My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

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theatreluvin
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My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby theatreluvin » Fri Jun 12, 2020 9:27 pm

Hello again.

So, my mom accidentally let it slip to my dad that I take birth control, and now all hell has broken loose. He wants to know all my business and is mad that my mom didn’t tell him I’m taking it. I started taking it because of a problem with ovarian cysts that birth control solved... Not even because I was having sex. That part only became useful later on.

He thinks I’m only using it because of Tony.... but Tony came along after the birth control. He’s talking about ending his business trip early so I can’t have the house to myself, because he (albeit, correctly) suspects that I’ve been having Tony over. He’s not actually going to do that because he can’t anyway. But he’s saying Tony is just using me so he can have sex without a condom on and he knows that because “he’s a guy too.” He’s wrong about that, because we still use condoms but he doesn’t believe me when I say it. Also, “being a guy too” isn’t an excuse to tell me my boyfriend’s just using me. My mom’s trying to ease things but he’s also upset with her for not telling him I’m taking birth control. We didn’t tell him because it’s because it’s literally none of his business. He doesn’t care to hear me out about it though. Now he wants to go to my OBGYN appointments (which my mom doesn’t even come to because, well privacy) and come with me to get screened for STDs. ALSO WHICH IS CRAZY– he told the youth pastor at my church that I’ve had sex and made him call me to talk to me about abstinence and sinning. Him yelling at me is one thing, but telling another MAN who barely knows me about my private business, which isn’t even a huge deal, is beyond screwed up. I just need some ways to either calm him down or make him stay out of my private business.

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Re: My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby Sam W » Sat Jun 13, 2020 8:16 am

Hi theatreluvin,

Hoooo boy, what an absolutely inappropriate reaction on his part! Honestly, I'd be tempted to point out to him that he's demonstrated exactly why you were wise to keep that information from him (and that he's basically torpedoing any chance you'll be open with him about sensitive things in the future) but I'm not sure that'd be all that helpful.

It's good that you and your mom are functionally on the same team, so the more you two can agree on how you want to approach this, the better chance you have of, if not making him stop, at least shutting him down. It's really hard to calm someone who's choosing not to trust your words and showing such a sense of entitlement. So, your best bet right now may be to keep him out of your business and to shut down this conversation when it starts (since he's shown it's not likely to go anywhere productive right now).

What that basically means is that, if he starts in on this topic again, you can try saying something like, "Dad, I've already told you the truth about this. Unless you're willing to trust what I've said, I'm not having this conversation again" (obviously you'll have a way of phrasing that that sounds more like you). Then, end the conversation. That could mean hanging up, or leaving the room. You become basically a non-engaging, broken record around this. If nothing else, you're taking care of yourself by doing that because you're no longer being yelled at or scolded. Does that seem like something you can try?

Going forward, I'd suggest keeping your dad on an information diet in order to protect your privacy. That means he gets no information about your sex life or reproductive choices, as he's proven he can't be trusted to react calmly and respectfully to it.

theatreluvin
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Re: My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby theatreluvin » Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:13 pm

I’ve always kept my dad at an arms length on things like this because he is HORRIBLE at processing information without being overdramatic. We’ve never talked about crushes or things like that honestly. When I went to a dance in high school, he flipped out when I told him I was going to eat with friends after instead of coming straight home. But he was also the one to push me to go to college in a different state and meet new people so I’m just confused as to what I should and should not tell him. Also my dad gets super agitated when I try to shut down conversations with him and turns things into a whole family matter. He tells the cousins, aunts, uncles and everybody that I did something he did not deem acceptable.

I just feel super violated that he told someone at my church about me having sex. Especially a male pastor. I just have this super gross feeling inside me now and I don’t know what it is. I got lectured about the bible.. sex/love being between a married man and woman... when those are two things I don’t believe. I am a Christian, but I believe love is just love and our hearts just do what they choose. I’m not ashamed of who I am or anything. I just feel violated that a grown man I barely know knows about me having sex.

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Re: My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby Alexa » Sun Jun 14, 2020 6:58 am

That makes sense, theatreluvin. You feel violated because, well, that's a *super* violating thing to do! He should not have shared details of your personal life with a stranger, or to anyone without your permission, really. I'm so sorry that happened.

I agree with Sam that "putting him on an information diet" is going to be your best approach, which it sounds like you already know/do as much as possible. I know that doesn't heal the harm he's inflicted by sharing your business, and that's hard.

I really like this answer that Heather wrote to one of our users who had similarly overreaching, conservative parents. Want to take a look and let us know if anything in there is helpful?
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theatreluvin
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Re: My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby theatreluvin » Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:16 pm

Heather’s answer was super helpful. Also quite comforting. I’m just worried that it won’t go over well when I try to talk to him.

Actually my mom is not nearly as harsh as my dad is. In fact, she was the one who said, “you’re an adult, you make your sexual decisions and make them responsibly.”, and got me on the right birth control for me. She’s also really good at shutting my dad down. So I have NO clue why she isn’t trying harder to do it. I just know she’s really mad at him for overreacting but isn’t actually telling him that. She said to him, “I don’t understand why you’re so mad.” And to me, “He’s being dramatic, he’ll get over it sooner or later.”

I had a really bad anxiety attack today seeing my youth pastor. He’s new to my church and no one, especially not me, really knows him well at all. But he knows my dad so he said he felt like he’s allowed to know me. Which is not true or fair. From the inappropriately probing questions he asked me, and the deeply personal information he knows about me without my permission, it feels like a piece of me was chipped away without wanting it to be. He asked me how long I’ve been having sex, with how many different partners, and some other questions got more personal than that. I didn’t answer 97% of them. I just skated around the answers or said that was my own business. He stayed on the phone for almost an hour trying to get as much information as he could from me and calling back whenever I hung up. I feel really gross and disrespected that he even said “we’re just trying to figure out what’s wrong” when nothing’s wrong with me for being a legal adult who is sexually active. I just feel sick to my stomach thinking about having to see him in real life. I don’t know if it’s resentment or disgust or what, but I just feel dirty and angry. I can’t shake the feeling. Now Tony feels bad that I feel bad and he thinks it’s his fault when it’s my dad’s fault, and everything is spinning out of control and I don’t know what to do.

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Re: My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:25 am

I wonder, do you think you could ask your mom why she's not shutting your dad down the way she usually does? It almost sounds like she's hoping that if you don't engage with him, he'll get a grip faster and drop the subject. Which may very well be a possibility, but doesn't really address the fact he's overreacting to the point of telling other people some incredibly private details of your life.

Disgust and resentment strike me as pretty dang appropriate reactions to your pastors behavior. Quite frankly, someone who's meant to foster a protective, safe presence for youth within the church acting with so much entitlement towards you makes my skin scrawl. You're right, by the way, that him knowing your dad means bugger-all in terms of what information he gets to know about you, and I think you handled the situation well in terms of trying to hold those boundaries. In terms if that anxiety around seeing him again, how would you like to approach it? Would you like to focus on minimizing the chances of an encounter? Or maybe on what to do if he tries to engage with you around this again?

theatreluvin
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Re: My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby theatreluvin » Mon Jun 15, 2020 10:42 am

Well I don’t want to avoid him because I feel like some other people would catch on to the fact that something happened. They may start wondering and asking questions when I don’t really want to talk about it. Also like off topic but along the same lines, I get anxiety when we talk about those types of things at church because I’m not out to any of my family or anyone. Only because I’m not prepared to deal with the emotional aspect of being out and everything. So when conversations about sex come up, which happens often because we’re all teens, conversations about sexuality come up. And I’m a really bad liar so I just get quiet or leave and I’m worried people know or assume something about me as a result. When I discovered I was fluid recently, I went through a whole crisis. Sometimes I feel attraction to girls, sometimes only sexually, sometimes romantically, but I always feel both sexual and romantic attraction to boys. So I don’t feel respectful to the bisexual community by calling myself bisexual, so I chose fluid... But I don’t really know what that means.

I asked my mom why she’s not helping me out and she says “Your dad’s not going to your OBGYN appointments. I’m not letting him do that. And yeah I’m infuriated with him for telling someone your personal business. But again, he’ll get over whatever he’s feeling.” And she won’t say anything else.

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Re: My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:08 pm

I can see why all of that would lead to you feeling anxious. Would it maybe be helpful then to plan what you're going to say to him if he approaches you about this topic again? Too, in more general interactions, is it reasonable for you to take a polite but cool approach? In other words, you say hello back if he says hello and things like that, but you aren't inviting his company.

As far as those fears about other people assuming things about your sexuality because you fall silent or leave certain conversations, it could be that some people are making assumptions. But people are often way more self-focused than we suspect so it's equally, if not more, likely that they're not picking up on the pattern.

I do want to touch on your feelings around being fluid. If that's the label that feels right to you, or feels like it accurately describes your experiences, then it's yours to use. But if bisexual feels right but you're worried about it being disrespectful to use, it may help to know a couple of things. One is that the majority of bi people don't experience attraction to men and women (or any other gender) in exactly the same way. In fact, we have a column where we address a user who's worried they don't "count" as bi because they don't feel exactly the same about men and women: https://www.scarleteen.com/article/advi ... _and_women.

Another thing to know is that, if bisexual is what feels like a match to you, you're not disrespecting other bi people by using it. Bi experiences are varied, so most bi folks know that just because their experience of it doesn't mean another person's isn't valid and vice versa. Does that make sense?

With your mom's comments, is there any accuracy to them? In other words, has your dad chilled out around this at all if you don't engage with him. Or has he continued to be very pushy and demanding?

theatreluvin
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Re: My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby theatreluvin » Thu Jun 18, 2020 6:34 pm

Yeah. I don't know why I feel so awkward calling myself bisexual. It almost doesn't seem like it fits because of the lopsidedness I feel in attraction. I don't know if fluid fits either. It's been confusing for me. I read the article but if you could give me any more resources on my situation I would appreciate it. If not, it's cool too!

So the thing is, all 4 of my brothers live together not too far from us, aged 15-26. My sister lives with her husband and I am the only one who still lives at home. I actually spend most of my time with my boyfriend even when my parents are here, but I have to lie and tell them I'm at a friends. My parents just went through a rough patch in their relationship and I was the only one out of my siblings that experienced it firsthand and my mom says she's trying not to stir the pot anymore than it has to be. She also says it's different because I'm an adult.

Since I last posted, I spoke to my dad, who hit me with the "I'm not mad, just disappointed" because he didn't want to be such a prominent man in my church and have a "fast daughter" by fast, he basically meant hoe. Sorry if I can't say that. But that's what he meant. I reminded him that the only way people would know about what I've done is if he continues to spread information that is not his to spread. He said he has a right to say whatever he wants. So I made it easy for him, and just decided to change churches. That opened up a whole other can of worms.

His business trip ended since I last messaged, and since then, I've been staying with Tony, my boyfriend. My dad absolutely hates that because of the traditionalist and old school ideas he has about relationships. But he's done things like make dinner or breakfast for himself and my mom, leaving me or my mom to make things for me to eat. He's not spoken to me and when he does it's short or rude words. He calls me "your daughter" to my mom instead of using my name. Other things as well. So I just went against their rules and stayed with my boyfriend in his apartment. My dad showed up there and literally called Tony every name in the book before trying to take me home. I didn't. I'm still here.

I don't want this to ruin my relationship with my dad, honestly. For 12 years since I met him (he's technically my step dad but I just call him dad) we have had a great relationship. Rocky at times, but he has such a hard time letting me grow up. He doesn't like that a boy gives me romantic attention. When Tony buys me things he tells me to return it and let him buy something else. It sucks. It's like he wants himself and my brothers to be the only boys in my life.

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Re: My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby Sam W » Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:16 am

I can definitely give you more resources! The Rainbow Connection: Orientation for Everyone and The Answers (for Now) are both helpful starting places if you're identity is feeling like a big question mark at times.

It sounds like your dad has only doubled-down on his nonsense, which is really crummy. I do think it was great that you pointed out to him that the only reason people would know anything about your sex life is if he keeps saying things he shouldn't. How are you feeling about switching churches? I know that can be easy for some people but very tough on others.

Given his behavior, going to stay with Tony seems like a sound call. It seems like your dad's reaction has less to do with misguided concern about you and more to do with possessiveness and control. I totally understand not wanting to ruin your relationship with him, but honestly all of this is the result of his behavior. Did he behave a similar way towards your sister and any boyfriends she had? And does your younger brothers not living at home have to do with similar actions on his part, or is it unrelated?

I also want to check: do you think there's a chance your dad might escalate in some way? Whether that's continuing to come over or trying other means of making you leave?

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Re: My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby theatreluvin » Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:09 pm

Honestly I was only like 9 when my sister was in her teens so I didn’t pay much attention to how she handled these things or how she was treated. I know she left the house reasonably late and when she started dating my brother in law my dad had no problem with it. I just know she and my dad were fairly open about boys starting at a younger age than I am. Also, he’s okay with my brothers moving out because they’re all together and my oldest one’s really responsible. And they don’t live very far.

I know my mom won’ let him go too crazy even though she’s not too keen on me staying with Anthony. But, I don’t know. My dad has requested to speak to Tony without me there which I absolutely will not let happen under any circumstances. I know my dad won’t physically harm anyone but he can get quite scary and aggressive and Tony gets pretty protective of me too. He hasn’t come by since, and he also hasn’t called me or Tony today. I know if he is going to go any more, he’ll try to cut off my phone bill. But I have a plan incase that happens.

I’m kinda sad about switching churches. More worried than sad. Like I have so many friends and memories there that I’m afraid I’ll lose. Also, I’m worried that a new youth group will not be as close as my old church’s was or something else will just not feel right about being there. I’ve been at my old church all my life so... it’s hard to leave.

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Re: My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby Sam W » Sat Jun 20, 2020 7:51 am

I'm glad you have a plan in the event he tries to cut off your phone. And I think it's sound to prevent (or at least highly discourage) Tony from meeting with him one on one, given your dad's overall behavior around him. In the long term, are you planning to move out from your parent's house soon (or were you living somewhere else prior to the pandemic)?

It can definitely be nerve-wracking to leave a space where you have a lot of connections and history. Do you have ways of staying connected to the friends you were close to at the church?

theatreluvin
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Re: My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby theatreluvin » Sat Jun 20, 2020 8:08 am

Yeah we all have each other’s phone numbers, but I deleted all my social media accounts cause it was consuming my life honestly. So, I can still talk to them. Some of them just live kinda far.

I lived on my schools campus prior to the pandemic but like home is with my mom and dad. I could tolerate things cause I wasn’t at home too much. I feel kinda bad about leaving my parents since all my other siblings live somewhere else but also I’m getting older, things are going well living with my boyfriend and I also have enough money saved up to get an off campus apartment with some friends. I also feel horrible about leaving my mom and when I’m at school I facetime her daily. So it’s like eventually yeah I wanna move out but I’m really gonna miss my mom. Also, I’m afraid of adulting haha. Seems scary.

I think my dad’s fairly sexist. That’s why he and my mom had problems in their marriage. My mom makes way more money than he does, although his traditional idea is “the man in the house should provide” and my mom’s like, “well I’m perfectly capable of buying my own things, making my own money and owning a successful business which I’m doing. I don’t need a man or anyone in order to do that.” That’s also how I see relationships, that they should be without gender roles and whoever can should just do... not just a man or whatever. It actually makes me cringe HARD to think about that idea. I think that since my dad is having a hard time asserting his masculinity he’s trying to find other ways to do it, which lately has been towards me. Like I’ve been working a lot lately so I can buy the things that I want, like an apple watch and a bigger TV. When I came home with both the other day, he was like “You should have asked me to get it!!!” when 1, if I asked I wouldn’t have gotten it, 2, he’s having financial struggles and can literally barely afford his car, and 3, I work hard almost every day so that I can buy things for myself, cause it’s something I have the right to do just like he does. I think the sense of woman empowerment I get from my mom threatens him. The fact that he’s not 100% where he wants to be in life and my mom and I are thriving is like a threat to him. I don’t get it, like he can’t just be happy that I’m doing well??

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Re: My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby Sam W » Sat Jun 20, 2020 8:42 am

Hoo boy, yes, I think you're right that some of your dad's behavior. Men who are very invested in the "man is the breadwinner" idea can have some very strong, negative reactions when the women in the lives earn more than them or demonstrate financial independence, because it threatens a very fundamental sense they have about themselves.

I think moving out is a solid plan; after all, you've already figured out ways of staying in touch with your mom when you're away from home. You may still miss her, but it sounds like you and she have a strong relationship, one that can evolve as you move into adult life.

Speaking of adulting, while it can be intimidating, it's also pretty dang rewarding. I remember the first time I got my own place in college, there was a sense of freedom that was really nice. True, there were also days where I would have given my right arm for someone to do the grocery shopping who wasn't me, but that was far outweighed by the times I didn't have to account for my every decision or movement to a parent, y'know?

theatreluvin
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Re: My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby theatreluvin » Sat Jun 20, 2020 4:38 pm

Yeah I understand. Yeah I am really close with my mom. I do everything she does. I just don't want me moving out to hurt her or for her to feel like my dad drove me away from her, too. Cause this whole ordeal has damaged my relationship with my dad, but it didn't do a thing to my relationship with my mom.
So Tony revealed to me that he actually called my dad on the phone to get his side of the story. My dad told him he's worried Tony won't be able to take care of me, and apparently he got upset when Tony said that I can take care of myself. Actually, his words were "She doesn't actually NEED me... she just really enjoys having me around" which gave me a laugh but NOT my dad. My dad screams all the time that he wants me to be independent. And when I grow up and make my own decisions, he has a problem. I know his pride is just hurt because all of my brothers and my sister are all grown up. None of us have a bad relationship with him and I think he's just sad that we're all growing up. I feel kind of bad but I should be able to have a chance to grow up.

I asked my little brother, whose room my dad found a condom in, how he reacted when that happened. Apparently my dad said "At least you're being safe," gave him a little talk and went on with his life. So I definitely know it's because I'm a girl. My mom said she knows too, and since he's been the way he is for so long it's unlikely he'll be willing to see my side. I'm just glad my mom knows. Also, she had my oldest brother when she was 19 years old so I think she just wants me to be careful too, yknow? I hope all of that rambling makes sense.

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Re: My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby Amanda F. » Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:01 pm

You sound like you've really got your dad figured out, theatreluvin. I'm sorry that you've had to be the mature one in the relationship lately. It's a bummer that as you grow into an adult, your dad can't be an adult mentor for you but is instead acting in pretty immature and inappropriate ways (and moreso because you're a girl). You DO deserve to be able to grow up in your own way, with support. I'm glad that your mom is a source of support, at least.

Do you have a sense of when/how you might move out? How do you think you'll bring it up to your mom?

theatreluvin
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Re: My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby theatreluvin » Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:36 pm

I think that when I move out it’ll be gradual. I’ve been living with Anthony as you know, and every once in a while I go home, grab some clothes or things I need, say hi to my mom and go back to Tony’s. So I was thinking... maybe when I go back to school, on my longer breaks I can just say I’m going to spend the break with Tony. And then I’ll still go home on weekends I may be homesick. But longer periods of time I’ll spend away. Does that sound like a good plan?

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Re: My dad’s overstepping... A LOT

Unread postby Mo » Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:03 pm

I think that sounds reasonable, for sure! I know that some schools are still pretty unsure about whether they'll be having in-person classes in the fall semester, but if your school is doing that, I think this is a good tactic. It sounds, too, like you have a good enough relationship and history of communication with your mom that when you do move out fully, you'll be able to talk to her about why you're doing it and address any worries she may have about how your dad's behavior has impacted her relationship with you. I'm glad that you and your mom have a solid relationship.


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