Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The D Word

The subject of my therapist came up at the dinner table last night. I could see my husband and mother-in-law wanting to ask what I talk to my therapist about, but then thinking better of it. Thank God.

When I decided to go to therapy, I had a couple specific things I wanted to work through. Lori! My weight! FOOOOOOD! And I figured if my marriage, bankruptcy, job, or whatever came up then fine, that’s good too. But I’ve noticed already that it keeps coming back to my dad. I can’t even type those words… my dad …without getting a bad feeling in my stomach. I’ve been making a conscious effort to chip away at my anger toward him for years now, and I’ve really made a lot of progress. Really. But it’s still there. Way. Down. Deep.

I guess I should address what he *did*. He never beat me or molested me (that was someone else, NOT a family member, but that is a conversation for another day, and my story pales in comparison to others’). He just wasn’t there. My parents divorced before I was a year old. My dad was a pig. Cheating on each of his wives in turn. Lying. Peeping on his neighbors through their windows. I feel weird writing that part, because I wasn’t witness to it. I was witness to disappointment over and over again. I saw him *maybe* twice a year between the ages of 4 and 12. Nothing since then. Each time we went out, he would tell me we would get together again next month, even setting a day and time. But then he just wouldn’t show up. Wouldn’t even call to cancel. Then, another handful of months later, same scene, repeat. It didn’t take long before I just didn’t want to go anymore. My mom made me. I remember crying in my room, saying over and over again that I didn’t want to go. She was doing what she thought was best at the time. She wanted me to know my dad, whatever good he had to give, while I had the chance. I don’t know what choice I would have made had I been in her shoes.

I was probably 5 or so when I was first cognizant of his absence, or rather, the fact that was *supposed* to be there but wasn't. And that pang is what surprises me sometimes even now. I have had times of peace along the way. Realizing that since I never really had him, I didn’t really lose anything. I certainly don’t miss him. I didn’t like spending time with him anyway. I guess it just comes back to feeling like I'm not good enough, worthless, unlovable. His total lack of effort to be present in my life has left a huge gash in my self esteem.

I talked to him on the phone probably 9 or 10 years ago. I honestly don’t know for sure how long it’s been. I wanted to give it a shot. He contacted me first, and I thought I should give him a chance. He won’t live forever after all, you know. We talked maybe twice in the span of a month before I told him not to call anymore. It just hurt too much.

I can't talk about my dad without talking about my grandparents. My mother’s parents have been angels, saviors, blessings and so much more in my life. My grandmother is literally the best, sweetest, most giving, and forgiving person I’ve ever met. I am grateful everyday for her and wish only to possess more of her qualities. And my grandfather, while demanding and sometimes harsh, is a good man who I know loves me. He was the only thing I ever had that even resembled a real father until my mom remarried when I was 16. But I was 16 for chrissake and I wasn’t always nice to my stepdad. He is most definitely number 2 in line of people paying for my dad’s actions. First there is my husband.


Ms. Moon said...

Boy oh boy. Can I relate. Sometimes, I think all of my sorrow goes back to the absence of a father. Women who grow up with fathers who love them and cherish them and take care of them and who pay attention to them and who are emotionally available to them are the luckiest women on earth. I swear.
And the rest of us?
We always feel that something deep inside of us must be lacking. We always feel that something is missing.
Ah, honey. I know. I know.

Bobbie Leigh said...

Hi- I came over from Zipbag of Bones page. Just reading your profile and this post made me think I was reading about myself! You're absolutely not alone.

Steph said...

Ms. Moon - I think I've been somewhat aware that I've been "feeding" that lacking place you speak of for a long time now.

Ms. Bobbie - I see I have some new reading to do on your site now!