My head feels like it is going to explode.
I stopped having contact with my Dad in March 2016. I really believed I would never try to reconcile things, but I did. Wednesday night and yesterday. And it failed. And technically I’m the one walking away again, but the reality is I’ve been left no choice.
My Dad did things which honestly, I think I would want most people to walk away from their parent after. BUT in my head I was justifying his actions; he isn’t really a ‘bad’ person, he loves me, I need him, I don’t want to hurt him, he only did what he did because of the situation at the time…he needed help. And I was aware that I sounded like a deluded victim, like a victim who doesn’t realise they are a victim…but I was adamant that I wasn’t. That this situation is different to all other situations. That my Dad is different.
Turns out I was being a bit deluded. I was making up excuses for him, as much as I protested to myself that I wasn’t. I even sat in front of the police a couple of months ago and said that to be honest if they wanted to use me in court, I’d be better off on the defense team. I said I would stand there and I would defend my Dad. When they used the words they use to describe my Dad’s actions and potential charges I shut down. I wanted to be sick. I was thinking “NO!!!! That isn’t what it was. My Dad is not these things.”
I was wrong.
It’s hard when a lot of people in life have the mentality that you should always love, honour, respect and never reject your parents. The whole ‘blood is thicker than water’ mentality. But actually I do honour, respect and love him. But that doesn’t mean I can’t walk away from him. And you know, I would forgive him. I tried this week. I gave him the chance. I didn’t even expect him to apologise or be brave enough to have a conversation with me about the mistakes he has made in my life. I said we can pretend it all never happened and just move on. I was being ridiculously generous, really putting myself out there, and he was getting away with murder…and did he take the opportunity? Did he seize it? Nope. He attacked me. He attacked me with the “maybe I hurt you, but think about all of the things I did for you.” and then he listed things, such as picking me up from school when I was suffering from severe migraines, and taking me to my prom.
YOU SHOULD HAVE WANTED TO DO THAT.
All of my childhood I never dared ask my Dad for anything for fear of what he would react like. The last big thing was moving to uni. Because no, my Dad was not happy and honoured to see his daughter move to uni, he was angry, cold, and passive aggressive because of the effort it required to pack my stuff in his van and drive for 90 minutes. He made me feel guilty so that I constantly apologised for weeks. He treated me horrendously.
The day my child moves to university I will be begging them to let me take them. I will be so over the moon to see them leaving home and starting their new life.
If you don’t want kids, if you are going to treat them like an inconvenience their whole lives, DON’T HAVE THEM.
Then he switched. This morning it was all “I’m sorry, I’m a bad Dad” and all of that jazz.
I’m not taking it. He has always had these random but regular pity parties where he feels guilty, but rather than apologising or doing something about it…he makes it all about him, and I end up feeling guilty and apologising to him. For years I have been apologising to him, and it’s sickening. It is sickening to me, that I took on the blame for his actions. That he twisted it in my head so that I felt like the one at fault.
One of the hardest parts of the things that happened with my Dad was that it was so up and down, hot and cold. He hurt us, then he loved us….you thought, “it won’t happen again”…and then it did. A billion times over a good decade.
I was a kid then and I couldn’t exactly pack my bags and leave. A 7 year old does not have that kind of choice. But a 24 year old does. You can think I am a bad person for walking away from a parent, but it’s one thing to forgive and forget the actions of your parent from years ago, but it’s another to forgive someone who is still hurting you albeit in different ways.
I am so, so tempted to let him back into my life. To let him continue hurting me because maybe that would be easier than having no Dad at all. But I also know that it will lead to me self-destructing, and when in 3 months time I am an absolute mess, I will only have myself to blame. Letting him back into my life would screw me up again, and that would ultimately be my choice and my fault – so yes I am walking away, but it feels like I have been pushed. Selfish? Yes. Yes it is. If you call self-preservation and survival selfish, I am selfish. If you call having to spend the rest of your life without the man who was your world as a child that you dreamt of walking you down the aisle and looking after your kids one day, the kids you are going to have to explain this loss to, and losing not just him but the whole of his family too, as selfish, then I am very selfish.
But constantly putting yourself last at the cost of your own happiness and life is not something to be proud of. It is self-destruction.