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How do I cope with incredible anger in parent?

(17 Posts)
crumplebutton Sun 03-Jul-11 21:57:20

I've name changed for this and posted it last week in chat and the kind people who replied suggested that I post it in relationships too.

My father is the angriest person I have met and I feel pathetic that I still can't cope with him and how he makes me feel at 45. He is 78 and well enough in himself except for high blood pressure funnily enough, lives on his own and has his own house still.

He is totally surrounded by paperwork and feels constantly overwhelmed by it all, most of it is unnecesarily convoluted but you can't tell him that. It's almost as though he has to cling on to it all otherwise he would have nothing to do.

Visiting or ringing is an utter nightmare, he just spews vitriol down the phone at me -not usually actually about me but all the banks, gas board, electricty, post office etc. You can't take anything from him because he doesn't think I'm capable of dealing with and he's always being hyper critical of everything and anything I do.

Saying all that, I do really care about him but he makes me heart race in fear when I have any contact with him and just hate feeling like this. I did see a counsellor years ago and she basically said that I need to change the way that I react and deal with him as he is not going to change his behaviour at his age. She said that he unwittingly knows how to press my 'crumple button' hence my user name for this.

Anyone had similar experiences or can shed any light on coping strategies?

Sorry for ramble and thanks for reading!

tranquilgardens Mon 04-Jul-11 00:05:18

Firstly, has your DF always been like this towards you, as you say you saw someone a few years ago?

You have had good advice, and not taken it by the sounds of it, have you changed the way you react? Do you know how to change the way you react?

Was your Mum quite codpendant? is she about?

crumplebutton Mon 04-Jul-11 08:52:56

He has always been like this to a degree. Very negative and gloomy, angry but not aggressive if that makes any sense? He does really care for us though and everything he does he does for us (the money provision) I just wish that he wouldn't tie himself in knots over it all though and then take it out on me!

My mother died 13 years ago and she despaired of him too, they were very different in that she was a social person and made her life around family and friends. My dad just worked and sat in his study and ranted a lot. Now there is only my sister and I left and he just yells and bangs the table to us instead.

I have tried on the outside to change the way that I react. Since my mother died we have only had one proper massive argument as I made a pact with myself not to argue with him after she died. Prior to that we had huge rows fairly frequently. So yes I have changed outwardly but inside my heart still pounds, I shake, cry afterwards and hate the way that he makes me feel.

My sister doesn't get quite the brunt of it that I do (I'm the eldest) but she's better at dealing with it anyway and doesn't take it so personally.

BornInAfrica Mon 04-Jul-11 09:12:43

I am at a complete loss to understand why you have reposted the same story - did you not get the answers you were looking for? If this is such a huge issue with you then maybe a bit of counselling will help?

crumplebutton Mon 04-Jul-11 09:19:46

Thanks for the that positive post BorninAfrica hmm. I explained further up in my original post that the kind posters who responded to my original thread suggested that I put it in relationships as there are people on here with more experience or interest in this particular subject than there are in general chat. I got a few answers last week but obviously am interested in trying to get a full picture and as many 'helpful' opinions as possible.

You have made me feel crap by responding in the way you did to something that is very personal to me and yes it is a huge issue and yes I have had help in the past (you clearly didn't read my op) so please respect my feelings over this.

tranquilgardens Mon 04-Jul-11 09:30:30

I think your counsellor was right that you need to change the way you repond to your Father, obviously you have only changed the way you react on the outside, inside (physically) you are still taking on his anger, and no doubt you are acquesing a great deal to help you not fall out, obviously that is not working as your DF is still affecting you.

Out of interest why did you finish working with the counsellor?

crumplebutton Mon 04-Jul-11 09:36:29

I only went to see the counsellor as I struggled so much with my mother's death, we ended up talking about my father most of the time though! I obviously didn't change the way I reacted as much as I would like to. I take his anger to heart and can't push it away and rationalise it.

BorninAfrica, I see why you think I've posted the same thing twice now! I asked MNHQ how I moved it over from chat to relationships and they didn't reply as it was the night of Mamaz0n so I presumed they were very busy, they obviously moved it for me but didn't tell me so I didn't realise until I looked just now that both threads are under relationships.

I've asked for it to be deleted anyhow. I've been on here for 6 years and it's the first time I've ever posted something so personal and I don't feel comfortable with it to be honest.

tranquilgardens Mon 04-Jul-11 09:38:44

I used to take on what others said about me, I am better now at not taking it on. I remember someone saying put an imaginary golden light around you, that sort of thing didn't work for me, we are all different!

HappyDoll Mon 04-Jul-11 09:54:32

crumple, my mother reminds me of your father a bit. She's not angry as such, but incredibly bitchy. It's really hard to explain, but she moans about everything, drags me into the moaning thinking "this is awful, we're having a miserable time, mum is so unhappy" then at the end of it all she'll skip off and tell everyone how brilliant it was and I go home feeling shell shocked. She does this about everything.
Christmas is a nightmare. I'll usually be in the kitchen listening to her viscously attack someone behind their back, I'll get all cross because that person has upset my mum, I'll stay in the kitchen because I can't face looking at the person and then I'll return to the festivities to find mum clinking glasses with said offender!
This christmas resulted in the entire family falling out spectacularly. Mum had just discovered she has MS and she had also just lost her Dad so naturally I protected her. But DBro and DSis didn't and frankly they both behaved appalingly towards her. Brother more so. She moaned, whined, cried to me and I got more and more wound up over it all. It led to a massive explosion on all parts and no-one talking. Mum got so upset that DBro wasn't talking to her and I eventually wrote to him, in May, begging him to make contact. He did and now I have to listen to what an angel he is!
At one point in January, he was written out of the will (with me in the background pleading for that not to happen), now he's god's gift. Incidentally, he is telling everyone that I should go to hell and he couldn't give a shit if I live or die.

The time has come now for me to start living my own life. I cannot take it anymore. I have a wonderful DH and 3 fabulous DCs, I won't become her. I try very, very hard to see the positive in everything and to smile sweetly when she starts off again. I know it's hard for her and I do forgive her, but her joyless living has impacted on me for too long. I want more out of my life.

Sorry for the hijack. HTH

Ripeberry Mon 04-Jul-11 10:08:22

I feel like I could be writting this thread in a few years time as my dad is getting to be like the op's dad.
He always complains about things and hardly has a good word to say about anyone.
Sometimes puts me off visiting him sad

crispyseaweed Mon 04-Jul-11 10:14:14

crumplebutton, youd dad sounds like my mum. She is now 79yrs with dad still alive. She is losing her memory a bit , btu can still be and sometimes even worse with her vitriole at times. Particularly bad when dad was in hospital . She has always been unmotherly, unsupportive, short tempered, critical and had a fowl temper.
I stand up to her now and she doesnt like it, and makes out to everyone I am the problem. (but I know I am not). She physically attacked me at xmas so i took a wide berth for a while. I only placated in the end cos my Dad is loving, kind , patient and giving.
You have to be asserive and firm Cbutton. If he gets nasty , put your hand out forward and say," I will talk to you another time/later when you are calm".
These words will drive him nuts but you must be strong and stay firm to your words. Tell him you find it very stressful listening to him rant on in this aggressive, unpleasant manner and you cannot listen to him when he talks like that. Your dad is a very angry man and this is all his 'stuff' , it is nothing to do with you and it is not your problem IYSWIM.
I kknow how hurtful it is when its you parent, they make you feel awful. You , like me work hard to try to feel good about yourself and then they just upset you again.
When he starts again, tell him very firmly you are not his punch bag and you are not going to stand there and take all this temper from him.
He now hasnt got your mother to use as apunch bag so sadly its you.
I do feel for you cos as you know at this age they are not going to change. I am dreading it when my father dies (he has heart failure) as my mother will be a total nutcase, nightmare, and will treat me as the family scapegoat and take it all out on me...
Be strong. You have my heartfelt sympathies smile

crumplebutton Mon 04-Jul-11 10:35:34

Thank you so much, those are the kind of things I guess I wanted to read - not because I want anyone else to be going through the same thing but just to know that it's not just my family who are like this!

Crispy, when my mother died I felt the same, dread that the 'wrong' parent had died somehow sad. That seems such an awful thing to say as I do really love him and care about him, I just wish he wasn't such a ball of fury and negativity.

I think next time I will say that I can't talk to you whilst you are this angry and see how he reacts. He will seethe I know and then I will feel guilty because he has nobody else to rant talk to.

HappyDoll, it must be exhausting being the in-between person all the time and being used by your mother as a weapon against other members of the family?

Oh how I dream of the Waltons!

HappyDoll Mon 04-Jul-11 10:39:03

Can you imagine? If you were in a family where it was unwritten that you all loved each other just as you are and although you all probably wind each other up, you all just want the best for each other.
I dream of that. I hope I am creating that for my little ones.

HappyDoll Mon 04-Jul-11 10:40:17

my mum says I have a 'Princess Diana' view on life and that nothing is ever perfect and if I keep plugging away at trying to make it so I am only going to end up disappointed.
How sad is that?

crispyseaweed Mon 04-Jul-11 13:53:20

Dont feel guilty when your Dad seethes with anger. Its not your fault and you are not responsible for his behaviour. Do not allow yourself to be his emotional punch bag, he has not right to use you like that. You are his daughter and should be treated with affection and care.
You deserve to have NO emotional abuse. Its not your problem that he has no
else to talk to. (not surprising he doesnt!)
I wish really that my mother would die first, as my dad would cope emotionally much better than her. He is all there mentally and emotionally stronger. She is a mental wreck and emotionally immature.

TheArmadillo Mon 04-Jul-11 14:37:51

I know you said you have had counselling but have you thought of trying CBT? (cognitive behavioural therapy)

I found that while it was useful talking about things and it did help me understand why I was the way I was and why I reacted to things in a certain way, it didn't actually change the way I reacted or behaved.

CBT is about recognising and changing behaviour patterns. It has been a lifesaver for me (though it can be hard work). I got mine through the NHS.

crumplebutton Mon 04-Jul-11 17:48:10

Nothing wrong with having a 'Princess Diana' outlook on life is there? Much better to strive for perfection and fall a bit short than to always be cynical and negative about everything and see life in such a sour way.

I have had some CBT Armadillo, it was a long time ago though and is failing me right now. I also had hypnotherapy - perhaps I need to go back for a top up though.

He's just sent me a huge email telling me how angry he is at comments I made (he claims sarcastic - I was merely trying to lighten the mood which trust me is a pointless enough task but doesn't daunt me stupidly!). I want to just completely disown him sometimes and tell him to f* right off - I have so much resentment and anger of my own directed at him and the way he makes me feel. God I feel like a bloody little kid again not a grown woman heading for 50 with children of her own!

Stupid flippin man, does help to be able to rage anonymously - thank you mnetters!

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