At counsellor number one this morning (yes, I have two!), I was talking about my parents (what's new?) and my blog, blah, blah, blah. I haven't seen this counsellor in a couple of months, so I was giving him a general update on my mood, what's going on in my life, my thoughts, and things that are currently bothering me or are on my mind.
We started talking specifically about my father and about the relationship we've had (or haven't had) since I moved out of the house and how it has changed (and not changed) since I was a child and after I grew up, moved out, moved on, got married, and had a child of my own.
It comes as no surprise that my father and I haven't had that great of a relationship in a very, very long time, if ever. When I was a child, dad was a god to me. The sun rose and set on him, and he could do no wrong. So it follows that when there are nasty things he's saying and doing or nice things that go unsaid or undone, it is all how it should be. It's the right way. It's just how things are done. It's what I deserve.
Then I grew beyond his view of things and started to have my own ideas. I started thinking that maybe he wasn't right. That the way he did things - things he said and things he didn't say or didn't do - wasn't necessarily the right way, just the way things were done in OUR family. That maybe he wasn't the great guy I had once thought. I started sometimes registering my upset at his hurtful words, at his inability to be there for either my brother or I in any meaningful way, and he couldn't deal. Instead of just sitting there and taking his barbed words like I did when I was a child or in my teens and twenties, I started sometimes objecting to his behaviour. Every time I did that, he would just tell me he was never talking to me again, and then he would hang up on me. Time went on and on with us sometimes speaking (briefly and superficially) but mostly not.
The last overtly hurtful thing my dad said to me was right after I told him I was pregnant and getting married. Right after I told him, he asked if I was going to register at the Salvation Army thrift shop and proceeded to snigger and guffaw at his hilariously snarky comment as only he can do. I'm not sure exactly what he meant by that, but it smacked of him thinking I'm some kind of scumbag. In any event, I didn't (and don't) see it as a very appropriate or thoughtful thing to say when your only daughter announces she's getting married. But I didn't say anything about it at the time. Like when I was a child, a deep sense of something close to shame washed over me. I felt like a child again, hurt and confused. Wanting love and acceptance but getting kicked in the teeth. I just sat there and let him be him that day but retaliated later by completely ignoring both of them at the wedding. And I mean completely. I didn't even want them there.
Since then, dad has either been eerily uncommunicative or has had only brief and superficial conversations with me. I can't be sure why as he would never tell me, so I can only suppose that maybe he realises he always (and I mean always) says the exact wrong thing to me and he's trying to avoid any strife. Maybe he doesn't feel free to talk to me like I'm an idiot anymore so he doesn't want to talk to me at all. Maybe he feels like he's been caught out now that I have a child and potentially understand what real love is between a parent and a child. That I understand and can fully see now how parents who love their child should be. Maybe he realises or fears that I now see how his own feelings toward me have always been so deficient and stunted and ringed with disdain. Maybe he is once and for all truly afraid or remorseful or ashamed? Maybe he can't bear these feelings so he responds by not responding?
Or maybe he just doesn't give a flying fuck and has finally convinced himself somehow that I never was worth any of it from the beginning, after all, and that losing me (and his granddaughter) is no real loss, anyway.
Maybe it's a combination of all or some of the above. But one thing is for sure: I will never, ever know for certain.