How can I try to Understand why my Dad dismisses my mental illnesses

Hey there…

It’s been a while. I think that’s a good thing though, because normally I’m here when things aren’t going the best. Mostly, things have been going well lately but I’m struggling with my Dad.


For some context; I’m a full grown adult. I live on my own, pay my own bills, and don’t really bother my parents with much at age 24. For those that are new/haven’t read my older posts, I was diagnosed with Autism and ADHD in December of 2021, and I have been slowly telling people in my family/close friend group as I feel comfortable.

I’ve told my mom and a few other relatives who were all really supportive, and my mom even tried to apologize for not having ‘noticed’ and ‘done something’ about it sooner when I was younger. It broke my heart that she felt the need to apologize - I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault for ‘not noticing’ or anything like that. I think I did a really good job of blending in with others throughout school, and my mom is also a bit strange/particular so she never would have thought my behaviors were out of place, because they are normal behaviors to her. I love my mom and am so thankful she is as supportive and accepting as she is - she’s been really understanding and tried to be helpful throughout everything, and I’m so grateful.

Anyway, the real story starts when I finally worked up the courage to START the conversation with my dad, but I didn’t even get to the part about having Autism. He always rags on me for stupid shit in my life, like “oh you need to learn to be more social” and “you need to learn how to understand sarcasm better” and other things that I truly don’t understand because of my Autism.

So I went to visit my dad and stepmom for dinner, and he was making comments to me about how I should be doing something differently about myself, and I saw an opportunity to mention my ADHD and maybe lead into having Autism. I responded to his comment with something like “well that’s something that is difficult for me, because I have ADHD - I was recently diagnosed a–” and before I could finish, he cut me off and started asking me really invasive questions, like telling me to give him a specific example of how ADHD affects me, asking me who I had evaluate me and why (implying that the person who evaluated me is incompetent), telling me it’s because of being on my phone scrolling all the time (I’m literally NEVER on social media which made me want to punch him in the balls tbh), and basically just continuing to question me about every little aspect of it.

First of all, FUCK him for dismissing me and not allowing me to even finish my thought about MY recent diagnosis. He didn’t even bother to listen to any of the answers I gave him, just kept interrupting me every time with a new question. And also fuck him for assuming that whatever doctor I chose was the wrong doctor. I’m an adult and I know how to do research, I think I can find a good doctor to diagnose me properly, and I guarantee if I went to 10 other people they’d all diagnose me the same, but unless he’s gonna pay the $300 per diagnosis, I’ll fucking pass.

He even went as far as telling me “well there’s not a test for ADHD, you just talked to a person”… Uhm. ExcUSE ME??? I took SEVERAL written and visual/verbal tests, plus a 30 minute COMPUTER TEST that TOLD ME I HAVE ADHD… it. took. MONTHS!? what the actual fuck? What kind of parent SAYS something like that? When was the last time he was in therapy or ever did two measely minutes of research on therapy and new techniques or the DSM???

The thing that bothered me the most is the fact that he tried to tell me it was “because of scrolling on my phone all the time”… as if he is omniscient and sees me on my phone every second of every day. Like who the fuck do you think I am dad? You don’t live with me and haven’t for almost 7 years now. I have my own life now, and I was not raised to be GLUED to my cell phone. YOU used to TAKE IT FROM ME when I would get “too obsessed”. He even went so far as to LIE to me one time and tell me I had “limited texts” to see if I could reduce the amount I was texting. I personally think he did it because he didn’t like my boyfriend, but jeez dude, I was like 14. Let me talk to my friends FFS.

The point is that I’m NOT always on my phone. Yes, my job requires me to be on the computer a lot, but that doesn’t mean I have ADHD because of technology. Also, yeah, social media can be addicting, but how the fuck is that MY fault?? There’s a whole ass documentary on Netflix where the creators of these social apps ADMIT that they made something addictive and not entirely good. So that’s my fault now if I’m addicted? Which I’m not, I literally avoid social media as much as I can. I go on Youtube and Messenger. That is LITERALLY ALL aside from the very rare visit to Tumblr or Reddit for entertainment. My last insta post was in 2019 and I hate the vibe of Facebook. I don’t even have a TikTok.

The other apps I use are for games like Sudoku and Crossword games, and literally games that MAKE YOU USE YOUR BRAIN. Just because I was diagnosed with a mental health disorder does not mean he gets to blame it on whatever the fuck he wants.


I did fine in the moment and managed to change the subject, but holy FUCK was I ready to scream after I left. I get that he is my dad, and maybe was surprised by me telling him this, but the way he responded was completely out of pocket and wrong. It seriously hurt my heart that he reacted that way, and just completely dismissed me and acted like the process of getting my diagnosis was faulty, then following that acted like it doesn’t affect me because I couldn’t give him 10 examples off the bat.

I didn’t even mention the fact that I was also diagnosed with Autism because now I’m literally terrified of how he will react. He already treats me like a child still, so I can only imagine he’d treat me as though I’m even more incompetent if he knew of me having Autism. He had a similar reaction when I was diagnosed with Depression in 8th grade. Tried to tell me it was all in my head and I just had to “snap out of it” - the classic boomer response to any form of emotional crisis.

…I’m done with him. I’m done being treated like I do everything wrong in my life. My life is going just fucking fine, I’m not sure why he feels the need to try and control me. He has 2 new kids of his own with my stepmom, why can’t he just worry about them and stop treating me like I’m their age??? They are literally 3 and 5 :roll_eyes: I don’t act like a child and haven’t acted like a child since I got serious about going to fucking college and graduating, which I successfully did. I’m thankful that he helped me financially, but that will never make up for the years of therapy I’m going to need after the kind of person he was to me throughout my life. (i.e. literally yelled at me at age 6 because I hadn’t learned decimals yet, and couldn’t tell him what 7 / 2 was.)

This past year, I have realized so many ugly things about the way my father treated me growing up. It baffles me, because I was a huge ‘daddy’s girl’ too, so he somehow had me brainwashed. I don’t know how to feel anymore, and I don’t know why he was the way he was, and I don’t know how to forgive him yet.

Why can’t he just be proud of me and show me some respect??
Why can’t he be supportive of me, even if I tell him I have a mental illness?
Why does he make me feel like I have to be perfect at all times?
Why does he make me feel like it’s unacceptable to make a mistake?

And most importantly;
Should I continue a relationship with someone like this, regardless if they are my father? Why? And if I don’t want to, what boundaries do I need?


I am so sorry that your dad is a jerk, but I’m so happy that you got your mom, she sounds awesome!

The term reparenting yourself is something I heard only recently, but something I’ve learnt on my own decades ago. You can imagine the perfect parent, know all the great things you wished they were and say, an then understand that the version you have may never be that. And it’s not because of you, they may never be that persn, or they may if they did some more work.
It brings a lot of peace if you can acknowledge that Expectations have a weight that is huge and unforgiving.

He’s hurt you in the past with this treatment, but you are no longer a child living with him. You are free to share as much as you want with him about your life, and to keep things to yourself. You can lower your expectations of him and make them more realisitic based on his proven track record
For example: If i tell him i’m x or y, he will be expected to react poorly, to blame me, to blame the doctor, to minimize it, to say it’s not serious, to discount it. What do I gain from this? what will sharing this info change? Will he treat me better? will he care?

This way, you can run thru these reactions in your mind, and THEN determine whether telling your father makes a positive change to your life.

I’m truly sorry that he upset you, and told you that the phones caused it. I’m glad you’re here with us. You matter, and I’m here for you if you ever want to run through any scenarios in the future!


I’m so sorry your dad is so ignorant and uninformed about these topics and apparently so caught up in his conditioned thinking that he lacks any awareness. Some people never start to become aware. They just know what they were taught and that’s it. Of course, that doesn’t make it less painful. And it hurts so much.

At some point the only thing left is acceptance. We have to accept that our parents will never change, they will never understand, they will never listen. They will only hear what they want to hear. Some might even never understand that we are our own person. They are slaves of their upbringing, of their distorted belief system. Accepting does NOT mean approving. When we accept something, we don’t resist it anymore. We find a way to live with what happened and it doesn’t cause us pain anymore. If you know a bit about how your father was raised and the circumstances he grew up in, that may make it easier to understand his behaviors and to detach yourself as a person from how he treated and treats you. He doesn’t get it, he doesn’t see it, and doesn’t know better.

It can be a very painful experience when you’ve reached a certain age and distance to your upbringing and look back and see what happened with different eyes. It is so hard to accept it and to get to a point where you know that nothing of what your parents did had anything to do with you as a person. But once you get to that point, you’ll break free of these chains that make you suffer emotionally.

Regarding future contact to your dad, put yourself first. If every time you see him and spend time with him and his new family ends with you being hurt because of what he said and his ignorant behaviors, maybe there is no point in seeing him anymore. If you want to keep seeing him, it’s up to you what you tell him and in case you’re doubtful about his reaction and if this could be too hurtful for you, just share some bits and pieces. It’s not all or nothing, you have control over that. If he doesn’t respect your boundaries, you can still draw consequences.

Take very good care of yourself while going through this pain. I’m glad your mum is a loving support for you. Thank you for sharing with us what you’re going through. You’re loved and you matter. :hrtlegolove:


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