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Don’t Call Me Daughter

July 10, 2007

Nothing like getting it all out there right away…

But this is one of the reasons I switched locations…

As most of you know, I lost my Mom when I was 17. I am forever damaged by the loss. I will never be a whole person no matter how hard I try because my life was changed forever the day she left me.

I have found ways to cope with the grief. Although difficult and painful, I deal.

I have found ways to vent and talk to her when I need her most and I truly have learned that even in death she is still with me every day.

But I can not get over one thing in particular no matter how hard I try. And try. And try.

Dad.

More specifically, how his new relationship happened so quickly after my Mom’s death.

It couldn’t have been a month after she died and I get a phone call from my Dad’s “New Friend” and she went on and on about how excited she was to meet me.

You don’t let a ‘new friend’ call your daughter that soon after her mom dies…You just. Don’t.

And all I could think of was *gag*. (I was 17)

He’s been with her ever since. It’s going on 19 years.

Ironically, or not…The same amount of years my Mom has been gone.

She is now his family. And they dominate him more than I ever could. And I hate it.

He is all I have left and they have taken him over like some sort of swarm. Leaving me in the dust to fend for myself. Again.

I was very angry with him for years after that first phone call. I hated meeting her. I hated that he forced her on me and I hated them both. I hated the idea of their relationship and still to this day, I feel in my gut he was with her long before my mother died.

Mom told me he was cheating on her when she was going through chemo and radiation. I denied it for him. But she knew. So did I.

And yes, I have told him all of this.

When Mom died, Dad confessed that he wasn’t very nice to her and he made terrible mistakes while she was still alive and very ill. I comforted him in his bedroom telling him she knew he truly loved her…but it felt wrong…all the while, this “friend” was probably waiting for him to call.

I was sensitive to his greif and knew he was suffering but really, I wished it was him gone instead of Mom. Honestly, I wished it was me gone instead of Mom. I tried to be ‘gone’ and it didn’t work. I just wanted to end it all. I truly did. I had no reason to keep going.

But I did keep going. Years and years of hate and anger geared towards my father and his friend. Years and years of Why her? and Why not him? Years of therapy and meds and greif.

I hated him for years. I was angry and delicate and a motherless daughter, and all he was concerned about was…”Why don’t you like ‘her’?”

Then came the Pro, then years after came Farfallina.

When Fa was born, I wanted Dad in her life as much as possible. You grow when a child is born, and you are willing to bury all your unresolved shit for the sake of the kid. And you are willing to see your father as human. A human who makes mistakes and feels guilt and as his unconditional daughter you ignore it and bury it deep.

I unwillingly accepted her as “grandma” even though deep in my heart it felt fake and I knew it wasn’t true. And I resolved to teach Fa all about her real grandmother when the time was right.

But it was painfully obvious that Fa was not her real grandchild. For when the real grandchildren needed her…grandma was long gone to be with them. Even if I was promised her time first.

To this day it remains that way. I am second fiddle. So is Farfallina. And it pisses me off. Not because I want to be her daughter. I don’t…But because if you ‘say’ I’m just like your daughter, and constantly repeat that mantra, I think you should believe it yourself.

And recently, it was no different.

My Dad walked “their” daughter down the aisle and danced with “their” daughter to a very special song and it all felt wrong. And hurtful. “Their” daughter took My Dad and claimed him as her own. And didn’t even ask if I was okay with it. Or for that matter, didn’t even say “Fuck you, I’m borrowing him!”

I am heartbroken by the loss. Again.

I was shocked to discover his significant presence in their family. I didn’t notice how much of their lives have melded into his and how much he was a part of them and I wasn’t…I wasn’t even acknowledged as HIS daughter by this so-called grandma…I was “the live in boyfriend’s daughter”. But he was her daughter’s father. Disgusting.

So, I am angry. And hurting. Not even at them. But at Dad. They see Dad as theirs. And I don’t blame them. He’s a wonderful and charming man and funny and handsome and sensitive and everyone wants him as their dad. It’s always been that way.

But I do blame him. For letting them forget me so easily. For letting me slip through the cracks as his real daughter and for letting himself forget me even if it was just for that one evening.

How dare he?

Forget is only daughter.

My heart has been crying for weeks.

And this is why I’m trying to Gain some Balance in this new arena.

Someone has to look out for me.

Mom always used to say, “Take care of yourself, no one else will.”

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33 comments

  1. Your mother was exactly right. If you don’t look out for yourself, no one will.

    When you think she can understand, you’ll tell Fa about her real grandmother – and this person her grandfather is with.

    I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to walk in your shoes, but you just have to make the best of it. At least you have Pro and Fa with you now, and you aren’t alone.

    I suspect there will come a day when you will sit down with your Dad as well. Perhaps just before talking to Fa. And you will let him know how you’ve felt all this time, as well as what you are going to say to his granddaughter.

    I am certain that Fa will learn a LOT about her real grandmother through you as well – even when you don’t know it.


  2. it’s tough. i can’t even imagine. my stepparents came into my life when i was too young to even notice (3) and i didn’t go through losing a parent.

    all i can send is some {hugs} your way 🙂


  3. Damn. Of course that hurts. Of course.


  4. Way to go JJ. I think this lay it all blog is going to be so great for you.

    King Wally was disowned by his parents over 3 years ago. Sometimes that is better than continuing the damaged relationship?? I’m not sure.

    Hugs to you!

    Hey, Motherhood Uncensored’s blogtalk show this week is on parentings hurting their kids. It might be a good one to listen to. Thought I’d mention it just in case you didn’t know this week’s topic.


  5. My friend Michele has a similar situation with her dad – except the new “mom” had no kids of her own.

    My Dad is remarried and spends WAY more time with her grandkids than his own.

    This is a hard one.

    (((you)))


  6. Aw babe – I don’t know what to say but I’m hugging you with me heart.


  7. This post breaks my heart. I have cried real tears for you because I completely understand how you feel. Our situations of being motherless are different but the feelings are the same. You got a raw deal. Your mother should have lived to see the amazing woman you became and to see her lovely granddaughter. I would be pissed too. Those feelings alone are hard enough to navigate through at such a young age but to feel a loss of your father also is just too much. I wish I had some good advice for you but at 36 years old I’m still trying to figure my own shit out. Writing about these feelings in this new blog can help with the healing and dealing. Bitch, moan, whine, and cry about it all you want because we are looking out for you. Someone recently left me a comment that the great thing about blogs is we can put it all out there and then receive 30 virtual hugs.


  8. Great, great song choice.

    Before I begin, I am NOT taking your father’s side in all this. I’m just trying to be objective in a situation in which it is almost impossible not to be emotional. (It will make sense in the end, I hope.)

    I can see how this happened. It isn’t right, but his life evolved to where it is now, and when that evolution started, you were almost ready to be “on your own” so to speak. It’s unfortunate, but by the time things got rolling, his other family “needed” him more than you did, so he applied himself there. In the process, he alienated you and pushed you even further away (I’m guessing in the early stages of his new relationship you kept your distance because you missed your mom and were pissed at him).

    Now, you’re at a point where things have entered the “this is the way things are” zone, and changing it is near impossible. Feeling like an outsider at a “family” function is hard, I know (from a different perspective… my inlaws don’t even have a picture of me up in their house, and a 100 photo album dedicated to my daughter where I don’t appear). And nothing can make that right, even if they tried to fix it now, because the lingering frustration would still be there.

    All I can say is that I hope, with time, you’ll see that this is a shitty situation, but one you cannot fix. And if someday things get worse between the families, remember something my father told me on my wedding day:

    Before, your family was me, your mother, and your sisters. We’re still family, but we’re not your family anymore. Your family is MTM, and maybe one day, your babies. You put your family first, even if it means I won’t be happy.

    Hopefully, something in that long-ass diatribe above helps.


  9. wow such an emotionally charged post JJ. I’m here listening. I’m so glad you listed this webpage back on your profile because i had no way of finding you and i’m just catching up on your most recent posts now…may you find peace in your new space and your freedom to write without fear of repercussions


  10. Oh the whole “if you ‘say’ I’m just like your daughter” pisses me off. I had a stepmother that proclaimed that she was my mom for YEARS, where is she now?!?! Not in my life. Whatever, some women cannot open their hearts fully to their man’s child. I would like to think I would be different, however I am not sure I could love another as much or the same as I love Becca & Ethan.

    I think your feelings are completely valid. Accept what you cannot change. You will never be able to change the fact that your Dad was with this woman long before he should have been, or the fact that he has a “new” life with her family. It sucks. It is wrong. But we cannot change it. I have learned through therapy and time that if I want certain people in my world I have to accept them for what they are like it or not. OR not have them in my world.

    HUGS. the situation sucks and the fact that you are hurting is beyond suckage.


  11. I’m glad you put it all out there. It’s part of healing. And I, too, have to spill some stuff, in time. About the loss of my DAD…and the loss of my Mom, who is still here on earth.

    I’m sorry that this pain is so raw for you. Your Dad’s actions speak so much louder than any words that he can say to you – I KNOW. Unfortunately we can’t pick our family. And we can’t change them or live their lives. We can only live our own.

    I wish I could say that things will get better. I think the things that can really change are you, your outlook, your attitude and perhaps some acceptance of things that will just have to BE. And after all that, it STILL sucks. Because it shouldn’t be this way.

    Love ya, little sister. xoxo


  12. I have to say that after reading this post, I am even more glad for you that you have started fresh with this space! You NEED to be here, to share stories, to vent, to cry! Let it out! Let it all out! It’s so very important.
    I got tears in my eyes when reading this post. You have been through so much, and has only made you a stronger person. You are strong and you can get through this. Your Mom was so right–look out for #1 first because if you don’t, you won’t be able to look out for the others in your life who need you! We’re here for you.


  13. Well crap. Crap crap crappity crap. Crap on a cracker.

    We live in the same area where we grew up. My parents live 20 miles away. The Mighty Hunter’s family is here – except that his dad’s work keeps him out of town year-round. He visits every other month or so. His mom died while I was pg w/ Stinkerbell. (blah blah background stuff)

    FIL has been seeing someone for probably 4 years now and engaged to her for at least 2 of them. Her family is spread across the country and it’s forcing me to adjust my expectations for family time.

    We don’t want to share FIL with her family in TX. We want her to be with us during holidays and other times…. so that he will be here too.

    She has never seen Lucky. She could have taken a weekend off and flew home to at least be there for his dedication service. She had time off already? planned to go to Vegas for a friend’s wedding 2 wks later and couldn’t do both. um, yeah.

    FIL spends time w/her daughters and her grand-daughter and is their “grand-daddy”.

    It has never been suggested to us that she might be our kids grandmother. She probably never will be anything like that either.

    And it hurts. When FIL gave her a ring, I was excited that I’d have another mother-in-law (nuts, I know. But my 1st one was great and I’m an optimist.)

    Now, I just want them to stop disappointing and hurting The Mighty Hunter, Stinkerbell and now Lucky.

    big hugs to you.


  14. I’m so sorry about your situation… my heart was aching as I was reading it for you.

    My father used to always tell me… what goes around, comes around.

    Bless you all… and you darling Fa…

    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls


  15. I am so very sorry for you. I am glad you are trying to find a new balance!


  16. I don’t get it.

    I don’t get why your father could possibly rationalize in his mind the fact that he is more a part of their family than you are of his. I don’t care what Scifi Dad said, it just doesn’t make sense.

    I think you need to find some time, and soon, to sit him down and speak to him from your heart and let him know what you need and what you expect. It’s fair to him, honest for you, and most likely the only way you’ll get what you need from him.

    (((JJ)))


  17. that would be hurtful. I’m sure you’ve said everything you’ve mentioned here to your dad right? I hope he knows how you’re hurting. and I can’t believe he had her call you a month after your mom died. gah! not cool!


  18. I can relate a little bit to what you’re saying and feeling. My parents divorced when I was very young but my mom met a man who she intended to marry maybe 7 or 8 years before she died. He stood by her and was a huge source of support in her life, but when she was in the hospital, at the end, he wasn’t around as much. Soon after she died he revealed he was in a relationship with another woman, a woman who was actually a very close and dear friend of my mom’s and had been for years.

    While I was glad that he’d found love with someone else, because he truly deserved it, it stung. Because it was with someone who knew my mom so intimately and because it happened so quickly after my mom died. And, because I’m pretty sure that they were seeing each other while my mom was dying.

    So in that regard, I can relate to some of your feelings. Your mother was right, unfortunately…you gotta take care of you. That doesn’t mean it’s not tough, though, to sort through the feelings you have. Hang in there.

    (I didn’t know you moved!! Thanks for the heads-up.)


  19. I hope this new blog and your ability to post what you really want to post is helping.

    Very honest post, JJ.

    ((Hugs)) You keep telling me that you’re here for me…I’m here for you, too. Anytime.


  20. Wow, I want to rage right there with you JJ.
    It REALLY speaks to your character that you were able to forgive your dad and continue to do so in light of all that he’s done and that has happened.
    I’m in awe of you. Because I know it can’t be easy.

    Stay strong, sister!!

    I’m always here to listen.


  21. I’m hope this new blog helps. Everyone needs a safe place to vent. I’m here to listen.


  22. I totally get what you’re going through. I don’t think I am experiencing what you are…but I kind of feel the same way about my in-laws, the way you feel about “the friend” and her family.


  23. wow. this is so fucking heartbreaking but my god janet- i think you are SO right on to feel the way you feel. and he will never admit to being “wrong” or try to change- because…. sometimes people just can’t own up to actions. and they can’t face them. hell, i’m living that first hand with my dad now. i am sorry that you are hurting and continue to hurt and i think it’s SUCH BULLSHIT that he allow it. because that’s what he is doing- allowing you to be treated that way. allowing you to be second fiddle. he can’t pretend to not know.
    be thankful you had your mom for 17 years. at least you were old enough to remember her and learn from her and grow from her. know what i mean?


  24. First, because you know I’ve got to…Pearl Jam. 🙂

    More importantly, like everyone else, I’m glad you’ve taken the step to create the new space so you can talk about this kind of shit. You’ve got to get it out somehow – and in my non-psychiatric degreed mind – this is a great way of doing it. So keep venting, breathing, and figuring it out. None of us have all the answers, but the goal is to keep trying to have the best life you can have (jesus, I sound like Oprah). But I mean that sincerely.

    I have no advice regarding your dad, but will simply state that he sounds pretty selfish and that that sucks.


  25. OMG honey, you can write. Seriously… my heart is breaking for you. I wish I could hug you. I am here to listen. Always reading. And pouring a glass of wine for you.

    I am so glad you found this new place. You need it.


  26. Dammit, I just wrote a lonnnngggg p.s. to you. But it just didn’t sound right.

    My mom is going thru a kinda similar situation – but the other way. My half-sister refuses to accept her and insists my niece not accept her either. My mom doesn’t talk about it, but I know it hurts. She probably feels a lot like you do. But different.

    I am so sorry, J. I wish I had the words to make it better – even a little bit.

    HUGS!!!

    And your mom, what a wise woman. She did a wonderful job with you. And I *know* that she is in every interaction you have with Fa.


  27. And I just wrote about you….


  28. Same thing with my father in law. Two months after my mother in law died, he’s got himself a new girlfriend and a viagra prescription. Her family comes first, always, we get leftovers.

    It sucks. I’m sorry.


  29. Hello! You stopped by my blog the other day and when I went to click on your link, there was no blog there. So now I know how it happened– you were en route to this blog.

    Okay, now for this post: I relate on many, many levels. My Mom died when I was 11 and my dad remarried 4 months later. 4 short months. I had many of the same suspicions that you’ve described. And I’ve experienced a lot of anger as well. Having children has helped to heal a lot of those hurts, seeing the way that they love my children. I can only imagine how much it would hurt to have my children treated as second-class citizens by them, as your dad is doing. Anyway, I just wanted to say, good for you for getting this off your chest, for continuing to struggle through this. I hope that someday you’ll be able to find peace with your dad. And that he’ll step up and be the kind of grandpa that your child deserves.


  30. Having seen this in my husbands relationship with a parent, I know how devastating it can be.
    Especially on self esteem.

    wish I could hug you.


  31. You’re gaining balance already, I see. Good for you. I can’t imagine how painful this has been–and, clearly, still is. Beautiful post, though, JJ. I too would love to hug you right about now.


  32. BIG HUGS! I agree with everyone else – you’re one strong lady – and I hope this gives you the catharsis you need.


  33. i’ve heard such fabulous things about you and your blog from seattle mamacita, and i see you on some of the blogs i vist, so now i’ve finally found my way here, to this new site of yours. i admire your openness, honesty and courage. stay strong.



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