Dear Maura: I want more from my dad

Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice from Maura O’Neill

Frosty relations can be worked through

Sunday World

Dear Maura: I’m 24 and my dad still speaks to me like I’m a child. We had a row over a course I’m doing — he doesn’t rate it and thinks I’m wasting my time. Nothing is good enough for him. There’s been a bit of a standoff between us, nothing new but I’m getting older and don’t want to do this anymore. Trouble is, he never accepts he’s wrong and just expects me to move on. The latest is phone calls from him saying, ‘Mom misses you’ or ‘Mom is worried that you’re not keeping in touch’. I chat to my mother most days on social media. He’s the one worried and missing me calling, but he can’t say it. He’s only 55 and that’s not an age beyond getting in touch with your feelings. I’m determined not to give in this time because I want a good relationship with him. We’re capable of that because for most of my life he’s been a great dad. But these rows and him denying he’s any part in them is really getting to me. I’m an adult now and want more from my dad. That is not unreasonable, is it? Answer:Absolutely, far from unreasonable. Rows are just a waste of energy. It’s interesting, I feel your dad (even though he’s young at 55) is a chip off the old idea of being a man, as in ‘don’t show your feelings and certainly not to your son.’ I think that’s a lot to do with him transferring his feelings onto your mom — he really means himself, of course. You will have to be the one to negotiate this journey with him, to help him become accountable for his feelings. That’s really the bottom line here, I think.

He’s got all the characteristics to be a warm, loving dad, he just doesn’t know the shape to put them in. He’s nearly there. Encourage him now to take the last few steps.

I’m so lost and struggle to finish things

Dear Maura: I want to feel better about myself, but I get discouraged so easily. My biggest problem is I don’t finish anything. I get involved in something and give it all my energy and then that’s it, done and over with.

I’ll give you an example. I can’t make a decision on a career and this is typical of me. I wanted to be a social media photographer. I bought all the props and things then got to a dead end and left it.

Now I’m working in hospitality and while I like it, I’d prefer to do something more creative only I can’t figure out what that is.

Answer: You feel stuck but you must give yourself credit for making a consistent effort to explore opportunities. Could it be a lack of confidence that is holding you back from fully committing to a project or career choice?

I think you should take a step back, continue with your current work and look for time and space where you can give yourself a chance to think.

The more you stress about making a decision the more you are wound up. Then you decide on something in the hope that it will release your stress without giving it enough consideration.

Allow yourself to just work and free your mind so that ideas, true to your gifts and talents, can come to you.

Email your problems to Dr Angela Brokmann Maura O’Neill All pictures are posed by models

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