First and foremost, Happy Belated Father’s Day to all the dad’s, granddad’s, and father figures out there in the universe.
To be quite frank, father’s day has been proving to be a challenging time of year since 2018, maybe even further back. I feel myself falling into a constant cycle of miscommunications, misunderstandings, and relapses of emotional and mental trauma.
Growing up I always thought I had the “perfect” dad; someone who provided stability, unconditional love, support, forgiveness, lighthearted fun, and someone who would go as far as to provide support to my friends who lacked a father figure. He was also the best dad to take on field trips, because he could get anyone to crack a smile and he would bring extra sandwiches, just in case if a fellow classmate only brought a ham and cheese Lunchable for their meal. I honestly thought that my dad was the absolute coolest, and I looked up to him a lot.
But as I got older, I suddenly realized that there were things that I could not address to him, such as financial advise, career choices, picking out a college major, and maintaining healthy relationships. I sensed a shift in our dynamic quite a while ago, probably when I was in 8th or 9th grade. When I think about it now, it’s interesting how this “shift” happened as soon as I was nearing adulthood. It's a little similar to my sister マ's situation, because she too had said that she was experiencing the shift in dynamic. She revealed to me recently that she wasn't able to talk to our dad about career choices, financial advise, and relationships when she entered into adulthood. That piece of information from my sister was very telling that our father does not know how to be a "dad" when his children enter into adulthood.
He's the type of person who means well, but he will tell you his opinions in the most condesending way possible. He will chew you up, regertitate, and chew you right back up again. He will do anything to make you feel so worthless, pushing you so far to the point that you would dig yourself into a grave of depression, anxiety, despair, and helplessness. He also rehashes your past mistakes to drive a point home. There's quite a lot of unfairness when he lashes out, because he never reflects on the way he communicates, expresses his feelings, the way he projects his problems onto others, or the way that he treats his daughters in general. It's quite hurtful and I don't know how else I can address his behavior without lashing out right back at him.
I've been extremely passive for the past 20+ years of my life, trying to please him, trying to adhere to his ways, but it's clearly not working. I tried to take a different approach this time around by responding to all his "valid points" with my own opinions, but in an aggressive manner. I understand that an aggressive reply isn't going to get me anywhere, but I was truly hoping that it would have opened a new door. A new frontier, if you will, for us to mend our relationship. Unfortunately, it backfired. I thought I won the battle, but I still hadn't and I never will, because he believes that his word is bond.
Until my father can fix his own hurt with his own father, I cannot fix the hurt that he has created with my sisters and I. I'm well aware of that, but the more he squanders time, the more my sisters and I cannot be relieved of our past traumas, stresses, anxieties, and depressions. It's also unfair that it's taking him this long to try to figure out how to be a great dad, when he had admitted to me a long time ago that he wanted to be a better dad than his own.
I'm not sure how exactly I should move forward to mend this broken, misunderstood, miscommunicated, broken relationship. I feel like I've done my part to speak up for myself and for others. There's only so much I can do until he realizes that he needs to take a step too, and he needs to be more personal with me before I can be personal with him.