Dealing with Arrogant, Belligerent, Bigoted Relatives
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22-05-2015, 09:50 PM
Dealing with Arrogant, Belligerent, Bigoted Relatives
So I've been posting actively here for a little while, so I feel like most of you have seen me around on the forum.

I need some advice on how to deal gracefully with arrogant, belligerent, bigoted family members, including my dad (especially) and my uncle(s).

For some background, I do still live at home with my dad due to necessity, although I'm hoping to finally to move out when I transfer from community college to the local 4-year university next fall.

Most of the time he's fine more or less, but frequently has episodes of pure insanity, letting out all of the hateful bullshit he believes. No one can say anything about the subjects of Obama (his hatred for the president is scary; I've never heard more violent, hateful, disgusting rhetoric from anyone in my life), government, gay and trans rights, or race relations without getting verbally beaten down.

And I don't mean just simple disagreement; it's scary how angry he gets sometimes.

Any attempt I make to calm him down or defuse the situation turns into him condescending me, scoffing, and getting even more belligerent.

That said, he never gets physically violent, thank goodness.

Needless to say, he (and my whole family really) is a Fox News worshiper and a fundamentalist Christian.

Recently it's gotten worse because of my conspiracy nut uncle who fills his head with ideas about the "New World Order" among other things.

Obviously, I don't feel like I can ever let him know that I'm an atheist or a gay person, but that's not the point of this post.

The point of this post is to get strategies from you guys on how to deal with these increasingly frequent outbursts. I'm having trouble biting my tongue and walking away like I've always done in the past. All the hatred that he keeps is really beginning to chip away at me.

Thanks for being here as a refuge for me to get away from the real world for a little bit Hug

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23-05-2015, 04:51 AM
RE: Dealing with Arrogant, Belligerent, Bigoted Relatives
I'd use positive and negative reinforcement as a method of behavior modification.

If you're positive he's being an ass - hit him in the head with a 2x4.

If he's being negative - hit him in the head with a 2x4.

It won't take long to get some behavior modification -- he'll learn to duck....

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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23-05-2015, 05:51 AM
RE: Dealing with Arrogant, Belligerent, Bigoted Relatives
Until he can grip on his emotions, you won't be able to have discussions on these topics. I would go with the "don't reward bad behavior" method.

He goes on and on because he has an audience. Don't be his audience. When he starts in on something, just leave. Don't walk off in a huff, just casually leave the room. Go make a snack, do the dishes, make a grocery list, whatever. Remove yourself from the toxicity and don't be a part of it.

Eventually he will notice, and just ask him if he wants to have a discussion on the topic or just yell? Because when he behaves that way it's obvious that he doesn't want to discuss- he wants to just yell. He has to choose to calm down and discuss or find someone else to listen to him rant.

My father could be a real asshole. He was like a 250lb bully that would scream and holler till he got the whole house angry and arguing. After I moved away from there we would have phone conversations. Things would get heated, he would start being belligerent. I would hang up on him. He would call back and as soon as he yelled again, I would put the phone down again. Usually a few days would pass and I would call him. And after the 3rd or 4th round of me explaining that I won't tolerate it. If he wanted to speak to me he had better stop being belligerent. He eventually caught on. And we went on to have a pretty good relationship because I wouldn't put up with his shit.

It's harder for you because you are dependent on him. So really the only thing you can do is to not engage. I doubt you will ever get him to see the other side, especially not with an election year coming up. The longer you can keep your cool, the better it will be for you. Learn some techniques like deep breathing to calm yourself. I would just walk away as soon as it starts, rather than waiting till you can't take anymore.

Hang in there.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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23-05-2015, 08:00 AM
RE: Dealing with Arrogant, Belligerent, Bigoted Relatives
There really are only two types of relatives, the Fox News relatives and everyone else. The symptoms you are describing in your dad and family certainly fall under the spectrum of what I have seen for my Fox News relatives. What I do to get along with my Fox News relatives (which includes my sister) is to engage them on something that is neutral. So, for example, if your dad starts foaming at the mouth about the coming of the anti-christ , change the subject: "Dad, you really did a great job staining the back porch. What other projects do you have planned for this summer?". (The compliment is on purpose to lead him with something positive).

If this fails, I would walk away like Bows and Arrows recommended.
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23-05-2015, 09:15 AM
RE: Dealing with Arrogant, Belligerent, Bigoted Relatives
(23-05-2015 08:00 AM)Iñigo Wrote:  There really are only two types of relatives, the Fox News relatives and everyone else. The symptoms you are describing in your dad and family certainly fall under the spectrum of what I have seen for my Fox News relatives. What I do to get along with my Fox News relatives (which includes my sister) is to engage them on something that is neutral. So, for example, if your dad starts foaming at the mouth about the coming of the anti-christ , change the subject: "Dad, you really did a great job staining the back porch. What other projects do you have planned for this summer?". (The compliment is on purpose to lead him with something positive).

If this fails, I would walk away like Bows and Arrows recommended.

You need an Ask Inigo thread on here-you always give good advice Big Grin

I agree with Bows and Inigo--some relatives can be very difficult to deal with. I think changing the subject is always a good tactic--engaging in arguments or debates with people like this--in my experience--never ends well. Everyone ends up upset. Changing the subject to a neutral subject--especially if it's something they are highly interested in usually works well. I also try and limit contact with people like this if at all possible. Keep planning for the future as you are doing and soon you will be able to get away from all of that.

I am sorry you are going through all of that and can find a safe place to escape on TTA! Hug

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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23-05-2015, 10:03 AM
RE: Dealing with Arrogant, Belligerent, Bigoted Relatives
Yeah, you definitely need to be looking for other digs.

Once you're not under his roof anymore, you can consider further options, like discussing your sexuality and irreligiosity.
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23-05-2015, 10:47 AM
RE: Dealing with Arrogant, Belligerent, Bigoted Relatives
There are some people who you just cant change their minds. In this situation I feel you need to not say a word and leave, as he sounds like he could be dangerous if it came down to him finding out.
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23-05-2015, 01:04 PM
RE: Dealing with Arrogant, Belligerent, Bigoted Relatives
Thanks, guys, for the advice Smile I know I'll never change his mind. I've tried that in the past and it didn't turn out well.

I went to a Buddhist group meeting once for my philosophy class and everything went well. They were very welcoming and open to questions. When my dad questioned me about it, he actually jumped to conclusion that I had joined a Buddhist cult. After that, we got into a heated argument about Buddhism (which he knows absolutely nothing about, but don't tell him that) and it ended when I backed off because the argument started drifting into religion and I did NOT want to have that conversation yet. I said to him, over and over, "I value our relationship and want to keep it positive. Let's just drop the issue and walk away." That eventually worked (albeit he scoffed at me and stormed off like an ass, but whatever).

Anyway, I think I know how I'm going to handle it. I'm planning to start going to a yoga studio next month to help release any anxiety or tension I have. I've also started meditating (without all the New Age stuff, just simple breathing exercises in a quiet space). The most important thing, though, is to not give in to him. Like Bows and Arrows said, no audience.

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23-05-2015, 01:10 PM
RE: Dealing with Arrogant, Belligerent, Bigoted Relatives
Helen Hug

You don't really have too much longer.

I wouldn't do anything...I don't know what you really can. It's hard dealing with people like that they just suck the life right out of you.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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23-05-2015, 02:52 PM
RE: Dealing with Arrogant, Belligerent, Bigoted Relatives
I had a similar encounter with my grandfather Thursday evening. I had my first meeting with my therapist that afternoon - a lovely Muslim woman that wears a hijab. The past few months I've really started to recognize how oppressive my life has been. I was telling my grandmother about the irony of a Muslim woman pointing out how I've been held down all these years and how empowering her words were, when my grandfather overheard the word Muslim and went off on a racist tirade and how I shouldn't be mingling with such evil harbingers of hate, how they're invading this country and all of them either want to convert us or kill us. Dodgy

While he was busy trying to ruin my moment of Zen, kept cutting me off every time I tried to talk, I finally had enough and held up my palm and said "I can't do this with you", got in my car, and left. He called me several hours later to apologize - I told him I loved him and left before I said anything hurtful - I'm not going to change the worldview of a man that grew up in the 1940s and 50s rural Alabama.

"If there's a single thing that life teaches us, it's that wishing doesn't make it so." - Lev Grossman
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