a long way to go

October 28, 2009

i’m struggling at the moment with the idea of obligation.
as most of my friends know by now, my father has been staying with me.
this has been an astonishingly difficult experience.
i have never been so acutely aware of my need for personal space as i am at the moment. a place to regroup and fully relax, a place without obligations or expectations. it is such a disappointment that there is nowhere i can go to be completely alone. where i can shut a door and not feel like i’m being a dick.
i am amazed at my visceral reaction to the loss of this. i am constantly on edge, angry, difficult. it is distasteful to me, the way i have been lately.
i feel selfish and mean.
i say, maybe if it were someone else it would not be so damn hard. maybe someone else would be more intuitive as to how to act around me in this situation. maybe if it were someone else i would not begrudge their need so.
but, it’s my father. we haven’t been close since i was a little girl, and our proximity is not making it any better.
my dad is, overall, a good man. he can even be enjoyable to be around in small doses. it is just that he has so many habits and traits that disgust me, and these i see on a regular basis. many of these remind me of myself, or what i could become if i stopped trying (which is uncomfortable enough), but others are so incredibly self-serving and oblivious i find them nigh-unforgivable.
for instance, i don’t like being manipulated on any level without my consent. i’ll extrapolate that thought. i like sad movies and comedians; i hate salesmen. i don’t want to be pushed in a direction i don’t wish to go in. i’m gullible and trusting and easily swayed by pity. i will resent you for making me act in your interest if you use guilt to get what you want. and my father thrives on people feeling sorry for him. i simply can’t stand this. it makes me hateful. i refuse to coddle my own father anymore.
he is also prideful, but in a way i cannot wrap my head around. you offend his pride and he will turn his back on you in a heartbeat, but he will play up how you should help him because he is a fuck-up. interacting with him is like walking a tightrope over an unstable bomb.
but the thing that gets me the most, that sticks me like a poisonous thorn, that colors all of my thoughts towards my father with apathy is: most of the situation he is in now is his fault. he caused this. i can’t figure out why. i can’t trust a damn thing that comes out of the man’s mouth. i don’t know if he genuinely needs mental help or if he just decided he did not want to try anymore. i think he feels like the world owes him something for being so hard on him. but it was not any harder on him than anyone else. he just allowed himself to become selfish and lazy and he lost everything.
he had a house and a car and money to pay for both of him. but he just stopped making payments. his car got repossessed; he was evicted. he wouldn’t even go back for his stuff. my sick mom and i had to. he has been unemployed for nearly a year now, but as far as i know has not made an honest attempt to find work. long before that he stopped trying to be a husband and my mother divorced him. he stopped trying to be a father and his son and daughter stopped thinking of him as such.
it’s an obligatory love. but it feels like he stopped caring about HIS obligations.
everything about him just feels half-hearted. when i’m half-hearted it’s because i’m frightened, with him it’s like he does not give a shit.
he asks too much of others what he is capable of providing for himself.
when is he going to stop being so needy? when is he going to take responsibility for himself? i am trying, and he sure wasn’t the one to show me. for a man with the resources he has, and simply chooses not to use, i have learned more of what not to do to people and how not to live my life. i have been unable to rely on him for years, and yet because i am his daughter it is my responsibility to provide for him.
i hate myself for feeling this way about him.
i feel like i should be willing to drop everything and fight him back on his feet, hold his hand every step of the way, let him know that i’ll do anything to show him that someone in this big bad world will protect him.
but i can’t. so i won’t. i simply don’t have it in me. there is too much resentment festering under the surface. i am too much like him. selfish. self-pitying. apathetic.
i just wish it were easier to deal with that revelation.
but you have to accept who you are or change.
it’s an obligation.

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