Parental Bullying

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“I am soon to be 57-years-old and have a situation that seems to have always been there with my father… the last episode was the end of July…

The family was all together at my parents house for a barbecue before my father went for a heart catheterization. It was my three grown children, their spouses and my seven grandchildren. My father seems to be very rude and hurtful and I won’t stand by and have him treat my kids or grandchildren like that if I am around.

My 13-year-old grandson went to get a second piece of watermelon which his parents bought and brought to the barbecue . He isn’t obese by all means and he is almost 6 feet tall at this age and growing like a weed (maybe you could say a few extra pounds) but I highly believe his body needs that so he can stretch if that makes sense.

My dad, who is obese, looks at him and says something to the effect of, “I don’t think you need another piece the way you look.” I probably don’t have it exact, but it was meant that way. My grandson’s parents were in the other room and I gave my dad a look and said, “that’s not very nice.” He looked at me and said “don’t look at me like that before I knock you in the head.” My Mom did tell him to be nice. I was devastated, embarrassed and very hurt. I said, “that’s some way to talk to your 56-year-old daughter.” I held it together and didn’t cry there, but did on the way home.

I haven’t wanted to go back for overnight visits and my mom doesn’t understand and feels I should just blow it off because he is sick and doesn’t feel well. He can be nice to others at times but I seem to be his target. My mom is hurt that I let that keep me away. She says I should just walk in and say, ” well I’m here to visit” or something to that effect. What would you all do in this situation?” -Anonymous

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19 thoughts on “Parental Bullying”

  1. I have similar problems with my 88 year old mother. My 22 year old daughter & I both happened to be in the same city as my mother at the same time. My mother arranged a family lunch to which I was not invited – just my sister & her sons (who live in the same city as my mother)m my daughter & her boyfriend.
    I was shattered & my daughter was furious – she told my mother so. My suggestion is to do what is right for your mother & yourself. Don’t stay with them – if visiting means having to stay away from your own home, stay elsewhere. Keep visits short & time them for the “best part” of his day, if he is more cranky & unpleasant when hungry, tired etc. Bring a small gift that you know he will like – best, I think, something edible that he cannot pretend that he does not appreciate. Don’t force your offspring & grandchildren to see him – leave that up to them – but make sure that your mother is not thus also left out of the picture. Most likely, if he was not cranky before, he is experiencing some dementia – so it is not his fault, but there is not really anything that can be done to change him, although anti-depressants can help, as can adequate analgesia if chronic pain is causing some of the crankiness. You have my sympathies – it is one thing if you never liked him very much, but ghastly if you loved him dearly!

  2. My father in law was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, he also used a walking stick due to having Purthys disease as a child. He was a highly educated school headmaster and well respected man. When he tried to hit my not quite 2 year old son with his walking stick. I grabbed my son and said to my father in law if he ever raised that stick or his voice to my child again he would never see him again.
    He must have remembered my words because he was always gentle with the boy after that. He was a very dominating man and lived by old school rules, but a few times he found with me it wasn’t gonna happen. And it didn’t. Stand up for yourself and the younger ones.

  3. My Dad and I had very similar situations at family gatherings. One time at his house, full of family. I avoided him for the rest of the party as my kids were enjoying themselves with extended family and I didn’t want to ruin the party my mother out together. We did wind up leaving early tho and my mom knew why. Another couple situations happened at my home with family, the last situation I tapped his hand gently while we were joking about something (and he was the king of telling funny family stories) he pulled his arm back and with the look of contempt he motioned as if he was going to back hand me. I said you want to hit me in my own house? Really? Then I told my mother, please take your husband home now. I went into another room and tried not to cry. My mother talked to him and he did call me up to apologize. I still did not visit for awhile and when I did I did not stay long. I was the soft target for yrs. then he had a couple strokes and now does not get around much and doesn’t remember a lot. He’s much sweeter now. Maybe he was getting sicker and didn’t know it. I felt that before his strokes he was in general getting a little meaner and short wicked. I have forgiven him and visit often. He can be stubborn in general but now I just try to enjoy my times with him as the good times definitely outweigh the bad. 💛

  4. Oh my,what a rude person. If that would be my father I would put him completely in in place and I would tell him to stop making threats,cause he would not come out well causing a fight. And he would certainly not treat the boy like this again,his hurtful words can cause mental damage to a young person. No matter if sick and old,this behavior is unacceptable and I would not tolerate that.

    1. Speak with him directly..tell him you were hurt and won’t tolerate that kind of treatment towards you or the children..if it happens again, you won’t be back and mean it

    2. I agree. My husband’s mom is a hurtful bully. We don’t see her anymore. We chose to stop the pain. Better alone than constantly wounded.

    3. Do you know if your Mum is also on the wrong end of his behaviour? I am more upset that she didn’t stick up for you as you seem to have a good grip on stopping him hurting your Grandson.

  5. I was raised by two verbally and physically abusive parents. When my father became ill he did a 190 and became a very loving and caring parent. I feel your mother is enabling your father and the only thing that you can control is your reaction to the situation. Sometimes we need to set boundaries and see if the situation changes. I feel the problem lies within your father and only he can change that.

  6. Nothing would keep me from seeing my mother, but I am so sorry he made you cry. I made a similar decision in the past that nothing would keep me from being there for my parents, but neither would I take abuse. Ignoring, laughing in his face or a simple announcement that he can’t make you mad no matter what he says – only you know what you can bear to respond with, and however you do it is okay. His power is in making you feel bad. Take that from him, if you can. Sending hugs.

  7. My comment would have been “don’t ever threaten me (or my family again) and leaving the event. I agree with two other comments about dementia and old age does not give a person a right to be ugly or rude.

  8. Having lived a childhood very similar…..being told it was constructive criticism…..as an adult I came to realize it was said by a very unhappy person….by no means appropriate. There are 2 choices…..say something to him or not….each will have its own set of consequences…..but either way…..the problem isn’t you…..it’s with him.

  9. I think that’s awful how your father acted. Personally I would NOT want to be around him either. If you want to visit with your Mom or see her, take her out to lunch or go shopping together or if you could have just HER come to your house for say coffee without your dad, just say its a girls day. All those things your dad said at the party that day was very rude and uncalled for. Good luck.

  10. Stay away as you wish.being old or ill does not give him the right to treat you or yours like this.same goes for reverse btw.a very genuine friend said to me years ago
    “If respect isn’t on the table leave the table”
    You deserve better.you are enough🌹

    1. Is it possible that he has a mental disorder? Many older people with dementia act out in unpleasant ways.
      I think having a talk with him is the way to proceed with your Dad. It may or may not help but at least you tried.

  11. WOW…unreal, and coming from your very own father, at that! Has he always been that way, or is this a new behaviour? It could be a health issue…I know that with dementia, for example, they may act very out of character”…if not, I would call him on it, ask him WHY he needs to be so mean…at any age bullying is wrong!!

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