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Am I a Bad Person for Not Caring for My Father

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My father has made my life hard since I was a child. I wasn’t allowed to pursue my interests easily. I tried to take art classes in middle school and had to persuade him to let me only for him to take me out of it and place me in a computer class anyways. I wasn’t allowed to get a C in school, when I did it was in an AP class and he grounded me for 2 weeks. He forced me to take sports, saying I could get something I wanted if I joined a sport team for a season. Then I would quit. When i went to college he made me pursue computer classes despite my interest in art. I dropped the class after the stress and fear made me self-harm. He never knew that. He then made us talk to my counselor about why I can actually achieve and when she said art he was disappointed. I got into a nice 4-year university and even recently got into a hard to enter art program at the school. He emailed me that he isn’t happy with my effort. My parents divorced right after I finished high school and said they stayed together for me. I went to live with my mom and my dogs.
He pays for my schooling. I apply for scholarships and try my best to save money because he is paying, as was our agreement. He paid my brother through school who took even longer than me. He pushed me to apply for the program i got accepted to and now its as if I owe him for it. He wants me to do more. Originally i was just supposed to get time to get my degree and now I’m expected to find jobs and internships. He basically said he won’t be happy unless I’m constantly busy. While I agree I need a job I think he’s being unfair. He said he won’t pay unless I do this. He pushed me here just to leave me to fend for myself.

I have a lot of issues with him. I have talked to friends about it and they act like it’s not that bad. I feel lost. I just want to get away from him. I have no interest in a relationship with him once college is done.

Am I a Bad Person for Not Caring for My Father

Answered by on -

A.

It does not seem as though your father has been very nice to you. He’s forced you to do things that you don’t want to do. In essence, he knows what you want, but he would rather you do things his way. Thus, it makes sense that you wouldn’t have kind feelings towards him at this time.

Unfortunately, you might be stuck doing what he wants because he is paying your way through school. Understandably, college is expensive. The average cost of an in-state public college is approximately $10,000 a year compared to approximately $36,000 a year for a private college. Financial aid and scholarships are often available but even with those, college can be expensive.

However, if you’re going to accept your father’s money, then there are strings attached. That’s the deal. If you don’t like it, then you should not accept the money. He has made it clear that he wants you to do certain things, take certain classes, participate in certain internships, etc., if you accept his money. Thus, you have to decide if you still want to continue to take his money.

Apparently, you can’t have it both ways. He has indicated, albeit indirectly, that if you take his money, then you have to do what he wants. You have a choice to make. Do you want to continue taking his money and doing what he wants or are you willing to give up his money in order to have your freedom? It’s your decision.

Many people don’t have the luxury of having their parents pay for college. They have to work to pay their own tuition. It’s more challenging but doable. Many people have graduated college without any help from anyone. They were able to succeed independently.

You have to decide if you’re willing to give up your father’s money in order to do what you want to do. Perhaps you can tolerate his demands until you have completed college.

You might consider consulting a therapist regarding this matter. The therapist can assist you in developing an alternative plan, should you forgo your father’s money.

I am also wondering if you’ve ever discussed this matter with your father. Does he know how unhappy you are with this arrangement? Perhaps you haven’t communicated your true feelings to him. Meeting with a therapist can help you to develop a plan for communicating more effectively with your father.

It’s understandable that you feel the way you do. It would be better if he would’ve given you the money without stipulations. It may be that he is not a nice person and he doesn’t care about what you want. It may also be that he believes that he is helping you and knows what’s best for you. It might be more difficult to find a job in the art world when compared to the computer science world. He might think that he is doing you a favor.

Discussing this might lead to clarity about his choices and yours. I would recommend it. Good luck with your efforts. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Am I a Bad Person for Not Caring for My Father

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Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2020). Am I a Bad Person for Not Caring for My Father. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 27, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/05/14/am-i-a-bad-person-for-not-caring-for-my-father/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 12 May 2020 (Originally: 14 May 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 12 May 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.