Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Alcoholic... updated.

For years I've hoped and wished that my father would be the parent he should have been while we were growing up.  I've given him the benefit of the doubt and thought he was a good person somewhere inside.   That he could be rational and logical.  That he, without alcohol, could be the dad he always had the potential to be.  I always assumed me getting married would bring out the good dad despite if he's begun to drink again (which he has).  That he would be overjoyed about the wedding and falling all over himself to give me away.  All I want is a real dad who loves me for me...  who's proud of me for what I've accomplished rather than the man who at my undergrad graduation rather than praising my achieving magna cum-laude stated that I should have been suma cum-laude.

Instead I get a father who makes me cry over my wedding.  Who has me bawling my eyes out because once again I have the feeling that nothing I do or plan is good enough.  He's not offered to help to pay with the wedding, yet I never expected financial support from anyone.  When it came to our choice of BBQ for catering, he had nothing but complaints.  And when I asked him about renting a suit or tux to walk me down the isle, he let me down by giving me that tone as he said he was going to wear a suit he had because he didn't have the money (or rather didn't want to spend $) to rent one.  But today's conversation has pushed me over the line.  Until now, I've dealt with his complaints and dismissed them aside as being irrational.  But today with all the stress I've been dealing with and how behind I am with plans, I just couldn't handle him.

His conversation started out oddly in that he was asking if we were still planning to wed in September.  I thought this was an absurd question as it's 4 months away, we've put deposits down, have the permit for the park...  it's a point of no return.  So I told him just that.  He asked if we had talked to a minister yet and I told him we were still discussing if we wanted a minister closer to our age or this other one that I've known from childhood.  Then he turned irrational stating he didn't see why we were having the September wedding, having the girls buy dresses and doing everything then if we were already married (referring to the city hall legal marriage that I told him about on mother's day).  I explained that the September wedding was to be for all of our family and friends.  It was to be the big religious ceremony whereas city hall was just for legal purposes.  I told him the September wedding was the important wedding where he was to give me away.  He stated that he didn't see the point for it as we would already be married.  And that he wouldn't actually be giving me away if we got married months earlier.  While I understand his point, the cultural and religious aspect of this marriage is in September...  and culturally he would still be giving me away for the important ceremony.  (Additionally in todays society, the significance of giving away your daughter is already tainted as there is no virgin bride or crazy dowry anymore.)  City hall is just the legal binding, you go in and say "I do", ceremony.  But he wouldn't budge and wouldn't listen to reason.  He wouldn't even let me explain that besides the legal aspects, we had only told the family in the case that we would need to do a rushed ceremony due to Josh's grandma's failing health (which I had explained also on Mother's day to him).  At the point during which he started to make me cry over the phone...  I promptly told him that I can't talk to him anymore.  Told him goodbye and immediately hung the phone up.  He hasn't called back and I refuse to call him.

Now I know that telling him of city hall was a huge mistake.  Had Josh's grandmother not had another stroke, we were planning on telling a soul...except for the few people that we could grab at a moments notice to be witnesses.  But I can't change the past and make what I told him go away.  I can't hide it now.  That being so, he also doesn't need to be so irrational and get me crying uncontrollably like he had when I was a child and he was an angry alcoholic.  I hate feeling this aweful...  I hate crying to the point where I can't catch my breath and my whole body wants to shake.  I hate the fact that I still let him get to me the way he does.  In the end I'm still the little girl praying for a real father and being let down by my religion to find that my father has not and will never change.  Nothing I ever do will be good enough in his eyes and I have to stop hoping that it will.

****Update  5-24.
Through outside channels and not directly talking to my father, I've come to find out he's bothered because he's very traditional and feels that we need to have a Lutheran ceremony for it to be a legit marriage.  In all honesty...I find this a bit absurd.  Growing up, he rarely came to church as we got older. And now as far as I know he's like the rest of us... a Chr-easter who only goes Christmas and Easter.  So why now is there this issue of us "needing" a religious ceremony by a lutheran minister?  Plus he ought to know by now as we've mentioned it many times before...  Josh is Buddhist.  Unless we find a rebel of the missouri synod, I don't think they'd be keen on marrying the two of us as obviously we aren't practicing the same religion (and I don't really see going to church anymore as religion has failed me when I most needed it).

So why now all this religiousness?  Is he using it as an excuse for why he's upset as to us doing city hall instead of just stating the fact that he did when I talked to him... that he doesn't see the point of walking me down the isle if I'm already married?  Or is it that he truly doesn't no accurately recall the 14 years he was a drunk?  And he thinks he's been religious all this time?  Alcoholics have a rose colored view of the world when remembering things.  They don't remember the pain they cause towards those closest to them.  For instance...  one of my worst memories he recalls as if it were a funny story.  He's actually brought it up the last two times I have visited and I haven't had the nerve to yell at him for doing so.  See when I was a teen and had enough of his drunken verbal abuse, I told him off and called him a jackass to his face (thinking he was too drunk to get off the couch).  Unfortunately for me, he wasn't drunk enough.  He chased me up the stairs and when I thought I had cleared the last step, he caught me by my ankle and dragged me down each stair step.  Dazed and confused at the bottom, I was sure he was going to beat me to death.  On the norm he was more of a verbally abusive man but at this moment of time I saw pure anger and evil in his eyes.  So I cringed, closed my eyes and waited for what awaited me.  Luckily for me, my mom heard the commotion while doing laundry in the basement.  And before he throw one punch she caught his wrist and told him if he ever laid a hand on anyone of us or hurt a hair on our heads... she would kill him.  She told him to leave me be and go back to the couch.  This he willingly did... She then told me it would be best not mouth off at him ever again because she would not always be there to protect me.  I did my best and shortly after that...  we were able to force him into AA rehab as he left a mark on my mother during another instance of drunken rage (The only way you can force an alcoholic into rehab is if they leave physical evidence of their violence and you can press charges.  By getting it legally documented, you can then force them to stop drinking.  Otherwise the only alternative is to pick up and leave them... which my mother did not make enough to raise 3 kids alone.).

Now remembering that story is not one of joy... not one of fun... not a silly story to be retold.   For me, that is one of my worst memories, if not the worst memory.  One of the most painful.  Every time I think about it, it makes me sad and angry.  I usually cry when retelling it... (right as this moment my eyes are filled with tears).  Originally the crying was because of such emotional pain... now it is more because of the fact that he hasn't and will not realize what a truly terrible mean mentally abusive drunk he was.  He will never realize how badly he hurt us or how much he damaged us in the long run.   How during the most influential times of our emotional and psychological growth, he did more damage than any other horrific event could have ever done.

I suppose my next course of action is to seek a source such as Al-anon (a support network for those affected by alcoholics) to find the best way to get a mediator.  To find a safe environment where us kids can confront him and set things straight to make him realize how really was... and to make him realize that the past was all rainbows and sunshine.  That he had an alcohol problem and should never touch the stuff again.  How if he doesn't wise up and make amends for his past... he may loose us forever.

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