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Author Topic: Family: Difficulty with my father  (Read 851 times)

rous54

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Difficulty with my father
« on: January 17, 2018, 06:26:15 am »
Hello,

I am new to this site and I was wondering about an issue that I am having from a Wiccan perspective.

I am an adult living with my parents for some difficult reasons and I don't get along well with my dad.  I have been told that we don't choose our parents and that is true however I cannot escape his criticism and his put downs.  He puts me down and puts my mom down all the time.

I am getting fed up with him and I am developing OCD so on top of my pain from the OCD I am having a lot of trouble dismissing his criticisms and put downs.

Is there a way to deal with this?

Thanks.

Adonia
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 01:09:38 pm by RandallS »

TheGreenWizard

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Re: Difficulty with my father
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2018, 07:56:58 am »
Hello,

I am new to this site and I was wondering about an issue that I am having from a Wiccan perspective.

I am an adult living with my parents for some difficult reasons and I don't get along well with my dad.  I have been told that we don't choose our parents and that is true however I cannot escape his criticism and his put downs.  He puts me down and puts my mom down all the time.

I am getting fed up with him and I am developing OCD so on top of my pain from the OCD I am having a lot of trouble dismissing his criticisms and put downs.

Is there a way to deal with this?

Thanks.

Adonia
Hey Adonia,

I can completely relate to your situation. When I was living at home - high school and undergrad - all my dad did was focus on the negative, criticizing me and the rest of our family. He went as far as telling my mom at my graduation ceremony that she was stupid - even though he had barely passed high school with the help of mom.

All I can say is that I spent as little time as possible with him and focused on my relationship with Mom and my sisters. Since leaving the house, I basically haven't had a relationship with him (even though me sister had told me the contrary, that he wants one with me).

Now I don't know if you want to have a relationship with your father after this. If you do, I'd suggest confronting him with a neutral party and tell him what is bothering you - if he is receptive to that.

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rous54

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Re: Difficulty with my father
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2018, 08:46:07 am »
Hey Adonia,

I can completely relate to your situation. When I was living at home - high school and undergrad - all my dad did was focus on the negative, criticizing me and the rest of our family. He went as far as telling my mom at my graduation ceremony that she was stupid - even though he had barely passed high school with the help of mom.

All I can say is that I spent as little time as possible with him and focused on my relationship with Mom and my sisters. Since leaving the house, I basically haven't had a relationship with him (even though me sister had told me the contrary, that he wants one with me).

Now I don't know if you want to have a relationship with your father after this. If you do, I'd suggest confronting him with a neutral party and tell him what is bothering you - if he is receptive to that.

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Thanks for your post. I like the idea of confronting with a neutral party present. In what ways does having a neutral party present help?

I focus on the relationship with my mom which is quite good thankfully. Nonetheless it is difficult to avoid him.

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Jenett

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Re: Difficulty with my father
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2018, 10:35:51 am »
Thanks for your post. I like the idea of confronting with a neutral party present. In what ways does having a neutral party present help?

A lot of people who are this kind of difficult are less difficult if there's a third party present who isn't part of the family - this is why therapy can be really helpful in some situations, or it's a role clergy can play in some settings. Someone who can help to try and solve the problem without being in the middle of it. If it's someone whose opinion your father respects, he may be more willing to listen to this person that this is a problem that needs some solution.

Someone with training (again, like a therapist, or a clergy member who's had training in this) will also have tools to be able to redirect the conversation if it gets off track. But even someone without training (like a family friend you both respect) can be helpful just by listening and asking occasional questions to clarify things.

(However, it does require that the people in the conversation are at least willing to consider changing their behaviour. But it's often possible to work out a better solution of "You keep saying these things, they are hurting me, so I would like to avoid being around you most of the time if you can't stop saying them, how can we make that work better?" if you think that by itself wouldn't provoke him to seek you out more. Possibly in exchange you might agree to be around at specific times - say, a family meal a couple of times a week, or some activity you both enjoy, as a compromise. Then you could better prepare for those times which can be easier to handle.) 

There's an advice blog called Captain Awkward that has great scripts for using to deal with situations like this. I think the 'parents' and 'boundaries' tags are probably the two most relevant, but browse around, and even posts about different situations may give you ways to respond and deflect the criticism that work better for you.
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rous54

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Re: Difficulty with my father
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2018, 10:44:35 am »
A lot of people who are this kind of difficult are less difficult if there's a third party present who isn't part of the family

My dad has always called me difficult to my face.  He would say it is important to remember that you are a very difficult person and that you would have to work really hard to make people understand you.  It is nice to see you mention that he is a difficult person for a change (maybe I am reading it the way I want to  :)).

I think it would be good to have a neutral party present.  I don't like confrontation and I think a third party present would help me not be afraid of my dad.  My dad on the other hand thrives on conflict so he doesn't care to just create a confrontation or offend another person.

Thanks for your post.

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Re: Difficulty with my father
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2018, 08:00:28 pm »
My dad has always called me difficult to my face.  He would say it is important to remember that you are a very difficult person and that you would have to work really hard to make people understand you.  It is nice to see you mention that he is a difficult person for a change (maybe I am reading it the way I want to  :)).

This set off some yellow flags for me. At the very least, he's certainly constructed himself a plausible excuse for not having to bother to understand or listen to you. And it could be full-fledged gaslighting. (See also this article for some extra info about gaslighting.)

I don't know for sure how much that applies to your situation, but I hope that even if it doesn't apply, you get something helpful from it.

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Re: Difficulty with my father
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2018, 12:12:46 am »

Is there a way to deal with this?


For me: distance.

I kept as much between myself and either my mother or her husband as I could. That meant working full time, going to school, and finding every excuse not to come to a "home" where I felt unwanted and unwelcome.
When I moved out, I stayed away for a long time. When I eventually did go back, I found the power dynamic had shifted in my favor: they were no longer the abusive shits I'd learned to be terrified of. It was weird.

I do hope you situation improves, sooner rather than later.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2018, 12:15:19 am by MadZealot »
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rous54

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Re: Difficulty with my father
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2018, 03:53:20 am »


I don't know for sure how much that applies to your situation, but I hope that even if it doesn't apply, you get something helpful from it.

Sunflower

Indeed at times it feels like gaslighting. It is not easy.



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rous54

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Re: Difficulty with my father
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2018, 03:55:57 am »


For me: distance.

I do hope you situation improves, sooner rather than later.

 Thank you dear. I have also that he is not that terrifying when there is distance between us. But as I said at the moment I have to live with my parents. It is good that I have a good relationship with my mom.

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Re: Difficulty with my father
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2018, 08:16:51 pm »

 Thank you dear. I have also that he is not that terrifying when there is distance between us. But as I said at the moment I have to live with my parents. It is good that I have a good relationship with my mom.

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I moved out about four years ago. The distance allowed me to realize that my dad was extremely condescending to my mother and me. For YEARS I thought my mom was kind of dumb, but I got to spend a couple of weeks with her without my dad and I realized she was a totally different person when my dad wasn't around: smart, open minded, non-judgemental, with sound opinions and ideas. When my dad was around, she'd literally shrink. They were also bickering a lot, usually because my mom would say something totally innocuous but my dad would just have to disagree with her for no reason except he had to be right.

I finally confronted him over Christmas about his poor behavior, and to my SHOCK he listened and is trying to do better. I didn't expect it at all, but he was just like, "You really think that? I didn't even realize." We're still working on him respecting and trusting my judgement, but it's improved things a lot.

I totally get not wanting to confront him while you're living there, because if it goes badly it'll just make things more uncomfortable, but if and when you're able to move out, definitely stand your ground. It's worth it even if they don't really understand. You have a right to be treated respectfully.

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rous54

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Re: Difficulty with my father
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2018, 06:16:24 am »


I moved out about four years ago. The distance allowed me to realize that my dad was extremely condescending to my mother and me. For YEARS I thought my mom was kind of dumb, but I got to spend a couple of weeks with her without my dad and I realized she was a totally different person when my dad wasn't around: smart, open minded, non-judgemental, with sound opinions and ideas. When my dad was around, she'd literally shrink. They were also bickering a lot, usually because my mom would say something totally innocuous but my dad would just have to disagree with her for no reason except he had to be right.

I finally confronted him over Christmas about his poor behavior, and to my SHOCK he listened and is trying to do better.

Thanks for this information. My dad is like that too.  The thing is that I think that my dad is gay and I don't like the idea because he has committed my mom to the relationship. I see that he really doesn't take into account the feelings of my mom which makes it difficult because I sometimes feel that I want to defend my mom but I can't.

I don't know how it feels like to confront someone at a family gathering. It must have been really worth it but you must have needed so much courage to do so.

I am glad that I have a good relationship with my mom, but when my dad insults he gives us a groupon and insults both of us together .

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Sorcha

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Re: Difficulty with my father
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2018, 10:05:47 am »

Thanks for this information. My dad is like that too.  The thing is that I think that my dad is gay and I don't like the idea because he has committed my mom to the relationship. I see that he really doesn't take into account the feelings of my mom which makes it difficult because I sometimes feel that I want to defend my mom but I can't.

I don't know how it feels like to confront someone at a family gathering. It must have been really worth it but you must have needed so much courage to do so.

I am glad that I have a good relationship with my mom, but when my dad insults he gives us a groupon and insults both of us together .

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Oh, just to clarify, I didn't confront him in front of other people. I waited until we were alone and not arguing about something and then told him he needed to start being nicer to my mother. I pointed out specific examples of his poor behavior, said I didn't think he meant to be unkind, etc.

He treats me the same way, but I've been pushing back a lot lately. I think he's struggling with feeling incompetent because he's retired and doesn't know what to do with himself, but that doesn't give him an excuse to be mean.

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rous54

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Re: Difficulty with my father
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2018, 10:12:32 am »
Oh, just to clarify, I didn't confront him in front of other people. I waited until we were alone and not arguing about something and then told him he needed to start being nicer to my mother. I pointed out specific examples of his poor behavior, said I didn't think he meant to be unkind, etc.

Oh ok.  That makes sense.  I thought it was a scene in front of everyone  :D.  I see myself doing that.  I hope that I will have to courage to say something when I need to although I have helped my mom stand up for herself much more, while I also stood up for myself a lot.

Same thing here.  He is retired and he has the time now to disturb us more.  But he also was the same when he was working.

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