Should I distance myself from my father?

I’m thinking of distancing myself from my father for the sole reason that he makes really really unwise life decisions. Which kind of confuses me, since he is intelligent in other areas of his life, such as work.

First of all his ignorance is quite annoying. That I can put up with most of the time. The problem is that some of his ignorance is potentially harmful to himself, me, and other people around him. An example, he is know to drive kind of dangerously sometimes. We tell him to slow down, epecially if my aunt is in the car with us. She has a blood disorder, and I don’t think she could survive an accident. Whenever we tell him that, he either blows us off or tell us that God will protect us. And, my favorite, “I’m NOT going to live my life in fear!”. He doesn’t only make unwise decisions with safety, he always makes unwise decisions about financial things. In the past, he has bought two cars that he cannot afford. Again his rationale is that God wants him to have these things and God will provide a way for him financially.

I try with all of my will to talk some sense into him, but he won’t listen. I have the feeling that one day the consequences of his actions with effect ME. The problem is that, he is a great father. He has done a lot for me and he is generally a nice guy. I just think he has the wrong understanding of having faith. Me being a realist (and sometimes a pessimist), I cannot see where he is coming from at all. This is one of the biggest reasons why I want to move out. I’m just wondering if this is the right reason.

I don’t know why we’re here, but I’m pretty sure it’s not to live other people’s lives for them. I don’t like it when parents try to do that, and I don’t like it when children do.

I try not to tell other people what to do. Ever. It’s too much stress and a waste of my time. If you’re worried about being in an accident when he drives, you drive instead. If you’re worried about inheriting his debt, that’ll happen whether or not you’re on speaking terms. Suck it up and love him for who he is, not for who you want him to be. He sounds pretty fun. :wink: At least he has the conviction of his faith to keep him going. Even if you don’t share that conviction, he’s still allowed to have it. And is probably a pretty decent guy because of it.

How old are you? If you’re over 18 and can provide for yourself, then sure, move out. But you’re not going to free yourself from people who make unwise or irrational decisions. There are lots and lots of people just like that.

You might end up with a roommate who thinks it’s a good idea to start boiling pasta and then head to the bar for a drink or two. You might end up with a significant other who just has to get that new iPod Angstrom even though the credit cards are maxed. The possibilities are endless.

If your dad makes bad choices, you can limit how much that will affect you. Don’t ride in the car when he’s driving. Don’t worry about your aunt–she’s an adult and can make her own choices. Don’t co-sign any car loans your Dad makes. So what if he has different faith beliefs than you do. Billions of people out there don’t share your beliefs either.

If you want to distance yourself from him, do so physically but not emotionally. He sounds like a great dad. You don’t have to take the same risks he does. Just accept him for who he is. He can live his life and you can live yours. And when you come home for Christmas and find that he’s spent $500 on a 12’ tree even though the ceiling is only 10’ high, just shrug your shoulders and say, “That’s Dad”.

You can’t inherit his debt, so don’t worry about that.

One does not inherrit debt. Any debt owed by the deceased is paid by the estate before whatever’s left is distributed to the heirs. The worst that can happen is you will inherrit nothing.

I’d say distance yourself to the extent that you’re not afraid to call “BS” if he’s feeding you a total line of it. I have had this situation, and generally with otherwise intelligent men who believe their technical education extends into the realms of biology and common sense.

No, just because you can build rockets doesn’t mean you know squat about biology or common sense. And just because you are the authority figure (have the power) doesn’t mean you have the knowledge.

An example from my generally lovable husband was telling me that “Oh, if you were going to get food poisoning from that, you’d already be sick.” This was an hour or 2 after eating the suspicious item. Well, the most elementary google search will tell you that is not true about food poisoning at all. But he said it with all authority and genuinely believed he was right.

The Straight Dope is a great place to learn when to call BS on people’s conventional wisdom, so if he’s telling you stuff like “seatbelts don’t really make a difference” you can get to the facts and make your decisions based on those, not whatever random thought he’s basing his statement on.

No, you probably can’t change him, but you don’t need to let him change you either. If by distance yourself you mean assert yourself, I think that’s a good thing.