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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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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Brandon Offline
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How do you defend yourself? (father and son) - April 8th 2011, 08:44 PM

Although I welcome all advice, I specifically request that only guys respond to this thread because men have more testosterone which can really affect the relationship between a father and son. So if you're a woman, I'll let you know right now that I probably will disregard your response unless you witness your brother or boyfriend arguing with a father. Nothing personal, I just want more accurate responses.

With that being said, imagine this being your dad (I call my dad "dad" because I don't look at him as a fatherly figure):

Your dad has an obsession with proving people wrong. He frequently accuses you of doing or not doing something, and capitalizes on the things that he knows you did wrong. He worries about the small and insignificant things. He always wants to be last person to speak, walk off, like he's right and he's trying to make you feel like a bad person. When you talk back to him, he tells you to shut up. Your dad lives with his parents, and you live with your dad. He has his own room in the house, just like you do. He has no job, just like you, and claims to be looking for one.

That's my dad in a nutshell. Imagine if that were your dad.

If your dad were like this and he approached you and started to argue with you, what do you think is the best way to approach it? Let's consider the things that I've already tried doing:

1. I could stay silent. If I don't say anything, I could just look at him, not say anything that could get me into more trouble. That may work, but when I tried that...it made him even more upset by using threats to ground me from the internet as a motivation to argue with him, or admit guilt, or he'll walk away and periodically approach me saying something to try and make me feel like a bad guy.

2. I could say "I acknowledge what you're saying..." and not say anymore. At least I say something this time, but he'll consider it a smart comment and continue to argue with me, threaten me, etc.

3. I could have a discussion with him and we could solve our problems together. Only one problem...I don't like my dad at all. Having a discussion with him, to me, is the same thing as getting down on my knees [edited]. This is my testosterone (hence why this is male preferred) talking. I feel that I haven't done anything wrong that would indicate for me to initiate a discussion. If he wanted to discuss with me, I wouldn't mind because he was the one who approached me and therefore the one to submit. But I will never submit because he's the one who argues first.

4. I could threaten HIM. Our previous two arguments, I ended up threatening to punch him in the face and he'd just walk up to me and "said "do it," and I'd just smile while he'd continue arguing with me and I'd put my hand in his face to simulate that he talks too much. Last argument, I barely even pushed him out of anger and he went on about not doing that again and I was just smiling because I felt a lot better about even slightly pushing him.

I'm sure there's other ways I deal with his arguments. It's almost like he encourages me to argue with him, like today...I was helping my grandparents outside and he went outside and barked about me not doing something and eventually we got to the point of getting in each other's faces and he just went back inside and I helped my grandparents without my dad's help. I think he did it to justify staying inside and jerking off to porn while I was outside with the gardens and stuff.

I'm 21 years old and only continue to get older. I'm not a kid anymore; I used to say "whatever" to his arguments, but he gets to the point that he pisses me off so much that I threaten to punch him (his brother feels the same way sometime so I'm not the only one who gets pissed off). I fear that one day I will punch him, and it'll hurt him, but it'll hurt me more because it'd make me feel like I'm the bad person and I'd somehow have to apologize to him but he wouldn't accept that because I'm a "monster" of some kind. I just want him to stop arguing, or at least I just want him to speak his mind, but I don't want to encourage him to get more angry and just leave me alone afterwards.

Any suggestions on what you do to defend yourself against this type of dad? Remember that he has little authority over me because he doesn't own the house and therefore can't make the decision to kick me out, and the only thing he can do is either unplug my internet, or get in a fight with me (which I hope and pray will happen because I've been waiting to punch him for several years).

I'd appreciate your advice!

Last edited by PSY; April 8th 2011 at 09:11 PM. Reason: Removed sexual description.
  (#2 (permalink)) Old
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Re: How do you defend yourself? (father and son) - April 9th 2011, 05:14 AM

I'd try my best to keep a calm and collected tone and just respond accordingly. If he accused me of something I didn't do, I'd calmly and rationally explain why it didn't happen. I'd kinda be willing to accept any consequences that came with arguing as it's worth it in my opinion to prove that you can't treat people like that. I'd just try to keep calm so as not to give him any reason to accuse me of attacking him or getting an attitude or doing anything other than stating my side of the story. I know it's really difficult when you hate the person for a reason like this, but I figure there's no way they can be seen as the good guy if they're punishing and threatening someone who's being civil about a discussion.

"What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other?"
-George Eliot

"Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."
-Groucho Marx

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Re: How do you defend yourself? (father and son) - April 9th 2011, 11:40 AM

This is getting pretty violent. I think he is just testing your manhood to be honest. Don't sink to his level. What he is doing isn't right at all. This emotional abuse is unacceptable. Getting into a confrontation will not solve anything. It might get your anger out, but nothing will be solved. It seems he is provoking you to fight. Boys will be boys. Boys like to fight their problems away. If you get into an argument with him, politely plead your case, if he is still being aggresive, just turn the other cheek. Have you spoken to other members of the family about your relationship with him? Do you have another place where you can go? I feel you are at the end of the rope. I don't want you to hurt yourself, or anyone else. If having deep conversations with him isn't doing the deed, you have to go your way, and let him go his way. The best decision would be to resolve this as soon as possible.

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Re: How do you defend yourself? (father and son) - April 10th 2011, 09:30 AM

I wrote a nice long post but for some reason it got screwed up and didn't post it.

Since his brother feels the same way, he's likely not acting in such a way to make you tougher. Skipping the part that I'm not trained to diagnose, Bruce Stevens expanded on Ben Bursten's 4-way typology of narcissistic personalities to produce a 9-way typology. From this, your father could be considered a "power broker" and perhaps a "rager" depending on how violent and aggressive he is. http://hackvan.com/etext/psychology/...aded-hydra.htm

He's constantly challenging you although he doesn't have any particular goal I can see because his only means of control are unplugging the Internet, which is a trivial thing. I'm not entirely sure if he wants to fight with you physically because when you pushed him, he became so angry about it. I think if he wanted to fight you, he'd have hit you instead. He does have some power over you because no matter how angry you two get, in his view, all you've presented are empty threats so he may think that he can push you harder and harder because you won't do anything significant. He doesn't fight with your grandfather because you don't bite the hand that feeds you/puts a roof over your head. Or, he doesn't view your grandfather as any person threatening his status whereas you do.

What I would do is a few things in any order (ignore the order I present them in). First, have a discussion with him mediated by someone who will not become angry fast nor pick sides and who can prevent you two from getting too aggressive or in each others' faces. Also, have others who could contribute to the discussion as well. The goal is to figure out a) why the tension exists (if possible) and b) how can it be reduced. Second, go to family counseling as a trained therapist may be able to help better. Third, you can laugh or smile at him but don't raise your fist or show lots of signs of anger. He's provoking you and he seems to want to get you angry as part of his power play.

Some things you could do, again in any order. First, unplug his Internet. When he does that to you, I presume he still has access and he knows you value the Internet. It will get him angry so the point is to turn the table on him. If he does further things, meet them or even go one step above. Whether he is truly a narcissist or just an asshole (apologies for calling your father either of those), he won't stand for it and will want his status back. Second, get a punching bag or do whatever to let your anger out physically and emotionally/mentally. Know that he's not the target to release it onto. As a result, show less overt signs of being angry or at least less signs of wanting to hit him. Third, and this I'm not so sure on myself, do push him physically. When he smiles, push him, not shove hard, just a light push. When you do this, walk away. Reason for this is not only are you now getting the upper hand verbally but also physically. I'm saying this because the best way to beat a narcissist is either show them no matter what they continue to do it has no effect on you or get a bigger narcissist. Obviously you don't want the second and you don't want to become the second, you want the first option.

I'm sure you're already doing this but help your grandfather out even more than you already are. I presume you eat dinner with your father present so if you can get your grandfather to be happier toward your increased efforts around the house, it's putting your father down. This isn't to make him feel like shit, although he may, it's for motivation for him to get a job so he can receive the favouring or glory like you do.

At a purely physical aggressive level, if your father does initiate physical violence, you act on self-defense. Reasons for this are somewhat intuitive: protect yourself. However, in addition, it's for the power play. If he's doing his thing and it's failing, he may try violence but if he sees even that fails, it ensures your power play being favoured. By self-defense I don't mean pound the hell out of him because that's not self-defense. Instead, what I mean is do as few shots that cause him to not want to continue the aggression.

In our self-defense class, the above is the idea (involves aikido as well I suppose). If someone attacks, you stop it so you don't get hurt and do as little excess unneeded damage to your opponent. For example, one thing we train in and I've done when needed is a painful joint lock where I don't apply further pressure at all but the more the opponent struggles, the more damage they'll cause to themselves. If they begin striking you hard, they're not in a great position to do so and you can do one hard strike or apply more pressure. The particular one I'm talking about when done full-force may dislocate the elbow or just break it, causing immense tearing of superficial and deep muscles around the elbow-shoulder area and possibly damage the shoulder joint. An additional move in part of the technique can cause breakage of the wrist or sprain it quite badly. This sort of move is something you wouldn't want to do as it may even require surgery to fix it.

Instead, if he pushes or punches, just move out of the way and use all of his force against him. That's what numerous martial arts do.

I can rip you off, and steal all your cash, suckerpunch you in the face, stand back and laugh. Leave you stranded as fast as a heart-attack.
- Danko Jones (I Think Bad Thoughts)
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Re: How do you defend yourself? (father and son) - April 10th 2011, 04:03 PM

He probably isn't challenging you; this might have something to do with the fact that he is a grown man living with his parents, and you, a grown man, are seeing him "emasculated" by his living situation. He is being unreasonable and there is nothing you can do to change that OR his situation...and it's not up to you anyway. Don't focus on how your argument puts you at his will, or how you think it might change his attitude, because it does neither. The best thing you can do it stand up for yourself and don't spend excessive amounts of time focusing on this. It's frustrating, but I think it boils down to him, not you or even your relationship with him.
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Re: How do you defend yourself? (father and son) - April 11th 2011, 03:50 PM

The first part seems like he's a normal fatherly figure, albeit strange, but normal. If you don't mind me saying, it seems as though his need to be right is trying to compensate for something. It seems he's trying to turn you into a respectable person through "tough love" however, the other things you listed are not normal. But please may I give you one major tip, do not fight with him, run, do anything but hit back. Knowing the kind of person he is he can and will contact police and no matter what you say, you started the fight. It is simply the way he is, a liar. I really have no real advice, he is a hard to get along with person, you are no longer a minor and therefore no longer protected by the law. Your choices remain leaving his ass in the dirt and moving out, or dealing with him. I'm sorry that there is no other choices.

- Justin
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