Sunday, June 28, 2009

Therapy in writing.

It was Father's Day not so long ago, and I didn't post. It's not that I forgot, I just am still having trouble with some holidays, and Father's Day is a big one. I feel so very fortunate that my children have an amazing Daddy. He is. I truly think Hubby would do absolutely anything for his babies. In fact, he is the only reason I am willing to celebrate Father's Day. I'm still working through my own messed up issues.
My friends don't understand how I can still be speaking to my parents. I should mention, I rarely do speak to them. I myself sometimes wonder why I acknowledge them, my father in particular. I think that I still love him, in a detached sort of way. Perhaps it's guilt. Maybe I remember the good times well enough to get past the rest. I have said in the past that I forgive him, but I have not forgotten. I will never forget. Sometimes I wonder if I've even truly forgiven. But part of me is still wanting his approval, for whatever reason, and I am at heart a peace-seeker. I am not willing to erase the past or my memories of it, but I seem somewhat willing to let it lie. Then I feel guilty for that!
I called home on Saturday so Girl Terror could politely say thank you for her birthday card. (See? I want them to know I have well-mannered children!). I spoke to my mother first, and I could tell she was "in a mood". You know what I mean. There were no words, no tone, but the mood was there. She put my father on the phone, which I hate, and I spoke briefly to him. Mood was there, too. All in all it was a polite, strained, and civil conversation, but when I hung up I was shaking both inside and out.
I hate that he (both of them, really) can do this to me. They can upset my inner balance without even being in the same time zone. I hate even worse that I let this happen. I open myself up, I pick up the phone, and I hate it every time. EVERY TIME.
June is never a good month for me. It is his birthday and Father's Day, all in one short month. That is two separate occasions to feel guilty for not sending a card, two days I don't call, and twice in one month I am guaranteed to spend long moments thinking about my past. This year, after putting my family through an incredibly foul mood, I decided to make some changes. My goal is to let go of the guilt. Stop thinking I have to forgive and forget. Give myself permission to be angry occasionally, and then move on. I will celebrate the great relationship my children have with their Daddy. I will give thanks that they will not have the same experiences I did. I will let go, and walk away.


Anonymous said...

I used to feel guilty in regards to my relationship with my dad. Every time I pulled away to protect my mental sanity and emotional well-being, I felt guilty. Every time I chose to not call to avoid getting shaken up or hurt - guilty. Guilty, that is, until someone helped me understand something.

I used to think that I somehow owed it to him, that at least making an effort to call or to stay in touch or to forgive had something to do with "honour your father".

Then, someone close to me presented the following scenario. He asked, would I feel guilty for not visiting if every time I visited, he hurt me physically or worse. I said, of course not! "So why do you feel guilty about it when it's emotional or mental abuse." I finally understood, and I finally stopped feeling guilty. I also kept my distance for many, many years - without the guilt.

I realize that our situations are different, but your post brought back this whole situation for me. I have since started visiting him once in a while and picking up the telephone, once in a while. But now when I visit or call, it's on my own terms, and it's without the guilt. It makes all the difference in the world. Funny enough, now he's the one who tiptoes around me, and I don't mind one bit.

koreen (aka: winn) said...

A parent will always have a certain power balance over the grown-up child despite being half a world away. Sometimes it's ok to leave it all behind. It's good to let the guilt go, because it's not your issue... it's theirs. They don't have to be mean and "moody", but they are. You don't have to guilt yourself into being exposed to that. If they can't grow up and be adults, you don't have to be around that. If they weren't your parents, you wouldn't put yourself in that position, would you? Look what they did to that precious gift they were given!! They don't deserve the smallest amount of respect. It speaks only to who you are as a person that you're still trying to create a "family" out of what you have. And you have. They're the ones with you who appreciate the precious gift they were given. That's more than some people have. It's good that you're going to let go of the crap in the past... even if that means throwing out the baby with the bathwater. (Gosh, I love mixing up my metaphors!) You're a good person. Don't let them tarnish that any more. Stick to the good ones in your life. (Am I talking too much? I'll shut up now.)

Love the ones who love you, and leave that poor dead dog alone. That's all that matters.