My father has turned into an absolutely horrible bigot in the last couple of years and I can no longer stand to be around him. He is blatantly racist, homophobic, transphobic, and of course a lover of Trump. The most common words out of his mouth are “n*igger” and “f*ggot”, which he says aloud, in public, regardless of who is around. He becomes infuriated if he sees an interracial couple, gay couple, or even a person of color in the neighborhood. He thinks everything he says is right and everyone else is wrong, often saying “you’ll see how right I am one of these days”. He makes statements like “we stole this land fair and square from the Indians and now we got people coming to try and steal it from us and we should just kill them all”.
He’s called me everything from a stupid bitch to an “overeducated liberal idiot”. Moreover, he’s ruined several important moments for me, including my masters graduation get together and my wedding rehearsal dinner with his selfish, hateful attitude. I used to take the bait and argue with him, which is what I think he wanted, but the convo quickly turned petty and childish. So now when I visit I stare blankly ahead, bite my tongue, and just ignore it. I feel like I should try to make him see my point of view, but I also know it’s a lost cause. Not visiting isn’t an option because I want to see my mother.
I also think it’s important to mention that he often tries to idealize our father-daughter relationship in his mind (as he boohooed all over me during our dance at my wedding). We’ve never been super close and I’ve always gone to my mom for anything rather than my dad. He also believes that because he is my father, I should respect him and accept everything he says without question. I guess I am just ranting. Any advice on dealing with this?
Stop visiting your parents. Do not speak to your father. Let him know he is dead to you in his current form. If your mother wants to visit, she can come to you. Your father is not invited. I know you think your mother is innocent in this, but she isn’t. She has spent decades enabling your father, and you are blind to the fact that she has picked him over you all these years.
If there is any hope that your father will change, you will need your mother’s help, and she has no incentive unless her relationship with you is contingent upon that change. To put it plainly, if your mother isn’t willing to help you modify your father’s behavior, then she deserves to lose her relationship with you as well.
The problem is bigger than you think. Your father is more than just a racist asshole. He is emotionally and psychologically abusive. Our culture used to dismiss men like him as “mean old bastards,” but he is an abuser, and both you and your mother are his victims. He will only change if he absolutely has to, and the only thing that might work is if his wife and daughter team up against him.
This isn’t about your father’s politics or worldview. That shit is just a sideshow. This is about his malignant narcissism and abusive behavior. Do not allow it into your life. Do not allow him into your life, even at the expense of your relationship with your mother.
I know this seems harsh, but if you really disown your father, your mother will finally have to make a choice between him and you. She will resent being forced to change, but tough shit. Any mother worthy of the title will pick her child, and if she doesn’t, at least you’ll finally recognize her for who she really is.
Worst case scenario, you become an emotional orphan (which you already were and simply didn’t know it.) Best case scenario, you and your mother exert enough pressure on your father that he breaks, and you wind up with some version of him where he learns to act right and bite his fucking tongue.
The most likely outcome is that you read this, feel momentarily inspired to enforce your will on the family, but then quickly fall back into old patterns of behavior. After all, real change is incredibly fucking difficult.
I hope you’ll go hard, though. Your dad is a real piece of shit, and you deserve better. Maybe you can make it happen.