A Paper Cut
Have you ever gotten a paper cut?
I am sure we all have at one point.
You're sitting reading, or flipping through pages of a magazine.
At first you think you're fine, and then it begins to sting and then eventually it hurts more as you realize the depth of the cut. Then the cut becomes an annoyance more than anything.
That pain is how I would describe most interactions with my dad.
I try to avoid him like a paper cut. No one wants one. I am not saying I don't want a dad, but the interactions with my dad often start like a paper cut.
The interaction begins and you think you're fine, then it begins to string and eventually hurt and then you end up just feeling extremely annoyed.
Today is my parent's 29th anniversary.
I woke up and wished them a happy anniversary. It was the first time I'd seen them together in the same room all week. I have a very busy and hectic schedule and my mom goes to bed earlier, while my dad stays up late on his laptop doing "business marketing". So I often don't see them, they do their own thing in the evenings. Sometimes I can catch them in a same room for an hour or so, but for the most part there is little social interaction or quality time spent together.
Most conversations with my parents, primarily my dad, quickly spin out of control and my dad raises his voice and changes his tone. The minute I tell him to stop, it's like a volcano explosion and I typically retreat.
This morning after wishing them a happy anniversary, I asked them about a holiday party I was considering throwing.
Later that afternoon, my mom's whole family and my parents got together for lunch. The conversation quickly became very pointed at me from my dad.
The conversation started talking about my brother possibly being deployed again this year and when my dad sounded surprised that I knew, he began to raise his voice/tone at me. He was there when my mom talked to me earlier this week.
Half of the time I don't remember how the conversation escalates because I'm so busy trying to duck and cover from the mudslinging a majority of the time. My defense mechanism is to retreat because there is less damage and shrapnel verses running towards the front lines to fight.
It ended with him calling me rude for bringing up the holiday party this morning instead of gushing over their anniversary and marriage.
While I think that my parents love each other, they essentially live separate lives emotionally from each other. Seeking fulfillment in mind-numbing tv, gambling, alcohol, drugs, and the internet... amongst other things I'm sure. We have been socially and emotionally disengaged from each other for years.
My dad continues to only have conversations with me regarding business and marketing. Although I continue to tell him I don't want to talk regarding those things.
I don't know which is worse: to listen and attempt not to roll my eyes or, to distance myself to avoid the conversations and interactions all together?
My dad has this dream of becoming a business and internet marketer, but he has little experience and the process is time consuming. He has a full-time job. These attempts are to get out of debt, when in reality he pays into people and programs to make him successful but he never has enough money to really get something off the ground and so it fails. Again and again, he gives away money.
Growing up my dad used to tell me: "you must believe in something, or you'll fall for anything, and eventually become nothing." The hard thing is that, he doesn't believe in God in the way that he should. He falls for business ploys and schemes to help him achieve this unrealistic ideal of the American Dream. Every single month there is something new that he is believing in and when it fails him, he blames me or my mom for not supporting him. It's a vicious cycle.
I went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and am dealing with my own student loans and debt. I am a firm believer in not living or spending beyond your means. Yet my dad continues to be dishonest with his finances and to spend money here and there and everywhere. It adds up.
I am often called the unsupportive and selfish daughter. The one who went to college who won't support her father. My dad asked me if I had $2500 today at lunch. To which I advised no. Last month he asked if I had $10,000 he could have or borrow. I wouldn't be living at home if I had that kind of money stored up.
I live pay check to pay check attempting to snowball my debt within the next year with my car payments and credit cards and within 5-7 years with my student loans. Apparently I am not a good daughter because I won't "lend" him money or because I went to college and am not stable enough to help him. His partial investment in my education isn't paying out for him and the blame gets placed on me. I learned a lot of what got me where I am financially is because my parents didn't teach me good financial skills, but also because my parents (with the exception of some student loans) don't provide for me like most people my age or that I know in my community. I anticipate little to no financial help with the time comes for me to get married.
The thing that makes this so hard, is that I have overcome leaps and bounds of hurt and pain from the verbal and emotional abuse that I experienced as a child. You can read about those discoveries and healing in other blog posts of mine.
But any time spent with my dad when I am not fully healed is like getting another paper cut or getting a band-aid quickly ripped off.
But I have to remember... paper cuts happen. And they eventually heal and the string stops hurting.
I pray that I can eventually avoid all paper cuts because I have healed so much and been restored that God's grace and compassion for my father is like healing super powers and the paper cuts eventually don't hurt and don't happen.
I ask that you pray for my heart to continue mending. For God to continue to allowing me healthy distance until I can over grace and compassion only. I pray that my dad can come to know the loving Father I know and that he can find healing and forgiveness in the arms of Our Savior.