Hi , I’m in love with a boy i have known since i was 15 years of age. I am now 18 and i have never dated because i was always not allowed to .I live with my mother and two siblings and help out often. My mom is aware of the facts i like him and that me and him speak everyday. She thinks we have a nice relationship and understands i would like to be with him in the future. But she seems to have a very hard time with letting me hang out with him .
I know that i truly love him as a person and that he is trustworthy . He works two jobs, helps out is family, and really likes me and is a overall good person. I’m turning 19 in 4 months and he’s is turn 20 in 3 months. I love him and i know he feels like we have grown so much now its time to spend quality time together. My mom has me on a tight leash. i don’t know how to begin to tell her i want to be with him. I prayed about me and him every since i was younger and he has always entered back into my life. I’m very afraid of losing him ….what should i do ?
A: It sounds to me like your mother has lost sight of the fact that you are no longer her little girl. You are emerging into adulthood. That means that you are looking for love and will soon be leaving the nest to make a life on your own. Your guy sounds like an exemplary young man. Your mother should be proud and pleased that you have found someone to love who is so responsible.
It may be that your mom is afraid of losing your help. You didn’t mention a dad so I’m guessing that she is raising the three of you on her own. She may count on you more than she wants to admit. If that’s the case, part of the answer lies in figuring out what the family needs and alternative ways to get those needs met.
It’s time for you to stop being scared of talking to your mom. If you are old enough to have a relationship, you are old enough to have an adult-to-adult conversation with your her about how to prepare you and the family for the day when you will leave home. This isn’t something to have a fight about. Fighting will only confirm her idea that you are too young to take seriously as an adult.
Instead, lay out the problem and your suggested solutions as calmly and reasonably as you can. If she gets angry, resist the temptation to fight back. Simply tell her that you love her and that you know if may be hard for her to lose you to someone else. Emphasize that you have confidence that the two of you can work it out. Such conversations are often difficult and challenging but they are also part of growing up. I think you can do it.
I wish you well.
Problem Passed Down through Generations
I have been married for 23 years. My husband used to be more affectionate but it has waned over the years. It is however, not completely gone. He will hold me at night as he falls asleep, kiss me upon arriving home and we are still regularly physically intimate. Although I’ve had to guide him throughout the years, he is supportive and kind despite being a bit distant and unexcitable. I know that most women would be fairly happy with this situation but for some reason, I have moments where I feel he could be more affectionate and romantically focused. He is an excellent provider and we have a beautiful home, nice kids and a blessed life. What on earth is my problem then?
I sense that my needs are coming from low self-esteem…as if I’m not being “loved enough”. When I get like this I get so narrowly focused and it feels like I need that validation from him to make me whole somehow or none of the other things seem to matter. I really get angry that I can’t get what I feel I need. I truly don’t want to live like this any longer. It’s gone on long enough.
As a side note, my mother was plagued with this same issue all of my life and my dad was a decent guy like my husband. This desperate need to be “loved” was a nasty lifelong obsession for my mother and she demanded it from all of us although we did all truly love her and tried to please her. She’s in her 80’s now and angry, bitter, alone and has turned her back on her family and grandkids, claiming that we’ve all betrayed her. I am her oldest daughter and never felt deeply loved by her or able to live up to her unreasonable expectations. I don’t want to end up like her. Please, please help me break the cycle.
You are absolutely right: This is what is called an intergenerational transmission of a problem. Children do learn what they live. You grew up taking in your mother’s unhappiness with your dad as well as her belief that he wasn’t doing a good enough job loving her.
Your problem isn’t your husband. Your problem isn’t low self-esteem. Your problem is that you haven’t been able to free yourself from that early teaching. You are very right to be scared that you will end up lonely and alienated just as she was. I hope that gives you the motivation to do something about it.
You are fortunate, indeed, that you learned from your father as well as your mother. You looked for and found a decent guy who is steadfast, who loves you and who has made a good life with you.
The something you can do is some serious therapy. Therapy can help us correct early teaching. In your case, it can also help you truly appreciate all that you have.
Apparently your negative feelings have been building for years. That tells me that if you could fix this on your own, you would have done it already. I therefore encourage you to seek out a therapist and to do that corrective work. You are right that most women would be very happy with the marriage you are tempted to throw away. Since the problem lies within you, not within the man or the marriage, I doubt very much that you will find anything better.
I wish you well.
Becoming My Abusive Mother?
I have for a long time believed my mother to be emotionally abusive. Recently after a fight with her, I began to google general characteristics of emotionlly abusive/narcissistic mothers, to reassure myself but I found several things that reminded me of my relationship with my 6-year-old little sister.
I often tell her, and myself, that I only want the best for her and that I want her to have the life I never had. I often buy her candies and toys because I feel like my parents give her even less attention than they did for me, but recently I’ve noticed that I’ve been telling her that I can’t buy certain things because they are too expensive. To reassert my point, I sometimes say things like “You don’t need that” or “You don’t really want that.”
I’m afraid that I’m manipulating my sister like my mother manipulates me. I’m also afraid that I am developing NPD because while I worry about spending too much money on her, I seem to have no problem spending money on myself, especially after a period of depression. I also noticed that I tend to give my sister my old things instead of buying new things and I’ve read that narcissists’ overly self-centered personalities cause them to give hand-me-downs to others and new things to themselves.
I like to think that I am being a good sister, but I’m afraid I’m just lying to my sister and myself. I just want to know how I can tell if my sister is affected by my recent behavior or not and how I can help her if she is.
With 12 years difference between you and your little sister, you are an important adult in her life. My guess is that she has always looked up to you. So, yes, how you behave towards her does affect her. Because you are so much older, you are a role model as well as a sister.
You are asking very, very good questions. At 18, you are at the age where you are sorting through your experiences and deciding what kind of person you want to be. You are trying out being generous and being selfish; being self-critical and self-forgiving; being manipulative and being indulgent. Although you could decide to be narcissistic, you have had the experience of being treated poorly by a narcissist so I don’t think you’ll go that route. But it is a choice. By looking clearly at what you are doing, you are taking an essential step in the right direction.
It’s wonderful that you buy your little sister treats but she doesn’t need those things as much as she needs your loving attention. A few minutes reading to her most nights or coloring with her or just chatting and snuggling will put more into her emotional bank than any candy bar ever could. How you give her your things matters more than the fact that they are old or new. Little sisters love to get jewelry and scarfs and things from big sisters when they feel they are being given something special that connects them to their hero.
Keep it positive. Give her attention and encouragement. You’ll find you get as much as you give from the relationship. It’s pretty wonderful to be seen as special through the eyes of a child. Meanwhile, keep asking those good questions and making good decisions for yourself. Your relationship with your sister is important for the two of you and it’s also important as a rehearsal for how you will be in realationships in general.
I wish you well.
Should We Try Couples Counseling?
Im a believer and I decided to pray for my situation. I went to a psychologist, her theory is: I have a trauma from my childhood that led me to look for a man with the same type of relationship I had with my father (a man that took care of me and that I didnt like sexually at all, my ex). My boyfriend went to a session, the psych said he also has his traumas…
The other side of the story before I thought about my ex is: At the beggining of the relationship my boyfriend tried to sleep with his ex girlfriend, I found a series of conversations through facebook. I also found 8 or more conversations of him, hitting on other girls. This was the main reason of our break up. After this, I felt really bad and thought I wanted my ex back.
Anyways, He said his friends signed in his FaceBook and talked to her but after he found out about my “thoughts about my ex” he told the thruth, “I was looking for sex”… And, during our break up… In that month, he slept with her and 2 other girls…
We got back together… Have 6 months NOW (I miscounted). And we feel great together. The only thing is trust. I’m afraid he still talks with his ex girlfriend. He did it while having a great realtionship with me, why wouldn’t he do it now? He says he woulnd’t do it now because: “now I love you. And then, I didnt know you like I do now, I thought you were just like the other girls”.
Anyways, he says I also cheated on him, maybe I did, mentally…
What can we do to build trust? Should we go together to therapy?
Thanks you for your time,
Thank you for writing. I hope you got more from the therapist than an analysis. Being told you both have trauma histories isn’t particularly useful unless you also are helped to use that information to forge a more mutually compassionate and supportive relationship. Being given only an analysis is like being told that it’s raining but not being helped to get out of the storm.
If you two feel great together and really love each other, you both need to stop keeping score. You weren’t together for awhile. He did some things. You thought some things. You both decided that you wanted to try again to make a good relationship with each other. That was like a reset button. Once you push it, old stuff doesn’t apply.
Trust is a gift we give people we love. If you both want this relationship to work, offer it lovingly and wholeheartedly but with the understanding that trust is easily broken. Pledge to be faithful and keep that pledge. Neither one of you wants to live with the constant anxiety that your partner is looking for someone else. If you can’t both, at the same time, commit to this, then wish each other well, say goodbye, and learn from the loss.
I wish you well.
I Never Feel Good Enough
Hello, first of all I’m going to thank you for taking time to read my story. I’m 14. I wil start off by saying that my parents are divorced. I go one week with my m an other week with my dad. When I was little my parents used to fight, Horible fights, when I close my eyes I can hear them telling at each other, other than yelling at them selves my mom used to yell at me, to the point where she went pysco. Se kicked things,pulled my hair, throw things, said things to me that still hurt when I remember them. I grew like that all the time. When my patents fought I would be in my room crying my eyes out. Time went by and my dad got tired of being in that situation so he divorced my mom, he said it was the best I was 7 at the moment.
I agreed that it was the best things to do so I don’t have to hear them fight al the time. My mom made this insane lie that she couldn’t feel part of her face because of all the stress , she blamed my dad for everything. My mom and me were renting an apartment with her cousin and it was fine, my dad had an apartment as well but by himself. My mom met this guy and they’re married now, I should be happy but I’m not.. I accepted him though. Sometimes she wanted me to go to his house to get to meet him but I didn’t want to do she went into a phyco mood and started yelling and yelling, I ddnt get why ? It was her life not mine.. When I get mad I tend to cry. I dont yell or anything I keep everything inside and cry as my way to express how I feel. I ended up going and it always was like that.
My mom always wants everything her way she doesn’t care of anyone who she stomps on to get why she wants. I was 11 at this point, my dad didn’t like the guy my mom married and he still doesnt. Me and my mom are in a fight right now she kicked me out of the house and told me horrible things and that I’m not a good daughter. I think she’s not the best mom either,
I always try to be the daughter she wants.. Im never good enough. I close my eyes and I can remember all I went through. Her words buzz around my head, I think I’m marked forever.. I’m scared of her. My dad is the only person there for me he listens to me and he’s the best person in the world. One day my mom was angrily brushing my hair pulling my hair back into a pony tail and she hit me with the brush I turned around and she tried to hit me again but I grabbed her arm and pushed her back, my mind went black, I couldn’t take it anymore I felt like I wasnt thinking I just reacted, I don’t even want to remember what happens after that, I keep so much inside I don’t tell anyone, I can’t trust anyone.
In school I’m smart I have good grades and I’m trying to get into a good college but I have self confidence issues and really low self esteem. IM NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Everything is wrong with me. My mom told me I was fat. I believed it everyday I looked at te mirror and hated my self my mind was devestated. I’m putting this out here at 1:40am because as I’m laying in my bed those moment go thought my head and they hurt me, in so many ways. Please help me.
Thank you so much for writing. Your letter is an important step in your own healing. It shows me that you know in your heart that you didn’t deserve the treatment you had from your mom when you were little and you don’t deserve it now. Now we need to help you get your head in line with your heart.
You’re just like any other kid. You want your mother to love you. You long for her approval. You hope you will find some little thing that you can do to convince her to love you as a mother should.
I’m very sorry to have to tell you that it’s unlikely you will get what you are longing for. I can’t offer you an explanation for your mother’s behavior since I don’t have enough information. But from what you say, she has never been able to put other people’s needs ahead of her own, even her own child’s. She doesn’t give you love and comfort because she can’t. If a well is dry, it can’t give you water. At some point, it only makes sense to be sad about it but to go looking for another well.
In your case, you are lucky. There really are other “wells” of love available to you. Your dad is there for you. I’m guessing your teachers also think you’re smart and promising. At 14, you’ve grown up enough to know that you can survive without your mother’s care. You do need love but you don’t need hers. It’s time to do the grieving that comes with that realization and to reach out to others for the emotional and physical support a young girl needs and deserves.
Please ask yourself why you are choosing to believe your mom over your dad. You yourself call your mom “Psycho” but then you let her opinion take over the good opinions of your dad, your teachers, and even yourself. Open your mind and your heart to the people who really do think you are quite good enough as you are. They are right. Your mother isn’t.
It might be helpful for you to find a therapist to help you make the shift. Giving up on your mother won’t be easy after so many years of longing. To let yourself feel good about yourself is to give up on the argument you’ve been having with your mother. You really don’t need to convince her of a thing if you can embrace the reality that you are a good, smart, insightful, and attractive person. On some level, you already know that. But it just might be helpful to have a therapist help you connect with what you know is true.
As you enter your teens, it is a good time to do this work. A strong self-esteem will help you better manage the high school social scene and relationships. Appreciating your own talents and intelligence will let you do well in school. With a foundation of self-respect, you’ll be better able to have the future you deserve.
I wish you well.
My fiance doesn’t agree we need to make our own family
I am afraid my fiance is not really ready for marriage. I feel he does not always treat our relationship as his top priority. I feel he lets the needs and wishes or his family come first sometimes. His family gets together frequently, much more often than my family does, and he expects me to attend every single gathering with him, even if it’s not a special occasion or holiday. He also wants his family celebrations to take priority over my family celebrations, which is completely unfair and upsetting to me. I told him his family is not more important than mine, that there needs to be a balance and we should alternate who we spend holidays with. He does not seem to understand this, and even suggested that we spend holidays separate from each other with our own families. I told him that is not the answer, that as a couple we should want to spend our holidays together. I told him I feel like I am not the number one person in his life, although I treat him this way. I told him that as my future husband, I expect him to “leave and cleave”, and create a new family unit with me that is separate from his family, and I expect him to treat this new family as his first priority. He said that he does not agree with that concept, that he thinks I am marrying into his family and need to be part of them and accept them. I explained that I do accept his family, but that our focus should be on our future, that will hopefully include a home and children of our own, and that no one or nothing should come between this. I really love my fiance, but I am afraid he is not really ready to fully commit. I think my expectations of him are completely reasonable, and that if he cannot see that, I need to end the relationship. Do you have any suggestions? Does it sound like I am engaged to a commitment-phobe and I am wasting my time? I need an objective opinion and advice. Thanks for your help.
I can’t give you a totally objective opinion because I don’t have your fiance’s point of view. What I can tell you is this: There are many legitimate ways to make a family. Some people “leave and cleave” as you suggest. Others marry into one or the other’s family. Still others carefully balance time with one family, time with the other. The model you choose isn’t the most important thing. The most important thing is that the couple works together until they are both reasonably comfortable with how they are going to relate to each other’s family throughout life.
Blaming your boyfriend for being a “commitmentphobe” or “unready for marriage” isn’t going to advance your conversation. He has a point of view. So do you. My guess is that the more you negatively label his approach to family, the more he digs in his heels. Back up. Apologize for your part in polarizing the discussion and start over. Try to talk together about what each of your wants and needs from a marriage and what you are concerned about — with no blaming or labeling. At 41, you and your guy have probably worked through other disagreements with other people who count. Bring those skills to this conversation.
How the two of you manage this disagreement will tell you a lot about how you will manage others. If you do love each other enough to consider marriage, it may well be worth it to get a little couples counseling to learn some new tools for staying in loving relationship while you work through a problem that really, really matters. There will be others.
I wish you well,
Grandparents are Overstepping Boundaries
My in-laws are insistant that they can buy whatever they want for my daughter (she is 22 months old) It has bothered me but I have kept the peace. For Easter they bought her a live baby bunny as a pet after my husband and I said no. They tried to give it to her at a time when my husband was not there. I refused their gift and my mother in law yelled at me saying they would not have rules as grandparents and would do whatever they wanted in front of my daughter. She stopped speaking to me after this and I wrote an email days later calling them disrespectful for buying a pet for my 1 year old after we said no. It has now been almost 2 months and MIL would not speak to us. I emailed to see what we needed to do to be a family again and she demanded I apologize to her or she wouldn’t get past this. I did and then she said she didn’t accept, continues to insist she will do whatever she wants and we are still not speaking. I want to get past this. But I want respect. If we (the parents) say no-no one has the right to do something against our wishes for our child. And I’m just talking things that are not appropriate for a child her age. They didn’t consider that we have 2 cats and a dog already in our home, or that we would be responsible for the expense of the bunny, that my daughter is not old enough to care or be responsible for a pet and therefore it falls on me. I’m sorry it hurt their feelings that we said no but its our my child. Can our realtionship be saved for the sake of my daughter?
Your in-laws are way out of line. As far as I can tell, you have done nothing wrong. You have the right to set reasonable boundaries around your in-laws’ relationship with your child. The important word is “reasonable.” It is certainly reasonable for you to not want another pet. You’re right that you would end up caring for it. It is not reasonable for your mother-in-law to think she can do and say anything she wants just because she is a grandmother. That entitlement doesn’t come with the job description.
Where is your husband in all of this? You shouldn’t be negotiating boundaries on your own. This is an important developmental milestone in the maturing of your own family. Your husband, their son, needs to be clearly on the same page with you. The two of you – together – need to decide what is in the best interests of your child. You need – together – to have a loving talk with your in-laws. You can certainly tell them that you appreciate their interest in your daughter. You can tell them how important it is for your daughter to have loving grandparents. But you can also tell them that it isn’t appropriate for them not to honor your role as your daughter’s parents. It isn’t at all supportive of your authority as parents if your daughter understands that she can always appeal to a “higher court,” her grandparents. It isn’t healthy for her to grow up with tension between the two generations of people who love her.
When you have this conversation, it’s important that you stay loving and clear, not angry. Engaging in an argument gives the impression that you can be talked out of your position. Supporting each other means staying clear and rational.
I sincerely hope that you and your husband can work together to resolve this situation. Often grandparents like these do back off when they realize that the younger couple really means it when they assert boundaries.
I wish you well.
I’ve had severe depression for quite a while. I started receiving treatment (meds and counseling) a little over two years ago. I had some success and got my depression under control, to the point where i didn’t need meds. But over the last 6 months, my life has fallen apart. I’m back on the meds (even though I didn’t want it) and in counseling every week. My therapist is helpful and while i trust him, i feel like i’m not able to tell him everything that is going on. For the last month or so, I’ve had serious suicide ideation. I told my therapist my plan, but promised I wouldn’t act on it that week. But each week it’s getting harder and harder to make that promise. As the stress of the end of the semester builds up, suicide seems more and more like the answer. In my session yesterday, my therapist got worried because I had a difficult week dominated with suicidal thoughts. He said that I should consider hospitalization. But that scares me even more. I know I should do whatever needs to be done to be kept safe, but I can’t go to the hospital. No one knows how bad i feel and it would devastate my parents and family if they found out. I’m not sure what to do… Truthfully, I am scared of what I might do, but I think I’m more scared of what happens when my family finds out… What do you recommend?
Thanks for listening.
I’m sorry you are having such a difficult time. I hope you can hold onto the fact that treatment helped you before. That is the best indicator that it will help you again. But — your therapist can only help you if you let him. We therapists aren’t mind-readers (although sometimes we really try hard to be). You do need to be straight with him.
However devastated your family would be if you go into a hospital, I’m sure you know they would be far more devastated to lose you. Yes, it is hard for many families to come to terms with someone they love being in such emotional trouble that it takes a hospital to keep them safe. But bottom line, they do want their family member to get the help he or she needs. Often family members relax once they realize that psychiatric hospitals aren’t like what is often depicted in movies and on TV. Good hospitals simply provide structure, some intensive therapy, and a safe place to work out the right medication for the patient. Often, there is a family therapy component to help family members know how to be more helpful and supportive. You can give your therapist permission to explain to them what a hospitalization is like and what could be accomplished there.
I think you’ll find that you will feel a little better just by finally making a decision to go ahead and allow an admission. Once that big decision is made, you can turn your attention to dealing with the depression – which is the point, after all.
I wish you well.
Will This Relationship Work?
Tonight my boyfriend of five years told me that he cheated on me (protected) last week while drunk at a party with a girl he dosn’t know. About two years ago he slept with another female during a brief break up and contracted and eventually gave me a STD, I broke up with him then. At the time he was about 18 and I about 16. About a year and a half ago I decided to give the relationship another chance in hopes that he had matured enough for this commitment. This past year and a half has been amazing, we handle all problems like adults and are able to compromise and he had ultimately gained my trust back. This recent infidelity has come as a complete shock to me. Our relationship seemed to be at its best and I was considering marriage as the next step. I am now completely devastated and I just don’t know what to do. He is BEYOND remorseful and has been begging for me to stay offering to do anything. Everyone I talk to claims “men cheat” and that what he did, while wrong and inexcusable, shouldn’t be ground for break up. I know more detail is needed for a complete response but to sum it up I have been with him (solely) since I was 14, now 18 and in college (& a little mature for my age)with our relationship/love being SO strong plans on moving together to our own place and marriage were in the making. I know how sorry he is and I am sure he really will do w.e. it takes to get me back, I just don’t know if I should. I am so hurt and I feel like it may be more hurt to leave that stay. I feel like I found something good and I wish he didn’t put me in this position. I am beginning to consider couples counseling? Please help!!!
Couples counseling is a great idea. However great your relationship is, your boyfriend has twice acted in a way that pulls you two back from a permanent commitment. He needs to take a serious look at just why he has done that. You need to take it seriously too. It could well be that he isn’t as ready to take the next steps toward a life together that you are but isn’t able or willing to face it to himself or to you.
It’s not incompatible for him to care for you a good deal and still not be ready. You two have been together through your teen years and have no experience with other people. There may be a part of him that wonders what he’s missing if he slips right into marriage.
It’s wise to think about couples counseling. A skilled counselor will help the two of you bring any doubts or fears to the surface so you can deal with them directly instead of by creating a crisis. You will deepen your understanding of yourselves and each other and you will improve your communication.
I wish you well.
How can I help friend who is in wrong relationship?
My friend is in a relationship for app. 4 years now. she found out a year after they met that he was married , and had a kid. He promised her to divorce the wife but after 3 years he is still married and lives with his wife.
my friend left her parents and went to the city where he lives , rented an apartment and started to work as a waitress just to be close to him, he used to come and go to her house , sometimes stayed overnight and sometimes going to his wife. he treated her really bad, used to insult in front of the people in the street and not caring about her . well, he doesnt love or respect her at all!
She lied to her parents that they got married and etc. so after years the family learnt about the lies and everything but they still accepted her and tried to help. as she used to work very hard for almost no money and could not earn enough for living , her family decided to take credit from the bank and send her abroad to work. he did not even say good bye to her.he did not appear at the airport.
after a week she sends money to him and some clothes as a gift, while telling her family she is unemployed! knowing that while she is there , her boyfriend lives with his wife, but she says ” she loves him to death” and sees nothing else farther.
whatever wrong he does , she thinks thats the way it s supposed to be. she still hopes one day he s gonna divorce and marry her but HE doesnt care. He doesnt even ask how she is there. he just enjoys the money and gifts from an unemployed girl who is cleaning some toilets in a foreign country and NOT getting paid enough to buy food.
i talked to her family today, they are confused, they dont know what to do. her father , this huge strong man cried sometimes as her sister told me . please, i need some advice, is there anything we can do to make her believe that she deserves better than a man who doesn’t give a damn about her. she doesnt want to talk about it. always cutting the conversation when someone talks about her relationship. she is manipulated, with no self esteem or dignity .
What shall we do to make her see life a different way ?
Thank you in advance.
This is a sad, sad story. I’m deeply concerned for your friend and also for all those who love her. Unfortunately, there is really nothing you can do to make her see that she is throwing away years of her life for someone who doesn’t deserve her. She is an adult. She may be an adult who has little self-respect or self-esteem but she is nonetheless an adult who is entitled to make her own decisions. All you can all do is state your opinions calmly and then love her (love her a lot) and hope she comes to her senses.
There are names for guys like this one who take advantage of a person’s neediness and willingness to spend money she doesn’t have in order to keep him attached to her. I won’t indulge in name-calling. Suffice to say, I don’t think much of him. I suppose you could appeal to whatever sliver of character is in him and see if he will do her the favor of breaking it off but I’m not optimistic that he will cooperate.
I do wonder why the family thought sending her abroad would be helpful. I’m sure I don’t have the complete story but I suggest that you all consider whether distance is helping. Sometimes it doesn’t. When people don’t see the object of their love, they can start to fantasize that the person is much more wonderful than he or she is. It might be more helpful to bring her back home where this guy’s behavior can’t be romanticized by lack of contact. Seeing the good, mutual, positive relationships of those around her may also make this guy look worse by contrast.
I’m sure this situation is breaking the hearts of the people who care for your friend. It’s one of the hardest things in the world to watch someone you love self-destruct. As addictions counselors will tell you, sometimes a person has to really “hit bottom” before they give up something or someone that isn’t good for them. Your friend isn’t there yet. Someday she is going to appreciate how much you all have tried to help but she can’t see that yet either. I hope you can find ways to continue to offer her support but also protect yourself by detaching a bit.
I wish you well.
Boyfriend Can’t Get Over My Past Relationship
I’ve currently been dating a man for 8 months. He’s 45, never been married and has no kids. I’m 1 month away from a finalized divorce and share 2 little boys with my ex. My married relationship has been over for years and I’ve dated a bit before I got into my current relationship.
My current relationship has been fast, but fantastic. We laugh a lot together, we can communicate really well, have been able to very successfully work through and resolve conflict, our sexlife is great, we share the same goals for life and we continue to share and build a trust and a bond which we both haven’t felt with anyone else.
The problem is, he feels like he’s living in the shadow of my ex and feels like he’ll always be standing on the outside looking in. THe only thing we fight about is my ex. I have not much contact with my ex except when it involves my kids. There has been a bit of drama going through the divorce but not much. My boyfriend has been very supportive but obsesses about my past life. I want to reassure him and make him feel like he is number 1 in my life, because he is. He just can’t get over me having an ex and says that will bother him always.
My boyfriend suffers from extreme depression and I know that the stress from my impending divorce must be brutal for him to deal with at times. But we love each other and we have put 8 months into this relationship, which in my eyes and I believe in his, a relationship that holds so much promise. What should I do?
What you should do is slow down. Eight months is a very short time to make a lifetime decision. You may think your marriage was over long ago but you haven’t been divorced. Please take the time to make sense of your prior relationship and what went wrong. You’ll be sharing parenting even if you aren’t sharing a life together so it’s important to gain perspective and, hopefully, a positive working relationship with your ex.
Your boyfriend seems to want you to have no past. That’s unrealistic and unfair. To be with you is to be with someone who has had a life that was different from his own. He’s right that he will always be on the outside to some extent. That’s not the problem. The problem is that he can’t accept that fact as your reality. You have two little boys who ideally should have a relationship with their father. They can also have a relationship with a stepdad, of course. But it’s unfair of your boyfriend to ask you and the boys to act as if the other man isn’t still an important person in the life of your family.
I very much hope your boyfriend is in active treatment for his depression. He needs to be doing the hard work involved in learning to manage a mental illness, not asking you to change your history to make it easier for him.
I wish you well.
Depressed and Alone
A little over two years ago I lost my father to pancreatic cancer. I left my friends and my life on the east coast to help mom take care of him. Before he passed he and my mother adopted my young niece and nephew. After his passing I stayed on to help her with the kids. She decided she no longer wanted to live where my father had passed, so we moved out west. I had a female friend that I kept in contact with and we decided to make a go of a relationship. My only concern is that she was much younger than I (she was 23, I was 35). She moved out west with me about 6 months after I came out.
Almost immediately there were problems. She was insecure and jealous. I chalked this up to her not knowing anyone and not working. I begged her to find friends or a job, but she became more clingy and I felt I couldn’t breathe. We split up for a couple of weeks and then decided to try again. I found out a month later that, while we were apart, she slept with one of her friends. I had difficulty dealing with this. I know we weren’t together, but she told me she loved me countless times, even when times were rough. I didn’t understand how she could have done that if she loved me. We still tried to make things work, though.
I began counseling for the depression I never dealt with at the passing of my father. I also began taking anti-depressants. But the arguing continued. She was even more distrustful than before. I felt I was being punished for her mistake. I couldn’t have female friends. I never went anywhere without her. I was feeling cornered again. She still wasn’t working regularly so I was taking care of our financial obligations. She would get upset and tell me I never took her anywhere. I tried to explain that I didn’t have the money because of the bills I was paying.
Now, before she came out west, she knew that I needed to be with my mother to help with the kids. I was living in northern CO when she came out and my mother was living near Denver, renting a home. She finally found a home she wanted to buy (with plenty of room for my ex and I) and we made our arrangements to move. But the arguments would not stop. We began to argue in front of the kids, and I couldn’t take it. I knew this was unhealthy for them and I couldn’t allow it to continue. I told her as much and she said that she would just move back home. She would say this a lot, so I assumed it’s what she wanted. I let her go. This was Christmas Eve 2012.
We kept in contact and a week later she told me she was moving back out. She had contacted her old job and an old coworker and lined up work and a place to stay. She came back out right after New Years and we began to talk again. She said she wanted to work it out and that she loved me. She would even come visit and stay the night. But, toward the end of January, I stopped hearing from her. Recently I learned that she is in a relationship and has been since Jan. 19! And she has severed all means of contact. Why would she say she loved me and wanted to work it out if she had begun to see someone?
Needless to say that didn’t help with the way I have been feeling. There is also the issue of my living arrangements. I have moved into the house my mother bought. I feel I have given up my freedom once again. I don’t know anyone here, don’t have any friends. All I do is go to work, the gym, and home. I feel so alone. I don’t think I could get back with my ex, even if she wanted to, because I don’t think she ever really loved me. How could she if she could forget about me so quickly? But I don’t know how to meet anyone else. Or if I should right now.
I am not suicidal, but I do wonder if people would be better off were I not around, if that makes any sense. I feel like I should just disappear, cut off all contact, and start all over somewhere new so I don’t have to burden the few friends I have or my family anymore. But I also don’t want to abandon my mother to raise these kids without any help. I think I’m doing what my father would have wanted, but I know he wouldn’t want me to hurt like this. I just want it to stop. What should I do?
Please stop torturing yourself about your former girlfriend. She sounds very insecure and immature to me. You were right to be concerned about the age difference. At 23, she is just figuring herself out as an adult. She wanted to be your everything and you, being in your mid-30s, had taken on other responsibilities. The timing just wasn’t right for the two of you.
I don’t think it would be wise for you to revisit that relationship. It’s time to move on and to find someone who is interested in sharing you with the rest of your family. Believe me: There are mature women who would be delighted to be with someone who is as responsible as you are.
I admire your willingness to take on helping your mother raise the children. But it also sounds like you and your mother didn’t think things all the way through. I understand why your mom didn’t want to live where she had lost her husband. But by moving west, she also separated herself from other supports and friends who could be helpful right now. In your good intentions, you did the same. I don’t know if that move can be undone or even if it should be, but it does explain why you are both feeling like you don’t have enough emotional or practical support and are perhaps leaning on each other too much.
You are right that you gave up some of your freedom. You have taken on a co-parenting job and giving up freedom is always part of the parenting package. But it also sounds like you and your mom aren’t doing all that you could to make the many transitions you are going through work better for both of you.
It’s time for a calm, rational, “let’s figure this out” kind of talk. You need to be meeting other young people and having a life. Your mom needs some help. How can you keep both needs in balance? Can you, for example, alternate nights “off” from child care? If you have a clear schedule, you can each commit to doing some new things outside of the house.
Although going to the gym is a healthy start, you need to also be joining in some activities where you can meet people your age and stage of life. That means getting involved in something that truly interests you where there are others who share those interests. Yes, it takes effort. But it also takes a kind of effort to be depressed. Trying out a volunteer job, or participating in a political campaign or joining a team or taking a class will get you further than being at home every night wishing you were elsewhere.
Please remember that thousands and thousands of people relocate every year. Most adapt to their new surroundings and make new friends. If you and your mother decide to stay there, you can too. Look around. Commit to moving forward and finding a niche for yourself in your new community. Don’t quit until you do. Not only will you be happier, but you’ll be a better role model for the kids and more helpful to your mom.
I wish you well.
I’m angry and just a complete mess
I have come here searching for an answer to my anger and the things that come along with it. My anger has cost me relationships with friends and boyfriends…I’m surprised my parents still stick around with the way I treat my mother specifically. I just completely overreact to things all the time. And I mean to the point that I am screaming and doing anything and everything in my power to make the opposing force feel wrong, stupid, and as inferior as possible. I used to break, punch, throw, slam things. Lately I’ve been able to keep at least that from happening.
Everyone has always told me just to notice when I begin to get angry and to just get away from the situation or to count to ten, but I can’t do it. For some reason I just can’t recognize that I’m about to become that enraged and that it is totally irrational, because I always think I am right. I never realize what has happened until the situation is over, then I feel remorse, but I usually don’t apologize because I feel that maybe I wasn’t wrong, I just went too far. I hardly apologize and usually it’s just to get what I want. I usually just blow things off because what’s done is done and what can I do to fix it now? But that just isn’t working for me. I really thought it would, rather than living in regret…just live for today and to make things the best. But I can’t do that.
I ruin everything. I don’t even know how to make sense of what I’m trying to say. A million thoughts are running through my head right now and I just don’t know where to start. In my past I’ve suffered physical and sexual abuse. And I just feel like my parents just never cared that those things happened, because all I got was a lock on my door and all my step brother got was NOTHING. My mother also went a little crazy while on welbutrin and became violent which resulted in serious shouting and physical fights between us. But she felt better, it made her depression go away. Luckily she listened to my step brother, step father, and myself and stopped taking it.
When I try to talk to her about how I feel (which I do not ever like to talk about how I feel with people that I see on a regular basis) she feels like it is time to tell me about her psycho thoughts as well. Today she told me she saw one of our dogs playing with a shirt sleeve my step dad turned into a dog toy and she imagined about strangling one of the dogs to death. I just can’ deal with her problems and my own. I also have had disturbing thoughts in the past that I can’t recall due to trying to push them from my mind. But they were thoughts that would be harmful to others. And I had to talk myself out of doing them. But I did.
I’m also a recovering drug addict, began at 14, never really did anything habitually until about 18. cocaine addict for about a year and a half, quit for about 2 years. then had a binge resulting in a breakdown the summer of 2008. used very sparsely until fall or winter of 2009, started binging on cocaine again, then got more into meth which I had tried in the past. Then fell into a serious habit with using that intravenous. got clean for like a month and then used the same way sparingly. last time was 2 weeks ago. have been successful in being strong enough not to give in to temptation like I used to. I don’t know if any of this is relevant, I just assume drug usage might be. I don’t even remember what I’ve been talking about. Sometimes I get so distracted I just have no idea what has just happened, what is going on, or sometimes where I am. I plan on seeking counseling immediately. That’s the only options I know of for people in my situation, broke, been unemployed (only for 4 months but I am so impulsive I waste my money on clothes, food, alcohol, drugs, shoes, I just feel like i need new things!), I don’t know what to do.
A: Yes, you do know what to do. You told me. Get into counseling immediately! Girl. You’re only 23 and you are a total mess. Yes, the drug use has lots to do with it. While you were using various drugs, your brain and mind got deprived of the important education in impulse control and judgment that happens during the teen years. Yes, your upbringing has something to do with it. You didn’t get the love, support and protection every child deserves. Trauma has something to do with it. Kids who are abused often need help. There’s no shame in that! And – if that weren’t enough, you may also have inherited a predisposition to mental illness from your mother. All that is a huge burden for any young person to manage.
I’m amazed and impressed that with so big a tangle of issues you could put together such a coherent and well-written letter. You have inner strengths and intelligence that you and a therapist can use to help you recover the 10 years of emotional growth you lost. Stop “planning” to find a therapist and just do it. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be on the road to a more even temper and a better life.
I wish you well.
I used to never get angry at anyone until about 5 months ago. I will be talking to someone or just watching TV and I will start getting annoyed for no reason. That in turn will lead to anger but I don’t know why. When it’s happening I can’t reason with myself enough to wonder why it’s happening. It’s not until I am alone later that I realize what had happened. I need to find a way to fix this because it is starting to hurt my family and friends.
I have always loved to hang out with friends but lately when I text my friends I get mad and just stop texting them. Later I will wonder why I didn’t do it I get mad at myself. I want to do things with them but my anger mood swings always gets in the way.
My family means the world to me and I love them to death but I have been getting in a lot of fights with them recently. I just got in a fight with my sister yesterday over nothing. She had just asked me a question about myself and I blew up at her for no reason. It wasn’t like she was asking me anything bad I just got angry.
I don’t want to be mad anymore but I don’t know what to do to fix this. I just want to be back to my normal happy self. I used to get the nickname if smiley from all of basketball coaches because I was always in such a good mood. I want to get that nickname back. Please help me.
Thank you for writing. Your letter shows you to be an insightful and caring person. Instead of blaming others for your situation, you are looking for ways to get back in charge of your feelings so you don’t hurt the ones you love. Good for you.
You didn’t mention if anything happened 5 months ago that could have started this. Is something bothering you more than you want to admit? If that’s the case, a few sessions with a counselor might help you get to the bottom of it and to figure out what to do to make things right again.
But if this change of mood has come on you all of a sudden with no discernable reason, the first step is a trip to your medical doctor. Your irritability and touchiness just might have a medical reason. Hypothyroidism, for example, may lead to depressed mood. Insufficient sleep is also a major cause of depression in teens.
If you are medically fine, then it’s time to see a mental health professional. What you are reporting may be the onset of a depression. Many people think that depression only shows up as sadness and being down. But in some people, irritability is the primary symptom.
The good news is that you can be treated. Medical causes can be addressed. Psychotherapy can help you learn how to manage your moods and get back in control of your life.
There are also a number of techniques you can try to better manage anger on your own. Check these out:
- Practice mindfulness and deep breathing: When you start to feel angry, take a moment to pause and engage in mindfulness and deep breathing exercises. Focusing on your breath and being present in the moment can help calm your mind and reduce the intensity of your anger.
- Identify triggers: Keep track of situations that trigger your anger, and try to identify patterns or underlying causes. Being aware of your triggers can help you anticipate and prepare for them in the future.
- Develop healthy coping strategies: Experiment with different coping strategies to manage anger, such as exercise, meditation, journaling, or talking to a trusted friend or family member. Find what works best for you and make it a habit to use these strategies when you feel angry.
- Address underlying emotional issues: Sometimes anger is a manifestation of deeper emotional issues, such as stress, anxiety, or depression. If you find that your anger is consistent or intense, consider seeking the help of a mental health professional to address these underlying emotional issues.
Remember, it’s normal to feel angry from time to time, but it’s important to handle anger in a healthy and constructive way. Seeking support from friends, family, or a mental health professional can be helpful in managing anger and improving overall emotional well-being.
I wish you well.
Postpartum Loss of Libido
I completely lost the desire to have sex after having my first baby 2 years ago. My sex drive never returned. Ever since I had a baby, I have not wanted to have sex at all. Just the thought of it would be a complete turn off. Of course, it’s starting to take a toll in my relationship and I just want to fix this problem. I am now pregnant with my second only for the fact that I just did it with him a few times to keep him happy. But sex actually is very painful for me. There is no position that I tried that doesn’t hurt. I haven’t had a sex drive in a little over 2 years now and something is telling me that it isn’t right. My boyfriend’s mom thinks it maybe be trauma related. I was a teen mom, getting pregnant at 15 and having my first baby at 16. Could that be possible? I need professional help. I don’t know what else to do.
A; I’m so, so sorry this hasn’t been dealt with long ago. Your mother-in-law is right. It’s highly possible that this is a psychological response to getting pregnant so young. But it’s also possible that something happened to you physically during the birth of your first child that is making sex so painful. Of course, it could be both.
The first thing to do is to have a very, very honest talk with your OB/GYN. Be as specific as you can manage. Ask for a thorough exam. Since your doctor has been focused on your pregnancy, it’s possible that a physical problem hasn’t been seen or understood. Also talk about whether you should see an endocrinologist to check hormone levels. It’s also possible that your body never fully recovered from pregnancy. ((That may be hard to determine right now since you are pregnant again.) The point is — get a complete and thorough physical workup to rule out an undiagnosed medical issue.
If you check out physically, it’s then time to seek out a mental health counselor to further explore the trauma issue and whether there are psychological reasons for you to be uninterested in sexual contact and in pain when you try. It would be a shame, indeed, for you to give up on the closeness and sweetness of a physical relationship with someone you love due to an unresolved issue from your early teen years.
You are only 18. You’ve jumped into adult life very early. You have huge responsibilities with a toddler and a baby on the way. I very much hope that you have a loving partner and that the two of you are finding a way to build a strong family. I hope you have support and practical help of older people who care about you as well. You’ve chosen a hard path but not an impossible one.
I’m very glad you wrote. That was an important first step to fixing the problem. Now please do take the next step. Talk to your doctor. Don’t give up until you have answers. With the right treatment, I’m reasonably certain that you can reclaim your physical self.
I wish you well.
Afraid of Public Speaking
im 13 and I’m always scared when i have to present. My hands get all shakey and sweaty and my heart races and i feel like passing out and crying. I tried to kill myself just to get out of presentating. I have to presentate in science class and im scared to death. I wanna miss school but my moms making me go. Whenever i have to go up infront of the class i feel like crying and running out of the room. I hate the way i feel. Taking breath doesnt help and i cant think positive when im scared. There’s always a negative holding me back and thats everything. Im scared of what people will think. I tried killing myself just to get out of this presentation but i stopped before i harmed myself. I feel as if im the only one that goes through it because everyone is brave and talks so confident. I cant take it anymore.
I don’t know why some teachers forget that not all children are comfortable being on center stage. Not every kid is able to his or her best work when confronted with 20 or 30 pairs of eyes on them. You are definitely not alone in your feelings.
What you are talking about is stage fright. It’s a real thing. Even great actors often have some version of it. You can learn to handle it but throwing you into the situation you most fear isn’t the best way to teach you. It certainly isn’t worth hurting yourself to get out of it. That only substitutes one hurt for another.
That’s not to say it isn’t useful to know how to talk in front of others. Part of being successful in jobs and in life often means putting your point of view out there. You can learn how to do it. You just need some lessons.
There are numerous tips and strategies for handling stage fright. Here are a few of the more common:
- Prepare thoroughly: Preparation is key in managing stage fright. Rehearse your performance or presentation multiple times, and familiarize yourself with the environment and equipment.
- Practice mindfulness and deep breathing: Mindfulness and deep breathing can help calm your nerves and reduce stress. Take deep breaths and focus on the present moment to help manage anxiety.
- Visualize success: Visualizing a successful performance or presentation can help build confidence and reduce stress. Imagine yourself performing with ease and confidence.
- Reframe negative thoughts: Challenge negative thoughts and reframe them into positive ones. Focus on your strengths and skills rather than on your fears and weaknesses.
- Engage in physical activity: Engaging in physical activity, such as going for a walk or doing light exercise, can help release pent-up energy and anxiety. It can also help improve your overall mood and boost confidence.
I suggest you show this letter and my response to your mom. My suggestion is that the two of you talk to your teacher together about how scared presenting makes you. Ask if there is another way for you to complete the assignment. Perhaps you could be teamed up with someone who is more self-confident in front of the class. That person can do the talking. You could hold up posters, demonstrate the experiment, or do something else to be helpful.
But meanwhile, you do need some help with the anxiety. Perhaps a few sessions with a drama teacher or coach could help you learn some techniques for managing your fears. Once your teacher understands, she or he may also be willing to provide some practical tips and some support. You don’t want to let fear get in the way of succeeding at things you want to do.
I wish you well.
Want to Feel Normal
My problems started when I got a job in November on night shift. It killed me I had such a difficult time with it. I was already on an anti psychotic and an anti depressant. But having such issues the doctor put me on another anti depressant. I was feeling better for a while until I lost my job. Losing the job was a relief but now my life is falling apart.
Almost everyone in my family is bipolar including me. My son has ADHD and picks up everything people say. my brother is 35 lives at home and pays no bills. He is disrespectful and my son is picking it up. I confronted my parents and now my mother is so upset she can’t talk to me, My husband yells at me when I get upset instead of helping me. I just want to be able to control my emotions. I want to feel normal. I do not have insurance so I cannot go to see anyone. I really need help but can’t get it. I have thought about what it would be like to end my life but could not do that to my son or family. I watched my in laws go through it when my brother in law killed himself. I could not put people through that. But I do want to just go somewhere and never have to deal with anyone I know. I want to disappear and have no feelings at all. People just keep telling me to get over it and it is not that easy. I need help but cannot get it so maybe you could give me some advice.
I’m so sorry you are having such a miserable time. I’m glad you wrote.
All the medicine in the world is not going to help you out of what is a toxic situation. No one in your family appears to know how to handle emotions and conflict constructively. They get upset and yell instead of solving problems. And there are a lot of problems to solve. Being diagnosed with bipolar doesn’t excuse people from treating each other with compassion and doing what needs to be done to have a healthy family.
I think you do need to see someone to help you figure out where you may have more power to change things than you think you do. A resource for free services for women is often found in programs for domestic violence. Although you don’t describe a situation where you are battered physically, you are certainly being emotionally abused. I suggest you see what the program near you has to offer in terms of counseling services. The closest program to you is in Wilkes-Barre. The phone number is 866-206-9050. Why don’t you give them a call and see if they can offer you free help or if they can refer you to another appropriate service?
I wish you well.
I make my parents cry
Hello, I am a 16 years old boy, and attending my second last year of school. Time management has always been a problem for me, but my grades never showed this as I was gifted as a student. Things started changing at the beginning of the year, my grades were dropping because I was not putting in the effort. I used to play games, and this may have contributed somewhat.
I know my parents love me, and they do their best to help me, but recently they have become increasingly frustrated and annoyed with me. It seems I have pushed them to their limits to love me. My mom has now started ignoring me, and my dad recently got a job out of town, so he’s not here most of the time. My mom doesn’t want to talk to me, as she says everything I say is a lie to try and please people, and that all I ever do is be “Mr. Nice Guy”. Once she even said that I have lost my soul.
I have made both my parents cry numerous times, and I feel numb to all the pain and suffering I am causing. I would lock myself in my room for days, and just sleep. I haven’t been to school for the past week, just sleeping and playing games, which today I deleted off my computer.
I feel that if I don’t do something to change soon, i will regret it for the rest of my life, as this is a crucial time now: these marks start counting towards my end result.
I have thought about ending my life at times, and that just makes me cry, I would never do it. I write all over my school books that I’m a failure, and I believe it. But I know I must change, this just isn’t me.
Please help me, I don’t know who I am anymore or where to turn for help. I am spiraling down into a pit that has no joy or happiness left in it. I feel that everything I do is fake, and I am just living as a shell with no purpose. Please help me.
Okay then. Your letter is the first step in reclaiming yourself and turning your life around. Actually, the first step was deleting the games from the computer. So you’re really on step 2. Now let’s get to steps 3 and beyond. . .
Sometimes students act like this because they are so afraid of failing that it’s better to not even try. If you don’t try, you can always tell yourself that you could do well if you only make the effort. It’s a tactic that may save your dignity but it does so at the price of your future. I think you can do better than that.
Another possibility is that you really are depressed and need some focused help to get out of the depression.
It sounds to me that your parents are just as frustrated with you as you are. They are suffering from their own problems and don’t know what to do to help you with yours. Parents who cry are parents who care — deeply — but you know that. Since they don’t know how to help, it’s time you found someone who does.
Please consider talking to a school counselor or your doctor or someone else you trust about how to go about getting an evaluation from a mental health counselor. You’re stuck. If you knew what to do, I think you would have done it long ago. You strike me as a smart, decent guy who is as mystified by his own behavior as his parents are. A counselor will help you understand why you are so self-defeating and will teach you some strategies for getting back to the business of realizing your potential. A counselor can also provide much needed support for your whole family if you are willing to have some family sessions. Since you and your folks do care about each other so much, it would probably be a great relief for you all to learn how to be more supportive of one another.
I wish you well.
Sexually Abused by Father
I was sexually abused as a child by the next door neighbour. I never told anybody but last year I finally went into therapy to deal with it. I have recently separated from a long term partner and have started seeing a new man. My father has become very weird,jealous and has started being very inappropriate. he touches me in a sexual way and says very explicit and offensive things. He was like this when I was a teenager. I left home because of it. Last week he scared me as he was sexual and aggressive. I ended up feeling ashamed and anxious. He doesnt accept when I have tried to tell of the abuse I suffered as a child he says I am making it up, being silly. I now feel like I hate him but I dont know how to deal with this, do I confront him? Do i simply walk away. My mom died 10 years ago so cannot talk to her. I feel very frightened of him and what he will do next
As a 46-year-old man, you certainly don’t have to put up with this. You don’t need to convince your father of anything. You know what happened to you. It doesn’t matter what he thinks. Your truth matters, not his.
You ask if you should confront or walk away. I suggest to you that there are more alternatives. There is no point in arguing with him. He isn’t likely to change. Walking away sends the message that what he is doing is okay with you – which it isn’t. It also leaves you feeling ashamed.
I think it would be more helpful if you could make a clear statement to your dad of how it makes you feel and what you will do any time he approaches you inappropriately.
You could say something like, “Dad. It is entirely inappropriate for you to touch me like that or say those things to me. You are my father, not a boyfriend. Fathers don’t treat their sons that way. If you persist, I will only see you when other people are around. I’m not interested in being around you when you treat me with such disrespect.”
Then follow through. The very first time he says or does something that makes you uncomfortable, leave. Don’t talk about it, shout about it, argue about it, or repeat yourself. Shouting and talking and arguing send the message that perhaps you can be talked out of your opinion. Taking silent and sure action sends a far more powerful message to him and preserves your dignity as an adult man.
It’s very sad that your father’s behavior puts a wedge between the two of you. I understand that you have wanted him to be different and hoped that he would be the kind of loving, supportive dad you’ve always wanted. But you can’t make him change. All you can do is hold on to your own self-respect by setting a clear boundary and sticking to it.
I wish you well.