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Dear Stavroula

Ask Stavroula: My Father Does Not Accept Me

Dear Stavroula,

I am 24 years old and my problem is that my father does not accept me. The problem has always been there in our relationship, but it is more difficult for me to manage it now, maybe because when I left to study, I did not care so much. I had my own life, about which he did not need to know details, and our relations had become better than ever. But since I returned to my hometown, the situation has become difficult again. He talks badly to me and starts shouting at me. Whatever I do is never enough – I do nothing right, and no one is going to tolerate me, he says. I think it all starts with my personal life, which he does not approve of. Every time I do something he disagrees with, he hits me with how much he has done for me and how ungrateful I am. Of course, I have to admit that he always looked after his family and that he worked hard all his life so that we could have everything. And he really supported me in everything that had to do with my studies. But that is not enough for me. I am very hurt by his behavior and his criticism. Many times I think the only solution is to leave home and end all relationships with him, but I feel sorry for my mother and sister. Or would that be the only solution? What is your opinion?

Lena

Dear Lena,

Our parents are the important in our lives and their role is crucial for the way we perceive ourselves, as well as for the way we shape our subsequent relationships.

Unfortunately, no parent is perfect, nor can we choose our mother and father. In fact, many parents find it difficult to communicate with their child; they believe they do not treat him with respect, that they do not recognize his right to decide about their life and relationships. They have these expectations even though the their children have already reached adulthood.

In the event of a conflict with their child, they do not take their due responsibility and rarely apologize. Sometimes they use words that hurt, or try to make their child feel guilty, in order force them to comply with their will.

Maybe the same is true in your relationship with your father. The good news is that you recognize that your father's behavior is problematic and you are looking for ways to manage it. This is a very important step, considering that many young people find such behaviors ‘normal’.

Leaving home, trying to break away from this parental relationship may not be as effective as it seems. Many therapists believe that permanent and abrupt physical separation from the family does not mean emotional severance. There is no need to admire your father for his behavior, but that does not mean that if you leave, you will automatically stop loving him.

For this and maybe first of all, you should seek the help of a specialist. In this way, you may be able to control and overcome the mental pain caused to you by your father's disparaging attitude.

The following may also help: Think about the intent behind your father's behavior. Even if the way he has chosen to show you his interest is wrong, he may care in his own way for you. This does not mean, however, that you have to accept this behavior, nor are you responsible for it.

Set boundaries in your relationship through discussion. Explain honestly to your father how you feel every time you fight and he treats you this way, but without blaming him, which will increase the tension. Try to express your feelings to him when he treats you this way and explain to him that you will interrupt the conversation and walk away every time he slips verbally.

The only one who is responsible for your life is you. Whatever your father thinks about the way you live your personal life is his own idea and does not mean that you should adopt it or see yourself in that light. Imagine for a second you were transported into your young father’s karmic driven world.

Stavroula Tsoutsa is a Certified Holistic Professional and Life Coach, Certified Heartmath Coach / Mentor and Certified Points of You practitioner.

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