Our recent casebook was about Ellen, who’s struggling to come to terms with her parents’ divorce and her dad’s new life.
The story in short
Ellen’s parents are divorced and she’s not taking it very well. It seems she does not approve of her father’s relationship with his new partner and tries to interfere in his private life. When she fails to get her way, she quietly cuts her father out of her life.
Ellen is a married woman who has her own family and her own home but thinks she has the right to make demands or to ban her dad’s partner from visiting her dad at his house because, as she puts it, the house is their (she and her siblings’) inheritance. Her dad has tried explaining to her that the house only becomes their inheritance when he’s dead, but she’s a complete control freak.
She has now decided to cut her all communication with her dad. Her husband doesn’t approve of her behaviour but even he cannot make her see reason.
We asked The Voice readers for their input, based on the following questions:
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
What is your opinion regarding Ellen’s behaviour/actions?
What consequences (if any) is she likely to face in the future, should she continue to cut her father out of her life?
What do you advice Ellen and her dad do to resolve this matter?
Last week we published a reader’s response, this week Gase responds
When Ellen discussed the matter with her friend Resego and close cousin Dudu, the two had the following very wise words of advice which she (Ellen) should heed:
Regarding respect, Resego said that Ellen was free to express her feelings but it was how she chose to say it that might cause the elders to feel disrespected. This is very true; Ellen must learn go tlhophela bagolo mafoko (to show respect by choosing her words carefully when she addresses her elders).
Resego also said “Let him live his life the way he wants to; you don’t want him to be lonely for the rest of his life, do you?” True again. It’s very unfair of Ellen to try and interfere in her father’s love life; he deserves a second chance at happiness, just like everyone else.
Ellen’s cousin Dudu had this to say: “Ellen, where do you get off telling your dad that you don’t want his partner in his house? That’s very disrespectful. I think you should apologize to him…”, but Ellen replied that “I will do no such thing. My dad is the one who owes the family an apology because he has embarrassed us.
I’ve cut him out of my life and haven’t spoken to him in months.”
Ellen is an adult; deep down she knows she has behaved inappropriately and should apologize to her father. If at all her father owes the family an apology for ‘embarrassing them’ he too will realize this and apologize in due course.
This is not a competition; she doesn’t have to wait for her father to apologize first. There’s no need to point fingers; she can be the bigger person and take the first step towards mending their broken father-daughter relationship.
Molemo wa kgang ke go buiwa (communication is key); Ellen and her father must talk about the problem, resolve the matter and put it behind them. They can seek counselling or ask the elders to mediate again if necessary. At the end of the day they have to realize that they’re not always going to have each other; they should make the most of the time that God has blessed them with, and not waste it on unnecessary conflicts.