I’ve started posts several times over the last ten days or so but just sat and stared into space. There’s been a lot to assimilate and I’m beginning to do so.
Over the years, whether as a child or an adult, I dreaded, as I’ve said before the words”can we have a little chat”. It doesn’t matter whether it was about homework or the state of my marriage or anything in between, nor does it matter how old I am; it leaves me quaking. Why does it have that effect on me? Well, because these chats rarely amount to anything. My father can’t understand and my mother doesn’t want to.
They are not a physical part of my life, which is partly because they live round the corner, but mostly because they don’t want to. Nor do we keep touch in a daily basis on the telephone. It’s not even weekly any more and my father does persist in ringing me in the morning while I’m asleep at the weekend or even before I’ve done the school run as it’s convenient for him. So they don’t understand what’s going through my head although to be fair, they didn’t understand that when I was still living with them either.
But my father wants to. So we have these painful chats where he asks me questions he thinks is pertinent and I try to answer in ways that he understands and to explain what he doesn’t. But that’s hard. He’s never brought up children; my mother did that while he was earning a living and the few weeks holiday he spent with us aren’t equivalent. So he doesn’t understand the stresses of being a parent on a daily basis, and he certainly doesn’t understand the stresses of being a single parent, let alone how difficult being his daughter can be. He recently said that he understood that I was worried about 2son, but what exactly did I do all day that kept me so busy.
My mother doesn’t understand me either. I remember her once trying to tell me that 2sis was almost a single parent because her husband was away so much, which again meant she didn’t understand the emotional strain involved in being a single parent. I do/did find it harder coming from her as I expected her to show more empathy.
The dilemma I’ve had over the past few years since I’ve started therapy is to what extent do I need to move from my parents’ unsurprising lack of perfection and to what extent do I need to make them understand, or even just tell them, how unhappy I have been, still am and am fighting not to be in the future. There is a huge communication gap between us and if I stop trying, it’s not going to get any smaller.
Or is it? I’ve always found it emotionally draining trying to explain things to my father. He inevitably manages to turn around his lack of understanding into my inability to explain things properly but I have always tried. I’ve felt guilty because if I stop trying the resulting lack of communication and understanding is my fault. I’ve been able to do it with family and friends less close to me. I no longer make any attempts to communicate with 2sis although we haven’t had a ‘formal’ falling out. But these are my parents and it’s hard to acknowledge that they are never going to understand me.
However while I have often considered this thought in my head and understood the logic, I have not felt an emotional willingness to cut this chord. I do now.
Or at least I think I do. Until I next have a conversation with either of my parents and just refuse to go into detail, I won’t know whether I can or not. I also don’t feel that this post is quite adequate, but at the moment it’s the best that I can do.
“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”