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Author Topic: Family Anger Issues  (Read 770 times)

Urist McScoopbeard

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Family Anger Issues
« on: November 27, 2020, 06:21:05 pm »

So... I've tried to do some research on this issue, but most of the sites I have searched have been filled either with unhelpful quasi-abusive replies or male chauvinism. Obviously, I think it is perhaps best to consult a therapist or psychologist, but I wondered if Bay12ers had any helpful advice before I take this to the next level, so to speak.

So my father has anger issues. Really bad ones. He has never hit me or my mother (to my knowledge), but he often either turns small issues into screaming fits or explodes over seemingly non-issues, just in the middle of conversations. Red in the face, swearing, insulting whoever he is in conversation with (usually me), belittling them, issuing "orders", or frankly resulting to racism, bigotry, or other really negative attitudes/behaviors. I have no real idea, but I suspect my uncle is the same way, considering things that have happened to me in the past--which is all weird, because my granddad wasn't like this at all, and I've asked multiple people to try and confirm that.

I'm just not sure what to do here. This has obviously left me with a lot of (still unresolved) trauma and I am sick of him continuing to do it. It's not all about me obviously, but it IS obvious it hurts everyone around him. When I was growing up, it never happened often enough that I thought I was being abused, but it has become more frequent lately, I think as a reaction to A.) me becoming much more liberal and laidback as I've gotten older (and as a result, falling outside his vision for how he thought my life would go/the person I would be), and B.) all the people in his life who he took lessons from on how not to act, have died. All the awful, racist, sexist, chauvinists of the last generation (along with the good ones ofc) are dead and I think he's kind of lost his baseline as a result.

I am now 24, I'm not afraid of him really, he just makes me feel like shit, and frankly I'm more afraid one day as he gets older, I'll snap and seriously harm him for his... well awfulness. He justifies everything, reframes everything, etc. etc. so that he is always in the right, he'll even result to self-sabotage by refusing to assert himself non-violently to provide cause for his blow ups. I know that, logically, he is upset about *something*, but in the situation I don't think it would be beneficial to speculate any more.

So yea. I don't know how to proceed. I have talked to him about it once before when he blew up on me in front of my grandma (who I hoped would never see that) and he claimed that A.) it happened to people outside the family, i.e. at work before, B.) he was working on controlling it, and C.) kind of going back on that saying he was just "passionate". It has certainly gotten worse since then. I've tried to be calm about it, it's incredibly important to me because of all this, that I never lose my cool--but that just seems to make him angrier. I have thought about closing him out of my life, but I'm a grad student, and frankly (as a result of mental illness) it's been real hard becoming independent, and he uses that dependence against me (although never verbally).

What do I do? or how do I start asking the right questions to the right people?
This conversation is getting disturbing fast, disturbingly erotic.


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Re: Family Anger Issues
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2020, 05:44:51 pm »

By my estimation (and personal experience) he may be facing an amygdala hijack. Someone keeping their cool in the face of mine never defused it either. Dealing with them is an individual decision, but as long as he doesn't know there's a name to the problem, he can't try to address it. They also get worse over time. You mention you have mental illness. If you need a well of empathy, consider you two may be alike in this. Look into them on your own and if it seems to match what happens, just give him the word, ask him to look into it, and say you miss how things were.

So he's more conservative and you've become liberal, and by the sound of it, you have a distaste for all the awful, racist, sexist, chauvinists he looked up to. You raised the subject so it seems to matter a lot to you. Are you voicing that distaste to him? Because every action has an opportunity cost, and if you are bringing up wedge issues you aren't bringing up things you do share in common. If your conversations are over who's right and who's wrong, conflict is inevitable. There are more important things than pushing on these points of view, especially if you're considering breaking ties.

I would focus on building your own household so you are no longer beholden to his. If he is worried you aren't going to get your life in order (regardless of if you actually are or aren't) he will be trying to correct what he sees as errors, and this will amount to more wedge issues. Worrying about your future may be the root of his fears, and from those fears, the hijacks. If you're in order, he isn't worrying about you.



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Re: Family Anger Issues
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2020, 05:08:04 pm »

I have seen someone take the time to speak clear and potent advice to a kid, then watched that kid's mother poo-poo the statement, coddle the kid, and the kid accepted the coddling. The guy stiffened up and suppressed rage and stopped dating the woman. I think he had previous events like that, but because I saw that event, he referred to it and not the others. It was a source of rage... kids and "idiot parents" and not showing the kids the reality of what they were headed for. Any conversation could head back towards that topic where the rage lived and some workdays he was struggling with suppressed anger.

If there is anything your dad can converse about that he does not flip into a state of rage about, find it and talk with him about; with technical stuff being better because it is hard for that subject to be raged about. If you can get through conversations like this, he may flip his state of mind and be able to talk about real stuff without raging... it probably needs him to believe you will be listening and not just waiting to rebuff what he says. He may not need you to respond, just to heard it and be sure you understand the meaning. Practice your "I am thinking about this" look.


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Re: Family Anger Issues
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2020, 05:50:02 pm »

Anger often has themes, usually one strongest theme underlying the issue.

It could be a power issue, aka your father wants to be dominant, respected, followed.
But by disagreeing with him, you threaten that order in life.

Of course, you can't agree to everything people throw at you, but you might be able to defuse him by making 'concessions'
If you know something will be an issue, you can try to manufacture a situation.
Instead of bringing him the premise 'I'm going to college'

Make it, 'I'm going far away to live at college', then when pressed say, 'well for you, I could stay local'.
Even if you never intended to go far away for college.

Manufacturing concessions to make him feel like he is respected and dominant.

It's also possible you did something back then which he still has an issue with,
and that might be best dealt with using introspection/asking him what you did wrong.
It might not be something you know you did in a heated or untoward manner, but that he expects better of you.