If we were talking in my office, one thing I’d want to know is why your dad was gone 17 hours a day. Was he working two jobs? If so, he may have been overworked, overtired and stressed out. His lack of involvement as a dad may have had nothing to do with you personally but rather was about long hours and overwork. That doesn’t make it okay that he fought with your mom and did things that made you hate him. But maybe it puts a different perspective on things.
I have a guess that his constant criticism of you now is what is called “projection.” He is disappointed in himself. He lost his job. He had high expectations for himself as a wage earner and he has let himself down. He isn’t feeling much like a man of the house. So he projects all those inadequacies and frustrations onto you. Projection is a common defense mechanism when someone feels bad about himself. It’s as if he is saying, “I may be a loser but I’m at least better than you.” It’s not attractive but it does help some people preserve their ego when they are feeling pretty small.
If you want to start moving your relationship into a more positive direction, the way to do it is to be sympathetic. Two or three times a day, find something positive to say to him that will help him feel better. Give it two weeks. See what happens. All you have to lose is a couple of weeks of being the kindest person you can be. Don’t rise to the bait of criticism. Just thank him for his input (with no sarcasm) and change the subject. Ask him for some help with something he knows about. Ask for his opinions. Include him in your life. You just might be able to stop the cycle of criticism and turn it around to something much more loving. It’s at least worth a try.
I wish you well.