TL;DR Strained relationship with my father, symptoms of which are: the only thing he can talk to me about are life choices, when I want to talk about literally anything else. How can I discuss this with him in a sensitive way?
For important context, my parents got divorced when I was in early childhood. Dad was emotionally abusive and had a lot of anger issues, although I don't remember/was shielded from the worst of it. Suffice to say I never developed a bond with him when I was young. I've spent most of my childhood and teenage years, however, being the only son he could regularly talk to, as my younger brother can't talk and my older brother was estranged far worse. So I've visited him on weekends for about as long as I can remember, out of duty and knowing how much it would hurt him to not see me.
Dad has since mellowed out and gotten much better over the years, and has supported me financially throughout all of my teenage years and through university. Although we get on, I still struggle to talk to him about anything. Part of the reason is that the only thing he'll talk to me about is careers, college, university, life choices, where I'm going next, or just constantly giving me advice. And I hate it, absolutely. I understand that from his perspective he's supporting me, nurturing me and trying to help me to grow, but when people are constantly trying to tell me to do something, I instinctively want to do the opposite, and every time he tries to make me talk about what I'm going to do in my life, I want to talk about it less.
The problem is, while he clearly thinks he's supporting me by doing this, he doesn't see that I've spent my teenage and adult life trying really really hard to create a bond with him that I never had as a child, for his own sake, and I just can't connect with him. I really do try, I try to talk to him about other things - what's going on in my own life, my interests, music, television, film; what's going on in his life, his interests, his work, his everything else. And this will work for a little bit before conversation just fizzles out and then we stop talking. I still haven't managed to find our common interests, the things we both enjoy and are passionate about, and feel like I have no way to connect with him - and the constant barrage of "advice" just turns me off even trying.
I know this is something that requires a deep and honest conversation, but I've never been good at that - I've never told him how I really feel about anything before, and never been able to explain to him how his support actually makes me feel stifled. I hate confrontation, and I think a small part of me is still scared that I'll make him angry.
So really, I want to know how to best break it to my dad that the way he's trying to develop a normal relationship with me isn't working and is pushing me away, and I need him to be able to talk to me about anything that isn't related to my future.