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I am a 22 year old living with my parents. I'm currently in quite a bit of distress as my father has kicked me out. I assume my mom will talk with him when she gets back from her night shift but for now I'm not welcome. He assaulted me (tried to strangle me) before kicking me out.

The reason we had this argument is because he always wants to be right. My sister had insulted me minutes before because I had done something slightly wrong. I was aware of what I had done wrong and accepted that. I did not however accept the insult. My dad explained what I did wrong. In turn I explained I didn't like being insulted. He said "You don't understand, you did X wrong." It went on a bit like that. He just got more and more angry. I kept telling him I did understand, but I didn't like being insulted about it. I probably got angry too. Then he exploded and assaulted me. This happens more often. My sister and my boyfriend pulled him away from me, dad told me to leave, but I went all out on my sister. I told her I hate her and it was all her fault. I don't hate her, I said that in anger and frustration.

He has been angry before with me and it's always been because he says I don't listen or I (or my brother or sister) doesn't agree with him. I don't know what to do with this. How do I handle it when my father only wants to hear "You are right" and nothing else? He has argued with me and others over things that could be proven wrong. He once argued with me how a place looked that I had visited that day and he last visited 30 years ago. There were absolutely no stairs over there, he said. Now I even said he was right but he didn't accept that I felt insulted.

What can I do when my father always wants to be right? How can I speak to him about this?

I should probably mention both my father and I have been diagnosed with autism. And I don't want anything legally done. I love my father and understand why he does this. I need to know how to cope with it somehow. Excuse my ranty post. I'm fine with edits to the structure.

  • For context, in case anyone deems it important, my sister came home and called "hi" towards my bedroom, where I was busy gaming. I was too busy gaming to go downstairs and say hi, which I should have done according to dad, so I shouted "hi" back and went downstairs after my game finished 5 minutes later, just when dad came home. Sister didn't hear my response and insulted me with something with "deaf" in. – Belle-Sophie Mar 21 '16 at 20:53
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Please take this answer as purely neutral, I am neiter defending your father nor implying any fault with you. These things are *much* easier to analyze and understand if you remove any trace of the world "fault" from your thinking. Instead, try to find a mindset that mainly revolves around "cause and effect" as the driving motivator.

Also note that this question completely ignores the strangling attack or the getting kicked out, but focuses on the initial events leading up to the rest. I assume that the events before the escalation were simple everyday sister-to-sister bantering, and not some kind of hard abuse.

Analysis

It went on a bit like that. He just got more and more angry. I kept telling him...

So he went on and on, and you went on and on. It seems to be like both of you wanted to be right at all cost. This kind of discussion can lead to nothing except an escalation.

If anyone of you two had stopped at any time, the situation could and would have defused. Since you obviously cannot make the other person stop in such a situation, you, by pure logic, do have to find a way to stop yourself.

This "stopping" is very, very hard when you are in emotional chaos; especially when you are in a familiar situation. It's like someone is rubbing salt in your wounds. Still, it can be done.

So the takeaway in for this particular part of your situation would be: no, your father does not "always want to be right". You both do, and you have not developed a way to communicate with each other that leads to good results.

What to do

What can I do when my father always wants to be right? How can I speak to him about this?

You do not speak to him about this in the sense of "making him see things".

You shift your own way of thinking and talking. Not because he is your father, but because this is the only thing that ever works in any problematic combination of people. Note that this does not mean that you blame yourself (remember, there is no "fault" involved) or that you just are a passive victim from now on, on the contrary! You are taking hard work on yourself to make your situation better, with the understanding that changing the other person is usually impossible.

Your autism makes it difficult for me to put up specific advice, as I don't know how it manifests in your or your father. I also don't know how your age of 22 translates to your emotional age. But ask yourself a few questions:

  • Why were you so emotionally upset by your sisters insults? No, do not write an answer here in the comments, but sit down and really really find out why that is.
  • Could you have ignored the insults?
  • How did the situation present itself to your father? How is it for him to be a judge between two fighting people?
  • Was the initial reaction of your father, patiently explaining something to you, really so bad, considering the spectrum of possible reactions?
  • Why was it so hard on you that your father tried to explain something which you already knew?
  • What would have been your internal emotional reaction if you had not known what you had done wrong, and your father had explained it?
  • What exactly in your reaction could have made your father go nuclear? Was it only the fact that you kept insisting and coming back with the same arguments, time after time?
  • You did do something wrong towards your sister (you do not tell us what it was, and it doesn't really matter). Would it have been possible to simply ignore the result, apologize to your sister, and be done with it?
  • Was there any way that you could just have said to your father, after letting him explain to you what you did wrong: "Doh, you are right; I thought so myself already. I'm so sorry."? Would that have somehow lessened/weakened you? Would it have solved the situation?

If you give yourself a moment, you probably can think of more questions to ask yourself.

Now, it is perfectly possible and just fine if you can answer only few or even none of those questions. That is a sign that you may benefit from some outside help. This can simply be an outside adult you trust who you can talk to (and ask those or other questions).

Some organizations like the Red Cross or Caritas offer "family therapy", maybe even free. You do not need to drag your father with you, but you can easily go there alone and talk about it with them (make it clear that you want to know what you can do, not what your father can do). It also does not need to take dozens of sessions; maybe one good long talk is enough to get you started.

When and if you get a good understanding in these questions, there may, at a latter date, come a point where you sit down with your father and talk about it in a very relaxed manner, possibly with some neutral moderator. But getting the above questions cleared up for yourself helps a lot, first, and may even resolve the communication problem to some extent.

Violence

As said in the preamble, this question only relates to the initial communication problem, not your father trying to strangle you or kick you out of the house.

This is intentional as these are two very different topics. It should be abundantly clear that you do not take physical abuse from anybody. If this subsists, don't fool around with looking for answer, but, plainly, go to the police or stay a few days with friends, relatives or if you really have nobody else, a home for mistreated women or something like that.

Moving out

There is the (not altogether unlikely) possibility that whatever you or your father do, you will never get these communication issues resolved.

It may be time for you to move out of your parents house. You are an adult, and obviously you do not feel like a small child anymore. Your father now lives with another adult instead of a child, as well.

Try to imagine yourself living on your own, maybe with your boyfriend - does it feel like something you could do?

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Two months ago I got angry enough with my dad that I punched him in the arm and gave him a big black patch for a week. What I did was wrong, and I apologized 30 minutes after the incident. What he did was he started scolding me about something he knew nothing about, had nothing to do with him, and generally was being a nuisance. He still had no idea what he did wrong.

This is just a preface with regards to my relationship with my dad. We don't hate each other, but I honestly am not sure I understand my interactions with him. When I was 11 years old, I hated my dad enough to want to get revenge by killing myself. That chapter has been dealt with, so that's no longer an issue.

Now, having said this, I'm not you, and you're not me. We don't have the same dads. Even if we do, the fact that I'm not you means the relationship can easily be different.

Let's start by looking at the two parts of the relationship. You and him.

When you think about what has happened, are you calm enough to separate what you did and what he did? Can you identify what you did wrong? Can you identify what he did wrong? Can you reference to your mistake without talking about it as a cause-and-effect? (e.g.: He did this so I did this, so it is actually their fault).

First step is to separate the actors. He's responsible for his actions. You are responsible for yours. There is a reason manslaughter is still 10 years in prison. There are probably many reasons why you did what you did, but the first step to improving your situation is identify what YOU did. As long as you think the problem is with someone else, then the solution becomes entirely dependent on the "cause" of the problem. If you can clearly specify what you did incorrectly, then you can actually start fixing it. Evidence of this shows up in how you asked the question. Re-read it and see if you can identify them.

Second, once the actors are separated, repeat to yourself that YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR SOMEONE ELSE'S ACTION. No matter what they say, what they did is THEIR responsibility, not yours. This second part only works if you did the first part, because without it, this step is just hypocrisy.

Third, once you can clearly write down what each actor are responsible for, assess what options are feasible. Are you in a position to talk over what is wrong with the relationship? Is the other person receptive to talking about it? Again, repeat step two if you forget, because it is NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CHANGE SOMEONE. If the other party is not being civil, do what you can to protect yourself. Crash at a friend's place for a couple days, look for work, and rent out a place. A single adult has tremendous flexibility with lodging and employment, even with autism. You brought up something that many people will find difficult in sharing, so you're quite capable.

I read your comment about what happened and you can actually do this with your sister too, or basically anyone you come across (boss, friends, girlfriend, co-worker, etc.) Start with learning how to process responsibility and differentiating actors.

With regards to feeling insulted, I'm learning more and more that it is actually a choice to be insulted. I guess one way I would react to being accused of being deaf was apologizing, saying something like "Sorry, I got really caught up in my game." Then there is always a mischievous side of me that would just say "Huh? You said something?" in response. Or I would just say nothing and actually pretend to be deaf, or just go really crazy and emotional, wrap myself around her ankle, fake cry for her forgiveness, or give her a big hug and try to kiss her, etc...

I realize I was not caught up in the moment of things and am thinking in isolation of the actual situation, so I wouldn't say I react calmly all the time. In fact, me punching my dad proves I don't do that, but I'm learning I have the capacity to, and you will too.

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    +1 for "...it is actually a choice to be insulted.". My family members insult me all the time. We all know that they love me and don't actually mean it, and I respond pleasantly. My youngest brother insults himself worse than anyone else does, and we all have a lot of fun with it. Nobody gets offended. – zondo May 30 '16 at 11:46
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It is irrelevant who is right. A pathological need to be right is a sign that someone is being controlled by their ego and it wouldn't matter if you could prove beyond all doubt that your father is in fact wrong you would not convince him, so stop trying.

Let him think he is right, what difference does it make to you unless you have a need to be right as well. You don't have to implicitly agree with what he says and if you have to say something just state your point of view once and then leave the situation.

Arguing will get you absolutely no where. If you feel like you have to prove you are right if you think you are then you need to move out and get your own house and then you can do that.

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