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Sick of Dad's Put Down Comments

Community Member

I'm 37 and over the years I have had to put up with my dad's put down comments or his"This is what you do and this is how you do it" attitude.

At my Year 12 graduation he told me "Now, when you collect your certificate, you take it with your left hand and shake the hand of the teacher with your right."

The other week, I applied for the Defence Force and when I had a group video conference where people got to ask questions, I asked one question but the one I should've asked was since they see people coming through with differing personalities like outgoing and who makes friends easily but what about those who are naturally shy and quiet like me. Dad told me "Oh no, don't tell them that. They only want to take people who ARE outgoing and makes friends easily. They won't want people who are shy." So Dad is telling me to lie to them and be someone I'm not.

And then just the other day I was helping Dad shift some things around in the shed and after carrying something heavy, I was trying to get the proper hold when he said "You better go get yourself some gloves. Don't want you hurting your little fingers."

12 Replies 12

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear Adamc,

I am sorry to hear that you are feeling the way you are about your Dad.

I have someone very close to me, who can sometimes come across in the same way ..... but I have also come to realise that what he is actually trying to do is encourage me, rather than put me down, even though sometimes that's how it feels to me. Sometimes people don't seem to realise that tone of voice has a bigger impact than the words they choose to use to get their point across.

Do you think it's possible, therefore, that your Dad is actually just trying to encourage you, rather than put you down? I only ask because, to be honest, that's how it seems to me; the words do not seem so much as a 'put down' than they are an encouragement ..... but are perhaps coming across to you as a 'put down' or maybe even you could be feeling a little patronized? I know that I for one, cannot STAND feeling as though I am being patronized in any way, and find it hard to tell people that is how I am feeling. But if we don't tell them how we are feeling, how will they know that what they are doing is upsetting us?

Have you thought about maybe talking to him, and telling him how you feel? And that maybe while you're doing that, you could suggest some other ways of saying things that wouldn't come across quite as 'negative' to you, yeah?

For example, I had some severe trauma's happen to me as a child, and sometimes my partner would say to me 'You need to get over that" and him saying that just upset me even more, because I felt like he was just brushing it aside and not caring at all ....... so later on, when I was feeling better, I suggested to him that instead of saying that I needed to "get over it" that he could instead just give me a hug in those moments when I was upset, and then say something like "I'm glad to help" or "Glad you are feeling better now". Communication is hard, but not dealing with it is harder because it just builds up the pressure inside.

Anyway, I hope that helps at least a little?

Take care, I'll be thinking of you. xo

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi AdamC,

It can be incredibly hurtful when those close to us, the people who should love and care for us, put us down. As I see it, he either knows that he is doing it and is doing it with some sort of malicious intent, or it’s his misguided attempt at humor based on some outdated masculine stereotype? in all honesty, I think it’s probably the second, although some insecure controlling people can use put downs as a way to assert their authority. I have had people in my life do this to me at certain times and my approach is to call them out every single time they do it, and directly. Don’t allow them the opportunity to deny it, which they will be inclined to do. Simply say “I don’t appreciate when you put me down like that” and if they tell you it’s a joke, tell them that you enjoy a joke but didn’t find the funny part in that. He may accuse you of being sensitive but when he’s pulled up on it time and time again he’ll get sick of it. I’m sorry that you have to deal with this and from your father no less.

Hi, welcome

Frankly, I couldn't stand being spoken to like that. It sounds like he has never accepted you as an adult.

He isn't going to change. But his comments to you is no reflection of his love for you so please don't confuse the two.

If possible I'd join the defense force as it will enable you to expand your life and you'll have contact with your dad in smaller doses. Or move away to get the same effect.

The better balance.

My Dad's going through a lot lately because of Andrews handling of the pandemic. I strongly think it's starting to really take a toll. He eats hardly anything, he is lucky to get an hour's sleep at night. Last night he only had a small bowl of yogurt. When I asked him if that's all he was having, he said "That's all I want. There's nothing else to have." Yet when we're out on our walks, he says that if he was living on his own, he'd be cooking himself decent meals. He doesn't want to do it now as Mum will simply say "You're cooking yours, where's mine?"

He will be turning 70 next year and he has a number of health issues but because of everything going on, he is not getting the health care he needs.

I had my phone consult with the Defense Force last night and it went well. I mentioned to the officer how I'm generally shy by nature, something Dad told me NOT to say and the response was "That's OK, we are not prejudice to anyone. We do have some shy people in the forces already."

I haven't told my family but if I get accepted, they'll never see me again. Life has become crappy for me and when soldiers go on leave, I'll stay behind. I won't even answer any letters; not that I'll get any anyway.

Community Champion
Community Champion


I am so glad you could be honest at your interview and be yourself.

I can understand that you feel you don’t want to see your family if the defence service accepts you. That is a big decision and you may change your mind, so maybe you can play it by ear and see what happens.
All best when do you find out about if you have been accepted for the forces.


Dad put me down once again just earlier. What's been happening in Victoria at the moment proves that the most dangerous people are not those who blindly accept whatever Daniel Andrews says when he says it's based on expert advice and what the data says which he refuses to reveal but rather the ones who are prepared to ask questions.

Andrews says his rules and restrictions are for health and safety yet did he think about those things when private security was chosen for hotel quarantine? Does he consider health and safety when he refuses to listen to hundreds of health professionals who say there are already effective virus treatments out there? Did he consider health and safety every time he refused to accept people being assaulted in their homes by youths? No.

Now people are being told they can't enter stores because their not wearing a mask as "you COULD be infected." Why not introduce mandatory frisking at shops because everybody COULD be carrying a deadly weapon and are planning to rob the place? Or perhaps keep masks in place because people COULD breathe in someone's cigarette smoke and get cancer?

I'm one of those people who is not simply accepting whatever Andrews says and yet earlier Dad told me off saying "Do you want us to be like America?" which is angering many. Why keep comparing us with overseas?

Then to top it all of Dad said "You know, you're just like Trump. 'I'm always right and everyone else is wrong. (pause) And then staying silent when people question you."

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi AdamC

I think you at least have a direction with the Defence force. Although, you arent accepted by them yet, a plan B might be worth considering...FIFO work, etc. the world is your oyster.

We tend to steer clear of politics here, there would be members that would be supportive and thankful for the Victorian Premier the ways he's handled the Pandemic, besides we are National and interstate members might not be interested in a certain state other than their own.

As people grow older they sometimes revert back to being a child, or they get more grumpy. If you move away and not keep any contact at all you wont see any changes, changes that might be to your favour. It's your call but thought it was worth mentioning.

I joined the RAAF in 1973 and I'd just turned 17yo. I received a commendation for my efforts with Cyclone Tracey that hit Darwin in 1974. That letter was worth a lot when applying for new jobs later on.


What disgusted me most about Dad's comments is that he despises Trump and the person he is and now for the first time in my life, Dad is comparing me with him.

My Dad is now comparing me with the person he despises the most. How can I ever forgive him for saying that?

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion
You don't have to forgive him for anything. You don't have to justify your decisions although intentionally drowning him is a bold move so seeking endorsement is normal.

What I'm expressing is to CONSIDER that breaking contact permanently is not necessary. A Xmas card once a year, a phone call every now and then can be leaving the door open which can be good for your mental health.

Breaking all contact doesn't mean you will be free from anger, regret, guilt etc. But that is for you to decide.

Consider this- I had the same situation with my mother. I broke off all contact several times until I was 54yo when I decided I'd break off forever. That was 9 years ago and I have no regrets.

I'm suggesting that you wait until sometime after you move away when for him your absence could make his heart grow fonder and....he may give you the respect you deserve.

But whatever your decision there, I'd move away as a priority.