My father is holding favors over our head - FamilyEducation
My father is holding favors over our head
02/21/2009 at 13:44 PM

He has always done this, but yesterday my father took doing "favors" for his kids to a whole new level. I had an appointment with a plumber to fix a disposal at some rental property, but he had an emergency and couldn't show. My dad offered to come check it out. He spent less than a minute on the disposal and went to his next appointment. He's a handyman, so he makes his living doing that kind of thing, but normally he'll only let us pay for materials or for his assistant's time. When he left, he said he was writing that one off since it was so easy.

Last night we had a family game night at my house. One of my nephews knocked my dad's cap off in a game the two have laughed about many times in the past. But without warning this time, my dad blew up, yelled at the six year old with both his parents sitting right there, then put his hand on the boy's head and gave his a stern push. It wasn't enough to hurt him, and my nephew laughed. He didn't understand what was going on, but his dad (my dad's son) said, "Don't ever touch one of my kids in anger again." Prior to the cap incident, everything was fine, but after that and my brother taking up for his son, the two began fighting. My brother kept his voice down, but my dad was seething and yelling and saying things like "I'd die for those boys, but I won't sit here and let them act like that."

It was my house and we had non-family company (who my dad invited), so I stepped in and said I'd appreciate it if they'd keep their voices down and that this wasn't the time for that, plus I reminded them that children were still present and that I didn't want bickering in my house, especially not on "family night."

My father refused to speak to anyone the rest of the night, and he finally ducked out when he realized most of us weren't really willing to make an effort to talk to him. We have a situation like this at least once or twice a year, and I guess this is just how my family has learned to deal with him.

At 11:30 last night (about the time it took him to get home) he sent me an invoice for a job he told me would be $800, but the invoice was for over $1100, and this morning he sent me one for the work he did on the disposal. I paid the first one, because I know it was mostly for his worker's time, but the one the work on the disposal was a "trip charge." It's not the money I mind. It's the idea that he's using the invoice to punish me for expecting him to act civil in my house and in front of our company. It's also the fact that HE ruined the family game night and is invoicing me for his behavior.

Any advice how to proceed?

(Yes, I know not to let him do me any more favors!!)

It sounds like he did this in the heat of the moment. He was still mad, I would give him a couple of days to cool down and then I would either call him or sit him down and have a conversation with him about it. I would not necessarily pay a bill that he had told me I didn't owe before he got mad--I would have to see how the conversation with him went before I made that decision. I would also point out that his beef was not with me and that he should talk to his son and work out whatever problems they have with his son. Marti

It sounds like your father may have had his own personal problem at the time your nephew knocked the cap off his head. You said he never got angry about this game before (unless he was just blowing his anger off and trying hard not to get mad), but this time he did. So obviously it wasn't the game he was mad about, it was something else, and he took it out on your nephew. Does your dad usually get angry this easily? I wld take Marti's advice and give your dad some time to blow off steam. Then talk to him and try to find out what the true problem is. I also agree that your father should not be holding things over your head and taking his anger out on you or anyone else. Explain to him that you're an adult, and that you will not tolerate this kind of treatment. And you're right. Don't accept any favors from him anymore. What's the pt? It'll only cost you anyway if he decides to hold it over your head again. It seems childish if you ask me. Don't allow your dad to do this to you, even if he insists on helping, and things shld get better for everyone. Good luck!