Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Great Expectations

Part 1 of this post series is here.

The first four bullet points Moxie posted are the most basic, yet often, the most difficult to embrace.

  • What can I reasonably get from my parent?
I will change the word "get" to "expect" in the first point. When I was dealing with all my dad issues as a kid, I expected him to act like a father. I expected him to be loving and attentive, be responsible and kind, and be proud of who his daughter was. I fully expected him to be, if not like the dads I saw on TV, then at least coherent enough to interact with me.

It was not what I "got" though. What I got was a dad who was much more interested in alcohol or drugs than the few weekend visits with me he was awarded by the court. I got a dad who would willingly drop me off at a girlfriend's, or an ex-girlfriend's, so he could go get high and not have to watch parent me.

  • Is that enough?
If I got what I expected, it would have been enough. It would have been more than enough, compared to what I got. For years, I wanted that kind of relationship with my dad. It never happened, and I doubt it will.

  • If not, is there someplace else I can get that so I'm able to let go of the need to get it from my parent?
I will also interject the word "someone" else here, someone I can go to get what I want so I can let go of the need to get it from him. Absolutely. Lots of places and people. Unfortunately, the revolving door of relationships I subjected myself to over the years wasn't always the healthiest of choices. I tried out all kinds of people to see if I could experience the relationship I expected of my dad. None of them measured to my expectations.

  • What am I willing to give up to get something from my parent?
For a long time, I ran headstrong straight into that brick wall. I would cry and hurt and try all over again, just to have him look at me, or talk to me, or listen to me. I had the imprint of that wall on my forehead for years. Finally, I realized something. Well, several somethings.
  1. First, he was never going to be the man I want him to be.
  2. Second, there was no way we could go back to the times when it was the worst and he could change his behavior.
  3. Third, me getting all worked up over everything that happened in the past and present feelings didn't effect him at all. Just me. They say resentment is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. That was exactly what I was doing.

So I stopped. I just stopped. I realized that I had my whole life ahead of me. I grieved for the little girl I was. I felt bad for her that she never had a daddy that she could love and crawl into his lap and just be. I just tuned it all out.

So, the answer to the bullet point is nothing. Not any more. I am me, and that's enough.

1 comment:

Julie Stiles Mills said...

As the product of a narcissistic mother - I get this 1000%.

Good work!

Thanks for the visit and comment on my blog!