Social Question

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Are inappropriate comments from father to daughter akin to emotional rape?

Asked by WillWorkForChocolate (23103points) February 8th, 2011

Dear old Dad likes to make comments about you. (If you’re not a girl, pretend you are.) He makes comments to his friends about your “huge chest” and laughs that “When she was pregnant, she looked like a Jersey milk cow! Nothin but tits and legs!”

Aside from those comments, he’s told you some personal things about himself, such as, “Wouldn’t do me any good to get a girlfriend since I can’t keep it up anyway.”

On top of that, he sends you emails that a father shouldn’t send a daughter, like a video of women competing in a pole dancing competition. Or a really pretty palm tree… between the legs of a naked lady on the beach. Or raunchy jokes that one of your girlfriends might send, but coming from your dad seems pretty strange.

Dear old Dad doesn’t see anything wrong with his behavior, just laughs about everything and says it’s all funny.

Would you regard this as simply unintentional disgusting behavior? Or would the disturbing nature of the comments and such lead you to wonder about emotional, incestuous rape?

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61 Answers

mowens's avatar

Odd, but words are just words. Ignore it. Not worth the argument.

But move out as soon as you turn 18.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@mowens I’m 31, lol. He’s been doing this for years, and it creeps me out. I’ve asked him to stop but he just laughs. And it’s not all just words here, either. It’s weird that he keeps sending me emails of really raunchy jokes and naked women.

chyna's avatar

That is disgusting behavior for a father. I would stop looking at them and may even go so far as to block him from sending anymore. I would not let him near his grandchildren.

mowens's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Do you still live with him?

janbb's avatar

I don’t think you have to decide if it’s emotional rape or not, but it is creeping you out and inappropriate. You can tell him in no uncertain terms to stop it or you will have to limit contact with him.

troubleinharlem's avatar

That’s really gross. I don’t know if it’s like emotional rape, but if it’s unwanted then it’s unwanted. Is there any way to block his email or any way for him to contact you?

choreplay's avatar

The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships By Harriet Lerner

WestRiverrat's avatar

It might be the early stages of Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. They don’t all manifest as memory loss, sometimes it is inappropriate actions or words.

If there is no underlying disease. I don’t think it is appropriate, but I doubt it would be enough to be considered criminal.

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mowens's avatar

I’d let him know I was serious by severing contact for 6 or so months.

choreplay's avatar

Question, but this doesn’t make it right, is this his only mode of thought? Is this the only way he relates to everyone around him?

I’m sorry this has happened to you. As I get older I realize how valuable it is to the younger women around in my life to have men, especially older men treat them with respect and it not be even remotely about anything sexual.

Ladymia69's avatar

That is definitely sexual harassment. In my experience, family members are not apt to see their own flaws or how they are hurting others in the family, so it would probably be hard to make him see that what he is doing is wrong.

faye's avatar

I’d try to talk him into a physical. He might be having mini-mini-strokes that affect behavior. These can go on for years. And then get a new email address and tell everyone but him!

Ladymia69's avatar

Is anyone else in your family like this? In other words, are double entendres and sex jokes, etc. normal in your family?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

EDIT AFTER ALLOWED EDITING TIME IS UP- I meant to say emotional sexual abuse, not rape. I keep thinking about the rape thread from earlier today.

Ladymia69's avatar

It’s sort of odd to me that you are even questioning that this is appropriate behavior, which makes me sort of fell like joking about sex is a normal sort of thing for you. If my dad said stuff like that to me, I would feel so disgusting.

faye's avatar

what rape thread?

josie's avatar

What is emotional rape?
I know what rape is.
I know what emotion is.
Emotional rape?
What is that?

Ladymia69's avatar

@josie she said a couple of spaces up that she meant to say sexual abuse.

Jude's avatar

Yep. Creepy.

I’m creeped out as enough as it is that my Dad has a computer virus because he was looking at porn. He knows that I could remove the virus, but, he wouldn’t dare ask me. Aaawkwarrrd.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

It’s nothing physical or mental, he’s been like this my whole life. It’s one of the reasons my parents got divorced and only my mom remarried- no one can tolerate my real dad for long.

I seriously doubt there’s anything medical behind this, since it’s been going on since I was just a kid. I’m 31 now, so I’d say this has been going on for about 25 years. When I started to develop as a teenager, he kept saying I had fried eggs for boobs.

@ladymia69 No, this is not a normal thing in our family, it’s just him. I just wanted to get other people’s opinions on whether or not they thought it was emotional sexual abuse or just weird, gross behavior. It really does bother me, which is why I’ve asked him to stop making weird comments about my body and to quit sending me sexual emails.

The problem I have, guys, is that I can’t just cut off all contact with him; he’s 66 years old and because of his behavior and abrasive personality, he’s completely alone. I can’t bear to think what might happen if I told him I didn’t want to talk to him anymore. I love him, despite his faults, but all these years of the comments and such have really got me wondering if there’s some underlying sexual problem that I didn’t realize before. My mother and I were talking about this just this afternoon and it got me thinking.

josie's avatar

@ladymia69
OK
What is emotional sexual abuse?
How is that different from…sexual abuse?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I cannot imagine my dad ever acting that way,but if he did,I would have told him to stop.
If he persisted,I would either limit my time with him or not see him.It’s really that simple.
As for emotional rape? What is that?

Ladymia69's avatar

There probably is some definite idiosyncrasy involved in his personality…can you give him an ultimatum, like: “Dad, These comments and emails are really making me feel alienated from you. I think you might need some help in trying to conquer whatever it is that makes you act this way. Are you willing to do that?? If you aren’t, I might have to not be in contact with you as much.”

choreplay's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate, the book The Dance of Anger will help you balance demanding it to stop but not cutting him off. I highly recommend you at least get it in tape form from your local library.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@josie I call it “emotional sexual abuse” because he never physically touched me inappropriately.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Season_of_Fall Thanks, I’ll check into it.

roundsquare's avatar

Emotional rape? No, not at all. Its certainly inappropriate but calling it emotional rape is taking it too far.

josie's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate
If he did not touch you, it is not sexual abuse.
It may be crude, it may be inappropriate, it may be fucked up, but it is not sexual abuse.

Ladymia69's avatar

That’s why I called it “sexual harassment”. I mean, think of how you would label it if it were someone you work with or knew as a platonic friend.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@roundsquare I wanted to edit it to say “emotional sexual abuse”, but my editing time was up when I realized what I had said. I’ve been thinking about a different rape thread today, so that’s where my mind was when I was typing.

BarnacleBill's avatar

This is not acceptable behavior from any man, let alone your father. Is there some sort of residual anger directed towards you going on here? What was your relationship like when you were a little kid? Does he talk about other women this way? Your mother? His mother? Your siblings? His siblings?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@josie I have to disagree. Abuse does not have to be physical for it to be abuse. You can emotionally abuse someone. And for a father to talk about his daughter’s “fried eggs” when she’s developing and naturally embarassed about her body is borderline abusive. That implies that he’s been looking at her breasts and has categorized them as small. Maybe he didn’t touch them with his hands, but who’s to say he didn’t touch them with his mind?

choreplay's avatar

There are three types of agression:

Physical
Verbal and
Relational

You indicated you didn’t like it and he hasn’t stopped. That fits the definition for harassment.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@BarnacleBill I was “Daddy’s little girl” and he showed me off to everyone. He bragged on how smart I was to everyone: “This is my little doll and at only seven years old, she can outread a high schooler. And she’s pretty to boot!” He still tells people this.

And he talks about some other women the same way. I don’t know if he understands the difference between women in general and his daughter. I don’t know if he realizes that other men do not treat their daughters this way.

choreplay's avatar

It is not straight forward changing patterns in relationships like this. You have to start with sorting out who owns the problem and what dynamics each play. Your part might be you let him get away because you love him. But its time to change and you figure out how to change your position, because we can only really change ourselves. You lay out what you want and what you will do if it doesn’t happen. You will have to face change back reaction from him when he demands of you to stay in the old roles and might threaten alienation or more mockery, but you reassert your ground but simultaneously indicate your desire to stay close to him in your new shared improved dynamics. That’s what I learned in The Dance of Anger. Ya its a good read for a guy to.

JLeslie's avatar

If you label it as rape or sexual abuse it will gain power. It could lead you to feel more victimized rather than just thinking he is inappropriate times. Have you told him how uncomfortable it makes you? If he brushes you off as making too much of it, don’t let the conversation end there. Emphasize how much it matters to you.

faye's avatar

Tell him the truth, you love him but are creeped out by the sexual stuff. Send the jokes back, and remind him each time he starts to say something. He obviously wants to spend time with you so it has to catch on, right?

blueiiznh's avatar

It is not appropriate not matter who it comes from. Dear old Dad or not.
What would you do if a co-worker said those things to you.
It matters not the age or generation. Is should not be condoned.
I would certainly speak up if you have not. When my father makes odd comments that I don’t agree with or may be generational, I still tell him how I feel about it.
If it creeps you out, say something!

BarnacleBill's avatar

Have you tried writing him a letter about how you feel? Valentines would be a good time to do this. Remind him of what it was like when you were little, and how proud you were of him.

Ask him what you did that made him turn from making you feel safe to feeling like he would be okay with his male friends at best treating you like a tramp, and at worst feeling like it would be okay with your dad if they sexually molested you.

Does he have a substance abuse/alcohol problem? Hang out in strip clubs?

JLeslie's avatar

@BarnacleBill Valentine’s day seems like a creepy time. She is 30.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@BarnacleBill Nope, he has a few beers here and there, but no more than your average beer drinker. No drugs of any kind. No strip clubs.

I’d write him an email like that, but I think he would end up feeling defensive and hurt and he would disown me like he did my brother. Especially not on Valentine’s Day, that’s just weird, I’m sorry. I’ll have to talk to him about it if I want it to stop, I know that, I guess I’ll just have to figure out how to phrase it without hurting him. He comes across as a really tough, take no shit kinda guy, but he’s got very tender emotions.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I would find it inappropriate. Tell him you find him a lot of stuff offensive, definitely uncomfortable and to please knock it off. After you’ve told him, if he still persists then move him to your outer circle of relations. Ick.

choreplay's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate, I am really hearing that this is your daddy but there is a big problem. Be sure and tell him something like that.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Neizvestnaya Yeah, it is pretty “ick”. He sends me between 5 and 10 emails every day, and almost half of them are icky. A lot of them have an innocent title and then a raunchy punch line. Or an innocent title and then a raunchy link. I’ve started deleting all his emails unless it’s very clear from the title what the email is about.

But I must give props to my aunt. At our Thanksgiving get together, she overheard him saying something about my sex life and she told him that was gross, that I was his daughter and why would he talk about my sex life, and so on… But he still just said, “Aaoohh, I was just bein funny. She knows it’s funny, ask her.” So my Aunt Linda looked at me with her brows raised and I was forced to publicly tell him, “Not funny, Dad. Eewww.” He just chuckled again and started telling other jokes. Ugh.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Season_of_Fall You’re right- he is my Daddy, with a capital D, and I love him very much. Sometimes I wonder if losing his dad at an early age somehow warped him.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate: try cutting him off mid sentence from now with a friendly, “inappropriate, dad, inappropriate…”

KatawaGrey's avatar

I believe the technical term for this is “passive molestation” and it is sexual abuse no matter what people say. Just because he’s never touched you doesn’t mean it doesn’t constitute some kind of abuse. In what ways have you confronted him about this? Obviously being gentle doesn’t work. You may have to cut off contact with him for a period of time. Tell him that you are going to stop speaking to him if he doesn’t stop. Then, when he makes another comment or sends you another e-mail, make good on your word. Do it for just a short time at first, say, a week or so. If he doesn’t get the message after that, try cutting off contact for a longer period of time. It will be very hard for him to stop this behavior since he’s been doing it for so long. Please keep us updated on everything.

Pandora's avatar

Did dad grow up in the back woods. Maybe he always wanted a son and your the only one he thinks fits the bill. I would simply tell him that all the stuff he says is inappropiate and that it isn’t welcomed and that I would have to cut out all communication if he continues to do so.
Some guy in my husbands family have this fowl behavior and think it is all just in fun. They don’t care who they say stuff in front of. Unless it passes to physical behavior I would simply say the guy is ignorant and needs to be told that his humor is not funny in the least and maybe should just be reserved for other tacky male companions.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Pandora “The back woods”, LOL! Yes, pretty much. Dad is a complete redneck, down home, good timin’, countray boy. Part of me thinks he just doesn’t “get it”, but another part of me wonders if that’s really true.

Ladymia69's avatar

I wonder if it’s some sort of inverted, repressed hostility towards you, or women in general? If it is, it isn’t your fault at all, I am sure.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I’m not sure. Honestly, I have no idea. I can’t think of any reason for him to be subconsciously hostile, unless he’s still pissed about my mom divorcing him. BUT I don’t think that’s the case since he was already acting this way long before the divorce.

augustlan's avatar

Your father sounds an awful lot like my grandfather. He was inappropriate with me, to the point of giving me “tittie twisters” when I was a developing pre-teen and buying me a tiny string bikini when I was 13 years old. Constant sexual jokes and remarks. Every time he snapped a picture of us, he’d say “stick your boobs out!” to remind us to stand up straight. Ugh. He was like this with everybody, and in front of just about anybody, so he clearly didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. I just thought he was a backward sexist (and racist) ‘good ole’ boy’.

His son (my uncle) sexually molested me for years. A long time later, I found out that my grandfather had done similar things to my mother. Something to think about, pathology-wise.

In any event, it doesn’t really matter at all whether anyone else thinks this is inappropriate (including him). Since it makes you uncomfortable, he should knock it off. Period, the end.

Sassykat's avatar

It is emotional abuse!! I would seek out a abuse support group. You can learn a lot about the mind games abusers play, which can be helpful for your own sanity. Good luck.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

UPDATE for anyone who’s still following: As a first step, I talked to him about the emails and he stopped sending anything that wasn’t a “regular” humorous or political email. But over the last week or so, he’s sent a few more that made me uncomfortable, so I’m going to have to talk to him again. I swear, he really does have the mind of an ADD child sometimes.

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WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@noelleptc I wish it were that simple, but he is a terribly defensive person and I don’t want to hurt him. He’s a gruff, immature, redneck old fart, but has extremely sensitive feelings, so I have to word any reprimands very carefully. I’ve already sent him another email, asking him to stop sending me any emails that have anything to do with sex. I had to be super careful to word it in a firm, yet “loving daughter” sort of way.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate: What if you put his e-mail address in your spam folder? He might get the message if he asks you about that thing he sent you and you keep saying, “Well, I’d rather not risk seeing anything about sex,” or something along those lines.

indican's avatar

Researching the topics and reading books on Covert Incest, Emotional Incest, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder might be beneficial to you. Best of luck.

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