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My father and I have an inequitable relationship. I'm not allowed to talk back to him or say anything to my mom in his presence without telling him. I have nothing against such a state of affairs; after all, he is a figure of authority.

A few days ago, he showed me a video of two children singing on Facebook and gave a high opinion about them as I looked on. He went on about how children my age had achieved great things (in his exact words, "Do you know what kids your age do?").

With all due humility, I find that offensive. I don't think I am an underachieved child. I've told him multiple times before this incident how I feel about his narcissism, and each time, he replied with a casual "okay". I told him this once more, but this time, he lost his temper. He hurled expletives at me, calling me a corpse (that's a slur in our native language) and an ungrateful child, and told me once more about the exemplary 16-year old.

Some more information about my father's character—which he has had as long as I can recall:

I sought therapy at school a few years ago, but my dad made a huge scene out of it. He called my mother a sitting-duck to my bad tendencies and me, a mental patient. He made it clear that I was not to seek any psychiatric help as it would, I'm sure, render him the father of a mental patient. It was impossible for me at the time. I had to take light valproic acid for 2-3 weeks without his knowledge. Even my teachers knew, but not him. I am confident he would kill me if he found out.

I have never had a single birthday party. I'm fine with it; after so many years, I realise birthdays aren't anything special at all. But wouldn't most parents at least ask their children if they wanted one? My dad pushed the idea away early on, not because of the way I see it, but because in his opinion, parties are for people of low character.

All of this does affect my self-esteem.

My goal:

  1. How do I convince my dad to stop talking to me like I'm a lazy, school-flunking drug addict?
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Your father's behaviour reads as clearly abusive to me. He is preventing you from accessing means of support (such as the school psychologist or by having a relationship with your mother that he doesn't control). You are afraid that he might kill you.

It is not really possible to change who people are by taking to them. There aren't the right words you can say that would cause your father to stop being an abuser.

Talking about it can help eg if the parent genuinely wants to inspire the child, but ends up being demoralizing. Or if both sides want a positive relationship, but end up fighting about a particular topic, a calm discussion and joint decision to avoid this topic might help.

Unfortunately, the only advice I have for you is to give up on your father. This is him failing as a parent, not you failing as a child. Seek healthy sources of validation wherever you can find them. Do what you have to do to survive for another two years, and once you are legally an adult, leave and find your own way in life.

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    And, find other sources of support. It doesn’t have to be a therapist (for now, bc it will only cause you more grief.) When I was young, I sought out “surrogate parents” of a sort, because mine were useless. Some were relatives, some teachers, some were friends’ parents. I got what I needed from them, not consciously, until I was older and on my own and able to get professional help. I don’t mean it to sound like I used people-these relationships went both ways, but my point is that you need someone in your corner. No one says it HAS to be mom and dad. (Although it should be.) – Jax Jan 18 at 19:04
  • Thank you. He's not that bad, now that I think about it. He just doesn't put it out in words. He had a bad childhood himself; he grew up as the youngest in a family with five siblings and was himself seldom appreciated. – Aravind Suresh Jan 19 at 10:52
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    @AravindSuresh Don't go justifying his behavior. It can explain it, but it doesn't excuse it. And he shouldn't be treating you the same way. – JonTheMon Jan 20 at 18:02

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