Last post I talked about my Mum. This week, I had intentions of talking about my father who I don’t mention a lot. I realised my post was really just going to be an attack on his character, which is neither fair nor productive. I still feel the need to write about this, but I’ve given it more thought before setting it down.
The reason for this post was my stress and anxiety levels when my parents were with me – I argued with my Dad the whole time, which has become a default behaviour over the years. My dad has always been what a friend calls ‘Sore’ on me – I’ve never felt that anything I’ve done has ever been good enough for him, and that he has little or no respect for me, and that he never had anything positive to say about me. Incidentally, my father and I argued a LOT when I stayed at home, but we’ve both always known it’s because we are similar and know how to push each others buttons. (Fiery Italian tempers). That week he was here, in MY house, it was like being 14 again. I hadn’t realised how harmonious things had become between us and that the hundreds of miles were actually healthy for our relationship – we get on like a house on fire. I’d also like to point out that my dad is not an alcoholic, he’s not abusive, nor did I have a terrible childhood or was he even bad to me in any way, shape or form. He’s a good man, and I love him. We’re just too similar.
What bothers me, is in my father I see all the flaws in my own character. It’s like a mirror where someone has written all the shitty things about you on in Sharpie marker. It’s right in front of you, clear as day. The things that come out of his mouth are what I am thinking. The things I hate about him are things I hate about myself, which makes me dislike BOTH of us even more. As a small child, I was always a ‘Daddies girl’ and I was surgically attached to his side. Something changed as a teenager, as if someone flicked a switch and he decided he didn’t like me anymore. Now I know it’s because he could see his less-desirable traits in me and he was doing everything he could to eradicate them from my persona. He wanted me to be a better version of him. Problem was, it didn’t work. It’s very difficult to ‘train out’ negative hereditary tendencies. He got Badass on me, I got Badass right back on him. Where my mum would back down and let dad explode and cool off, I’d be right back at him. Because I AM him. The only bad thing my father has ever done to me in his life is talk to me in a way you would never talk in public. You guessed it, I do exactly the same to him. I said equally, if not more terrible things to him in venomous, fiery anger. And it’s horrific. Ask my Mum.
A telephone call yesterday changed everything. Respecting certain privacies of my families’ life, that conversation lasted three hours. Me and Dad. We talked about everything. How we talked to each other. Respect. Admiration. All the negative aspects of our personalities that we hate. How we show gratitude for others around us. What motivates us. How we deal with stress. It’s the first time EVER we’ve had a civil conversation about how we are without swearing, shouting or fighting. We said sorry for things. My heart broke and burst with happiness all at the same time. I was so happy to be able to talk about stuff with him, but it saddened me to find he’s wired up EXACTLY the same way as me -thought processes, logic, stressors, the whole kit-and-caboodle. He’s plagued by the same thought-demons as me. His Walter and Cordelia walk, talk and look the same as mine. I always thought Dad was Hardass and indestructible.
What’s all this got to do with being healthy?
I honestly believe that the way my Dad has been with me all these years has given me an inferiority complex. He hasn’t done it intentionally, he was actually trying to make me a better person. It has affected me. I’m not saying it is/was the sole cause of depression or weight gain (it DEFINITELY wasn’t!), but it’s been part of the problem. Acceptance, respect and love are a huge part of mental wellbeing. I think we fixed a bit of it.
The thing I hate most about being me is that I’m hard on myself. I constantly punish myself, to the point where I think I’m a complete failure and torture myself over miniscule details. Guess what? The apple never falls far from the tree. That makes me so, so, so sad.
But it’s different now. We can help each other, support each other and never speak to each other in such a horrible way again. I don’t know about Dad, but I could sure do with a positive version of myself to nudge me in the right direction.
My Dad and I are even now. And we are one. More than we have ever been. What happens when two Badasses team up? You get a whole bucket of Awesome 🙂