You see, I always had a very bad relationship with my father. When I was a kid, he wasn't very present. Then, when I became a teenager, things took a turn for the worse. He discovered that I hate being touched, so he started poking me with his fingers, often while doing sounds with his mouth or making them run on my bare skin. I told him on multiple times that I hate it very politely and seriously, but he usually tries to justify his actions, or say that I am humiliating him, turning himself into a victim. He also makes fun of my English, while his is fucking shit. He also makes fun of me for liking anime, calling it stupid, and he says that it's always the same thing. Yeah sure, even if he never actually watched one, nor would it matter because my DVDs are all in English/Japanese only.
He also starts arguments for absolutely no freaking reason.
I discovered what an emotional masochist is by your column. And he fits the bill perfectly.
He doesn't stop being nice with his employees, even if they show a lot of disrespect towards him, while doing everything possible to alienate me and my mom (he once decided to throw away all her Halloween stuff because he apparently needed space).
Look, my father had a lot difficulties in school, while my aunt and my uncle were very good and are very successful business people today. Not only that, but my grandfather never showed any appreciation towards him, and from what I heard, told him on multiple times that he is an idiot . And let's say that his company (that he co-owns with my mom) doesn't work very well. Finally, it's also almost sure that he has Asperger's syndrome like I do.
Look, he needs to see a therapist. But I don't know how to tell him. I'm pretty sure he's gonna say that what I'm saying is nonsense, or that he doesn't have time for therapy.
Also, I realized recently that what he did to me was harassment and abuse. I almost feel like telling him that if he doesn't stop, I'm gonna leave the house and never see him again.
How should I approach the subject with him? And how should I convince him to see a therapist?
Lord Ikari (18; Quebec)
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Hi, Lord Ikari,
Question about your letter: is moving out an option? Would you be able to leave and support yourself if you had to?
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I doubt so. But I have a part time job (around 360$ US a month without overtime and if they don't have groups, which often happens), so I guess I could try to find a cheap apartment with some roommates or a room until I graduate high school. Then, I could do a formation to become a nursing assistant. It's seven months long, and professionals told me I could get a job pretty easily, either as a part-timer or as a full-timer, because there is not a lot of bilingual guys who want to do this job. When you start, the salary is around 19.10 $ CAN (around 14.45 US) and let's say that I have some qualities that you need when doing this job (I don't get attached to people easily, I don't mind touching body fluids, and I can be pretty friendly) and I enjoyed helping people back when I was doing volunteer work.
There, I could decide whether I keep this job, do a formation to become a licensed practical nurse, or continue my study to become a history teacher. Both jobs interest me, but appeal to different sides of me.
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It sounds like your father was emotionally abusing you, which would have given you a legal case for protection from him under the Youth Protection Act in Quebec. The thing is, you are now 18 and no longer considered a minor under the law. You might consider suing for psychological injuries, but I don’t think you want to go there and, too, while his treatment of you was unpleasant you don’t seem to be suffering any serious psychological damage (your Asperger’s is not the result of his mental abuse). I am concerned, though, about your passing phrase indicating that he was touching “bare skin,” which makes me wonder if anything he did was sexual abuse? If so, again, that might be a case for legal action.
I would also not bother to advise dad that he should get help, since he doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge this and your pushing him to do so would likely only add to the tension between the two of you.
The good news is that, at your age, you are getting ready to move on with your life, removing yourself from his influence. I would agree with the person who advised you that nursing would be an excellent option for several reasons: there is high demand for it; it can pay very well; and you also have an interest in the profession. While teaching history could have many personal rewards for you, it would be much harder to find work in that area and it wouldn’t pay as well. If you are equally interested in both, then the smart, more practical and beneficial move for you would be to pursue nursing. I don’t know what the case is in Canada, but it can be hard to get into nursing school in the U.S. because there are not many openings. In fact, it’s actually easier to get into medical school to become a doctor, so long as you can afford it. But if you can get into a Canadian school for nursing, that would be optimal and I highly encourage you to do so.
Once you get established with a good job, you will be free of standing under your father’s shadow. At that point, if you wish to try and help him, you can try to nudge him toward therapy while not having to pay an emotional price if he resists you. That’s something you can’t do right now, so I would not pursue it at this time.
I hope that all makes sense, and wish you good luck in your educational and career pursuits!!!
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