My father is not a good father, sexism aside. He has always treated me differently than he's treated my siblings, and it's not simply that I'm not his favorite. Again, this is the man who used to throw me in the basement when I was little. I'm not saying I was a little angel when I was little (on the contrary, I was so stubborn that even my mom might be at her wit's end; of course, I'm STILL stubborn, so go figure). He never really grew up; dealing with him is like dealing with a self-centered, greedy five-year-old.
When I was seventeen, I stopped talking to him. I didn't talk to him again until I was almost twenty-one. During that time, I looked at colleges, took the SATs, picked Tufts, picked my majors, and developed new passions, feminism in particular. I had been in a long-term sexual relationship, which he had only heard about in passing from my siblings. He had gotten married.
I don't know why I began talking to him again. I think it was because I thought I could deal with him, create my own limits, gain some control over the relationship I would have with him. I was wrong. Sometimes things were better or worse, but he never stopped talking down to me, never stopped trying to control everything. I knew he hadn't changed, but it was becoming harder and harder to have any agency in the relationship.
Recently, I've had a tough car situation. I had asked both parents for help. My mother helped. My father did not. And in the process, he insulted me. About women's studies. I called him out on it in what I consider a very straight-forward, un-angry email.
The response I got was nothing short of astonishing. It was a massive novel-sized email, one that rivals the ones I used to send to my ex (Rob, I doubt you'll ever read this, but my dad's email makes the ones I sent you look like tweets). And the whole thing was about him being in the right, and how he feels.
The best part?
I had told him I was hurt that he had made fun of women's studies (and my classmates) shortly after my graduation. By shortly after, I don't mean a few days. I mean about an hour and a half. He also implied strongly that because I was a WS major, I COULDN'T DO MATH. Here's what he had to say about my hurt feelings:
As for my apparent disrespect for your passions, I am bothered by the overall notion that I am supposed to support your passions. If you were passionate in the same way Osama bin Laden is passionate should I blindly support that? I am allowed to have my own opinions and views just as you are and I am happy that you are a passionate person. But unless you have explained to me that you have come to those views thoughtfully and logically and rationally I am not going to simply support them because you are my daughter. I think the missing link here is that by not communicating with me for more than three years I did not see you grow into these views and passions; instead, they are being presented to me in an apparent final form. Once I understand how you got to where you are now from where you were when I knew you as a teenager, I will be more capable of supporting you in the way you want me to. I am your father, not your cheering section. Regardless of all this explanation, I am sorry that I offended you at lunch after graduation with my comments.
I am planning on sending my dad the following email:
No one who truly loves me would ever say the things you've said to me. Don't ever sign a message with "love" again. You are a liar.
Do I care if I get disowned? Not remotely.