Bad Dad


Dear Dharma,

My dad is a mechanic and my car got stuck in the snow so I asked him for help.  On the car ride he told me that I was basically a failure at 30 because I had two jobs and debt and couldn’t give him any money.

He said that when he was young, he gave his parents lots of money and I should do the same.  I started crying because I felt bad, and then he told me that I was crying and trying to manipulate him with my tears which made me cry even more.

What I don’t understand is that he goes out of his way with others and when it comes to me, he just treats me like crap.

Anyway, what I’m looking for here is some reassurance that I’m not a loser.  At 30 are most people out there with their own property and making a ton of money in Vancouver?  Or is that just the odd person?


Dear Loser,

Well, that sounds like a bad day…

I’d be super interested to know what your relationship with your dad is like overall.  The fact that you asked him for help means you were comfortable in doing so, which is a small indicator that it’s not consistently terrible.  That’s just a guess on my part, could be way off base.

Either way, it doesn’t make the way he treated you any better.  I’m hoping that he was just having a bad day and that he took it out on you as a one off.  Yet the more I think about it, it’s kind of ironic, non? Your dad is calling you a loser cuz you’re not giving him money… I don’t know, I’m just saying…

Anyway, yes, I know, that wasn’t what you came to Dharma for.

You’re not a loser.

At least not in the way you’ve posed your question.  Outside of those parameters, I have no idea.  🙂

Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities in Canada.  And I’m sure it ranks up there on the international scale as well.  Yeah, some people are probably living large, but I feel confident is saying that wouldn’t be the majority.

The world is not the same as it was when your dad was young – but it will be hard to convince him of that.  The same way it was hard for him to convince his parents of that when they pulled the same line on him.  And you can be guaranteed they did.  “Back in my day” has been around since the beginning of time.  Each generation perpetuates the notion that everything was better/harder/slower/more or less wonderful onto the generation after them.

As long as you’re happy and/or figuring out your path in life, try not to let the interaction with your grumpy old dad colour the way you feel about yourself.  Bottom line, he dug you out of the snow (at least, I’m hoping he did!) and you got home safely.  Be grateful for the little things, put the rest aside and keep focussing on your life.




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