please give advice on how to react to something
November 8, 2012 6:55 PM   Subscribe

My dad was just incredibly rude to me. again. Please help me sort through my feelings, possible responses, and the wisest course of action.

Here's what happened. He re-posted an opinion about how drug testing for recipients of public assistance should happen. I commented to that a link about how drug testing in florida actually cost more money than it saved, and wrote a comment about how, if we're drug testing poor people, we should drug test everyone.

He commented back a pretty logical argument against my comment and concluded with "And stop following me around and posting contrary responses to everything I post." OK, I thought, he's probably just a bit snarky at me for contradicting him.

So I came back at him with another comment on the topic, to which he replied with this:

"Reb you remind me of 8th grade when you had to show everyone how wrong they are. Find something else to do."

My jaw hit the floor. So did my partners'.

This is, like, exactly the type of verbal shut-down that he has used my entire life. Well, when I was small enough, it wasn't verbal. I'm over 25 now. I had hoped that, you know, once I got a couple of college degrees and married and stuff, he'd treat me like an adult. But nope, every time I disagree with him, his response is basically "I'm your dad and what I say is right. If you disagree, well, I can't punish you anymore, but I would if I could."

So this is more of the same that's been going on a few times a year since I moved out six years ago. And, like I said, two degrees, married, etc, I'm getting sick of it. I want to have a real relationship with him, but I am not sure how to break past this rudeness and disregard.

Before I get any further, I gotta be honest. I was like that when I was in 8th grade. I still am a bit. I like to talk, I like to be right. That made his comment hurt even more, because I've been fighting against that my entire life. But it's true that I do like to argue too much.

I want to tell him that he was incredibly rude and hurt my feelings. But I know that he will respond with "you are being, as usual, over sensitive; blaming everyone else for not following your 'rules' and using that as a manipulative argument tactic." (he would never actually say *that*, but that's what he would mean.) I worry that he might be right, that that is what I do. That's also something that I've been fighting against my whole life - taking things too personally - and I know it's something he would consider the end word in any argument with me.

So I've thought of all sorts of really rude things to say back to him, like "treating people like they're in 8th grade must be why your church is thriving" or "Telling people who disagree with you to shut up will probably work forever." Etc.

But I really don't want to be rude back.

I think that if I try to argue with him, to prove that he's being rude, he will just call me argumentative. If I try to be honest with him and tell him he hurt me, he'll just say I'm being aggressively sensitive.

I kind of feel like my only option is to tell him that he needs to respect me if he wants to be friends. But I'm afraid that he will say that it is I who must respect him, etc etc, and that he has done no wrong, and so my only option will be to cut ties, or to bow my head and submit to his authority. I don't want to do either of those.

There's gotta be another way to do it. I know I'm not the first person who's had to deal with this, so please please tell me what you think of my situation, and if you have been through something similar before, how you acted and how it worked out.
posted by rebent to Human Relations (38 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
So don't disagree with him. You aren't going to change his mind. Or, more accurately, don't disagree out loud.
posted by COD at 6:58 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

He commented back a pretty logical argument against my comment and concluded with "And stop following me around and posting contrary responses to everything I post."

I know you feel like this is a Much Bigger Issue, but why are you persisting in posting arguments to his FB wall when he's asked you not to?
posted by DarlingBri at 6:59 PM on November 8, 2012 [31 favorites]

Just because you are right doesn't mean you have to say it out loud (or in print). It's OK to think you are right and keep it to yourself.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 7:02 PM on November 8, 2012 [7 favorites]

I think he was super rude. But I think you were a little off base here, too. Facebook wall fights are a little ... tasteless. State your opinion, and move on.

I'd let this one go, because it's a bit of mess. If he's rude to you in real life, plainly tell him you won't take that mistreatment. End the conversation, and leave if you have to.

Don't fight on facebook.
posted by murfed13 at 7:04 PM on November 8, 2012

Yeah, it sounds like he asked you not to argue with him about this and then you had to have the last word on it. I totally understand wanting to Be Right and having that compulsion that "someone is wrong on the internet!" but this is your dad, you're definitely best off ignoring that compulsion, and it sounds like since there is more than a grain of truth in what he said to you, it's probably less rude/disrespectful than it just is hitting you in a place where you feel vulnerable. But you did the same thing to him.

I'm assuming he's a conservative and he just watched his world crumble in the elections - all my conservative friends are moaning about what a tragic time this is for America and how the country's going to hell and so forth. When you're in that mindset and seeing the liberals doing their victory laps, it's probably a little bit tougher to be polite about other people arguing with your politics. Still doesn't mean that his response was mature and befitting of a dad, but I think that you should try to get past the hurt on this one.

You can't hear tone or see an expression on a Facebook post, and that can make comments seem more hurtful than they were meant to be. Communicate with him in person if you want to argue with him from now on, or even better, avoid talking politics with him altogether.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:08 PM on November 8, 2012 [9 favorites]

Don't argue politics on facebook, especially with relatives. At least, most mefites in the various election threads having relatives on fb they've had to block for the time being.

So block him. Not all of his posts, but the non-important ones. Then, if he comes at you in some other way, looking to pick a fight, be the adult you want to be seen as: Shrug, say "Well, you're entitled to your opinion. How's your [health, golf game, rose garden, whatever] doing?"

You can't win by engaging in the way you are, and you can't force him to treat the way you want. You can only control what you do.
posted by rtha at 7:12 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

The opening first person argument with your dad is confusing as hell.

Is that a quote?
Are you writing that for his benefit, like you think he is reading this now??

If it's the first, contact a mod about putting it in quotes or something.
If it's the second contact a mod about deleting it because it's way,way outside the guidelines if you brought your argument to this space.

He told you specifically how he wanted to interact in that space. You violated that out of a need to be right.

That is pretty shitty and immature.
He was then pretty shitty and belittling back.

You guys were mean to each other. But he did not commit some unforgivable sin, and neither did you.

If you want a healthy relationship with him you have to have healthy boundaries and abandon your need to be right.

I'd start by making an apology with no strings attached. That means no expectation of a return apology, no placing blame on him, no using the apology as a Trojan Horse to continue the argument. If you feel the need to do any of those things then don't bother apologizing because that is not how apologies work.
posted by French Fry at 7:18 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

oh jeez thanks French Fry for pointing out the typo. head, desk.
posted by rebent at 7:21 PM on November 8, 2012

"Reb you remind me of 8th grade when you had to show everyone how wrong they are. Find something else to do."

Sounds like something a good, warm, thoroughly snarky friend who had known me for a good long time might say to me. One might even ask if the dude is not indeed addressing you as a peer.

I kind of feel like my only option is to tell him that he needs to respect me if he wants to be friends. But I'm afraid that he will say that it is I who must respect him, etc etc

"Dad. I want our interactions to be carried out from a position of mutual respect. [Mentions of ways in which you might mend the fence; pause and wait for him to offer ways in which he might mend it]"
posted by kmennie at 7:25 PM on November 8, 2012

[Edited a few extra sentences, carry on]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:26 PM on November 8, 2012

This is Facebook, right? It has all the disadvantages of being in public, with none of the advantages (like having other people around in the moment to keep heads cooler.)

There's a lot going on, here, but I think the very first step is to hide him on Facebook. Don't de-Friend him, but if 1. you hold opposing perspectives 2. he is intractable and 3. you don't enjoy engaging with him - then you are not achieving anything positive by fighting with him. Especially if you're doing so where he's taking it as an affront, i.e. on other people's FB pages.

Getting parents to understand you merit adult respect? Well, I have no bright advice because although I am 43, with a PhD, a mortgage, and Opinions About Retirement Investment Strategies, not to mention greying hair and high cholesterol, my parents treated me as a daydreamy kid till the days they died, and my in-laws still do. All I can tell you is, if you're typical, it's not personal.
posted by gingerest at 7:26 PM on November 8, 2012 [4 favorites]

"I kind of feel like my only option is to tell him that he needs to respect me if he wants to be friends. But I'm afraid that he will say that it is I who must respect him, etc etc, and that he has done no wrong, and so my only option will be to cut ties, or to bow my head and submit to his authority. I don't want to do either of those."

Your third option is to treat him respectfully and respect his boundaries too; he specifically asked you to "quit following him around" and arguing with him, but you disregarded that and then were shocked when he responded rudely. If you want him to respect you, you can't go bulldozing over his boundaries and expect him to ignore it because you are his child. If you act like a child, you cannot be surprised when he acts like a parent in response and does not treat you as an adult.

I understand how badly hurt your feelings are (mine would be too), but the way you raced past a boundary he set without any recognition you were also being rude is pretty breathtakingly oblivious.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:28 PM on November 8, 2012 [14 favorites]

This question and answer might help. Self Link

Similar situation, there general while yours is specific.

A lot of good advice there from a number of smart people who have been through similar dilemmas.
posted by French Fry at 7:41 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I totally disagree with most of the replies in this thread. This isn't about Facebook, it's totally besides the point that it happened on FB and that doesn't change anything. In my humble opinion, your dad is bullying you, and to me the platform he does it on doesn't matter. And your reaction to it shouldn't have to change just because of the platform it's on.

First off, your dad wants to opine that something privacy-invading, degrading, and humiliating should be done to other people. Fine. He wants to spread that opinion out to the world, publicly. Fine too. He wants to use that to influence others to make his opinion into a reality in other people's lives. And that's fine too.

But now he doesn't want to be "followed around and contradicted"??? Sorry, no. That's not how it works, at all. You want to put forth your opinions publicly to the world, you don't get to dictate what anyone else's response to it is going to be. He doesn't want his opinions contradicted, he can join the club, and it's really just too bad for him. There is nothing immature or disrespectful about countering his opinions, not at all. I feel like that, in and of itself, is the mindset of a bully - that you can do and say and affect people however you want, but you are going to get super duper butthurt if anyone even disagrees with you.

The more important thing is the manipulative way your dad tries to shut you down. I feel like he tries to shut you down in a very personal way, by 1) hurting your feelings/humiliating you; 2) by deciding for both of you what the reality is.

1) is stuff like saying you're acting just like you did in 8th grade, which I think you should totally ignore.

2)What I mean by deciding the reality for both of you is that, you know, when he disagrees with something you're saying or doing, you're being argumentative. And when you disagree with something he's saying or doing... you're being argumentative.

And when you are bothered by something he says, you are oversensitive, but when he is bothered by something you say, you are following him around and persecuting him, silencing him all his life, and so on.

If I were you I would relentlessly use his game back on him at every last opening he gave me. He doesn't like my disagreement? He should stop being so sensitive. He posts his inflammatory opinions on FB? Why does he have to be so argumentative. That is my advice for getting him to give up bullying you. That's not, however, my advice for having a great relationship with your father... to do this will probably cause strife. But it may be a flavor of strife you find to be easier to live with...
posted by cairdeas at 7:55 PM on November 8, 2012 [18 favorites]

gingerest has it. Don't like your Dad's stupid opinions? Then don't read them. Hide all of his future posts.

He doesn't get how social media works. And he doesn't want a debate. If he wants to use Facebook as a megaphone rather than a chatroom, that's just fine. It doesn't matter that someone is wrong on the internet. Go do something fun instead.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:56 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

Yeah, filter filter filter. Don't read your dad's facebook posts. They're not for you. They're for his friends who agree with him.
posted by mskyle at 8:08 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have a relative like this with whom I'd be getting into constant fights if I pointed out how offensive, stupid, and regressive everything he says on facebook really is. But I've been letting go of the need to correct him. First, because it doesn't do any good--why do I need to establish my intelligence in that space, filled with an audience of likewise stupid and regressive people?

There are some people from whom you'll never get the approval you want. It sucks, I know, but that's the truth.

What my therapist suggested doing instead is perhaps slightly evil--training that person by ignoring the behavior you don't like and rewarding what you do like--even if what you do like is just him not saying anything. By engaging with your dad about this stuff, you are rewarding him in a way--with drama and attention. So instead, reward his silence. On days when he doesn't post this crap, post a picture he might like on his facebook instead, something like that. Create a foundation for your relationship through interactions that have nothing to do with politics or other issues of difference. Otherwise ignore, ignore, ignore.

I know it's hard and I know it's not fair. You want your dad to respect you and treat you like an equal. But you can't make him do that. Instead, be comfortable and confident in your own intelligence and opinions. You don't need his approval to have self-worth, and it seems like these interactions are explicitly founded on your desire for that. The sooner you can start entertaining the notion that he won't change, the sooner you'll start acting in a way that protects yourself rather than opening yourself up to new vulnerabilities.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:17 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Disengage. You keep prodding him and he keeps responding in the only way he knows. If you want him to react differently, you're going to have to act differently. Yes, it's all on you. Sorry. Life's not fair. (Dark secret of adulthood: The impartiality we ascribed to adults as children never manifests. It was all propaganda.)
posted by bricoleur at 8:31 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

My mom is really mean, argumentative and narcissistic. I try VERY hard to not engage with her. I would seriously jump out a window before I would let politics or religion even come up. She's not on Facebook, thank dog, but I would not friend her. Just no.

Sometimes you can't have the relationship you want. It's hard. It sucks. I'm 20 years older than you are, and it STILL sucks.
posted by Occula at 8:52 PM on November 8, 2012

I may be biased, since I work with abused people, but your dad sounds abusive.

"This is, like, exactly the type of verbal shut-down that he has used my entire life. Well, when I was small enough, it wasn't verbal. "I'm your dad and what I say is right. If you disagree, well, I can't punish you anymore, but I would if I could." "

"I feel like my only option is to tell him that he needs to respect me if he wants to be friends. But I'm afraid that he will say that it is I who must respect him, etc etc, and that he has done no wrong, and so my only option will be to cut ties, or to bow my head and submit to his authority. I don't want to do either of those."

The only option bit is setting boundaries. If you set, clearly state, and enforce your boundaries, it very well mean he is an unsafe person and wont respect your boundaries. At that point, you have to decide if you prefer the abusive behavior, or cutting off your dad. There are buttons you can avoid pushing, obviously, but it ensaddens me that you have to walk on eggshells.

Also, you can't change your dad. He sound fundamentally unhappy/unpleasant. It sucks that he doesn't... well, doesn't seem to like you much, but at some point, you have to go 'i will never get X from my dad. Chasing after it only hurts me'

A lot of what phoB said.

Oh, and don't get snippy in return. This gets you nothing but down to his level. You have every right to be hurt and frustrated, but channel it into something good.
posted by Jacen at 8:58 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

Look, he wasn't being rude to you.

People post all kinds of crap on FB. Yes, you and I know how illogical the drug testing thing is, but he isn't wanting to be logical, he is expressing a worldview, and you won't change that by commenting on his post.

If you want to discuss those points with him you do it over coffee or beer or a sweet tea. You don't do it on FB where you embarrass him in front of his conservative old fart friends.

He's your dad. There are dynamics there that are not present with a friend who is a peer. Trust me when I tell you that sometimes you just have to let wrong relatives Be Wrong on the internet.

One final thing. Next time you see a wrong post that raises your hackles, there is an old Southern phrase that is tailor made for the occasion: "Well, bless his heart."

You're welcome.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:26 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

I would ignore the hell out of this. Life is real short.
posted by ead at 10:12 PM on November 8, 2012

To me it sounds like you've felt "wrong" in the eyes of your father for so long that you're willing to bait him by disagreeing with him just so you can prove once and for all that you're actually right, not him. And look what happens -- he baits you in return and is much better at it.

Stop. You will never, ever win this fight, and you will lose yourself in the process. Block him on FB, only interact with him superficially, seek out opportunities to validate yourself in ways that don't require you to prove that you know something that somebody else doesn't. He's not worth your time, even if he is your dad.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:22 PM on November 8, 2012 [11 favorites]

I dunno, I'm almost 40 and my mother still reminds me to put the milk back in the fridge when I'm done using it. If I dog-sit overnight I get a common sense list of things to do, like "put dishes in dishwasher" and "get the mail." I'm their kid, no matter how old I am, and they pretty much always treat me that way. *shrug* I just ignore it unless it's particularly egregious, and I would never do a back-and-forth on Facebook of all places.

Treat your parents with respect in public even if you don't agree with what they have to say. You can argue about welfare in private and they'll probably still consider their own opinion to be superior to yours because you're eternally 12 in their minds.
posted by xyzzy at 10:26 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

For the record his last response was rude and out of line far out of proportion to your behavior. I agree with many others though that he made a direct request that you not engage with him over this sort of thing online and you should have left it there.

Choosing not to engage with these arguments is not bowing your head and submitting to his authority. If anything getting into the sort of exchange you describe is what smacks of being unable to break out of the patterns of childhood. Since you recognize this argumentativeness as at least somewhat of a character flaw, and since you've made a pretty succinct case that your father isn't likely to apologize or give you any kind of satisfaction over this, you're going to reap immeasurably greater benefits from focusing on curbing your instinct to jump into every fray.

A valuable truth that has slowly seeped into my obstinate mind is that there are a lot of conversations online that I am not really invited to. The fact that I can see them, the fact that the capacity to respond to them exists, doesn't change this fundamental fact. And it's as rude to interject myself into these conversations as it would be to shove in on someone's personal one-on-one with another person to say "I couldn't help but overhear and I just had to tell you how wrong you both were..."

Everything that happens on Facebook is pointless and inconsequential, a fact I've taken as a mandate to liberally apply the "Hide" option. The minute my eyes involuntarily roll it's gone. It's genuinely not worth the aggravation. Let this be and forgive your dad for being a condescending old fart. While rude and uncalled for even under the circumstances, it really doesn't sound like "cut off ties" territory to me, so why not be the bigger man and let him have the last word on this one.
posted by nanojath at 11:49 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

On the internet, if you aren't sure that your comment is productive, don't post it. My reading of this is that you were trolling your own father on FaceBook, and he called you on it. Simple rules for life: 1. Don't argue about politics, 2. Don't argue with your family in public
posted by roofus at 12:09 AM on November 9, 2012

Nothing wrong with being self-critical. No one EVER improves without it.

Even with your enemies (and your dad is not one, I am guessing), a negative feedback needs to be given the respect that it may contain some truth.

For the record, I can be a real prick. It's a constant fight for me to avoid being one. Sometimes, the world kindly reminds me. Other times, it just frigging reminds me, not so kindly. Either way, the goal is a more prick-free world for fauxscot. As a big boy, my tender feelings can handle it, usually after crumbling in the corner, a sniveling mess of tears and wails. If this is in an airport, of course, it's not as effective as at home in my lair, but either way, a better me!

(Kind old man advice: You're OK. Just stretching into adulthood. Parent relationships are complicated and long. There is almost always friction between kids/parents. Don't over think it. )
posted by FauxScot at 2:02 AM on November 9, 2012

There's something to be said for learning to let one's parents live their own lives and hold their own beliefs. It doesn't work that way when you're 16, I know, but it sure does at, say, 23. Yes, he was perhaps rude, but there's some wisdom in "find something else to do" nevertheless.

(another reason for this, at least if it's facebook you're talking about: you won't solve communication issues there that you have failed to solve in real life, and the diff is, you leave a trail of that failure for I dunno how many years to come and for many people to read.)
posted by Namlit at 3:57 AM on November 9, 2012

So your dad posted a comment.
You came after him with a link disputing his comment. (Apparently your usual reaction to anything your father posts.)
He responded with what even you describe as a 'logical argument' plus a request not to start a fight every time he posts anything.
You escalated and STARTED A FIGHT, then came here to complain that your father is being rude.

"My only option is to tell him he needs to respect me...."

For crying out loud, you don't get respect by DEMANDING it, you get respect by EARNING it, and it sure doesn't sound like you've either earned or deserve it. It certainly doesn't sound like you give your father any respect, so why should he respect you? Act like an adult, and don't pull that "I've gotta be right all the time" or "I've always gotta get the last word" shit in every discussion --- your partner might be willing to put up with that, but it just irritates the heck out of the rest of the world.
posted by easily confused at 4:15 AM on November 9, 2012

Also as gently as possible when you say things like this:

every time I disagree with him, his response is basically "I'm your dad and what I say is right. If you disagree, well, I can't punish you anymore, but I would if I could." are projecting. That was not his response. That is a response your inner wounded 8 year old made up because you are still relating to your father as a child.

Additionally, there is a generational issue here. You come from the "respect all living things" generation. He comes from the generation where respect is something you earn. And you do not earn it with two college degrees and a marriage certificate. Your world views and values may be so different that you never earn his respect, but because you are a grown-ass adult, that needs to be okay with you.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:06 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't argue politics with your dad on facebook. You can be right XOR you can be happy.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:03 AM on November 9, 2012

I kind of feel like my only option is to tell him that he needs to respect me if he wants to be friends.

I don't think he wants to be friends. Can you be okay with that?
posted by sculpin at 9:38 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Try to accept the fact that your dad is an asshole and move forward accordingly. This is not meant as snark, either - 100% serious advice.
posted by SassHat at 9:42 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Since cutting ties is on the table here, and it's been on the table with some relationships in my own life as well these last few years, maybe it'd be useful to share a tool I've been using to figure out what to do with a relationship that's going along in a way that don't think is respectful to me. It takes some strong make-believe skills, but if you have those, it may be handy.

You might try this: open up your favorite text editor and start coming up with plausible reasons why he might have acted the way he did. Just brainstorm. You're not committing to any of them, and they don't have to be flattering to him; just imagine him as a character with a viewpoint and realistic motivations of his own. It usually takes me about six reasons until my curiosity and creativity start overpowering my anger; I go to ten or more.

So let's say you do that: ten not-too-outlandish reasons that might be why a dad shut up his son on facebook. And now, while you're still feeling more curious than angry, look at those reasons. If any of them were true, would it matter to you? You want to make sure that neither "yes" nor "no" is an unthinkable answer here, so try on both answers for size.

Now you may have a little more clarity about where you stand. For me, this exercise is about putting the situation in the context of my values more than the context of my feelings.

I was roundly furious at Person A, but when I sat down and thought about ten possible reasons for her behavior, I recognized that there were some reasons that could be persuasive for me. I still don't like some stuff that happened there, and I'm committed to not putting up with it again, but I'm willing to keep a communication channel open to her. And then I was more coolly fed up with Person B, but when I wrote out ten really good plausible reasons for his behavior, I saw that none of them were persuasive to me. I gave it an excellent shot, if I do say so myself, but in the end I could not come up with any reason that would make a whit of difference to me. Superficially, B was a lot less egregious and he made me less mad, but A is the one with whom I'm willing to try for a workable relationship, while the situation with B turns out to be more of a bedrock This Is Not Okay kind of thing.
posted by sculpin at 12:52 PM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Thanks everyone for commenting on my situation. I feel like I really had a big blind spot with regards to how much I was provoking him. At the time I thought I was just engaging normally, but treehorn+bunny's comment was really useful in helping me understand the bigger picture.

Secondly, I did not read his request for me to not engage as such. I thought he was just being flippant and using his authority to end the argument. But I see that I could be wrong. Accepting that makes it easier to shift animosity on his part out of the picture.

Finally and most importantly I'd like to thank cairdeas for totally agreeing with me and basically putting into words what I was feeling. I agree with everything you said and it gave me a lot to think about. There should be a word for when a person has an intense feeling or experience, and someone else is able to coalesce those feelings into a simple, clear system of understanding.

However, I'm also glad to be given the other perspective from everyone else, in case I'm overreacting (which I probably was). Being the passive person that I am, I will not follow your final advice, cairdeas, as good as it is, and instead work on building up my defenses against bullying. I don't want to start conflict with him, I just want to deflect, ignore, and strengthen myself. But I'll save your comment for later, in case I change my mind.

So thanks again, everyone, for helping me through this issue.
posted by rebent at 3:28 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I do agree with some of the folks here that you probably shouldn't have responded the second time, but I want to point out that the whole "stop following me around" thing was really fucking rude. What a nasty thing to write. And stupid as well--if you're going to post something like that on Facebook, people are going to disagree with you about it. You don't get to preemptively tell people they aren't allowed to. Both of his comments were nasty and belittling.

But, yes, I would hide all his posts for your own mental health. And you don't have to cut off contact, but you might want to consider limiting it, if this is the way he speaks to you.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 9:14 PM on November 10, 2012

Huh. I'm surprised nobody has said this, but I think your father may be intimidated by you (your intellect, your success, whatever). He may feel like you're smarter than him. He may feel bewildered that he is not Big Daddy and you are Little Son any more, and he doesn't know how to deal with that. He needs to grow up and try and have an adult relationship with you just as much as you may need to do with him.

I don't know enough details to be sure, but that sure does sound like what's going on (mostly because it was what happened to me in my very early 20s, perhaps).

Deflecting and ignoring might be a strategy to deal with him, as he may never be able to truly look at you as an adult -- it happens -- but it won't solve the underlying need for you two to try to find a way to treat one another as adults, I don't think.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:09 PM on November 11, 2012

There should be a word for when a person has an intense feeling or experience, and someone else is able to coalesce those feelings into a simple, clear system of understanding.

This word is therapist. Untangling the relationships adults have with their problematic parents has to be 50% of what a standard broad-practice therapist does.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:21 PM on December 9, 2012

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