4

This has happened time after time. When making a decision together with dad, he always goes behind my back and ignore my opinions, which is really frustrating and even infuriating some times for me.

For example, knowing my grandma's health was deteriorating while I was living abroad, I specifically asked my dad multiple times that had anything happened, I would like to know, so that I could come back and see her the last time. This February, in my visit back home, I learned from my brother that my grandma had passed away a few months back shortly after my previous visit. When I confronted my dad, he explained that he wanted me to focus on my work and take care of myself, plus I had just seen her in the previous visit, so he didn't think it would be necessary for me to come back. We had a big fight.

Today, I just learned a surgery had been operated on my mom against my concerns. About a week ago, my mom went to hospital as her chronic serious disease had gone worse. My dad let me know and asked about my opinion about the small incision surgery that her doctor had suggested. I expressed my concerns about the hospital (it's really small one in our local town) and the treatment plan. Based on my research, I found a new medicine just made available a few months ago that would radically cure the disease, which is only accessible through bigger hospitals. I suggested to check with the doctors there first and then decide if the incision is the best next step.

My dad went to these hospitals for inquiry. As we were just catching up today, it sort of slipped out of his mouth that the incision had just been done three days ago, before his visits.

I was really angry hearing about it. I would have understood if they told me before the fact. It's my mom's health and her decision ultimately. But again, I felt that he went behind my back knowing how I worried and invested I was. I felt very disrespected and that he could not be trusted.

Questions: How do I make him realize how hurtful this is? How do I make sure they inform me about my mom's health status?

10

It sounds like your dad is in a pattern of behaviour where he conceals things from you because he thinks "it is for the best", or perhaps more specifically "in your best interest". That is natural parenting behaviour when a child is young, but obviously not meant to be continued in quite the same way now that you're an adult yourself. Sure you need to do something about it, but the positive way to look at it is that your dad hasn't exactly got a pattern of bad behaviour; he just hasn't got out of a behaviour pattern that you have long outgrown the need for.

For perspective though, while you may feel your dad is not treating you like an adult, you must remember that he and your mom have been adults for a long time themselves. As much as you ask them to respect your opinions and feelings, you have to respect the decisions they make too. Can you say without reservation that if you were going through a health problem of some kind, that you would tell your parents every detail, even if it caused them (possibly unnecessary) worry?

My suggested approach would be to confront both your parents together and calmly state how recent events have made you feel. I say both of them together because you can't say for certain how much your dad's decisions were influenced by your mom; also she could be a positive influence on him in future decisions. Don't exaggerate, or make any idle threats about what you might do if they continue. Your goal is to become closer and more involved than they have allowed you to be, so don't do or say anything that distances you from them any further. Also, remaining calm and making well thought-out, reasonable statements will go towards showing your father that you are an adult.

State what has happened so far and how it has affected you:

As you know, I have felt very hurt over things that you have kept from me recently. I understand you might think you are protecting me, but actually, being shut out has hurt and affected me more than if you had been open with me from the start. I didn't get to say goodbye to grandma, and I haven't been allowed to help and support my mom.

Go on to reason with them on why they should keep you informed:

We are all adults. If I had a health problem, would you want to know? Or would you want me to keep it from you so that you couldn't help? If it was something serious or life-threatening, would you want me to spare you the worry and deny you the possibility of saying goodbye?

Then state your expectations:

I care very much about mom's health status and I want to be kept informed at all times. Please will you do that for me?

  • Thank you for providing detailed examples. I already talked with them, but in the end sort of pushed them away. It just had happened so many times and I stopped trusting that it would change. It‘s so hurtful every time and I don’t want to feel it again. – Storm Nov 15 '18 at 14:34
  • @Storm That is sad. This isn't an advice site, so can't tell you what to do - can only give you a suggested approach. Given how sad you feel about not being able to say goodbye to your grandma, I suspect that you will not want to cut your parents off forever. If something were to happen to them and you had not spoken, you would likely regret keeping them shut out. The suggested approach I gave could still be used if you approached them to a view with reconciling. – Astralbee Nov 15 '18 at 15:00
1

Regarding your Grandma - while personally I would have said it would be better to err on the side of giving you the choice whether to make the extra visit or not, I can see how his reasoning that you had just visited her makes a certain level of sense so I don't think it was malicious - just perhaps a (somewhat) misguided one.

As for the situation with you Mom, well you aren't going to like this but I think you're in the wrong here. Your dad asked your opinion, on treatments for a medical condition of your mother's and because they didn't handle it in the way you wanted (both in terms of the treatment and communication) you're throwing your toys out of the pram and talking about how you hurt you are and how your dad can't be trusted?

It strikes me in your wording and the use of "it sort of slipped out" that makes me wonder if your dad might have purposely not informed you about the decision regarding going for the incision because he's actually looking to avoid having do deal with an angry or argumentative response from you?

I'm not sure where you and your family are located so there maybe a cultural difference at play here but I find the notion of getting angry because one adult family member didn't run everything by another (who lives in another country no less) more than a little odd to be honest.

I would suggest that, based on the examples you've given that it's not necessarily the case that your dad doesn't respect your opinions - rather that he appears to have difficulty communicating with you when he's chosen to do something that's not in line with your opinion or wishes.

You mention that you "would have been fine" with them making the decision to go for the incision-based treatment and that what you actually wanted was to have that communicated to you before hand.

So why not simply tell him that?

Hi [dad], I'm getting the impression that you didn't want to tell me that you had gone the other way with mom's treatment - just so you know I'm not going to get mad at you for not following my advice. It's Mom's health and her decision at the end of the day. So for stuff like that it's totally fine to just give me a call and say "we've decided to do x" instead.

  • You are probably right about my dad’s perspective. But from where I stand, about my grandma, what I would like is to be informed, so that I could make the decision to come back again or not. It is NOT his decision to make, and he violated my right. In my mom’s case, I wish he could have been direct and just told me that they decided before the surgery. I’m pissed because there had been a history of similar violations in the past, related to my finance, career choices, etc.. What I really want is to feel respected and that my feelings matter. – Storm Nov 15 '18 at 14:16
  • @Storm I absolutely agree with you on the Grandma-scenario - it was your choice to make, even if his intentions were noble that doesn't make his actions the right one. For the situation with your Mom, I would say that if you weren't respected and didn't matter your dad wouldn't have asked your opinion in the first place, but I do think your dad misjudged how you'd respond had he talked to you about going the surgery route anyway. That's why I think correcting that misconception is the most productive approach. – motosubatsu Nov 15 '18 at 14:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.