More threads by Gwen67


This is a lonnnng summary about some stuff I was feeling today. I just needed to get it out of my system...

I feel like my dad is a huge negative force on my life right now. I'm trying to develop as a person and improve my self esteem, and there he is always pulling me down. He treats me like an idiot and like what I say is never important. Everything I say is either ignored or must be argued to the death with to prove me wrong. He never treats me like an adult or with respect. He never outright says that i'm stupid or anything, in fact, he does say that I'm smart. But it's not what I feel he really thinks about me. For so long now he's trying to (not consciously however) convince me that I'm this weak, unintelligent person that I'm just not. Instead of bragging to people about how great I am, he talks about me behind my back by telling other people about his "assessments" of me that are completely inaccurate!

Example -- my grandmother recently died. I didn't know her very well. They would come visit us every year up until about age 10. Since then I've seen her twice in the last 12 years. The thing that is most sad about her death is that I never really knew her and never really had any kind of a relationship with her. I kept telling my parents for the last few years that I knew she was old and would probably pass away soon and that I wanted to see her again before this happened and then I'd feel guilty about it forever. Of course, I didn't get to see her again and she died. While her things were being cleared out and such, I was asked what I wanted of hers. But not having seen her in 7 years, there was nothing I could remember that would especially mean something to me. I just wanted something that would be special and just for me of hers. My dad thinks that this makes me "a VERY sensitive and emotional child". (note he doesn't even say "person" or leave it blank...he says "CHILD"...i'm 22, so not exactly a child) I'm pretty sure that most people cry and are emotional and are in mourning when members of their families die. He went and told his sisters this that i'm "VERY sensitive and emotional" who I also rarely see. The thing is, I'm not actually very sensitive OR emotional. Out of all of my peers and friends I'm always one of the LEAST emotional. He's pretty much the only person that makes me emotional because he never treats me with respect or like what I have to say is important. To him the slightest sign of anyone showing ANY emotion is tagged as obviously "VERY emotional". It sickens me to think that he's always going around telling people things about me that just aren't true (this has been going on for years --- my parents *think* i don't know what they say about me to other people, but I actually do). Like I said before, he makes me out to be this weak, emotional, stupid little child and then I have to deal with all these people that he talks to treating me this way, like i'm less of a person.

He really is just some sort of insane unfeeling robot. He has no feelings or sentiment for anything or anyone. The only emotion i've ever seen him express is anger. That's basically the only emotion that is admissable in our house -- anger. Anything else is laughable. And I mean that seriously -- LAUGHABLE. How horrible is that? Last week I was at home and he was treating me like **** --- ignoring me, arguing with me, and just treating me like an overall idiot. I was upset and thought, Wow, I'll actually say something about it and then go back to school, maybe then he'll start getting the point. When he found out how I was feeling he basically laughed it off, said it wasn't true, and that was that. Now after that and the grandmother's jewelry thing i'm labelled as "VERY sensitive and emotional". So basically, in our house there's no expression of emotion other than anger and neutral. Anything else is seen as funny, stupid, and unnecessary. Nobody ever talks about things that make us happy or sad or whatever. There's no expression of love in our family. Love is there -- I love my family and I know that they love parents tell me they love me and hug me and I do as well, but that's it --- it's just words and motions. Telling me you love me doesn't mean that you have to SHOW me love by encouraging me to grow as a person and respecting me. What kind of horrible family dynamic is it to always be putting each other down and trying to prove each other wrong?? I've never seen my parents love each other. They yell a lot and argue a lot.
I could go on and on with examples and stories, but hopefully you get the idea.

It's hard to try to grow up and be a successful person when you have somebody in your life that's constantly pulling down. Somebody who's supposed to be on your side no matter what. I don't doubt that my father loves me...I just wonder why he treats me the way that he does and it makes me sad that he doesn't treat me with the love and respect that he should.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Gwen, this is actually something many people struggle with in their lives. If it were anyone else but your father (or mother, or both), you'd simply turn and walk away and write that person out of your life. When it's one or both of your parents, it's incredibly hard to do that, no matter how old you are.

There may be many reasons for your father's behavior (e.g., trying to convince himself and you that you still need him to help you and make decisions for you to avoid that "empty nest" feeling) and knowing those reasons may or may not make it easier to tolerate how he treats you. But ultimately, you need to change YOU (or more spcifically how you react to him and what he says or does) because there really isn't any way to change him directly.

You've already taken the first step: You know that what he says to you and about you isn't accurate or true. The next step is to distance yourself from his comments by understanding that whatever is driving them is about HIM and NOT about YOU. Indeed, they have nothing to do with you and who you are at all. They are simply a reflection of some need HE has to portray you as someone weak and dependent. When you learn to emotionally distance yourself from his words, partly by repeatedly reminding yourself that they are just words (and only his words at that), you are halfway there.

The second major component is to understand that, because this was never about you to begin with, there is nothing you can do or say - and more importantly nothing you have EVER been able to do or say - to change who your father is or what he does or says. There is nothing wrong with you and never was. Strive to learn to have confidence in that knowledge: You are who you are and to everyone but your father - including yourself - that is absolutely fine. There is no reason for you to change. And the reality is that even if you could it would probably make no difference at all in what your father does and says.


Thanks for the words :)
He's really not as bad as I made him out to be. I was just worked up that day. I know he doesn't think i'm a horrible person or anything, it just bugs me that he comes to conclusions about things that are inaccurate. He's really stubborn, so having an argument with him is like talking to a brick's his way or the highway and you'll never convince him. It doesn't bother me what he thinks of me, what bothers me is that he goes around perpetuating untrue things. Like I said before, he can really get me riled up at times.

I also know that there's nothing I can do that will ever change him, but I wish he'd be more expressive so we could have a better family dynamic.

just mary

Thanks for the words :)
what bothers me is that he goes around perpetuating untrue things.

Hi Gwen and welcome to the forum,

My father was similar and I have to agree with Dr. Baxter's comments, it's about him - not you. But I can see you've already figured that out.

It was the comment above that struck me. Whether it's your father or another person, there are always going to be people who perpetuate untrue things about people. I'm in a somewhat similar situation and there's not much I can do about it, other than hope the people who are listening to this person have enough brains to realize that he's lying. Some will, some won't - as long as I know whithin myself that I haven't done anything wrong - at least I have that. I understand that it's a different dynamic when it's a parent that's spreading untruths but people can see past that, the ones that matter are the ones that take the time to know you. Be yourself.

Take care,

Gwen, I'm curious about the untrue things that you feel he perpetuates.. do these untrue things affect you or how other people feel/respond to you?

I aggree with David that with parents it is very hard to act how you would usually if a non family member mistreated you, and I also aggree with both of you that you wont be able to change him. Still - as you pointed out, you are 22. Just keep telling yourself that how he feels about the world doesn't have any baring about how you feel about the world, and vice versa. For the first part, he can prattle and preach, be nasty and make judgements about yu (like you are too sensitive, etc) but at the end of the day, if you keep telling yourself that his opinion doesn't affect you (I know that that can be hard) but eventually it wont, and you will be able to inwardly laugh at him and his crotchety behaviour. On the other side of the coin, (and this part is really hard for me) when he does say something that you disaggree with, don't get drawn into an arguement or feel like you have to convince him of anything.
Please note, I'm not saying he is a terrible man, or that you do get drawn into arguments, because it is difficult to imagine a persons home situation. I've just been using any kind of previous experiance that is similar.
Good luck to you
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