My dad was a pretty hands-off parent with me and my sister, until my mom died about a decade ago. I was just out of college, but my sister was entering middle school, so he suddenly became a single parent of a teenage girl. He pulled through, but he was still pretty hands off. Aside from some anger issues and weird body-shaming stuff that she and I have learned to tune out, he’s not a “bad” dad–we love him, we just minimize time with him because of the anger issues and body-shaming.
The specific problem is his girlfriend–also not a “bad” girlfriend! I want him to be happy! I just don’t want to spend time with her. I’m sure my sister and I dislike her to some degree because she’s not our mom, I’ve addressed that in therapy and I’ve talked to my sister about it. But we also dislike her for some very non-grief reasons. She’s a Trump supporter, she behaves like a teenager (she once picked a fight with our dad because he didn’t ‘like’ her Facebook posts fast enough [these are both adults with fully grown children]), she regularly gets black-out drunk, they break up and get back together all the time, and when they’re together they’re constantly fighting. None of these things would really be problems if she weren’t insistent on “being a part of the family.” My dad has told her repeatedly (according to him) that he doesn’t want to get remarried, but she keeps pushing for it. This is the root of most of their breakups.
My sister and I have been very upfront about that fact that we prefer not to spend time with her. We will when absolutely necessary, such as at my wedding, and of course we’ll be polite. When our dad suggests events with her, I decline if at all possible. My dad conflates our not wanting to spend time with her with us “being mean,” and this frequently ends in us being yelled at. Can you help me come up with ways to establish this boundary, preferably without being yelled at? I’m currently leaning towards seeing him even less, but he is my only parent, and my husband and I are thinking of starting a family in the relatively near future, and I think I’d like him to be in my life for that.
Thanks for your help!
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