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Moving away from a parent's control

Discussion in 'Personal' started by anon8315, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    I am not even sure if I fully understand what I am trying to explain here but I hope it will make some sort of sense and that perhaps others can empathise and understand, even if they can't offer any actual advice.
    I am not a very young woman (sadly!) and am almost thirty-one. Yet for a number of reasons which I can't fully understand myself, I am struggling to live an independent life where my dad does not interfere or become over involved. If I do something or want to do something he doesn't approve of, he either becomes very sarcastic and cutting or angry, shouting and raising his voice. I know this must sound absolutely ridiculous because I am sure my own advice to anyone in this situation would be to ignore him and do it anyway but somehow I end up becoming upset and backing away from the situation (I have to admit I don't deal well with confrontational people anyway.)
    I should add this sort of thing does not happen very often but when it does it's horrible partly because of the shouting but also because I end up being forced into something I don't want to do and it's making me resentful.
    I'm sorry if this makes me sound like a wimp - I probably am!
  2. You don't deal with confrontation because you have an overbearing, dare I say bullying father.
    It's time to grow a back bone and live your life.
    He doesn't have to like it but he does have to accept it. Do whatever it is you want, make your own mistakes and let him shout all he bloody wants.
    I'd be shouting back but that doesn't sound like your style.
    31 is not old, just old enough to know better.
  3. wordsworth

    wordsworth Senior commenter

    No i do not think you are a wimp. Actually, the older i get, the more i understand that the legacy of learned behaviour that we get from our parents colours more than we realise. (That last sentence doesnt quite sound right but i hope the meaning is clear). May i ask, do you still live with your parents? And by the way, in my book, 31 is young [​IMG]
  4. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    Thank you wordsworth (for the 'young' comment as well as the support!)
    I don't live with my parents although we do have a strange situation: I have a sibling with a disability and my dad is his main carer, this means if my dad wants to go away even if only for a day I have to step in and help which throws us together in a way that isn't always comfortable.
    Most of the time he isn't sarcastic/shouting and i do know it's frustration with the situation we're both in, but he fnds it very difficult to see things from another point of view.
    Dipsue, to be completely honest with you comments like 'grow a backbone' just don't help although I appreciate it may be kindly meant - the situation is obviously a great deal more complex than I have gone into in the space above, I did acknowledge in my opening post that I know it looks and sounds simple, but it really isn't. I wish that it was.
  5. catherinaaa

    catherinaaa New commenter

    This could have been me writing the OP badger_girl. I am doing counselling and CBT to help me, bloody difficult though and came out of the session today in tears. I am flying to go and vist my parents today for my dad's birthday as well, this is a complete nightmare situation for me and I am very nervous.
    I empathise totally. Not sure what else I can say really!
  6. doomzebra

    doomzebra Occasional commenter

    <ol>[*]You do something that is against your dad's wishes[*]He is sarcastic/shouts[*]You back down[*]Dad gets his way </ol>There is absolutely no incentive for your dad to change his behaviour as he is the "winner" every time and, in his mind, he is still dealing with a child not an adult.
    You need to break this cycle by standing up to him. It will not be easy - in fact it will be bloody difficult and probably traumatic but you need to do it.
    Choose a point over which YOU decide you will be implacable and stick to your guns (it does not even need to be a major issue). DO NOT BACK DOWN regardless of how difficult it becomes else you will simply be handing him a bigger victory.
    And yes, the only soultion IS for you to grow a backbone - they frequently come with an armoured shell
  7. wordsworth

    wordsworth Senior commenter

    i see. and i suppose you have already found out about respite care etc? If you are unhappy with aspects of your dad's behaviour (and you obviously are) i guess the only thing i could think of is to plan a concerted reponse to a future event, ie wait until he says something next time, and then come out with a response. You could build up to it, and do it in small stages. Stage one could be, instead of being defensive, just say ' please don't talk to me like that, i don't like it' and 'i'm not going to respond to you right now'. It's the patterns of behaviour thing that is so hard to break, isn't it? eg he says something and you always back down....
  8. catherinaaa

    catherinaaa New commenter

    Your list of points described what I do as well.
    I am working on it though! Practised today how to show I am angry & that it is not on when he will comment on my weight, which is usually the first thing he does when he sees me.
    I'm going to get there with my dad but it is going to be bl00dy difficult as he is an excellent ranter and raver.
  9. wordsworth

    wordsworth Senior commenter

    others beat me to it but we're all saying the same thing really. I reckon he's an excellent ranter because it's been producing results for him. Good luck mate
  10. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    Thank you for replying.
    Wordsworth - respite care around here is just awful and the nature of the disability is that sometimes it's not too bad and other times it is just terrible and it isn't safe for him to be unsupervised. He will have to stay with me for a week at the end of this month when dad is in hospital and I'm already quite anxious about it as during a 'flare-up' he gets aggressive and violent sometimes, I suppose that's another thread though.
    I also know that he really doesn't intend to be a bully or overbearing in any way and most of the time he isn't but he sees things very differently to me and what is important to him isn't to me and vice versa. I think it is a combination of wanting to live his life through me and also wanting me to not make mistakes which I understand but it's so hard when someone is so different to you. He was very keen on me living and working abroad when I first qualified as a teacher and still brings it up from time to time but this doesn't interest me at all. I had a friend when I was at primary school who I lost touch with but she recently requested me as a friend on Facebook and we briefly summarised the last twenty years, I suppose. I mentioned to him that she was living in the south of France and he started talking excitedly about 'go and book your ticket and visit her!' - someone I hadn't even seen for twenty years! I found it as hard to understand why he thought this was reasonable as he seemed to find it hard to understand why I wasn't going to do this.
  11. Don't make excuses for him. He is a bully plain and simple. If someone was in a relationship where on partner was doing these things you would tell them to get out. This is no different.
  12. Badger girl I think the first place to begin is what do you want?
    If you had a magic wand how would you like your life to be? What would your relationship be like with your dad? What about your social life? Friends? Relationships?

    I guess I think rather than look at the problem of you being dominated and bullied by your dad (even him saying move abroad is him trying to control you) look at what your life is like to improve it in general. By having support from friends and a partner you will be able to stand up to your dad (yes grow a back bone, hard shell or whatever you want to call it) and live YOUR life how you see fit.

    I wonder if counselling might help as well. I think you need to learn strategies for dealing with your dad and coping with standing up for yourself. It also sounds like you allow yourself to be bullied so what is that is within you that allows this? I would think that cousnelling would help unlock this.
    I hope this helps. Oh and 31 is young enough to move forward from being locked into a dysfunctional parent-child relationship but you need to be active in bringing about this change. Good luck. xxx

  13. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    While you believe that you won't be able to make changes. This is about changing the way you deal with controlling people, as others have said.
  14. learningyoghurt

    learningyoghurt New commenter

    I understand this because I have the same compulsion and I'm not a saint either - I just struggled to convince myself ideologically that the world is a better place when people do! That said, it also serves as a handy excuse for never facing up to confrontation, stepping outside of my comfort zone or challenging years and years of conditioning.
    These days I tell myself that I am not doing anybody any favours by allowing them to ride roughshod over me and completely disregard my point of view. It isn't very good for them, it doesn't give them a fair impression of the way that the world works and I'm sure that most of them would be upset if they knew that I was developing an ulcer through not saying anything.
    It helps some. It's still difficult but my life and relationships are better for it.
  15. kibosh

    kibosh Star commenter

  16. well it certainly won't if you think this way. If you keep on doing what you're doing, you'll keep on getting what you're getting...
    who else will put you first if you don't? I am not advocating becoming the most selfish, self-centred person on the planet, but you must put yourself first - it is your life after all.
    how do you know the thoughts and opinions of others? do they tell you? or are you thinking what they *must* be thinking? what do your friends say about this? You must address this too - most people are too busy with their own problems to really give a damn about anyone else's shortcomings..I like 'those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.' Life really is too short to care so much about what others think about every detail. Again, I am not advocating ignoring others entitrely - having a good name or being well thought of is a good thing IMO, but being unable to stand up for yourself due to fear of the opinions of others is not.
    I don't think it does, it makes you sound like you have dorrmat tendencies...which appears very rude, but I don't mean it to be as rude as it comes across...
    I don't need to know the answers to any of these questions, but if we were friends talking about this in RL, these are the questions I'd ask you. Good luck with dealing with your Dad. think about what you want that relationship to be like, then work out how to get there. Maybe a different person to talk to would help, be that another counsellor, or a friend...

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