My father’s a good worker. He pays the bills, taxes, etc. But he’s not a very nice dad, I guess. A few years ago, he did something at work and as a result, he got fired and a probation of around five years – the maximum penalty in Michigan. I cannot say he didn’t deserve it. Anyway, the judge ruled that his family could not stay in Michigan (neither could he) as we could motivate him to come back, so we all had to leave the state. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances around which my dad was fired, he was unable to find a job in the US. So we moved to India. I became depressed there. It was only within the past 2 years that my crying and anger and self-starvation forced him to move us back here. But he still doesn’t have a job here and works from India to pay the bills. Recently, he visited us, and from the moment he has been here, he has criticized every single move my mother and I make. His latest insult is calling me a “carbon copy of my mother.” Better than being a washed-up loser like him, and I’d say this to his face if I wasn’t afraid of permanent bruising. He’s angry that we left him to fend for himself in India; I understand that. But I also think he has no right to be angry. When I was dealing with my crippling depression, he offered me no sympathy whatsoever and told me to deal with it. I expect him to do the same. He has embarrassed my mother in front of very close friends and wastes no opportunity to insult the US (the very country he claimed to love before he got fired). He threatens to stop giving us money all the time. He gets angry when we don’t pick up the phone whenever he calls us even if we’re 2 minutes late home. He gives us these never-ending lectures about responsibility and saving toilet paper and the failure of the American economy. I just wish he would stop, but whenever we ask him to he either gets angry or does it more, just to provoke us. My mother does not do anything about this because she is afraid he won’t fund us anymore. I, however, am done with him, but I feel guilty. Why? (From the USA)
You father’s problems sound like they run deep. Having to leave the state — and then the country — is extreme. His low self-worth and insecurities are spilling out on to you and your mom. I am sorry you have to endure such a difficult situation.
At 16 I would encourage you to find some part-time work and devote your energy into school. You need a plan about how you are going to deal with this going forward. School counselors are good at helping students cope and create plans for their future. You next two years are important stepping stones for your future. Invest in yourself.
There is also a woman’s center in your area that helps mother’s and daughter’s who have had to deal with difficult domestic situations. Here is a list of some nearby.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). My Dad’s Unhealthy Influence on My Family. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/06/06/my-dads-unhealthy-influence-on-my-family/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 6 Jun 2017) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.