My father has Asperger Syndrome which never used to bug me because I never knew, but the older I become, the harder it is to communicate with him. He is so difficult to talk to and asks all of these questions in an accusatory manor but never listens to the answers I give to him. I try so hard to not get mad at every single thing that he says to me but it is so hard and sometimes without even realizing it I find myself snapping at him out of no where. I seem to be the only one with an attitude problem directly towards him. I think that me acting this way towards my father mainly has to do with the fact that my mother and father have serious marital problems, and me and my mother constantly talk about them and as time went on I started to get irritated by him because I’m on her side. But at the same time he is so difficult to communicate with and he NEVER thinks he does anything wrong. I’m already struggling communicating my current emotional status with my mom about their problems and I feel like I have so much going on in my mind, I wish I didn’t treat my father the way I did. I want to be able to hide my feelings of anger and be able to communicate with him without snapping. Sometimes we have our good days but then he ruins it by being rude, judgmental, accusatory, or throws some behind-the-back insult at me or my mom. I just really need help with my communication skills. Especially when the day comes that my parents split which is the time period when I will need my communication to be much much better. Please help. (age 18, from US)
From what you are describing here, it seems to me that your change in attitude and communication with your father are stemming from the fact that your mother confided in you about her marital issues as a friend, not a daughter. If your father truly has Asperger’s Syndrome then he has always had it, it is not something new. It could also be that his way of communicating has become more irritating to you as you have become an older teenager, in that there may be more things to disagree about, such as curfews, boyfriends, etc.
However, your mother should not have put you in the middle of their marriage. It is not fair to you. I suggest that you put a boundary in place yourself and let her know that she needs to talk to her friends or a therapist about her problems and that you want to stay out of it. In the meantime, I hope that you will try to find a way to reconnect to your father. Start by spending time together doing something you both like so that the time will be focused on an activity rather than relying on conversation. It may also help if you gently let him know if he hurts your feelings or upsets you and suggest an alternative way of asking you what he wants to know. Considering that he will always be your father, regardless of the status of their marriage, it might also be a good idea to have some family therapy sessions together to help improve your relationship with him.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts