Hard time with Intentional Model (AMC)

My dad invited my children and me to dinner to celebrate my son’s college acceptances and my daughter’s win at the Science Fair. I also invited the children’s father. We have been divorced for almost 7 years. He left our three children and me due to drug and alcohol addictions and a relationship with another woman. We didn’t see him for years, but recently he is trying to spend time with the children. I try to include him in events with the children as much as possible. My dad is 77 and lives alone. My parents had a very contentious relationship. Last year, my mother moved to Texas to live with my sister who is ill and in legal trouble. My children and I live near my dad and include him in our family activities, etc. At dinner, my dad decided to talk non-stop about Sunday’s NFC playoff game between the Rams and the Saints and the poor officiating. This game was very upsetting for all of us because we live outside of New Orleans and are big Saints fans. When I would ask him questions or try to converse, he would get agitated. He is a monolinguist. His idea of talking is having him talk for hours and everybody listens. Over time, everybody at the table got quiet. It was miserable. At one point, I mentioned something about the officiating and some of the plays called. My dad told me I was a moron. Then later when I mentioned something about the GM, he got upset that I interrupted him and turned to my ex-husband and said, “I can see why you left her.” This was very upsetting to me and I was embarrassed in front of my children and my ex. Soon after, the children’s father left the dinner early. I was calm in front of the children who told me they were very upset when we got in the car. We talked about it briefly and I told them that the way Papa acted wasn’t okay and it upset me, but I can’t change him and there is a lot of good in him too. After that I changed the subject and we talked about school. When I got home, I went into my room, locked the door, and cried in the bathroom for a long time. I then called my sisters in California who were sympathetic.

I’m having a hard time with the Intentional Model. I started with the question “How do I want to feel about this?” which is what Corrine recommended on her call, but it’s really hard to find thoughts that feel sincere to create these feelings. I want to feel compassion, love, and understanding, but it’s hard to get there. Please let me know if I am doing this right. My thoughts on the IMs seem too long and they also seem like justifications of my dad’s behavior. I feel like a therapist would say they are co-dependent thoughts. Sometimes, it’s hard to reconcile the work I have done in therapy with the thought work for SCS.

C: My dad said, “I can see why you left her” to my ex-husband and in front of my children.
T: My dad is mean and difficult and the way both my parents treat me is not okay.
F: Humiliated.
A: Acted like it didn’t bother me in front of my dad, ex and the children. Cried in the bathroom when I got home. Then called my sisters to talk about it. My sister said, “Our parents are so broken. They have always treated you like this. This is not okay.”
R: Reinforces belief that something is wrong with me and my family, and that my parents do not respect me or love me. It makes me wonder if I should move to the West Coast to be closer to my sisters though I like many things about my life here.

C: My dad said, “I can see why you left her” to my ex-husband and in front of my children.
T: My dad is old and lonely. He can’t hear well and doesn’t have anyone to talk to on a daily basis. It must be hard to grow old, be so alone and have your marriage disintegrate.
F: Compassion.
A: Choose to spend time with my dad in a limited way: not with others and no more restaurants because they are loud and it’s too hard to leave if he is rude.
R: Stay committed to my dad, but limit his ability to be mean to me in front of my children or others.

C: My dad said, “I can see why you left her” to my ex-husband in front of my children at dinner.
T: My dad needs to talk and feel like he is being heard. He misses being with people and probably misses his friendship with my ex-husband.
F: Understanding.
A: Spend time with my dad one afternoon a week and write down his life stories as he asked.
R: I will get to know my dad better and he will have the opportunity to feel heard, understood and less alone.

C: My dad said, “I can see why you left her” to my ex-husband in front of my children at dinner.
T: My dad is lonely and needs to be heard. He was always there for me during my divorce and single parenting. He loves my kids very much and wants the best for all of us. He just loves me.
F: Love.
A: Spend time with my dad because I just love him.
R: Forgive him. Stay committed to the relationship with my dad and show my kids how to love their grandfather.