The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16698   Message #157082
Posted By: Marymac90
02-Jan-00 - 04:41 PM
Thread Name: The father / son thing
Subject: RE: The father / son thing
Dear Jabjo, I, too, had a very difficult relationship with my father, who died last Feb. He and my mother separated when I was a baby, and he never gave me her letters, or put me on the phone when she called. He was always slow to praise, quick to criticize. He was very controlling for most of his life, very judgemental all his life. When I was young, he often was verbally or emotionally abusive, sometimes physically abusive as well.

He seemed focussed on concrete things, like grades, or jobs and money. I separated from my ex 25 years ago, and he never asked me if I was lonely, or had found anyone else to date, let alone to love. He made a habit of not telling me things, for fear that they'd "worry" me, so he didn't tell me one of the times when he was hospitalized for a heart attack, or when his brother, my uncle, died.

The last 10 years of his life he lived with his long-time lady friend, and he let her control his use of the telephone-he never called me again in his life. He also never came to visit me anymore. She wouldn't let me visit him in the apt. they shared, so I'd have to stay in a motel, and visit him for a few hours a day at a Burger King. She wouldn't even call me when he died-she called a funeral director, who called my aunt, who called me.

I eventually realized he wasn't going to spontaneously tell me he loved me, so I began telling him. The best response he usually gave was "Me, too", which was a little better than "Ummhmm". One time I was emotional when I confronted him about how unsatisfied I was with our relationship. He was so nervous and scared, he had to go to the bathroom for a while. When he came back, he wanted to sit outside, so I would be unlikely to cry any more, lest people see.

I don't have too much advice to give you, but I'll try to give you a little. Therapy helps. Don't wait for him to say "I love you"-go ahead and say it first. Try to get to spend time alone talking with him. Push for a better relationship now, before his mind or his body start to falter. Try taking him to a meaningful movie about fathers and sons, and talking about it with him afterward. Keep remembering, and reminding him, of what meaningful things you did together when you were young. My dad instilled me with my love of nature, despite whatever other rotten stuff happened.

Surround yourself with a caring community of friends and loved ones that you can share support with, and be emotionally open with. Don't expect him, or your spouse, or any one person, to meet all your emotional needs. Realize you're not alone-most other people don't come from perfect families, either.

Much Love,

Mary Mccaffrey