~Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Right Fighting versus Fighting Right

Yesterday morning I received an e-mail marked From Dad:

My not wanting to come to your apartment that you share with Scott in no way reflects how I feel about you or him. I welcome him to come to my home any time. He is welcome at the beach house anytime. He is a welcome to participate in as many family activities as he chooses.

I wish you would reconsider not having a birthday dinner. I can assure you that we will not discuss anything that would make you or Scott feel uncomfortable. My intent is not to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but to celebrate my daughters (sic) 27th birthday as a family.

First off, good. This is the first time he has ever acknowledged my boyfriend. When my father calls, he doesn't ask about him; when he invites me out to dinner, he excludes him; and when he set up the family vacation this summer, his name was left off the list. So this is good that he acknowledges all of this.

However, it looks like he is remaining firm on his stance not to ever come to my home. Which, in turn, makes me still not want to go out to dinner. His hypocrisy in this situation astounds me.

I let the e-mail sit and then avoided two phone calls from my father. Clearly he was making an effort and the ball was officially in my court. After pouting for most of the evening, I called him back.

"I don't want to step foot in an apartment that you're sharing with a man when you're unwed," he said.

"But you went to my step-sister's apartment when she was living with her boyfriend! Why can you go to hers, but not mine?" I asked.

"I don't remember going to hers. That was 6 years ago."

"Well you know, Dad, this isn't really the point. I think when it comes to taking the moral high ground, you have no right to talk. At all," I spoke sharply. I thought bringing up the cheating and the picking out the new family would put a stop to this asinine nonsense.

"I don't have a right to say anything when it comes to the moral high ground, but so what? I am."

I sat at the other end of the line, dumbfounded. I could feel the black storm cloud form above my head as I sat on my living room couch. If I had actually started getting rained on, I couldn't have been any more surprised.

"Well I think it's pretty shitty that my father refuses to come to my apartment. I am completely insulted and hurt over your actions," I snapped.

"It's my way of showing my displeasure in your decision," he reacted.

I reached for an old argument: "If you can't accept me, then I don't think you should be there."

"I do accept you."

"No, you don't!" I shouted. "I can't go out with you and pretend that this doesn't exist. That my home life doesn't exist. That my apartment doesn't exist!"

"I shouldn't be a part of your home life. I don't want to be a part of your home life. That's between you and Scott. It has nothing to do with me."

"That's right! It's between him and me! And by you being vindictive and refusing to come to your daughter's apartment, you are inserting yourself right in the damn middle of my home life!" I hollered. I mean, I can't be the only one convinced that I'm arguing with a crazy person. I took a deep breath and tried another tactic. "Look, I am telling you that you are hurting me, and you won't do anything about it. You are refusing to make it better. You have every right to your opinion, but the way you are going about it hurts my feelings."

"You hurt my feelings by moving in with a boy."

My mouth gapped open, "I thought you said you wanted nothing to do with my home life."

"I don't."

"So why are you're feelings hurt? You know, you say you're not to be involved, and then you throw yourself right in when you don't like the outcome. That's not fair. You're not playing by the rules. You are setting me up to fail."

Then he said something—I don't remember what*—but it was blatantly obvious that no matter what I ever said to him, he would never stop being right. No amount of logic and reasoning would ever affect him. Nothing I said impacted him, including calling him out on his behavior. There was no point on continuing the conversation.

And to be honest, I don't know that there ever will.

* I just remembered. It was when he told me if my brother had moved in instead of getting married, it wouldn't have been as big a deal.


Single Girl said...

Once again, I feel like our fathers read the same book. My father will never admit to EVER being wrong, even when it's blaringly obvious he is wrong and his arguments don't make sense. It's so frustrating and there's nothing you can do but just accept that that is how he is and live your life. Just know that he is the one who is in the wrong and he is the one who is losing out in the end and who will be very sorry for it.

Paige Jennifer said...

Sometimes my dad offers one of his quirky philosophical lines. Like when I played a lacross game and we lost, he'd ask - did you lose or did they win. Huh? I just told you the score! But his question obviously ran deeper than formal numbers. So at the risk of sounding like my dad -

Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?

observer said...

i agree with page jennifer. sounds like you both are cut from the same cloth -- and neither of you are going to be wrong.

Peach said...

bollocks to previous two comments (sorry chaps) - but as your father he could try swallowing his feelings and doing the right thing by you and just sticking by you. if scott turns out to be an idiot and messes you around, he still would never have the right to butt in and say a word, apart from, I love you.

You stick to your guns honey, he may one day come around...

Vi said...

Urgh! Sometimes I'm glad my father is on the other side of the world and I only have to see him every couple of years. Otherwise, like you, I'd be ready to strangle him.

Anonymous said...

I thought that my dad was stubborn! but Paige Jennifer has a point. despite the fact that you are right, you could agree to disagree.
Or, (and this will sound childish, but it will shock your father) you can tell him he can either start coming to your house now and accept that you're an adult and have chosen how best to live your life, or he could not come, and then when you are married, he will never be welcome in that house. (in a way cutting off your nose to spite your face) but it might work, it will definitely give him something to think about.

Anonymous said...

What a horrible situation to be in. My mum has the thought process of not living with someone until you're married but I don't think she would ever refuse to visit my home if I ever come to share it with AT.I do hope you can sort this out with your dad .. otherwise he'll miss out on a lot.

Miss C said...

It's difficult when someone seems so set in their ways and unreasonable that it appears there will never be a light at the end of the tunnel. I can emphathise with the whole "they must be crazy!" feeling as I've experience many times myself and my own family members. As already mentioned by other posters: Yes it's crazy, and yes he should be more considerate but you may just have to let this one go for the sake of being "right", despite how hurtful it may be. You won't change him now.

At least be thankful you have the foresight to be open minded and and have grown up having your own opinions and ways of leading your life which is removed from you father's beliefs.At the end of the day, it's his loss as he will surely miss out on a big part of your life.

Miss C x

kristin b said...

he's setting it up for you to distance yourself from him. i wonder, reading this, how my parents would react. being conservative and old fashioned, i still hold on to the idea that they would support me even if they didn't agree with me. though they might be tight lipped and not ecstatic about it all. there's something to be said about feeling your parent's support. and he has a chance to hold on to that and he's letting go of it. it's almost like finding out there is no santa.

Dora said...

Right off the bat you lose, because it looks like there are different rules for the boys and different rules for the girls. As long as he thinks like that, you will never be able to convince him that your argument makes sense. Its unfair, but that is how he is. Does he think that he is somehow showing you his love by taking a stand? Will this help you? Teach you something? What is the point at this stage in your life?

Anonymous said...

Would he be happier if you got married? I would think he'd agree that you're too young for that, so he should see living together as better than marrying someone and potentially making a big mistake. Can you explain to him how you don't want to be divorced EVER and that this is the only way for you to be sure that you're going in the right direction with a guy? Don't bring up practical things about one apartment being cheaper -- dads have lots of arguments for that stuff. Tell him this is divorce preventino.

Anonymous said...

I've never had a parent really disagree with me on anything, so I don't know what it feels like. When my mom is angry, she ignores me and when she's done she talks to me as if everything is normal again. This is something I can deal with, but outright and verbal disaproval? I don't know.

That said, someone can disapprove of your choices, but still love you. Know what I'm saying?

Amber said...


I wonder what it is about parent's that make them feel like they have to "discipline" us when we step in a direction they don't approve of. Except, at our age, we're too old to ground or spank or whatever so they're left with one tool: emotional manipulation.

I could say, "at least he's making SOME kind of effort" -- but then, I think there's more here than just your dad refusing to see your apartment. I think there's years of emotional and mental neglect and support. And... this is how it's slowly coming out. And the issue it's coming out over; because for yourself, you would never go to bat with him because, I think, some part of you wonders why you weren't "good enough" to "deserve" a daddy (see previous comment). But, Scott is important enough to you and he's already drawn the line in the sand, so you feel you can go to bat with this. Because you feel you're right and it's affecting someone you love and maybe, you see Scott as the innocent one being hurt?

Instead of yourself... which is who the real innocent being hurt here.

It's so strange what we think/do subconsciously and how our relationship, or lack thereof, with our fathers dictate so much of how we deal with the opposite sex and view love and all of that.

I don't know... maybe I'm reading WAY too much into this. It just seemed like there were some undertones. And I think maybe that's why you're unwilling/unable to accept the little effort he's shown; because it's not about so much the apartment as it is that just once, you'd like his 110% backing. You want him to go "all the way" and prove his professed love for his daughter through actions. Even if it means setting aside his convictions and pride. For once, you want HIM to be the one that sacrifices something.

I hope you get some peace on this, even if you don't get closure (yet, or ever, who knows?). Call me if you need me. And I apologize if I stepped over the boundaries here. I could be totally way off base... just kind of what I thought I was reading between the lines.


HomeImprovementNinja said...

Wow. I feel for you. I think everyone has family drama, it just manifests itself differently.

Diane Mandy said...

Too bad! I thought this was going to end happily and I am sorry that it wasn't. I took me 36 years to stop worrying about pleasing my family and stat living for myself. It sounds like yo are already ahead, having started to live for yourself. While it's sad about your dad, there is noting you can do to change him.

Diane Mandy said...

PS. Sorry about all the typos in my last post. My dog Charlie was literally sitting on my arms as I tried to type. He get so jealous when I am on the computer!


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