I’m in university. My father just visited and surprised me at dinner saying he wants to take me to Paris and the Swiss Alps this summer. However, my mother, who hates him, has told me before that he’s an impulsive spender, we’re in severe debt and the IRS is going to come after him soon.
I have a genuine love for traveling, but also 2 younger siblings and a pervasive sense of guilt. (My dad has a drinking problem that will be tough to deal with on the trip too.) What to do?
Sorry, but you can’t go on the trip. Sure, Paris and the Swiss Alps sound wonderful, but you can’t vacation at the expense of the rest of your family. You already know that deep down. You know it was a rotten thing for him to offer, and you know better than to allow your father to make you his accomplice.
It sucks when you have to be the adult because your parents are acting like children, but sometimes that’s how it goes. And not to put too fine a point on it, but in addition to the obvious parent/child role reversal, there’s some wife/daughter role reversal going on here as well. (I don’t mean that in a creepy way. More in a Freudian way as further evidence of the super unhealthy relationship triangle between you, your mom, and your dad.)
Make the adult decision and politely decline. If you want to say no to your father in a way that won’t come back on you, tell him you’d love to go, but only if your siblings can come too and he promises not to drink. (He’ll pretend it’s a lovely idea, but the trip will never happen, and he won’t be able to manipulate you with any guilt.)