Father problems

  1. Maybe I just need to vent but I would appreciate any info. It's about my dad. He is a strict ex-cop and we have a bit of a love hate relationship. I just got into it with him big time because he called me a name I didn't appreciate because I have a different political pov. My dad can be really nice, but the name calling, which happens maybe once every few months, has bothered me for a long time, and I finally told him that. My most vivid memories of him are times he's called me names and I have never really told him that before. I told him that I am scared that in 30 years when he's dead those are still going to be the most vivid memories I have. I don't know if I didn't handle it well, but he just got defensive so I ended the conversation.

    Any of you have similar relationships with the parents? I know I am an adult and I feel like this shouldn't bother me as much now as it did when I was younger but it does, and it is really messing up my relationship with him.
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   P_RN
    It bothers you because he is your father, and more so because you know you are right and yet you still seek your father's approval. I know this because at age 57 I still seek to please Mama who is 84!

    You may have to agree to disagree. You will probably always be his little girl. I know *I* still am, and Mama is always right...(so she thinks.)
  4. by   Paprikat
    I am in a similiar situation. I went to Ont. for Easter last week. My mom and I generally get along, but she is an overly religious and opinionated person who speaks before she thinks. I have been in BC for five years now and when I visit, I am cautious about getting into a confrontation with her. Well last week, she tossed her opinions my way and I finaly snapped and lost it with her. I told her alot of things that I probably shouldn't have said, but I think that I should have told her long ago, she also said I came to Ont. with the purpose of fighting (yeah right, I could have spent 2.00 to fight on the phone instead of 500.00 to go there in person!). Fergus, I think we enable our parents because we are not supposed to freak out on them and they get away with it. Four other siblings have told her where to go and being the youngest and most sensitive, I think I have put up with alot. Needless to say, she totally played the victim while I was the villian. If she just only would have kept her mouth shut.........My trip sucked the big one and now here I am back in BC and I am afraid of what happens if she dies or something...I apologized, but I really felt I wasn't the one who should have apologized. I wish I had the answers, but I don't. But I appreciate the chance to talk to someone about it.....
  5. by   fergus51
    Thanks for the insights guys. I don't mind that he thinks I am wrong about nearly EVERYTHING, I just don't like the name calling. It's so disrespectful and hurtful. It's like he calls me the worst things that I think about myself, and I wonder if those are really my insecurities or if they came from him? I wonder if this has screwed me up....

    Paprikat, I just might be going to Ontario to get away from my parents here in BC! To think I came back from the States to be closer to my family! I didn't apologize, and I think he probably will, but that just makes me madder because it eases his conscience and then he does it again a month later. Phone arguments are WAY better than in person. You just say "Oh, there's the doorbell, gotta go" and it's all over. I can totally relate to the enabling thing, because I really never did spell out how much this upsets me until now (I am in my late twenties and this has been happening for as long as I can remember). I feel good about finally telling him.

    I just don't want this to be the relationship I have with my dad for the rest of my life. Really, I think if my mom dies first I would probably completely lose contact with my dad because I can't deal with him. That's pretty unlikely though, with his personality I am sure he'll stress himself out to the point that he'll have a heart attack before my mom goes.
  6. by   Huganurse
    fergus, you did the right thing! HUGS to you.
    Last edit by Huganurse on Jun 30, '02
  7. by   proud2bme
    fergus51,

    I am still at "silent war".
    Not with my dad, but with myself for never sticking up for myself or other's around me when my dad says something verbally abusive. My mom says he doesn't mean to offend, but I am tired of that excuse. Just as you seem to have, those are the most vivid memories of my dad when I was growing up. All the little extra negative comments are those that really cut to the bone.

    I admire you for "calling" your dad on his behavior. Maybe next time he will think before he lashes out and calls you a mean name.

    After the last time I was with my dad, I promised myself that the next time my dad says something rude or hateful to me or anyone I love, I will "call" him on it.

    Big hugs to you. I know how difficult the situation is. After all, no matter how mean our dad's can be and how old we get, we still love them and look for their approval.
  8. by   4XNURSE
    fergus51,

    I agree, you did the right thing. You opened the dialog, and started the healing process. Now don't let it stall. Accept the appology you say you are expecting. If he calls you names again, remind him that you would rather he not do that. Keep that up, remembering tough love. Your dad may never change, but then, he may not realize what he has been doing to you, and then again he may care enough to make the necessary changes, now that he knows what he is doing to you. In which case your relationship will grow even better. Either way you've opened the door to healing. Good job!

    just my $ .02

    ken
  9. by   judy ann
    Dear fergus 51 - I can relate fully. My problem wasn't name calling. My folks fought all the time when I went to visit. Their excuse was that was how they got along"! I asked, pleaded, begged, tried distraction, and finally I blew up. I shouted that I have round trip reservations, and taxi cabs will take me to where I can catch the bus to the airport. I did not come here to watch you two fight like children. So either cut it out, or I'm out of here! That was 1991. My Dad died in 2000, and I never saw or heard them fight again. Don't know about anyone else. but it sure worked for me.
  10. by   CindyCCRN
    Fergus51, Hi!
    ...I think alot of us probably have or at least had, sort of similar issues with our parents... probably in part, another strong reason we were drawn to nursing - caretaking/people pleasing - to feel better/bigger about ourselves by helping others. Personally, my own overly-educated father also has had very strong "control issues" - beliefs/opinions that are the only "right ones" and always tended to be too verbal or critical of his family - my Mom and our 3 (mine included) lives... As children, he compared our achievements - report cards, etc... and the silent message was that we were never doing well enough to please HIM... same effect = striving to please HIM... looking for HIS approval, and at times, feeling hurt, belittled, or angry....

    I guess I long ago painfully realized that I WAS quite OK, fortunately had my mother's heart... that though I loved him - I was far different than my father, and that I had to please God and myself in this life - not him... Being pretty sensitive, I emotionally detached from his control as a teenager in order to survive... By changing oneself only, situations and relationships do change! I am sure I let him know in many ways that I loved him because he was my father, his beliefs were just that "his beliefs, that he wouldn't/couldn't influence my mind, heart, or life choices... Yes, I needed to cut many strings and do what worked for ME...

    Today, I have long healed by forgiving (though he never apologized, asked me to, or maybe would even want me to), let it go, and do feel sorry for my father, though he wouldn't appreciate that sentiment... he hasn't mellowed too much, is dying of metastatic melanoma, is more appreciative of my non-conditional support/help, and proud of his 3 children... who have all grown into well-functioning adults uninfluenced by what he tried to say or do...

    ....Remember this, We are all given only ONE life and that is the ONLY one we should be living - not our parents', not our childrens', nor our spouse's life- ONLY OUR OWN...
    .. This plain, simple truth sure helps simplify our decisions and paths through life... I am a far better parent and stronger person than I may have been by living through the pain and learning of this conflict...

    ...."Having knowledge is not the same as having wisdom. The true test of wisdom is knowing how and when to act"...

    ....Good Luck
  11. by   Mary Dover
    Oh CindyCCRN, I totally agree, that it plays a big part in why lot of us are nurses. Oh I didn't realize just how much, until a couple of things happened. 1) I went into psych nursing and learned so much about how dysfunctional family dynamics play such an important part in our personality development. And I didn't go into psych nursing to 'therapy' myself I swear. It has just been a perk that it has led me into some keen insights about myself.
    2) As I have started to age, and gained some life wisdom, I have started to gain some insight into my parents own personalities, what made them like they are.
    And now, my dad is deceased. So unfortunely, there's a lot I may never really understand about him. But my MOM, it's almost now like she wants me to step into that caretaker role left open by my dad. NO WAY! I say. But really it becomes like a game, a hidden agenda so to speak. Skilled psych nurse that I feel I am, I still don't have the courage to confront my own mom about her manipulative behaviors. But I am getting better though. She's a big time med seeker. Last time she ended up in ICU from various reactions, I called her doc and clued him in. Apparently she found out I did it, cause he stopped prescribing any and everything. I thought she'd be mad, but it seems in a way, she gained a little respect for me. But then again, she could be just seeing it as me taking care of her. There I go analyzing again. Either way, she's going to learn that I won't feed into a bunch of bull.
    What I really want to know is - how did we all turn out as functional as we are, in spite of circumstances we might have grown up in. That's the consolation factor for me. I'm ok, it's my family that's nuts. lol.
  12. by   Sleepyeyes
    I would only like to add that in my life, the way I've been taught to accept behaviors from my (crazy but "loving" family) has definitely had an effect on my adult life.
    I highly recommend books by Lillian Glass, Ph.D., especially "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Verbal Self-Defense," published by Alpha Books. It helped me stand my ground when I needed to be heard.
    Good luck! (((((hugs)))))
  13. by   fergus51
    Well, I got the apology so now we'll see where that goes. Hopefully into real change because I just don't want to be around him if that's not the case. Our pattern over the years is someone in the family finally freaks out at him, we get a big apology, then nothing changes. Hopefully this will be different...

    It's funny you said that Cindy because my dad was very upset when I chose nursing. He felt I should be going to medical school. Never mind the fact that I didn't want to...LOL! I got a comment about me copping out by choosing an easier profession...He has obviously never done any nursing!
  14. by   micro
    fergus51,
    tough ?????, tough when you feel so much love for your parents and family......but yet there is that strain.........
    the peace that I have found is that with age comes wisdom and a forgiveness(yet the memory still is there......).....and it doesn't mean that something doesn't kick you in the a.....and remind you all over again...but that is me.....
    there is so much hurt in this world, there needs to be much healing.........
    just very very very old micro

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