Need advice on dealing with critical parents.

  • JimJim

    Posts: 58

    Jul 16, 2014 8:52 PM GMT
    Some background information: I'm a 23 year old man, living on my own on the opposite side of the country from my parents. I have an engineering degree from a top school, live on my own (with roommates) and make more money than both my parents combined. I've traveled to a lot of different countries, learned to speak another language fluently, and I'm in pretty good shape and have a variety of interests/hobbies as well. I've also never had any problems with alcohol, drugs, etc (I smoke weed occasionally but I hardly call that a "problem").
    In short, I think I have my life pretty well put together and am much more stable and capable of being independent than most people my age (and even many older adults).

    None of this however seems to make any impression on the way my parents (mostly my dad) treat me and it's been going on since I was little. Most people credit their parents for helping to motivate them to succeed and be morally good people, but I've often found myself doing that *despite* my dad.

    For instance, when I was a kid and I'd say I didn't really want anything for Christmas, instead of being proud of me for being happy with what I have, my dad would say I was spoiled because according to him, only a spoiled kid would think he's too good for Christmas presents. If I spent my nights studying for school, he'd get upset that I was studying too much and say that I should just watch some TV. When I was a little older and he tried to offer me a beer, I would say that I was too young to drink and he'd get upset because of that too. It's as if he *wanted* me to be a slacker spoiled rebellious kid and *wanted* the opportunity to correct me and felt cheated by the fact that I beat him to the punch, so to speak.
    (Despite all of this, he'd still be disappointed in me if I didn't make stellar grades in school as if he didn't understand that good grades don't just come from thin air, they require effort.)

    As an adult now, whenever I go back home to visit for holidays, etc I still deal with criticism and condescending statements, like what I should be doing to "make more money" (because I need to hear from someone making 30k a year why my 6 figure job isn't enough already) or why I should really be doing X activity instead of Y, etc etc.

    During my most recent visit, after dealing with my family for a week, on the day I was supposed to be leaving my dad wanted to show me the new bow & arrow he had gotten from an estate sale. We went into the backyard to check it out and our exchange went something like this:

    Dad: You have to be careful, bows and arrows are very dangerous.

    Me: Yes, I know that they're dangerous.

    Dad: How would you know that they're dangerous?

    Me: What? They're weapons...it's obvious that they're dangerous.

    Dad: No it's not obvious. Have you ever used one before?

    Me: Yes, I have... and even if I hadn't, everyone knows that a bow & arrow can be dangerous. You don't need to have used a gun before to know that they can be dangerous too.

    Dad: No they don't...it's not obvious. You don't know what you're talking about.

    etc, etc...

    The conversation continued like this and I was getting more and more pissed off. And my anger kept escalating until I started screaming and cursing at him. I packed my stuff and left for the airport after that. My mom and sister claim that I should have "apologized for my actions" before I left but I didn't think he deserved an apology because he is constantly belittling me. That was a few weeks ago and I haven't talked to my dad since.

    Maybe I should have just let it go but I just felt very deeply hurt that my dad thinks I somehow don't even understand very basic concepts and this has been going on my whole life. It would be like him trying to explain to me "fire hot". One would think that after I prove to him time and time again that I am an intelligent, successful and independent young man.

    My mom (who likes to nag but who is much better) insists that "it's just the way he is", "he does this with everyone" and that "he really is proud of me", etc but at times it feels more like lip service to try and make me feel better.

    I know this is a long post but I just don't know what to do anymore. Every time I go back home I feel on edge. I can't be myself and it makes me very irritable and stressed out. I don't think I could sever ties completely because that just seems cruel. I know my dad cares about me but just because you love/care about someone doesn't mean you're incapable of hurting them.

    Any advice would be welcome.
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    Jul 16, 2014 9:08 PM GMT
    Be honest and tell him. The worst that could happen is that he continues to live in denial and unwilling to change. At least at that point you will have communicated why you are upset. Sounds like your mom already knows and is unwilling to do anything about it, instead blaming it on his inability to change.

    Anyone is capable of change. You can't make your dad change, but you can change the way that your dad and mom are a part of your life. As we get older our relationships with our parents change from that of dependent/caregiver to adult/adult, and accordingly there's a big psychological adjustment to be made. You don't have to cut them off, and you shouldn't. It's just time to set up some boundaries, ones that your parents will have to respect if they want to be an active part of your life. Beyond that, no matter what happens, always try to find a way to honour your parents even when they hurt you. They at the very least have fed us, sheltered us for years, and tried to care for us in the way that they felt best (regardless of how we feel about it), and for that we owe at least some honour to them.
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    Jul 16, 2014 9:09 PM GMT
    tl;dr
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4433

    Jul 16, 2014 9:16 PM GMT
    One thing you didn't mention is how frequently you speak with your parents or how often you visit. Your dad sounds fairly nuts and controlling but since you are independent of him, there's no reason to feel competitive. I'd say just go on with your life, stay in touch but maybe only phone every month or so. Don't follow any particular pattern on when you go home, be kind and courteous. You may find your parents will mellow with age or maybe not. Clearly they did something right for you to be off on such good footing so respect that and be appreciative but move on into the next chapter of your life. Try to not let yourself get into arguments. You won't win and everyone will be mad. Sometimes the child has to be the adult in the relationship.

    (And fill out your profile. We're all friends here.)
  • Elian

    Posts: 60

    Jul 16, 2014 9:39 PM GMT
    Well mate, your father sounds exactly like mine some time ago.
    Though he still has this kind of behavior with my brother but it is not the case for me anymore (Not with my sister, ithink for some reason he expects a lot from him male sons... thats why coming out was quite hard)

    I think what made my father change was a combination of two things:

    Me confronting him (my brother an my sister never confront him) whenever he is is not right I making clear that I won't agree with non-sense or the because I say so. For many years I have been the only one who did. Also I would recommend yo not apologizing.I mean if you feel that a discussion is going to end up with you getting angry just say so and refuse to keep arguing. I have also made clear that I am an adult and that I am the one who decides what to do and deals with the consequences.

    Talking to him. In my case I have already told my dad that trying to make him proud of me is one of the main motivations that has helped me achieve what I have. I have also told him that if I am stubborn is because I learnt it from him therefore is his fault.


    I think he is probably proud of you (as your mother says) and maybe even a bit jealous, so if he is a bit like my dad it may be useful to remind him that you are grateful. My dad loves when I attribute things like not giving up on things or being hardworking to the way they raised me (Which is mostly true, I don't really think having a really criticsl father is that bad)

    I don't know if all of that made any sense at all but I hope it helps ;)

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    Jul 16, 2014 10:13 PM GMT
    Parents have been driving their children nuts since the beginning of time. It's what they do. Console yourself with the fact that you're here and they're

    there and that one day they won't be around to bug you
    anymore.
  • camfer

    Posts: 891

    Jul 16, 2014 11:07 PM GMT
    You are under no obligation to spend a week with people who are toxic to you, regardless if they are your parents. Don't go visit them for a week. If you do choose to visit, make it 2 nights max.

    Minimize your interactions with them in person. Over the phone, if your father says unacceptable things to you, just tell him how it makes you feel, say you have to go, and get off the phone. No one seems to stand up to his rude behavior, but you can be the one who does. He has no authority over you at this stage in your life.
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    Jul 16, 2014 11:41 PM GMT
    Yup; sounds just like my dad. He drove me crazy. Welcome to the club.
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    Jul 16, 2014 11:43 PM GMT
    Frankly I think the OP overreacted to the bow & arrow exchange. But parents have a way of pressing our hot buttons. I know mine did.

    My parents were generous, caring, selfless regarding my needs, and loving in their own way, given their own generation (b. 1911 & 1917). But they could be the most infuriating people on Earth to me, and we often fought like cats & dogs. Of course, now I miss them horribly.

    Do you know how often I think of the times I've like to be able to go back and replay some confrontation I had with them? Only this time with hopefully a lot more wisdom, understanding and patience than I had long ago.

    For years both my parents were not very proud of me, for having gone into the US Army, which they had considered a less-than respectable career. Sure, all my family had done it, for literally hundreds of years before me in this country. But only in times of patriotic need. A sacrifice you made for a short time, but never a career of it.

    It wasn't until I became a Major my Father actually said to me: "Well, Robert, I guess you're making a career of this." "Yes, Dad, I am." And I think he began to begrudgingly accept the inevitable.

    I wonder if the OP's father knows how well he's done? Or could he instead be jealous? I dunno. I think his goal should be to build a great life for himself regardless. And let his parents see it and judge for themselves, as I did with mine.

    And either they'll approve and be proud, or they won't. In the meantime, the OP has created a fine life for himself. Parental acceptance can seem important to us, but actually it only has the value we give it.
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    Jul 16, 2014 11:46 PM GMT
    If only it were easy to nip this in the bud now, but even if your parents are only 47 they're pretty set in their ways. You can tell yourself that this is their way of feeling better about THEMSELVES but that's not necessarily true. All I can tell you is that even if they're treating you the same way when they're 80 and you're 50, people in your life that count will have been observing the dynamic for years and get that you're not "that" irresponsible, spoiled, selfish person, and that it's your parent's issue, not yours. As for new people? They should get it pretty quickly as well. Instead of being understandably defensive, or trying to analyze their motives, enjoy them for the time they're here, because you have time on your side to prove to the world (which has borne witness anyway) that they're wrong.
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jul 16, 2014 11:46 PM GMT
    camfer saidYou are under no obligation to spend a week with people who are toxic to you, regardless if they are your parents. Don't go visit them for a week. If you do choose to visit, make it 2 nights max.

    Minimize your interactions with them in person. Over the phone, if your father says unacceptable things to you, just tell him how it makes you feel, say you have to go, and get off the phone. No one seems to stand up to his rude behavior, but you can be the one who does. He has no authority over you at this stage in your life.


    +1. I have a friend in the same position. He now simply refers to his mom and dad as his "female and male parents units." Why not? icon_smile.gif
  • wild_sky360

    Posts: 1492

    Jul 16, 2014 11:51 PM GMT
    You're a good writer. Unpleasant truths are better taken in this form. They can be viewed and repeatedly reviewed in the proper state of mind. Your precise words can't be twisted by memory, passion, or perverse logic.

    Be gracious. The goal is positive change; not alienation. You can accomplish the latter by simply staying away.

    Don't be accusatory or analytical...yet. You may know where the behavior comes from but he has to realize it himself and want to change it because he values your relationship. All he needs to know right now is that he consistently makes you feel bad and you want him to consider that and at least make an effort.

    Then...what everyone else above said rings true. I especially agree with Destinharbor about limiting their social expectations from you. Come and go and be available firmly as you see fit and be grateful you have that option. When you comply with expectations then any time you opt out will be perceived as a slight. Many others are expected at Sunday dinner every week, at events they no longer wish to participate in, or even worse are trapped by financial dependence.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4862

    Jul 17, 2014 12:02 AM GMT
    Elian saidWell mate, your father sounds exactly like mine some time ago.
    Though he still has this kind of behavior with my brother but it is not the case for me anymore (Not with my sister, ithink for some reason he expects a lot from him male sons... thats why coming out was quite hard)

    I think what made my father change was a combination of two things:

    Me confronting him (my brother an my sister never confront him) whenever he is is not right I making clear that I won't agree with non-sense or the because I say so. For many years I have been the only one who did. Also I would recommend yo not apologizing.I mean if you feel that a discussion is going to end up with you getting angry just say so and refuse to keep arguing. I have also made clear that I am an adult and that I am the one who decides what to do and deals with the consequences.

    Talking to him. In my case I have already told my dad that trying to make him proud of me is one of the main motivations that has helped me achieve what I have. I have also told him that if I am stubborn is because I learnt it from him therefore is his fault.


    I think he is probably proud of you (as your mother says) and maybe even a bit jealous, so if he is a bit like my dad it may be useful to remind him that you are grateful. My dad loves when I attribute things like not giving up on things or being hardworking to the way they raised me (Which is mostly true, I don't really think having a really criticsl father is that bad)

    I don't know if all of that made any sense at all but I hope it helps ;)



    Good advice, although there is no guarantee that it will work. And, if it doesn't work, I'd suggest telling them that you are limiting contact because you are tired of pointless arguing and criticism.

    My mother was much the same way. Once, a few years after my father died, my mother, brother, sister, and I, who didn't all live in the same part of the country, went to a restaurant for Christmas eve dinner. My mother reprimanded me for not seeing to it that my brother, who was about 40, was "properly dressed"; he was supposed to be wearing a coat and tie. This was some years ago when people tended to dress more formally. When I told her that how he dressed was his own responsibility, she told me that I should love him more. Mother was very nervous, controlling, and demanding, not too different from the OP's father.
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    Jul 17, 2014 12:27 AM GMT
    I'd agree with others who suggested you let your father know how you feel about his cutting criticism, and then I'd consider not going over to their house very much.......unless you see a change in behavior, or even an apology.

    I've had a similar situation with both parents. Critical of my sexuality and just about everything else about me, I've heard them bad mouthing me not only to my face, but a great deal of it to other people. Scathing comments, most of them untrue, others just vicious - impugning my character, morality, life choices, ambition, success, etc. I tried to speak with my mother about it and she won't admit or discuss it - - although I have incontrovertible proof she's bad mouthed me to other people - for years. My charming father has done the same, and I caught him one day a few years ago at a party. I had just left the room when I heard him bad mouth me to the guest sitting next to him. I was so disgusted and embarrassed. His cracks about me made me feel awful. The person he said those things to was someone he scarcely knew, but it was someone I had a professional business relationship with. I stepped back into the room and told him I'd overheard what he'd said. The look on his face was priceless. He lied that he hadn't said what he said. I just quietly said, "I heard exactly what you said, and I don't appreciate it very much. I've never bad mouthed you to a guest or to anyone." My mother later made him apologize, and I thanked him......but I know he only apologized to be polite, and because he was shocked that I overheard his vitriolic comments. I know how he truly felt about me. (By the way, my parents did not put me through college, or ever buy me cars or contribute much of anything at all to me as I grew up. They left that to my grandparents, who really jumped in and raised me).

    At my father's funeral a year later, I gave one of the eulogies, and I made it kind and respectful. Despite their mostly abysmal treatment of me all these years since childhood, I have been kind and polite to my parents, whenever I've seen them. I'll say this: I know I was not loved as a child or adult, by my parents. I was unplanned and unwanted. The best thing I ever did was get away from them, by asking my grandparents if I could come live with them, when I was nine years old. I stayed in their loving home until college. The grandparents were as kind and loving as my parents were cold and distant to me. Some advice I've followed over the years came from a wise older Episcopal priest who said, "Forgive them, for they know not what they're doing, but you need not ever again be subjected to that kind of mistreatment".
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    Jul 17, 2014 12:56 AM GMT
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 17, 2014 1:36 AM GMT
    It's possible that your father has some sort of anti-social behavioral
    condition, like Aspergers. If that's so, then it's up to you
    to make the extra effort to try and be more understanding and tolerant
    of him. Your complaint is that he criticizes you and doesn't build
    you up, but you seem to be pretty critical of him and it's obvious how
    unimpressed you are with how little he makes...how supportive are you toward him?
    That hurt little kid inside is now a man, so you will have
    to rely on yourself to provide the affirmation you're seeking.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Jul 17, 2014 2:24 AM GMT
    Lots of good advice in this thread.

    I also had an emotionally abusive father. Unlike you, it took me years of therapy and lots of money to even begin to undo the damage done.

    Whether it is some social dysfunction or simply that you're smarter, more adept, better educated and more successful than he is (all things that can make a 'dad' feel inadequate), you need to make it clear you will not be treated badly.

    At a certain point I had to set boundaries with my parents, especially my dad. This was in the days before the internet. My dad had sent me a letter criticizing a decision I'd made (by this time I was over 40 years old.) I wrote back saying that he had no right to criticize my decisions, that we did not have a relationship of equality and trust and that I regarded his criticisms as abuse and it would no longer be tolerated. His response was, "Why do you want to hurt me so badly?" My response to that was, "The question you need to ask yourself is why do you feel hurt when I tell you I will no longer tolerate your abuse?"

    I suggest you let him know in no uncertain terms that you respect him and love him but that does *not* mean you will allow him to treat you with disrespect.

    On another note, you need to learn to not get 'hooked' by argumentation (with him or anyone else). There's no point arguing with an 'idiot'. Ever. Simply state your truth, whatever it may be, and refuse to try and "explain" it or "make it acceptable" (which usually is futile).
  • Apparition

    Posts: 3516

    Jul 17, 2014 2:43 AM GMT
    buy a tshirt that says "treat your kids right, they will be choosing your nursing home" and wear it every time you go home.
  • joxguy

    Posts: 236

    Jul 17, 2014 3:32 AM GMT
    First off i am a dad, who is very proud of both his kids and at times thinks I know more than I do. That aside, let us talk about basic communication theory.

    The way people react to each other is taught to us by our experiences. So we learn to be a parent from guess where, our parents. You dad learn to interact with his son by the way his dad interacted with him. Do some checking on how your granddad interacted with your dad, that might give you some insight.

    Number two your success may actually bother your dad and he might be a little jealous and not even know it.

    You on the other hand want desperately to show your father and mother how smart you are in order to get some positive reaction. The problem is what you do, how you live, and what is important to you is totally on another planet from your parents. You are positively different and to them that is scary.

    Suggestion, play along with your dad. Let us look at the incident you wrote about. When your dad says that the bow and arrow is dangerous, you could have just really or nothing at all. Your dad took your remarks and being a smart ass and putting him down. Give the guy some room to be a dad and teacher.

    What would have been the big deal to just act like you didn't know the bow and arrow was dangerous and you let him explain it to you. Again play along, ask a few questions even if you think you know the answer, your dad might have a different reason then you have.

    All dads want to be dads, they want to feel needed by their kids. They want to teach stuff, when you take that away they are hurt and then they react badly.

    Your dad was insensitive, but flipping out like you did probably wasn't a good thing either. So if you want to reopen communications find a reason to call your dad and ask for some advice and when you do, you can stick in the conversation, "hey dad I shouldn't have blown up at you like that, sorry". Don't judge your ability to be the bigger man and apologize by whether he does or not.

    Then ask him a question-Hey dad I need your help, I am thinking about getting my own bow and arrow and I thought you might have an idea which type is the best. Dude you probably know that or could find it out yourself, but let him be a dad and ask. If that ins't a good question then you pick one.

    My son is a college football coach, I coached high school and I can tell you my son knows more about the game than i ever did. But funny thing he calls me and ask me question about an offensive set or how to deal with one of his players. Believe me he knows or can find the answer out somewhere else easily but he lets me be a dad and asks.

    Ok rambled too much good luck.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Jul 17, 2014 3:46 AM GMT
    Parents do the best they know how to do, while, very often, repeating the same mistakes their own parents made. I'm definitely not excusing your parents' behavior. It's toxic.

    You wouldn't put up with that kind of treatment from non relatives.
    Why do you put up with it from relatives ?

    People use to say to me, "Oh, but she's your mother."
    We were estranged for the last 20 or so years of her life, with the exception of her sending birthday and Christmas cards, yelling at me to "FIND JESUS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" And, it wasn't just me. She tormented my siblings, too. What incredible peace it was to be away from her.

  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Jul 17, 2014 3:55 AM GMT
    joxguy saidFirst off i am a dad, who is very proud of both his kids and at times thinks I know more than I do. That aside, let us talk about basic communication theory.

    The way people react to each other is taught to us by our experiences. So we learn to be a parent from guess where, our parents. You dad learn to interact with his son by the way his dad interacted with him. Do some checking on how your granddad interacted with your dad, that might give you some insight.

    Number two your success may actually bother your dad and he might be a little jealous and not even know it.

    You on the other hand want desperately to show your father and mother how smart you are in order to get some positive reaction. The problem is what you do, how you live, and what is important to you is totally on another planet from your parents. You are positively different and to them that is scary.

    Suggestion, play along with your dad. Let us look at the incident you wrote about. When your dad says that the bow and arrow is dangerous, you could have just really or nothing at all. Your dad took your remarks and being a smart ass and putting him down. Give the guy some room to be a dad and teacher.

    What would have been the big deal to just act like you didn't know the bow and arrow was dangerous and you let him explain it to you. Again play along, ask a few questions even if you think you know the answer, your dad might have a different reason then you have.

    All dads want to be dads, they want to feel needed by their kids. They want to teach stuff, when you take that away they are hurt and then they react badly.

    Your dad was insensitive, but flipping out like you did probably wasn't a good thing either. So if you want to reopen communications find a reason to call your dad and ask for some advice and when you do, you can stick in the conversation, "hey dad I shouldn't have blown up at you like that, sorry". Don't judge your ability to be the bigger man and apologize by whether he does or not.

    Then ask him a question-Hey dad I need your help, I am thinking about getting my own bow and arrow and I thought you might have an idea which type is the best. Dude you probably know that or could find it out yourself, but let him be a dad and ask. If that ins't a good question then you pick one.

    My son is a college football coach, I coached high school and I can tell you my son knows more about the game than i ever did. But funny thing he calls me and ask me question about an offensive set or how to deal with one of his players. Believe me he knows or can find the answer out somewhere else easily but he lets me be a dad and asks.

    Ok rambled too much good luck.




    I respectfully disagree with your proposed solution.
    The father is an angry man, for some reason that has nothing to do with his son.
    You're asking the son to change himself into someone he's not, in the hope of changing the father into someone he's not.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Jul 17, 2014 4:41 AM GMT
    Webster666 said
    joxguy saidFirst off i am a dad, who is very proud of both his kids and at times thinks I know more than I do. That aside, let us talk about basic communication theory.

    The way people react to each other is taught to us by our experiences. So we learn to be a parent from guess where, our parents. You dad learn to interact with his son by the way his dad interacted with him. Do some checking on how your granddad interacted with your dad, that might give you some insight.

    Number two your success may actually bother your dad and he might be a little jealous and not even know it.

    You on the other hand want desperately to show your father and mother how smart you are in order to get some positive reaction. The problem is what you do, how you live, and what is important to you is totally on another planet from your parents. You are positively different and to them that is scary.

    Suggestion, play along with your dad. Let us look at the incident you wrote about. When your dad says that the bow and arrow is dangerous, you could have just really or nothing at all. Your dad took your remarks and being a smart ass and putting him down. Give the guy some room to be a dad and teacher.

    What would have been the big deal to just act like you didn't know the bow and arrow was dangerous and you let him explain it to you. Again play along, ask a few questions even if you think you know the answer, your dad might have a different reason then you have.

    All dads want to be dads, they want to feel needed by their kids. They want to teach stuff, when you take that away they are hurt and then they react badly.

    Your dad was insensitive, but flipping out like you did probably wasn't a good thing either. So if you want to reopen communications find a reason to call your dad and ask for some advice and when you do, you can stick in the conversation, "hey dad I shouldn't have blown up at you like that, sorry". Don't judge your ability to be the bigger man and apologize by whether he does or not.

    Then ask him a question-Hey dad I need your help, I am thinking about getting my own bow and arrow and I thought you might have an idea which type is the best. Dude you probably know that or could find it out yourself, but let him be a dad and ask. If that ins't a good question then you pick one.

    My son is a college football coach, I coached high school and I can tell you my son knows more about the game than i ever did. But funny thing he calls me and ask me question about an offensive set or how to deal with one of his players. Believe me he knows or can find the answer out somewhere else easily but he lets me be a dad and asks.

    Ok rambled too much good luck.


    I respectfully disagree with your proposed solution.
    The father is an angry man, for some reason that has nothing to do with his son.
    You're asking the son to change himself into someone he's not, in the hope of changing the father into someone he's not.


    I don't know. I appreciate Joxguy's reply. Puts the whole thing in a different light from a dad's perspective. I suspect Joxguy didn't have an emotionally abusive father (mine literally told me repeatedly from childhood on up: "You'll never amount to anything." Try to amount to something after that! icon_eek.gif ). However, fact is, eventually, on his death bed, my father and I reconciled and actually parted on good terms.

    Human, parental dynamics are complicated. Sometimes we, the children, *can* be more mature than the parents, can be more understanding. Sometimes not.
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    Jul 17, 2014 4:53 AM GMT
    You are 23 and are on your own so you simply have out grown your parents as offspring are supposed to do. If you weren't gay you would be creating babies and as a father you would not be concerned about playing the child anymore.

    Extended childhood is a late 20th century cultural behavior. Adulthood usually happens right after puberty as it is hormonally governed. Gays can't find their adulthood because they typically don't have children and not achieving adulthood they act and are treated as kids. Peter Pan syndrome.
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    Jul 17, 2014 2:14 PM GMT
    Some parents are proud of their children's success and want them to do better than what they did. But some are jealous and insecure.

    His behavior reminds me of the story of lobsters in a slowly boiling pot of water. One lobster tries to escape but the others keep pulling him back down. It's easier said than done, but if you realize that his behavior is the result of his own problems, it might help you to more insulate yourself from his actions.
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    Jul 17, 2014 3:35 PM GMT
    Interesting OP. I didn't read responses so apologies if I repeat anything already said.

    I see two things going here. One, you're pushing each other's buttons and two the ol'man is just one of those guys who loves to argue.

    I have people in my life who love to take the opposite stance of anything I say. And I've tested that sometimes out of curiosity and sometimes for my own amusement whereby I'll say something that I know they'd have said themselves and sure enough they come in from the opposite direction, countering what they would on their own say.

    My step-dad was a little argumentative, an engineer with an engineering mind. So by him, everything (some exaggeration there) I said was wrong until I proved to him that I was right, including things he already knew was right. I think he did that both because everyone in my family loves a good argument and to make me as accurate as I could be in my thinking and speech.

    Now my brother, though also an engineer, while he has control issues, also adheres as much as he can to live and let live (the family does tend towards humanism and existentialism) and in some ways didn't raise his kids as we were raised. So his kids, one in particular who's real smart, says shit that simply isn't true. Even though I know the kid's smart, sometimes I just look at him like he's an idiot with some of the crap he says.

    In your OP you show how good you are at explaining yourself. Well, where do you think you got that training? Family is a great training ground for this shit, for the rest of life, whether inadvertently or consciously administered.

    What would I advise? What I have to others. Stop letting people push your buttons. Or let them push them as much as they want but stop reacting to their pushing your buttons. It is always up to you to decide how you are going to react to the actions of others.

    When people outside my family and close friendships try to abuse me, I do react and tell them quickly to fuck off. But I have excellent patience with family and friends.

    Sometimes changing how people interact with each other can take many years. So with strangers you might want to correct a situation quickly but with family you don't want to risk throwing that away. So if you stop reacting to your dad's pushing buttons, possibly he'll eventually figure out that elevator doesn't work anymore and he'll learn on his own to take the stairs.