My father has always believed that his views are correct and the only way to see an issue. I recognised his arrogance years ago but stepped back from arguing with him, even when he was being irrational, because I knew he would explode with rage.
When I was 40 in April I vowed that I would stand up for myself and no longer hide what I believe in. This includes equality for women, being a vegetarian, and my concern about global warming. It’s not gone well with my Dad and our relationship has seriously deteriorated over the last few months, especially when I told him I voted for and still support Brexit. He is an ardent Remainer and he is so angry that he rings me several times a day. It’s very inconvenient but I’ve had to stop answering my mobile at work and only listen to my voice mails at the end of the day.
I tend to visit him once or twice a month but no longer want to be in a position where he can yell at me. It’s a difficult decision as he is a widower and recently retired so doesn’t have much in his life. My two other siblings live abroad so it has been up to me to maintain regular contact. I know people have felt very stressed over Brexit and lost friends. My wife who is a divorce lawyer tells me that the issue has even broken up marriages. But surely a father and son should be able to accept each other’s views without falling out?
In an ideal world a father and son should be able to accept each others differing points of view reasonably amicably, but sadly not your father, who is both arrogant and controlling. Not only does he disagree with your opinions, he does his best by being angry to get you to change them.
His unacceptable rages have long predated the sad loss of your mother and you are right to stop answering his calls and avoid him when he behaves badly. He obviously doesn’t accept your decision to be yourself or speak your mind. As he is making no effort to listen to you when you tell him what you think you could write to him explaining that you will visit him if he stays calm, but that if he starts a row you will leave immediately. If he agrees to your conditions you could then confine your conversation to neutral subjects like his hobbies.
Brexit has caused huge rifts among some families but this is not really the issue between you and your father. Your experience shows that he would behave in the same negative way over any difference of opinion.
We do not think it is your responsibility to step in for your siblings as they should make their own relationships with him. Nor is it up to you to work out what sort of life he could have as a widower, although you could encourage him to look after himself. If you reach a point where you feel ready to be yourself with him it is also very important to work out how to protect yourself as best as you can.