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View Diary: Daughter of a Southern 'Gentleman' (88 comments)

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  •  Oh, Ms Pris, have I been there (21+ / 0-)

    and I was raised in New England!

    But the dynamic between my father and me is identical to yours. After decades of struggle (mostly within myself; we only had altercations starting a few years ago), I had to face the bottom line: a fundamental lack of respect. If he's always right, by definition, then any disagreements we have are my fault, due to the fact that I'm wrong. I figure this attitude of his is attributable to some deeply (permanently) buried self-esteem issues—but I guess I'm just not saintly enough to pity him for that and put aside my own need for respect. So, it's hopeless, I'm afraid.

    I hope your dad is a better man than mine is, in that he's eventually able to recognize that sometimes he can be wrong, and it's a valuable thing to be able to broaden your perspective by learning from someone you love. But if it turns out that he's not... know that the passage of time does help to make the situation easier to bear (the sadness and anger dissipate, even if the dynamic between you doesn't change). Minimizing the contact between us has definitely helped me!

    •  I believe that it is, in part, generational (14+ / 0-)

      Not just an influence of regional culture. Add the two together, however, and... well it's not 1 x 1, more like 2 squared (at least).

      I'm the third child, by 11 years. So my parents are VERY much older than those of my contemporaries. When I was young, I was told that I was "not allowed" to be mad at my father. In fact, being angry in general wasn't something that my mother was thrilled with.

      That's changed over time, but I do think it is, in part, a remnant of the 50s/60s culture (the mythical 60s didn't start until very late in the decade).

      And then I think of all the recent psychology/biology studies about the differences between the the conservative/liberal mindset... That the conservative mind is fear-based/resistant to change/hierarchical/authority-driven and I think... If this is hardwired into you, what the hell is the solution?

      Weirdly, though, my dad has gotten liberal as he's gotten older. For a while, he scared me and we had some knock-down drawn outs, and I figured I needed to give up too.

      But he
      * has always been pro-choice
      * very much supported my athletic endeavors
      * truly believed that his children (male or female) could "do anything"
      * never played favorites among his siblings
      * honest-to-god loves his kids

      And then George HW Bush came along (Bush Sr). God did my father hate that man. Anything HW said/believed my father's instinct was to go as far in the opposite direction he could get.

      My dad went from being a pretty bigoted ass on quite a few subjects -- his opinions on South Africa/apartheid were repugnant to me -- to being a liberal who now believes that he:

      * introduced me to the Daily Show
      * has always been reading (liberal) blogs
      * personally discovered Rachel Maddow (not really, but...)

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