(Closed) Disapproving Father – Advice

posted 6 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
237 posts
Helper bee

I am working under the assumption that you two do love each other. This issue comes down to communication. Get some time alone with him. Don’t know if he drinks, but maybe have a couple beers together on the porch (or wherever; thinking of what I’d do w/ my dad). Tell him how you’re feeling in a non-aggressive, mature way. I assume he does not want to hurt you so he needs to knows he’s hurting you. Don’t justify your choices but maybe ask him what specific things he doesn’t like (I’m assuming since he’s religious he doesn’t like that you’re not a virgin/living with Fiance, go out at night, or similar) and counter with how those actions are in keeping with the woman you are. I bet on some level he respects your tenacity, your stubborness, and independence.

I will say, I would be wary about having my father pay for my wedding when he doesn’t like my decisions. There might be resentment on his end that you claim independence and want to do things your way but still have him paying. I’m not saying that’s right, but I could see that. 

Ultimately, I’d just say “Dad, this is how I am. I’m not going to change. This is how you are and you aren’t going to change. But I love you and I want us to be close so let’s just let our problems rest. If you really need to say something, let me know.”

Then you’ve got to be open from there. Maybe give him a phone call once a week, take him to lunch. Sometimes older men only express their own feelings of hurt through crankiness and force. He may just miss you or feel you judge him/don’t see him how he is.

ETA: Try and have neutral, positive conversations. Watch a football game with him, talk to him about something in the news, whatever. When he starts to lecture or get too personal, you’ve got to disengage: “I understand that’s how you feel dad.” Then just shut down and nod. Don’t get pissed. Act like a teacher dealing with a loud 3-year-old. If he can’t rile you up, he’ll end up feeling sheepish and hopefully stop. Then you just jump into another neutral, positive conversation: “anyway, dad, we finally heard back from the caterer.” 

You’ve got to break that pattern of authoritarian dad yelling at rebellious daughter. You are now two adults with differing opinions but I bet your dad has friends who don’t think exactly like he does. He’s figuring this out too.

Post # 4
506 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Unfortunately all you can do is talk to him about how you’re feeling. It may lead to a fight, especially if you tell him that you know all the hurtful things. This is also sticky because he is paying for your wedding so he may very well not fight fair and throw that in your face.

I am sorry your relationship is so rocky. I have a similar story (being the blacksheep) with a hunk of my family. We didn’t resolve it but as they played such a little part of my life I just let go and let god. They’ve got their opinions, I elect to not hear them.

One thing you can adjust immediately is telling the other family members to keep whatever they hear that is negative to themselves. It is obviously doing you no good to hear it. I hope your father will be able to better understand you and upon hearing how hurt this situation is making you will try to adjust his behavior. 

Bottom line is you’re going to have to have a conversation to resolve it and it very well may get unpleasant. Just think of it this way, “is potential discomfort now worth a potentially happier later?”

Post # 5
5958 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2018

I wouldn’t put too much stock in what people tell you he’s saying, not that they’re lying, but thing get lost or exaggerated in translation, so it’s best to request these informers to keep those things to themselves since you weren’t part of that conversation.  Next up, set up your boundaries and stick to them as far as what you will tolerate from your father and what you won’t, if that means your wedding fund goes bye-bye, so be it.  A white dress and all the cake in the state aren’t worth your self respect and dignity. Finally, set yourself up to succeed when you are with your father, know what topics you two can talk about, and which ones you can’t….there’s no point in you trying to change his perspective anymore than him trying to alter  yours….quit trying to push a cart sideways with each other and enjoy the things you can.

Post # 8
237 posts
Helper bee

@ColoradoGirl:  I compleeetely understand. My dad can make me bawl with one harsh word…but that’s because we do want their approval on some level. 

I’d jokingly say, “Dad, you don’t have to worry about us living in sin anymore do you?” (Cause he doesn’t) and as far as going out on weekends, well that’s just him being ridiculous.

Would you ever consider going to church with him once a month? I don’t know if I would, but wondering if it would help?

You mention he thinks you’re disobeying him. I’d be clear with him and, in a kind way, say “Dad, only children can disobey their parents. I am not a child. I really, really want you to love me and be happy for me, but I promise I do not make my decisions based on trying to hurt you.”

Post # 9
2053 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@MrsDocHorrorShow:  I couldn’t agree more with every aspect of your response. I think I’m going to hire you when similar issues arise in my life! Smile

@ColoradoGirl:  Listen to MrsDocHorrorShow! Well-written and respectful way to deal with this on all fronts.

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