This weird thing with my dad is exhausting me emotionally. Everything was going really well with us until he asked if I could just work on things with my mom because she was almost jealous that he and I were talking so much and doing so much better.
Why would he do that? Why would he sacrifice what we have worked on and pushed through as leverage so I would also work on things with her? It makes me remember things about my childhood, like the way they played good cop and bad cop on me, depending on what I had done wrong. My dad would say I could do something or eat something, but if my mother asked, I shouldn’t tell her that he said it was ok. He was asking me to lie to cover him.
I did it most of the time because I felt like he and I had a special connection. We did. It was against her. If she was raging on Saturday morning because the house had gotten cluttered during the week, he would sneak around and hide from her and tell me to do the same. If she called for me, he would push me to go to her, while still hiding and not helping her pick up.
It was confusing for a child. Was it him and us against her? I guess the answer to that depends on what was going on.
She never pitted us against him. If I complained to her about him, she either ignored what I said or defended him. Every single time. If he said no, she would stick to the no. There was no begging her to switch his mind. There was no chance she’d go against him. I’m not sure she knew how much he was undermining her secretly.
I have my issues with him that we are both working on.
I have my issues with her that I am trying to heal from with no input from her. There is no discussion, no accountability, no chance to make things right. She can’t handle that. She refuses to be vulnerable with anyone and would prefer to not look weak. She must be tough at all times. Needing to rest after a surgery is weakness. Going to bed early is a weakness. Crying is showing weakness. The wall she had surrounding herself is too thick for her to take down. She wouldn’t even know what to do with that level of vulnerability. So why would he ask me to intentionally take a fist to the face from her, knowing that I would be standing there alone working on things?
And why can’t she just be happy that he and I are working things out? She used to write me letters all the time about how I just can’t hurt his feelings because he’s such an emotional person. So why act like this? Why be jealous?
It’s all too much. The dysfunction in my parents’ relationship with each other is not my problem to solve. If someone wants to better a relationship, the right answer is working on it, not being worried about another relationship that is different. I will make a decision eventually and do what I need to do. But for the short term, I need to put this out of my mind because it’s too exhausting. I can’t wrap my brain around this weird dance with my parents.