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Navigating the emotional quagmire... HELP!


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8 replies to this topic

#1
Josh Williams

Josh Williams

  • 17 posts

Hey, this is Josh.  I called in on Sunday, the 22 of September to ask Stef about a rather subtle (ha) UPB violation from my adventure to O'ahu. 

 
The main reason I am writing you guys, however, is to tell you how the conversation Stef suggested I have with my dad went, and hear other's interpretation on both it, and the conclusions I've come to since then.  
 
My father came into town on Wednesday in preparation for a mediation session with my mother, and when I found out he would be in town, I told him I had something I wanted to talk to him about. What follows is going to be my effort to both accurately convey as much as I can remember about the conversation (I admit that much of the detail escapes my memory already), and hopefully write a somewhat readable letter.  (Full disclosure, I feel like this would be better addressed in conversation, but I understand that you have very many first time callers lined up for the call in show.)
 
I will attempt a rough transcript of the most memorable parts of the conversation to me, for the sake of simplicity.  (J - josh, D - dad)
 
J - So, yeah, I wanted to talk to you because I felt like I wasn't honest with you when you asked me about how I felt about the divorce.  Do you remember when you sat me and Erin (sister) down to ask us?
 
D - Not really, no.
 
J - Well, I basically told you that you had to do what is right for you. I understand now that I wasn't being honest about how I felt when I told you that.  What I was doing was trying to make it easier on you in the short run.
 
D - Yeah, well somebody had to.
 
J - What do you mean?
 
D - Try to make it easier on me.
 
J - Well, I didn't feel like it was honest, and I didn't even realize that it was kind of manipulative to tell you that.  
 
D - Wait, let me stop you right there.  I'll make this easier on you.  Regardless of what you had said, it wouldn't have made a difference.
 
J - So you're telling me you didn't care what I had to say, but you asked anyways? What's the point in that?

D - Well, I just don't want you to think I was asking for your approval.   Because I don't need your approval.
 
(This was the beginning of the conversation, and sets the tone for the whole conversation.  At this point, I began to have trouble focusing, and my memory becomes spotty at best)
 
After this point in the conversation, I remember trying to discuss how he parented when I was little and when he heard the mention of the past, he just assumed that I was talking about religion. We have a very colorful history around my rejection and their dependence on their faith, because I have been very vocal about that since around the time I was 17 years old. This started around a 15 minute (It took me this long to pick up on what had happened) rant/monologue about how he had done everything he could to save my soul and finally took a breath after the statement, "And you will never be able to have a successful relationship without that. (while pointing at the church I was forced to attend as a child)". In reply, I said, "As long as you believe that, we will never have a relationship."
 
I have trouble remembering the details after this point as well.  The conversation ended when he told me to "get your head out of your ass, and get your shit together before you approach me (either, about or like) this." At which point I said, "I'm finished with this conversation. I love you dad." And left.
 
Looking back, I don't see how it makes sense for me to have said "I love you dad" after being explicitly told that he didn't care what I thought about practically anything.  I think maybe I misunderstand what love is, and the fact that I have so little experience understanding my emotions makes me wonder what would drive me to say that.
 
After having this conversation, I almost feel a sense of closure on the topic, because having tried, I see the extent to which he is willing to attempt (or not, as it may be), communicate in turn.  So my first question for the readers, is am I giving up to quickly?  Do I owe him more of a chance I have already given him? I certainly feel disinclined to feel sympathy for someone who is unwilling to even have empathy towards me.
 
It also occurs to me that a direct consequence of growing up in such an emotionally volatile environment has taught me that the safest way for me to deal with my emotions is to not allow myself to feel them.  This frightens me, and is one of the main things I hope to be able to work through by considering these things.  
 
So I guess, any advice or thoughts on this conversation, or my conclusions afterwards are welcome.  I have to admit, though, that attempting to fix this last issue seems like an insurmountable task...
 
Thanks in advance guys.  
Josh
 

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#2
Miss Valeska

Miss Valeska
  • 180 posts

*hugs you tightly* I am so so sorry! That is absolutely awful! He is a horrible insane person! Why the hell would anyone say that to their son? Also, You didn't have a "colourful" history around religion, You had an abusive one. *hugs* I don't think he really cares about you at all, And I am so sorry about that.

 

You don't owe him ANYTHING! He is the person who created you, And accepted all of the obligations of creating a new, Dependent, Human being. And he did not fufill them at all! He owes you! You don't owe him anything! You've already done so much, You are NOT giving up too early, I don't see him as ever changing.

 

Also, I am so sorry for your emotional numbness, It's something I've been working through too, And it is terrible. *hugs* I don't know what else to really say besides that, I'm just really sorry you have to deal with this. I do want to help in any way possible, But, I don't really know how. Well, You have me to talk to! Any time you want! I hope you're sleeping well! - Valeska


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#3
Josh Williams

Josh Williams

  • 17 posts

Thanks.  That means a lot. =)


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#4
cherapple

cherapple

    Cheryl H


  • 434 posts

You absolutely aced this conversation. Your father failed from his first word. I'm partly astounded, and partly not, at the level of apathy and disinterest he expresses right out of the gate, after you made the effort to approach him and sit down with him. 

 

I wouldn't judge yourself as having a lack of ability to love. The ability shines through in the honesty of your conversation. I think your "I love you" at the end may have been a last ditch effort to reach him. I feel incredible sadness at the thought. One last grasp in hope that he might wake up, turn to you, and SEE you. It could have been an attempt to instill rightful guilt. It could have been attempt to reach him by speaking his language — the language of meaningless words. 

 

What do you think? 


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~*~*~

"As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live."

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


#5
Josh Williams

Josh Williams

  • 17 posts

I think that accurately describes the situation better than I would ever be able to.  Thanks.


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#6
wdiaz03

wdiaz03

  • 235 posts

Hi Josh, Again I'm sorry for what you and your family is going through. Don't feel like you are giving up too quickly, It doesn't seem that there was anything there to give up on. I'm glad you had the talk because otherwise you probably would have always wondered "what if". You played your hand and your Dad played his. Its sad that he made the choices he did, and he will have to deal with the consequences.

Keep your head high and keep searching for self knowledge you can be a great mentor for your sister.

 

Best of luck


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"So I say, “Live and let live.” That’s my motto. “Live and let live.” Anyone who can’t go along with that, take him outside and shoot the motherfucker. It’s a simple philosophy, but it’s always worked in our family." - George Carlin


#7
Miss Valeska

Miss Valeska
  • 180 posts

You absolutely aced this conversation. Your father failed from his first word. I'm partly astounded, and partly not, at the level of apathy and disinterest he expresses right out of the gate, after you made the effort to approach him and sit down with him. 

 

I wouldn't judge yourself as having a lack of ability to love. The ability shines through in the honesty of your conversation. I think your "I love you" at the end may have been a last ditch effort to reach him. I feel incredible sadness at the thought. One last grasp in hope that he might wake up, turn to you, and SEE you. It could have been an attempt to instill rightful guilt. It could have been attempt to reach him by speaking his language — the language of meaningless words. 

 

What do you think? 

Oh my god Cheryl! That was a beautiful statement! I did feel really sad too, I think that was really accurate. :) *hugs*


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#8
xelent

xelent

  • 2170 posts

Hey Josh, very sorry to hear about your experience man. Having come from a deeply religious family myself your story kind of resonated with me.

 

In answer to your question about whether you should give him another chance. I would say that when closure comes, it's fairly swift and impenetrable. However, just because a large part of you might feel that way, doesn't mean you might not need further questions answered. Always be respectful to those parts of you that might wish to explore the relationship more fully.

 

So if you were going to revisit him again, just prepare your thoughts and feelings as well as you can beforehand. I would suggest trying to record the conversation if you can (with a phone). That way any fog you get during the conversation you might be able to unravel better at a later time. I hope that can ease the tension of feeling the need to give him a second chance. It's really more about giving yourself the best possible answers. Best wishes.


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#9
Josh Williams

Josh Williams

  • 17 posts

Yeah, I actually found myself wishing I had recorded the conversation just minutes after it was over.

 

I have to be honest, this community is a lighthouse amidst the emotional confusion that has become common regarding all of my relationships.  I don't know how to thank you guys enough. =)


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