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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5451
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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In short I am suddenly having a lot of difficulty with my

Customer Question

In short I am suddenly having a lot of difficulty with my 84 year old father. He is an "Archie Bunker" personality and is a devout catholic. My sisters and I have had to put him and my mother in a care facility, mostly because he can not take care of my sickly mother. Ever since I was a child (I am now 59) I have, against his wishes, played guitar, read Buddhist literature, meditated and have divorced my first wife and married a Japanese Buddhist woman. We have been very happy for the last ten years. For the last ten years I have enjoyed a wonderful peace of mind and tranquility until now.
Several months ago he started speaking quite derisively about Buddhism, Asians, (His caretakers are Asian and Latino) and he has insulted me, criticized every aspect of my life. He says that He is going to hell for letting me fall away from the Catholic Church (of which I have many horrible experiences) He also always wanted me to become a priest and is sad because I have fallen to a hell-bound path (Buddhism). Previously I was ambivalent toward both him and the Catholic Church. The last time I spoke to him I fell into an uncontrollable rage, I am not in any way nor have I ever been violent, I do resort to sarcasm and can be quite expressive verbally which I immediately deeply regret. I have avoided him for the past couple months and have felt a little better, however recently my anger seems to rise easily for some reason and I lose patience quickly with people who act "wrongly" . I used to always be so ambivalent toward him and the church. So, today when we passed by a Catholic Church I suddenly was filled with an extreme rage. I know my dad won't be around much longer. Why can't I ignore him, and why am I feeling so angry. He is just a silly old bigot and I am a grown man who knows and loves the path that I am on. I can not even talk to him without feeling rage. Things that quit bothering me a long time ago now bother me a lot. He has never complimented me for anything, always criticized me and told me how I know nothing about anything. With one thought I hate him and never want to talk to him again, but would miss my sweet mother if I did that, and hurt her. On the other hand, for some unknown reason, I still love my father. Should I learn to ignore him? and Why has that suddenly been so difficult.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

 

It sounds like your father's direct criticism of you has brought up some unresolved feelings you have had all your life about your relationship with your father.

 

When children are not loved in the way they need by parents, they develop a longing for the love they missed. When you have a father who withholds his love and approval, you will have needs that are not fulfilled. You also were criticized, which causes anger. You may have not dealt with the anger or felt that by changing your lifestyle you were able to cope with it. But you may also have decided to go against your father's wishes with your beliefs and lifestyle because in a way you can rebel against what he believes and as a way to express your anger without saying it directly.

 

Your father uses his opinions and points of view as a way to hurt you. He is pushing his view of the Catholic Church on you and trying to bully you into listening to him. He does not present his views as a possibility, but instead as a condition of his approval. At the same time, he withholds his love and approval unless you agree. It is a good way to cause you to feel anger and rage. There is no way to win with him unless you agree with him.

 

I suspect that the amount of anger you have with your father is overwhelming. You have tried to cope with it by peaceful means all your life, but with your father's stepping up of his attacks, it is making it hard for you to hold back. After all, he is attacking every aspect of your life- your beliefs, your marriage, and your lifestyle in general. Your anger is coming out all over the place because it needs addressed. And you are also becoming angry about the symbols that represent what your father believes, such as the Catholic church.

 

In order to deal with your anger, you need to first accept that you feel angry. Yes, it is hard to do this against your own father. But is acceptable to be angry at what your father does and still love him. Wanting him to love you and being angry at what he does seems contradictory, but all children want to be loved by their parents and love them back and have that love accepted. Many kids who are abused still want to be loved by their parents and love them back. It is normal behavior.

 

But loving your father also does not mean you need to accept his behavior. When he starts giving his opinion, tell him that while you respect his right to an opinion, you need to leave. Keep doing this every time he confronts you. This sets up a boundary and helps keep you protected from his tirades.

 

You may also want to consider therapy. The verbal abuse you suffered with your father has caused a deep seated anger that needs to be dealt with in therapy. To find a therapist, ask your doctor for a referral. Or you can search on line at http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/.

 

You can also work on your feelings through self help. Here are some resources to help you:

 

http://helpguide.org/mental/emotional_psychological_trauma.htm

 

The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse: Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster and Regaining Control of Your Life by Albert Ellis and Marcia Grad Powers

 

Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft - about your father, not you

 

Adult Children of Abusive Parents: A Healing Program for Those Who Have Been Physically, Sexually, or Emotionally Abused by Steven Farmer

 

You can find these books on Amazon.com or your local library may have them for you.

 

I hope this has helped you,
Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5451
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
ok i only had three seconds to read it before this window popped up sorry, i have been unable to read it yet because this window is blocking it
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

If you have any problems with reading your answer, please let the moderators know. They will be glad to help you access your answer.

 

Kate

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