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How should I handle my dad yelling at me?


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Old 28th March 2019, 4:44 PM   #1
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How should I handle my dad yelling at me?

I'm a 20 year old male and wanted advice on an issue. My family is african and I understand how strict african parents are due to cultural issues. Now to start off, my dad wants the best for me and tells me a lot that he is proud of me and loves me and gives me a lot of support(academically/financially).

However, when I screw up, he tends to yell(I mean yell/shout) at me pretty strongly and berates me(saying I don't care about anything, which isn't true as i do well in uni and etc) as he is kind of a perfectionist. When I was a teenager, I left my room unclean a lot and he would yell at me to clean it and on two occasions, he's called me useless/worthless due to it. No, I don't think he means it, his anger gets the better of him and times, he's told me he doesn't like yelling to make me feel bad or something but that doesn't make it hurt less and sometimes, thinking about it makes me on the edge of tearing up as it really hurts emotionally.

Recently, we were going to meet the president of my country(niger) and we had to wear these long arab styled robes to appear formal. I was wearing shorts underneath and when my dad saw that, he got super angry and nearly swore and screamed at me to change(he probably thought I was being disrespectful but I only go to my home country for vacation and didn't know you could not wear shorts underneath/did not mean to show I don't care but i couldn't explain myself) and asked if I'm stupid or something.

This recent yelling hurts as my dad isn't interested in hearing me explain myself and I have to silently take his yelling as I'm too scared to say anything. I am still feeling resentful at this recent yelling and expect more, but I really don't like dealing with it. I was wondering, what should I do in this situation?

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Old 28th March 2019, 4:54 PM   #2
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Try to recognize that your dad is only human. Nobody likes yelling. You know he loves you & you have been told he yells when he gets frustrated with you. As bad as yelling is, it's coming from a good place . . . him trying to motivate you & him being frustrated when you make mistakes. He's not belittling you.

The best approach is to listen & don't yell back If you must speak do so quietly & almost whisper. The contrast alone should help him to recognize that he's shouting & lower his own volume. If it does not, later, after he has calmed down you can tell him how badly you feel when he yells & ask him politely to get his point across in another way.
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Old 28th March 2019, 5:53 PM   #3
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Man, I don't know. At some point, someone needs to stand up to his yelling though. Maybe when he's NOT yelling sometime, ask him to sit down and have a talk with him and tell him you're 20 and doing your best and that thanks to him, you are becoming a man, but that the yelling is making you feel bad and that you sometimes feel it's unwarranted and just ask him if he would just try to talk man to man now instead of yelling at you like a kid.

It's better now than in case he crossed a line sometime. You know, my dad hit my mom and she fled when I was 12, and I was always a good obedient child and stayed out of it and just tried to get out of the house when yelling (it was mostly all yelling) went on and terrified of the whole thing, but when he did that and then told me to sit down and eat like nothing happened, I told him off and told him he shouldn't have hit mom. He was stunned. Only other time I went off on him was when he got ugly with a horse trying to get it in a trailer. I climbed on his back for that one as I was even younger and told him to stop.

I guess no one is telling your dad to stop. Anytime you have to talk to a parent about something that is unfair, always start with giving them credit for taking care of you. Start with a compliment, an acknowledgment of appreciation and they are more likely to listen.
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Old 28th March 2019, 6:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by d0nnivain View Post
Try to recognize that your dad is only human. Nobody likes yelling. You know he loves you & you have been told he yells when he gets frustrated with you. As bad as yelling is, it's coming from a good place . . . him trying to motivate you & him being frustrated when you make mistakes. He's not belittling you.

The best approach is to listen & don't yell back If you must speak do so quietly & almost whisper. The contrast alone should help him to recognize that he's shouting & lower his own volume. If it does not, later, after he has calmed down you can tell him how badly you feel when he yells & ask him politely to get his point across in another way.
Yeah, don't like the yelling still. It feels like emotional abuse
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Old 28th March 2019, 6:38 PM   #5
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Yeah, don't like the yelling still. It feels like emotional abuse

General yelling is not emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is when someone yells things at you all the time about how you suck, how lousy & worthless you are or calls you names.

Your dad is just yelling.
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Old 28th March 2019, 7:40 PM   #6
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General yelling is not emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is when someone yells things at you all the time about how you suck, how lousy & worthless you are or calls you names.

Your dad is just yelling.
Not really. In the past when he's yelled, he's said I'm worthless and useless like once.

And it's like screaming/shouting which is scary. And during the recent yelling, he's said 'are you stupid or what?'

sounds like emotional abuse to me
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Old 28th March 2019, 8:48 PM   #7
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He shouldn’t expect you to know everything he knows. If he knows you’re not suppose to wear shorts it would’ve been nice if he passed that information along to you before you got dressed and showed up.

I think you’re right to think the way he yells at you is a little over the top. Especially for things he should be cluing you in about.

Messy rooms bother me too but it doesn’t make you worthless, just lazy about cleaning your room. I doubt you’re lazy about things you want to do, like doing well in uni.

Your dad needs to chill.
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Old 29th March 2019, 12:38 AM   #8
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Your dad is a poor communicator. It's likely that he grew up with his own father yelling at him, and he probably thinks that's the way to make a son do the right thing. Whatever his reasons, shouting at other people is unacceptable behaviour. You're not committing any huge offences, sounds like you're a pretty good son to me, so you don't deserve to be yelled at. But....you're 20 years old, I assume you'll be out from under your fathers roof soon enough, so just hang in there and put up with it. If he tells you that he's proud of you and loves you at least he's balancing out the negative stuff with praise.
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Old 29th March 2019, 12:46 AM   #9
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Not really. In the past when he's yelled, he's said I'm worthless and useless like once.

And it's like screaming/shouting which is scary. And during the recent yelling, he's said 'are you stupid or what?'

sounds like emotional abuse to me
I agree, NightRogue. Not to pit you against your dad but just to say to you that I understand and agree with you. Recognizing it is the first step in finding a solution to it!

Is there ever a time when you're having fun with your dad?

Is there ever a time the two of you have conversation together of any sort that you're comfortable with?

What about your mother? How's your R and communication with her?
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Old 29th March 2019, 7:36 AM   #10
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I'm not saying dad is perfect. I am saying that in the heat of the moment when somebody is upset they can say things they don't mean. I suspect that is what is going on here when dad gets upset. Not every father is Ward Cleaver, Jason Seaver or Cliff Huxtable (before we all knew Cosby was a rapist). People yell. People get upset. Anger is a normal human emotion.

It is scary to be on the receiving end. It would be nice if people communicated more calmly but they don't.

NightRogue -- life is not a TV sitcom. You are going to encounter difficult people in your life. Bosses will yell & be far less tolerant then your father. Perhaps it's time you recognize that life is not peaches & cream.

Do explain to your dad in a calm moment that his yelling upsets you. When he is yelling, get quiet. It will help dispel some of his ire.

But a few occasional derogatory words spewed in anger do not rise to the level of abuse IMO. In the course of a lifetime, everybody says things in the heat of anger that they don't mean & wish they could take back. Try recognizing that your dad is a flawed human just like the rest of us. You certainly are not perfect. Neither is he. Cut him some slack.
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Old 29th March 2019, 9:24 AM   #11
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I'm not saying dad is perfect. I am saying that in the heat of the moment when somebody is upset they can say things they don't mean. I suspect that is what is going on here when dad gets upset. Not every father is Ward Cleaver, Jason Seaver or Cliff Huxtable (before we all knew Cosby was a rapist). People yell. People get upset. Anger is a normal human emotion.

It is scary to be on the receiving end. It would be nice if people communicated more calmly but they don't.

NightRogue -- life is not a TV sitcom. You are going to encounter difficult people in your life. Bosses will yell & be far less tolerant then your father. Perhaps it's time you recognize that life is not peaches & cream.

Do explain to your dad in a calm moment that his yelling upsets you. When he is yelling, get quiet. It will help dispel some of his ire.

But a few occasional derogatory words spewed in anger do not rise to the level of abuse IMO. In the course of a lifetime, everybody says things in the heat of anger that they don't mean & wish they could take back. Try recognizing that your dad is a flawed human just like the rest of us. You certainly are not perfect. Neither is he. Cut him some slack.
I never said life was peaches and cream. I'm tired of being on the receiving end of my dad being unable to control his temper And I remain quiet when he yells because i'm too scared to do **** and he still yells.

also, i don't live at home. It's when I visit
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Old 29th March 2019, 9:31 AM   #12
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Yea you don’t deserve to be anybody’s verbal punching bag. Next time he does it just leave. And don’t come back for a really long while.

Before walking out the door you could say something like, “I’m not your toilet. Don’t sht on me!” for effect.

It may even make him a better man for it.
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Old 29th March 2019, 11:05 AM   #13
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I'm not saying dad is perfect. I am saying that in the heat of the moment when somebody is upset they can say things they don't mean. I suspect that is what is going on here when dad gets upset. Not every father is Ward Cleaver, Jason Seaver or Cliff Huxtable (before we all knew Cosby was a rapist). People yell. People get upset. Anger is a normal human emotion.

It is scary to be on the receiving end. It would be nice if people communicated more calmly but they don't.

NightRogue -- life is not a TV sitcom. You are going to encounter difficult people in your life. Bosses will yell & be far less tolerant then your father. Perhaps it's time you recognize that life is not peaches & cream.

This is pretty much what all emotional/verbally abusive people say. First they go off on a tirade, yelling and hurling insults at their target and once they have exhausted themselves and they feel better because they got to offload their anger on someone, then they turn around and blame their victim some more for feeling hurt or offended. "Well sometimes people say things they don't mean, stop being so sensitive, this is just normal life so suck it up"

Actually the majority of people I know do not yell and scream insults and say things they don't mean when they get upset. I have never done that and I certainly have NEVER had a boss do that. Any boss who would treat their employees that way is not fit for their position. Good leaders have good leadership skills. Normal healthy adults do not scream insults and say things they don't mean whenever they get upset. Calling a loved one useless or worthless is never okay and should never be viewed as normal. The person doing the yelling and insulting will try to convince you that their abusive behavior is normal because they want to justify their actions and blame you for your hurt feelings.

Are you financially dependent on your father? If so, that kind of limits your options. However if you are totally independent then it's time to start laying down some boundaries. Your father does not view you as an equal, he sees you as a child that he has to have control over. Getting him to change his perception of you won't be easy but if you don't do something he will still be yelling at you years from now. You will have to create a boundary and then stick to it. That may mean simply walking away from your father every time he yells at you and staying silent until he calms down and wants to discuss things in a rational mature way. Just tell him you are refusing to participate in his tirades but you will be willing to hear what he has to say when he can express himself rationally. He won't like you changing the rules on him one bit so you have to be willingly to weather the storm at first. It takes courage to stand up to someone who normally rules over you.
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Old 2nd April 2019, 1:37 AM   #14
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I never said life was peaches and cream. I'm tired of being on the receiving end of my dad being unable to control his temper And I remain quiet when he yells because i'm too scared to do **** and he still yells.

also, i don't live at home. It's when I visit
I do not know much about your culture, but considering that you know your father loves you and is proud of you, and given the fact that you no longer live at home, I would say it is a temporary, periodic problem that you can deal with. You may not be able to change your father's behavior, but the lesson you can take from it is that you know how it feels, and so you will not do the same to your children when you have them, some day.

I know even as adults, we tend to look to our parents for approval. However, you are a grown man, living your own life and you do not need your father's approval.

Weigh the benefits of speaking up about the issue. If you think someday you can sit with your father to discuss this issue, then do so. If you think nothing will come from that discussion, then take it with a grain of salt.
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Old 2nd April 2019, 3:51 AM   #15
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General yelling is not emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is when someone yells things at you all the time about how you suck, how lousy & worthless you are or calls you names.
This is abuse. I don't know if you read the OP in full, but the elements of abuse and putting him down are there.

Also, regardless of what Daddy's intentions are, he is intimidating his son and impacting his self-esteem. These are the kinds of experiences that push people into being receptive to abusive behavior from relationship partners when they do enter relationships. They also make people give in to abuse from bosses and generally those who are more powerful than them in different spheres of life.

NightRogue: I come from a different country on the same continent as you. This is a familiar story in my home culture too. I just want to affirm that what you are experiencing is in fact wrong, inasmuch as we normalize it and call it "African culture."

At this stage, I would advise that you take the time to understand his behavior better: why is he that way? Is it a dynamic in your larger extended family? What impact does it have on you and your siblings and other family members? Are there other things he does that you may not have mentioned here that are similarly problematic? I can't think of anything off the top of my head, but reading about people in similar situations and other psychology-related discussions could help you make sense of your experience and figure out how you can best help yourself. This discussion forum is definitely a good place to start.
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