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Tue, May. 23rd, 2006, 10:37 am
Leading with my boundaries

Dad called me yesterday to tell me he's busy the night I get into town. He's often busy when I'm in town. I didn't get to spend much time with my dad because he was too busy working. Now, apparently, I don't get to hang out with Dad because he's too busy being retired. Someday we'll be in heaven and I won't get to hang out with him because he'll be too busy being dead.

"Hey, son, welcome to Heaven. I promised St. Peter I'd help him build the new barbecue. Here's Bob. He just died. You two talk."

I wish he'd admit he doesn't like me. Then we could move on.

I'm afraid my dad doesn't like me. I'm afraid he keeps himself busy when I'm not around. I think he creates busy work for himself to avoid confronting his discomfort of being around me, and to avoid admitting and accepting that he doesn't enjoy my company. I don't think he's willing or able to handle social situations with me that he can't control, which limits our interaction to him driving me around in his car, or having dinner in a restaurant.

I feel the same way about my uncle. I'd like to stop resenting both of them for not being able or willing to have the relationship with me that I want. I want to let them be who they are. I want to give my time and emotions to people who are comfortable around me. I hope that if I stop resenting people for who they are and accept them as they are, I'll be more comfortable to be around.

Maybe if I protect my personal boundaries and accept people without judgment outside of my personal boundaries, I'll be easier to be around and stop asking people for relationships they don't want or can't give. Maybe defining my boundaries and giving everything else away for free will help me and other people know who I am. Maybe defining and acting on my boundaries will focus my attention on my boundaries and how to act on them, and give me insight on who I am. Defining and acting on my emotional boundaries has given me better insight on myself than anything else I can recall.

More dirty jokes later, folks. I promise.

Wed, May. 24th, 2006 02:23 am (UTC)

I tried all during college and for a few years after to have a relationship with my father. He didn't seem opposed to it, exactly, I just had to make all the overtures. Finally I realized that an 18-21 year old should not have to be the one to always make arrangements for us to see each other. I stopped setting things up, and he just disappeared. It was so much easier. No more pretending. After 4.5 years, he called me out of the blue. He was all, "Hi sweetheart. How are you? What's going on? Can I write you?" I was glad he called, because I felt...nothing. No anger, no resentment, no uncertainty. Just a little surreal to have him act like it had been a week or so since he called. When he died, I hadn't seen him in 9 years. It was hard, but also okay. I'd accepted his limitations and set my boundaries years before. Either we had a real relationship or we had nothing. He chose nothing. It was much easier than pretending.

Don't know if that helps at all. Just affirming that setting boundaries is the right choice, even if the outcome is not seeing your father anymore.

Wow. That was a treatise. Delete at will.