I am so angry I could burst. Talking to my father has always been a one way rant. He’s never been interested in what I have to say whatever the topic. He doesn’t even stop talking long enough to allow me to break into the conversation. It’s worse than ever at the moment what with Brexit, political correctness and LGBT issues. I find it humiliating to stand or sit while all this is going on. I should say that I am over 40 years old and disagree with him on most issues. It’s been the same as far back as I can remember. When I was a teenager I used to fight to be heard but my efforts always ended in a huge row with him shouting that I should respect my elders and know my place. He still tells me off as if I was a little boy without letting me explain myself. My wife rarely comes with me to see him because she feels uncomfortable for both of us. I’ve also tried to talk to my mother but she doesn’t want to get involved. I suspect she is frightened of him. I am an only child and can tell he’s disappointed in me although I think his behaviour wouldn’t change whatever I did. Occasionally I have tried to suggest that we have an adult to adult discussion so I can get my view across too. His response has been to tell me bluntly that he’s my father and I’m his son and I should listen to him not the other way around. What an earth shall I do?
Your father must be so infuriating. No wonder your wife is reluctant to come with you and your mother doesn’t want to get involved. He sounds rather frightening too and your attempts to stand up to him must take a lot of courage.
However, as you have found, your age has not affected his behaviour. Instead he uses the fact that he is your father to be overbearing and won’t allow your relationship to become one of two adults.
There could be many reasons for this and you may find some clues to his bullying by delving into his background. Meanwhile don’t let his disappointment in what you have achieved get you down. Instead reassure yourself that you deserve far more appreciation and recognition than he gives you and that it is not your fault that he takes so little interest in your life. Your options to try to change him are limited. As he won’t share a conversation you could consider writing to him and explaining what sort of relationship you’d like the two of you to have and that his current behaviour is alienating you to the point that you need to step away from coming to see him. Alternatively if you do visit it might help if you think of a few neutral topics of conversation that are less likely to inflame him. You could also try changing the subject when he starts ranting and if that doesn’t work leave the room.
If you wish to continue to have a relationship with him, remember you really do not owe him anything, so don’t be afraid to set reasonable boundaries.