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View Diary: Politics is turning my rightwing dad against me. Advice? (271 comments)

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  •  Exactly. (4.00)
    Like Bill O'Reilly, when they don't have facts to fall back on, they simply turn up the volume on the talking points (aka the lies.)  

    They are falling back on that old behavior pattern that must have worked so well for them in elementary school - the biggest bully always wins.

    Politics are not an issue with my dad and me - we're on the same side on everything (and he's even a devout Catholic!) - but we went through several years where his constant criticism/verbal abuse of me (which I grew up living with, as did my departed mom)hit a tipping point.  (I also had just left my simarlarly verbally abusive husband and thanks to therapy, the lightbulb had gone on about what a self-respecting person should/shouldn't be expected to tolerate.

    Those years were tough.  I spent several Christmases all alone in hotel rooms - couldn't stay with him.  I had to hang up the phone sometimes (by saying, "this conversation isn't productive anymore so I'm going to hang up, take a break, and we'll talk more later").  I put him up in hotel rooms when he came to visit me in distant states, even though I had room for him, and forced him to drive a rental car instead of driving me around...something he was terrified to do in LA.  I stayed loving and polite through it all, but when he behaved badly I just cut things off, immediately.   No drama, just "gotta go, bye."  I know how much it hurt him, but it was the only way to get him to treat me with some respect.

    The result - he did come around (though never apologized), and to my great shock, actually acted like the "daddy" I always wanted four years ago when I went through a personal crisis.  I still have to keep up my boundaries (and the pressure's off me because I'm engaged to an amazing guy that my dad adores), but setting boundaries with someone who abuses you - even if they are your aging parent - is a must.

    Our issue was much more personal than political (me being a "successful" career woman but not rich; being divorced - first and still ONLY on his side of the family!; being single and unmarried at 40; not having kids; not being the perfect female AND the perfect career financial success story all at once - and my "character" - 'selfish' - talk about projection - because I didn't want my life as an adult to be All About Him!) - but I do think some of the same tough love is required.  

    It hurts so much, I know.  I adore my dad in so many ways, but he made it really hard for me to simply "like" him.  But I do think "behavior modification" can work - if you are truly and consistently committed to it.

    Good luck and God Bless!

    "The responsibility of government for the public safety is absolute and requires no mandate." -Winston Churchill

    by hopesprings on Sun Jan 08, 2006 at 05:47:38 PM PST

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