amycooper: (Default)
[personal profile] amycooper
 I had an odd "click" this morning about my father.  One that makes it a bit easier to make sense of him really.  

My father has always complained about his brother (my uncle) being gay by saying "He's handsome.  There were always a lot of girls at school that had crushes on him.  He could have had any of them.  I don't know why he went for men."  My dad literally could not understand why he preferred men when he had numerous women available to him.  It literally did not make sense to him.

My dad has also spent 20-30 years trying to get me to like Metallica.  Actively trying to get me to like Metallica.  When I was a kid and a teenager, he'd play it in the car during long rides (which we did often, as my parents are divorced and he'd drive us the hour ride back and forth every other week).  He still tells me Metallica is good and I should be listening to them.

Similarly, my whole life my father has been trying to make me like steak, particularly London Broil. (I will eat steak cooked a few select ways, but never liked it as just a slab of meat.  Stir-fried okay, but London Broil, yuck.)  He doesn't understand why I don't like it.  It's so good!

I know it sounds silly that it's only clicking now, but I think my father's completely incapable of understanding his tastes are subjective.  Everything has a right and wrong in his world, including what food's good, what music's good, what kind of sexual partners are preferred.  Then if I say I don't like Metallica, then clearly that makes me wrong, as wrong as I would be if I were to say 4+4=5.

Given that...other things start to fall into place with my father.  Like he has trouble understanding and empathizing with the limitations of others, particularly if he doesn't share those limitations.  My dumbass brother's still a dumbass, but it's becoming increasingly obvious he's got some mental health issues (possibly bipolar) and he has fibomalyasa.  My workaholic dad doesn't understand why he can't just buckle down, work 14 hour days, 6 days a week like my dad does and pull himself up by his boot straps.  The fact that he's currently holding down two part-time jobs and roughly holding his own steady, if improvished, existence at the moment is, to my father, more or less the same as him sitting around the house all day doing nothing but accepting handouts.  My father pretty much expects the same workaholic standards from every man (including one that he employees...he does own his own business).  You must understand that my own 9-5 type desk job isn't actual work.  He expects women to stay home and take care of the family...because that's how it works.  And while certainly there's more than a little sexism in that (and how he stresses that the father's the head of the household) in part it's because his world view is clearly right thus everything else must be wrong.

I'm not sure how that changes anything with my interactions with him, but it's certainly put things in more context.

Date: 2017-06-05 02:10 pm (UTC)
stop_thinking: (Default)
From: [personal profile] stop_thinking
It's good to have context and a better understanding because then you can protect yourself in your interactions with him.Even if nothing changes except that you don't get so frustrated as you might previously have done, it's good.Accepting someone is a certain way was liberating for the realtionship between myself and my mother. She still atempted to manipulate and criticise, but I didn't get so wound up about it. Good luck!

Date: 2017-06-05 02:26 pm (UTC)
lovellama: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovellama
Hopefully this realization will help you in your interactions with him.

How does your father act when you share something he isn't interested in? I wonder if he has a bit of autism, what with the insistence that everyone likes what he likes, and the inflexibility on things.

/armchair ponderings :)

Date: 2017-06-05 05:35 pm (UTC)
superbadgirl: (Default)
From: [personal profile] superbadgirl
Oh, he's one of those.

It does help to know what to expect, so you can adjust your own reactions/interactions. Clearly, that's not his thing...

Date: 2017-06-05 10:13 pm (UTC)
readerjane: Book Cat (Default)
From: [personal profile] readerjane
That's really interesting. I hope this light-bulb helps, even though you know your dad's not going to change.

I had a similar moment with my mom about a year ago. In general, she's much more accepting, but she used to do the same thing in the area of clothing.

I have sensory issues with any fabrics that don't breathe, especially polyester. To my mom, as long as the fabric was "soft" (i.e., had a smooth texture), there shouldn't be any problem. But for me, if I wore clothes made of artificial fabrics, I would start to sweat and prickle and itch and just be miserable.

My parents had to be pretty frugal while I was growing up, so most of what I wore came from thrift stores or was hand-me-downs from cousins. Also, my mom and grandma had grown up ironing everything they word, so any fabric like polyester which didn't wrinkle, was a godsend to them.

It didn't "click" for me until after I learned that one of my cousins can't stand touching velvet, and another one can't tolerate cotton balls, and a third can't stand to touch mesh fabrics like the liners of swim trunks. This is a familial trait... and my mom doesn't share it... so she really can't tell how itchy those things feel. To her, smooth equals soft and comfortable.

One cousin has two small children about the ages of yours, and she is totally understanding when her kids refuse to wear certain clothes, or when their sensitivities change from one day to another. It makes me happy to hear that their lives are so much easier in this area than mine was.

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