Fa­ther’s crank­i­ness is tough for fam­ily, who says he’s toxic

The China Post - - TV & COMICS -

DEAR AN­NIE: My fa­ther has been a bully for as long as I can re­mem­ber. He has un­end­ing ex­cuses for his be­hav­ior, but the bot­tom line is, he thinks noth­ing of brow­beat­ing peo­ple to get what he wants, some­times to the point of be­ing cruel. He never sees it as wrong. It is al­ways some­one else’s fault.

It doesn’t mat­ter whether it’s as sim­ple as pass­ing the salt. He re­fuses to ask. He de­mands. And the words “please” and “thank you” are not in his vo­cab­u­lary. Nei­ther is “I’m sorry.” Nor does he ap­pre­ci­ate any­thing nice that you might do. He only finds fault with the way you did it.

Dad is a se­nior citizen and claims he is en­ti­tled to be­have this way. I don’t be­lieve any­one is en­ti­tled to be rude and nasty, es­pe­cially to his own fam­ily. I know I can­not change him, but this is tak­ing a toll on our re­la­tion­ship. He would never con­sider coun­sel­ing. He says I need to re­spect him and cater to him. How can I re­spect some­one who is so toxic?

— Cry­ing Kid in Cal­i­for­nia

Dear Cry­ing: You have a good grasp of the sit­u­a­tion — your fa­ther’s be­hav­ior is rude and nasty and you aren’t likely to change him. You can, how­ever, spend less time with him and make it clear that you refuse to be treated so poorly.

The fact that he doesn’t say “please” or “thank you” is ill-man­nered, but not a deal breaker. We’d let that pass. But if he brow­beats you to the point of cru­elty, try to be more as­sertive. Say calmly, “I don’t like to be treated this way. I am leav­ing and will re­turn another time.” Then walk out. If that doesn’t tone things down a bit, at least you won’t be where he can tar­get you. Do this as of­ten as nec­es­sary. It is not dis­re­spect­ful to Dad. It is a mat­ter of self-preser­va­tion.

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