so this is the first time i'll throw a kind of personal issue in here. i just wonder what you would have to say about that, as i'm still not sure what to think or how to best solve this.
i've gone back to living with my parents for a few weeks (leaving soon). i've had a long-standing conflictual relationship with my father (ever since my teens), but i could never quite pinpoint what the conflict was about -- it wasn't like we disagree on some concrete, practical issue. more like simply his presence and (frequently dismissive or invasive, occasionally offensive) remarks driving me nuts to the point where i get tense the moment we're under the same roof.
i know you discuss narcissists a lot here, i'm not quite sure what that is or that it's good to immediately give that label to people who are difficult to be with, but as far as i gather my dad tends to say hurtful / offensive things without realising it -- probably more kind of asperger / autism spectrum if you wish to classify that (he has a lot of those traits and so do i). he'd just say bluntly that he thinks something is stupid or pointless (that the other person cares about) or that someone is irrational or crazy or overreacting -- in extremely insensitive ways, when he thinks he's merely "stating facts".
now since my dad has always been like this and nobody really confronted him about it (except me at a point) i grew up believing that his way is the norm and there is something wrong with me for getting hurt by those types of remarks (i still need to remind myself on a regular basis that he's put off many potential friends and family members by doing what he does to remember that it's not just me and not my fault). i guess in a sense after growing up in that way part of me is seeking "objective" validation that i'm not the crazy one here.
still, spending these few weeks with my parents now that i'm more conscious of specifically empath issues, i've started wondering in how far me being an empath plays into this making it worse. because most people can still take my dad -- they admit he's "difficult" and frequently annoying, but e.g. my mother and brother somehow deal with it without major blow-ups. (while some other people get tense or shorten their visits.)
i have realised that an additional element in this mess could be that my father is carrying a lot of stress and resentment around, e.g. serious work frustrations (having worked himself up the ladder as an immigrant from a rather disrespected place in a foreign country with huge effort and stress), a court trial, and presumably (obviously?) childhood trauma (from an alcoholic household). ever since i was a very young child, he was never skimp with unloading these huge stresses and frustrations -- how his home country got ruined, how capitalism is monstrous, how people are exploitative, how the world and people generally suck -- in front of me or even to me (as a child and teen).
i've over time learnt to stop him, saying that i can't bear listening to this negativity -- which has affected me much too much anyways since my youth, perhaps taking away much of my confidence and trust in people / hopefulness -- so i shut that up when it starts again. still -- it's like i constantly feel the hovering of this dark cloud, and i still get nervous and tense when i'm in the same room or even under the same roof.
now that he's gone traveling for a few days, i feel -- crazy -- how my digestion and sleep starts functioning normally again. i didn't even realise how off-kilter these have gone in the last weeks while staying here. it shocks me in a way, that i can get so affected by this, that it's possibly still poisoning my life -- i probably still carry so much of this energy.
so i basically see two issues here ... one about drawing boundaries, me learning to say when enough is enough and protect myself on a verbal / pragmatic level and finding my inner safety and self-respect. which is hard because i can feel how my dad takes all that personally, e.g. avoiding him, shutting him up, etc. but i don't really have the skill or nerve to do it gracefully. the other thing is the empath issue, of simply being in the presence of someone who is very burdened -- carrying a lot of old weight, resentment, breeding anger in a way, and also having a lot of inner fragility (which i have also instinctively sensed since i was a child and which probably stopped me from protecting myself in the first place).
i would simply avoid him if that didn't mean avoiding the rest of the family, too (they live together and my mum isn't really into doing stuff alone, she's subordinating herself pretty much to running the household). i've actually avoided them to a significant degree for almost a decade, which i believe has weakened me as i didn't resolve the underlying emotional turmoil either.
i also think i've been literally living out some of my dad's frustrations, e.g. i'm pretty much unable to live in the country we migrated to in my childhood (even though it's a rich country with a high standard in social security and everything else) -- i get crazy psychosomatic reactions and freak out when i have to stay there. so i've had to re-start my life in still other places, without family support, which has destabilised me.
have you dealt with something like this or can you relate?
i don't really know what i expect, i just thought maybe someone has been through something similar and can relate or give their experience, or otherwise any chunk of potential insight on how to minimise the suffering here.
thanks in advance and have a great day
updated by @sasha-supertramp: 03/16/18 04:29:55AM