Posted by: ImpendingDawn | May 18, 2011

A Confession

I miss my Dad.

Why is it so hard for me to admit that?

He and my mom are still together, we still live in the same house, I see him nearly every day… but he feels like a stranger.

I read somewhere that all children need to feel that their mother loves them unconditionally and their father is proud of them. That makes sense to me, because I know that my mom loves me no matter what (I mean, my very conservative mother knows most of my darkest secrets and still hasn’t disowned me. That’s love right there.) but my dad is a different story. I feel like he’s deeply disappointed in me, and that feeling of failure has hurt me so badly that I’ve spent the past few years running away from him in the hopes that distance will help me forget the hurt.

And it’s not like he never tells me he loves me, because he does; he’s also told me on occasion that he’s proud of me. Well, why do you feel like a disappointment, then? He clearly doesn’t think you are! Actions speak louder than words, my friends. I say hi to him when he comes home from work, and he doesn’t smile. I try to initiate a hug, and he’s distracted. I clean the kitchen, hoping that he’ll notice and say something nice to me, and he asks why I’ve left my bag at the front door. I’m overly sensitive, and I know that. He’s a perfectionist and a workaholic, and I know that too. So it shouldn’t hurt when he picks at the little things. It shouldn’t hurt when he can remember details about his business, but forget his daughter’s birthday. It shouldn’t, it shouldn’t, it shouldn’t…

But it does. It hurts SO BADLY.

When did I become an employee to assess rather than a family member? When did I begin to allow his negative comments to overshadow his positive ones? And I know that his way of loving people often involves challenging them to become the best they can be, but that’s not the way my brain works. Not to mention that there are only so many times a person can hear “You’re lazy” or “You’re selfish” or “You’re not living up to your potential” before they start to believe it. Let’s face it, a single degrading comment can immediately cancel out ten compliments. That’s just the way humans work.

But sooner or later, I’m going to have to quit rationalizing my emotional responses and face the fact that my relationship with my dad is nowhere near healthy. And while I would love to throw all the blame on him and play the innocent victim role, I can’t do that. I’ve chosen to opt out of our relationship entirely rather than talk about our issues, and that’s obviously contributed as well. So we’re both at fault. And being perfectionists, it’s not going to be easy for either of us to admit that to the other.

But the fact remains: I miss my daddy. And a few days ago, I would never have admitted that. Progress, people. It happens.

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