Thursday, December 28, 2006

Silly Dad

When I think about my relationship with Charles, I think about the relationship with my dad. My feelings about my dad are really sad. I see him as completely irrelevant. It would make sense to feel compassion for him, as a man surviving mental illness, but even that is hard to muster for me. To me he is simply a person I play-act with, I politely laugh at his jokes, and I look away when he talks with food in his mouth, or starts eating at holiday dinners when we haven't all served ourselves or said grace.

I have a reason to be the way I am. He abandoned me when I was an adolecent. He did nothing for me but pay bills. He completely ingored me and slept drunk on the porch instead, while I was out having sex, drinking and smoking. So it is only natural that I will be detached. I tried a number of times to "reconcile" with him, but whenever I did I ended up hurting all over again. A strong memory was in 2001, when we "chatted" about me being a nerd, and he sent me a (non-nude) web link to porn star "Asia Carrerra" as a way to show it can be "cool" to be a nerd, because she runs her own website. How few accomplished women must there be in this world that the only choice he could find as an appropriate role model for his daughter is a person who makes their money behaving as a male fantasy of what a woman is for money? This is the perfect example of what kind of parent he was to me. Thoughtless, though he makes up things to make it sound like he had a strategy. "To expose me to everything" was what he said his parenting style was. Bringing home the soft-core porn "sorceress" is a good job of "exposing" me.

So today, he is nothing but a joke to me. He is harmless to me now because he is so irrelevant. What I wish he would do, which would raise him in my mind, is if he would quit the "daddy/daughter" game. If he would respect me as an adult, as an equal, or even as someone to admire, I would be more able to see him as a person to respect. But instead he pretends he is a "father" and goes out of his way to give me advice, which again, is rediculous, coming from a man who not only failed his daughter so completely, but especially to give the advice to that very daughter, just stupid.

In the end, the fact that he is irrelevant is sort of the point. He is mentally ill. If he has higher capacity it is taking time for it to come through (though he has kept a job for a long time now, has health insurance, and is paying off debts) Would you hate an old grandpa who is senile? No, you just humor them and love them anyway. And I guess I do that. I humor him, the way anyone humors their parents, whether they raised them as a child or not.

I suppose the way I am dwelling on the nature of my relationship with my dad is just me reflecting on the unfairness of it all. I think it's completely unfair that while many people get two parents they can look up two, I get zero. I have a dead mom, and a dad who not only screwed up my adolecence, will be a financial burden to me as he ages.

But I really can't complain. I had an invested mother for the first 9 years of my life, and a father who spoiled me during those years of my life when he had someone else to do the hard work. I also had aunts and uncles who, although I wish more, did stay in touch and take over w ith some of the parent roles. There are children who haven't felt a moment of love in their lives. Who's mothers were drug addicts, or who have been in an orphanage since shortly after birth. Those children develop disorders that cant be undone with therapy like mine, they don't build the capacity to build attachments, and have no chance for a happy future. I have that chance, I am blessed with the resiliance and intelligence to survive the past, and to (I hope, I hope, I hope) one day thrive.


Candace said...

I can relate to this as the product of a wildly dysfunctional family. No, it is not fair. It sucks rocks. Yes, it hurts. Badly. Anyone who tells you that you'll get over it some day is wrong because you won't. You can't. As Dr. Phil says, the parent(s) changed who you are. But, you will find ways to function, and even (as you say) thrive. I'm almost 57 years old, so I know what I'm talking about.

I assume Charles is your BF? If he reminds you of your Dad, please think very carefully about that and whether you really want to set yourself up for the same old pain.

You can upgrade, you know. Set your standards much higher for BFs and just friends in general. Choose people who nurture, because that's what you deserve!

End of sermon. :)

Diana Crabtree said...

Thanks for sharing that you relate. I wish you didn't know what I am talking about, but thanks for the camraderie.

You are so right about Charles (yes, my BF) I am so glad I recognize the connection between being blown off by both my boyfriend and my dad.

Upgrade, perfect word :) Thanks for the sermon :)