Let me say to things before we get started: I think powerless and acceptance are siblings and powerless does not mean weakness. Okay, now we can get started.
Many of us, and I am no exception, grow up believing that we will (and must!) arrive at some level of maturity, of adulthood, wherein we will be able to control our fate. And while time, experience and circumstance teach us this isn’t so, sometimes we (I) drift from reality and think fall back into believing we control our own fate.
Recently I had to make the emotionally wrenching decision (again) to emotionally protect myself from my daughter. No father loves his daughter more than I love mine and it is not her fault by any stretch of the imagination that she was raised by a mother and, ultimately, a step-father who pretty much blamed her and held her responsible for every conceivable thing in life that went wrong. What she went through was, in a word, brutal. While she and I were close when she was young her mother did all she could to drive a wedge between us and, as my closest friend Michael said to me years ago, “Peter, she (my daughter) lives under the influence and there’s nothing you can do about it.” Tragically true.
But my daughter, like the many (most) who grew up in terribly dysfunctional settings is responsible for her healing and she is also responsible for how she treats people, including, now that she is 33, the way she treats her father.
Again I have let her know that my door is always open to her as long as there is respect. Recently when I looked at her Facebook page I saw language that saddened me; use of the word nigga left and right, meant, I suppose, as some kind of cool street slang (there is not one iota of racism in my daughter’s veins). When I wrote to her and cautioned her about her use of language, pointing out that perspective employers and business partners and more regularly look at people’s Facebook pages she lashed back accusing me of snooping adding an additional flourish of nastiness.
There has been a plethora of barbs from her over the years, some built with a kind of cruelty that is foreign to me, foreign to me even before I got sober more than eight years ago.
I am not unique though; there are many parents grappling with the reality that their now grown children are no longer the beautiful child they knew early on.