Underneath my yellow skin

Layers upon layers

This post is going to be about family. As I was musing about it, I checked in on Ask A Manager. There was a post with the horrifying headline of, “My father has been applying to jobs pretending to be me”. I thought it meant that he was applying to jobs for himself as his (adult) kid, but it’s even worse. He’s applying to jobs as the child for them because–reasons. It’s in the graphic design field, and his emails are very poorly formatted with different fonts (!) and such. The letter writer found out because they received an offer for an unpaid internship they had not applied to. They live at home with their father, which makes it even worse.

In the comments, so many people gave helpful tips such as the OP changing their email address/phone number, using their middle name, and getting a retail/server job to save up money to move as quickly as possible. I was heartened, actually, at all the practical tips the readers gave. However, there were also people who were, ah, shall we say, less than helpful.

“Show him this column!” “Show him your resume and cover letter side by side with his. Then he will see he’s wrog!” “Sit him down and–” I’m sorry. I’m going tos stop you right there because HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA. The letter writer didn’t need to say that her father was difficult for me to immediately know it. She did not have to say that he always thought he was right and bristled at being told that he wasn’t.

The OP/LW also mentioned that he stopped briefly when her mother was involved, but then picked it up again. Someone in the comments astutely noted that the LW should consider the mother an enabler and part of the problem.

Anyway, the ones who said to just sit your father down and talk to him–let me direct you to another advice columnist–Captain Awkward. She’s said many times that reasons are ofr reasonable people, and the LW’s father has shown himself to be not a reasonable person.

Alison actually handled the question well (as I knew she would). She pointed out that this was egregious behavior on part of the father, that, yes, it could hurt the LW’s chances in the field, and that it was time to put him on an information diet. She even suggested that the LW tell their father that they were switching fields so that if the father did get it in his head to send out resumes and cover letters, it wouldn’t really  matter.

Again, this is not something you’d normally suggest someone do, but this is not a normal man we’re dealing with. THat’s my issue with all the suggestions that are basically ‘talk to him about it’ or ‘show him that he’s wrong’.

There was even one person who said to go NC with the father. When people pointed out that the LW was living with their parent, the person said to not talk to the father. While they live together. As others rightly pointed out, that could get the LW kicked out.

There were also suggestions to do unto him as he was doing unto the LW. In other words, to sign him up for things that he  would not be interested in doing. Give out his name and number like candy and see how he likes it. This is misguided because it’s just giving him more ammunition to treat the LW like a recalcitrant child.

Then there’s the obligatory, “He’s doing it from a place of misguided good intentions.” Nope. He’s doing it becuase he knows better than his ungrateful child, and he’l lshow them. It has nothing to do about good intentions or what is truly best for his child. This is the part that is hard to get through people’s brains–he is not thinking about his actual child. He does not care one whit about them. He only cares about his image of them–or his image as their father.

This is something that I have a hard time getting people to understand–my parents do not love me as a person. They do not love Minna, the sarcastic, impetuous, compassionate, snarky, bisexual, agender, areligious, fat person they brought into this world. The one who has died twice and is still going strong. The one with a cat named Shadow who is my boon companion. The one who has a passion for Taiji weapons and FromSoft games.

So my post was going to start with the one line of, “People don’t believe me when I say my parents don’t love me.” Then I was going to expand on that and explain that it’s the same when I say something like, “I’m fat.” I’m just stating a fact that is not disputable, but other people infuse it with emotion that I wasn’t meaning for it to convey. It’s interesting in the latter because in our society, fat is a negative. To me, it’s a descriptor. I am objectively fat. But the number of people (women) who react in horror and rush to assure me it’s not true is dismaying. I wasn’t saying it as a bad thing, but I can see they took it that way.

It’s the same when I say that one reason I didn’t have children was because I would have been a bad mother. People do not like it when you say that, but it’s true. I know I would have been a terrible mother. I don’t know why I shouldn’t say that. Why should I pretend that it’s not true? More to the point, why would somone else contradict that?

With the Ask A Manager letetr, the ‘reasonable’ responses just didn’t get it. Their premise of the situation was wrong. They were assuming that the father was trying to do what he thought was best for his child.  That’s a reasonable stance to take since most parents did want what’s best for their children. In this case, though, I don’t think it even occurred to this father to frame it in that light. To him, his child needed a job. This was how he was going to help them/make them get one.

He was not going to listen to anything they said because he simply didn’t respect them as a person. He saw them as an extension of himself so of course he could do whatever he saw fit to get them a job.

Am I projecting? Yes. Do I think I’m wrong? No. I bet if this LW updates us, it’ll be some flavor of “I had to go NC/low-contact with my father because he would not stop applying for jobs in my name for me” I would be THRILLED to be proved wrong, but I don’t think I will be.

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