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I had a small fight with my father, and I seek to reconcile

Full disclosure: This post is about 20-30 paragraphs long (600-1100 words give or take), if it doesn’t interests you that’s OK.

 

Peace be upon you,

Sa’ad here again.

 

Yesterday I travelled alone to a Jeddah from Taif by car in the morning, and returned to Taif  in the same night at 10 p.m. (Not gonna lie: one of the best experiences of my life; will do again with friends).

I planned the trip out, had savings, and an economic car in terms of travel and gas price, I even left Jeddah before sun down (I don’t live there so I don’t know how’s life there at night; not necessarily dangerous, but smart move for tourists I guess)

I traveled there for many reasons: one of them was to visit my aunts.

I love them so much, they’re legends in ways only exclusive to my understanding!!!

 

I didn’t tell my parents ( still a university student for now) because they’re worry worts, and almost against every decision involving me doing something on my own; I told them about my plan when I arrived in Jeddah -when it’s too late for them to stop me.

I did things on my own a bazillion time, I wasn’t born yesterday; I can tell right from wrong. Yet their immediate response is refusal.

They weren’t angry just surprised; I get what their feeling and it’s not the right approach. I know what I did may not be high quality, and them being overly scared is not a good quality too.

 

So I return safe and sound in the apartment tired and sore, waiting for my father to get the keys (should’ve had mine) so I can sleep.

He came by driving with two more passengers and said, “ Hop in, let’s get dinner”.

I thought it was a good idea.

As we drove by, I noticed my dad was grumpy and in a bad mood.

We reached a restaurant; the youngest passenger goes inside and order for us.

My dad told me, “Go to the restaurant and help him”. I respectfully told him “no”, I was not angry, I was tired but clear; didn’t raise my voice at him; made it clear I was tired before hand.

He says, “ You’re fine just go”, I said “no”again like last time. He responds by yelling at me wanting me to go out. I insisted on my position, then I called the youngest of us and told him to come back we’ll go to another restaurant.

 

We brought our dinner, we ate, and I went to sleep. Two days went by, and he wasn’t talking to me, and the air is suspenseful.  I feel like he wants me to apologize, but I didn’t do anything wrong. I help them more often than not however I can, why would he yell at me?

 

But I love my parents, I accept them for who they are; even if I feel bitter towards them, I would not hate them. I won’t apologize and say I was wrong; it’s weak.

It’s even more difficult since he rarely gets angry so I’m confused and hesitant on how to approach him.

I hate that status quo of “obey your parents” , I try to logic with them but I eventually submit to them. I’m not one to bite the hand that feeds me.

Surely there’s a better way to let them ease off and not be overly critical when I say “no”? Otherwise, they may not stop interfering in my private life after I become independent.

 

I’ll be traveling tonight back to Riyadh, I was considering the following approaches to mending my relationship to my dad before I leave:

 

1- Telling him( face-to-face), while not being submissive but also respectful:

“ I love you dad but you hurt me when you screamed at me.

You know I help you as best as I can more often than not.
I’m still hurt… It’s not cool screaming at me when I told you I was tired.

Please, please, don’t do it again”.

He might interrupts me and screams, do I tell him, “ screaming is not a way to talk”.

I know there’s something missing, but for now I don’t know what it is.

2- I do step one but through texting.

3- I ask my mother to mend the relationship between us but I think she’ll say, “Apologize to your dad”, thus siding with him.

4- Wait it out; it could work since I have a strong relationship with him. But this option is wishful thinking at best. It involves waiting for him to comeback to Riyadh.

You’re not obligated to help, and hopefully my dilemma brought you some insight, or help you in anyway.

At least, some aspects of culture are universal.

 

Hello Sa’ad,

Well done on the road trip :).

I actually like option 1 a lot:

“ I love you dad but you hurt me when you screamed at me.

It starts setting up collaborative and win-win, and it's a great preframe.
Then it goes emotionally vulnerable, but in a high-power, honest, and mature way.
And it doesn't say "you were bad", but what you did hurt me.

Even if it doesn't fix it right away -few single sentences can fix things right away-, it can open the conversation for you to solve it together.

Saying No With "Power-Protecting"

A good way to say "no" with power-protecting can be:

Dad: go out and help him
You: Dad, I'd love to go and help, it's just that I'm really dead right now. OK with you if I wait it here?

You could have said that even the second time.

When you give a reason to, it's far more likely that people will not try to push you against your will.

When you give no reason, your father is more likely to feel like you're not respecting his power and authority, and then he feels "forced" to re-state his power position as the father.

Sa’ad has reacted to this post.
Sa’ad
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I never thought of it like that.

 

I just hung up from the phone talking to dad.

I told him the following:

“I love you but you hurt me when you screamed at me, and I should’ve explained why I didn’t want to go. That ‘no’ with no reason you might have perceived as disrespectful.

I should’ve justified why I didn’t say ‘no’,

it was not my intention to disrespect you’re authority.” end quote

I did not APOLOGIZE; neither directly or indirectly.

I was scared, but felt better like I had a load of weight of me go away.

 

Then he said we’ll talk about it tomorrow, he was… stern in his voice and low because he was in a meeting I guess.
By tomorrow he’ll teach me the “origins of manners/etiquette”, which I guess is his way of saying: “Don’t tell me ‘no’ again.”

Most likely, he’ll double down on why I shouldn’t tell him ‘no’ again.

 

I fear he might say: “I’m disappointed in you.” Or “If I tell you ‘grass is blue’ you say yes”. These statements break me.

Basically, using a judge frame to ostracize me or to bring my self-esteem down.
When it’s between us, he’s never in the “wrong”

If push comes to shove, I stick to my guns and tell him with a reason, why I’ll refuse some of his request in a good manner.

If he starts saying stuff like: “Do you know what you did wrong?”, I’ll tell him go ahead, and listen. But I’m sticking to my guns even if I sympathize/ understand his points.

I might tire him out just so I can get what I want ( Is it a good strategy in business?).

I’m anxious if I might submit on his terms or lose the social interaction in tomorrow’s discussion because nothing will change.

But ignoring it isn’t any better.

 

Good news: I reconciled with my dad!!

I know it’s late but thanks Lucio, I hope I can travel by road more often 😉

 

So I talked with him yesterday, we were a bit awkward, estranged at the beginning.

We talked about a few things, that didn’t relate to him screaming at me (it’s like we never had that conversation) and then I ended saying: “Take care, stay safe, and I love you dad.”

He replied: “I love you too son.”

 

We didn’t talk about our skirmish; I guess we both let it slide because it was ugly.

Yet was it a low quality interaction because we didn’t talk about the issue in hand???

We were passive in our communications, we’re usually more direct.

With that being said, thanks Lucio!
I appreciate your feedback.

 

 

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Rock on, Sa’ad!

You did it perfectly, and this is also a great example of the positive power of vulnerability.

Sa’ad has reacted to this post.
Sa’ad
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thanks Lucio!!

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