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DH is a recovering guilt-ridden kid-puppet Disney Dad

MorningMia's picture

Merry's comment on the Mini-Wife visit thread made me realize that my DH hasn't completely gotten over the guilt-ridden "I owe you" daddy thing--but is that something that some these men ever really fully resolve?  

In the early years, he would jump through hoops for skid approval and attention. It was painful to watch a normally strong, independent man morph into a marionette I didn't even recognize. He was terrified the skids would be pulled away from him, which happened anyway. It took him a long time to recognize/accept that no matter what he did, as long as he was with a woman other than BM, he would be punished.  

In the early days, I would be told that I hated his kids (a prophecy), I only saw the worst in people (sigh), and that things I was witnessing were not there (gaslighting). These conversations more often than not turned into screaming fights that nearly put the marriage in the junkyard. Through counseling, in addition to DH being smart enough to talk with a couple of his closest guy friends along with his sister about the issues, he began to see the light. It was so helpful to get that third party (ie. not mine) input. 

We live a mostly peaceful life without skid visits (for the most part). DH has accepted, with sadness and guilt (not his fault) that his skids have been the source of the relationship problem here, they hold onto long-ingrained and misdirected anger at me, and it's a lost cause--and I'm fine with that. Therefore, we have had an agreement for years that works well: He goes to see his kids elsewhere, usually two - four times a year. I have nothing to do with them anymore. As I've mentioned before, I don't even sign birthday or holiday cards. I've totally disengaged. 

Here's the "not recovered" part, but I think it's funny, maybe because I have a quirky sense of humor:  DH is a picky eater. I love trying new things; he hates trying new things. I love veggies; he doesn't. BUT when DH goes to visit SD, he doesn't want to hurt her feelings or get disapproval from her (still), so he eats what she puts in front of him, and she cooks/eats very healthy food. DH comes home and asks for the things that SD has made (he is a very bad cook--we don't even go there anymore). Suddenly, he loves brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and whole wheat rolls, things I have tried to get him to eat. I internally roll my eyes but I'm also somewhat grateful that she has that daughter-or mini-wife-power to do this. If she and I got along, I would definitely conspire with her and her child-of-divorce guilt that she unknowingly still lays on him. lol. 


JRI's picture

Yeah, things a DH won't do for you but when the SD suggests it, it's the gospel.

Harry's picture

I will not tell how old I was before trying baked   Cauliflower . Cauliflower went from so,so to great , just by backing it.  You can take the backed Cauliflower, mix it with eggs, cheeses, what ever is in the ref. Fast dinner.

Elea's picture

That reminds me of a kid that says they can't possibly eat another bite but then gobbles up a big slice of pie and ice cream. Kinda - except in reverse

"I owe you" is such a great, concise, descriptive phrase. It puts into words what I see DH do with Sdiablas but didn't know how to describe beyond calling it guilty parenting.

I am taken aback and surprised by his way of thinking everytime it happens. It seems so illogical to me, especially in DH's case where these SDiablas have known nothing other than a cushy lifestyle with supportive parents.

DH and I had to struggle and strive to succeed and rise above our circumstances. Relative to how we grew up, SD's have had everything handed to them. I don't begrudge them for winning the lottery on a happy, stable childhood in a good community with a very present and involved Dad but I do scratch my head at how or what he owe's them?

They owe him, especially now that they are adults with the degrees that DH paid for tucked under their belts.

What the hell is "I owe you" all about? I just don't get it.

Rags's picture

My DW has this bug.  We talk about just about everything.  Though this usually is work related.  We talk, I advise, she nods her head, and the topic goes away for a while.

Then.... "Do you know what XYZLMNOP thinks?"  Then what I advised is rolled out verbatim.  Only the consideration of that is excited where with me it is a nod and move on.

Early in her career she had a coworker who she highly valued as a colleague and mentor. He was about 5yrs further in his career than DW was.  I love this guy to death. He is truly a good person, smart, caring.  

To this day, nearly 25yrs later, when she does this I ask "So, I wanna know what Lamont thinks?"

I then get the under the breath back of the throat growl.


Merry's picture

Kid puppet. Good description.

They've all gotten tired of the game I guess so their "incredibly close" relationship (cough,cough) has mysteriously vanished.

SD continues to be mad without explanation and SS continues to be self absorbed.