This past week I did the unthinkable – I set a boundary with my father, and said ‘no’! Shock, horror, call the bad behaviour police! It was a boundary set to protect my mental health. I don’t do change well and let’s face it, I’ve got a lot on my plate with the move.
It shouldn’t have been a big deal, but it’s become a big deal. His retaliation when I don’t please him is ALWAYS a solid dose of silent treatment. Purely from my own experience, it ranks right up there as being one of the cruellest forms of punishment and manipulation because you are denied that which is intrinsically human.
All contact is withheld – written, verbal, even eye contact. You become invisible; the message that you don’t exist is very clear. If you are nothing and nobody, what value do you have? What self-worth do you carry? None. You have been damned, abandoned, and the message is ‘you have only yourself to blame‘. Deep shame combines with a compulsive need to please, conform, obey, comply. Anything to get that person to acknowledge and love you again. You don’t know what the rules are, but you live in constant fear of breaking them, and your fate is at the mercy of someone who is supposed to keep you safe. So you reshape yourself over and over again, you shamelessly grovel and beg to please in the hopes of forgiveness. Buy hey, if it allows you access back into the fold, you’ll sell your soul.
Well, I may be in the dog box, but this old bitch ain’t doin’ tricks no more! No more codependency. I’m building myself from the ground up and I won’t see my hard work go to waste. His displeasure frightens me and the urge to please and grovel is ingrained. But I’m doing things differently, and this time I’m going to protect the child that was never kept safe.