posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 09:27 AM
I will be 58 in another month, and I share your dilemma: “I essentially have a non-existent relationship with my dad ...” although I am not so
sure about an unqualified "which I think should be rectified.” I surely would like to have a relationship with my dad, of course, but I am not
willing to accept his seeming all-about-him-and-his-life (narcissistic?) terms for one.
By the time I was about 12, my dad had become almost as distant as yours even though his factory was not far away. He was not actually “cold”, as
such, just consumed by his work and feeling important. We all went for drives and picnics and did other things almost weekly, and we enjoyed regular
vacations as a family. However, I always felt secondary to whatever else my dad was actually doing.
My dad sold his factory and retired from business during my senior year of high school, and I left home and entered military service a year later. I
would go back home whenever I had time off, but it was like my dad and I were still mere acquaintances living in different worlds. Even today, and as
you have shared, “I feel he has no idea who I ‘am’ …”
Personally, and even though my own dad has always been very critical of me, I doubt you are actually “a disappointment to him”. Rather, I believe
our fathers were (and still are) simply unaware of what we actually need(ed) from them, and that you are correct about their having “no relationship
skills”. Personally, and whatever the cause might be, even I now find myself with virtually no social or emotional intelligence to offer my own
It is not selfish to desire relationships with others. For all of us, including our fathers, being needed, wanted and loved in meaningful ways is
natural and instinctual, and we do not feel complete (or actually “secure”, overall) without those instincts being satisfied and our needs being
met. In my own case, I had a lot of anger and resentment toward my father for many years, but I have since come to understand and accept that he has
done (and that he still does) his best at living life in accordance with whatever philosophy or religion seems to satisfy him.
What is the solution here? I have yet to find one. My father and I do not embrace the same “measure of success”, and neither of us holds much
respect for the other’s lifestyle. Does that make him wrong and me right? No, but neither does any of that leave him right and me wrong. Rather,
and as in what little I remember of something I once heard many years ago, we have been as two ships passing in the night and ultimately continuing on
their own courses.
I just did a search, and I believe this is that poem:
As Two Ships Passing in the Night
As two ships passing in the night,
So quietly neath the stars soft light;
Our paths cross but now and then.
Reaching out, seeking one another again.
We say hello and then we part,
Knowing we've shared a piece of our heart.
Some friendships stay and sadly some go.
My prayers remain steady hoping ours will grow.
I ache when you're hurting,
I cry when you're sad.
Wanting to comfort and hold you so bad.
Know that I'm waiting here, with open arms,
To share all your troubles and relish your charms.
I have nothing to offer but the soul of a friend,
Strong shoulders to lean on that don't easily bend.
I offer these freely with no strings attached,
For in caring and sharing you'll not meet my match.
So on some long and lonely night
When nothing seems to go just right
Close your eyes and think of me,
Under the moon's glow is where I'll be.