Absent Fathers Family over stepping boundaries?

[deleted account] ( 4 moms have responded )

I have a soon to be four year old who I have raised 100% on my own from day one. Her father decided from the beginning it was not his responsibility to help financially and would rarely make time for a visit to bond with her. After her first birthday visits went from minimal to nonexistent and he now hasn't seen her in over 2 years. All communication has been stopped and it appears thats how he wants it to be. In my daughters eyes she doesn't have a dad and shes ok with that. We tried telling her she did have one he just lives far away but she didn't believe us. She assumes her family is made up of myself and Grandma. Since this is what she wants to believe we have simply gone along with the idea that every family looks different and she is ok with this.

My daughter use to have some contact with her fathers mom who we will call P. P lives out of state about 2 hours away so a consistent visit and face to face contact isn't easy. When she was first born P would make it up every 4-6 months for a visit and would spend an hour with my daughter. This usually meant she would bring every family member possibly. It was incredibly stressful because everyone would be in my baby's face and flashing camera phones in her face. It felt like my daughter was a zoo animal. I recently found out that P makes it to town about every 2 months to see the family but many times she just would not make an attempt to see my daughter. After my daughters 2nd birthday most communication with P stopped. Her emails stopped and when she did visit she did not ask to see my daughter. I took this as their way of saying they were not interested. I am ok with this, as much as a child should be involved with all their family I think inconsistent visitations will only lead to confusion at her age.

We went almost a year with out talking to P until one day she randomly got a hold of me for a last minute visit. I told her we were not free that day and we needed a weeks notice. I work full time and then some to support my daughter. I live on my own and money is tight so I work A LOT. I also explained to her that coming and going is not healthy for my daughter, she needs a more consistent reliable relationship and going almost a year with out so much as a Hello how is my granddaughter will not cut it. I told her how upset I was with the situation and that my daughter deserved better.

P tried to push the blame off onto me but eventually said it was her fault she hadn't stayed in better contact. She asked to meet her so they could get reacquainted and work towards a better future. I told P we could meet but under certain conditions.

1- she comes alone. I didn't want mass confusion with all these "family" members in my kids face with cameras like it has been EVERY OTHER TIME.
2-she take things SLOW in my daughters eyes she has 2 grandmas and those are on my side. My daughter and I am sure any kid gets confused about this type of situation so I wanted to gradually expose my child to the idea of other family
3- give me notice

P broke every last rule I requested. First she brought people with, second she got my daughter all worked up saying she took a picture of her and my mom last time she saw her. My daughter was so excited to see a picture of her and her grandma only to have P say oh I lost it sorry I thought it was in my pile of photos...but here here is a picture of you and I. As my daughter was looking at the photo of her and P, P suddenly goes do you know who I am? I am P and I am your Grandma!

One my daughter heard the words I am your Grandma her face looked very lost and confused. She looked to me, then to P, and finally just down. P then tried to earn her friendship over some headbands she bought. As we were about to leave P goes so do you remember me now! My daughter just looked at her and P then goes do you remember my name? My daughter shakes her head no. P then goes well Im your GRANDMA! The visit finally ended and we went home.

I tried casually asking my daughter if she had fun at the visit. She simply responded that the play equipment at the park was lots of fun. I tried asking her if she liked our new friend P she just shrugged it off. The next day I tried asking her if she remembered anything and all she would say is I only have 2 grandmas! (my mom and my grandma). My question is has anyone been in a similar situation with your child? How did you handle a family coming and going and not respecting boundaries that you set up? Do I continue to allow visits if she keeps breaking agreements or not staying in touch?

It really upsets me having to see them because a pity party is always brought up about how hard their life is, how hard "dad" is working, and often times comments about my family living in "rich houses" is mentioned. The fact is is that I struggle DAILY to pay for everything! My family works hard to have a nice house to live in but it doesn't mean they have extra money to support my child and nor should they be responsibly for it. I get $60 a month in child support and in their eyes thats to much. Its hard to continue to smile and be nice when I don't get so much as a thank you for the hard work I do or for dealing with their visits that are a complete circus. Its becoming hard because after every visit my daughter has always left upset in some way.

4 Comments

View replies by

Tracey - posted on 10/19/2015

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Sorry to here i am a single mum with 4 children i no how hard it is when family can not respect boundaries. I was in a domestic violence relationship with my 3 oldest children and it was very hard to get away from him i can tell you my children have been deeply effect ed by there father who has never payed a cent to help with there up bringing but i do believe with your support you daughter will grow into a strong and beautiful girl if you think it is two distressing for her then i would hold off your right they dont understand and p sounds like a some time grandma your daugther deserves more respect .

[deleted account]

We do have court ordered support but not visitation. While I was pregnant her father started uncontrollable drinking which led to us separating. He has never received any help for this. Since he often times showed up to my house when she was a baby still hung over or drunk I never gave him the option to take her by himself. I have tried to talk to him about getting help and I also told his mother of my concerns about him coming to see her under the influence. His mom was no help and blammed me for his problems. When I told him my daughter wasn't going to be put in that situation he told me he wasn't going to stop because she wasn't his responsibility and that he didn't want to see her. This is when all his interactions with her stopped. He then moved 2 hours away to live closer to his mom.

Since he refuses to get things under control I really am not comfortable with trying to force visitations with him. I do not feel comfortable with my daughter being left alone with him especially over night. He has never changed a diaper, learned her habits, and she really doesn't know who he is.

I believe his mother is a decent person and I think she has her life in order. At the end of the day though she doesn't see her sons countless alcohol arrests, lost employment, and injuries from drinking as an issue. My daughter also doesn't know them since visits have been so spaced out...she has no way of remembering them at her age because communication is not there. I don't think visitations would be wise and really is something I am not comfortable with.

If I just walked away could his mother take me to court? I just want a safe environment for my daughter and one that she is comfortable in. I have given this family almost 4 years to get it together but old habits are dying hard. I am torn between what the right decision is.

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