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Author Topic: My dad is flipping out.
batgirl21
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I came out to my friends and family as bisexual when I was 13 (8 years ago), and I've been openly dating my girlfriend for almost a year. I've told my dad I'm bisexual, and have talked to him about having a girlfriend. However, yesterday my dad "just" found out I've been dating my girlfriend and that I'm bisexual. He responded to this "new information" by emailing me a 6 page long rant full of slurs and insults towards me and my girlfriend.

He also included detailed and graphic accounts of him being sexually abuse by boys and men, and sexually graphic accounts of his past girlfriends being bisexual and having sex with woman, but later regretting it and choosing men.

Next, he included long, confusing, conspiracy theory laden account of how gay rights and the "secular church of Hollywood" is actually taking away everyone's rights. After that, he started talking about how gay men are Nazis (What?), and how gay marriage isn't a real marriage because you can't have children (huh?).

He decided to close the email with a quasi-suicidal threat about how he needs me to change my ways before he dies, and by stating that I should go back to my last boyfriend (who sexually assaulted me).

I tried to response nicely, and tried to validate his experiences as a sexual abuse survivor, and and talked to my mom about the suicidal idealizations. But today he send back more bizarre, unhinged rants about how cunnilingus is inherently an abusive power act that it is a ritual of the "secular church of Hollywood" (huh?), how I'm confusing friendship for love, and how I should stop having unnatural sexual relationship with a "girl who has obviously been sexually abused".

I'm at a loss. I love my dad, and I am worried by his obviously unwell state, but I seriously have no idea how I'm suppose to be around him when he is acting this way. I don't know if I should cut off contact with him, try to repair our relationship, or what. I know it's a lot to adjust to for parents, but I came out to him YEARS ago, isn't that long enough to move on and stop being so nuts?

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Heather
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Oh, lauried, I'm so very sorry to hear this. How terrible. [Frown]

Does your father have any history of mental illness? Maybe that seems like a strange question, but given the way he's reacting and the things he's saying, it's just honestly sounding to me like there's something else afoot here besides homophobia and him having a history as a sexual abuse survivor.

As well, can your mother step in here with your father? I get being concerned about him, I would be too (which is why I asked what I did). But we really can't take care of someone well while they're lobbing abuse of any kind at us, and when there are others who can help who won't be in that position, it's generally better for everyone to go that route.

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Heather
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(And for the time being, I'd strongly advise NOT being around him or having more contact with him. Mostly for your sake, but also because I don't imagine the way he's going on is good for him, either.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Robin Lee
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Hi lauried,

So your Mom knows what is going on? What does she say?

Also, do you live with your Dad/see him often?

I would suggest not engaging with him around this and simply reminding him that this is not news to him and that you're not willing to discuss this unless he can be respectful and calm about it. It's not clear to me what is going on here, but I'm wondering if anyone has seen any other changes in his behavior? That is, I'm wondering if this isn't about your bisexuality at all, but about something possibly being wrong with your Dad?

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Robin

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batgirl21
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Thanks so much for your replies, Heather and Robin. I really appreciate it.

My dad has history with mental illness (I've never been told what kind of illness, but I would guess bipolar disorder), and is on medication for it. He's a psychiatrist though, and I can imagine that he's pretty difficult to treat. These last few days have been particularly explosive, but he's done stuff like ever since I was young (if anything, he's better now because he's not so physically aggressive).

My mom hasn't said much. She doesn't think he's suicidal, but continued that he's stressed at work and is depressed.

This was also the first time I told my parents about my ex being sexually abusive, and I think that may have contribute to the blow up.

I do not live with my parents, however I do see him regularly. I usually really enjoy being around him (when he's not like this). I agree that I shouldn't be in contact with him, at least in the short term. It just makes me really sad that he's not in a place where he can be that great a day right now.

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Heather
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Are your parents together?

If they are, seriously, I'd leave the care of your father with your mother. I'd also ask your mother to step it up if she can, and, for now, cease contact with your father, blocking emails and numbers if you have to. This just really sounds no good for either of you, and I don't imagine there's anything you can do yourself to help your dad here if he's already been diagnosed and treated.

(Also, your father doesn't sound like he is in ANY state to do his job as a therapist right now: here's hoping your mother is doing what she can to make that clear to him and, if needed, to his practice or partners.)

[ 05-19-2013, 01:21 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Per how hurt you're likely feeling with this, while your father is certainly still responsible for his own words and actions, I'd say it might help to remember that given what he's been saying, it very CLEARLY is his mental illness driving the car, as it were, right now.

In other words, if this isn't an example of mental illness talking, I'm not sure what is.

I know that probably doesn't make his words hurt any less. They're going to hurt, of course they are. But I also feel like, in a way, it sounds like you haven't actually heard from the person who is your father here at all, but from your father's mental illness made manifest, if you get me.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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WesLuck
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Yes, people who are seriously affected by a mental illness or psychosis can say all sorts of mean things, but it is still the mental illness driving the car, as Heather has said here.
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batgirl21
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Thanks again for your replies. Since sending the messages to me, he has been so explosive that my has mom sent my sister to live with me until my dad talks to someone and is safer to be around. I worry about my mom, and I hope she will look after her own safety as well.

I am willing to have as close a relationship with him as I can have without it being damaging to me. Because he can't be near me with hurting me now, I can't be near him. He is clearly sick (even if he doesn't realize it), and I am not in a position to help him, so I am staying away from my dad until he's in a better place.

It's been a while since I've heard much from my dad that isn't mental illness manifested, so I'm hoping that his real self will come through soon.

Thanks again, Heather. Your responses have been really helpful and validating.

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Heather
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While I'm so sorry this is happening, I'm really glad to hear that it sounds like your mother has expressed a clear awareness that your Dad isn't safe for people right now, and has started taking some steps around this.

You're welcome, lauried: I hope this get better for you in time, and that, in the meantime and in general, you can find the support you need from others besides your Dad.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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