You have such great insights and can write our your thoughts in a very deep, meaningful way and I am truly grateful for that, Rick.
Yes, my dad is very disassociated with his thoughts and feelings. All of my siblings, our spouses, our children are extremely frustrated with this because it impacts all of us. And he chooses to be very set in his ways, not wanting to learn, grow, thrive, and have a better life (as we see it). My mom, on the other hand, has evolved, and can see how she brought us up was what she thought best at the time, but now, looking back, she regrets not knowing these things she now knows and raising us better.
I was angry at my mom for a long time, until I realized both my parents (as do most parents) did the best with what they thought was the best for their children. And yes, we are the product of considerably better than what they grew up. When I was born, Communist China had the 1 child policy. Had I been born in China, I would have been an only child or been given away or died. But, I’ve had the privilege of being born in the U.S., having 3 brothers, a sister, never going hungry, being able to speak my mind without fear of death to myself or my family. I have the privilege of not being indoctrinated by a Communistic regime.
I want for so much for my dad to learn, grown and thrive well, but his own mindset is a deathtrap. I can’t force him to my way of thinking and I honestly don’t know how to deal with this. I’m learning how to see my emotions and embrace them no matter what they are, and then deal with them in a healthy way because I was never taught how to do this and it seems it’s someone in my familial DNA to have disassociation with my emotions.
Tenderness, gentleness is something I am working on, but I have to recognize when I’m being harsh, judgmental (one needs to judge in certain situations but not everything and in a mean manner), critical, impatient, etc. I can change and I do notice over the past few years as I’ve been actively working on changing, the more I change, the more “the world”, “my world,” changes around me.
My dad is the toughest nut I know and he’s a hard nut to crack. My mom, siblings, spouses, our children, most people I know, have been able to evolve to a better place (but then, better is how I see it and may not necessarily be better from someone else’s perspective). So what I see now is to have tenderness towards my father’s inability to see he that he doesn’t see and just accept him for this, even though I don’t like it.
For my family and I, we can deal with the idiosyncrasies until they might bring danger or harm to himself, which he has done these past few years. It’s resulted in a lot of us cleaning up and dealing with the messes he has created. Car accidents, traffic tickets, hospitalizations, paramedics, fire department, the police, lots of medical issues. Each of our families has had to pitch in to help him A LOT, and his ways are really draining all of us to exhaustion. He’s just one person and we all have families. He’ll be 92 in less than 2 weeks.
How can we not help our father? I am very challenged to be tender towards him because he either is lashing out in anger and/or nonsense (though legally he is considered lucid) or saying he’ll comply or agree when he really doesn’t (if he can physically hear what you’re saying). It is like dealing with a 5 yrs old’s emotional immaturity and a person that chooses to live in his own fantasy world without regard to how it may harm someone else (i.e., he’s a great driver - the accidents even totaling his car, the near misses, running lights, disregarding traffic laws, traffic violations - everyone is in the wrong, but not him). He can potentially kill someone accidentally because he is a really bad driver, very slow reflexes.
I’m sorry. I’m sort of going in a downward spiral and I need to regroup. Tap, tap, tap. I can’t change a person. I can’t change for a person. And I have to choose to not let this frustrate me.