This probably isn't unique, but my father is a hard man to love. Over the past 10 years, there have been multiple self inflicted wounds to our relationship, mostly from him. I'm not sitting here and saying I'm perfect because we all know that's not the truth, however, most things that have negatively affected our relationship have been instigated by my father. My ability to overlook these things and stop the bleeding is what's kept our relationship together.
Yes, some of these things will probably seem petty, but the way in which it all went down was damaging. When I was 16, my car broke down and he had to sell one of his guns to pay to get it fixed. I am reminded of this EVERY time he starts talking about guns, to this day. Going on 9 years later. When I was 19, I had a single vehicle accident on a dark night involving a black cow. The car was totaled. I was on my way home from visiting my aunt in the hospital, who later died. I was driving my sisters car. I've been blamed multiple times for wrecking the car, forcing him to buy her a new one, and also for driving up his insurance premiums. When I was 17 he straight up walked out of our lives, divorced my mom, and then he asked me to leave my disabled mom, and my high school for my senior year and move halfway across the state. I told him no. After high school, I moved in with him because I was going to go to Massage school and the school was in the city he lived in. I got into the program, got settled, was enjoying life in the city, and then he quit his job and decided to move 1000 miles away. I didn't want to go back to living with my mom and there was a school in the city we were going to, so I went along. He wouldn't let me go to a school because he wanted me to get a job, so I got a job. I made some friends. As soon as I was feeling settled, oops we are going back to Oklahoma, get out or come with us. I wanted to work out a way to stay, but he wouldn't give me the time to so back to Oklahoma I came. Then we get back to Oklahoma, and he tells me I can't live with them. I move back in with my mom. I get to play telephone between their arguments over child support and alimony payments, etc etc. He tells me he'll pay my car payment while I am getting settled up at my moms and looking for work in a small town where there is no work. I wasn't back 2 months before they repossess my car. He hadn't made a payment in months. I had been giving them the money to make the payment while I was working.
I have more stories I could tell but I'm going to cut myself off there. Anyway, I've recently moved back in with him because I got laid off from my job in the small town and I wanted to go back to Texas to look for work. While there, he notices one of my rifles isn't in proper order. It's missing the sight, etc. He is good at fixing things like that whereas I am not so he offers to fix it and I tell him sure. I am in Oklahoma visiting my mother for the Holidays, and trying to fix a few things around her house, help her out with some stuff, and he calls me. My father is an alarmist. He is at the beck and call of Fox News. He believes the ATF is gonna knock down his door and take away the few guns he has, so his natural reaction is to buy more. And to tell me that he is keeping my rifle, I can't have it back because he wants it.
I've had enough. I'm furious. I'm beyond furious. How can I deal with these things, stop feeling so wronged, and save our relationship? This has brought to the surface every pain I ever felt, every bit of teenage anger, every bit of adult anger, and I want to go back, take everything that is mine, disappear and never talk to him again, but I know that's not the proper way to handle this. What do I do? How can I get over this?
My personal opinion would be to do just what you suggested. Or just cut your losses and leave without having to go back and face/fight him for your things. From the way you described him, it doesn't sound like he is the kind of person that can be reasoned with and is mostly (if not only) concerned with what will benefit him and his needs. Some people are like that and there is nothing you can do to change them no matter how much you may want to. The important thing is not to let him drag you down anymore, and if that means leaving and going off on your own, then so be it.
Deep breath, bro. Let it go, relax.
From everything you've said, it's not him, Bud, it's you. You're over-reacting to problems and obstacles in your life, and then blaming him.
He might be doing the same thing. For example, over-reacting to "having" to sell one of his guns. Presumably that was his own choice, and for some reason he's not "owning" it. But apparently the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.
Your father does not have a voodoo doll of you, that when he pokes pins in it, it upsets or hurts you. You are doing that to yourself, and blaming him. No matter what he says to you, YOU are responsible for your own reaction. He's not pushing buttons or pulling a switch that forces you to (over) react to it in any negative way.
If this were my dad, my reactions would have been different from yours, and the result would have been different.
he calls me. My father is an alarmist. He is at the beck and call of Fox News. He believes the ATF is gonna knock down his door and take away the few guns he has, so his natural reaction is to buy more. And to tell me that he is keeping my rifle, I can't have it back because he wants it.
So how did you react? With filial piety, talking him through fears? Or just getting annoyed with him for being all-too-human?
I don't know your dad, but let's say he's a tad paranoid. I don't know if this is true or not; it's only hypothetical for the sake of argument. OK, then do you accept this and work with it, or do you react by just blaming him for it and becoming angry with him? How is that working out for both of you?
"I understand how you feel, Dad. (I don't agree, but I understand.) Maybe Obama is trying to take away your guns. If that's true, though, I'm not sure that buying more of them will help, especially if it's just spreading your finances thin. Armed resistance will go down about as well as it did at Waco. I love you, Dad, and I don't want you to get hurt."
I've been blamed multiple times for wrecking the car, forcing him to buy her a new one, and also for driving up his insurance premiums.
(Look him straight in the eye) "You're right, Dad, I did wreck the car and drive up your insurance premium. And I was 19, old enough to take financial responsibility for the incident, and as I think you're already aware, I wasn't ready to do that, and I really appreciate you stepping in and taking responsibility for me. You've been a good dad, and I love you."
"I take full responsibility for what I did. I'm sorry, Dad. I wonder if you can accept my apology, forgive me, let it go, and not bring it up anymore." (hug him) "Can you do that, Dad?" (look him straight in the eye, and say NOTHING more)
He tells me he'll pay my car payment while I am getting settled up at my moms and looking for work in a small town where there is no work. I wasn't back 2 months before they repossess my car. He hadn't made a payment in months.
I understand that your financial situation is subject to change, Dad. I know that sometimes it's been hard to make child support payments, and I appreciate that you've supported me as much as you have all those years. When you couldn't make my car payments anymore, I would have appreciated it if you would have called me to warn me. I understand that times are hard, and they're hard for me too, so I need all the help I can get making ends meet. We're all in this together.
I dunno if you've noticed, Bud, but I'm usually pretty gentle with other people's feelings when I sense that they're in a stressful situation. But I've turned a bit frank with you. You know that you've got a lot of other things going on in your life, and you know that there is no way you can pin all of them on your dad.
I think at this point you need some "tough love" to motivate you to take responsibility. You've got a number of things that require your attention, and you need to STOP looping through them (those are called "problem loops"). You need to focus ALL your attention on ONE big problem, and let the little problems take care of themselves until the BIG problem is taken care of. What you will find is a lot of the little problems will resolve themselves.
I don't think your relationship with your dad is your biggest problem in life; it's a symptom, not a cause. I suggest you tell your dad that there have been problems between you, admit and take responsibility for your own role in this state of affairs, tell him that you love him, and tell him that you'll work it out after you work out your own "self-esteem" issues.
Then keep your word.
Can you be a real man, and do that?
Then can you focus on working through your "self esteem" problems, and not get distracted by other issues, until you've burned through the one that matters, and become a better man for it?
OK, I've been a little frank with you. I'm not trying to hurt your feelings; I'm trying to help you. Hugs, bro.
Victor, since I've joined AoM, it seems like every other day I log in there is a new post from you detailing some life crisis and asking for help. I'm not sure how much more the AoM guys can really help you.
I think you need to back away from the computer and actually do something. Anything. Go to church, join a gym, join some other hobby club, take some on-campus classes.
And if you really have this much turmoil in your life, you might consider some actual therapy. It could be helpful.
PS - Your dad is a prick. Cut him out of your life.
Someone I'm close to has a similar relationship with his father. The father doesn't understand about personal property; if it's in his house, it belongs to him. The father harps on the son's mistakes from many years ago. The father doesn't follow through on promises, such as to pay for things. The father sets double standards, requiring the son to return messages in an hour, while the father waits for days, interfering with the adult son's plans.
The son's solution was to cut bait and stop being in any way dependent on the father. He left his parents' house with just an overnight bag, crashed at a friend's place, where he's slept on the floor for 7 months while looking for a job. He left behind almost all his clothes, his retirement savings, his books - everything. [The father had lied about how the retirement savings would be managed.] Over the 7 months, he's had a few meetings with the father and managed to get some of his clothes, etc., but he still doesn't have a normal set of possessions.
Nevertheless, he says sleeping on the floor of the living room of a 1-bedroom apartment, helping with chores, having a limited grocery budget, etc., is better than living in the Four Seasons, especially compared to the angry, rule-laden, confusing place he came from.
This person has a therapist. His therapist says he doesn't need to be in a hurry to forgive his parents. He should spend some time just feeling his feelings, and forgive them when he's dealt with the bad treatment himself.
The son's solution was to cut bait and stop being in any way dependent on the father.
Indeed. The big immediate problem I see is that he's unpredictable and it disrupts your plans. You'd benefit from making plans independent of him. When you have your own living situation, your own financial base, and your own life, then you can effectively work on emotional issues. IMJ.
It looks like your Dad is a jerk and you’re only reason to connect with him is what you can get from him. Save yourself the trouble and stop trying to have a relationship. Move on with your life, and let him move on with his. There is nothing in the rule book that says there is a mandatory relationship with someone simply because they are your father, any more than they have to have a relationship with you because you are their son.
Well, Victor, let's check the record here: You didn't get what you needed from your dad while growing up---it doesn't sound like he had it to give you, because he never grew up himself. So now as an adult, you still want a dad in your life, but the one you've got---and I'm sorry to have to say this---is behaving like a jerk. You're furious at him because he stole from you---and that was wrong. And it's not the first time--when you were young and he should have been at home taking care of his family and building his marriage, he up and left---he stole from you then as well. And you're angry about it.
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change."---Victor, your dad is what he is. You can't change him, and he's not going to change for you. A pattern has developed with regard to you--and that pattern is, it's all about him, and what's important to you is secondary. I'm not going to recommend that you cut your dad off and never have anything to do with him again--but I AM going to recommend that you stop relying on him for any kind of stability or support--he's obviously going to disappoint you.
"The courage to change the things I can". It's time for some drastic changes. You've got to make your own goals, plans, and ambitions a priority and honor yourself by pursuing them. Just because you didn't matter to your dad doesn't mean that you don't matter. YOU DON'T NEED ANYBODY'S PERMISSION to do something drastic. I'd move half-way across the country, if I had to, and find work--ANY work---and live in an efficiency apartment if I had to---but steel yourself and get some resolve to take care of yourself. Let your anger over these past violations translate into a hard backbone.
"and the wisdom to know the difference." There is some angst and some mourning involved in realizing that what should have been is not, and never will be. It's okay to feel your feelings. It's okay to feel like you got ripped off, because you did. But then, you know what needs to replace it? A defiant resolve to not be a victim of circumstances outside of yourself any longer. You don't need a relationship with your father---go look in the mirror. Know who's going to take care of Victor? There he is, staring back at you. Pound your fist on the table and jolt yourself into the reality that you're no longer going to face life as the needy child who isn't getting what he needs---decide what you need and go get it. You're worth it.