another of those personal notes.
I was an unforgiving twerp (not twerk, like I first wrote) back in the day, entitled and injured. My father basically lost who he was when I was 22 -- he had a stroke and, though he lived for years, he wasn't a grownup after that. That meant I didn't get a chance to get past his imagined and real sins when he was fully present, not that it mattered to him. Didn't matter to me that much either, but now it does, probably because I'm a parent. Also because at a certain age (maybe after your 20s?) love/affection isn't as easily attained, retained, sustained.
Anyway this letter--the message hit me hard for some reason. Most of us mean well, okay? Don't despise anyone who loves you to any degree--not if their affection doesn't harm you.
So....yeah. What it says.From Carolyn Hax's column.
Haven’t spoken to my father for 2.5 years, for various reasons that
boil down to his being very selfish and refusing to validate feelings.
He called the other day. Many, many people in my life think that I
should let [my grudge] go because “that’s just how he is,” and that I’m
depriving him of my child (born after I cut him off).
I’d love a relationship with him, but his message didn’t indicate
any desire to resolve issues, simply to brush them under the rug.
There isn’t much for me to go on here, but I do feel comfortable
saying that I support unconditionally those who sever ties to people who
are harmful to them.
When people are merely disappointing,
though, then my advice is to try instead to accept that no one will ever
be who you want them to be. We even let ourselves down by that
standard. So, if that’s the case with your dad — that your main
complaint is his not being the dad you wish he’d be — then think of what
you want from yourself, and from other people.
You want to be accepted and loved as you are, right? And forgiven your shortcomings? And not set up to fail?
can’t make anyone give you these things, but you can show how it’s done
by calling him with your expectations set to “naught.” Given that Dad’s
shortcomings appear to be of long standing, just make sure you go into
it knowing your integrity is your only certain reward.