Dad Confides in Daughter Unbeknownst To Mom – Daughter is Pissed!

Elsa,

Tonight I was placed in the middle of my parent’s dispute. Behind my mother’s back, my dad approached me to discuss financial problems. This bothers me very much because for years they have not allowed me or my sister to be included in such discussions. Both my parent’s agreed when we were very little not to include us in any of their finances and it’s worked, until now.

I am extremely pissed at my dad by putting me in such a position without my mother’s consent. Had it been both of them, I would have accepted whatever they said. I talked to my sister, who is younger than I am (she is 19) and she is equally pissed.

Together, my sister and I, went down and got my mom and dad together and told them that we did not appreciate the way that we found out and the position that my dad placed us in. I feel like I did the right thing by telling my mother what my dad had done, because they are the ones that are married and it seemed cheap for him to do that to our mom.

Our meeting wasn’t pleasant, to say the least, but I did not want to be privy to something that important but not able to discuss it with both parents. It’s been a few hours since we ended the family meeting and now I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to say to my dad since he had come to us in confidence. Did I do the right thing by sacrificing his trust in us to keep a secret like that?

On the same level, we are his children and problems he has with my mom and their finances should not be our problem. I just don’t know what to do now. Do you have any advice for me?

Split

Dear Split,

Although I appreciate your distress, I do not feel you did the right thing by betraying your father’s confidence – and I imagine on some level you agree with me, or you would not be so agitated. It’s the old “two wrongs don’t make a right”. If you were upset at your father, then you should have confronted him and let it play from there.

Instead, you brought your mother (and your sister) into this and why did you do this? Well let me take a guess.

You are a double Capricorn with a Cancer Moon. In other words, you’re a control freak. You want to call all the shots! So when your father did something you deemed “inappropriate”… something outside the lines, well God help him. His daughter is going to come down on from on high, and I think you can figure out the rest. Here’s my advice:

Apologize to your father. Tell him you made an error in judgment and promise that in the future you will exercise more restraint.

Further, your mother and sister also deserve an apology. See, whatever your father confided in you… well obviously you didn’t like it. But it was you who got the whole family embroiled and for this you need to take responsibility.

Next time? Try something along these lines:

“Dad, why are you telling me this without Mom’s knowledge?”

And then listen. Because you’re not “little” anymore, okay? And there is no excuse for one adult to betray another.

Good luck.


Comments

Dad Confides in Daughter Unbeknownst To Mom – Daughter is Pissed! — 19 Comments

  1. Agreed Elsa.

    This gal is no longer ‘little’.

    Because she and her sister are living in their parent’s home at an ‘adult’ age, perhaps her father was trying to discuss financial aspects for a reason. Are you getting the direction I am going toward? Life is not free baby…

    Playing havoc between two married parents is not cool. I understand the intention of what she did-though well-meaning, this issue needed to be handled differently. Your advice and follow-up apologies is spot on Elsa.

    Mistakes happen and we do the best we can to make amends. Remember that there are usually more than one correct way to handle issues. Finding the most compassionate answer takes some thinking though….and knowing when to take helpful control or when to stay out of the way.

    Learning this lesson now will save you plenty of hurt relations in the years to come!! Sometimes…our parents just need us to ‘listen’.
    Simply that.

  2. Spot on is right, Elsa! And diplomatic too… not sure I would have been.

    But… it’s hard when we make the transition from child to adult. It’s hard to know where the boundries lie. Hopefully your Dad will understand that and be okay with what you did, once you apologize.

  3. I had asked my Dad why he had not talked to me with my Mom. He said that my Mom doesn’t know when to stop spending money but he does the same thing by eating out all the time. On top of that, I did not bring my sister into the situation because he had confronted us both, my sister and I (I didn’t make that clear). The way in which he brought the situation to our attention seemed vindictive against my Mom. That’s why I felt it was the “right” course of action. I’m not defending the way I handled the situation (telling my Mom about what my Dad had done) because I think that I could have handled it more diplomatically (Elsa was right about that) but I don’t think it was well intentioned on my Dad’s part (he wasn’t looking for a listener but as a way to get back at my Mom because they had been fighting about this). I am 21 and my sister is 19. I consider myself to be an adult but I don’t think my sister necessarily fits into the “adult” category yet. Thus the lines in this were unclear. Since this had happened a couple of weeks back things have gotten better and the WHOLE family is now fully integrated into our finances, whether it is a good thing or not ( I hope it is a good thing because at some point in my sister’s and my life we are going to have to become aqcuainted with their finances). I just didn’t like the way things were presented to me, it seemed petty.

  4. I think she did the right thing. I say ‘bravo’ for having boundaries. Sounds like the Dad is the one that needs to learn tact. He chose to involve her, so I don’t think she’s being controlling. She may have overreacted a bit. But controlling, to me, would mean becoming involved on her own, nosing around into what the parents are talking about, for example.

    We all like to have a bit of control, it’s only human.

  5. I don’t know much about the father, so I am not inclined too strongly either way. I think both parties (father and daughter) could’ve used better judgment. I know I’ve had my issues with my dad. Part of being an adult is learning to understand that your parents are human and not to criticize them so heavily for it.

    Yours,
    H

  6. You’re an adult but your sister who is two years younger isn’t? You are up to your eyeballs in other people’s business. You can either take this as a wake-up/grow-up call and do the right thing or you can keep on telling yourself and everyone around you how right you are no matter what anyone says to the contrary.

    You CANNOT use someone else’s behavior to justify your OWN. Two wrongs do not make a right. And I’m curious, is CD your sister or just a friend?

    What part of “there is no excuse for one adult to betray another,” do you not understand?

  7. CD isn’t my sister nor my friend, I have only been going to this site for a few weeks now. I wouldn’t be asking if I thought that my actions weren’t right. I am asking for advice and I didn’t do a good job of explaining the situation. Thank you for your advice, because I do take advice but it is up to me whether to utilize the advice or not. I did take the advice and I apoligized to my dad and he said that I had NOTHING to be sorry about. He then said that he was the one at fault and that I (with my sister who I think of as my equal, was just using people’s phrasing above) had done was right because it cleared the air. Let me say this again, WE HAD CLEARED THE AIR. So thank you all for your advice, it was very useful and the situation was cleared.

  8. Nichole – I think you did the right thing. Having been between two fighting parents before the only sane thing is to have everyone in the same room at the same time. It’s the only way to love both of them, not play power games, sympathizer games, etc. etc. I think that you had or have every right to ask your parents to follow the rules they set. Otherwise you need a long discussion on the need to change those rules. This seems natural for the age of you and your sister and the growing and changing that your family has at this point in time.

    Best of luck (but I wouldn’t forget Elsa’s warning on the need to control) 🙂

  9. Nichole, I think some of the people up here are being too harsh on you – to me it doesn’t seem such a big deal, and also it does not seem as if you’re trying to be right at all costs. You’re trying to explain a situation which NONE of us know the details of. And I agree totally with what Uncle Hannah said…

  10. I think Nichole did the right thing.

    I’m sorry if the father is going behind the mother’s back into the collusion with the children (adult or not) that seems wrong and deceptive to me (unless they’re planning a surprise birthday party for her).

    Then you get the whole thing of secrets and lies within the family and that does no good at all. I speak as one whose family tries to pull those stunts all the time and whom I had to tell to cut it out please.

    I think it’s good to clear the air and call someone on behaviour that makes you feel uncomfortable.

    And of course everyone has times where they keep something from some member of the family. My mother goes into instant PANIC MODE whenever there’s anything (no matter how tiny) wrong with my health so if there’s something wrong with me and I need to ask for help from the family/inform them I choose to tell my sister/my aunt who I know will keep a cool and practical head and ask them not to mention it to my mother for the time being please. However, I wouldn’t do this if a) they were not OK with this and b) this was something that impacted my mother directly and c)her reaction wasn’t adverse and unhelpful in the situation (the more my mother calms down and reacts reasonably, the more I share things with her directly).

    So I think there’s a big difference when it feels that something is being kept from someone as part of the good intentions/best interest or as Nichole felt as something damaging.

  11. “I think it’s good to clear the air and call someone on behaviour that makes you feel uncomfortable.”
    “So I think there’s a big difference when it feels that something is being kept from someone as part of the good intentions/best interest or as Nichole felt as something damaging.”

    And she was certainly free to confront her dad about it at any time, instead of betray him.

  12. I think she did the right thing too. If it were me, I’d feel like I was carrying around a sack of guilt if my dad talked about my mom to me like that. I mean really, what the hell? Maybe her father should have thought first before telling her what he did.

    I’m glad you were able to clear the air, good for you.

  13. To the person who said ‘What part of “there is no excuse for one adult to betray another,” do you not understand?’

    Didn’t her dad betray her mom first? There should not be a double standard for parents and children, ever.

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