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As usual I came off the phone feeling depressed….

(20 Posts)
bytheway Fri 23-Jul-21 17:42:36

I am the youngest of 5 siblings, all of us girls.

It’s well known in the family that my Dad wanted a son, after 5 girls my mother said no more so I was his last chance of having a boy…it’s coloured my life.

Growing up my father had no interest in me, but fortunately my mother made up for it.

As an adult I would ring home once a week if Dad answered he’d say ‘hello, I’ll get your Mum’ that has always been the extent of our relationship. Even though he seemed much more interested in my older sisters

Tbh, I was okay with that. Things changed when mum died a few years ago, I had to make more effort as he was on his own.
But I find it so hard to talk to him and never enjoy visiting.

I live much further away, 400 miles, than my sisters, who live relatively close, so use it as an excuse not to visit often but my sisters make me feel so guilty that I don’t visit more often and I feel judged by them.

When I do ring I make an effort to ask as much as I can think of to ask. How are you? What are you up to? Ask after family friends etc…he never, ever, ever asks how I am, or my OH or the kids. I get short answers like ‘oh I’m fine’ ‘yes, ok’ and I end up coming off the phone after a few minutes.
I know my sisters get a lot more out of him because they tell me.

I come off the phone feeling utterly depressed and wondering where I went wrong. There’s no animosity but then again, there’s no nothing.

I’m not sure why I’m writing this here, probably just to get it off my chest but thanks for listening

Septimia Fri 23-Jul-21 17:55:45

Gosh, he does make it hard work! However, it is much harder to hold a conversation on the phone than it is face to face.

My first reaction was to say "Write!" Instead of phoning, write about what you've been doing, add photos and post the letter. He might actually find it enjoyable to get a letter and get more out of it than a phone call. You'll be doing your bit, but differently.

You can still phone him but, as you'll have written, all you have to do is ask if he's OK. It can then be a short call. However, you might find that he starts to talk about what you've said in your letters.

Grandmabatty Fri 23-Jul-21 17:56:21

I'm sorry that your relationship with your dad isn't great. I understand to an extent. My mum asks after my children, my grandson and my friends but never asks about my life! I visit her once a week, keep her up to date with what's happening and ... Nothing. This week she didn't even notice my hair was cut. It doesn't have to be because you stay far away as your dad has been like this all your life. The trouble is, your sisters have a different truth and can't see it. 💐

Tea3 Fri 23-Jul-21 18:08:32

‘The trouble is, your sisters have a different truth and can't see it.’ Ain’t that the truth Grandmabatty! I know how you feel Bytheway, it’s as if you are an insignificant addendum to the family. Ignore him. Don’t bother ring or visit, or certainly nothing that puts you out. He will never change. When my Father died I really resented the time and effort I put in to be a good daughter, and the attempts to make my brother understand that his experience of his Father was the opposite of mine.

Tea3 Fri 23-Jul-21 18:25:11

Another thought - if you had been a boy your sisters would be feeling very sidelined now.

hollysteers Fri 23-Jul-21 18:29:44

I agree with Tea3 harsh as it sounds. I had a similar experience with my father.
He has not fulfilled the role of father to you and you owe him nothing. Let it go. Life is too short to waste on someone like this. Such selfishness!
It’s hard not to take such treatment personally, but we must put it behind us and carry on without them, although it leaves it’s mark.
If your sisters question your attitude, tell them the truth. Why should you make any effort in such a one sided relationship which upsets you?

Luckygirl Fri 23-Jul-21 19:21:55

You will not change him - and you are just making yourself miserable. I agree with the idea of writing a weekly newsy letter, and leave it at that.

I am sorry you feel judged by your sisters - salt in the wound!

As someone said upthread - life is just too short.

Sara1954 Fri 23-Jul-21 21:59:19

Sometimes we just aren’t destined to have a close relationship with a parent.
My advice would be to either walk away and free yourself, or if that’s a bit drastic for you, sit back and wait for him to ring you.
Maybe he’ll appreciate you a bit more.

MoorlandMooner Fri 23-Jul-21 22:21:45

You sound like a kind, thoughtful person Bytheway. Your dad has missed out on a wonderful relationship with his lovely daughter because of a stupid idea he had in his head about a son.

You ask yourself where you went wrong. Well you didn't go wrong - he did.

I knew someone once who had a similar problem with her father never asking her one single question about herself. When he had his final illness she sat by his bedside, held his hand and he finally asked her a question about herself.....'What car are you driving now?' That was it. After all those years, his last chance of a connection with her. Hopeless. She walked away from his funeral regretting all the years she'd spent making an effort to be close to him.

If you had a friend who every time you spoke to them you were left feeling depressed and wondering where you went wrong you would surely drop them.

Luckygirl's idea of a regular, bright letter is brilliant. That way you've made contact and can breathe a sigh of relief and get on with the important business of leading your own happy life.

timetogo2016 Mon 26-Jul-21 09:45:48

He won`t be here forever so i would pull back a good 50% and just do the usual even though he`s a pain.
At least your sisters can`t say you never tried to do your best to have a relationship with him.
It`a good to vent.

Patsy70 Wed 28-Jul-21 22:12:48

I agree with tea3 and other comments. You have really tried to build a relationship with your father. He has not appreciated your efforts. I would suggest you write to him, expressing your feelings in no uncertain terms. Then leave it to him to contact you. I do hope he realises what he is missing. sad

Doodle Thu 29-Jul-21 03:13:29

There are people who cannot chat well on the phone. I am one of them. I have a set number of questions. If something has happened I talk about it but after a short while I run out of things to say. My father always found it difficult to talk to people. He was very polite and friendly and caring but unless you had something in common with him, like his love of gardening, he couldn’t really chat. He too also used to pass the phone to mum.

nanna8 Thu 29-Jul-21 03:44:52

Some people really are not comfortable on the phone- particularly males for some reason. I really wouldn’t read that much into it. My Dad was that way but very different in real life. I bet you he really does love you, just doesn’t realise that he is not showing it! Some blokes are like that, truly.

Newatthis Thu 29-Jul-21 07:43:35

Yes, let go. He’s not interested in you, he never has been and therefore you owe him nothing. You live along way away so realistically it’s unreasonable to expect you to visit often. I would cut off contact and just wait to see how long it is before he calls you on the ball about some of your relationship.

DiscoDancer1975 Thu 29-Jul-21 08:05:37

My dad was like this on the phone. I’m a bit like that too. I love the modern emailing, text, WhatsApp etc. So much easier I find. The phone has always been a bit of a phobia. Much prefer face to face.

I wouldn’t make too much of it. It’s too late if there really is a problem between you and him. Don’t forget he was surrounded by women, and maybe found it wearing. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Contact when you can. If you struggle, you’ve got four other sisters to take up the slack. Don’t be bullied by them.

Do they know how you feel by the way? You’re not obliged to do anything, especially if it makes you feel down.

Toadinthehole Thu 29-Jul-21 08:45:28

I don’t see why you should push for something you’ve never had to be honest. There’s nothing wrong with leaving the ball in his court. Say you won’t bother him anymore, but he’s welcome to phone you at any time. My husband eventually did this with his mother, after years of trying to sort problems out. She never did phone, and we had a peaceful last 20 years.

Baggs Thu 29-Jul-21 09:46:30

Writing rather than ringing is a good idea. You could even send just postcards. I expect he'd enjoy receiving those even if he doesn't want to talk to you on the phone.

The word 'force' is too strong for this situation but I like this saying I found some while back: Don't force others; force yourself.

As others have said, he won't change and none of it is your fault. Postcards will cover the filial duty bit and you might even get some fun out of choosing postcards to send. Artists on etsy often sell postcards of their paintings so you don't need to travel to all sorts of places to send traditional 'wish you were here' postcards.

If calling your dad makes you depressed, don't do it. Good luck.

Shandy57 Thu 29-Jul-21 09:57:12

So sorry, my Dad isn't interested in me at all, he's 88 next week. We only exchange birthday and Christmas cards, I haven't seen him for twenty years. I was always so envious of my best friend, whose Dad loved her completely.

geekesse Thu 29-Jul-21 11:02:17

Look beyond the superficial ‘signs’ that he cares. I used to visit my late Dad, who lived some distance away, every month or so - he never phoned me, and didn’t like talking if I rang him. He’d spend all of every visit moaning about life, his carers and his own health problems, and I’d have put money on his merely enduring my visits with no interest in me at all. Out of habit, I always took a bag of his favourite jelly babies and a stack of old car mags.

One one occasion, I accidentally left a bank statement between the mags. A couple of days later, he emailed to say he’d found my bank statement and had transferred to me enough money to pay off my overdraft. It was a substantial sum.

He never referred to it again, and when I repaid him some years later, he gruffly passed over it with a “well, that’s what fathers do”.

Caleo Thu 29-Jul-21 13:34:44

geekesse, what an uplifting story . thanks!