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I wish I could be closer to my father

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by Libecht, Mar 25, 2020.

  1. Libecht

    Libecht Well-Known Member

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    I was never close to my father. I only talk to him when I need to, as if he's just a tenant at my home or something, probably because he's been absent most of the time during my childhood, as in, he's there, but we seldom interacted. It's not his fault, though. He was working hard and he's not really good at the whole parenting stuff, so my mother took care of me mostly.

    I appreciate his efforts and what he's sacrificed for the family, but our interaction is still quite awkward. The biggest obstacle is that our personalities just don't match. I rarely discuss any of my matters with him, because he often gives, to put it bluntly, either useless or kind of silly advice. My father is a good man, but can sometimes be quite clumsy and cringy. Although I'm thankful to him, our communication is just never enjoyable to me.

    It makes me very guilty because I can tell he's trying to bond with his son, for example offering me help that I don't really need, yet I just can't open my heart to him. Given our kind of distant relationship it'd also be downright weird if I suddenly gave him a hug or wrote an "I love you Dad" card. I wish there's a way to get us closer despite our different personality, or to show him, subtly, that he is indeed part of my family.
     
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  2. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    I would recommend looking for an activity that you both enjoy and can do together. For my dad and me, it's almost always board games or card games.

    Sometimes the direct approach is the best. Consider telling him, "I'd like to find something that we both enjoy doing and can do together."
     
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  3. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I know exactly what you mean and have no answer for you. Thank goodness I never had to live with him after I was grown, but there were times I'd take my kids to visit him because I thought it was important for them to know him. It was always so weird and unmeaningful and every time, I just couldn't wait to get out of there. He was always cold, distant and mean. Most people loved him because he's the type that never met a stranger. I remember driving down the highway and he'd see a license plate and get that car to pull over and stop and have an hour long conversation with them. But with his family it was totally different. You could tell he wasn't interested in hearing anything about my kids and what they were doing and the deepest conversation he'd get into was things he did to spite his enemies, like buying acres of land just because his enemy wanted it. The last time I saw him was at my mom's funeral and I was inviting him to stop in and see me anytime he was close by. He said, "Well, as long as you don't hear from me, you know I'm alright." I said okay and moved on. He died a few years later. My sister hates that knowing I didn't like him, was still in his will. But it's not that I didn't try and I have no regrets. But he did go visit her, so I don't expect her to understand. You can't make a parent have a relationship with you if they don't want it.

    But at the same time, it's possible he doesn't know how either. Maybe give him openings somehow, then leave it to him to either move on those openings or not.
     
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  4. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    You summed it all up for me Pats, you can't ever force a parent to have a relationship with you. For many different reasons, my mother opted out of this obligation. My relationship has been spotty with her. She really seems unsure how to proceed since l was sadly my stepfather's obession in my teenage years. I remember thinking it didn't seem right l was receiving very nice nightgown as a gift at some point. And it only added to my mother's chronic distancing .
     
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  5. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It is a bit odd that your stepfather would buy you a nice nightgown, but that's not your fault - that's his. Your mother seems to have distanced the wrong person.
     
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  6. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    She was abused by him though l know this doesn't excuse her behavior. She wanted the family unit to stay together so l was kicked out for this. However l worked as a live-in nanny, completed high school and went to Europe. So it helped me to towards establishing independence. Part of the healing was confronting him, which totally blew up in my face. I talked to his sister and she told the entire family, omg. I wouldn't have said anything to her if l had known she was going to blab to everyone.
     
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  7. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    The first idea was good. You both need something to bond over. For me and father it was Catan game and Alien movies. Sit at the same table and be upfront with him, honest, say that you want to do something together, find a way to bond like a father and a son. It will be very awkward in the beginning and some ideas may blow up in your faces... but it can get much better too and I think it's worth trying. You both seem to want it.

    You can do it. It will take work from both of you, but you can do it.
     
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  8. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    Many of us have parents who are on the spectrum themselves or at least have Broader Autism Phenotype (traits, but at a sub-clinical level).

    I advise tolerating one's aging parents with all their quirks, just as we want others to tolerate us. It's ok to assert some boundaries or ask for changes, as long as we remember that might just not be possible for them.

    I tolerated my weird dad to his dying day. His widow (a stepmother to me) doesn't get the same consideration. Out of a sense of filial responsibility, I tried to stay in touch with her after his death. She misinterpreted a letter I wrote her, didn't tell me why she wasn't responding until I phoned her to ask, then unleashed her criticism of me. I apologized but didn't try to defend myself or offer any change. As far as I'm concerned, I'm happy to be permanently estranged from her. She was the type to insist on large favors without appreciating the effort involved, and as long as I've known her (20+ years) she's been the type to blow hot and cold on a person. I'm done.
     
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  9. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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    I was and am fairly close to mine. Though hes a different person then he used to be. In mostly good ways. Most of my early life was spent with him. We didnt get a deep connection. But i understood where he was coming from. Hes a good man. And heavily depended upon for a lot of things. I hope one day to say thank you in a way that will speak for all the years of quite help.
    Though he says i could just pay back all the money he spent on me. I lost count in the millions region.
     
  10. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Maybe get to know him as an adult to an adult, with less judgement and more acceptance. Neither of my parents had the same advantages that I had, the war and the depression interfered with both their education and lives. They managed through hard work to make their children's lives better than the one's they had. Perhaps if you you find some common ground, such as an interest in something together that might change things.
     
  11. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    Finding something you can enjoy doing together is how I was fairly close with
    my Dad.
    Even though our personalities were totally different and I never felt as close to him as I did my Mom,
    I grew up with things we did like to do together.
    His big pleasures came from hunting and fishing.
    I remember he would take me with him as a kid when he went hunting.
    I never liked it and was afraid of the guns. I had to stop my ears when he would shoot and I still
    hated that sound. I got no pleasure from seeing animals shot either.
    My parents grew up poor country people and I know they used the kill for food, but, sometimes he
    would shoot something for what he called just for fun and it made me angry.

    Fishing was different. I liked that and so did my Mom.
    It was something we could all do together on his days off.
    Again, he worked most of the time so he wasn't home that much.
    So even one thing in common you can do together makes a big difference.