This weekend I ran into a situation that happens a lot in my life and yet this was the first time that I saw it for what it was. Now, I need to find a way to put all of the pieces of it together, figure out my part in it and then learn to work on my reaction to these situations in the future.
When I was growing up, my father was the “law” in my family. He is a very hard person to explain and this maybe why I can’t figure out some of my issues when it comes to him. If you can’t explain it, how can you figure it out? However, I am going to try so that I can get past some of the older baggage that I carry around.
My father is always right, you can’t change his mind and for the most part, you can’t even talk to him about it. If you try, he will badger you until you submit or just ignore you. He does all of this in a very passive way that is hard for me to put into words. I do know that to this day, it makes me feel small and irrelevant. I can be talking about my daughter and how something makes me feel and he will argue with me about it. This man sees my daughter a total of 2 hours a week, if that and I am always around for it and yet he wants to tell me what is best for her or how I feel about a situation with her.
My mother and father were married for 30 years and together since middle school. My mom hates confrontation, so when my dad would badger her, she would just completely shut down and internalize her feelings. She couldn’t win anyway, so what was the point of talking to him? Years and years of this kind of thing with him has resulted in a lot of health issues for her and an inability to talk about problems of any kind that relate to her.
The other problem is that I am a lot like my dad and when someone won’t communicate with me, I start to badger them. I begin to feel like I am spiraling into a huge well of anxiety when someone shuts me out and my survival instincts kick in. It’s like I begin to fight for my life or at least answers. I may even be more like him than I think and “want to win” too. So, when my mom and I have an issue, I try to confront it, she gets a glimpse of my dad and shuts down, I want answers, so I start to charge at her like a rabid pit-bull and it creates a massive disconnect.
Here is the other issue that I have. I tend to find relationships with people that can’t or won’t communicate with me either. I really just thought that I was the only person on earth that like to talk about issues until this weekend when I realized that this is a pattern with me from childhood and that it is not normal. Communication is a major part in any relationship, and my three (maybe more) faults that play into this are;
1). the way I go about initiating the conversation. My demeanor and attitude going in.
2). my subconscious ability to either draw to me or search out this kind of person that is unable to talk things out.
3). the badgering that I do to make someone communicate with me. The wanting answers/wanting to win.
After both my mom and I calmed down, we had a decent conversation that I hope will help with future issues and the way we communicate about them.
I realized that yes, I am right to want to communicate with people but I have to choose relationships with people that can communicate, tweak my ways of initiating it and my reasons for wanting to communicate in the first place.
All and all, a good realization and step towards my “getting healthy” quest.