If I’m being honest, one of the hardest things I’ve had to face is that my dad might be a narcissist or simply doesn’t care about me, even if he isn’t. I have spent my life convincing myself that if I just gave him more grace and let things slide, that he’d see me as someone of value. Sadly, that’s not been the case.
Two years ago, I moved out of state. Prior to leaving, one of the hardest things I had was that I had finally started to feel close to my dad. For the 10 years prior, I had invested in being real and honest with him and loving on him, encouraging him, and supporting him. Then, I made a friendly suggestion that maybe my little sister could use more positive affirmation from him. He became emotionally hostile with me and was very angry. I started having a panic attack and asked him to stop so I could calm down, begged him to trust me that I needed him to stop. He stood up and yelled at me, “Trust you?! Why should I?! Look at you!” I felt incredibly unsafe and reasoned it was because of my anxiety, but I couldn’t shake how he made me feel about myself. Once I calmed down, I apologized that things got worked up and he said he just didn’t get the ’emotional’ stuff.
This explains a lot about my dad. He would always respond with his own experience 40 years prior or compare me to the founder of the SDA church, he would talk about his friends or some random topic. I never did quite measure up to his standard of a true Christian… then again, I wouldn’t succumb to his belief (that he didn’t live out) that it was the only religion that was true. Anything he shares about me to his peers is a representative of what it makes him look like…. sharing pictures of my children and raving about how beautiful his grandchildren are, posting on my wall about how he worries about all his children, and one time in response to my mother in-law expressing how wonderful I was, he said ‘raise them up in the way they should go!’
I didn’t have a close relationship with my father growing up. I recall him playing with me on a couple of accounts when I was little enough to be afraid and hide behind the couch when he shaved his mustache, but as I got older our relationship got more and more distant. At 6 years old I remember pondering whether my parents would ask me to hug them good night if I didn’t go up to them on my own. When they didn’t, I stopped going to them…
First off, why in the world did I wonder that? Secondly, I wouldn’t be hugged by my father for 10 years, when I was 16. I remember the feeling, like a wave flooding over me, when he did hug me and I realized he hadn’t hugged me in years. IN.YEARS.
I don’t want to believe my father is a narcissist or that I’m not important to him… but the evidence is piling up. In the same breath that he complained that his mother (who had no license) didn’t come visit him, he’d justify why he never came to see me. I went to see him every weekend, and often even more than that.
I’ll admit, a lot of the reason I went to see him was for ME, but I did enjoy learning about him and sharing life with him… but I’m just starting to wonder if I ever did matter… it’s been almost a year and we’ve only talked once and it was initiated by me when my grandmother passed away. He didn’t ask me how I was, he carried on about drama with my cousins and such… I listened and I participated in the conversation, but I felt sick to my stomach. Why do I allow people to treat me like that? Like I don’t matter…. and it all boils down to me not wanting to be a burden when others already have so much to deal with. I don’t want someone to feel overwhelmed with my feelings – the too sensitive, dwelling, and over-reactive feelings.
Well, not anymore. I’m seeing that I’m doing a lot of the work in the relationship. I’ve never done any of it to *get* something out of it, but I’m starting to see that it’s OKAY for me to get something out of it! haha I’m not selfish for wanting to be loved! And I’m not selfish for not investing in someone more than what I can handle… especially when the people I have invested in don’t even miss me when I am not present.
Who I am is not because I was raised up in the way I should go. I didn’t know who Jesus was until I was 15, I was so hungry for parental affection that a man was able to sexually violate me under the guise of love, and the things I’ve had to overcome were not because my father was a good example. Who am I? I’m a fighter, a survivor, and an overcomer. I’m *more* than a conqueror and the enemy, the world; the darkness hasn’t won.
I’m me due to the love of a Savior and the passion I have inside of me. ❤