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Protecting myself from a manipulative father

2930 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  xor
Hi all,
So this is my first post, though I have been reading these forums for years. I have found the information on here to be very helpful to me in regards to communicating with, and truly understanding different personality types.

I have always had a rocky relationship with my dad (He is an ESTJ and I am INTP). We don't really have a personal relationship - the only way he can relate to me is by giving me "life advice". The only time he respects me as a person is if I comply with his wishes. As I got into my 20s, his influence grew less and less, and I became much happier with myself as a person. Since then, he has more or less disowned me. He doesn't try to make contact with me, doesn't call me on my birthday, doesn't ask me about my life. Even when I visit home for holidays, he mostly ignores me.
He has proven time and time again that he doesn't trust me. When I was in my teens, he would search through my things, lie to me about it, guilt trip me, and even threaten to leave our family. He verbally and emotionally abuses my mom on a daily basis and will completely shut people out if they don't agree with him. He verbally assaults me whenever I see him. He will say that I am a weirdo, have no social skills, can't hold a job, that I am a homosexual, detached from the "real world", pot head, etc... Some of these things are partially true, but for the most part I am pretty well off in life. I have never been in trouble with the law. I have a good degree from one of the top 10 universities in CA. I run my own contracting business as a freelance software developer. I have a really wonderful girlfriend and am deathly loyal to the people I care about.

I am going to bring my new girlfriend home to meet my parents in a couple weeks, and I am worried that my dad will use her to manipulate me in some way. This may sound paranoid, and I know people are usually anxious to bring home someone new to meet the folks, but I have a strong feeling this is a very likely scenario. He knows that I really care about her, and he is the type to use anything at his disposal to get what he wants. He can be very charming and clever, and he is very socially capable. My girlfriend knows a bit about him, but I haven't really laid out how crazy he is.

An obvious solution would be not to have her meet my dad, which has been my default solution in the types of situations. But, we are leaving for S. America shortly, and I really want her to meet my mom and my friends back home. She also wants to meet my family, but I don't know how to prepare her for this. Any thoughts or strategies are appreciated. Thank you.
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In my experience with ESTJs, this is an accurate insight. I've found that ESTJs (and a few other types in general) seem to really respect people who get right back in their face and put up a strong Eight kind of front, whether or not they agree. The more conciliatory or dismissive approach is viewed as weak or as not having conviction/certainty of your ideas.

LOL! That's great. Fortunately, she is the type to hold her own ground. My guess is she's a ENFJ, though she's never taken the test.
I think my dad will respect that about her. He seems to respect people that he can't push around easily.
I am more worried that he will act totally friendly and social at first, compliment her, build up report, etc... He won't act like an asshole. Since she is very susceptible to flattery and has a strong desire to please, she will want him to like her in order to fit in with my family. My dad will almost definitely recognize this and leverage it against her.
Maybe you should give her a little more credit, especially if she's someone you love. The way to balance it is simply to prep her with what you know of your dad, so she's aware of it. he has no real power over her, you know, except possibly confusion -- so alleviate any confusion by filling her in ahead of time. Is she more inclined to trust you, or trust him? You simply have to be more trustworthy. She'll figure it out.

My dad's an ESTP, but I see a lot of similarities between your father and mine. Same kind of lack of respect for boundaries, some seeming indifference / lack of interest, and then also the abandonment where he's kind of cut himself out of your life. I let that part of my dad rock me for awhile until finally I realized it was okay to not need to always be open and vulnerable and let him shake my world up so much just because of his attitudes. The alcoholic example posited by someone else was apt, as my dad is one, and at some point I realized I didn't have to tolerate it, after years of patience with him have revealed that he has no intention of changing anyway. I'm glad you've managed to build a good life for yourself despite your dad's mistrust, and he only has what power here that you actually give... so don't give him any.

Which one is more true?

I read it as "he typically ignores me, doesn't say hi, doesn't ask any questions about my life, all the normal things that people should do in a relationship; and on the occasion he does engage or suddenly says something, it's typically to be verbally abusive." That's just like my father too.

It's also a typical anger pattern -- you block someone out / bottle up all emotions regarding them, and when you finally do open your mouth, it's something caustic.
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That's a good point. I've actually met my mom elsewhere outside the home as well, since my dad was being a butthead.

@xor, can you set up a location for her to meet family, not at your parent's house? Your dad really doesn't deserve to have her "presented" to him like he's some kind of benevolent patriarch anyway. Since he's not invested in your life anyway, why should he care? And if he does care, then maybe that's an opportunity for him to engage and actually show some interest in your life.
Thanks this is a good interpretation.

By the way I still do not see why the OP should bring his gf to him. If he wants his mother meets her, he just can make sure he does it when the father is not around. Or invite the mother for a lunch outside the house, or whatever.

Presenting his gf to his father just shows his submission and feeds the father's bully instinct.
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