4

I think it's best to tell the story before asking the question.

I live on my own now and my dad said I could have a spare bed he has. I didn't ask he offered. I am very grateful for this, beds cost a lot of money. He arranged a time to drop it off and I was home waiting for him.

He got really mad that my old bed was still in my room. He had agreed to help carry the new bed up the stairs so it seemed logical to assume he would help carry the old one out. But he insisted it was my responsibility to already have the old bed moved out.

I admit, maybe it was my mistake. I certainly didn't intend harm. What I didn't like is how he started swearing and telling me I should yell at my landlord because I'm doing her work. We got in an argument and I told him he can go yell at my landlord if he wants because in my opinion she has done nothing wrong.

He got mad and helped take my old bed out but left without helping put the new one in. He even commented how he's screwing me over.

It turned out I was able to carry everything by myself so that was no problem. If I had known my dad was so against carrying the old one out I could have got someone I live with to help or a friend. Or I could have just put the new mattress on top of the old one.

My dad then sent me a text message saying how manipulative I am and how I'm just using him. It then occurred to me, I am just using him. He's a very unpleasant person to be around and whenever I see him it's because he's offered to do something for me. If he hadn't freaked out at me I would have been happy to have a conversation with him and relax.

So here are my questions:

  1. My dad owes me an apology. How do I get it from him?
  2. I need/want more respect from my dad (and my mom) how should I get it from them? Fail that, how do I effectively distance myself from my parents?

The above (and my other questions) are examples of my dad's continuing behavior. I guess we're living in the same city now so that's why it's on my mind. I can't help but notice a lot of answers to my questions seem to take my parent's side. Why? My dad blatantly swore at me and because he had offered to do something for me isn't an excuse. Anyone who thinks it is, is childish them self.

  • I'm not completely sure this isn't primarily opinion based, or too broad, or even unclear. Just saying it might help to tighten it up. – anongoodnurse Feb 1 '17 at 4:14
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    From your previous posts it seems like you have a lot of issues with your parents. To simply put, you and your parents don't get along well. My suggestion is to limit your meetings with them. Don't ask for/accept help. Helps come at a cost, and if you can't afford the cost, don't ask for/accept them. – Alic Feb 1 '17 at 18:50
  • This reminds me of something a friend of mine does on a regular basis. She is very passive aggressive, and she will often volunteer to do something for you, then always finds a reason to get upset at you and makes it sound as if you are imposing on her, ungrateful for her help, etc. She often forgets that she volunteered, and will say "you wanted me to do this for you and then you...(insert complaint)" Manipulative people will often accuse others of manipulating them. – Francine DeGrood Taylor Feb 1 '17 at 19:18
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    As for the apology and more respect, there isn't really any way you can make anyone give you that. If you are a person worthy of respect (and I see no reason to assume you aren't) then either 1) he is not willing to give respect where it is due or 2) you expect too much. From your narrative, it sounds more likely that #1 is the case but you also need to understand that when we start feeling like somebody is doing us wrong, we also start anticipating it and, perhaps, seeing it more often than we would otherwise. I'd recommend finding a counselor who can help you work through this. – Francine DeGrood Taylor Feb 1 '17 at 19:28
10

There are problems here, it's obvious from this and prior questions. Your father and you do not communicate effectively, and assigning blame - or searching for affirmation - will do nothing to bring these altercations to a halt.

To answer your questions directly:

  1. Absolutely thank him for the bed. It was a gift, and he deserves your gratitude. I wouldn't add anything else for fear it might be misinterpreted.

  2. Assume nothing when it comes to your dad. Don't assume he'll do more than he stated. Don't assume you know his motives for saying the things he says. If you want to cut down on some of the conflict, learn to ask questions about important details; learn to anticipate potential problems.

  3. Anger is a secondary emotion (some experts disagree; some experts classify it as I did.) That is, most of the time when something upsetting happens, we aren't immediately angry; there's something that comes before, and it's uncomfortable, so we quickly shift to something less uncomfortable: anger. (There is such a thing as righteous anger - which is primary - but that's a different story.) Some primary emotions that commonly precede anger include hurt, feeling unloved, disrespected, helpless, frightened, and more. I can't guess what is happening in your father's mind, but those things are worth considering. Imagine someone unknowingly cuts you off in traffic. The common primary emotion is to feel disrespected or frightened, and this is quickly replaced by anger. Anger directs things outward and gives a false sense of power over a situation. But it's healthier to seek the underlying cause of anger and address it, as uncomfortable as it may be. Recognizing your true emotions is the first step in learning to deal with them. (That's why a rich emotional vocabulary is a gift to a child.)

  4. Does it really matter? It's happening; Assigning blame - or blamelessness - won't help prevent this next time. And there's a next time just around the corner.

You said,

It then occurred to me, I am just using him. He's a very unpleasant person to be around and whenever I see him it's because he's offered to do something for me.

If this is true, one thing you can do is to stop taking things from him for your convenience. Express gratitude for the offer, but deny yourself. You'll have less conflict this way.

Maybe reading about communication might give you some ideas on bettering interactions between you. Good luck.

Edited to add: In your edited question, you say

The above (and my other questions) are examples of my dad's continuing behavior.

They are also examples of your continuing behavior. This is a dance; you are both playing a part, and (imo) you're both trying to lead (in a good dance, one leads and the other follows. When both try to lead, it fails badly.) You can't and shouldn't "get him to apologize". As for respect, you earn it, set healthy boundaries so you are hurt less, or you lessen the contact you have. But you have a lot to learn about life, "fairness", and communication.

  • Yes #4 does matter. The father is the first male relationship a boy has. A lot is learned from this relationship and carried on to other relationships. So whether or not it is ok to get mad at a person because they made a mistake is important, is an important question as not all fathers set a good roll model. – snowchym Feb 1 '17 at 6:42
  • I tightened up the question so the numbers no longer match up by the way. – snowchym Feb 1 '17 at 6:45
  • @snowchym - Then I will say your father had every right to be upset that your bed had not been moved. And you have every right to feel hurt and unloved when he's hurtful and unloving. So does he. When you are a father, make it a point to be different (and better) from your dad. – anongoodnurse Feb 1 '17 at 17:13
3

Snowchym, I think that you have an idea of what your father and mother should be doing, but it doesn't fit with reality. You also get mad instead of trying to resolve the issue. You've mentioned that before, when you refused to allow your father to use the bathroom.

I understand completely. I had the same thoughts and feelings about my ex-husband. I should not have had to ask him to do chores. If he did do a chore, why should I have to thank him? He never thanked me for doing the chores I did. I often expected him to be a mind-reader. OF COURSE I wanted him to take his lunch kit out of his car and at least rinse it. OF COURSE I expected him to drive our daughter to the doctor when I broke my arm and could not drive. OF COURSE I expected him to understand why we had to pay for taxi rides to and from the doctor's office. (My daughter was sick and taking the bus was well over an hour trip both ways.)

Needless to say, I had expectations and ideas and he did not have the same expectations and ideas. Was it all his fault? As much as I want to say "yes", it's not true.

It would have done me no harm at all to communicate. "Would you please soak your lunch kit when you get home?" Or, "I cannot drive and our daughter needs to see the doctor. Would you prefer us to take a taxi or could you drive her?" My not asking was a form of passive aggression. I was setting him up to fail. Oh he still might have failed -- anyone could. He would say, "I mowed the lawn." I could have easily said, "Thank you!" and then told him, "I cleaned the bathroom." This is a personality difference. I did not feel the need to say I did a chore and wanted praise, but he did. How much harm would it do me to to simply notice or acknowledge him? None.

So (finally I get to the point) I think you should either invite your parents to your place or offer to bring a sweet treat over to their place and say you'd like to sit down for a chat.

Start by telling them that you love them and you think that you've all been having a difficult time lately with your relationship. You need to tell your father that you made a mistake. You should have moved the bed, but you did not think that he would mind helping you move the bed. So agree that in the future BOTH of you will try to say what you want and expect from each other. He expected you to 'know better' and you expected him to 'just know you wanted help with the old bed'. Neither of you was right -- or wrong. You miscommunicated. If you do not clear it up, then it adds another layer of misunderstanding to the on-going problem.

I also think that everyone in your family seems to have a 'right or wrong'/ 'do or die'/ 'my way or the highway' attitude. Life is not like that. It is anything but black and white. The shades of grey way outnumber the one way or another premise. So try to communicate. Remember that these are your parents. You could not be the great person you are without them.

When and if your parent makes a mistake in the future, or tells you that you made one -- just take a minute. "Wait, I think we're misunderstanding each other. What are you thinking? This is what I am thinking." Sometimes you will have to allow them to 'win', even if you disagree, If anyone is trying their best to help you -- that's a good time to let them win. Parents have certain 'rights', too. They are owed your respect. That doesn't mean they don't need to respect you, but kids earn respect and parents by virtue of being your parents already have respect. (I am not talking about specifics here, just in general about respect.)

On Edit: You father should not swear at you. You should be polite to your parents. We were not there, Snowchym. We can't understand why he swore. Exasperation? He always swears? He's nasty? He can't seem to make you understand what he may think is obvious?

You cannot make people honestly apologise. Anyone. Ever. They have to understand what they did was wrong or hurtful and then they decide whether or not they apologise.

You earn respect. Please try to sit down and talk it out with your family. I don't know how it is in your specific culture, but I think in general most parents are respected and shown respect simply because they are older than you and because they are your parents. You need to give them reasons and show them that you deserve respect.

I do admire that you are trying to get it right. I suspect that in time, you will have a wonderful relationship with your family. Best of luck.

3

The first thing to understand is that your dad cares about you and wants to spend time with you, he just isn't comfortable expressing this directly. Otherwise he wouldn't keep on reaching out to give you things.

Second, it seems like both you and your dad have poor communication styles. Next time he offers something to you, spend some time to clarify the expectations from both sides --what you expect from him, what he expects from you. If you aren't comfortable with his demands, politely decline the offer, and suggest some other activity instead.

The underlying problem is that you have a very one-sided relationship. As you yourself admitted, you're just using him, because you don't like spending time with him except for what he can give you. If you want to improve your relationship with your dad, you should start doing things for him as well. If you don't want to improve your relationship, you should stop accepting his help or offers of stuff. As far as the apology, offer one first and see if you get one back.

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