My relationship with my dad has been rocky the past 9+ years. After divorcing my mom when I was 16, (I am 25 now) his passive-aggressive narcissist behavior has become more prevalent.
For example, he will appear kind and caring while friends of his are around, then if he is upset at something (List below of history) he will text the offender and tell that person (most often, it is me, my mother or my younger sister) what they did wrong, and how he was hurt.
What I have offended him about:
- A Facebook post (TL;DR I discussed the topic of gas-lighting, he accused me of gas-lighting him, and I posted randomly a quote educating people about gas-lighting not tagging him or commenting about it that pointed to him in any way)
- Not being able to go to his birthday/father's day party (because my car was in the shop.
EDIT: I was able to go with a different car, after a LOT of guilt-tripping and manipulative statements which the conversation could have been done WITHOUT easily.)
- Not visiting his mother as often as he would like (complicated family drama attached to this visit)
- Not visiting him as often as he would like (which is never satisfied)
- Not following his advice (despite me finding something better)
Assuming I see my mom more often than him (Both true and not true- my mom lives closer, plus I have a closer relationship with her, plus my sister and little brother want me to come over to mom's house rather than dad's. Still, I don't talk with my mom as much since marrying, and both of us are fine with that.)
My dad isn't fine with not talking as often, but still expects me to initiate the conversation.
There are many, many things I can think of, and am trying to let go of. These topics seem to come up more often than others.
My issue here is that if this were a stranger or an acquaintance, I'd stop interacting with them.
However, this is my dad. Some of the things he says do make sense (in parenting, he loves and cares about me, and has valid worries), but his approach is very manipulative and causes more harm than good.
I have a lot of resentment towards him for being mean and manipulative to many of his family, both on my mom's and his side of the family. I am a married woman that is living away from family- my father lives around 30 minutes from me, far enough away that I cannot keep going to him every day (I see him around 2 to 5 times a month), and I work all day every day.
I have gone to counseling for 8+ years for trying to figure out what can be done. I have had civil conversations with him, telling him how I feel, and he still turns it back to himself, telling me i'm not listening to his feelings enough. It goes back and forth without a good resolution.
How do I tell him to stop immediately when he starts guilt-tripping and manipulating me, without causing him to over-react and start firing away at me?
Please note that I have gone to counseling and I have talked with him after the situation, but I have yet to stop him in his tracks when he starts guilt-tripping me more than only once or twice out of many conversations. He has not apologized or acknowledge fully his actions towards me.
One statement I have used when he started demeaning me about how I needed to fix my feet, and do what he does, just because he knew better:
"I respectfully disagree. We can discuss this later, let's do (whatever planned activity) now."
What happened after was that he backed off a little, said something along the lines of
"Okay, I can send you web links later"
I responded with something like a nod, "yes", "okay", or a "yeah" and it helped that I just went back to getting ready to rock climb (which was the planned activity), just putting my shoes on, getting my chalk, etc.
I do not intend to demean him, or cause him to completely clam up. I wish to simply make him think twice and steer away from saying invalidating and demeaning statements about me and to me.
I converse with him 40% of the time over text and around 60% of the time in person. I do not call him (profoundly deaf, can't hear over phone at all). I usually am around him with my sister and others, but sometimes I find myself alone with him, in the car, at a restaurant, etc. where it's not logical or safe to just bolt.