Need some unbiased opinions about a letter to my father


#1

There’s even more drama going on with my dad. This thread pretty much explains the entire situation, but here’s the Cliff Notes version:

My parents, both lifelong Protestants, divorced when I was 14. My mom remarried very soon afterwards; my dad just remarried this past November. My husband and I did not attend my father’s wedding because we felt that the marriage was invalid (his new “wife” is a lapsed Catholic who has been married twice before). Needless to say, my dad did not take our decision well.

The current issue: Since the whole wedding debacle, I’ve been making an effort to let him know that we still love him and still want him in our childrens’ lives. After hearing through the grapevine that he was complaining that he didn’t get to see his granddaughter anymore, I called and offered to meet him somewhere so he could spend time with her. So far, he’s cancelled twice (once because of bad weather, once because he claimed he had too much work to do at his home). He did see her last week when she was at my brother’s house. At any rate, I’ve tried to do everything I can to make sure that he knows that we still love him despite our feelings about his marriage.

Anyway, I called him earlier this week to invite him to our daughter’s 3rd birthday party. His response was a voicemail (left at 6:30am this morning), saying that HE would attend, but his wife would not since we didn’t consider them married. He also said that he hoped my mother wouldn’t show up with her husband because we didn’t consider them married either, and if my mother showed up with her husband, “there would be trouble.” (That’s a direct quote.) He also said something about how he hopes our priest wouldn’t be there, since he doesn’t consider either of them (my mom or my dad) to be married. (During the whole wedding debacle, we told my dad we’d talked to our priest about the situation, and my dad called our priest, very upset, and chewed him out about it.)

Frankly, I’m starting to get scared. My father is essentially making threats against my almost* 3-year-old*, threatening to ruin her birthday party just because he doesn’t like our personal beliefs regarding marriage. (For the record, my mother – who is much more sane – also knows how we feel about her marriage. She has acknowledged that it hurts her, but that we have a right to our own beliefs.)

Anyway, I’ve been pretty upset all morning, and I’ve been trying to think how to respond to this. I’m thinking of sending him a letter, registered mail (to make sure he gets it, since I’m not sure he’d read my e-mails and since I want a written record), that says something like this (bracked comments, of course, will not be included):

"Dad,

Elanor’s birthday party is a celebration of her life, and we would like to have the people she loves there to celebrate it with her – regardless of their marital status, or our feelings about their marital status.

Our opinion of a relative’s marital status does in no way alter or affect the love that they have for Elanor, or her love for them – just as my opinion of your marital status does not change the fact that I love you. That is why we invited both you and Joanne to her party, because we know that you love Elanor, and we thought you would like to help her celebrate her special day.

You have brought your significant others to our family events in the past – for example, you brought your ex-girlfriend JoAnn to Elanor’s 2nd birthday party – and neither Collin nor I have ever objected. Accordingly, we do not object to Joanne’s presence (*[Joanne is his “wife” – JoAnn was a different girlfriend *]) at Elanor’s 3rd birthday party. We did and still do think she is a very nice person and she is more than welcome to attend.

However, because you have decided to make threats against our family (“there will be trouble,” as your voicemail to me on 1/9/08 at 6:39am said), Collin and I do not want you to attend Elanor’s party. We do not want her birthday party ruined due to arguments or confrontations between the people she loves.

We are sorry you have chosen to behave in such a way that makes it impossible for us to allow you to come to her party. If you would like to discuss this matter calmly and rationally, please call me at *** (my number) and we can arrange a place to meet and talk. (However, I will not discuss this over the phone as I prefer to speak with you in person.)

Your daughter,

JoAnna"

Is this a fair, charitable response?*


#2

I think it is fair, but I wanted to post to tell you to remove your phone number from the post. :thumbsup:

I think that you are handling this the right way.


#3

Nevermind, you already caught that! :blush: :shrug:


#4

couple of suggestions:

Leave an opening for his change of heart in the letter…

“if you have a change of heart and will be a peaceful presence at the party, we still would like you to come”

The other thing is…well, all of the details you give, about the time of the call and your ph number and things…those are unnecessary. You aren’t taking legal action…you don’t need this for records for a lawyer. Your dad knows your ph number. I guess its the business/legal tone you take that might make him feel more spiteful and hurt.

Sign it with “love” rather than “your daughter”. etc


#5

#6

Mirror, I realized I’d forgotten to take the # out about two seconds after I hit send - d’oh!

I’m just worried that if we “leave the door open” for him to attend, so to speak, he WILL come and make a scene anyway. At least if we make it clear that he is NOT to attend under any circumstances, we can intercept him before he even enters the house if is intent is to show up and make a scene.

I just don’t want my daughter’s birthday spoiled. When we told him about our plans not to attend his wedding, he was yelling at me in front of Elanor and scaring her half to death. :frowning: I don’t want that to happen again.

Does that make sense?


#7

And Elanor’s birthday won’t be ruined when her grandfather is “intercepted” at the front door and who knows what happens? Or do you plan to set up a defense network around your home to neutralize the threat preemptively?

Seriously, it’s your dad. Tone down your letter (it’s good until you tell him not to come) and give him a chance to behave himself. I don’t know, maybe it’s just the culture I’m from, but barring possible aggravated assault, you will not catch me keeping my parents from entering my home, and especially not preparing to take legal action.

This advice assumes that he might possibly become loud/unpleasant. If you really think he’s going to be violent, though, do what you’re doing.


#8

I know you don’t want the scene made at the party, but I still agree with other posters that you might want to rephrase that. I think the first part of the letter is great, but I am worried about the effects of banning him from the party (unless, like a pp mentioned, if you think he would be a danger/get violent/etc). When I read it I felt the second part of the letter almost cancelled out all of the positives that were in the first part and would probably cause a larger rift in your relationship with your father, making it harder to mend later on. Instead of banning him, could you say something like (in your own words, I am rambling a bit here):

However, since you left a voicemail Wednesday morning mentioning “there will be trouble” if some of our guests show up, we are worried about Elanor’s party being ruined due to arguments or confrontations between the people she loves. Collin and I really do not want this to happen. We would really love to have you join us in this celebration but do not want any problems to arise and need to speak with you before the party to clear things out. I would like to speak to you in person. Please give me a call so we can set a date/place to meet before the party.


#9

The party is at my father-in-law’s home, so he could answer the door and keep my dad from entering without my daughter knowing about it (hopefully, anyway).

I don’t know if he’d necessarily be violent, but there’d probably be some loud yelling involved (on his part, anyway).

lifeisbeautiful, I like how you worded that last paragraph. I think I might use that. Thank you. :slight_smile:


#10

Joanna, I’ve read your other threads, and I’ve commented when your dad has pulled his nonsense before this. He’s reported you to the police for abusing your daughter when you’ve done no such thing. To my mind, he’s a sneaky, underhanded manipulator who has to have his way.

Do you really want him at this event, when you know his capabilities? Do you want even a smidgen of Elanor’s day spent dealing with Grandpa’s obnoxious behavior, the man who said her mommy and daddy abused her?

I would not send the letter you have, as heartfelt as it is. I would simply call have Collin tell him, whether orally or in some fom of writing, “Sir, you are not going to play these games with my wife or my daughter! I am sorry you feel you have to resort to threats, but I take those seriously, esp. when they involve my wife and daughter. You are not welcome, sir, until you change your ways. Consider the invitation rescinded. Should you attempt to attend, then I shall be forced to call the police.” Your dad knows he can at least attempt to manipulate you. I bet he thinks twice before trying to manipulate Collin.


#11

Actually, no, if you read the thread I linked, it was my SISTER who reported me to the police because she was mad that I was causing family drama. I thought it was my dad, but I was mistaken.

Do you really want him at this event, when you know his capabilities? Do you want even a smidgen of Elanor’s day spent dealing with Grandpa’s obnoxious behavior, the man who said her mommy and daddy abused her?

Again, see above. The thing is, Elanor loves him. And I still am holding out some hope that maybe, MAYBE he’ll decide to act like a mature adult.

I would not send the letter you have, as heartfelt as it is. I would simply call have Collin tell him, whether orally or in some fom of writing, “Sir, you are not going to play these games with my wife or my daughter! I am sorry you feel you have to resort to threats, but I take those seriously, esp. when they involve my wife and daughter. You are not welcome, sir, until you change your ways. Consider the invitation rescinded. Should you attempt to attend, then I shall be forced to call the police.” Your dad knows he can at least attempt to manipulate you. I bet he thinks twice before trying to manipulate Collin.

Wow, you said almost word-for-word what my husband says he wants to say. That’s kinda spooky. :eek: :wink:


#12

Perhaps your husband can handle this situation by giving your father a telephone call and reassuring him that* both*** he and his wife are welcome to the birthday party and will both be missed by your daughter if they do not attend.
Just as your father-in-law is prepared to stop your father at his door* if*** things were to get out of line, your husband can speak with your father and perhaps prevent discord.
I suspect that your father has been told by his wife that she will not attend and he has now been put in a very uncomfortable position. Stuck in the middle you might sat.
Receiving your letter, which towards the end begins to sound a little threatening too is like throwing oil on a fire!
I think that your daughter’s father can and will be able to take care of this matter in an objective and diplomatic way.
Hoping you all have a Happy :cake: Birthday celebration!!
*. *


#13

Well, I wasn’t going to reread them, but point taken. Still…Where did your sister hear about the family drama? And who or what popped the idea into her head?

Well, for what it’s worth, it’s what I think he should say, as firmly as possible.

Elanor is 3. She might love Grandpa, but Grandpa can’t be trusted to behave himself. And he might very well use Elanor. She does not deserve to be used, esp. on her birthday.

My :twocents: . You’ll of course do what you think is right. But, as somebody who has had to make this decision, I can tell you Elanor will be fine without Grandpa should you choose to exclude him until you have real proof he can behave in a rational manner.


#14

HUH?

No wait:

HUH???

You are actually being confrontational with someone chomping at the bit to be confrontational?

ELEANOR may love him more than a new pony for now – but that doesn’t mean he should be around Eleanor if that means causing her harm. You keep saying how important to Eleanor DAD is but the fact is: you are angry that Eleanor doesn’t MEAN MORE TO HIM.

Guess what? You can’t change anything in this arena – trust me – I KNOW. My mom had a choice between a big loser guy and her family and she chose the former. But she knew her choice, and STILL CHOSE IT. Now the fella who probably took her for $500K is going to jail for a year (for priors – not including how badly he beat my mom) for assault on my mother, and she’s finally getting divorced, YET I DID NOT OPEN THE DOOR TO MY KIDS BECAUSE THE DRAMA IS STILL TOO MUCH.

SURE my kids suffered losing their “Nana” – I even heard my son say “remember Nana Eden? She was our grandma” and while it broke my heart 2 years ago they don’t even talk about her now.

While everyone said the letter was fine until you said “no go to party” I found bringing up the “ex” unnecessary too because he’s going to show it to his wife for one, and you know that, for two, and current Joann-a is going to go ballistic for three, and it’s going to go very bad due to these factors for FOUR.

SO THE WHOLE LETTER IS POINTLESS.

Cut your losses. Keep it on the computer and revisit if you need to.

If you REALLY want to spend time w/dad – do meet him after a short note saying you would like to do lunch.

AND IF YOUR FAMILY IS SO VOLATILE THAT SIBLINGS OR PARENTS ARE CALLING THE POLICE:

stay away and move ON in your life. :shrug:


#15
  1. Save his voicemail, and any other correspondence from him.

  2. Have your husband write a direct, contractual cease and desist, make copies and mail it certified mail to your father’s known address.

  3. Enjoy your DD’s birthday.


#16

HOLY COW!! Well you have had advice from both ends of the spectrum. I personally was leaning towards the earlier advice about just revising the letter to say ‘play nice or stay home please!’.

You know your dad better than us. If he is a bad person that will negatively influence your daughter or somehow harm you, then you need to be done with him until he has proven he’s changed. If he is just a grumpy old guy who likes to talk big but is kind of just a big ole bag of hot air…then just tell him to be nice, call his bluff and enjoy the party.

Sorry you are going thru this. Family stuff can be so hard. It sounds like you have a supportive husband which is helpful. We will keep you in our prayers & Happy Birthday Elanor:cake: !


#17

The thing is, he’s a little of both. I don’t think my father is an evil man, but he is a very confused one, and a very self-centered one. He claims to be Christian but he really is a member of the Church of the Holy Mirror… i.e., he just worships himself. Everything always has to be about him, and nothing is ever his fault.

I talked to my sister-in-law tonight and she and my brother are going to try and reason with him. Maybe they’ll have more luck being a neutral party… and since they went to his wedding, he sees them as being on “his” side. So we’ll see what happens with that.

If he still refuses to see reason, we’ll probably just let him know that he is disinvited, and cut him out of our lives until such time as he’s prepared to act like a mature adult.


#18

I second this advice. Your father is not in a rational state of mind right now and, from what you have said, it seems like he is spoiling for a fight and really doesn’t care if he ruins his granddaughter’s birthday. You have given him the opportunity to visit with her twice and he has cancelled, although he has complained that he hasn’t seen her. If he really cared about her, he would have made it.

My children grew up without their grandparents (or aunts, uncles and cousins) because we moved here to Australia. They kept up contact with cards, letters and phone calls.

For now, since you can’t trust him in person, I would limit his access to cards and (monitored) phone calls. When he comes to his senses, if ever, then you can think about allowing him back into your children’s lives.

I am very sorry for your situation. It is very difficult when it is someone you love.

Lord Jesus, let Your Precious Blood flow over this family and heal the wounds and strife that is separating it. Amen


#19

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