I have frustrations about my overbearing parents, particularly my bipolar father who constantly brings up religion and criticizes my husband and me for not being religious enough. Today, another explosive incident occurred in our nuclear family. Lately, my husband and I have been dealing with an immense amount of stress, and my parents are well aware of it. When my husband dropped off our child at their place for the day, my dad scolded him in a scary, stern manner, triggering his PTSD. My dad wagged his finger and spoke sternly, saying, “The only thing you need to do is show the kid the ways of Christ.”
When my husband came storming into the house after the drop-off, expressing his disdain for my dad, I was taken aback. I asked him what happened, and he told me that my dad was once again going on about how we don’t go to church. This issue has caused major conflicts with my dad in the past, with explosive arguments about our church attendance. I thought it had subsided, but clearly, it hadn’t.
My mom tried to downplay the situation by saying my dad was just attempting to have a father-son talk, but the implication that we are not going to church was still there, regardless of the specific words used. It was frustrating to see that my dad didn’t listen to my husband’s concerns but instead seized the opportunity to go on a religious guilt trip. I have no issue with religion, but I am incredibly annoyed and upset with my dad.
Should I confront my dad and tell him to stay out of our religious beliefs? Everyone has their own way of worship, and I’m glad he found something that works for him. They had agreed not to bring up “church” in the past, but it seems they shouldn’t be allowed to discuss any religious matters with us anymore. Ironically, my dad’s religious fervor has made me less inclined to go to church than ever before.
It’s important to note that my dad is bipolar, which adds to the complexity of the situation. He constantly flip-flops, and we never know which version of him we’ll encounter. It’s exhausting. Despite us currently living near my dad due to our child’s school and my husband’s job, my husband doesn’t want to remain in close proximity to him. I’ve worked hard for years to make all the pieces fall into place, but now my dad is jeopardizing everything and gaslighting me. I’ve reached my breaking point, and I needed to share this with you all because I don’t have therapy until Thursday, and I have to confront my dad tomorrow.
I want to cry and cut ties with my dad forever. However, the problem is that my child loves their grandma, and she loves them. I could never separate them like that. But deep down, I long to move to a different state and break free from this family dynamic.