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Gahhhhh...


Danica

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Sigh. So...my relationship with my dad isn't really great. My parents are divorced, and I'm in college. Since I'm living on my own the majority of the time, I tend to be.....I dont' know....okay with the situation.

It's the breaks that get me.

I much prefer to live with my mom - even if we sometimes have issues I have a much better and healthy relationship with her.

So, in a 3 week break from school, I spent 1 day with my dad. He's pissed. He wanted me to come down for New Years or thereabouts. I wrote him an e-mail today saying that I might not be able to because I was scheduling things with my friends and my mom didn't have time to drive me (he lives 2 hours away from my mom, and doesn't have a car of his own.....).

So he replied saying that the way our relationship is isn't working for him and that it needs to be improved. He used some sort of bread metaphor with yeast or something and said that we both had to put effort into it.

I just don't know what to do. He always makes me feel like it's my fault. The fact is.....well the fact is that I have several issues with him:

1. He is very critical of me. He justifies it by saying it's "his job" as my dad or that he doesn't really mean to put me down....but it sure doesn't feel that way. We've gotten into fights over it.

2. He treats me like a child (goes along with the criticism).

3. When I'm at his house, we never do anything. He sits there drinking on his computer...always "working"....and I sit there on my laptop. I have no fun. Since he has no car, I have no way to leave or hook up with my friends. I'm trapped.

4. He has a drinking problem. He drinks too much......not that he's a raging drunk...but.....it's not exactly easy to live with.

5. Even the simplest of requests turns into a battle. To give an example from the time I did spend there.... we were having chilli for dinner and he went to go get a bowl for himself once it was ready. I told him I had to go to the bathroom and asked nicely if he would dish me up a bowl and put it on the counter. His reply was "You can do it yourself." It's always like this. He will never do anything for me - no matter how completely reasonable! Even if he's right there.....it's just too much effort.

He makes me feel like I'm obligated to spend time with him...even if I don't want to, or it's painful for me. And I feel like such a shitty person for not wanting to. I mean who doesn't want to spend time with their parents?

Every time this happens I'm in a funk for days afterwards. I just......I feel so horrible...

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He makes me feel like I'm obligated to spend time with him...even if I don't want to, or it's painful for me. And I feel like such a shitty person for not wanting to. I mean who doesn't want to spend time with their parents?

Every time this happens I'm in a funk for days afterwards. I just......I feel so horrible...

a LOT of people dont' want to spend time with their parent's.

fuck, i haven't talked to my mom since 99 because she drinks, she's manipulative, she's critical, and well.... some really fucked up shit i'd rather not get into here

but, the reality is, even though we're all told that we're supposed to love and honor our parents and that things should be hunkey dorey, sometimes they just aren't.

you have to look out for yourself here.  if the way he treats you is truly toxic, and rips apart your self esteem, then you do not have to subject yourself to that.  even if he is your father.

if he is interested in having an equal relationship... his flour and yeast bread analogy... then maybe through family therapy you two can reach a good place.  and i truly hope you two can.

but you are in no way a bad person for having problems with your father.

i'd say to ask him about the idea of family therapy, and go from there.

and remember, you are the child, he is the adult. 

take care of yourself

penny

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Your Dad sounds selfish and unreasonable.  I wouldn't want to be around him either.  I agree with the family therapy idea.  Let him follow through on what HE is willing to do to make your relationship better.  It sounds like he wants it all his way, and you're supposed to be happy about it.

That chili bowl thing would have really hurt my feelings.

and remember, you are the child, he is the adult. 
What does that mean?  She's in college and not a kid.  The Dad is acting like a childish brat if you ask me.  Seems to me that alcoholics really get stuck in a selfish, childish place and stay there.
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and remember, you are the child, he is the adult. 
What does that mean?  She's in college and not a kid.  The Dad is acting like a childish brat if you ask me.  Seems to me that alcoholics really get stuck in a selfish, childish place and stay there.

what i said, i said as the child of an alchoholic.

i was 19/20 when i finally realized that my mother had been trying to put me in the place of being the caretaker/parent my whole life when she should have been looking out for my emotional and physical well being, not the other way around.

yes, Dianica is an "adult" but even after we pass 18/21/30 we are still, in some ways, in our minds, children when around our parents. 

what i meant was that it is not her responsibility to look out for his well being, it is his responsibility to look out for her. 

i did not mean to imply that a college student is a "child" but that no one, whether 16 or 30 should be placed in the position of being the parent of their own parent.  all this serves is to enable the parent's problems and hinder the grown of the "child".... and you are a child of your parent at any age, and should not be placed in a position of excess responsibility and guilt because the "parent" is more concerned with their own needs or their substance abuse than they are with the well being of their child.... even if that "child" is in college.

like i said above, i was well into college when i figured out that it was wrong that my mother had me clean up her messes.  while i was living on my own, the emotional strings to my mother still had me mentally in a childlike state in regards to her until i realized that her life was not my responsibility to manage or clean up. 

i'm sorry if how i worded this sounded offensive, or made it seem that i was calling Danica a "child" in the age/maturity sense.  i know that she is an adult.  i think that comming to terms with your parent's faults as an adult is one of the hardest things one can do.  but i in no way meant to belittle her maturity by implying that she was young by my use of the word child.  clearly the eloquence of her original post shows that she is an emotionally mature woman who is stuck in a difficult situation.

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what i meant was that it is not her responsibility to look out for his well being, it is his responsibility to look out for her.
OK, I agree with you.  I thought you were saying that he's the Dad, so what he says goes, and it's the child's place to obey, no matter what.  That's how my ex-BIL treated his kids, even though he was an irrational alcoholic.

Anyway, Danica, you need to take care of YOU.  Clearly your Dad is not interested in meeting any of your needs when you visit him. He'll probably play the victim, and try to get you to feel guilty about not meeting his needs.  But, like Penney said, that's not your job.

Ever thought of going to Al-ateen or Al-anon?  I think they even have online resources.

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