Helpline 1300 845 745

8am to 8pm: 7 days (AEST)

Request a callback

Available Mon-Fri

The added pain on top of deep grief… by insensitive others

Resize text-+=

Home Forums Loss of a loved one The added pain on top of deep grief… by insensitive others


  • Creator
  • #15784

    I lost my dear Dad suddenly a couple of months ago. I was a complete wreck for a long time, and found it very hard to accept with it being so sudden.

    My Dad had been remarried for a long time. My step-mum had always been jealous of our relationship – she resented the fact that my Dad had had a life/family before she met him. The fact that I look like my Mum and was a constant reminder to my Dad probably didn’t help. I never lived with them (she made it clear she didn’t want another female in the house from the start) and I’d grown up with my Mum who was a beautiful person inside and out. However, over the years when visiting she was always within ear shot and never left my Dad and I alone for more than a minute or two before coming back into the room for ‘something’. My poor Dad was stuck in the middle trying to please us both as he loved us both dearly – he could see clearly what was happening. Once when we were away on holiday, I actually managed to get my Dad alone for a cuppa one evening whilst she’d gone to their room. I could tell quite clearly she was completely put out by it and there was major tension because of it.

    Despite the fact that this woman made my life difficult I’ve been texting her every 2 or 3 days as I know she’s utterly devastated as they did everything together. I’ve empathised with her, offered suggestions on how to get through this awful time and generally been there to support her, whilst also sharing my own sadness to some degree. However, every message she sends is focused on her and her ‘beloved husband’.​ On more than one occasion she’s said that “I know you miss your Dad but at least you have (my partner and son), but I have no-one now.” It hurts immensely​ as I feel she’s dismissing my relationship with my Dad and the deep grief that I feel. Yes, I have my partner and son but no-one can replace my Dad! I’ll miss him for the rest of my life. My 12-year-old read the message and even he commented that it wasn’t the right thing to say.

    Has anyone else experienced this? Does anyone have any suggestions on how to respond – without offending her but also to make it known that my feelings count too. It’s really eating away at me, I want to have my say, ‘voice’ my feelings but don’t want to cause offence either, and she’s someone who takes offence easily. To add, she’s always been self-centred, always interjecting conversations that weren’t about her and getting the attention back on her. It’s been exhausting and I miss my Dad so much 🙁

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
  • #15785

    Hi SadDaugher2021, it sounds as though you had a very special relationship with your dad and it’s great that you are reaching out to his wife.

    I’m not sure how you solve your dilemma. I noticed, in my own family, a tendency for some to believe that there is some kind of hierarchy of hurt and that they are feeling the loss more than any one else – this made me feel a little dismissed. Grief affects us all in so many different ways. I understand the desire to discuss this with your dad’s wife, but I’m not sure it will help. Perhaps you will have to be a little selfish in your grieving and focus on yourself and your own loss.


    Thanks Bugsy and sorry to hear that you’ve felt dismissed too in relation to your grieving experience. It’s so hard. Some people just don’t listen so there’s not a lot of point in saying anything to them.


    Their dismissiveness is still frustrating though. Especially when you want to help. Are you ok?


    Thanks Bugsy. I’m doing OK, have gotten through the worst of the initial grieving. Have spent my whole life though tip-toeing around this woman and I want to make it known to her how I feel. I just want to speak my truth to her, nothing more, whether she comprehends it or not is up to her.


    Hi, @SadDaugther2021. Thank you for sharing your grief experience with us here on the forums. It sounds like you have a deep love for your Dad which was fully reciprocated by him, and you both worked hard at preserving that special bond despite the significant challenges you faced over the years just to stay in touch with him. We hope you have been able to find your own ways to hold on to the bond since his passing as this is something that can never be taken away from you.
    In your first post, you talked about feeling dismissed by your step-mum and described how she made comparisons between your grieving….comparing grief is something that comes up again and again with Griefline help-seekers. It might be helpful toohear what renowned grief expert David Kessler said about it in a recent seminar; “The worst grief is yours. What other people think of your grief is none of your business…the race is long and it’s only with yourself. Your business in your grief is your relationship with that person. What other people say is noise.” Perhaps this perspective helps in some way.
    We just wanted to check in to see how things are for you? It was clear from your last post that you felt an urgent need to speak your truth to your step-mum and we are wondering how you’ve progressed with this. No doubt it would be very challenging

    please know that we are here for you with support and understanding. Take care and keep in touch. 🌸


    Thank you SO much for the message and words/perspective from David Kessler. In the end, I simply said to her (via text) that yes, I had my partner and son but no one could ever replace my wonderful Dad. She replied that she understood, which is something I guess. I just don’t think she can handle the fact that I loved him as much as I did and that he loved me. She always wanted to have his 100% undivided attention, which just screams insecurity. Poor woman.

    I’m able to laugh again now though and although I miss my Dad terribly, I feel more centered in knowing that the love between us will always be there and I have wonderful memories to treasure in my heart always, not matter what.


    Hi @SadDaughter2021, your last post was so inspiring – to hear that you have found peace in the surety of the love between your dad and yourself…and also that you’ve been able to laugh again. It gives us all hope, especially those of us who might be feeling like we’ll never emerge from our despair.

    Savouring these moments of laughter and joy is integral to finding happiness again and the more moments we string together, the more we will find life seems doable…we start to recognise ourselves again, and find hope for a future that may be different to what we expected, but still be satisfying. An amazing help-seeker we recently spoke to used the term “grow wings from our wounds”…it speaks of the personal growth that can come out of tragedy.

    @SadDaughter2021 we’d be so grateful if you would consider sharing one or two of the coping strategies you’ve used to find your laughter again… real-life coping tools can really resonate here on the forums. Take care. 🌸


    Thank you so much for your message. I’ve found, sadly, that most people are so wrapped up in their own lives that they don’t really care. I have one friend who was actually willing to listen and not afraid to talk about death – and this is because she’d lost both her parents too, so she understood the pain, and she lives on the other side of the world, but I am so grateful for her!

    So in answer your question, firstly I’d cried and sobbed literally every day for the first 6 weeks. I wasn’t afraid to do so as I knew the old saying about ‘there’s no way over, under or around grief – you have to go THROUGH it’. Luckily I’m not working at the moment so I had the space to do that but know that if I had been it would’ve been very difficult for me. I have an old jumper of his – one that he’d actually worn when I was a baby (I have a photo of him wearing it and holding me) so at night, in bed, I’d just hug it for comfort. I also lit a candle every night next to his photos and poured through old photo albums. At around the 6 weeks mark I realised that I’d just about ran out of tears and it was OK to stop now. I knew that my dear Dad would hate to see me in so much pain and could just imagine him in my mind telling me to be strong and that I had to pick myself up and carry on. The realisation and acceptance also settled on me that it was the natural order of things – although it was totally unexpected, he was almost 82 years old and had lived an extraordinary life having lived in Australia as a young man, travelled so much of the world and had a loving family back in the UK where he passed away. He’d lived a big and (mostly) happy life so I would be happy and grateful for that. At the service someone described him in their eulogy as being a ‘tall oak tree of strength and resolve’ – he was exactly that, he was 6’4″ and had such a presence and as his daughter I can only hope to have inherited some of the same. I miss him dearly every day and just wish the phone would ring (he was the only person to use the landline) and now I have a tear writing that but I have to accept things as they are – he has now passed the batten on to me.


    Hi , i agree that TOXIC people can make grief even more difficult. Try not to respond by being angry and make it worse for yourself. Try to be strong to their toxicity and to think of them of not worthy of your emotions. Focus on your Dad and surround yourself with supportive people. The last thing you need in that kind of situation is toxic people.

Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Enter your details to stay up to date with our news and programs. You can unsubscribe at any time.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.