DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m an adult woman, but my father still tells me what to do as if I am a child. He will promise relatives that I’m attending their events without asking me first. He is very passive aggressive and doesn’t directly ask me to do things; he will instead find a slick way to force me to do them. I hate disappointing him, but I can’t keep letting him run my life like this. What should I do? -- Controlling Dad
DEAR CONTROLLING DAD: It is time for you to take over the controls of your life. You need to sit down and talk to him. Ask for his undivided attention. Start by thanking him for being such an attentive dad over all these years. Tell him how much you appreciate him for who he is and how much he cares about you. Then remind him that you are an adult now, and it is past time for you to make your own decisions. Tell him that you have noticed that he continues to schedule activities for you without checking in with you, and mention how awkward that can be if you are unable to fulfill the obligation. Point out that you are the guardian of your schedule and your life now; it is time for him to turn over the reins.
Add that you do not want to disappoint him, and the best way to avoid that is for him to stop trying to run your life. You can thank him for all the preparation that led to this moment, then pivot.