Not sure how to approach this question so please bear with me.

Every member of my family, including me, has a problem with my father's behaviour. I am trying to find a way to solve it.


Simply put, my father comes home after work and immediately reaches for the beer. He drinks 5-6 cans a night. He gets drunk, not a massive amount, but enough that his behaviour changes. In fact, I think he enters this behavioural mode automatically before he even starts drinking.

What is this behaviour? Well, he interrupts and critises people on everthing they say or do. I mean everything. He mostly does it to my mother - he undermines everything she says and it is affect me since I can't even have a conversation with her without him saying something about every single thing she has to say. It gets to the point where my blood boils but no matter how much I or my mother tell him to stop being irritating he doesn't seem to acknowledge it. I can't stress enough how demoralising it is to have someone put down everything you say constantly.

When we confront him about it, which is usually when he is in this state (i.e.: after he's had a few beers) he becomes very defensive. He turns every genuine argument we have into a joke, behaves like a child and eventually gets angry and starts spouting some incomprehensible or illogical sentences in an attempt to change the topic. For example:

Me: Dad, your behaviour is annoying. We've told you numerous times to stop yet you continue.

Dad: Oh it's just a joke, what's life without jokes. (immediately deflects)

Me: I am being serious here, you do this all the time, it is irritating, offensive and you cannot treat me or mother like this. We can't say a single world without your needless comments interrupting us.

Dad: Oh so I'm not allowed to have an opinion? I am not allowed to say anything? (tries to imply he is a victim)

This is how it starts... He fails to acknowledge what he does to us. He starts acting very childish, almost as if he's giddy. Anything we say, no matter how logical and earnest, he dismisses with a deflection or some twisted logic.


It's easy to see it's near impossible arguing with him or trying to change his view while he is in this state. I have spoken with him about his drinking problem but he fails to see it as a problem. For him it's just a way to unwind after work and he fails to notice his change in behaviour. He refuses to even contemplate the idea that these beers might be getting him drunk.

The worst part is that this behaviour mode, as I said earlier, has been happening for so long now that he often enters it when he knows it is time to relax (i.e.: no alcohol involved to begin with). This includes going out on weekends, making public events with him unbearable.

How can I handle this behaviour? It is impossible to talk sense into someone who is so stubborn and childish.

  • 1
    "Handle this behaviour" is a bit broad and essentially asking us "what should I do?" which we can't answer on this stack. I am vtc'ing for now but if you can outline more specifically what you want to try and accomplish then I think this would make a good question. – Jesse Aug 14 '18 at 0:41

This is vague so the answer is matching. People have to want to change and this usually comes from their way of life or dealing with things doesn’t work for them. Consequences become greater than the benefit of the current behaviors.

Stating boundaries is a very good thing and always the first step to let someone know their behavior is offensive and hurtful. The issue I see here with your approach is that he is already partially or fully impaired when you are talking to him. You need to talk to him when he is sober, as your mom is involved it should likely be both of you or just focus on the way you feel and don’t try to get in between mom and dad. They need to work on their relationship, you work on yours, but let him know it hurts you to see him treat your mom that way too. Be prepared to tell him how you wish to be treated instead.

The next step is hard for everyone. Consequences are required to enforce your boundaries and let the other person know you are serious. In this case the consequence is your presence. If he continues let him know you aren’t staying around if he continues and then leave to your room or a place you can separate yourself from the abusive treatment.

This gives him the opportunity to understand what is hurting you and understand he isn’t going to be able to keep treating you that way and maintain the same relationship with you. Hopefully he will decide to change, but this just escalated on consequences from here proportionate to the treatment.

P.S. I believe the frequency and amount of drinking you mention is considered alcoholism. You and your mom might think about looking into resources related to that near you. Alcoholism and domestic happiness rarely exist together.

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