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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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djarrodc Offline
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Having emotional struggles with my father - April 17th 2014, 08:27 PM

Hi, I'm Dale, recently turned 17 and about two years ago my mom got a promotion of some sorts and the company she works for moved my family overseas. Sounds like a dream, I know.

So in result, my dad gratefully quit his job (of which he worked very hard at to get to where he was in the company, but a very energy taking job where he'd fly around the country to make sure the stores were doing well etc).

My relationship with my dad had always been of a close nature, we share a lot of shared interests, such as rugby, sport teams, films, political interests, music tastes, haha even the same beer now and again. But there was always a fear he instilled on me as a young boy, and this fear was discipline. I was a very well behaved child, but I always felt like an outsider with my friends because my interests of doing things or wants were limited due to the protectiveness nature of my father, though I learnt from experience to go to my mother first, and after long deliberation, I would be able to do small things.

I've had plenty of experiences of going out with my friends, or doing something where if I forget to phone my dad, he'll search for me and punish me. I've learnt to be more responsible, which I thank, but obviously, since this move, I've been seeking some more independence and trying to make my own choices, however, my dad finds that difficult to accept and however, even if he does conclude to me doing my own thing, naturally, from what he's used to installing into his former 'employees' mindsets, "If you don't agree with what I say, that's fine, but you'll face the consequences". These consequences are a feature of his nature, which I can't fight against, it's a matter of belittling me and I feel emotionally draining consciousness of trying not to disappoint my father.

There's always been this unbelievable expectation of behaviour my father expects me to have, even with my friends. When the subject of my father comes up, I always feel embarrassed, as I feel like I'm in a cage and thought of a person who isn't free to make their own choices. So spending more and more time with my father, I've become more and more irritable and disobedient with his orders and or his expectations. This leads to a lot of arguing, crying (when my mother gets involved) and hatred.

My relationship between my father, as it has been for the last two years, has been broken, long from repair. Little discrepancies between our opinions leads to fighting, because from his admittance, he suffers, as do I, from OCD, mostly perfectionism in which he can't stand situations where such as not eating anywhere where he doesn't on agree on, leaving something out as a child has installed an opinion on as all that we lack the capability to look after ourselves and our possessions, which he criticises of us on many occasion. He was very high standards with the term 'rude' which he would classify anything that isn't intended to benefit the recipient, so for example, a joke that a person may find offensive, banter, sarcasm, debate, discussion - and with this standard, may brothers and myself have suffered from a consequence where we struggle to even share thoughts and stories with each other as a family, as with other members of our outside family, adults and friends. We lack in confidence because of this belittling, of course he doesn't do it intentionally, it's just the way he was brought up by his father, whom after his mothers death at age 13/14, sent to boarding school where my father rebelled against his own father, whom died soon after he finished school.

After a situation where I felt I was being wrongly accused of, I took a stand at my father, whom my mother defended me, and if I had not, would've been belittled more. I use the term belittled lightly, I mean where my opinion is taken away from me, even when I have every reason to defend myself over a misunderstanding or miscommunication, I have to take the wrath of my father. So back to the point, this confidence was installed in me, that my father can be corrected, but however, I have as a result become much better with my words, I respond quicker and harsher without thinking of the consequences, I've become more edgy and secluded from my family because of different personalities. I feel like an outsider - a family member that is constantly accused and judged of falling out of favour and complying to orders. I am subjected to criticism and analysis from both my parents, which I can't fight back because my words are taking out of context and situations at which my parents are at fault (individually or together) are exaggerated and defended by each other. I know they are my parents, and they are trying their best, but I hate it. I hate being told when they're in the moment that I'm a horrible child, I'm rude, subjected to impersonal comments that I'm constantly resenting my family because I'm grumpy (which isn't the case, I find it uncomfortable to sit at a table where I will be judged - but if I say that, I'll get into trouble because it's rude, and I'll be accused of not taking ownership of my own acts, and blaming them on others).

My dad fetched me and one of my brothers from school one evening (40 minute drive which he ultimately has to do, whether he likes it or not, which I do really appreciate). Our school day finishes at 7pm, so an early morning from 6 and finishing up at 7 isn't great. As I am, I struggle to make conversation with my father without fighting, some days I can, but thats with effort and when he's willing to contribute to my contribution, other days he might and regrettably I might become edgy or bleak which I don't like because these are characteristics of my personality that I have been trying to sort out. But my dad, he has a way of making you feel sorry for him without him having a need for that 'self brought up attention', it's like attention-seeking. Manipulating the behaviour of others to get your way, which he is the master of, but it isn't right. After I had been shown the nature of his attention-seekingness, and bringing down the mood of everyone in the car, I confronted my father and said it isn't acceptable to do so, and he retaliated and amazingly controlled himself from hitting me (which he has never done, he's not physically abusive in any manner) but, I have no voice in my family. With growing age, I don't feel like a kid anymore, I have opinions, I know whats right and whats wrong, I know from what my parents have taught me what is acceptable and what isnt. Why in a situation where I know my father's behaviour isn't acceptable, and I try correct it or divert the negative 'energy' as you will, it's 'disrespectful', 'disgusting', 'foul', 'RUDE' and 'insulting'. I know it's the manner in which voice myself that both my parents hate, I just know it's the only way they'll listen to me but it never helps nonetheless.

As a result, I've been spending more nights in my boarding room (my choice) to keep away from my family, because I hate feeling responsible for what my parents feel, my dad brought out in an argument that I'm making him feel depressed, and I hate having this guilt on me. When I do apologise, he blanks me or gets defensive and uses sarcastic slurs to put his opinion back on top, if I can put it that way. It's become such a problem where I can't see when I'm being rude, when I am being rude because what my parents tolerate and what other adults tolerate (at school, society) with me, the way I am are completely different, but they don't help guide me to becoming more acceptive with the nature of their process of raising me, it's just guilt and remorse where I pray at night that I can leave home, the pain will go away, I can become a full time boarder and most importantly, learn to change the way I treat my father. Never has he once, I'm not exaggerating to prove a point, apologised on behalf of his actions or behaviour, aggressive or not, appropriate or inappropriate to me. It break me down that my father can't look me in the eye, set an example and try fix a discrepancy with is first born and apologise, even if I'm wrong, set an example for me to follow. I can't deal with living in this household, it's not like we're struggling finically, we're doing incredibly well, it's just a horrible natured relationship between with me and my father. My mom can sort things out, we forgive and grow together, but my father can't find that in himself.

There's many a tale, detail and perspective left out, but this is all I can put from the top of my head. I'm desperately seeking help from people other than my friends and mother at times. Please leave any questions or advice, because I'd desperately appreciate it. Thank you.
   
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darlingnikki Offline
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Re: Having emotional struggles with my father - April 20th 2014, 03:32 AM

Hey. It sounds like you are having a serious time over there just getting by without any altercations. I used to live with my best friend when I was 17, last year of high school. This sounds exactly like what she and he younger sister went through. Her parents weren't to thrilled about "who their daughters were" as individuals so they constantly judged them and made them feel bad about being themselves. When they finally moved out their parents realized that the women they had grown into were "wonderful" and all was better. This could be the case for you. Maybe your life as an adult, outside the daily criticisms and judgement will lead to a better relationship with them. On the other hand my mother treated me the same way even after I moved out (September of my senior year) and the only reason we began to get along was because I no longer "had" to listen to her or see her and after avoiding her she changed her approach. We still ahve fights now and again but i'm married with 5 kids and she accepts me for who I am and knows I do this onmy own so she has no choice but to give me credit for that.

My advice is to stick it out and when you move out move on. Love them from afar as long as they treat you like you aren't good enough. They will either come around and realize what a wonderful son they really have or they will only be able to see you /hear from you when you choose and they cannot hurt you anymore. Good luck hun. We don't get to choose our parents but at least they love you. They just have a difficult way of showing it.
   
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