My dad is sad
I haven't fully moved out of my parents house and it creates a lot of tension whenever I do stay with my parents. I'm a recent college graduate, and have a contract job that allows me to travel for months at a time and I'll receive a small stipend at the end of the summer. It would be really nice if I felt like I could move in with my parents at the end of that job, so that I could save money without paying rent and then eventually move out. My current job will pay me enough for about a month's rent in a new city, but it took me four months to find a job and I am nervous about moving somewhere without any leads. But I can't stay here because I can't stand being around my father who is suuuper sensitive and easily upset, sad, or happy.
He's happy maybe 80% of the time, which is good, but even when he's happy he's on a whole other level that makes it hard for me to relate to or empathize with. He's very good at being grateful for his life and his family and spends everyday gushing about how proud and happy he is to have me and my mom in his life. I'm always hyper-critical of him and I can't seem to shake that tendency. So even when he's happy, I tell myself that he's so weird in his affection and that it is embarrassing and I feel weird that I can't seem to reciprocate his highs of gratitude.
When he's angry or upset with me, I extra don't empathize with him, and instead see him as a target that I hope to take down. When he cries, I just watch and feel numb and maybe even some satisfaction (as fucked up as that sounds). He just makes me so angry and annoyed most of the time that I'm around him, I've developed a very thick wall between us emotionally (but he hasn't, he has thin skin).
Yesterday, he gave me some money to buy boxes to pack up my things in my room because they'll be moving while I'm away. He gave me $60 for boxes, and I spent $10 on boxes and pocketed the rest. Until he asked me for the change today, which I gave back to him, reluctantly (I guess I'm used to being spoiled/financially dependent). Then he got very mad at me and called me ungrateful for all the things he's paid for me. Basically: I've learned that I need to be financially independent and live on my own at this point in my life and I will have a better relationship to my parents.
In the meantime, however, he was recently sobbing (tonight) about how he hasn't lived up to being half the dad that his dad was. I never knew his dad. I didn't say anything, I just watched him cry for a bit and then eventually offered him a hug, which he made a big deal about. He says human touch is the most important thing for him and a key way that he feels affection and eventually he stopped crying and said thank you and left, a little less of a mess.
I just feel like such a cold feelingless bitch around him all the time who feels suffocated by his mere presence! I think I also had this idea of masculinity growing up that he never seemed to fit (someone strong, with tough skin). I also thought I was a trans boy growing up but only talked about it once with my mom and never again. Eventually I became a woman, I guess, after the growing pains of puberty in middle and high school and ended up at a women's college. I think I'm gender fluid, maybe trans still, but also super glad to be a woman. Maybe I've developed an unhealthy misandry at college that's getting between my relationship with my father.
My lack of empathy towards someone who loves me so much and who I've known my whole life is really the most concerning thing of all, but I still feel apathetic.
Also, my dad is great! He's always done his best to be a good father and listens to me when I speak up but we can't seem to stop budding heads. I often wish I had a sibling to be a better child to my father so I wouldn't have to worry about our failed relationship, or at least I'd have someone to look up to or talk to about these things.
Sorry for the word vomit.. thanks for listening!
Your father sounds depressed. He needs a physical ASAP.
You don't mention your mother. Is she engaged in the relationship?
Yes, it's time you fly out of the nest. Make that work, whatever you have to do. Maybe your parents can LEND you some money for you to get into an apartment that you can afford near your work.
Time to grow up and establish yourself.
If there wasn't a Code of Conduct to follow here, you would be getting some word vomit back from me. Also you talk about father but no mention of mother. You do say 'parents house' at the beginning so I'll assume you have both parents. Apologies in advance if you don't.
My parents neglected me as a child. Mum had her cigarettes and takeaways while I had school shoes with holes in the toes and no bed sheet. I had crisp sandwiches for evening meal, just because I had a 'cooked lunch' at school. I had no pocket money, I had my older brothers clothes and I was sent by my parents to collect cigarette butts from the streets when they ran out of money, so they could smoke what tobacco was left in the butts. I found a tenner once, I got to keep a pound. I once was so hungry I stole a tin of ham out the fridge and tried to get it open with a screwdriver at night. I had to be in bed by 6pm so mum could watch Star Trek in peace. I was allowed a bath once a week, my school shirt collars were grimy and I smelled like BO because I didn't have deodorant (teenage years). This was only in the 90s!
So to me, you are a very ungrateful child. If my father (or mother) had shown half the love you say you get, I bet my life would've turned out so much better. I wouldn't have been homeless twice for a start. As far as I'm concerned I don't have any parents. They don't even know they have a beautiful grand-daughter (I'm their only child out of 5 that is allowed to keep their children). It's a great big shame that you can't let your father love you. I may have misunderstood this part of your post, but do you make an effort to make your dad cry?? If you don't want your father, I'll have him! I'm 33 now but I would kill for a loving father right now!
If I were you, I would hold on to every bit of love your father throws at you. Let him take care of you. So what if he loves a hug, give him one. Maybe if you let your father love you, you may come to enjoy the comfort of it. If you carry on as you are, one day when you need a massive cuddle from dad, he won't offer one. He will never see you as a failure, he will always blame himself. Usually people say you OWE your parents because they brought you into the world. Well in my case that's just not true. In your case, at the very least you owe your father respect. You don't have to love him if you want to stay apathetic, but you don't have to break him down to tears, that is just wrong for any child to do. If I came face to face with my parents right now, even I wouldn't do that. We are talking about human lives and real emotions here, not a game for you to get kicks from.
Now is the time of your life to let your parents take care of you, relish it. They won't be around for ever and if you don't buck up you will live a very long time regretting not loving your father more.