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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?

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.
posted by sixcolors to Human Relations (33 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Moving out is an option. Of course it is. And I say that not to bully you or undermine what you're saying - but to maybe help you change your perspective and feel better about the situation. You are an adult and you're choosing your life right now. Maybe you couldn't move out and go to school, or move out and continue to have your days free, but you can move out. So it's not that your life is great except you have to live in his house - it's that your life is great and in order to facilitate the rest of it you choose to live in his house. There's a difference. Honestly, I don't think anyone's going to be able to give you any advice for living happily with him... if your mother has repeatedly threatened divorce over this very issue, then no amount of "hey dad, we have to talk, it hurts me when..." is going to make any difference. For as long as you choose to live with him, you're just going to have to keep your head down and try to avoid conflict (or let him say what he likes, and work on learning not to care).
posted by moxiedoll at 6:48 PM on August 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Parents don't always "get" their kids. This is the advice someone gave me, then I passed it onto my two little sisters. Do everything you can to accommodate your parents until you can move out. If you are at the age where you feel like your parents should have no say, then you are at the age where you should be able to support yourself.
posted by mds35 at 6:53 PM on August 24, 2008


What I can do to calm him down?

It sounds like you can't do anything but avoid him.

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.

He sounds nuts. I bet you will get responses that say he has this or that disorder. But who cares? You can't fix him no matter what it is. You only get to control you. Use this to your advantage -- it's liberating.

Moving out is NOT an option, right now.

You know this is the advice everyone will give anyway, right? From where I'm sitting it looks like the only solution. The best thing you can do is work on making it an option. You are in the same situation as in Mother troubles except you are an adult. What a better position you are in because of that!
posted by fritley at 6:57 PM on August 24, 2008


your dad sounds like he is mentally ill and has issues with control. if you stay in the home until you are married, then he will have more control over you. for some reason, he is terrified of being dishonored, and thinks that if you stay in his home and pretend to be an obedient, feminine little girl for as long as possible, somehow he will protect his honor and masculinity.

i don't know why moving out is not an option, but if you feel it isn't, then you must find ways of coping with it. perhaps you can see a therapist who can help you find ways of dealing with such a toxic environment?

in the meantime, i would recommend playing along with it. just avoid invoking his rage as much as possible, and find a line you can repeat when he gets into his rages. "yes, father, you're right, father, i will try to do better." and remember that he is WRONG. you are worthy of love, and there is someone out there who would be delighted to spend the rest of his life with you.

but that kind of playacting can really wear you down, so have an exit plan. save up every penny you can to move out as soon as you can. yes, you may incur his wrath, but HE IS ILL. you do not have to be a slave to his impaired reasoning. it sounds like your mom is on your side, so you have an ally.

it will not be easy, but it may be the best thing for your mental health in the long run.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:02 PM on August 24, 2008


moxiedoll has the right of it - there isn't a good solution to this, because the 'problem' doesn't think that they are the problem. He wants respect but doesn't give respect to anyone else, I guess because he feels that he deserves it regardless of his actions.

Arguing with someone like this won't help. I wonder whether it would be worth trying to disengage - don't argue the point, just don't take it seriously - and start working on an exit plan as soon as possible, per thinkingwoman.
posted by Paragon at 7:05 PM on August 24, 2008


Moving out is an option. Of course it is. And I say that not to bully you or undermine what you're saying - but to maybe help you change your perspective and feel better about the situation. You are an adult and you're choosing your life right now. Maybe you couldn't move out and go to school, or move out and continue to have your days free, but you can move out. So it's not that your life is great except you have to live in his house - it's that your life is great and in order to facilitate the rest of it you choose to live in his house.

No, it is not an option, unless I couchsurf at friends houses or go on welfare or something. Employment is not an option right now, because of several health reasons. I can't get some of the health problems treated because I don't have health insurance. I can't live on my own without steady income.
posted by sixcolors at 7:07 PM on August 24, 2008


Can you illuminate us as to the nature of these health reasons? You are anonymous to us and have shared so much with us already anyhoo. A few more details can maybe help us help you.
posted by mds35 at 7:13 PM on August 24, 2008


No, it is not an option, unless I couchsurf at friends houses or go on welfare or something. Employment is not an option right now, because of several health reasons. I can't get some of the health problems treated because I don't have health insurance. I can't live on my own without steady income.

To me, this is really the problem. The only viable solution to the situation described in the original post is to move out. If you can't move out because of something else, then THAT is the problem.

Still, understand that moving out is an option. Whether you can afford to do it right this second or not, it's still an option. For example: I can't afford to buy a car right now. That doesn't mean I will never have a car. It means if I want a car, I need to take certain steps to make it happen.

You have medical problems which prevent you from working. You have no health insurance to take care of the problems. Instead of focusing on your father, spend your energy trying to find a solution to this problem. Maybe that means taking a different kind of job than you had considered before, maybe it means borrowing to get your healh issues cleared up, maybe it means something else, but as long as you take the attitude that "moving is not an option" you're going to be stuck in that house.

Make the decision to change your situation, nobody else can do it for you.
posted by toomuchpete at 7:16 PM on August 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


you're in grad school—have you investigated getting insurance through school? graduate housing? working on campus?
posted by lia at 7:22 PM on August 24, 2008


Can you illuminate us as to the nature of these health reasons? You are anonymous to us and have shared so much with us already anyhoo. A few more details can maybe help us help you.

One of them, I think it is simply TMI and not comfortable disclosing it, but fortunately it seems to be getting better if I take care of myself. *Sigh*...I hope this one will be believed...I CANNOT stay awake for the life of me. I sleep and sleep and sleep. No matter how much sleep I had the night before, sometimes during the day I just pass out. It is really weird, it's almost like an attack. I've lost several jobs falling asleep and have been kicked out of numerous classes. Caffiene and stimulant medication (that I used for another condition) sometimes help, but it really aggravates the first problem, and I don't have health insurance for the pills. I suspect I have undiagnosed narcolepsy or hypersomnia.
posted by sixcolors at 7:24 PM on August 24, 2008


Your father sounds like a more extreme version of my father. Fortunately, I was able to move out when I went to college (far away from home). My mother has gone into counseling and learned how to better deal with my dad (he refuses to go). He has since mellowed out a little bit. Your dad's behaviour seems a bit crazy, and the fact that he didn't used to be like this makes it seem like this could be a medical problem or at the very least that he needs some kind of help. There is very little that you are going to be able to do to deal with him. The only way I survived was by not being home very much and staying in my room when I was.

As far as what you can do to help yourself -- your college should have counseling services offered usually free of charge to help you emotionally deal with your situation. Ask at your school's health center. If money is a problem, there are people at your school who can help you figure out a way to pay for it, and if moving out and living on your own is even an option (it may be -- college financial counselors are experts at helping their students find money for school and living expenses).

Barring that, do you have a trusted friend whose house you could hang out at? Does your school have lounges that off campus students can use? I agree with others that a temporary solution would be avoiding being at home as much as possible. You could also try separating your space as much as possible from his. I have a friend who lives at home who has a separate entrance she uses to get to her own room and bathroom; it's like her own little apartment.

Hang in there! Life will get better, and you will find a way out of this! (Please see if you can get some counseling)
posted by bluefly at 7:24 PM on August 24, 2008


I'm a parent of two teens who I am preparing for an early nest exit. They are great people, and we listen to each other, and treat each other with courtesy. Here's the thing. It's my house. I like my house to be neat. I like my kitchen to be cleaned after the dishes. My son has admitted to me that his cleaning standards aren't as high as mine. He doesn't really care if his dishes are done or the countertops are wiped down. He's practically a legal adult, and we both know, I can't make him do anything he doesn't want to. On the upside, he loves and respects me and tries to make sure he meets my standards. On the downside, he just doesn't get it - he doesn't care about whether the kitchen is clean, and my liking for it is just a little bizarre to him, consequently, he doesn't often do a very good job.

Sometimes I get tired of his attitude and speak quietly to him and ask him, again, to try harder. He appreciates that I don't shout at him, and increases his effort for a short while. So here I am left in MY house that other people mess up. Yes, following metafilter's usual advice, I could kick him out, but I would rather he completed his education first. And while I'm at it, it'd be nice if he'd shave, and buy new clothes instead of wearing those daggy things around.

Your father's house, sixcolors. His house, and it doesn't matter how many times he asks you, you think it doesn't matter. You just mess up his living room, and dump your keys wherever, because it doesn't matter - to you.

Now, possibly, your father may not be as liberal or tolerant as I am, and the clothes choices you make may irritate him and he might not know ways of expressing that in a loving and polite manner. But even if he did, what notice would you take, because you're an adult right, and it's your choice?

Do you see what I'm getting at here? You get the adult rights (live how you want, see who you want, dress how you want) while living like a child (in your parents house, by your parents' income). So be an adult, even if you have to have them support you, and try to fit in.

Lastly, you can't get a job because of your health? Let me see - you can drive, because you have a car that your friend left a shoe in? Maybe you could be a taxi driver, courier, pizza deliverer part-time. You can type questions at metafilter? Maybe you could transcribe university lecturers research interviews. Sometimes, we can't afford to wait until all the circumstances are right before we take charge of our lives.
posted by b33j at 7:31 PM on August 24, 2008 [8 favorites]


I think counseling will be out the question. He doesn't trust therapists, or even medical doctors. When I used to get treated for severe depression, he tried to talk me out of seeing the therapists and taking the medication.

He also think my health and psychological problems are a result of lack of willpower. That seriously seriously HURTS me.
posted by sixcolors at 7:33 PM on August 24, 2008


Lastly, you can't get a job because of your health? Let me see - you can drive, because you have a car that your friend left a shoe in? Maybe you could be a taxi driver, courier, pizza deliverer part-time. You can type questions at metafilter? Maybe you could transcribe university lecturers research interviews. Sometimes, we can't afford to wait until all the circumstances are right before we take charge of our lives.

I have been looking into alternative forms of employment. Why do you think I have been trying to learn freelance photography and graphic design? If I happen to fall asleep at home, which I do several times a day, I won't get canned. But, yes, I agree finding a less traditional job seems to be only option right now.
posted by sixcolors at 7:37 PM on August 24, 2008


Counseling for you is out of the question? He doesn't have to know that you are going to talk to some one. Also, at my university there are often jobs for grad students that offer housing as part of the deal (RAs in some dormitories or sorority houses and other assistantships). Your problems aren't because of a lack of willpower, although it will take some effort on your part to get out of your situation. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking help for your health issues.
posted by bluefly at 7:45 PM on August 24, 2008


Counseling for you is out of the question? He doesn't have to know that you are going to talk to some one. Also, at my university there are often jobs for grad students that offer housing as part of the deal (RAs in some dormitories or sorority houses and other assistantships). Your problems aren't because of a lack of willpower, although it will take some effort on your part to get out of your situation. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking help for your health issues.

I meant counseling for him. There is no way he'll agree to see a therapist for his problem.

As for jobs at my U, been there done that. Fired for sleeping problems, two different jobs. One of them for falling asleep, and another for making a huge mistake because I was super drowsy which really reduces my mental functioning. I've been applying for more jobs there, but I'm not being hired, probably because of that bad reputation.
posted by sixcolors at 7:53 PM on August 24, 2008


Ignore your dad. Let him say what he's going to say, then do what you're going to do.
posted by kldickson at 8:04 PM on August 24, 2008


Seems like your dad is verging on the abusive. Fact is, you can leave, but it's not going to happen until you decide that your autonomy is more important than appeasing those who hurt you. You can never make your dad stop being a tool, but you can take matters into your own hands and get out on your terms.
posted by sian at 8:35 PM on August 24, 2008


To my mind you have two problems far more serious than your relationship with your father, that should be given higher priority:

1. You have narcolepsy, or something resembling it.

2. Your dad has some kind of mental illness. Based on the timing and progression it sounds a lot like Huntington's to me, but that's just what I'm personally familiar with and IANAD. It could be just about anything, but the key point here is that it could get dramatically worse and could cause him symptoms far worse than paranoia and personality issues.

More importantly, it could be something treatable and he could get back to normal. The same goes for you.

I know I'm not answering your question, but these two things are at the root of your relationship problem. And there's no real solution to that problem, because as everyone else has said, you can't help someone who doesn't know they need help. Learning to ignore/detach is the best option you have, but I'd work on the root issues ASAP.

I also don't have any easy answers for #1 and #2. But I wish you luck.
posted by mmoncur at 8:38 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


To answer your immediate question, the only way you'll likely be able to calm him down (short of moving out) would be to accommodate him.
The keys-on-couch example *sounds* absurd, but it's equally absurd for you to fully expect this sort of reaction and continue to "absent-mindedly" provoke it.

Sometimes when confronted with silly quirks like this there's an innate passive-aggressive urge to provoke a reaction, even if you are fully consciously aware that the reaction will be unpleasant; in my experience there's a justification in the back of my mind that allowing something to "blow up" will afford me the opportunity to finally, effectively defend myself and subsequently unveil the inherent absurdity of the Universe -- "why the hell are we arguing about this anyway, this is insane"...but the other party doesn't seem to buy in.

I think most "absent-minded" people (myself included) can program themselves to be consistent about certain things if they take the consequences seriously. Then again, everyone's different and I can only speak for myself.

Telling you what to wear seems extreme, sure. Avoid going out with him, if you can...but do something else -- get out there and live as much of a life as you can within your current environment.

I occasionally find myself going to the dark, negative place where your father seems to live, finding fault in everything, but I have a keen awareness that my biggest frustration is with myself.

I have a pretty good sense of perspective about what really matters in life, but constantly have to remind myself regardless. At the very least I can bring myself back, while many people seem to inhabit a ridiculous corner of human nature where everybody else has "the problem."
a
I wish you could trigger some sort of epiphany in him, but if such a thing is ever to happen, it'll probably happen after you leave. If there is a way for you to trigger this, it'll be a hugely unpleasant, uphill battle, but he probably won't accept any sagelike words of wisdom from you until you've struck out on your own and proven that you're a responsible adult.

The sleep disorder must be diagnosed ASAP. If it has such control over your life, you must understand it thoroughly. Until then you might always feel some sense of guilt and doubt about the condition; on the surface it sounds questionable that it would make such an impact on you, and be your primary reason for subjecting yourself to such a negative environment, and yet you aren't really sure what's wrong with you in the first place (and seem to be operating a motor vehicle on some regular frequency).

I know little of the subject, but it could simply be that you're depressed and have programmed yourself to think that "this is it." Moving out is the solution; like others have said you must tackle every obstacle on that path and remove every doubt and excuse that keeps you from even beginning to head in that direction.
posted by aydeejones at 8:46 PM on August 24, 2008


OK, you're still in your grad program, right? Can you get health insurance through the university? Or can you ask your parents to add you on their insurance as a dependent? I'm just a bit worried about your sleep attacks - in prior questions you stated you had a pretty active social life, at least in the evenings. That probably involves driving around in your car, so possible narcolepsy + at the wheel = not good.

As for your Dad - he sounds nutty, yes. I do see b33j's point, though. If you know certain things set him off, the only solution (right now) is to alter your behavior. For example, have a basket where you dump your keys/purse every day when you come in. One problem solved. You also mentioned that you have OCD - he may have it, too. Little things that wouldn't bug other people (say, leaving the dishwasher door open) make him crazy. It's up to you to make the best of it, I'm afraid - until you can set things in motion to move out.
posted by Liosliath at 8:50 PM on August 24, 2008


Hon, your dad is mentally ill. That is not normal behavior.
He is exhibiting paranoia.

If he ever threatens violence, call the cops. I mean it.
posted by konolia at 9:05 PM on August 24, 2008


Regarding health insurance, I am currently saving up money to get an "independent" one, my grandfather MAY chip in. I graduate in December, so U insurance won't be worth it. I am too old for my parent's health insurance plan.

And regarding my sleeping problem and me driving a lot...I rarely get sleepy while driving for some reason. And I rarely have those sleeping attacks in the evening, they usually occur anytime from noon to 4pm. But, as I mentioned earlier, sleeping problems aside, there's still other issues going on that could prevent me from being/staying employed.
posted by sixcolors at 9:19 PM on August 24, 2008


I rarely get sleepy while driving for some reason. And I rarely have those sleeping attacks in the evening, they usually occur anytime from noon to 4pm.

Er... Just a random stab in the dark, but do you eat a big lunch? That's like the ideal time for post-big-food siesta. I used to get horribly sleepy right around 2-3pm everyday at work and cut my lunch in half, which fixed that.

Anyway, as for your dad, he sounds completely irrational. No amount of reasoning or talking can get through to those people, so avoidance may be your best bet--perhaps figure out a routine plan with your mother so you can avoid dealing with him?

And yes, definitely keep feelers out for abuse, because it sounds like it's going downhill. In fact, if you did move out, I'd worry about your mother.
posted by Ky at 9:27 PM on August 24, 2008


I would call your health center and ask if they can give you any advice on how you could get free or greatly reduced medical treatment for your (probable) narcolepsy. When my insurance ran out in college the doctor at my college health center gave me the names of several places I could go. Chances are they are aware of what medical services are available in your community. Also call up any medical schools, many have free or reduced rate clinics. IANAD and have no idea what the treatment for narcolepsy (or whatever you may have) is, but I'm guessing that if you are persistent and do your research you'll be able to find some free or cheap medical help for it somehow.

Even if you fail at finding free medical help. I would save up and go for one visit to a Dr. Preferably one you know by reputation is good and sympathetic (I know this may not be easy). Go and tell him straight that you have no money, no insurance and this will be the one and only appointment you'll have with him. You need him to diagnose and do as much as he can in this one appointment. This may not fly, but it's worth a shot and I'm guessing most Dr's would have mercy on you and do whatever they can for you to at least get you on your feet health wise.

You are going to need to be creative and persistent to solve this problem.

Good luck, I think once you get your health in order the rest of your life will start to fall into order.
posted by whoaali at 9:46 PM on August 24, 2008


No moving out until you get married??!

Your dad is nuts. Move out. it might be difficult, but really. Couch surfing and welfare are nowhere near as bad as what could happen. Take steps to get your narcolepsy looked at. Those are your options if you want to get out of your situation.

Way, way too many people (including those on AskMe) delay and delay on moving out and cutting the dad off until they have much bigger, scarier problems.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:33 PM on August 24, 2008


There's a possibility that the poster (given earlier questions) is overstating her position. From her father's point of view it might be:
I've asked my daughter again and again to keep the living areas tidy, but she just ignores me. I'm at my wits end. I've sat on her keys giving myself a nasty bruise but she says I'm complaining about nothing. Yes, I'm fussy about how I like the house, but it's my house and she takes no notice of me. She leaves dishes out, even when it would take just a second to wash and put them away and she can't even shut the dishwasher door. Just how hard is that? Is she doing it to get on my nerves, because it's working. Everytime I ask her to change her behaviour, she runs to her mother and exaggerates what happened and makes me look like the bad guy. She's interfering with my relationship with my wife. Yes, sometimes I get upset about our messy yard, but I'm just venting. Nobody ever picks up the rubbish but me. Finally, have you seen what she wears when she goes out? You can see her bra strap! In my day, good girls never showed their underwear. I'm embarrassed and she won't change into more respectable clothes. And her friends, I really don't trust them. They don't call me Mr Colors, barely talk to me at all, they might be on drugs, I've seen it on Dr Phil.

Yeah, sure, not a pretty picture of the guy, but certainly not insane. A lot of the pressure will be off if OP cleans up after herself, and helps around the house without asking (and that's not a new problem - generations have been arguing over since dot.) Dealing with it might also mean accepting her father grew up with different standards and ideals and that she's clashing with his principles (however mixedup they might be.) This is normal parent-child separation. And this is why, OP, I think you should move out. Not because your dad is mad or evil, but because it's time for you to set your own standards.
posted by b33j at 12:02 AM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


You must make resolving your health issues your first priority. Don't wait until you graduate-- get on a high-deductible plan RIGHT NOW. I don't know where you live but sometimes they can be as little as 150 a month. That means you will still have to pay to go to the doctor but you will be protected from pre-existing condition issues, and if you do require hospitalization for any of your symptoms you will be somewhat protected. If you have to, sell some of your stuff, or beg, borrow money from your grandfather or mother (since it sounds like your dad might not want to help).

This should be your only priority. Not having fun with your friends, not going to school, not even resolving your issues with your dad. Once you are healthy you will be in a position to resolve all the other stuff.

I know it probably seems overwhelming but you're an adult. You can do it.
posted by miss tea at 4:17 AM on August 25, 2008


At the end of the day if you still live at home and are supported by your parents financially so they get to have a say over how you behave in their house and how you treat their posessions...and appreciating this is also part of being an adult.

As is doing whatever is in your power to make yourself financially independent to contribute to your upkeep at home and to move out eventually - their duty to support you is long over and by the sound of it your parents are going out of their way in supporting you as young adult to allow you to get a good education.

If you don't fall asleep in the evenings I would suggest you look for work that allows you to work in the evenings even if it is a part time job...and offer to pay them board but also to save up to sort out your health problems. I can see where your dad is coming from if your health prevents you from working but not from socialising...not saying your problems are not genuine but you can see how it might look to him.
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:55 AM on August 25, 2008


I'm another person that doesn't see your father's behaviour as too extreme. You are slobby and inconsiderate and it is HIS house. Making him remind you more than once a week to not leave your things on his couch IS rude and disrespectful. You sound like you are causing him a lot of stress and he doesn't see you growing up (to him, marriage) and moving out anytime soon. You need to move out though because you are an adult and you are unhappy and adults can either take action or they can stop complaining.

He also thinks my health and psychological problems are a result of lack of willpower.

But they are a result of a lack of willpower. Who do you think is responsible for your health? Adults see something is not normal and they take steps to correct the problem, Even if it means multiple steps: get a short-term job to pay for the doctor, follow all suggestions, monitor your own health continuously.

Fix your health. If you truly have a sleep disorder then you shouldn't be driving, period. Every narcoleptic I know had at least one car accident before they were diagnosed. You don't have the right to kill someone else. If you don't feel the sleepiness is enough to keep you off the roads (because you can make yourself stay awake) then there is no reason you can't apply the same willpower to a job. Have you kept a food/sleep/activity diary to see if you have any triggers for sleepiness? That will be something to bring to the doctor to aid in diagnosis. Have you videotaped yourself sleeping to see if you are restless or deep sleeper? Have you researched narcolepsy, sleep apnea etc? You family doesn't sound poor (house, car) so surely your parents will lend you the money to see a doctor if you arrange a reasonable repayment scheme.
posted by saucysault at 7:45 AM on August 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Re: medication for hypersomnolence-
The pharmaceutical companies that make the most often prescribed medication for narcolepsy both have patient assistance programs to deliver medications for free or for very little money. If you don't have insurance or income, you would almost certainly qualify.

Additionally, if you find a hospital in your area that offers sleep testing (polysomnography + multiple sleep latency testing), you can contact someone in their billing department before getting any testing done to find if they'll reduce/discount/donate your testing for you. This is especially likely if they take federal funds as they are legally required to put X amount of money aside for low-income patient services.

Ok, all that said: if moving truly is not an option, then yes, follow all of his quirky rules, stay out of the house for as long as possible (without rocking the boat), and so on, but look into every option possible for getting out. Even though mom and dad and I get along like peas and carrots, it took me being out of the house for some time before both they and I were able to chill and see each other as people rather than annoyances.

The things that are holding you back are almost always going to be able to overcome if you're willing to put in the footwork. Good luck!
posted by palindromic at 10:28 AM on August 25, 2008


rarely get sleepy while driving for some reason. And I rarely have those sleeping attacks in the evening, they usually occur anytime from noon to 4pm. But, as I mentioned earlier, sleeping problems aside, there's still other issues going on that could prevent me from being/staying employed.

So get a job where you work in the evening, or where you work in the morning. Your other issues ¨could¨ prevent you from doing this, but perhaps they won´t.

Stop leaving your keys and purse in the living room. Obviously, this is a big deal to your father. You don´t have to figure out what the big deal is to stop doing it. He´s paying for your living expenses, right? This is one of the things he wants you to do in return. You don´t do it. That´s why he feels like you don´t respect him.

Don´t like all that? Well, that´s what happens when you are an adult but still live with your parents, you don´t get to be an adult in all ways. If you can´t move out right now, you will have to accept that your ¨free¨ place to live has strings attached.
posted by yohko at 1:42 PM on August 25, 2008


This sounds a lot like my dad (except with less appearance commentary and more hitting round the head and 'your room's always a mess - no wonder I had a heart attack'). However, I left home as soon as I could - I recognised that I'm not a tidy person at all (and it drove my mother mad) but there is a difference between having to reasonably respect someone's rules and what;s...I hesitate to use 'abusive behaviour' because people are fond of throwing phrases like that about, but telling you how to dress is undermining and not respecting your privacy. I think taking the steps to allow you to move out is an excellent idea.
posted by mippy at 5:29 AM on October 31, 2008


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