Help! Relationship With My Dad Is Strained!
I am now a young adult of 21 from a divorced family living with my dad. Since I was born, my dad has always been a very heavy drinker(hard liquor) and a heavy smoker and I do feel he has anger management issues as well.
Though he wasn't physically abusive, his verbal abusiveness knew no bounds. Profanities are blurted like verbal diarrhea. It was already bad enough when he was sober, thus when he was drunk it seemed to me like all hell broke loose.
I think it got worse when my mum decided to file a divorce. That was around 6 years ago. My dad started just blaming my mom that day and he does till now. He said things like: "she broke the sanctity of our marriage" or "I cannot forgive her for what she has done, for all the pain and misery she has caused this family" or "I will never trust women again because of what she had done" like he was some kind of angel.
Well I do believe it takes two hands to clap and that both of them had contributed to the outcome today. I do know some "dark secrets" that happened like many years ago due to my dad hiring a private investigator to find out everything and tail my mom.
One of those secrets was that I was supposed to have a sister, but my mom had an abortion when I was still in preschool. My mom honestly did her fair share of wrong too but I can forgive her because after awhile as I could understand why she wanted a divorce.
The truth about the abortion was also that she did not want the baby to come into the world as my father did not like working and would just skip work to be "resting" at home. There wouldn't be sufficient money in maintaining the household and my mom did not want my sister to come into the world living in the bad condition our family already was. It would only serve to make all of us more miserable.
However, the private investigator left that part out of the report to my dad and up till today my dad still labels her as a "sister killer" I readily forgave my dad too for all he had done in the past after a night where he asked for forgiveness from all the abuse that he had put me through in the years before.
His life after the divorce was one of girl hopping and drunkenness. There was a period of time where he had no mood to work and quit his job, spending almost everyday drinking and bumming out at home.
However his friend had introduced him to Christianity and eventually he found a reason to get back to work and stop smoking. He also had settled on loving just one girl again. Honestly, I was very happy for that. However, his drinking problem only worsened. Whatever money he saved from smoking, went to his booze fund.
Even now at his current job, he drinks alcohol at work and he says that everybody there drinks at work! (I don't understand why any company would allow their employees to drink themselves silly during work). I have tried talking to him and getting closer to him but it always ends up with him forcing his own ideas on me and saying that "You have to be more mature" or if I talk to him about his drinking problem, he would twist Christianity to his favor and say "But Jesus drank as well!"
I neglected to mention that my father is a person who must always have his way and anyone that tries to talk to him or share their ideas with him will always get shot down by him as he has a "I am always right" mentality.
If he doesn't get what he wants or if the outcome is not in his favor, he would always use his anger and his "colorful words" to make sure that any situation gets turned in his favor. This happens often with his current girlfriend and our neighbors can often hear his arguments(sober or drunk) very clearly. It also does not help that his girlfriend's anger is very much like his but without the profanities. Their arguments can go on till early in the morning!
Till now, he hates my mom and though he says that whatever relationship I have with my mom is for mine to do as I see fit, every time he knows that I am out with my mom and I return home, his anger would flare up at the littlest things and think that the people he loves have betrayed him. That is why I now have to hide it most of the times I go out with my mom.
I really don't know what to do anymore but just pray. If I try again and talk to him, there would be no doubt he would only listen to the things he wants to hear and shoot down all other things. Anything bad happens, he would resort to drinking again and it all just doesn't end, becoming a very vicious cycle.
I know all that I have mentioned may be a bit biased but the next part is about myself and I would really appreciate it if you could help me with our anger issues and bring us back together again.
I am quite a passive person and honestly I never ever want to get angry. Sometimes I just let people hurt me or say things to me so I can understand why they are doing so to me. My friends always tell me that I am too good-natured and must learn to be more assertive, but I just can't, it's just in my nature.
However when pushed enough I do get angry. Ironically this happens mostly at home, with my dad. Sometimes the things he says of my mom are just too much and I would try to defend her and we would argue(with the outcome being in his favor and doors slamming by him would occur). There are times I know I am at fault and when I was younger I would try to run away from taking the blame but I can safely and proudly say now that I have matured.
If I am wrong I would admit it and I will speak the truth (also because of what I learn in church and my revelations from God). However I think that my father thinks I am still that kid from before and thinks that I will not admit to my mistakes If he finds something wrong at home.
For example sometimes there may be a tiny hint of dried feces in the inner toilet bowl and that being one of his pet peeves, he would get all angry and start blaming everyone else living in the same household besides himself and without even trying to investigate who might have done it. It's also amazing how he can point that tiny speck of feces under the strong influence of alcohol (yes this happens mostly when he is drunk too). Honestly I do not think it's that big a deal and I do feel that he is making a mountain out of a molehill.
Due to these frequent happenings I have found myself having a sense of reluctance in going home or even just seeing my dad.
I really don't know what to do. If I talk to him I get shot down, if I don't I still randomly get shot at. I really want to get closer to him and our anger problems to be out of the way. Please help us!
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Kay, and thanks for telling your story here. I can tell that you care a lot about your father, and that you want your relationship to be better.
Unfortunately, as long as he continues to drink alcohol, he will place drinking above you and everyone else in his life. This is the nature of alcohol addiction. Learn more about alcohol abuse here. You might consider attending an ALANON meeting, which is for the purpose of supporting people like you in relationships with people who are alcoholics.
I think the absolute highest priority is for you to move out of your dad's house and get a place of your own. I don't think anything can get better until you do that.
Regarding your anger, it sounds appropriate and healthy to me. Your anger is showing up toward your father because he is abusive, and addicted to alcohol.
I encourage you to find the necessary distance you need to keep yourself emotionally safe from your father. Read about personal boundaries to understand this better.
I'm sure your father is a good man, but the main point here Kay, is that you have to take care of yourself. That will mean keeping clear boundaries with your father, and it will include some letting go of the relationship along the way. Learn to put yourself first Kay.
My very best to you,
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