Thanks Dad... I Guess

I know that I'm not the only person to have had this experience. Life is not always sweet but we can make of it what we choose.

My father was completely disassociated… from everything not just me. When he got home from the office he sat and played solitaire, never speaking or interacting with the family. Occasionally he would erupt in a rage and beat my older brother, never me and the outbursts were rare but the risk was always there just below the surface. He actually just sat silent in his chair 95% of the time for 15 years. Perhaps there were reasons for his state but that’s another story. This one is about me.

I was an accomplished athlete, playing many sports in which I excelled. Each year at the awards banquet I had to mount the stage to receive my awards, best hitter, best offensive lineman, best defensive lineman, outstanding player etc with no one in the audience. I sat with my coaches for the dinner and was ashamed that my family did not attend. None of my family, not my father, mother, brother or sister ever attended any of my games. Was I not good enough? My fellow players were cheered on by their family. But I was only recognized by my teammates and coaches.

At age 10 I began martial arts training (on my own initiative and along with my other sporting endeavors). Over the years I became a very proficient competitor, winning in local, regional and national competitions. Eventually becoming a pro and making it onto ABC TV’s Wide World of sports. Once again my parents never recognized any of my achievements. My neighbors saw me on the tube but I have no idea if my father ever saw me in action.

What can I say about it? I learned to act in my own self interests, setting my own agenda and judging the results of my actions without input from others. Yes I became isolated and perhaps I was still seeking approval through my continued involvement in high level combat sport. Maybe my need to compete and excel is the result of my parent’s lack of involvement but what ever the cause I have chosen to seek excellence and become my own person.

So…. thanks dad… I made it anyway.

----- Update 7/5/10 ------
I wrote this story in a couple of minutes without much thought. I’ve been over these circumstances many, many times and had thought I was beyond the whole thing and I don’t know what brought me to the point of writing about it.
The gracious response of EPeeps to this post has been surprising and humbling.
However what is most surprising is my reaction to some of the story’s negative comments.
EP is a free for all and any story out there is fair game for anyone to comment on, positively or negatively.
I’m a “big boy” and have had my share of banal, pointless or vindictive comments on my stories. So what? Its no big deal and most of us have had similar experiences when we post. We usually just blow them off with a shrug.
Yet when “yeshucan” posted a less than complementary comment I went off.
What was THAT about? (NDD rolls his eyes at himself!)
It is true that he made inaccurate assumptions, charged me with misrepresentation and gave me impossible advice (both of my parents are long dead and buried) but so what? He was not grossly offensive nor did he score a telling blow to my sense of honor. So why did I bother to respond at all?
As some of you have commented these types of situations generate feelings of inferiority and self doubt in children living in dysfunctional families. I to have had to deal with my own “unworthiness” and although I thought I’d gotten it under control (it’s been a hell of a long time since these events occurred) apparently I’m still struggling with the issue.
I’ve been in the process of trying to address an age old and important question. “Who am I, really?” Am I just the sum of my experiences or is the state of my consciousness as I experience life the primary factor? This question calls for close examination of my entire life and it appears I’ve brought unresolved feelings and memories to the surface. My unworthiness now seems to be bubbling just below my daily stream of consciousness and unfortunately I’m not advanced enough to meet a direct assault on my worth as a human with equanimity.
So…. once again EP has served its purpose. I am being forced to deal with my delusions and release my attempts to grasp at a (long held) false persona as the “alpha dog” to protect myself from the wounds of long ago. I know that I’ll never “get over it” because the wounds have long since scared over and that inflexible tissue will be a life long part of my psyche.
Now I’ll just have to learn to let it be, accepting it and try to learn to view both my father and myself with compassion. Wish me luck.
I’m still smarting from this experience and I wonder if I owe “yeshucan” an apology or a thank you for focusing my attention on an unresolved bit of my past - (nods to WiB). Anyone care to offer me advice on this?

BTW: I was never a national champ and was mediocre as a pro. This story was not intended to garner me any ego strokes. I cited my atheletics to raise the issue of parental support. I I believe I have done other things that outweigh any achievements I managed in athletics.
Wikipedia: UT (comic), an adult humour comic published in the UK »
newdaydogEP newdaydogEP
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78 Responses Jun 20, 2010