Something Funny

How do I stop being afraid of my dad?

10 posts in this topic

I am 21 now, but I still sometimes feel like little kid and it is really annoying. Whenever I think about plans for the future, like what I am going to do as a job, I subconsciously ask myself how my dad is going to react to it and if he is going to be mad at me or not. He is the person that I've always tried to please the most. Being like that doesn't allow me to be myself and do what I want with my life. For example, tI went to the university for two reasons basically: to please my dad and get praise, and to avoid confrontation: being judged, shouted at, guilt tripped, etc. That's my main "motivation" for studying right now.

I know that I should somehow get rid of that mindset, but I have no idea how. It feels like this fear has been conditioned so deeply into me that I will never be able to fully unwire it.

What am I so afraid of? I don't know, logically speaking I have nothing to be afraid of. But somehow, every time I imagine confronting my dad about some serious or sometimes even minor life decision I get filled with dread that makes to just freeze in place.

I often find myself hiding and lying to him about very mundane stuff, automatically, just in case. For example if I am reading a book, and he asks me what I am doing, I would rather look stupid and answer nothing than tell that I am actually reading a book and risk having to explain what I am reading and being judged for that. It is the same for music, and other hobbies of mine, I try to hide as much of my authentic self as possible.

I was like that since I was like 2-3 years old.

What's interesting, is that I have a sister (1 year younger than me) who despite going through similar experience was somehow naturally more rebellious and basically chose a different strategy. While I became a total people pleaser and tried to basically become as invisible and conformist as possible, she got into confrontations with our dad quite a lot. And although, she had it much worse the me sometimes  because of it (being shouted at more often and being actually physically hit), in the end her strategy paid off, and she is now more mature, independent, and generally is better off mental health wise than me. 

She once got involved into a pretty heated up argument between our dad and our stepmom, trying to protect stepmom and started shouting at our dad (which resulted in him kicking her with his leg in the stomach with quite a lot of force). She also became vegan despite our parents being really judgemental and mad about it.

In both of those situations I remember thinking to myself that I would never have guts to do something like that.

What should I do to get rid of that fear and become an independent adult person?

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Well, you are already making some good progress by realizing this problem. The problem with a father figure as you described is that you are never really going to please them. Even if you managed to you would be much less of the person that you really want to be. 

For many years I had issues of wanting father figures in my life and pleasing them because my own was not very good. It got me in some really bad situations. Not only that I was never able to actually really please them. It helped me a bit to start talking with my Dad again after 7 years, but I still noticed some wanting to impress or please him. It's not something that will just be entirely washed away, but you can break yourself from it. 

Firstly, I would involve him less in the decisions that you make. Especially if he is generally not supportive. You don't want people around you that are not supportive in generally. 

A lot of the issue sounds like you built a defense mechanism to protect you from his abuse. Which is pretty reasonable, but you will have to do some work to get rid of that. I would recommend looking into shadow work and getting an understanding of how that works and how to heal it. You can also work on forgiveness with your father as well. I have found that greatly healing. It would likely help to talk with a therapist about past abuse and issues as well. Somewhere where you can really comfortably talk about the issues that have happened. Psychedelics can be really useful for working though trauma as well. 

Ideally, get yourself to a place where you can express yourself to him. You might only be able to do it in some limited fashion. Also, it should never be to protect yourself from getting hit or abused. For me that would be grounds to cut someone out of my life permanently. Do not tolerate being abused. 

You should seriously consider working on moving away from him. Kicking women is very abusive and I am sure there could be more to it. Keeping yourself in this situation is just going to keep reinforcing these issues on yourself. 

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7 minutes ago, Average Investor said:

You should seriously consider working on moving away from him. Kicking women is very abusive and I am sure there could be more to it.

I agree. I was going to suggest you maybe talk to him about your need to always please him, but I'm not sure if that's a good idea... He doesn't seem like the type of person who is open for dialogue.

 

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4 hours ago, Average Investor said:

Ideally, get yourself to a place where you can express yourself to him. You might only be able to do it in some limited fashion. Also, it should never be to protect yourself from getting hit or abused. For me that would be grounds to cut someone out of my life permanently. Do not tolerate being abused. 

You should seriously consider working on moving away from him. Kicking women is very abusive and I am sure there could be more to it. Keeping yourself in this situation is just going to keep reinforcing these issues on yourself. 

I am not really interested in expressing myself to him more. I just want to be able to make important life decisions by myself and do my own thing in life in general without being afraid and giving afuck about what he will think.

I actually don't live with my family right now, moved to another country at the end of August to study at the university, I live at a student house right now. However, it didn't solve my problem that much. I am still as fearful as I was before and have all the same issues. The only thing different right now is that I don't feel a daily pressure from morning to night of having to navigate our relationship to avoid conflict, it went more macro now, if that makes sense.

Also, me being completely financially dependent on him doesn't help so I think that that is what I should be working on right now.

 

4 hours ago, Average Investor said:

Kicking women is very abusive and I am sure there could be more to it

Yeah, there were more I instances of him getting physical with my sister. Like grabbing her by the throat, etc. I am pretty sure that I've managed to avoid being physically abused only because I was more cowardly and got really good at looking super apologetic immediately as he would start some kind of conflict situation and by being a people pleaser.

Although to be fair, he kind of got more gentle and calm in the last few years, probably because of getting older. I've observed the same thing happen to my grandfather (my father's dad), he used to have anger issues sometimes as well, but now he is 70 something years old and he is basically an angel, lol
 

4 hours ago, kag101 said:

I was going to suggest you maybe talk to him about your need to always please him, but I'm not sure if that's a good idea

Yeah, he is not really receptive to those kinds of talks. I can already imagine in my mind how it is going to go: saying that there is no issue, getting defensive, guilt tripping me for not being grateful for everything that he has done for me, getting aggressive. Besides I am not interested in that kind of talk with him myself.

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14 minutes ago, Something Funny said:

Yeah, there were more I instances of him getting physical with my sister. Like grabbing her by the throat, etc. I am pretty sure that I've managed to avoid being physically abused only because I was more cowardly and got really good at looking super apologetic immediately as he would start some kind of conflict situation and by being a people pleaser.

I just remembered one case where we had some casual dialog about random bullshit, and I think I got annoyed at one of his question and I guess I made it visible with my voice. 10 minutes after our talk has ended, he called me back and told me that I should talk to him more respectfully if I don't want to get punched in the face. My reaction was to immediately freeze and be like sorry, sorry, etc. If it was my sister she would probably say some crazy shit like "oh, you like hitting people? Go on, hit me" or something like that, lol.

Thinking of it, I actually got really good at pretending to be sorry. Whenever he would try to start an argument I would just do the drill of putting my had down, avoiding eye contact or trying to have a guilty look in my eyes, squeezing my lips to look very sorry, and repeating "I am sorry, yeah, I understand" to whatever he says. 

It worked quite well in the short term, but looking back, it made me into a coward and a chronic people pleaser after a few decades of doing it.

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@Something Funny Learn about enmeshment trauma, co-dependency, narcissism and the golden child syndrome.

Start healing yourself. Resolve traumas, do Inner Child Work, merge your suppressed aspects with your conscious mind. I have several stuff on healing here on the forum, check out my posts.

Edited by Superfluo

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Do you have financial independence? That's a good start. When someone can't hold this power over you it makes it a lot easier to take the next steps. My dad is a difficult person to be around too and ultimately I just made him a smaller part of my life. We don't talk that much anymore and he understood over time that he can't control me anymore. It created a lot of conflict, but I'm better off for it. 

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I have had issues with my dad as well.  I sat him down and told him I thought he was a bully and was upset that would make fun of my brother and demean my friends.  He then got angry and said he would take his anger to the grave.  I apologized several times to him for hurting his feelings but he doesn't want to talk about it and doesn't want to accept my apology/take back what he said.

Anyways, it was nice to know that, well I tried - although maybe my methods were not the best.  Some people had a hard childhood and never learned how to interact with others very well and then when they became parents, the kids were given verbal/emotional/physical abuse/trauma.  

Basically the goal is to then work on it for oneself so that one doesn't do the same to one's peers/kids/whoever.

The parent may be too weak to be able to admit their faults.  The child may be more detached and hence yes will take some blows but may have hope to overcome what the parent could not.

Your father may not be strong enough to be caring in the way you want him to be.  He is weak.  Your sister may be strong for trying to stand up to him and highly conscious (vegan).

If everyone goes along with whatever he does, it sends him the message that he can keep doing it.  If you want him to stop, you have to stop letting him do it as well.  Either that or just stay away from him.

Low consciousness may not be aware enough of how things work to react.  Get more awareness though and one sees that by going along, you are sending the message that he can keep behaving the way he has been.  If you want him to stop, you have to change as well and not put up with it either.

Higher consciousness may just accept that he is the way he is and ignore it.  - - Is anyone getting hurt by him and am I okay by just letting him continue to hurt them?  Are you letting your sister get hurt by doing nothing?

Good start though on noticing things.

In terms of non-duality, you are your father, you are your sister, you are you, you are me.  What does me want to do?  Who does me want to please?  Forget what your dad wants you to do - what do you want to do?  If you take a job you don't want, you know who is going to have to do it - you, not your dad.  If he wants that job, he can get it himself.  

If you don't want to have to worry about what he thinks, stop asking him for advice and follow your own.  You will mess up over and over again but it can be nice to try our own thing and see how it goes sometimes.  You know you more than your dad does or ever will.

Also, life is all a game.  You don't have to take it super serious.  This universe is going to last forever regardless of what happens.  Or - it is all imagination.  You are imagining that there is a problem with your dad.  You are projecting that idea onto him.  You are imagining that there is a difference between you and your dad.  In terms of infinity, everything is okay.  But because you are reality and you say it is not okay, you are reality so reality is not okay (from that perspective but there are infinite perspectives too.)

Try to get over the victim mindset of being hurt by him - whether that means talking to your dad, to a therapist, letting anger out, thinking it out, talking to friends, etc. - - eventually this will pass and you will have forgotten and will be on to something else.  Everything is changing so the pain will be temporary and will transform to something else.  I feel like talking to him may be the easiest for getting over any feelings about him... but also may feel hard as well. 

Edited by PepperBlossoms

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I feel you man, Im terrified of my father, I can hardly breathe around him, I wish I could confront him someday about how I feel but he has his tentacles so deeply entrenched in my family that it would make everything so much worse, there would be alot of collateral damage, I will probably keep quiet my whole life. 


Don't let your beliefs limit you. 

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@Something Funny

Realising that what you have experienced for most of your life is emotional abuse and seeking the right professional help for it. Emotional abuse is also known as domestic abuse. 

Sending Love to you. You've done the right thing in recognising it. Now it's time to get out and get the right help. At some point you want to get to a place where you can talk to your father, draw a line. You deserve better and no more than should you put up with this. Be strong, firm, boundaried and go get some support. 

Remember you're an adult now so any decision you make in terms of career is your decision. Take back ownership of your life. Life goes quick, so start living it to your rules, not your father's. 

Edited by Surfingthewave

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