I’m not sure what to make of the weekend. I flew home to visit the family, something I’ve been making more of an effort to do.
I sleep on the couch in the living room when I come home nowadays, since my sister’s ex boyfriend is living in the spare room while he completes technical schooling. He’s a recovering drug addict, the kind addicted to opiates. My parents extended him some compassion when they saw the devotion my sister paid to him, and his inability to provide much of a future working as a day laborer with other rehab peers. Since he moved in in February my sister and him have broken up, and it’s come to light that he’s been using again. This has caused a host of problems. My parents have faith that god is working miracles in his life. I am not so optimistic or compassionate. Perhaps I should be.
My father and I have never had the best relationship. The only way I can describe it is tense. There’s a hatred and a love the coexist so closely that it’s nearly impossible to tell one from the other.
The reason I would describe him as a narcissist is this single feature of our relationship: vulnerability will get you hurt.
You draw close, you feel safe, you believe you are protected and understood, and then he maligns your character, trashes your accomplishments, undermines any feeling of acceptance, and elevates himself to a place of superiority that reveals just how distant he is, and how dissimilar and “better” he thinks himself to be. You are beneath him. His self-righteousness insulates him from feeling the burden of any conflict that was done by his own hand. He is blameless, and so the only logical conclusion is that the fault lies in the world, be it in you, or some cosmic breakdown of communication existing outside of his control.
So, I was reading “Tuesday’s with Morrie” on the couch, and my father begins a political rant. He began with, “I hope you don’t get offended when I say this… But these liberal whack jobs etc…” He was essentially positioning himself on a pulpit to extol the genius of Trump’s ability to exploit the tax code for his benefit. The conversation devolved when I criticized pure capitalism as a totally self-interested enterprise which exploits humanity. I described it as in essence “evil”, and encouraged him to read “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn. He wanted nothing of it. The conversation turned towards my morals when he asked about my own taxes, which I explained I’d happily pay more taxes if I knew they would help society as a whole and be put to good use, and that I do get a check back in the mail, meaning I pay more taxes than necessary. Somehow, when I explained that we need a society based on love and support and community, he turned it around and asked “How’s that working out for you?” When I began defending myself from an economic position, that I have a successful business and friends and make plenty and what not, he reduced those accomplishments to nothing. As if doing a 180, extolling the economic virtues of Trump as the only relevant details of a politician, since he argued that Hillary and Bernie have never contributed, in economic terms, and I was arguing initially that not every contribution is economic and quantifiable. Then he turned to my lifestyle, as if to imply I had nothing to show for myself. He criticized me sleeping with 100’s of women. Acting as if I was a joke, and alone in the world, because I am single. I lost it. I could not believe he was attacking my character. I could not believe it. I just became enraged and began attacking him back, attacking his failings in life and business and as a father. He was unaffected, acting as if he was totally justified and I was being totally out of line. Acting like, oh wow you’re really acting loving and supporting and peaceful.
That being said. I was so floored by the situation, and there was definitely more I could write, that I vowed to never allow his presence in my life again. He is dead to me. I am done being hurt. I am done being attacked. Criticized. Judged. By this self righteous asshole.
I told my mother:
“I want to emphasize that I am not going to Asia. This is not something that is blowing over. This is a commitment by me to never allow his presence into my life ever again, no matter how inconvenient. I’m sorry, and I love you, but I am over him. I am over his self righteous, critical, judgmental, holier than thou, narcissistic, abusive, unapologetic behavior towards me. I am over it. Forever. He’s dead to me for as long as I live. He lost his son forever. This isn’t some passing feeling. This isn’t some temporary emotional episode. This is a lifetime of abuse. Of attacks. Of judgment. Of self righteous criticism. This is a decision I could never make as a child, and now that I’m an adult who wishes to be surrounded with love and acceptance and support and peace, I can make decisions that reinforce those things. He will never be apart of my life again. He will not be attending my wedding. He will not ever meet his grandchildren. He will never see my face again if I have anything to do with it. He will never have the opportunity to tear me down and attack my character and my life and my choices ever again. He’s dead to me. And there will never be a discussion for as long as I live about it any other way. I will not be attending his funeral. I will not be there in his sickness. He’s a stranger now. I don’t know him, I don’t want to know him, and I don’t want anything to do with him for the rest of my life.”
Harsh? I… really don’t care. His attitude is sickening. I cannot stand his “I didn’t do anything. Look at how composed I am. Look how he’s over reacting. It’s not a big deal.”
The whole time I was telling him I am over him, and he’s dead to me, he’s trying to convince me how unrealistic it is. He kept making “points”. “The point is…” and then follow up with how unreasonable I’m being. How impossible it’ll be to not include him in my life. And I just… laughed. I couldn’t believe my ears. He’s trying to reason with me. Marginalize his actions. Make it seem like something I just simply can’t do.
I had enough.
I got up and went to the other room where I changed my flight to Sunday evening, instead of Monday morning. My mother and sister Erin took me to the airport. We had drinks and a burger at Ocean’s 50 in Del Ray, and then they dropped me off.
My mother hugged me very firmly, for a long time. There was emotion in her voice, trembling in her arms, and she told me how much she loved me and how heart broken she is. And I told her I loved her in return. Emotions burned deep within me, but I choked them down, swallowing hard, and smiled and waved goodbye.