I made the conscious decision to get to know my father after my mother died. We have both worked really hard to be where we are today. But by no means was it easy for either of us.
Though my dad partnered with my mother in raising me, I had NO idea who he was. I decided to find out. This was a POWERfilled decision for me because for as far back as I can remember, I couldn’t have a conversation with him without crying.
My tears infuriated my father because he didn’t understand them, they made him uncomfortable, he felt powerless, because he couldn’t fix it. Dad is ‘ole skool’. His mantra was/is: keep your family safe and warm at all times, ‘that is my job.’ He didn’t have the internal compass to deal with my emotions. Where he came from there was no time for tears, so he told me that tears were a weakness.
Those words echoed in my soul, they hurt my heart, so I hurt myself by deciding not to ‘have’ emotions. People don’t want to be around you if you are emotional. Don’t trust your emotions (read: don’t trust my inner knowing) Enter: disconnect.
Emotions betray you, so cut them off…numb out. It was dumb to be a girl and to compensate, I decided to be smart. Then I could get his attention and approval and make him proud, right?
Naturally, I hated my tears, they were a reminder of my unworthiness, my inferiority of being born a girl. They made me feel stupid, small, insignificant…so little and unimportant. I needed to be strong, unaffected, a soldier. Behave, be good and don’t get underfoot.
I would rehearse my conversation with him beforehand in my room, so that I would be clear, just state the facts and get the hell out of the room without having the waterworks display. This went on until my mid-twenties.
But to go against your nature is painful. I wanted his love, attention, and affection, I wanted him to see me, instead, he thought I was weak (see how that lie was born?). So naturally, when I had interaction with him, I never had my footing. I always felt as if there were a timer set to say my peace and not waste his time. It was a perfect storm for a meltdown.
After Mom died, I had a huge choice to make, either create a different reality with my father OR leave the relationship as it always had been and have no control in my life.
As painful and uncomfortable as it was to face my fears, it was MORE painful to remain unseen and unheard. I was so tired of not feeling good, feeling like a mistake, never being enough because I was born a girl. That couldn’t possibly be true? He adored the breath my mother breathed.
I had to find some way of connecting to my life because I felt dead inside. It wasn’t easy and it was a lot of hard work. It took YEARS and a lot of tears!!! I learned to accept my tears as part of me, not something I had to apologize for or hide.