Monday, April 25, 2011

Navigating life

Im writing this because Ive been feeling really disconnected lately and I think its because this issue is in the back of my brain clouding my thoughts. So Im just going to write it out here, as when I do this I actually feel a lot more lucid and have a lot more direction and focus in life in general. I honestly dont think I want any advice about the matter so I could just NOT publish it but then I also feel like other people may be in the same situation and could benefit from it so I'll publish it let someone get something out of it should they want to.
I recently received a letter from my dad, the second Ive received in 12 years. Hes now written me twice since I first wrote him in mid 2010, the first contact in 12 years. The letter I wrote was just to make things very CLEAR. I thought instead of just leaving it at "never spoke to him again and then he died" Id just put it all out there very honestly and as fairly as possible as to why I, and nobody else, involves themselves with him. Since I wrote the letter he actually replied with a FAIRLY reasonable response letter. In the letter I told him I wasnt interested in communication as I dont think its a healthy relationship but I wanted to let him know that I no longer harbor that much anger about him and have moved on and lead a pretty great life. It was meant to be kind of a "release of obligation" letter. To let him know Im fine, that wont be hanging out any time soon and why, and that we need to go on with our lives without harboring any malice towards one another. We were people just trying to figure out life. Once you realize that your parent wasnt actually a parent, and was just a PERSON until you came around, you can get a sense that they were just a person trying to figure life out too, they may have been YOUR authority but by no means an authority on LIFE IN GENERAL, so they cannot possibly have all the answers. So I wrote the letter to release ourselves from contract to one another.
The problem is now I got ANOTHER letter and it vexes me as Im not sure how to respond. You see my father is an addicted gambler (on harness horse racing... SKANK), though he would never explain it that way. He calls it a "hobby". Unfortunately he doesnt realize gambling is used to regulate every decision in his life and he simply cant be trusted or relied upon because of it. For example he'd borrow money from me when I was like 8 or 12 or 16, promise to pay me back and NEVER DO IT. Borrowing money from a child is GROSS and basically the DEFINING ACTION of BAD ADDICTIVE DECISION MAKING. There was lots of behavior like that, endless poor/cruel decision making due to a gambling addiction. Nothing deliberately evil but LOTS of chaos, heart break, and being ignored. Which explains a lot of my actions, on a positive note it made me very creative. His mantra/m.o was, when I would see him the few times a year, "Its not my job to entertain you." then drop us off at the "farm", a shit box dump in the middle of nowhere, and drive off to the race track leaving me with his brother who was actually super cool but also "touched" and the janitor at the school there. So I would have to just COME UP WITH SHIT TO DO, which I do think is VERY VERY VERY GOOD FOR YOU, BUT it was the DELIVERY that sucked so bad not so much the act itself. Anyhow, it was so bad ( I MEANT to type it WASNT so bad and now I just realized the freudian typo, so Im going to LEAVE IT), but it left you feeling with very little self worth and sense that you cant trust your dad.
So after 18 years of that kind of behavior you just know that the guy is incapable of a healthy relationship with anyone because you WILL be taken advantage of, and left hating the guy, and yourself, for allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. So that leaves me with "What the hell do I do?" in response to his recent letter, which was sent for my birthday. If I contact the guy I will be taken advantage of, if I dont I feel like Im being rageful but I simultaneously have my mothers voice in the back of my head saying "Do NOT let this person take advantage of you, and throw that letter out immediately!" BUT I dont want that kind of anger in my life. So Im in a conundrum. I think the proper response is just a non emotionally charged letter that doesnt allow him to involve himself, I wanted to say "sink his claws" but rephrased it into "involve himself", into my life. Id honestly like to let him know about the positive elements of my life and stuff but its hard to share with someone whos just gonna take advantage of you.
hrrmmmmmmmm, I think I'll write something now. Short and sweet. The guy is OLD. I dont want him to die and me feel guilty for not talking to him ever again... but then again I hear that voice in my head , this time my grandfather, saying "DO NOT LET THIS MAN INTERFERE WITH YOUR LIFE ON ANY LEVEL!!! YOU ARE A GOOD PERSON, AND THIS MAN WILL TRY AND RUIN YOU. LIVE YOUR LIFE AND STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM THE SON OF A BITCH, I CANNOT WAIT TO HIT HIM OVER THE HEAD WITH A BRICK WHEN I SEE HIM IN HEAVEN." ... or something like that.......

Update: Wrote the letter, feel good about it, was just what it needed to be. My brain is far more clear and Im open for business. Sending it off today.

4 comments:

DeepBlue said...

Well, I'm not alone. My father has been sending me card on my birthday and Christmas for 11 years now. I never replied! I love him. He knows it. That's it and that's all! And I don't feel guilty.
But that's just me...

brando said...

I applaud you for being able to stand up to your 'parent' and establish that you are an adult in control of your feelings and life. I'm on that path RIGHT NOW dealing with my family and treating them like people that make their own decisions instead of letting it reflect or affect me on a deeper level. Here's to both of us making it through that hurdle.

witomski said...

At college and for about 10 years, I never spoke to my Father...I was ashamed of who I was and "assuming" that he would never accept me. He hunted me down and told me that he didn't care what I was and that I was his son and will always love me & to please come home. We've had a great, respectful relationship for 30 years now.

Erik said...

We´re in the same boat - I haven´t been in touch with mine for years, not even a letter, for similar type of reasons.

I find your grandfather´s advice excellent and never to be forgotten. Yet I agree that writing the letter to your dad was the right decision, as long as he behaves OK. I mean, the man did give you some first rate genes so he deserves a letter every now and then for that alone :)