The Ultimate Manipulation

Warning--this is a very LONG post. Just a heads up. 

For almost two and a half years now, I have set out each day to make my life one worth living, not by changing who I am, but instead by learning to love the real me and to give up on the "ideal" me. I'm never going to be that person. It's like Sheryl Crow said:

It's not about getting what you want
It's about wanting what you got
I've spent so much time and effort at this. And yet today, for some inexplicable reason, the weight of codependency has fallen heavy on me.


Have you ever known someone who knew that they were adopted and were searching for their biological parents, or just the opposite--a parent searching for a child they gave up? I haven't known any personally, but I've seen enough documentaries and TV shows to know that there is a profound loss as they try to put the pieces together.

This...

This feels like what I imagine that must.

I'm not going to slander anyone...directly. There's no need. I will express my feelings freely because I know that I can do that here safely.

So, I know my biological father. I know who he is. I've met him. I saw him just 18 months ago for the first time in 18 years. No, really. It had been 18 years. See I can tell you what he looks like; I can tell you his hobby, his career prior to retirement, and even that he is an active volunteer even now as he approaches 70.

I KNOW that he enjoys children; he taught elementary school for thirty years, and I can pull pictures online of him at ag fairs demonstrating his hobby, and there are always children.

But he didn't, doesn't and won't want ME tomorrow either.

He doesn't.

[Insert Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" here]

I've set him free before.

But that was before I really understood and felt the pain of my childhood. I'm not talking about "Owies" kind of pain. I'm talking about taking a dagger, stabbing me in the heart with it, reaching into my chest to pull my heart out slowly pain. Agonizing. Bursts of red and dark blue as I bawl kind of pain. The kind that you think maybe would just pass if you could hold your breath for, I don't know, maybe about 30 years.



My DH is a wonderful father. He dotes on his daughters. I watch him as he holds them, as he scoops them up when they are scared or hurt, when they are playing and giggling. I see him look at these girls like they are the most precious things in the world. I see him bathe them in love, forgiveness, pride and compassion. I see his smile when they smile up at their daddy.

And I've turned into this little green monster with a streak of rage it's prone to--jealousy with rage. It doesn't hurt him or our daughters, but it's this constant reminder that there is a man out there who was supposed to feel and do these same things for me when I was little. And instead...

...He acted like I only existed two or three times a year when he was in town visiting his sister and her family. Yeah, my aunt. WHO I'VE NEVER MET. And my cousins. WHO I'VE NEVER MET.

I was a beautiful baby. I had sheepish, coy smiles like my girls do. From the few pictures that were salvaged from the hoard of my early years, I can tell that I captivated my extended family. I was bright, beautiful, a child of promise. But I was unwanted. I guess on some level I still am.

***********

I've just spent almost two hours trying to put information about my father's family together. You know what I got? NOTHING. I know my paternal grandfather and grandmother's names. I know the years they were born and died. I even know PatGMa's maiden name. But you know what, there's not a thing out there in the inter webs that gives me more than a modicum of proof that they existed. I know that my father has several siblings. Names, ages? Nothing! I have cousins. But I can't find them.

It's like some part of me is being erased each time I think about it. They're already gone. I just want some idea of the people they were. That's all. One picture, one memory about their lives.

But I am the unwanted, so I get nothing.

***********

Last May I got the courage to email my father and ask him to fill in some holes. This was the response I received (I've cut and pasted it without changing the formatting at all):

YOU ARE A BRIGHT, INTELLIGENT WOMAN!   WHY ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT THE PAST???
LIVE FOR THE PRESENT AND FUTURE!
TAKE CARE AND ENJOY YOUR AMAZING LIFE!

That's what I can know about my life. I should forget the past. I shouldn't worry about the fact that I was living in hell, and my father--a school teacher, a devout practicing Catholic couldn't be bothered to know me or what I was going through. Take care and enjoy your amazing life???

I want to cuss him out!!! (And if you know me, you know I don't CUSS ever!)

What gives you the right to tell me to forget my past and move on? How can you even tell that I'm a bright, intelligent woman? Because you saw 22 minutes of me relying on God purely as I attempted to help my mentally ill mother clean out her level five hoard, "The Original Poop House?"Who knows how many million people across the world have seen that and yet most of them could probably understand me far more. Why?

Because YOU are the ultimate manipulator, Dad. I'm tired of pretending that you were innocent. You weren't teenagers. If you were consummating a relationship with my mother, than you darn well should have gotten to know me. If not then, NOW. But you don't want that. You want to act like it was all a simple misspelling in the journal of my life and we'll simply erase the mistake and rewrite the past so that it doesn't implicate you. You can go on pretending that I don't need to know you or how you became my father but left before I was born. And I don't mean left, like you were sharing a place or married. No, I mean you left the state. You bear the responsibility of cheapening my mother and me. Have you confessed that to the priest???? Have you told God who you really are? Do you even admit it to yourself?

I'm not one to judge; judge not lest ye be judged. I do, however, publicly own up to my mistakes. I've told my children the truth about who I was as a teen although I'm far from proud of it. I've apologized and hung my head because I can't erase the memories of their rage-filled mother behaving badly towards them in the past. I've cried and begged forgiveness; I'm sure I'll do it again.

And right now, I have to tell you this--you are NOT my dad, daddy, father, padre, pere, papa. I don't have one. Not here anyway.

And after the pain I've felt tonight trying to find you...just a simple bit of knowledge...and finding nothing, my REAL Daddy spoke to me:

"Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God." John 1:12-13


Forget it. I have no more interest in this. You've made your choice. It hurts, it has hurt me for as long as I can remember, and it will likely continue to hurt me until I go to be with my Daddy in heaven. But you don't get to tell me to forget about the past and live in a wonderful future. You have no RIGHT! NO RIGHT!

Abandonment, you see, is the ultimate manipulation...

Comments

Anonymous said…
Ceci, first of all I love Bonnie Raitt.......her song "I can't make you love me" is one of my all-time favorites. God bless you.........I can't imagine being denied by my own father......does his family, wife know about you???? If not, the time has come.....

I have a neighbor who had a child with a man who never acknowledged her, she never went for child support ( I don't know if your mother did this for you.) Upon his death the child did step forward. Needless to say it was not an easy time for the his family, but it was the right thing to do......

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