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Friday, October 19, 2012

7 Ways to Break Free from a Controlling Father

How will you emotionally and physically set yourself free from your domineering dad?

You have to love a dad who cares about you and wants what is best for you.  But like mothers, fathers sometimes don't know when to let go and let God too!  Some papas just love their children so much that they can't see when they are actually causing more harm than good.  These men usually came from backgrounds where their own fathers didn't give them much attention or things; therefore they feel like they have to make up what was lost in their young lives with their own children.  This is when the problems come into play.  Dad doesn't want son bothering him about money, yet dad gives son anyway.  Dad is irritated with his daughter for the life decisions that she makes, but he keeps bailing her out.  You may have a relationship with your dad that isn't bad, but isn't all that good either and you just want him to stay out of your business and let you live your own life!  So what do you do?

One.  Stop sharing so much of your personal life with him.  Maybe you aren't directly talking to him about all that is wrong with your life, and if this is the case, then your mother or someone else is taking your information back to him.  This is why he feels like he can roll his eyes, take a deep breath and formulate his unflattering opinion about you, who you know and what you do.

Two.  Don't ask him for the car, money, housing, or any other help when you are in trouble.  When you do this, you are telling your controlling dad, "I can't take care of myself, I need you.  You were right, I am an idiot!"  So what is a controlling dad going to do?  Beat you over the head with your requests!  "If you would just do what I tell you, you wouldn't be in this mess!   I am tired of you asking for my stuff!"  He yells, yet reluctantly he helps you out anyway while you talk negatively about him to others--like father like son/daughter.

Three.  Don't help your dad bring you down.  Ask yourself, "How am I helping my dad enable my issues?"  Are you expecting him to fund your drug, alcohol and other addictions?  Do you tell him stories about your sexual conquests and how you manipulate or abuse your partners?  Do you excuse what you do when you are away from him as being "okay" or "all good," because you saw him do the same things when you were growing up?  Well, if you are laughing it up with him and thinking he is "cool" and "alright with what I do," think again, he is just waiting for that opportunity to find fault with you!  When he does, he will name-call and talk ugly about you to others (as if he has always done right by your mother and siblings).  Someone once told me, "Don't give him a stick to crack your head with."

Four.  Avoid dropping everything and then running to his aid.  Once you start something, the older he gets, he will expect it.  "Your my son and my daughter, you should help your old man.  Look at all the years I took care of you!"  You make promises about coming over and doing this or that for him, he will remind you of what you said and tell others when you don't deliver.  "Look at that unreliable #$%^%#@!  If I told him once, I told him twice!"  Then what is he going to do when you don't keep your promises?  Start praising your siblings who do come to his rescue.  Controlling dads aren't self-esteem boosters!  So don't make any promises you can't keep.

Five.  Relocate.  If you live with or near a controlling dad, you might want to relocate.  You see, sometimes distance makes the heart grow fonder.  He may not have appreciated you much when you were around, but now you and he have some space to work out your differences.  When he sees that you are doing well and have a nice family, job, etc. he will either admire and respect you or grow jealous of you which only encourages more controlling behavior such as: giving you unnecessary advice, spreading negative criticism, and conducting evil speaking about others who are doing better than him to you (as if you care)!?

Six.  Forget the holidays.  Visit your dad when there is no shine on him--that's right no shine, no phony happy family picture taking, gift exchanges, and more.  When you jump when he (or your mother) says, "jump" what you are saying is that, "I want to make you happy, so I will celebrate the holidays because you want me to and I am still that spineless little kid who coward every time you walked into the room."  You are a woman or man now probably bigger and/or stronger.  What is he going to do if you don't come to visit him on his birthday, Thanksgiving or Christmas?  The idea, when dealing with a controlling father, is to undo the things you did to help him remain in control of your life.  Remember, don't talk yourself into doing things that only give him more power.

Seven.  Don't fear him.  When one is guilty of acting fearful of his or her manipulative father, he or she might use lies, excuses, blame siblings, and do other things to try to hide fear while hoping not to offend him.  If you are an adult, paying your own bills and have no need of your father (other than an occasional moment where you want to just touch-base with him), then what is there to fear?  Childhood dramas take up too much of our time and energy and only feed the monster.  If an animal senses fear, he will attack.  If being in your dad's presence brings out the worse in you, then stay away!  It doesn't matter what your relatives, siblings and others think, you have to live in your body not them.  Sometimes controlling people can trigger all sorts of things in us that we didn't know we have such as: alters, nervous tension, suicidal thoughts, rage, etc.  If you have a faith, use it to bring you to a genuine place of healing in Jesus name!

You may be able to think of some more ways to break free from your father.  I suggest you start putting some of these suggestions and more to good use!  Know that people will talk, others who are fearful of him will try to keep you under his thumb, and even your mother/step-mother/girlfriend will try to get you to draw near to him, but whatever others say and do, you know you and what you can tolerate.

Set yourself emotionally and physically free from your father for good!  Sometimes there will be setbacks and you might even cry and get angry at yourself for slipping back into old habits, but forgive yourself, and then get back on track.  By breaking free from a controlling person, you will be better able to see the damage that this person has caused in your life then you will be well on your way toward healing from your past.

Nicholl McGuire maintains this blog and others including Laboring to Love an Abusive Mate and When Mothers Cry.  She has also recently self-published a book on Amazon entitled, "Know Your Enemy: The Christian's Critic"

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