Why I Will Not Have The Talk
In the last two weeks I’ve written two posts about my Dad.
One was a letter expressing my frustrations, that I did not send and have no intentions of sending.
The second one was about my realization that I just haven’t forgiven him for what I perceive as years of neglect and distance.
The one thing these posts have in common was the overwhelming comments encouraging me to talk to him. Or even to send some version of the letter. Heck, my counsellor says the same thing. So, rather then respond to every comment which I greatly appreciate (there were lots of them), I thought I’d write a post about why I just cannot bring myself to have that conversation.
In the year after the car accident, while he was dating my now step-mom but before we moved in with my now step-family, I begged him to spend more time with me. He promised me one evening meal a week together, that basically never happened. So, then I begged again. He promised he’d pick me up from school for lunch once a week so we could spend some time just the two of us. That happened exactly once. At 14/15 years old, I literally begged to have my Dad back in my life. He couldn’t even dedicate one meal a week to me.
When we moved in with my step-family, I begged to find a new home that could be our new families. Instead, we sold nearly everything from my family house and moved into hers. Now, as an adult I get the realities of real-estate and selling two homes may not have been feasible. But, what it meant for me was that I lived in their home, I never felt like it was mine or that I belonged.
Between the ages of 14-18, whenever my Dad and I argued, every single time, without a doubt, his first words, while yelling at me, were always “I’m sorry I killed your mom and sister, this is all my fault.” One time I had to actually say to him, when we were not fighting about them, they have nothing to do with the fact that I want to go out with friends tonight and you wont drive me.” Every single time, the argument was stopped by me stating that I do not blame him, and it wasn’t fair to me that every hard conversation went there. Yes, I realize this was his guilt showing through, but eventually I had to stop bringing up daily stuff because that’s all he’d say to effectively end the conversation.
Once we moved into my step-mom’s house, I begged my Dad to go to counselling with me because clearly things weren’t going well. We lived in a small town, so I asked to go to someone in the city that didn’t know us (everyone seemed to know my family and knew of the car accident). We went exactly one time. For whatever reason that’s all the effort he was willing to put in.
When I bring up any hard topic, even to this day, I’m told I’m just being too emotional. And that I’m over emotional.
When I brought up very clearly that Mr. MPB and I are disappointed with the relationship we have with them. That we are hurt when they drive past our house to see another sibling and don’t stop in, or when they don’t call, etc. Instantly it started to escalate into blaming us. As we were going through a miscarriage I had to cut the conversation off because we just couldn’t go there. But, the point is, it wasn’t going to be a civil conversation, it was instantly escalating into an argument.
A few years ago, last time I brought something up regarding a decision he made that I don’t agree with, I was told “I didn’t ask for your opinion and really don’t care for it.” The conversation was over as quickly as it started. It’s clear he doesn’t want to hear me. And so, I’ve stopped voicing my opinion to him. I’m a very opinionated person and when I feel muzzled I shut down. And now,I’ve just given up.
I know in an ideal world, I’d suck it up and find the courage to have the conversation. I’d just dive in head first and hope for the best. But, I don’t live in an ideal world. And, since the age of 14, when I literally started begging to spend time with my dad, it has been reinforced in my mind by his actions and behaviours that we will not talk about these things. I literally spent years begging to try to fix our horrible, disintegrating relationship. And, I got no-where. For better or worse, I have learned that we simply will not have those conversations. If I try, I will be shut down one way or another. If I try, I will be blamed for the problems. If I try, I will end up leaving, crying by myself and licking my wounds. If I try and I get lucky, things may change for a day or two, but then everything will revert back to our pathetic reality.
So, really, what’s the point? I want more from our relationship, but it’s been 18 years of this and I’m not sure if I can unlearn this and I’m not sure that my Dad would be a willing participant. And so, while I love my Dad for the father I remember from childhood and I do love him for the man he is today, I also need to protect my heart. And if I’m honest with myself, right now I just don’t know that I have it in me to break down the wall I’ve built over the last 18 years. I’m scared to do it, just to be shut down again. In fact, I’m terrified. And even more, with everything else going on in our lives, with the stress of adoption and trying to grow our family, I’m honestly not sure that right now is the time. Right now, I just want to put my efforts towards growing my family and learning to be a better parent myself. I want to dedicate my energy to my family and our future child.
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