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Author Topic: Why do fathers give up/become defeated about their kids  (Read 40351 times)
AppleChippy
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« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2010, 08:15:15 PM »

I am one of the abandoned children.

My father had tremendous challenges to maintaining contact with me.  I do have a lot of forgiveness for what he faced and can only imagine his grief.  A lot of what this article describes, I'm sure is what my father has been through.

However, I have not, nor do I think will I EVER get over his giving up on me.  And it's an event that will NEVER END.

My parents divorced when I was 6.  I stopped seeing him around age 10 (and didn't see him again until I was 21).   Even though he stopped sending birthday cards by 16, we still spoke occasionally, and when high school graduation came around I still had a hope that despite separation and not seeing him for so long that he was still my father.  The complete silence from him when I graduated was deafening.  No call, not even a card.  College graduation, same thing.  Marriage, death of a close relative, buying my first home, the birth of my first child, first child's first birthday.  NOTHING.  After visiting him when I was 21, I tried really hard to reestablish a relationship with him.  But each card or call he ignored, each event he missed was devastating for me, often acutely so for months at a time.  One time his silence contributed to a major depressive episode.

I've read that a child never completely gives up on their parents.  Even abused children (check out the dealing with BPD parents board).  I'm 33 now.  His "disengaging" (which is such a sterile word for such a horrible event) began when I was 5.  It was only when he completely failed to acknowledge the birth of my child that I realized I had to STOP trying to connect with him for my own well being.  That was only 2 years ago.

But that doesn't heal what happened.  It just stops pouring salt in a wound that I don't think will ever completely heal.

As sad as a phone relationship would have been compared to the relationship we had when we still lived as an intact family, I still wanted a phone relationship with him so badly!  If he had been able to keep in contact with me, even just over the phone, check in to see how I'm doing, celebrate my accomplishments, share in my grief, things would be so much different for me.   I wish he could have let me reconnect with him after college when I moved out from my mother's.  Even THAT would have been healing.

How are you supposed feel secure with other people in your life when your parent gives up on you?  I don't really know.  All I know is that I work really hard to overcome it even if I've faked it a great deal of the time.

So, fathers, don't give up on your children.  They won't give up on you (even if they're angry, but they'll need you to show you'll work at it) and will give you chance after chance.  Take them up on their offers to reconnect.
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« Reply #31 on: April 29, 2010, 09:54:12 PM »

AC,

That's EXACTLY why I continue to do what it takes to spend as much time as I can w my D's - even if it's just talking nearly everyday on the telephone. I realize that I have it better that many fathers: my ex understands the need for my children to have their father in their lives, and she generally works w me pretty well.  But in the end, it doesn't matter what hell we fathers (or mothers) have to go through; we can never give up.  Our children didn't ask to be brought here.  WE are the ones who did what it took to get them here, & WE are the ones who bear the responsibility.

FM
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« Reply #32 on: April 29, 2010, 11:24:24 PM »

elishwind,

I just read your thread - I'm devasted w you & for you!  I know it's hard, but you can't give up. Don't break the law or anything, but all involved will eventually see the horror that you've been dealing with.  When that happens, you'll need to be poised and ready to be the parent that you were before that awful phone call.
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Colombian Chick
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« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2010, 12:42:43 AM »

This brought tears to my eyes. I have resently started communication with my father after years of no contact. We talk every week through Skype and the first thing he told me is that he missed me and wished he had been able to be part of my life.

My father couldn't have access to me becuase of distance and conflict with my mother. He lives in Colombia and I live in California. My mother was very upset at him for getting married again. So the times he would call she would pick up the phone and start crying.

Now that I am divorced I do my best to have a good relationship with my exhusband. We are good friends and his girlfriend is a great person. He takes the kids everyother week and I've told him that he can take the kids more often if he wants to. My children can call him at any time if they need advise or affection from him. I always communicate with him things about the kids and I try my best to let him know he is very important in their lives. He is their father and will always be welcomed.
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« Reply #34 on: May 26, 2010, 07:52:31 PM »

Hey All

Been reading all your posts and just could not leave without offering up my 2 cents worth. I am gonna upset a few of you now... .

I think about giving up and leaving every single day, because it is rare for a day to go by without some form of abuse or humiliation aimed in my direction by the wife AND most of the kids. I won't go into details just yet but, I am allowed to say "yes" and very little else without being subjected to scorn from uBPD wife, and commonly even agreement isnt enough to avoid her tongue-lashings. The kids have learned to behave as she does and treat me as she does, when she is around. I did not plan on having 5 kids, and I did not plant the seed for all 5, either but, I have never done other than welcome the new addition into my heart and work as hard as I can to provide for them all, whether or not I have enough to eat or a place to sleep. I always wanted to be with the kids and never once budged from my responsibilities as far as they are concerned. I never once made them settle for just child-support when their mother forced me from the home but, continued to pay all the bills and provide for all their needs as I always have. Over the last 5 or 6 years I have spent about 2 years living out of my minivan. Each time it happens, I lose something of my relationship with the kids. I am definitely a victim of PAS but can never prove it to the satisfaction of a court.

I knew uBPD wife was a mistake by the time my oldest was born but, that is too late. From that moment, I have been lying to myself and sacrificing my sanity and self-respect to be with the kids. I would have left the wife in a heartbeat but have stayed on and provided and fathered and hoped and prayed and lost the best part of myself over the 14 years since finding out I would be what I always dreamed of being, a father. A father stays, and perseveres, and sacrifices of himself, no matter the ultimate cost to himself, and that is exactly what I have done. That kind of attitude fits very well when the mother is normal, and the kids flourish and the family becomes strong. What about when the mother is only barely functional herself? When she is given complete control and authority over the child-rearing when she is barely more than a child herself? When the law and society in general tell her ":)on't worry, we will help you, we know how controlling and abusive men are and how vulnerable you and YOUR children are."?

A couple years back, she planned to leave me with the kids and go home to England, where she is from. She told the kids about these plans and went through all the motions, right down to sending me off on a drive with all of them so she could finish packing in peace, only to change her mind (if she ever intended to really go) while I am driving back home and threatening to call the police because I took the kids without her consent to visit my parents, whom she hates. The whole afternoon I spent trying to come up with answers to the kids questions that would keep them from getting too upset while, at the same time, preserving their mother's position in their lives. I deserve a damn medal for that day; she would never have done that for me and has proven her willingness to denigrate me to the kids at every opportunity, and I cer
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« Reply #35 on: May 26, 2010, 08:51:00 PM »

(sorry, post got messed up)

certainly didn't feel much affection for her at the time, with 5 kids and bills to pay and very little support being offered and no idea how I was going to raise all these kids on my own.

Time and time again, I have stepped up for those kids; even their mother, because she is their mother. Now, they run to their mother and tell her lies about how I have been mean to them if I have said no or made any statement they don't like; they call me names, yes, including profanity (the oldest ones). I can't begin to count how many times I have been told "You don't even live here" "You're not my dad" "Its not your business" etc. Do you think that doesn't hurt? For 15 years I have had to listen to that from their mother, and I have to admit that it still bothers me but, it doesn't pain me. From the kids, though... .And do you know what is the worst part of all this? It is starting to not hurt as much. I am beginning to lose my capacity to feel. I am dying inside, and I hate it. I hate the way I feel about the kids, and about myself, and about everything in general. So now, exactly how irresponsible am I for feeling like giving up? There is no future; not for me, or the kids. Their mother, my "wife" has stripped me of every ounce of hope and happiness I ever had, and there is nothing I can do about it. Worse, she will do the same to the kids, and I can't stop it. They will become more and more brain-washed as the years go by and, instead of realizing what she is and what she has done to them, will believe that I am to blame. I could be wrong but, I see it happening already. The oldest (S13 and Sstb12) already have her mannerisms and habits and attitudes toward the world. I see none of myself in any of my kids and, believe me, I spend a lot of time looking. Either I am the worst sort of man there is, or something is extremely rotten in Denmark.

I have had my little rant now. Every time a man questions whether it is right to stay or leave, the battle lines get drawn. We are not ALL deadbeats or unfeeling louts. Some of us have been through amounts of constant and insidious abuse that no-one truly understands. Some of us are at the end of what we can tolerate because we are used up. There is nothing left inside us but guilt and regret and pain. And, even through all this that I have said and explained, I stay. And it will get worse, and I will stay, and the kids will never know how much I have loved them and sacrificed for them, so they can hate me.

SK
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fantasyman
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« Reply #36 on: May 31, 2010, 12:13:40 AM »

SK,

I think your kids will know how much their father loves them.  In spite of their mother's antics, one day that proverbial meteor will fall & strike them clear into their senses.  They will see the truth.  As long as you do what you know is right by them, you'll always at least have a chance, and they will know that they have a great dad who has gone through the bowels of hell for them...  

I've gone through some similar challenges w my GF (formally finace'.  She has two S's (17 & 13), and I have two D's (11 & 9).  The S's father is a geniune USDA top choice deadbeat if ever there was one.  Still, we both promised that we would always treat each others kids as if they were our own, & I went to great lengths to overcome the deficiencies of this "father" - especially after they moved in w me.  Whenever the was an issue, they all ran to me = whenever they needed something, I was there.  B/C my Ds are only w me every other weekend, they shared a bedroom - the B's each had rooms of their own.

The hammer fell when GF told me that she didn't want me talking to her S's.  Her S16 (at the time) was starting to have some serious clashes w his dad - challenging him at every turn to step up & set more of a positive example.  When I tried to calm the situation, GF said she didn't share my beliefs about manhood (as if she's taken a single breath of her life as a man ), & she didn't want me influencing the B's.  Of course, none of this stopped her from absolutely overwhelming me with complaints about how the B's were just like their dad, & how she has absolutely no help w them & wishes she had family (w whom she's estranged by her own choice).

":)on't talk to my B's... ." - in MY house?   That was the nail in the coffin.  Abusing & tongue lashing me about everything under the sun was one thing - but this?  I told her she had to find somewhere else to live - S16  had started challenging me (like his mother), & I could feel the ticks on the clock counting down to me teaching him a lesson - the hard way!

They've been gone for about 2 months.   Peace has been restorede to my home, & my relationship w my D's is rapidly improving.

All this to say that I commend you for sticking it out as long as you have - but no one here will look harshly upon you when & if you decide that you've had enough.  BPD is an ugly desease that strips the partners of every ounce of self repsect & self esteem if left unguarded.  Whatever the case, your kids see the effort you put into being a part of their lives - even if they won't acknowledge it right now.  Don't ever surrender that effort - even if it comes down to emplying that effort from a different address.
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« Reply #37 on: May 31, 2010, 12:17:10 PM »

Thanks fantasyman

sometimes words of encouragement are all it takes to get one past the 'hump'.

the worst part of it all is in watching her (uBPD wife) screw everything up and being unable to change anything. she is so blind to everything but her own feelings and those are unpredictable. and yes, she has sucked the life right out of me. thanks for the words.

SK
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fantasyman
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« Reply #38 on: June 02, 2010, 10:13:34 PM »

she is so blind to everything but her own feelings and those are unpredictable. and yes, she has sucked the life right out of me.

Yea, SK, I know exactly what you mean. My GF couldn't care less about anything I might feel - we're (we non's) not supposed to have any feelings .  In fact, just this evening I asked her whether she thought that 100% of the dysfucntion & "insanity" in our relationship is a reuslt of my own behavior & reactions.  Of course she said "yes, & until you can accept that, nothing between us will ever change."  I guess there won't be any changes anytime soon!  I accept that her response to that questions says much more about her than it does about me.  It's very sad that a person can see so much wrong in the behaviors & attitudes of others, but see nothing wrong with or accept any responsibility for their own.  I kinda' feel like the best thing I can do for her is to get as far as I can away from her & stay away so that she can see that I'm not her problem, but that she is.  But, I suspect that she'd just find someone else to target.  Nonetheless, I'm limiting my time around her.

All you can do is what you know & feel are right.  If your wife insists on screwing up everything, you may want to take some measures to protect yourself and let her own her consequences.  As long as she can blame you, I think she will.  You can't change her - only she can, & only after she's made the conscience decison that she wants to change.

You hang in there, SK.  The lesson for us in these experiences is to learn how to strengthen ourselves. "My response is my responsibility."

FM
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yeeter
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« Reply #39 on: September 06, 2012, 09:06:56 AM »

This is a very worthwhile topic.  And not a simple one. 

I spent considerable time struggling and wrestling with the tradeoffs of how it would impact my children if I left the relationship and tried 'coparenting' post divorce with an irrational ex - vs staying in the relationship and being involved in my childrens lives on a daily basis.  The divorce laws in my state are dated and not at all fair in how they treat the opposite genders.

I choose to stay.  I believe they are betting off with me in their lives on a regular, daily basis. 

Fact is, I would NOT have the same access, and thus the same influence, if I went the route of divorce.  (my wife made this very clear, and I believe the courts would support her on it).  The concept that men are just lazy and dont work hard enough to stay involved in the childrens lives is also a dated one.

A worthwhile topic to review and bring up to date with the latest studies and research.
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Julian
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« Reply #40 on: November 28, 2012, 06:09:47 PM »

I'll be honest, this thread depressed the hell out of me   :'(     I'm just about to enter a divorce with my BPDw, she walked out with our 18 month old boy, and filed for a permanent judicial separation, I just gave up and told her to divorce altogether.

I haven't seen my son since she walked out, because I come to tears just thinking of him, he's my everything that guy, I'm not the type of dad that goes out too often, I come from the office and would spend it playing with him 'till he went to bed.

Now I'm building up the courage to see him for the first time this weekend, I just wraped to huge toys for him, but it's the fear of being sad everytime I let go that may drive me away, I don't know how much of this I can take, every goodbye, every look in his eyes, yeah I do chicken out in my thoughts and say best to leave it altogether so he wouldn't know at all sometimes.

What a curse this illness is, it devours lives, it consumes souls, crushes families apart   :'(

I will try my best to see him, and keep seeing him, he means the world to me, and I'll be damned if I will lose him to this curse.

I'm going to try.
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SlyQQ
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« Reply #41 on: January 03, 2015, 02:20:29 AM »

The court system probably has to shoulder a fair amount of the blame 
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clydegriffith
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« Reply #42 on: January 03, 2015, 07:46:59 PM »

The court system probably has to shoulder a fair amount of the blame

Agreed. I fear that at some point in the very near future, i will have to make a decision of wether i want to live as an indentured servant for the next 14 years and maintain a very minimal relationship with my daughter or bolt and be free.
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truthbeknown
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« Reply #43 on: January 27, 2015, 03:50:44 AM »

I saw this post Skip and I wanted to share my perspective.

I have been divorced 4 years this January and was separated 2 years. I have always been an active father and engaged in my children's lives.   When i got divorced I was not in my chosen career and I took on my exuBPDw's projections that "we don't have any money".   Because of this i paid cs before getting an attorney and using that money to protect my interests.  So I got blind-sided.   While my exuBPDw has not called police on me etc., she has used the Child Support as a way to demonize me with my older children and make me look like the bad guy.  The truth is that because i was not on my designated career path, i struggled to find good jobs and was paid way below what my value really is.  

Before the divorce, I landed a w2 job and I think it gave me a false sense of security.  I agreed to the divorce and let her legal plan draw up the documents.  17 months later, i lost my job because the contract ended.  I accepted unemployment but didn't go back to court to have cs lowered since i was paying my ex directly.  She was acting "nice" to me during that period and told me "not to worry, we'll work it out".  I have no recording of that verbal conversation.  

In the meanwhile, i was still seeing my children s13, d10 for 50% of the time.  Then, as fate would have it,  the company I worked for in Dec. 2013 laid us off.   At the same time I started getting sick and discovered the house i was renting had black mold in the basement.   I had no other options but to take my cat and move in with a friend two states over while i was recovering.  while out in that state, I repeatedly sent resumes back to where i had been living in hopes of finding something solid.  NOTHING came from that.  So after running out of money, i decided to apply in the current state i'm in right now.  I got three job offers and i took one.  It's the most stable job that i've had in years but the money is alot lower.  

Summary:

I had NO intentions of getting laid off, getting sick and then having to leave the state.   I have been over and over this in my mind and still don't see that there were any other solutions at the time.  In some ways things have been better with the exBPDw because i think she felt for awhile that she "won".  I still see my kids every other weekend.   However, now she has moved in a uBPDw/ friend with a niece that is a recovering drug addict and now is threatening to take me to court over child support that is past due (even though she gets rent from her friend so technically she should be better off financially).  

I haven't given up on seeing the kids, trying to keep up on Child support etc.  but I feel beaton down and worry that I could lose my opportunity to see them if she takes me to court and they make me pay more then i can handle.  I've even considered going to court pro-actively (see post in court section) but still consulting with lawyers as to whether this will help me.

Bottom line: I think some of us dads get abused by the system so profusely that we run out of resources to fight back and have to "hunker down" in survival mode.  I hope that i can find solutions to have enough money to drive back and forth every other weekend to see my kids but i might have to go down to one weekend.  It breaks my heart that the court system is set up to defend psychologically ill people and many times healthy individuals are made into so called "criminals" or "deadbeat parents".  

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Ripped Heart
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« Reply #44 on: January 27, 2015, 05:55:53 AM »

I was caught up in what SlyQQ described. Our legal system makes it mandatory for separated parents to go through mediation before court but at the time the legal system was geared towards mothers rather than fathers.

Exgf dragged mediation out for an entire year and only 3 sessions where nothing resolved. She would cancel appointments, not turn up or turn up with the kids so nothing got done except I was charged every time while hers were free.

I refused any further mediation and was told that if I cancelled it would go against me in court despite her messing around for the year. I lost faith in the justice system and gave up.

Last year the law changed in favour of equality so I tried again. Still had to go through mediation (at the same place as before) but after exgf cancelled 3rd appointment without ever turning up the mediator marked her as non compliant and sent it to the courts.

Court acted within 3 weeks and I now have access to my kids. Even better, exgf requested in court for things to go back to mediation and got slammed by magistrates who picked up on her messing around both times. Request denied.

Law seems to be doing more for fathers but for many its too little too late. Its taken me 3 years of fighting for my kids and I gave up in between after too many brick walls.

Also, exgf has been ordered to attend a separated parent course based on her 3 years of messing around. The law is definitely changing because before that fathers would be held accountable regardless of the situation.
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yeeter
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« Reply #45 on: January 28, 2015, 07:40:01 AM »

I dont know if it is within the guidelines of this site, so please delete if so.  But as a resource, there is an organization called the 'National Parents Organization'

It advocates shared parenting, which by definition means support for fathers since the court system has some inherent bias.  There are resources there for review and local chapters in many areas you can contact directly.

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« Reply #46 on: May 10, 2015, 07:30:12 PM »

Simple... .the laws/legal system in this country are corrupt. Change the laws/legal system, change the default custody arrangements, change the default child/spousal support/attorney's fees/visitation/etc arrangements, you will drastically change how fathers are treated, and how they react to the situation.

When you have a system where women are filing for divorce the vast majority of the time, are effectively receiving physical custody of the children the vast majority of the time, and have a much higher likelihood of being awarded child support, they have an incentive to file for divorce. Over time, an absence of hope that things will change for the better for the father results in "giving up/becoming defeated". Again, not rocket science here.

As a divorced dad, I was "awarded" "joint" legal and "joint" physical custody of my children... .which, in the eyes of the court, means that after I paid 100% of both parties attorney's fees for the divorce that she filed for, and that I contested on the stand, I receive about 25% of my paycheck (the other 75% goes to child/spousal support, travel for visitation, health insurance for the children, life insurance for me for the children, taxes, etc). I was also given the ability to have my children five weeks out of the year... .which would be great if I actually had five weeks of vacation a year. In reality, I only get them three weeks out of the year.

I work full time. Their mother "works" for fun up to one day a week. I live in a one bedroom apartment. She lives in a three bedroom house with her boyfriend.

She, and her family, have been brainwashing the children since they were 3 and 5 (they are 10 and 12 now). My older child will not even speak to me, and doesn't want to visit anymore. Her mother has convinced her that everything was my fault. The younger one still speaks to me and still wants to visit... .but even that is going downhill faster these days.

Do I love my girls very much? Yes. Do I miss them like crazy? Yes. Do I have any power to change things. Not in the least.

The advice I give to every boy/man that will listen... .if you really must get married, have a pre-nuptial agreement in place, and get a vasectomy (before you even start dating... .not after... .not that this happened to me... .we waited for several years before having children). Let her know that you will be interested in marriage, and some day "having children", but only if she agrees to never adopt children... .only have foster children.

If she is still interested in marrying you... .maybe she really is there for "you", and not for children (as many women are), and not for the long-term paycheck she can get from you after she leaves you (which, statistically speaking, she is more likely to than you are to leave her).

It's a sad state that our country is in... .but I hope that my voice, and the tens of millions of other fathers in this country that are legally forced to miss out on raising their children, can help to change things for the better. I don't think it will happen, though. Unfortunately, the destruction of the family will ultimately lead to the downfall of this country... .and that isn't actually a bad thing, from where this father stands.
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« Reply #47 on: May 25, 2020, 07:02:11 AM »

Wow.  I posted on this thread years ago.  Supporting my decision to stay in a difficult marriage

Fast forward and my decision was a good one. I have since started the divorce process and the original post on fathers engagement are more Meaningful than ever

It is an incredibly difficult, expensive, and emotionally exhausting struggle to remained engaged with my children as a parent in meaningful ways.  I can remain in their lives in some marginalized role as defined by my wife.

I will take it. I would like more. If fact I believe more would be healthy for them.  But that is not a choice I have

I did get several more years with them by staying.  It caused more damage to me personally, but that is just another sacrifice for children. 

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