Fixing a family relationship?

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    Nov 02, 2011 7:32 PM GMT
    Apologies for the long-@ss post. It was longer before i got cozy with Mr. Delete Key

    My father and I have never truly seen eye-to-eye. From when i was about five, we've grown steadily further apart for no one particular reason. From my knowledge of family history, this is something that runs in his family (his father recently disowned him). I'd prefer it not happen between us because it just seems wrong. I've tried numerous times to rekindle some sort of interaction with him but it always seems to blow up in my face.

    There are lots of things I always wanted to do with him (typical "male bonding" stuff) but he always had a reason or excuse not to. Ex: when i turned 16 and was starting to want a car, instead of asking him for a new car i asked whether he'd be interested in buying an older car and fixing it up together (nothing serious, just a running car we could tinker with on saturdays together) his response was that there wasn't anywhere to put it (they have the room). He's just as mechanically minded as i am btw (if not moreso). I used to go fishing with him but since I could never talk about anything that I found interesting without him asking me to talk about something else, i just stopped going.

    I sold my 2006 Civic recently and bought a 1997 Mazda Miata, fully intending to learn the mechanics of this car inside and out (and i'm well on my way) and i've occasionally asked for his help, even making sure i ask him his opinion, or what he thinks. But I inevitably ask something that sets off his temper. I use the phrase "One day you're going to hurt yourself jumping to conclusions" frequently with him.

    I guess I'm just at my wits end. He just seems so hateful of the person i am (note that he's never expressed any issue with my being gay, rather he never even talks about it) and just stupid little stuff that life's too short to be bothered by, like using my hands when i talk or slipping into a local accent when i pronounce stuff, or just wearing driving gloves in the car. The last time they invited me to the beach i was given a set of rules, which I'm sure he thought were a wonderful compromise. He wouldn't ask me about school but i couldn't talk about cars for the whole two weeks. I called my mom and politely told her i would not be joining them.

    I've never had the kind of relationship with him where i can just talk to him about stuff and i so desperately want it. Its frustrating because he's very intelligent, doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, do drugs or any of the other things commonly associated with "lousy dads" he just has this...hatred in him. My gran and aunts say they can see it in his eyes when he looks at me, like he'd like nothing more than to beat the living sh!t out of me (he's come close a few times too).

    Should I keep trying? Or should I give up? I don't want us to end up like him and his father but it just seems like that's the way its going to be the older i get.
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    Nov 02, 2011 7:43 PM GMT
    Sounds like you're doing everything right.
    Sometimes you can't blame yourself for other people's failures.
    If he has a blow-up, don't engage.
    The rant may reveal some insight into what the hell his problem is.
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    Nov 02, 2011 7:44 PM GMT
    Sometimes the way to get closer to people is to be apart.

    My sister and I used to clash all the damn time, and now she lives in Europe. Because of this, I love to see her. However, without this distance it would have never happened (and we can spend extended amounts of time together too).
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    Nov 02, 2011 8:11 PM GMT
    Chainers saidSometimes the way to get closer to people is to be apart.

    My sister and I used to clash all the damn time, and now she lives in Europe. Because of this, I love to see her. However, without this distance it would have never happened (and we can spend extended amounts of time together too).


    yeah, that's actually the way i am with my sister, although she just lives in Baton Rouge 90miles north of here. I don't even see my dad very often, its just when I do there's no excitement for him. I know he considers me an embarrassment, especially after they tried to exclude me from my sister's Debutante "coming out" party on the grounds that I would embarrass him in front of his business friends. I ended up getting "invited" at the last minute but I also didn't tell them until a year later that a large number of his "friends" found out about my exclusion and called me, asking if they should boycott the event. Being the non-asshole that i am, i told them no, since it was my sister's party and not about me.
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    Nov 02, 2011 9:05 PM GMT
    I don't have much advice for you, but I hope you get through it.

    My relationship with my parents isn't bad, but there's definitely an awkwardness, so I can relate to it a bit, though.

    All the best!
    *Hugs!*
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    Nov 02, 2011 9:07 PM GMT
    RoadsterRacer87 said
    Chainers saidSometimes the way to get closer to people is to be apart.

    My sister and I used to clash all the damn time, and now she lives in Europe. Because of this, I love to see her. However, without this distance it would have never happened (and we can spend extended amounts of time together too).


    yeah, that's actually the way i am with my sister, although she just lives in Baton Rouge 90miles north of here. I don't even see my dad very often, its just when I do there's no excitement for him. I know he considers me an embarrassment, especially after they tried to exclude me from my sister's Debutante "coming out" party on the grounds that I would embarrass him in front of his business friends. I ended up getting "invited" at the last minute but I also didn't tell them until a year later that a large number of his "friends" found out about my exclusion and called me, asking if they should boycott the event. Being the non-asshole that i am, i told them no, since it was my sister's party and not about me.


    yea an asshat dad is an asshat dad, there really is nothing you can do about that other than be a success and prove him wrong. If you are constantly after his approval you will never get it, you need to realize that he, while being your father, isnt a very good person in general.

    Seek approval from yourself and you will do fine out their.
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    Nov 02, 2011 9:44 PM GMT
    Chainers said
    RoadsterRacer87 said
    Chainers saidSometimes the way to get closer to people is to be apart.

    My sister and I used to clash all the damn time, and now she lives in Europe. Because of this, I love to see her. However, without this distance it would have never happened (and we can spend extended amounts of time together too).


    yeah, that's actually the way i am with my sister, although she just lives in Baton Rouge 90miles north of here. I don't even see my dad very often, its just when I do there's no excitement for him. I know he considers me an embarrassment, especially after they tried to exclude me from my sister's Debutante "coming out" party on the grounds that I would embarrass him in front of his business friends. I ended up getting "invited" at the last minute but I also didn't tell them until a year later that a large number of his "friends" found out about my exclusion and called me, asking if they should boycott the event. Being the non-asshole that i am, i told them no, since it was my sister's party and not about me.


    yea an asshat dad is an asshat dad, there really is nothing you can do about that other than be a success and prove him wrong. If you are constantly after his approval you will never get it, you need to realize that he, while being your father, isnt a very good person in general.

    Seek approval from yourself and you will do fine out their.


    Easier said than done. I have serious daddy issues (though i'm not looking for a "Daddy") because i've been starved of intimate contact/attention for most of my life (and most of the "contact" i've had with him was a bit more...physical, hence my auto-flinch when touched). In the last few years i've become more and more aware of the fact. I guess I want somebody who i love and respect to love and respect me as well.

    I know i can overcome this, but only by severing our relationship (very difficult to do when he pays for my education & room/board).
    If I had a decent part time job i could do it but I'm just a little bit trapped by them financially. The only way i can escape right now is to give up everything i have, literally sell all of my possessions and run away. That's not a very solid plan long-term. icon_confused.gif
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    Nov 02, 2011 9:54 PM GMT
    What was your dad's relationship like with his father?
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    Nov 02, 2011 9:56 PM GMT
    theantijock saidWhat was your dad's relationship like with his father?


    exactly the same. like i said, there are alot of behavioral things that run in the male side of my family. I seem to be the first one to try and buck that system. Our dynamic is slightly different of course, since my personality doesn't conform to the pattern. I theorize that this is one possible point of contention.
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    Nov 02, 2011 10:09 PM GMT
    RoadsterRacer87 said
    theantijock saidWhat was your dad's relationship like with his father?


    exactly the same. like i said, there are alot of behavioral things that run in the male side of my family. I seem to be the first one to try and buck that system. Our dynamic is slightly different of course, since my personality doesn't conform to the pattern. I theorize that this is one possible point of contention.
    You can't fix it..

    YOU try and be the 'break'.. for future generations..

    Go and find a listening soul in another more adjusted older male you can bond with..

    Trust me, you cant change leopard spots.. only dye them but they're always there.
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    Nov 02, 2011 10:10 PM GMT
    RoadsterRacer87 said
    Chainers said
    RoadsterRacer87 said
    Chainers saidSometimes the way to get closer to people is to be apart.

    My sister and I used to clash all the damn time, and now she lives in Europe. Because of this, I love to see her. However, without this distance it would have never happened (and we can spend extended amounts of time together too).


    yeah, that's actually the way i am with my sister, although she just lives in Baton Rouge 90miles north of here. I don't even see my dad very often, its just when I do there's no excitement for him. I know he considers me an embarrassment, especially after they tried to exclude me from my sister's Debutante "coming out" party on the grounds that I would embarrass him in front of his business friends. I ended up getting "invited" at the last minute but I also didn't tell them until a year later that a large number of his "friends" found out about my exclusion and called me, asking if they should boycott the event. Being the non-asshole that i am, i told them no, since it was my sister's party and not about me.


    yea an asshat dad is an asshat dad, there really is nothing you can do about that other than be a success and prove him wrong. If you are constantly after his approval you will never get it, you need to realize that he, while being your father, isnt a very good person in general.

    Seek approval from yourself and you will do fine out their.


    Easier said than done. I have serious daddy issues (though i'm not looking for a "Daddy") because i've been starved of intimate contact/attention for most of my life (and most of the "contact" i've had with him was a bit more...physical, hence my auto-flinch when touched). In the last few years i've become more and more aware of the fact. I guess I want somebody who i love and respect to love and respect me as well.

    I know i can overcome this, but only by severing our relationship (very difficult to do when he pays for my education & room/board).
    If I had a decent part time job i could do it but I'm just a little bit trapped by them financially. The only way i can escape right now is to give up everything i have, literally sell all of my possessions and run away. That's not a very solid plan long-term. icon_confused.gif


    Therapy works very well my friend, if you are having intimate issues talk to a therapist about it.
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    Nov 02, 2011 10:16 PM GMT
    I've been in therapy since kindergarten...this i know... icon_eek.gif
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    Nov 02, 2011 10:17 PM GMT
    Sometimes we can not break patterns but we can learn to work within them.

    My brother and our father hadn't spoken to each other in more than 30 years when I got them together for my father's 80s birthday. Now they are finally able to enjoy a relationship with each other. I only met my paternal grandfather three times in my life. My brother broke that pattern by being a great dad to his own kids.

    It sounds like your father is doing what my father did, playing out the same scenario that was played upon him. Perhaps if your father feels, I don't know, but just as a for instance, that his father abandoned him, he might be projecting upon you the fear of that happening again to him, thus he might look at you with suspicion.

    My relationship with my father was often distant (though I did more than my fair share to maintain it) not for anything either of us did, but something my brother did and something my grandfather did. My brother even once apologized to me, suggesting that he was the cause of my father's distrust of his own children. That my dad took out on me what others did to him.

    His behavior towards you might have not much to do with you. Your being gay, or your enjoyment of cars, or insert variable, could just be something for him to focus on, but it might not be the cause of his troubles.

    So maybe you could find out what were the particulars between your dad and your grandpa so that you better understand the patterns of his life.
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    Nov 02, 2011 10:24 PM GMT
    theantijock saidSometimes we can not break patterns but we can learn to work within them.

    My brother and our father hadn't spoken to each other in more than 30 years when I got them together for my father's 80s birthday. Now they are finally able to enjoy a relationship with each other. I only met my paternal grandfather three times in my life. My brother broke that pattern by being a great dad to his own kids.

    It sounds like your father is doing what my father did, playing out the same scenario that was played upon him. Perhaps if your father feels, I don't know, but just as a for instance, that his father abandoned him, he might be projecting upon you the fear of that happening again to him, thus he might look at you with suspicion.

    His behavior towards you might have not much to do with you. Your being gay, or your enjoyment of cars, or insert variable, could just be something for him to focus on, but it might not be the cause of his troubles.


    I know its not my interests, yeah. he loves cars too, in fact we share a few large interests but what he absolutely seems unable to accept is that I spend any time during the day thinking about anything that doesn't involve work or school. For some reason he doesn't seem to grasp the concept of the words "One day i'd like to..." either. I can say "One day I'd like to swap the BPZE four-banger in my car out for an LS3 V8" and his immediate reaction is more like i was planning on doing it tomorrow.

    The only reason i mention the lack of conversation regarding my sexuality is i honestly don't think he likes that I'm gay. If that's true, its the first time he's ever held his tongue about anything.

    And his dad disowned him last year apparently.
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    Nov 02, 2011 10:30 PM GMT
    Well, obviously I don't know the dynamics of your relationship or your personal study habits but just your description sounds pretty much like any father trying to get his kid to focus on his work. I'm pretty sure I've said the same shit to my nephew and I'm positive I heard the same thing from my parents.

    That he doesn't like you are gay is, as we know, pretty much that he is not comfortable with his own sexuality. It still sucks but try not to personalize his problem that he has with himself but that he might be projecting onto you. I realize that's easier said than done.

    Why did his dad disown him?

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    Nov 02, 2011 10:37 PM GMT
    theantijock saidWell, obviously I don't know the dynamics of your relationship or your personal study habits but just your description sounds pretty much like any father trying to get his kid to focus on his work. I'm pretty sure I've said the same shit to my nephew and I'm positive I heard the same thing from my parents.

    That he doesn't like you are gay is, as we know, pretty much that he is not comfortable with his own sexuality. It still sucks but try not to personalize his problem that he has with himself but that he might be projecting onto you. I realize that's easier said than done.

    Why did his dad disown him?



    I honestly don't know the particulars. I know my dad originally started in his industry working for his father (insurance). when i was born he made the decision to leave his dad's company and move to a larger one for more growth potential. Although he and his father never got along at all (screaming, physical confrontation, etc) this seems to be the tipping point with them. But that was years ago. They tried to rekindle their relationship when i was 17 but it didn't really last but a few years before it tanked again.
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    Nov 02, 2011 10:53 PM GMT
    That's rough. Sounds like someone's pride or trust was hurt for whatever reason between them. If that is the case, and I don't know, then perhaps an extra dose of humble (when it is sincere) and loyalty (without smothering) might pave your way. But of all things, give it some patience and some time. My father and brother lost a lot of years together. But you should see them smile when they see each other now.
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    Nov 03, 2011 1:46 AM GMT
    Sometimes, you have to love people more than they love you. Sometimes, you have to love people even when they do not show/return any love to you.

    As a teacher, I have found this to be true with obstinate students. It is not easy, but it is the only way to survive in a tough situation. And in the long run, people can and do change.

    Dealing with hard hearted students is not the same as dealing with a father who is distant and, maybe, even rude. It must be gut wrenching. But, you can't let it get to you.

    Without sounding sappy or sentimental, I think that St Francis of Assisi stated it best when he said:

    grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
    to be understood, as to understand;
    to be loved, as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive.
    It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    Where there is injury, pardon.


    Not bad advice. Not easy to put in practice. Hang in there.


  • alphatop

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    Nov 03, 2011 3:28 AM GMT
    I've had somewhat similar situation with my dad, for the most of my life. Since I was teenager till beginning of my 30's we could barely talk without fighting ( at times, almost psychical ). Reasons are various, but for one of the most important reasons was that my dad caught me during my very first (attempt) of blowjob. We never talked about it, for the next 2 decades, but we grew apart, because he hated me at times (in his own words). Yes, I also hated him.

    Turning point of our relationship happened when I moved to China, some 5 years ago. In those 5 years, we manage to built our father-son relationship in a manner of respect and support. He, actually, helped me, twice, when I was in really deep, deep shit. And I'm not talking just financially. He knows who I am, and I know who he is. And we are both ok with it. That's the only thing I wanted from my father.
    Piece of advice for you- don't push it at all costs. When the time is right for both of you, it will happen. If not, well...you can always become a father, and that built relationship with your child the way you wanted it to be. Good luck!icon_smile.gif
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    Nov 03, 2011 4:59 AM GMT
    I think that many of us have had difficult times with one or both parents. I'm not sure there's much more that you can other than what you've already done. I wish I had some great advice that would repair your relationship, but I don't. I never had a good relationship with either of my parents.

    I think that the best you can do is try to have whatever type of relationship he is willing to have with you. If there is one thing I've learned from my parents, it's that we can't control what other people say or do to us. The only thing we can control is how we react to them. We didn't get to choose our parents. We have to deal with whatever crap they throw at us the best way we can. From what you've written, it sounds like if the relationship falls apart, it's on your father's side. You've done all you can to reach him. Try not to feel guilty about that. He is making his own choices.
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    Nov 03, 2011 11:03 AM GMT
    He sounds like my dad. I threw a party the night he died.
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    Nov 03, 2011 11:30 AM GMT
    I admire your perseverance, you have made an effort to get closer to your Dad. Speaking from experience (I not only had a challenging relationship with my Dad but also with my sisters and Mom), I found what worked for me was to stop trying so hard to get closer, live my own life and not let my family relationships make me miserable. Moving to a different city and seeing family only a few times a year has done wonders.
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    Nov 03, 2011 11:51 AM GMT
    You're a trooper. Stay strong. And continue your loving him.
    Sent you a private message. ;-)