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My father driving me home from the hospital has a tantrum because we can't dine in at McDonalds. So in turn he decides he will take the longest way home, knowing I would react. Intentional as it was, I fell for the trap. At a stop light my mother gets out , my 8yr old and I follow her. My mother struggling to walk, myself recovering from a mcl tear and Colonoscopy procedure just 45 minutes prior , we are left walking. Thankful, for a strangers generosity to bring us home, I find the car running and him packing his things to leave and drive off. As usual, again another scare tactic. I take the keys and lock the car refusing to give the keys to him. More confrontation, he begins pushing, screaming and cursing at me, all in front of my 8yr old. My parents have lived with me for 7 years. But it has become unhealthy for me and most of all my son. When my fathers antagonistic behavior fails he turns on my son knowing I will defend him. I can escape by walking away from the situation at home, but I don't know how to escape while in a car as a passenger. How do I control my anger?

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Control YOUR anger? Frankly, I think your whole family needs anger management and therapeutic counseling. And I'm not being sarcastic, just blunt. This whole scenario is hard to believe.
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Answer-do not ride in a car with your father and always walk away from a possible confrontation with your father. Is there any possibility of living elsewhere with your son. It is a very unhealthy environment for an 8 year old to have to cope with.
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Control your anger?? Wrong question.

Right question: "How do I extricate myself from this nightmare?"

If what you're describing is "life at your house," you're living in a very dysfunctional dynamic. You, deciding to be a caregiver and live in those conditions? Okay. Bringing your son up in that atmosphere? Inexcusable.
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I am a counselor and I believe Garden Artist intended to offer guidance that would help you and you internalized the feedback. I believe that your father can bait you because he knows you internalize his projections. I have not met you or your father so I could be off base but I would imagine this pattern did not develop in the last 7 years. I imagine that your Father is struggling with his decline but instead of reflecting on his struggles within himself and adjusting for them he projects them on to you, your child and your mother as a way to create external conflict. So he fights with you and you internalize the conflict. So when garden artist suggests counseling the advise is very good. You need help to set boundaries for yourself and your child and to not allow the situation to escalate. If you learn to set clear boundaries with your Dad and recognize what is yours to address and what is his to reflect on and address you will be much happier. You do not mention Dementia and you say your Dad is driving so I am assuming this behavior from him is not related to Dementia. I think you could use help from a therapist to see this from a different perspective. If I were working with you I would help you recognize what is yours to address and what is not yours, to set boundaries, and to stop internalizing his projections. Saying prayers for you.
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gcc, next time he packs, let him go. Just let him go. Focus on your own recovery and your son. Mom is on your side. If you are going to lock something, lock your front door when he pulls out.
You are already halfway there in recognizing that he can push your buttons. Just tell him "I am not buying in to YOUR anger. If you want to leave, don't come back." and leave him to decide his next move. And lock the door.
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There was nothing in your profile or original post indicating that your father suffered dementia, a major consideration which was omitted.

However, I felt a blunt response would be a wake-up call to the toxic family dynamics, something to make you step back and realize that the situation isn't healthy for you or your family and that the issues extend way beyond controlling "your" anger.

If I had posted something consoling you might not have stepped back to see "after the fact how trivial it all was."

Perhaps now you can see the whole situation in a different light, how your father's behavior is affecting the family dynamics, and think about making some changes to create a more wholesome environment for yourself, your mother and your son.

"But I do thank Garden Artist for allowing me to convey what I took away from the response."

Then my bluntness had some effect, which was what I intended.
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Your first responsibility is to your son. If your Father won't visit his doctor this week for assessment, I then totally agree you should just let him leave and lock the door behind him the next time he packs his bags. His next outburst could well turn physical and your son could well be in real danger.

I am sorry you and your child are having to go through this; but the only person that can resolve the situation is you. We are not here to attack anyone but when you are allowing a potentially dangerous situation for a child to continue; our first thought is always what is best for the child. It could be time to make other living arrangements for your parents. Good luck!
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GC: I don't know what stage of dementia your dad is that. I DO know that this is a horrible disease and I also know that if you Dad is physically attacking you and verbally attacking your son, the time is FAR past where he needs to be in a facility. Call APS, call his doctor, and get the ball rolling before someone at your son's school calls Child Welfare. You could lose your son to the foster care system. I don't think that's what you want. Dad needs professional care at this point.
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I'm in 90% disagreement with Ronnie... Parents can play a 'select child' of theirs like a fiddle and test them to the fullest at times. These 'children' are not children anymore and like gcc is trying to bring up a 'child' of her own. Yes, we love our parents... It's apparent to those of 'us' that are on this site, giving our 'all' (while trying to live our own live) that we do... We're living proof... But, remember it is the caregiver that gets sick a lot of the times and even sometimes dies trying to 'help'. Easy on the caregiver here.
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RonnieBray - You said "We do not get angry with people we love unless we first stop loving them."

Are you married? Do you have children? Have you ever been angry at your wife or kids? Does that mean you stopped loving them? People get angry at their loved ones all the time. Guess what? Anger is a secondary emotion. You need to dig to find the primary emotion. Insecurity, fear, grief are often the primary emotions. Anger is easier for people to deal with, so that is what is expressed.
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