ertyu wrote: ↑
Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:20 am
And the answer is no, you cannot, because respecting you was never about you. It was about them and their need to, in my case, feel powerful and influential by continually finding and pointing out flaws that they can "direct" me out of. They stay the competent, powerful parent, I stay the inept, blundering child in need of direction. And rationally I know this.
It's a great grief for me - I may or may not be tearing up as I write this. I hope I grieve it out one day. In the meantime, I flounder like everyone else, vacillating between anger, bargaining, denial, and back. I don't yet know how to make it out the other end. Does anyone, fully, ever?
I see much of my own family in your account, and perhaps the gift my DH gave to me will be helpful to you:
"If your father doesn't know after 30+ years of observation that you are smart, honorable, a good child, a good *person* - what can you possibly do now that would convince him of your worth? Think about how you're feeling now - the rage and the grief and the sorrow - and ask if you still want to be hoping for your parents' approval at age 35? At age 40? At age 50? When will you come to the conclusion that you are Good Enough, Right Now?"
This hit me upside the head like a thunderbolt. *Especially* the idea of myself as a sad, emotionally-needy cryer, boo-hooing at 50 because Daddy doesn't love me the way he should.
It was a fantastic perspective. I recommend it whole-heartedly.
I ended up sending Dad a "Dear John" letter after that event, telling him that I was done trying to win his approval. I would live my life, and he could live his, and I would be polite at family functions. But I was *done*. I saw him a few times in the 7-8 years after that, and the last time was...freeing. He almost *cowered* in front of me, and avoided me, because he KNEW I would just leave if he stepped out of line at the baby shower. And that it would reflect poorly on *him*.
When he was in his last days, dying of cancer, and barely able to speak, I did agree to take a call from him. Wherein he did admit that he had a lot to say to me, and no time or breath left to say it. And I did understand. Because, in the end, I am the kid who walked away - just as he had with his father, many years before.
I hope you find some peace yourself; the magic mix of independence and compassion for both *yourself* and his clearly emotionally-inadequate affect is a wonderful thing.