the grandkids.

nolechica

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28
« Reply #42 on: November 26, 2013, 10:52:33 PM »
I thought of something else. If your dad refuses to eat with the family, and your child asks you why he's not eating, don't cover for him. Make HIM answer the question. Make him face the consequences of his decisions.

Absolutely.  Let them try to explain their bizarre behavior to the grandkids.

POD and let the kids ask, don't pre-emptively hush them.  They might be able to get through where you and sis can't.  Kids say the darndest things and all that.

*inviteseller

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28
« Reply #43 on: November 26, 2013, 10:58:29 PM »
Actually, I wouldn't let the grandkids ask either of them simply because they have shown not to play fair.  The last thing they need is to say "Why aren't you eating with us grandpa?"  and he says "Well, grandma is bi polar and (inappropriate stuff) and (inappropriate stuff)."  It would be better for OP and her sister to say, before they meet with the parents "Kids, grandma & grandpa are having a tough time right now and are acting funny towards each other.  If either of them act funny, it is about them, not us."

nolechica

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28
« Reply #44 on: November 26, 2013, 11:19:48 PM »
Actually, I wouldn't let the grandkids ask either of them simply because they have shown not to play fair.  The last thing they need is to say "Why aren't you eating with us grandpa?"  and he says "Well, grandma is bi polar and (inappropriate stuff) and (inappropriate stuff)."  It would be better for OP and her sister to say, before they meet with the parents "Kids, grandma & grandpa are having a tough time right now and are acting funny towards each other.  If either of them act funny, it is about them, not us."

They might not play fair, but kids don't always either.  Wasn't my grandparents, but an uncle has had 9 wives, 5 by the time I was 12.  I asked plenty of stuff and got answers.

ETA: Mind you, daughter of a shrink here and bi polar wouldn't be inappropriate to me.  I'm much harder to shock, always have been.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 11:22:10 PM by nolechica »