View Full Version : Father-Daughter relationships

11-29-2007, 01:32 PM
I'm pretty sad this week. I have always had a rocky relationship with my dad (I'm now 38, btw), and there were many years when we didn't speak. We reunited 6 years ago, but now things are going sour again.

My parents got divorced when I was 7. My dad remarried, and had 2 kids with his 2nd wife. They have always been treated much better than me (private school, cars, trips, and more time spent with them). It's always been difficult for me to deal with that.

When my dad married his 2nd wife, she made him tell her parents that he had never been married before. They are Southern Baptist, and she claims they would disown her if they knew he had been married previously. However, SHE had been married previously as well. So, she made him keep me a secret from her parents.

When I was a teenager, I got to meet step-mothers brothers. I asked dad if that meant her parents knew about me and he said that they did. Well, apparently he lied to me and is now denying that he ever even told me that they knew.

Years went by, we had other problems, mostly with him just being a creep towards me. My grades fell in college because I was sick with Mono, and instead of offering support or to pay for a tutor, he tried to talk me into dropping out and going to a trade school. (Obviously I didn't listen as I now have a masters degree and a professional career!). So, right after college, I could take no more, and I stopped talking to him out of respect for my own sanity. It lasted 9 years.

So, I've been talking to him for the past 6 years, I have a 5 year old son now, who adores him. The other night he told me that my (half) brother is getting married and step-mother's parents might be there. He wants me to be at the wedding, but to be there "as a very good friend of the family." Needless to say, I went ballistic on him. I am so hurt that he would even suggest that, and that's when he denied telling me that they ever knew about me. I think I deserve a huge apology from step-mother, as she did a horrible thing asking him to keep me a secret. I haven't heard a word from them since Monday, when this all came about. And I don't know what I'm going to do about my sweet little boy, if he doesn't get to see his grandfather over this, and the fact that it's almost Christmas -- we are Jewish (as is my dad) but they celebrate Christmas at their house, and DS gets to vicariously celebrate Christmas through them.

I'm just quite a mess over this. How can anyone lie to their in-laws for 30 years over the existence of their child, who they supposedly love?

11-29-2007, 01:40 PM
So sorry you have to go through this. I can understand to a certain extent the lie in the beginning (religion), but as you said that was long ago and the time for telling the truth passed by eons ago. I think you are right to stand your ground. You should never have to lie and pretend you are someone you're not. What kind of example does that set for your son? It's really ashame for him to be caught in the middle of it, but I certainly would not do what your father is asking of you. It's such a hurtful thing....:pixie: to you, I hope he sees the light and does the right thing.

11-29-2007, 02:32 PM
I think I deserve a huge apology from step-mother, as she did a horrible thing asking him to keep me a secret. I think your father owes you the apology. Your step-mother owes her parents an apology... and an explanation.

The devil in me says to promise your father you won't tell her parents you are his daughter... Then introduce your son as his grandson. :secret:

11-29-2007, 02:58 PM
I don't understand how your stepmother could've been previously but not your father. I think it's time for them to come out of the closet and tell her parents about you. You're all adults and the one suffering now (besides yourself) is your son. My father died in 1998 and I'd give anything to have him back so I truly wish for you to have a wonderful relationship with your father as I did with mine. Our daughter is the shining star in our universe and I can't imagine my husband treating her badly.

11-29-2007, 03:43 PM
How very ironic that the step-wife felt they had to lie to cover-up something they looked at as a sin.

I can't imagine how hurtful it was for you to have your father suggest that you pretend to be someone else.
I don't want to suggest an estrangement, but I totally understand how these circumstances could cause/warrant it. Aside from a confession and apology by your father and step-mother I don't know how the situation could be rectified?

If you decide to stop talking to your father, would there be anyway for you to continue to allow him in your son's life so that he doesn't suffer the way you have had to?

11-29-2007, 03:48 PM
I would go to the wedding, and if the subject comes up, tell them who you are. There's no point in continuing a lie - especially if they are supposed to be "religious" people. If your father gets upset about it, he'll have to resolve that on his own. As for your son, he might not understand, but IMHO, being a good role-model for him is more important.

Sorry that you have to go through this.

11-29-2007, 03:59 PM
I'm speechless and that does not happen too often just ask DH.
HOW DARE THEY try to keep you a secret and I am so sorry for how that must have made you feel and how it still must make you feel. I am not a religious person but I have to say that I do not think that God would ever want a child hurt in this way and shame on your father and MIL for keeping this lie going after all these years. I'm sorry but it is time for them to own up to their deception and take whatever comes at them. I'm sure that after 30 years your fathers in-laws would have no choice but to just accept the news and get over it.
I hope that everything works out for you and I am so sorry that you even have to go through this. Your Dad needs to put his daughter and his grandsons feelings at the top of the list and stop worrying about is in-laws.

11-29-2007, 04:07 PM
The whole thing sounds odd to me. He kept you a secret because of the prior marriage, but he's openly jewish with a southern baptist family? They wouldn't approve the divorce, but they accept that your father is a different religion? Your step-mother is also on her second marriage? It just doesn't add up. BTW, I'm not saying your story is false, I just think your father is not telling the whole story.

11-29-2007, 04:15 PM
BTW, I'm not saying your story is false, I just think your father is not telling the whole story.

I don't think the stepmother told the whole story either.

11-29-2007, 04:32 PM
Whoa, I thought my family was out in left field!
I say,
1) your Step mothers parents can't be stupid, after 30 years they must know something.
2) your step mother isn't telling all there is to tell to her family or your dad.
3) your father isn't tell all to anyone.
4) for you to remain in the shadows only encourages these lies and by not saying anything you are approving of the way they treat you.
5) do you son a great service and stand up for yourself now. LEAD BY EXAMPLE, don't perpertate the lie.
6) the step grand parents know their daughter was married and it wasn't a "sin" for her to get remarried but it's a "sin" for her to marry someone who was married prior???
Her parents being southern baptist are more than happy to accept a Jewish son in law (does he practice?) but they won't accept a Step grand daughter??? I think the step mother is playing you all.
Please for your sake and the sake of your son, go to the wedding, stand up for yourself, make a toast at the reception as the half sister you are and take pride in the fact that you let the elephant out of the living room.

I'll bet that most people there will be relieved that they can all stop pretending, including the step mothers aging parents.

11-29-2007, 04:58 PM
Your son may become a cherished great-grandson.

11-29-2007, 05:02 PM
The whole thing sounds odd to me. He kept you a secret because of the prior marriage, but he's openly jewish with a southern baptist family? They wouldn't approve the divorce, but they accept that your father is a different religion? Your step-mother is also on her second marriage? It just doesn't add up. BTW, I'm not saying your story is false, I just think your father is not telling the whole story.
I thought maybe I'd just misread something, because I had the same questions. There's way too much going on under the surface here.

11-29-2007, 06:10 PM
I think that the situation is just terrible and a shame. I certainly understand how bad it made you feel. I think that you have to ask yourself if you want to keep in touch with your dad or not. I don't think that the wedding is the place to tell them. It could ruin someone else's wedding day. You could talk to them both before the wedding day or some other time and tell them how you feel. I think that after 38 years you know how it will turn out and that if you want to continue to have a relationship with your dad you might have to forget about this. I would certainly see why that couldn't be done. Good luck. I'm behind you all the way:pixie::pixie::pixie:

11-29-2007, 08:16 PM
Amazing how much of this story is predicated on lies. And not just lies, lies supposedly told because of religion. I've always believed that a persons character counts, and that there are consequences for our actions. Choosing to live a lie such as this, speaks volumes about a person's character... in my opinion.

That being said, you have no control over his actions. His actions are his own. You do have however have control over your reaction. Being mad, or hurt, or whatever, while perfectly valid reactions, are under your control. The easy choice is not always the preferred choice. Just as you allow yourself to be bothered by this, you could also choose to let it roll of your back.

I will say, that expecting you and your children to validate his lie would not set well for me. Not only is he lying, he's asking you and your kids to lie for him as well. That is not the example of character I would want my children to learn from. Children learn from our examples. What they become in life is largely influenced by what we teach them.

It is definitely not an easy situation. But keep in mind that as I said, you have no control over his actions. You only have control over your response to it, and over your own actions. Stay true to your own character, and always consider the example you are setting for your own kids. Lying can not lead to good things.

11-29-2007, 09:39 PM
I too have had a rocky relationship with my Dad. Although he had never lied about my existence, at times it has been as if I didn't exist. I think having him lie would be much worse. How does he justify this to his kids (with his current wife)? Are they "in on" this deception? If so - what a role model!
I wouldn't go as far as toasting at the wedding reception, but definitely attend, if you want to go. Although I wouldn't suggest a formal announcement of the hidden truth, I also would not lie or hide it should someone ask. If the question is asked, a simple answer would suffice, and you could remain true to yourself and your son. I applaud you for considering the role model your son will see. Although I would never deny a grandparent the right to know their grandchild, and visa versa, I also would want to consider what kind of people I really want him to be with, and what kind of impression that leaves on a child.
Good luck to you. I understand perfectly feeling as if you don't exist - just not quite so literally.

11-29-2007, 09:53 PM
I'm so sorry. What a horrible thing for you to go through. I would refuse to have anything more to do with him if he won't acknowledge you as you deserve. You grew up and made a nice life for yourself. Try to heal from the hurt he has caused you and move on. It's not easy, of course. :pixie: for you to feel better.

11-29-2007, 10:33 PM
I unfortunately know from experience that sometimes we have to make the very hard decision of cutting ties with close relations.

I haven't spoken to my father in almost 15 years. Some may not agree, but it's for the best.

I wish you luck in your situation. I think it's very unfair and very wrong for your father to even consider asking you to lie to his in-laws.

11-30-2007, 09:06 AM
The whole thing sounds odd to me. He kept you a secret because of the prior marriage, but he's openly jewish with a southern baptist family? They wouldn't approve the divorce, but they accept that your father is a different religion? Your step-mother is also on her second marriage? It just doesn't add up. BTW, I'm not saying your story is false, I just think your father is not telling the whole story.

I completely agree with this. I was a Southern Baptist my entire life up until about 2 years ago when we joined a non denominational church. While they probably wouldn't allow someone a Pastoral role who had been remarried, my old church probably had more people on their second marriage than their first! And many of them were in leadership roles in some capacity at that.

It burns me up when people blame God for their own stupidity. If these in laws are true Christian people, than all would be accepted without judging. God loves us and asks us to come to Him just like we are - but yet PEOPLE put all these stipulations on things!

It sounds to me like this lies much more in what your Dad's little wifey can deal with and less with devastating her church and parents.

In any event -- I am so sorry for your pain. As a Christian and as a 30+ year Southern Baptist I can honestly tell you that it is your Dad and step mom that are WRONG and they are also the one's who are missing out. You have learned to set your own course in life without your Dad's influence, been successful and now have a sweet family of your own. If they choose to close that out or try to pretend you are something that you are not, then it is their loss entirely.

11-30-2007, 08:54 PM
My cousin recently lost her father. At the funeral, several people asked who she was in relation to him. They didn't even know he had a daughter -- kind of like your situation. The major difference was he never denied her existence. He just never spoke much of her therefor many people didn't know there was a daughter in the picture. All I know is it broke my heart to see her go through that and it seems so minor compared to what you're going through.

I agree that this lie should not be perpetuated. You really have to make up your own mind about how to handle it, but I know I couldn't just sit back and do nothing. I wish the best of luck in whatever you decide to do.

11-30-2007, 10:10 PM
I don't really have any advice to add...if I was in your shoes, I would've written him off a long time ago. I haven't spoken to my father in almost ten years and he's never met my daughter. My stepfather is the only grandpa she knows or needs. My father never denied my existence, he just treated me like garbage.

If you do decide to go, I wouldn't be a party to your father's lies. If someone asks who you are, just tell them. The lie is your father's, not yours.

12-01-2007, 12:03 AM
I think you've received plenty of great advice. I too agree that you should NOT be asked to lie. If he wants you there is should be with the honor that you deserve and is long overdue, as his daughter. I also agree that the wedding is not the best place but he should do this beforehand. You don't want to be remembered as the person who caused a big scene at the wedding and it gives his wife reason to cut you out.
I too suspect that the lie doesn't stop here. I would suspect that his wife pressured him a long time ago to deny your existence for reasons that were more selfish than religious. This does not however, let him off the hook. He is an adult and he made the decision to go along with this scheme.
My kids have gone through a pretty similar situation. My ex's wife would not allow him to talk to or about the kids if there were not in his presence. Friends who met him at a party said that when asked how the kids were she boldly reminded him that he was not allowed to talk about them except when he had visitation. On Christmas eve 1994 he sent them back to me despite his visitation rights because he told them he wanted to spend Christmas with his family . His parental rights were terminated 4 mos later; but,I have a good idea of what you have been through.
So please be kind to yourself. You deserve to be recognized. Your son may be small now but it won't be long before he figures it out too. You don't want this to be a model for your son to live by. He needs to see that his mother is respected for the daughter she is and her place in the entire family. A parent's love should be unconditional and you should not accept less than his unconditional love.
I would pull away until he decides to be honest. Put the responsibility back in his hands and let him decide and if he can't be man enough to stand up to make amends for his past mistakes than he will suffer the consequences he brought about.
Unfortunately, you will remain on this roller coaster with your dad until you decide it must stop. If you let it slide it will come up again. These dynamics are not healthy and I can think of several scenarios that could emerge in the future. :hug: :pixie:

12-03-2007, 12:10 PM
Hi all. Thank you so much for your supportive responses. This has been a difficult week for me. I spoke to my aunt (dad's sister) on Saturday night. She lives in California, so I never really got to know her very well. But we spoke for almost 2 hours and she helped me a lot. She is totally supportive of me, and quite angry at my dad. She still hasn't decided if she will attend the wedding (and says she won't if forced to deny being my aunt), and her husband doesn't want her to go. He's furious.

Shortly after that, I checked my email to find that I had a response from my dad. He gave me some explanations (although not nearly enough detail). He said that step-mother had been married while in college, to a man who had been previously married and divorced. They did disown her and cut her off financially. She eventually did get a divorce herself and it took them a while to accept her back into the family.

He said that he was very young when he made the decision to go along with her. I can understand that except for several factors...He was 34 years old. I can understand him being immature, but as a 38 year old, I don't consider 34 all that young. Also, he had a college degree and a medical degree. He was a practicing physician (where were his ethics??). He had previously been married for 10 years and had a 7 year old daughter. I find the "young" excuse" a little bit shaky.

Some of you questioned the religious question -- about HIS religion. Dad was brought up in an Orthodox household (although apparently they kind of made up their own version of what Orthodox meant). He doesn't have the best opinion of the religion, and although he (to my knowledge) has never converted, is not a practicing Jew. They celebrate Christmas and Easter at their house and none of the Jewish holidays are acknowledged. Also, her parents apparently are quite anti-semitic, from what he tells me (although, obviously, I take his comments with a grain of salt), and don't take any pains to hide it from him.

Dad has always been a very difficult person to talk to about anything that goes beyond the most basic conversation (the weather, movies seen, restaurants tried...). He reacts badly to any kind of emotion, and always has to appear perfect and superior. However, it has recently become painfully obvious that he is less than perfect. I plan on finally giving him my thoughts on his personality, and will be very direct and blunt. I no longer have anything to be afraid of...he has proven that he is not the Wizard but just a short little man hiding behind a curtain (of lies). I hope that he will listen to what I have to say and take it to heart. I hope that what I have to say to him will help not only my relationship with him, but my 1/2 brother and sister's as well (and of course, my son's too). (From what my aunt hinted at, their relationship with him isn't so perfect either). We shall see how this pans out. I will be doing this over the phone -- therefore, I plan on writing everything out so that I don't get nervous and flustered.

Thanks again, everyone. So much!!

12-03-2007, 01:48 PM
Wow good for you. I think that writing down what you want to say before calling him is a great idea. It will help you stay focused even if he gets you flustered. I wish you lots of luck with your phone call. You never know, your DD might just be as relieved to unburden himself with this lie as you will be and everything may turn out better than ever. Maybe it will clear the air and everyone can make a fresh start.
Good luck!!!

12-03-2007, 05:38 PM
You are very brave and I applaud you. I also think it is a great idea to write everything down so that you are able to stay on point with him to let him know this is no longer Ok.

I really hope this works out for the best, and keep in mind wether it does or not you are a good person with morals he may unfortunatley never have.

Good luck :pixie: