One of the greatest challenges I have is trying to keep my daughter out of the middle of this unhealthy behavior. I was doing a better job with it before the school staff came into the mix. Allowing my daughter to view her father through her own eyes and not mine. I know she really has to develop her own opinion from her own experiences. Not just believe what I feel. He is really hanging himself and doesn’t need any help from me.
My mother did a really good job with this when I was growing up. She did not talk badly about my father. Although I believe he thought she was tearing him to pieces when she wasn’t. I think he believed that because he was doing that to her and felt for sure she was doing it back.
My father was a bit more point blank with his comments. He would simply state things like, “We would have a perfect family if your mother hadn’t left.” Or even more bold things like stating she was promiscuous or refer to her as Satan and things I really didn’t understand. Some of that might have something to do with my own self esteem issues I had while growing up and when I met my abuser. My father spoke badly of my mother and I was told all through life how I was just like my mother. (This was emotional abuse) I also feel I walked through some of her trials as well. So all his criticism of my mother translated to me that I was worthless.
This always created problems for my mother but she really worked hard on not doing it back. The only problem I see with her silence is that I did not learn that my dad’s behavior was not okay. So when I met my ex-husband his behavior was not overly unusual to me. You can’t undo your past but I do wish that I would have learned what was okay.
At the age of 16 my mother said I just flat out decided not to go see him anymore. I do not really remember this as I think I choose to block a lot of my childhood out. I have very scattered memories of my childhood. I do not think I even knew why I didn’t like his behavior I just did not like the way it made me feel. I had a very distant relationship from my father for many years after that.
People say do not live in your past, but it seems to me if you do not learn and understand your past, you might wind up living it all over again anyway. I do feel some of my old frustrations through my daughter’s pain. It is hard to realize I am somewhat limited of what I can do. All I know is I grew up resenting my father, not my mother, and he did that all on his own. So I think it is very important to face your past and learn from it.