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.
11 thoughts on “On your piece of shit father”
Sounds like OP and mum have a good relationship despite how shitty dad is, don’t jeopardise that because Coke tells you to. You can maintain a good relationship with your mum while also refusing to see dad.
Coke didn’t tell her to write off her mom, she just advised setting appropriate boundaries, like having her mom go to her for visits and no longer allowing her dad to be part of package.
I bet his behavioral change is the result of some kind of cerebral degeneration, like a small stroke, prodromes of dementia or Alzheimer. Changes like this aren’t the normal course of aging. A CT Scan or a FMRI will suffice.
I wondered about this too, but I wasn’t sure how much of this was a “change”, from the description. It doesn’t change that LW shouldn’t tolerate it, but it does seem like brain damage resulting in low executive function.
Hmm, it could be brain damage, but I tend to think medicalizing a problem is often just giving an asshole a get out of jail free card. “It’s not my fault I’m an obnoxious unmitigated fucknuckle, I’ve have a CONDITION!” is just too easy and attempts to make intolerable behavior forgivable.
I think what in reality happened is Pops has always been an unremitting piece of shit, but he had to keep it on the hush hush until That Man got into the White House and he’s found that he has permission to say all the things he’s been thinking and feeling for decades, and it’s all coming out in a big lump.
Perhaps, but abuse, racism and homophobia aren’t caused by medical conditions*. OP is still perfectly within their rights to want to distance themselves from a bigot.
*Not saying you were saying or implying this
This is the good shit that I come here for. Amen.
I think it’s all true – if that dad is being publicly racist and homophobic and using slurs, he has some combination of mental issues. The mom putting up with it is putting up with it because she hasn’t been forced to choose. At any rate, not inviting your dad to anything in your life seems reasonable, he’ll inevitably make a mess of everything.
Yep, and it’s also the great part about being anonymous. If Coke was posting under her real name (Barbara Bush) she’d have to say, ‘check yo pops for the brain hurt. Please get him some help.’
Since no one knows it’s her, she can ‘he has to go. For your safety and sanity.’
The anonymity, managed properly and given the respect it deserves, can lead to the most honest answers.
I agree with Coke. You don’t automatically owe your parents anything. The description of your Dad is awful. He’s not even run-of-the-mill baby boomer/old school fucked in the head. He’s worse. And really sounds like an ignorant piece of shit who your Mom should’ve left years ago. Again I’m assuming (based on what you wrote) that he’s always a prick, doesn’t have a good sense of humor, and isn’t selfless or loving basically ever. Fuck that guy.
I’m so sorry you are going through this. I agree with coke 100%
My mom wasn’t THAT bad (not in public at least) but I had plenty of the same hurtful name calling, moment-ruining etc.
I cut her out of my life for a whole year. I was so scared something would happen during that time, but eventually she was forced to come to me and get outside of her bubble in the process. After that our relationship began to heal.
People tell you it isn’t worth it to cut people out over this stuff, but for your own sanity and well-being it is more than worth it. Good luck and stay strong.
I feel like this could’ve been written by me about my father. The only real difference is that my fathers physical/emotional abuse to me was a bit more overt. But the same racist & obnoxious behavior rears it’s ugly head more often these days. He even defended Hitler in front of my friend visiting from Germany.
I’m also close to my mother and I’ve have a lot of questions I’ve had to work through in therapy. How can you love a man so much that you allow him to abuse your child? How can you love a man that demeans you constantly?
My solution has been a bit dramatic. I now live on a different continent and only go home a few days out of the year. My father is blocked on all forms of social media, but I do talk to my mom by phone once or twice a month. When I am around him, I’m terse but polite and do not take his bait. If he begins his abusive behavior I imagine a 14 year old girl saying it and it suddenly becomes funny and less hurtful.
I don’t know if this is helpful to the OP, but my solution is strong boundaries and physical distance.