Posted by Willful on May 28, 2012, at 9:43:10
In reply to practical suggestions for standing up to father, posted by g_g_g_unit on May 28, 2012, at 6:48:46
I'm not sure I have any practical suggestions, other than that you need to speak to your father. What he's doing is endangering your life. You say that as if you don't believe it, as if you're just caught up in being too anxious or overreacting, or making the worst out of things, unjustifiably--. and because you're so angry at him for other things, you dismiss your own concerns--
But I happen to think it is objectively dangerous and could lead to an accident that injures or worse BOTH of you. I realize that it probably won't-- that he'll do this dangerous behavior and nothing will happen. But it's also quite possible that he will cause an serious accident. It happens. It's not an irrational fear, or just you blaming him for something for the sake of blaming him.
You can think of yourself as protecting both of you-- because he as well as you is endangered. But you can also think that quite as much, you deserve to feel safe when a passenger in the car. It's not just that you deserve not to die or be injured-- you positively deserve to feel comfortable. So first, I suggest that you come to realize that your request (not criticism) is entirely reasonable, and in good faith.
Second, I would do a few things. There's a DBT workbook (maybe Skills Training Manual) which I got, that has exercises to develop confidence in evaluating when you are justified, and how to raise issues with others. It's in the "interpersonal effectiveness" section of the workbook. You go through and fill answer questions about whether it's something the person can do,whether you are within your rights to ask for it etc. And it can be helpful. I assume the workbook is on Amazon-- and is worth having for lots of different things. In fact, if there's a DBT group that you could join in your area, I highly recommend it. It helped me immeasurably and I would go back now again, if I could. It's very good with handling anxiety producing situation-- and with evaluating goals and means to achieve them-- as in this case, which is interpersonal.
One technique that I use a lot involves IMAGINING the situation until you start to feel the anxiety or avoidance feelings-- and then bringing to bear the techniques you've learned for managing these feelings. There are a lot of self-soothing lessons, which then come into play-- such as deep breathing, etc-- . The idea is that you practice the experience before it happens, and prepare yourself to use these techniques at the moment when you'll need them. Then in the actual experience, you're prepared to bring use those techniques to help you reduce the fear, so that you can function.
For example, I had a terrible fear of flying. One of the main things I did (and do whenever I fly) is go to youtube and watch videos of planes taking off, from the seats. Lots of people have posted these from their own takeoffs-- and they include the noises, and the length of time,etc. Then I practice deep breathing, and other things that help me the most in getting through crisis-type situations. It's made a huge difference, because in the plane, I do those things much more effectively. As a result of that (plus xanax-- I do recommend a bit of klonopin if you need it), I've been able to fly.
If you could think of a similar way of pre-experiencing this discussion-- through videos, or role-playing-- or just using your imagination-- you'll find that it's doable. Not easy, but doable.
I could give you a lot of other reasons, beyond your own survival- like having character traits such as honesty, speaking up to say what you believe, etc. to support your right to speak to your father. But I think the issue is really as you say the practical one of how to go forward. More than anything I recommend a group to grow stronger in many areas of self-soothing and understanding how to handle situations--and to feel very clear in what you can and can't expect from others and yourself..
I definitely wouldn't ask my Mother about it. This really is up to you.