Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Stand-Off Continues

What has happened? I don't know. My dad and I aren't speaking, that's for sure. My mom comes over every now and again, and I think my dad knows. My brother sees my dad daily, I'm sure. It's all very strange, with everyone living so close. I don't feel as sad about it. It does make me uneasy, though.

I had been avoiding making any contact with my dad, waiting for him to make the next move, because the last time I had tried to arrange an evening at my parent's place. I had been talking to my mom, but my dad's message was that he "needed more time" before he could see me again.

Since then, my brother made an ill-informed attempt to get the whole family together. Long story short, he had the general idea in the company of my dad, but then invited me later on by phone. I said I would come, but not if it was going to be an ambush. Dwayne said that mom and dad didn't have to be part of it, and then called them, without my knowledge, letting them know not to come.

Well, of course my mom called me shortly afterward letting me know how insulting I had been. All of a sudden, I had to defend myself to my mom so my dad wouldn't, what? Disown me? AGAIN!?

Of course, I called my brother back, but he was just awkward and saddened. I don't think he had meant to start anything.

All of this has John crazy by now. He has anxiety whenever the phone rings with my parent's phone ID. He tells me he's sick of me answering the call, having an hour-long debate, and then emerging in tears and distraught. I hadn't been aware of how often that happened, but when he said that, I finally understood his frustration.

The last time my dad called was after the attempted "family day." It had been long enough that I decided to answer it, but John was - anxious about it. I went into the bedroom.

It started off okay. Dad explained that it really wasn't his turn to call, since I hadn't actually spoken to him when he had communicated through my mom that he "needed more time." The ball had apparently been in my court the whole time.

Then, of course, it got nasty again. I remember trying very hard to keep things civilized, but my dad's demands are too much. The fact that he has demands is too much!

He insists that he and I can have a relationship separate from my husband and kids.... it isn't a bargain, it's just a demand. If I want to have a dad, I can only have one if while I see him, I pretend that I'm not married and I don't have kids. I just can't do that, since, I don't know, I have more than a tenuous connection to this plane of reality.

Straining to put a reasonable spin on my dad's request, I think he means that if I allow us to meet alone, he will later allow us to meet with John and the kids. Even if this is the case, I'm insisting that I have my family around me for the foreseeable future because I don't trust my dad not to regale me with criticism if we meet alone. Hence, the stand-off.

Oh, and he offered once again that we could call our relationship off once and for all. Again. For the third time. I came out of the bedroom in tears again, and black smoke curled out of John's ears.

But really, is it so odd to meet with your daughter and her family? Is this not what normal people do? The extended family gets together in the grandad's house, with food and wine, and in-laws are polite and jovial, and the kids get spoiled?

It's too late for that with my parents now. You can imagine how insulting all of this is to John. How can I ask him to go back there and pretend he doesn't know what my dad thinks of him? I always thought my dad was so smart. How does he not see how impossible he has made my situation?

Since then, nothing much. My mom comes over. We don't talk about my dad. I text-chat with my brother, and sometimes talk on the phone with him. Nothing about my dad. I'm only sad when I remember the good parts of my dad, the times when I could talk to him without the discussion ending with an offer never to speak again. Otherwise, I'm just relieved.

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