When is enough, actually enough? When do you draw the line? With my husband the alcoholic, I drew the line in October 2011. And now we’re divorced. That’s the impact of drawing a line. So if I want to say “enough’s enough”, I better be pretty damn sure I can live with the consequences.
My father and I have never gotten along. As a child, my impression of him was strict, severe and daunting, and I was scared shitless of him. As a young adult there was never any pleasing him. And oh boy, the lengths I went to to try. My mother was the referee, the buffer between us, until she commited suicide in 1992. Ironically, he still won’t acknowledge that she was mentally ill. Seriously? Come now, she jumped from a psychiatric ward. Who puts the psychiactric ward on the top floor of a hospital, anyway? And it goes without saying he cannot bring himself to say the word ‘bipolar’, let alone acknowledge his only child is also mentally ill.
I embarrass him. I bitterly disappoint him. He’s ashamed of me. These are not my perceptions, these are statements he’s made. We harbour our individual resentments and betrayals that go back decades. I have reached out to him many times. I apologise. I try to talk, explain. Try to get him to understand I’m not a bad person. I try hard – to change, to be better, to please him, to make him proud. But I fail, constantly.
I understand his importance to me as my father. I love him and I know he loves me in his own way. But nothing ever changes. He makes no effort to meet me halfway. He provides no support – and we all know how important a good support structure is. If anything, his behaviour has only gotten worse the older he’s become, now 74yrs old. If he hasn’t changed by now, he ain’t gonna change. And I’m tired – of being accused, neglected, criticized, undermined, invalidated, misunderstood, embarrassed, drowned in guilt, unsupported and disbelieved.
I drew the line with my father on Wednesday after a heated conversation on the phone. Needless to say, enough is now enough. No more. I’m not doing it. I’m tired of trying to convince my own father to like the person I am. I’m his only child. I just don’t understand it. I’m done. I’ve drawn the line.
Over the years we’ve had countless arguments and I am always the one who reaches out first and apologises, so I have zero expectation of him getting in touch with me. And this time I’m okay with that because I want nothing more to do with him.