Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Loving my dad makes me sick

Last night I loved my dad a little bit. I was spending the day at my grandparent's (and his) house because other family was in town, and I softened up a bit. I was laying on the couch in the living room about to doze off and my dad came down for a cigarette. Before going outside he told me he was having an excruciating toothache, and will likely (finally) get them all pulled and get dentures.

You see, my dad has barely any teeth. He took a medication called parnate in the 90's and literally woke up with teeth coming out of his mouth. Is this shocking and upsetting to you? Now imagine it's your dad telling you this. He also was obsessing (as he does) about loaning me an external drive for my uganda photos. I reminded him twice that I can just put them on a DVD and they will be fine. He did this again recently, he was trying so hard to get me a computer bag from the things he has. He had one that would have worked, but it had a devider in it, so he kept obsessing, saying "I will saw the devider out" when I had already said I would just keep looking for a bag at a thrift store. He does this, he makes a simple thing complicated.

The obvious connection between these two things is that they are heroic efforts that he does on his daughter's behalf. He wants to be important in my life, and he is well aware that he isnt (not in a positive way) and so even though I have already stated I have a solution, he still will stick to his train of thought about fixing my problem until I have told him twice "no dad, a solution has been reached"

Another offputting thing about him is that he appears not to listen, ever. I will tell a story and he will smile blankly and say "oh!" when it is really not the right response to the comment or story. I wonder what he is thinking about when I am talking, and why he responds at all if he isn't listening. He did that a lot to me as a kid, but it's just peculiar now.

Last night after he finished his cigarette and went back to bed my anxiety was in full force. I haven't felt that anxious since before I started risperdal. I felt like I was a child again, living with my dad, and I felt that awful desire to escape, with no way out. However I had a way out. I knew that I needed to get home, so I could remember that I am an adult now, I am safe, and I am not tied to him. I left a note on the table and drove home, at my grandparents, in the car, and at home I cried a little, but I felt safe again, and fell asleep just fine.

What I think I have to be careful of is loving him in the wrong way. When I love him "as a dad" I am tying myself to him. Boundaries between parents and kids are naturally more pourous than with other people, I think. Or maybe he has terrible boundaries, and is always trying to suck me back in. Either way, boundaries are everything. I have to keep remembering that him and I are seperate beings, his choices and crazyness are him, not me. Since my adolecence my dad has felt like an energy sucking black hole, like I should put all my attention onto him and his issues, and none will be put on my upbringing. My aunt said that he didn't even think it was a big deal that I was having sex at 13!

Frankly, I want nothing to do with him. He is awful to look at and smell, and he has brought more pain and suffering into my life than anything good. But he's still my dad, and I can't pretend he doesn't exist can I? Uh, I dont like where this is going. I dont think it is safe to have any more than a superficial relationship with that man. He has hurt me so many times, I feel sick just thinking about him. I owe him nothing.

On the other hand, do you hate a family member who is retarded, or has alzheimers? It's really the same thing. But it's unhealhty to turn to someone with downs syndrome or alzheimers, and expect fully healthy things from them- especially for them to be a parent. Thats just the thing...he was an unfit parent, and many of the mental problems I have are a result of that. Let me be aware of that and move forward without the wish that he can ever be more.

Its so sad. I worshiped him when I was a little girl. I loved him more than my own mom. Thats what was so hard, to feel that way about him, and to want that feeling back, but to be hurt every time I trust him. I feel so bad for him. He makes an outcast of himself by his appearance. People must assume its meth because of his teeth, I just cant imagine how isolated he must feel.

I wish I could save him, but I tried for years, life doesn't work that way.

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