What to do when your husband hates being a father?


My poor daughter is three years old and has a dad who hates his vocation. He is often aggressive and is daily impatient with her, constantly bringing her to the point of tears, so unnecessarily. He tries to be a good Catholic, in his mind at least. He goes to weekly confession and daily Mass and has a spiritual director whom he speaks with monthly. Outwardly he might seem very devout, and I was definitely fooled prior to our marriage…but he has really become a beast and I don’t know what to do. He tells me that I am the best thing that ever happened to him and that our daughter is the worst thing that ever happened to him, which makes me want to say to him that HE is the worst thing that has ever happened to ME. How does one deal with a man like this?


My hand would literally itch to slap him so hard he saw stars. What a jerk! Sorry, but that’s the way I feel. :mad:


Talk to your priest and ask his advice.


Has your husband always said that he disliked being a father, or is it recent? Do you feel like your daughter is well-behaved? It’s possible that he and your daughter are going through a rough spot. There would **never **be a good excuse to say what he said about her, but with prayer and patience and proper discipline of your daughter, he may come around… what do your families say about the situation? Is he abusive to the point that you need to seperate? What are your husbands praents like, could he have learned poor habits from them? Do you both work? Does he have good hobbies and uplifting friends to make him strong? I will say a prayer for you tonight… I would definitely speak to your priest about the situation.


Yep. My ex-husband used to yell that our children were ruining our marriage. He was particularly bad with my oldest son who is now 13. He was the scapegoat for his dad’s explosions. That is really no way to grow up. I would talk to your priest, and be specific about what it is that your husband is saying and doing.

Oh, and by the way, these are the same children who have convinced three different couples that were sure that they didn’t want to have children to become parents. They are not bad kids. My ex-husband is completely self-centered and did not like it when our four children had my attention. He wanted it all to himself.


My daughter was born this past December. As a father, I want to do my utmost to protect her and teach her as she grows. Other fathers have told me the same.

I used to think that my number one priority was to be a good husband. That I couldn’t be a good father without first being a good husband. Now I see that I also cannot be a good husband without being a good father. It is surprising to me how much my wife responds when I take care of our daughter. She has told me that she loves me most when she sees me holding and caring for our daughter.

What your husband is feeling is NOT normal. My own father had no parental desires and it was that cause of my parents divorce. Sorry for the dire picture but this situation can’t be healthy for you or your daughter.

There is a good sign for hope. A man who goes to weekly confession and daily mass and apparently has done so for years is not putting on an act. Heck, I can’t even make that commitment. That dedication is evidence that he truly wants to improve. I don’t see how it would be humanly possible for anyone to keep up false pretenses to that level for that long if he wasn’t serious.

So what to do? You also mentioned in another thread that if you talked to him about your marriage concerns, he would blowup. This indicates an anger issue and tells me that there is more here than just about how he is treating his daughter. If you are truly afraid to talk about these issues with him for fear of a violent reaction, it is time to seek help. I suggest seeing if Catholic Charities offers family counseling in your area.


This may sound harsh but as a man, I can say your husband has failed as a man in a very bad way. No father should ever say their child is the worst thing that has happened to them. I think he has a deeper problem. Please, talk to your priest as soon as possible.


Unless your husband is really abusing your daughter, please don’t give up on your marriage. Your marriage was blessed by God, and happened for a reason, specifically for your salvation, and the salvation of your husband and your daughter. We don’t really have enough information to give specific advice about this situation; your husbands point of view may be very different. What you see as unnecessary roughness may be his attempt to discipline your daughter and help her learn to be obedient to God. You are blessed to have a husband who goes to confession and practices his faith - *it is possible *that God can work this situation out for good. With God all things are possible! If your husband is really abusing your daughter, then walk out tonight, don’t worry about posting on the board, just get out. If he’s not abusive, but needs correction, don’t give up on your marriage. Find out his side of the story, get Godly counsel, and work together to make marriage and parenthood successful.

If you are looking for more specific advice, please post details about more specific situations between the three of you. God bless you, I will be praying for you.


insist that he get counselling and anger management help right away, you have a dangerous situation brewing that is only going to get worse without professional help. The reasons for his behavior may have nothing to do with your daughter or the fact of fatherhood, but those are the triggers, and she is the target. Just close your eyes and imagine she is now 16, after a lifetime of this treatment. Insist he get professional help, call the crisis intervention hotline in your city if an emergency situation develops, or call Catholic Charities for a referral. Do not wait.

If he refuses to seek help then you may need to temporarily separate (not divorce) until he has resolved his issues, so think rationally about that possibility and prepare yourself.


Hi all,

He is not abusive, but he is unnecessarily rough and definitely
needs correction----from someone other than me, because whenever I correct him he just rolls his eyes, like I am causing the problem. There is definitely something in his past or inside him that triggers all of this. I don’t know what it is. He’s on Paxil for supposed generalized anxiety disorder, but I don’t think it’s that simple. This goes farther back, probably to his childhood. But he is a very private person in that regard and has never shared much about his childhood with me. It was really stupid of me to marry someone who was so secretive about his past. Now I feel like I don’t know who I married. I totally bought his line about it doesn’t matter who he was, just who he is now. That’s totally NOT true, because who he was definitely has an impact on who he is. Yes, his parents are just as bad, and I was stupid to overlook that when we were dating. I figured, well, I wouldn’t be marrying his parents, but now I can’t stand even to be around them sometimes. They are all so different from me and share so few of my values. Not that I’m a saint, but it helps to be around people who are at least trying to be saints, and none of these folks seem to be serious about such an endeavor, which is the whole point of life!

I’m just venting now. I hope I’m not making anyone else’s life miserable.


You tell him that for the sake of his daughter, and his soul, if he really cannot bring himself to love and cherish her–* he’d better start faking it*.

He had better *make *himself be the best father in the whole wide world not because he wants to but by *an act of his will *because *God demands it *and because if he doesn’t then “the best thing that ever happened to him” is going to walk out the door.

And, if he can’t fake it til he makes it-- you must separate yourself from him because he’s doing so much damage to your daughter.

He should bring up his issue with his spiritual director. I also recommend jointly going to counseling with a trusted priest.


AnnaTherese -

Your post makes me so sad. :frowning:

A couple of things, if you don’t mind…

Aren’t you the momma who doesn’t spank and likes to talk through tantrums and use persuasion rather than force and such? If you are - could that be part of the problem, because your husband wants you to discipline the way he does it (spanking or yelling or whatever) and you want him to discipline the way he does it? Have you talked about your different methods and why you use them?

Not that I’m advocating anything, but maybe that’s part of where he’s coming from. Maybe he feels like every time he wants to discipline in his own way, which you said is not abusive but *aggressive *(I don’t know what that means - spanks, time outs, raising his voice to her?), he feels like he’s being looked upon poorly by you. Maybe part of his resentment stems from the fact that he may think he has an unruly child and a wife that won’t discipline as he sees fit and who looks down on him when he does choose to discipline the way he sees fit. Again - I don’t know what you mean by aggressively, so I’m just assuming that since you yourself don’t spank and such that he must…just a thought.

If this is the case, then I can see him being frustrated. Not only can he not discipline his daughter his way but his wife thinks he needs discipline to learn how *not *to discipline. After awhile he is probably just taking out his frustrations on his daughter and losing interest in her, knowing he’s not going to do anything right with her anyway. Again, tihs is pure speculation. I’m only guessing here. :slight_smile:

Then you say that he says she’s the worst thing that has ever happened to him. Does he say that often in a calm way or just when he’s in a fit of anger? (Because if he’s saying it calmly then truly, this man has a serious problem. But if he said it in a fit of anger, well, we all say things from time to time that we regret). Has he said it once or several times? Do you think he meant it so strongly or do you think he just feels often like he’s not fit to parent or that he doesn’t have an outlet for his own enjoyment so feels somewhat trapped at home with you and his daughter day in and day out? Not that that gives him the right to say such a terrible thing, but at least it may help you see how he may have meant it - and perhaps he said it once or twice and realized how awful it was and confessed it… ?

I’m noticing that my husband had really been itching to have a hobby for awhile - whether that be going out once a week to bike some trails or go out to the shooting range to fire his gun. He needs this time to unwind and have his own interest in something. And it really does help him be a better spouse/father…does your hubby do anything outside of family life? Perhaps he doesn’t and he’s resenting the fact that he thinks having his own interests is no longer possible…just another thought.

I’m just trying to think of where this anger might be coming from…


It is dangerous to psychoanalyze even when face to face but what you describe sounds like it could be a biologically induced mental disorder. Get him to a priest and a doctor would be my suggestion.



Forgot to mention -

As for the daily Mass and weekly confession, I almost married a man who I thought was “so devout” and in reality, his faith was merely just a crutch for him and a show for others. Seriously - he would have made a terrible husband and father (I noticed as time went on) and was an equally poor Catholic because in real life, he didn’t practice his faith at all.


I agree. Girls who are brought up in homes without fathers have enough problems with self-esteem and self-worth. I cannot even imagine what would happen to a girl brought up with a father who views her as the worst thing in his life. I think in that case the girl would be better off with just mom.

I hope he can get his head screwed on straight for her sake and for yours (and his, too). I’ll pray for all of you.


You’ve received so much good advice!

Let me just share with you my story, in case you haven’t come across it on the forums before.

I used to be “married” (invalidly). My son’s father hated being a dad. Just about the only thing he liked about it was all the attention he received when he took the baby out in public and the feeling of virility he received in telling people he was a father. Everything else, he hated. He hated the baby for nursing on my breasts, he hated me for paying attention to someone else, he hated the baby for his colic, he hated me for my patience with this “defective” child, he hated me for being active and playing with the baby (rather than standing around like a meek china doll, I guess). He just radiated despair and hatred, morning, noon and night. It was like living with a demon, not a man. I tried everything I knew how, to make him happier. Nothing worked.

He was a little rough in his handling of the baby, but not terrible. Mostly he took his anger out on me. I thought he would love the baby more if only they spent some time together.

Then one day I walked in the bathroom to see him nearly drowning my son in the tub.

Now, not every man who doesn’t like fatherhood will end up doing something this grave, and I don’t even have any idea what kinds of signs your dh is giving or what his personality is like. The fact that he does regularly examine his conscience could be a good sign. Just please be cautious. These things do happen. You’re in my prayers.


Many prayers to you! I’ve seen a friend go through the utmost agony because her father treated her and her sisters like that. She lost her faith in Christ after that:(

Get help now! Even if he isn’t abusive now, he could be in the future. He needs to come to terms with his past, and there are some serious trust issues (if he doesn’t tell his wife anything, that’s saying something). A daughter needs a father who will love her, protect her, and show her how a true man should behave. Tell him that if he doesn’t exhibit this, the best thing that happened to him may soon be gone.

I’m not married, or out of my teens yet, but I’ve seen the damage that these kinds of actions can do to some of my very good friends.


this is a great point and i totally agree with you on it…:thumbsup:


you need to meet with his counsellor or find a good professional advisor of your own to help you understand what is and is not abuse. Being uneccesarily rough with an infant or toddler does border on abuse, and the line is a lot thinner than you would like to admit. Please seek professional help immediately, Monday morning is not too soon, and don’t leave him alone with the child. His counsellor does have to hear from you what has been going on because it will affect his treatment.


Wow… lots of wisdom in sanctareparata’s post.

I don’t know your exact situation (so I’m certainly NOT judging you), but I’m one of those Dad’s who has had the unfortunate experience of feeling resentment towards my wife and children at times. Let me explain why:

I see a some of these posts as being somewhat judgmental against your husband, and yes, I agree that saying hurtful things to the child IS wrong… but before I jump to extremes say “he’s all wrong”, I’d just like to suggest the following:

If you are under-cutting his authority in the house:
[LIST]taking the children’s sides in disagreements[/LIST][LIST]Arguing about children’s discipline in front of the children - acting as their “defense attorney”[/LIST][LIST]Demonstrating disrespect in front of the children - rolling eyes, walking away from him when he’s talking, etc.[/LIST][LIST]Changing the rules behind his back when he’s at work, and telling the kids to keep it a secret[/LIST][LIST]Gossiping to family, friends, children against your husband[/LIST][LIST]etc…[/LIST] If you do these things, you would cause family dissension and dysfunction, and eventually the children won’t respect you either. I’ve seen quite a few families destroyed by such behavior - so it’s not as uncommon as we’d like to think.

Like I said, I don’t know your situation - and you may be very supportive. I just posted this because I’m a Dad who sometimes feels similar things, and thought I’d explain why.

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