PO'ed at father

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
PO'ed at father
Fri, 08-22-2003 - 8:57am
I don't even know where to start with this, as my father has been a problem ever since I can remember. He's the most immature, ignorant, prejudiced, disrespectful human I know. What makes it worse is that my mother finds his behaviour funny (possibly because she's just blocked out how embarrassing he can be).

Case in point, my husband and I, and my parents decide to go out to a place local to my parents for dinner. When we get there the place is packed, so we decide to take something to go, my father, who can barely stand for more than a few minutes is leaning on the counter where we need to order, and my mother is standing behind him. The counter person asks us what we want, and my father can't even handle putting in an order but is standing in the way so he gets upset and yells at my mother to get up to the counter (how can she, he's in the way)?! By this time, he's ranting even more and I tell my husband to just take him outside. We finally get out of there, but not without my being completely embarrassed by his behaviour.

This is just a small example of how he acts where ever he goes, if something is a TAD out of place, he blows up...then he sulks. I don't think I've ever seen a child act like this, let alone a grown man. This last time, my parents came over to my house (they live in NY, I live in CT) on their way back from seeing my brother in Boston. I had a nice lunch all prepared for them...what does my father do...complains that I have Lite mayo instead of the full fat mayo, asks if I have butter (I don't use butter), and then asks for salt and pepper. Basically he wanted to make a sandwich that had meat, cheese, full-fat mayo, butter, and salt and pepper on it. Well, I am not willing to accommodate him like that and my mother told him to use mustard (and a lot of salt and pepper). During lunch, all he could do was complain...

After lunch he went to the bathroom, I thought I smelled cigarette smoke when he got back, but I wasn't certain and didn't possibly think that he would have smoked in my home (both my husband and I are non-smokers). Well, as they were about to leave, I distinctly smelled smoke, and I told my mother and she basically just blew it off (my father wasn't with us at the moment). My husband and I had to completely air the entire top level of our home out, I had to re-wash the rugs/towels in the bathroom he used, and I was absolutely livid with the whole thing. Yes, I should have told him he couldn't smoke in my home, but since he shouldn't smoke, he tries to hide it (as IF you could hide that horrible smell)! I was pissed off for days (and no, I didn't say anything to my father...though now I wish I did).

Thankfully my parents don't visit very often, and after this episode I will certainly invite them less. I just don't know what the hell is wrong with my father, and how to deal with the anger I have at him. Any advice? Thanks.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Fri, 08-22-2003 - 10:03am
My Grandfather was one of the old fashioned "macho" men. We noticed that as he aged he would get crabby and get really mad at little things- totally blow up about it. It was very embarrassing to be out with him. He haddiabetes and would sneak candybars and cookies. He actually would open Oreos, lick out the cream, and stuff the cookies down the side of the couch. Then he'd try and blame the mess on my younger cousins when my Grandmoter found the cookies.

It turns out that he was having strokes and had arteriosclerosis. The strokes were impairing him, and he began acting like a child. It just got worse. My Mom had to go over every day and check on him(my Grandmother was working). My Mom would make him lunch, chek his blod sugar, and give him his insulin shot. We had to hide his car keys. IT got realy bad.

I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that it may just be part of growing old. Some people are able to maintain all their faculties and others just regress and become more and more child like. As far as the smoking, if he does it again I would say something. It's your house.

Good luck!


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Fri, 08-22-2003 - 11:14am
Hi, Heather, thank you for your response. He has definitely gotten worse as he ages (he's in his early 70's). He does have diabetes, which he doesn't manage (he thinks he's invincible, and he even told my husband (who is a nurse) that his blood sugar was fine), he barely checks his blood sugars and still eats junk food. I'm sure that his attitude was initially caused by his being completely self-absorbed (he never told us he was proud of us, and always wanted to be the center of attention), and so now it's just inherent that he act this way.

What amazes me is my mother's lack of caring about the way he acts, or his health, but I think she's given up on him completely. He's had back problems for a long time, and while he's received medical attention for it, he doesn't follow up or continue any kind of physical therapy.

It's to the point where I just can't even stand to look at him when I see him. I think I will just have to keep my distance, it is easy to do since I live in another state. All I know is that I would NEVER put up with a person who acted like he does, I have way too much respect for myself. My father is the king, and always will be...I just don't need to be one of his willing servants any longer. I dread the future and possibly having to take care of him (especially if he loses his sight, or limbs from diabetes).

I have 4 other siblings, who almost have the same attitude towards my father as my mother, it seems like I'm the ONLY one (in my immediate family) who just can't take him any longer. I think I just have to take a few deep breaths and focus on something else (which is what I usually do, until I have to deal with my father, then it starts all over again). Bleh.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2003
Fri, 08-22-2003 - 9:06pm
Hi itchick,

My dad is the exact same way. He is 82, but even when he was younger, he'd blow up at simple things. He gets really impatient around crowds and stuff and sometimes he makes scenes...one time we were seeing a movie together and we were at the ticket taker gate, and somehow we got seperated, and he kind of freaked out and pushed a mother amd a boy out of his way to catch up with me. We went into the theatre and I picked a far away seat, but the woman's husband saw my dad and he came up to us and confronted my dad about what he did. I just sat there wishing I could disappear. He at times just can't deal with normal societal routines. And I can't say anything to him, I always have to smooth him down by saying, "Oh, people are rude, etc, etc," when I know it's his fault. So I just wanted you to know you're not the only one...and now I know I'm not the only one either!

Take care!

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Fri, 08-22-2003 - 10:17pm
I'm willing to bet your anger problems with your dad go much deeper than just his recent behavior - but that serves as the catalyst to bring out all the old, repressed anger you've carried around for a very long time. Am I getting warm?

I don't have any advice for you on how to deal with it, other than some qualified counseling to help you get to the bottom of it, and learn to re-build a healthy relationship with your father. Sounds like your relationship needs it.

< What makes it worse is that my mother finds his behaviour funny...>

Well, this comment made me remember that's how I sometimes deal with situations that embarrass ME - I giggle, and laugh it off. Maybe that's what your mom is doing - she is truly embarrassed, but doesn't know how to stop his childish behavior. So she laughs it off. Makes perfect sense to me.

I'm also willing to bet that your dad is in the early stages of dementia (senility), and his crabby, arrogant, devil-may-care attitude is an obvious symptom of that. Not that he would pay any attention or do anything about it, but he should see his doctor and the family should talk to his doctor about his behavior. There are some very good medications available today that can help, which were not available very long ago.

BRAVO to you for refusing to undermine your father's health with full-fat mayo, butter, etc. while in your home. Stand your ground on this one, and continue to insist that he do the same in HIS home. Even lean on your mother to STOP providing these dangerous foods to a diabetic! But pad your words with love, that you want him to STOP the unhealthy behaviors because you're not ready for him to die just yet.

Here's an idea - you could get a full-fat mayo jar, and butter dish, and fill them with the low-fat stuff. At his age, betcha he wouldn't taste the difference! Suggest that your mom try this. She could even try mixing the two together, increasing the low-fat proportion over a period of time, so that he's eased into it and never realizes he's been duped. My sis did this with decaf coffee for her DH's damaged heart, and 4 years later, he STILL doesn't realize he's on full decaf! Claims it wakes him up in the mornings and helps him stay awake at night. hehehe

As for the smoking in your home, yes you should have told him not to do so. By not saying anything, you denied yourself the right to complain about it. And on this point ONLY, I think you are being waaaaay too picky and over-reacting (don't you wash the towels and rugs regularly, anyway?) This just reinforces my belief that your anger issues go way deeper and back much farther than just the recent incidents. Before their next visit, make it clear that you don't want him smoking at ALL (you love him, bad for his health, makes the house stink, etc.) but if he MUST do so, direct him to the patio or front porch.

When he acts up in public again, just whisper (withIN his earshot) to the cashier or whomever, "Oh he's just getting senile - sorry if his behavior embarrassed you!" And let him rant and rave over that - in public. It will just reinforce your statement and prevent any embarrassment for YOU, only making himself look worse.

Good luck to you and God bless...



iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Sun, 08-24-2003 - 2:32pm
Yes, Msfit, it does go way deeper than this, and as far back as I can remember. I have never had any respect for my father, and at times wished that he WASN'T my father. I remember even saying that to my mother! I grew up in a household where if I wasn't being ignored, I was being yelled at. I got no support, no encouragement, and certainly no love from my parents. My mother is now a grandmother (9 times over), and she just dotes on her grandkids...if my mother ever gave me a minute of her time I felt like I was asking too much. I have never really vented to anyone (definitely not my siblings), except for my husband, but even that I have kept to a minimum. I truly don't know how to get over these feelings of anger and frustration, at both of my parents. I am always terribly anxious whenever I have to see them, and generally tend to focus on my siblings and nieces and nephews so they don't get to me. I am going to seek counseling, as I've been struggling with depression as well. Thanks for your advice, Msfit, take care.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-25-2003
Mon, 08-25-2003 - 5:22pm
Your complaints seem pretty minor to me. Accept your father for who he is.

And stock up on the mayo !