How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Suzanne Your Own Question

Suzanne
Suzanne, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 919
Experience:  LCSW, RN. Mental Health, Relationship & Parenting issues.EMDR, Hypnosis.
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Suzanne is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How do I gently tell my grown daughter that I do not want to

Resolved Question:

How do I gently tell my grown daughter that I do not want to spend Thanksgiving with my ex husband of 25+ years? She invited me first to spend with her and her family. Then called and left a message that she wants to also have her dad there and would I "mind if the two visits overlap by a day so we can all have a nice Thanksgiving dinner together". I do not want to spend ANY time with the man who made my life miserable for so long. I understand what she wants and why, but if she knew the details she wouldn't be so quick to want to throw us together. I need some advice on how to handle the situation.


 


More background information:  Her dad cheated on me, belittled me, destroyed any self confidence I had.  When I became pregnant with my daughter he said "So, are you going to keep IT"?  It.  And now that he is a recovering alcoholic who burned through all of his retirement (he is only 60 but hasn't worked in 10 years except at menial jobs) he all of a sudden is the "prodigal father".  He left after the divorce.  Our kids were 6 and 10.  I raised them to adulthood.  If I wanted more child support (while he is off vacationing in the Bahamas and playing blackjack at $25 a hand) he would threaten to call Children's Services and say I was sexually abusing them.  He knew I would never put my kids through that.  But of course, all his two kids see is the loving "pop pop" to the grandkids.  I know him better than that.  He is broke, basically homeless, counting on them for plane tickets to visit and plays the perfect grandpa.  Because my daughter and her husband are successful....and he sees them as a MEAL TICKET.  He has them all snowed.  But not me.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Suzanne replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for bringing your question to JustAnswer.

It makes perfect sense why you would not want to spend another minute of your time with this man. A daughter grown enough to be hostess for Thanksgiving is old enough to be told a gentle version of the truth--he hurt you, and while you respect that he is her father and needs to spend time with her, you have no wish to be forced to interact with him. Tell her you understand that she wishes that everyone being together would make things right for a "nice dinner together"--but that in fact, it would ruin your holiday and your peace of mind.

Offer to alternate the holidays--one year he goes for Thanksgiving and you go for Christmas, and the next year, it alternates.

Worry less about hurting her feelings and more about having an authentic relationship in which you both honor each others feelings. Going and making believe that everything is fine isn't doing a favor to anyone. Try to have a conversation with her in the near future where you quietly and calmly express your desire not to see him. If you give in, then she'll feel free to invite him to all the future holidays as well
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I could use some help in how to start that conversation. I just don't know "what" to say to her. I am civil every time I have to be around him and bite my tongue when I want to hit him over the head and tell him to stop sponging off of his children. I have invited him to my home for Christmas on occasion because he inevitably shows up for the holidays (oh, and Father's Day...never misses that one) and I would feel like a real heel for making him sit at my son's house (he lives in my town, my daughter 3 hours away) while we have a nice meal and celebration at mine. I feel so GUILTY because they both look at me like I am petty and bitchy while he comes off being the one shrugging his shoulders going "well, beats me why she doesn't want to be around me". You are correct that if I give in she will feel free to want Christmas together next. Why does it bother me so much that I come off being the spoiler when he is MORE than willing to spend as much time around me as possible? He snickers with them over how unreasonable I am and has really engratiated him with my son-in-law. My daughter in law, on the other hand, can't stand him and saw right through him. She hates it when he comes to visit and says the only time he shows my grandson any attention is when someone else is around to witness it. I think both of my kids have real issues with their father taking off and living his own life while I finished raising them. My daughter is "perfect" and my son is 100 pounds overweight. Coincidence? I don't think so.
Expert:  Suzanne replied 2 years ago.
It's particularly unfair that you're being characterized as the 'bad guy' after all the effort you've put into protecting them from the real reasons the marriage broke up...and that's why it eats you up. Anyone would feel that way in your shoes.

Talk to at a time when you have her full attention (her kids asleep, etc). Tell her you need to have a heart to heart talk with her about something important. Set a serious tone. Tell her something to the effect of -- While you were growing up, I protected you from what was really going on in the marriage because I always wanted you to have a good relationship with your dad. It wouldn't be appropriate for me to tell you the details, but you need to know that he hurt me in very significant ways that are very painful to remember. Seeing him brings back all that hurt and humiliation, and it's impossible for me to relax with him around. I'm not asking you to not see him, but I am asking you to have some understanding of why it hurts so much to see him act like nothing ever happened, and to have to interact with him on holidays. I need you to figure out a way to see us at separate times on the holidays.

But you do, I'm afraid, need to be more consistent. Don't invite him to your home at Christmas. If you want to stop having contact, make it across the board, or it won't be fair to ask your daughter to make other arrangements--and then have you "cave in" at other times. Perhaps a few sessions with a therapist would be worthwhile to help you work out why you still would 'feel like a heel' for excluding him from your home.
Suzanne, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 919
Experience: LCSW, RN. Mental Health, Relationship & Parenting issues.EMDR, Hypnosis.
Suzanne and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education