Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Story In The Making

Sunday in church the conversation centered around stories. Everybody has one. Everybody came from one. Everybody is still writing their own. Unfortunately, nobody gets to pick the story from which they came.

And then we were all asked to think about our own story.

Easier said than done.

I've been trying to get away from those beginning chapters and pretend my story starts in the middle. If I reread the beginning and bring it all to light, then there is some responsibility on my part to deal with it.

And I don't want to deal with it.

I'd rather be silly, crack jokes and hide behind humor and sarcasm, because then it will look as though I'm really okay.

But I wasn't in that room by accident on Sunday and I'm just going to say, I'm not okay.

My dad was not an affectionate man. He was gruff and abrupt. That's not to say he wasn't a nice guy. He could be very funny and approachable with most people. Just not with his children. He was critical, and found it difficult to say the encouraging, even the loving words. My entire life I wrestled with feeling valued and loved by him. This is not to say that he never had his moments. I do have a few very precious memories, but they are so small in comparison to the overall feeling that my father just doesn't have any desire to have a relationship with me.

The most recent blow came when the kids and I made a trip to see he and my mom one weekend. He holds his arms out wide to my children and is so happy to see them. And truly, whatever he lacked as a father, he makes up for as a grandfather. But when I tried to hug him he never even responded. His arms hung at his sides. And no matter how I try to rationalize or deny it, it hurt like hell.

Why am I blogging about this for the whole world to see? I've struggled with it all week. I've gone back and forth about posting it. It seems weak and whiney. But it is chasing me. Maybe this is the first step to turning and facing it. My dad crippled me in some ways. I don't hate him for it. I don't even blame him for it. But all I want in life at this moment is to move past it and have some resolution and to stop feeling like that needy little girl waiting for him to notice.

That's my story, in a nutshell.


thebarefootpoet said...

Wow. that honesty is vulnerability is astounding. I love you and appreciate, you, my friend.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your candidness. Likewise, I did not have an affectionate father. He wasn't a very "good" father and wasn't a very good grandfather either. He came to visit when we had our 3rd child (first grandSON). He pretty much ignored his granddaughters and complained that they were noisy and too active (being perfectly normal and actually well-behaved children). He would spend hours on his cell phone calling everyone he knew to talk about his grandSON. That's just the way he was. He passed away last year. My mom died in '96, and that started to bring about a change in him. He cried more easily. As more years had gone by and his health began failing more, he always said I love you and hugged more but he still wasn't really affectionate. Time may bring change or it may not.


Lucy said...

My dad was affectionate, but very critical. I still struggle with wanting my dad to approve of me. He has always liked women who look different than I do (tall, skinny, blonde - totally not me) and I've always felt that I was never good enough. Nothing I wanted to do with my life was ever good enough. Even now, being a SAHM, I don't feel that I'm good enough. He always thought I should be "more," whatever that means.

Honestly, what helped me a lot was learning more about the way he grew up and distancing myself from him - he grew up in an acoholic, abusive home. His parents loved him, but were crippled by their disease. It's really helped me to see that he's doing the best he can and to love him for what he is instead of what I wish he'd been for me. I see now that he did the best he could and it wasn't perfect. And even though he can't acknowledge that, I can.

Thanks for your honesty. The father-daughter relationship can be so hard to understand. I hope you do find resolution. It's hard.

dcrmom said...

WOW. It just goes to show, we never can get away from our childhoods. I don't suppose you could ever share this with him? Probably not, that would be so hard, and the ultimate rejection should he not respond as he should.

Have you considered counseling? Sometimes talking these sort of issues out with an objective, trained counselor can do a world of good.

Or perhaps you weren't looking for advice at all. Either way, (((((hug))))) I'm so sorry for how you've been hurt. My dad has some pretty major "issues", and he has hurt my mom and my brother tremendously, but for some reason I seem to have escaped virtually unscathed. For that I am thankful.

C D said...

not whiney. not even close. Allowing ourselves to feel bad about how others treat us is not good or bad - it just IS. It is what it is and we are ALL doing the best we can right now... and our best will change. [I have a hard time believing that really _EVERYONE_ is doing their best -- but it certainly keeps me more compassionate.]

Thank you for being vulnerable, you never know who you're helping when you share your stories. All of them!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing that. Bringing it from darkness into the light...begins new growth for you. Have you read "Captivating" by John & Staci Eldridge? If not, I highly recommend it.

Kelli said...

My husband came from a home where his mm criticized and his father brutalized (verbally).

I've seen him with our kids, and truly believe that the cycle stops if you want it to.

I know you're hurt. But, in my heart, I know that your children will not feel the same way when they are older.

And hopefully- that can fill part of that hole.
I'm glad you shared with us. We want to walk with you in the good and the bad. That's what frineds do :)

Janelle said...

My relationship with my dad is very similar. I'm fine with it now and get my hugs from my FIL. My dad is much better with my kids than with me and I focus on that-he's doing his best. When I look at his childhood I can understand a little better-maybe it's the same with your dad?
We all strive to be better parents than our own parents, right? I know that he was a better parent, even if it wasn't want I needed or wanted, it was better than what he had.
Thanks for sharing

lisa h. said...

I'm so sorry to read this. I would never have guessed, you're blog is so happy and funny. And I know it's your dad and family and it's tough to feel like that, but don't you have a great and wonderful husband who does love you and who is a great dad to your children? It sounds like it from what you write. Some people are just mean and mean to certain people and do it on's just cruel.

Lori's Light Extemporanea said...

Sadly that's a common theme in our stories. It sounds entirely like something going on with your dad, nothing having to do with you except your proximity, but that doesn't help the inner little girl feel better does it?

Big Pumpkin said...

Oh honey, I feel for you. I'm sorry you were hurting. I've been there but I've come to accept that some people will just never change, will never be the people you want them to be and that's not my problem. It's theirs. And I try to crush any resentment if any, and understand with empathy how that person is lacking.

Michelle said...

Honey, I am sorry.

Write him a letter, tell him everything that you feel, then tuck it away somewhere. Maybe someday you will feel like you should give it to him, maybe not, but you will get it out.