Draw the line

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.

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18 comments

  1. Hello my friend
    Saying enough is liberating, doesn’t always feel great at first. I after abuse from my mother since childhood, I played the good girl and sent the holiday cards and thank you notes. Every year my mother took the opportunity to push responsibility for the abuse of me. I took the card to my Therapist and she said the words that freed me. “Your mother doesn’t deserve you.” We talked about what my mother was doing and I never looked back. I am a healthier person and took control back. You are right, you can not say anything to change your dad. He is dealing with life in denial like many. No one can choose mental illness or not, we know by educating ourselves we have a life long illness. We can manage with the help of medical professionals and living healthy in a healthy support system. It’s heartbreaking when the support doesn’t include our family. We have to make hard decisions for our health and happines.
    Hugs
    M

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you M
      Haha, it certainly doesn’t feel great at first. I feel like such an awful person. But your comments are comforting and validate my choice. Right now, I feel like such a bad daughter. But its good to know in time I will feel liberated. It’s time I took care of myself. Its time to say abuse and abandonment are unacceptable – from my father, ex-husband, the blacksmith and the salesman. I want to make life affirming choices for myself, learn from my mistakes. I want to make decisions that lead me towards good health and happiness. That don’t constantly harm me.
      Thanks my friend, I’m so grateful for your support

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hello my friend,
        You deserve so much more and no one
        can control that better than you.
        You are a very strong person and building your life will get hard at times, best of all your at the wheel. I here when you need a hand or a happy dance!
        Hugs
        M

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I cut my dad off for years, then one day I made the decision to start seeing him again, but it would be on my terms. Conversation in person or on the phone was fine, but the minute he would start with the abusive crap I’d leave or hang up. I wasn’t dramatic and never told him why, but simply told him it was time to go. It worked out well.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It takes great strength to draw the line with the people we love. But sometimes for our own health and wellbeing we have to do it, though it may bring pain and guilt in the short term.
    I believe that my parents did the best job that they knew how to when it came to raising me. It doesn’t mean it was always enough, or that it was the right way to do it. It just means that they coped with the knowledge and experience they had at the time for coping. I like to believe it’s the same for all parents, even when it’s never enough – they did the best they knew how to do.
    We are very lucky to live in a time of knowledge and support for people with mental illness – of course it isn’t perfect, but it’s a heck of a lot better than 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago.
    I wish you all the best in the future, stay strong and take care of yourself – you deserve happiness and mental well being.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am so sorry to hear of your father’s rejection. He is making a big mistake but it’s wise of you to put an end to the abuse. You don’t deserve that. I hope you have others in your life who hold you up and support and love you. You deserve it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I could write volumes here.

    You are right to say enough is enough – drawing lines for what you will tolerate from others is a sign of emotional health and maturity, even when your father is the one on the other side of your line.

    You can still love him – just from a safe distance.

    T

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Even my shrink told me l was off expecting anymore from my father! I had draen some sort of line, but l still kept wishing he would call for once. But now, l wrote il all out, forgave him and my ownself, but left it at that. I am peaceful. Maybe someday I’ll feel like to try reaching out again? In the meantime, my emotional and mental well-being is supreme! All the best to you pieces! As for that wife of his, ignore her and if u really can, block then on whassap too and wherever it could be tempting to reach out to them! Those are called safe boundaries!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Marie, you’re a gem. You’ve reminded me I’m not being bad, I’m just establishing boundaries. Do you know, 3 years ago when I left my husband, I didn’t know what a boundary was? I guess I’m still in my infancy as far as boundaries go. But I’d better learn fast because its sink or swim 🙂 Had a terrible weekend with the two of them. But I will keep focused on setting my boundaries because that’s what’s important for ME! Have a wonderful monday, Marie 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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