Dealing with a negative parent
August 24, 2008 6:36 PM Subscribe
My father's paranoia and controlling behavior is driving me up the wall. What I can do to calm him down?
posted by sixcolors to Human Relations (33 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My father used to be somewhat laidback, but around 10 years ago he started changing into a very uptight person. It gets worse and worse, year after year.
He nags, complains, and criticizes ALL THE TIME. I seem to be his favorite target. He blows up over the smallest things. For example, when I come home, sometimes I absent-mindedly drop my keys and purse on the sofa. For some reason, it really drives him crazy. I understand it is uncool to have clutter in the living room. But, I don't see what the big deal is. When he tells me to move my stuff, I just go down and move it. But, that's not good enough for him. When I did it Friday, he blurted out "What is WRONG with you? Why can't you act like a civilized person? You are SO disrespectful to me. NO one would EVER want to live with you in the future!"
Ninety-five percent of our major arguments are over very minor issues like what I mentioned above. One of the biggest arguments we had was over me leaving the dishwasher door open around last Christmas. He was being so vile that my mother threatened to leave him. And, that wasn't the first time and the last time, that my mother threatened to divorce my father because of the way he treated me.
As for the controlling part...he believes that he should dictate my every move. Sometimes when we go to the store or visit other people, he makes me change my clothing or hairstyle. It's not like I wear dirty or unflattering clothing. Or, dress inappropriately for the occasion, I don't wear jeans to weddings or whatever. I do wear jeans and t-shirts when I'm not going anywhere formal. He's embarrassed that I don't dress "feminine" enough for him. He constantly try to talk me into wearing skirts and heavier make-up. He didn't let me get a haircut until I started college. At my age, I don't believe that he should have any say, unless I wear something outrageous.
As for the paranoia part...he claims that I just don't respect him, whenever I don't do things like dress the way he wants me to or if I leave a cup on the counter and don't put it away immediately. He claims that people period don't respect him. Again, over little stuff, whenever he sees litter in his yard, he believes that people do it on purpose because they are jealous of his car (just a mustang), wife, and house. We live around a lot of teenagers, they litter EVERYWHERE, I see it all the time. And there's always the wind, which can blow anything in our yard. Another example, he recently flipped out because I didn't notice a spare pair of shoes that belonged to one of my friends, in my car. He claimed that they could've left drugs in them, and possibly did it to frame me.
I know I can't change his nature (very perfectionistic and pessimistic), but I want to know how I can handle him. Moving out is NOT an option, right now. And, speaking of moving out, the strange thing is that he does not want me to move out until I get married.