I did not forget Father’s Day and I had the kids get a little something for David. Father’s Day is always a source of anxiety for me because I start gearing myself up to call my dad. My dad’s birthday usually falls on the day before or the day after. Still for years, I have problems remembering when it is. Even though his birthday is on the same day as Paul McCartney - I have problems remembering.
I am so horrible at remembering birthdays, and holidays.
It is a significant feat if I remember your birthday. I do not know why I can remember certain people’s birthday, but others I go blank. I do not have many I can remember even though I love birthdays. I love birthdays! I feel a certain amount of guilt for not remembering birthdays, but I cannot. I have tried and I cannot. I am such a riddle wrapped up in an enigma. Hee hee
How can I make sense to others when I am confused about me?
Ok, back to my other thoughts. In the past I would fret, worry, be filled with anxiety preparing for the call to my dad. I had several things going on. I had fear of getting his birthday wrong and calling on the wrong day, or sending his card on the wrong day. I was worried I would forget Father’s Day.
Panic would rage through me.
“When is my dad’s birthday? Oh, God is it the 8th? Is it the 18th? When is Paul McCartney’s birthday? Why can’t I remember? Oh, God I have to call him. What am I going to say? What is he going to be disappointed about? What is he going to say about my mom? What is he going to tell me about my sisters? What can I tell him? What do I need to make sure does not slip out of my mouth?”
I am sharing part of the ongoing script that started as a child.
There is a lot more. Keep in mind this is a script for many phone conversations, not only my father. However, I have much more that I felt I needed to filter when talking to him. I cannot keep the filters up on the phone. I realized that a lot of my anxiety from the phone is the inability to stop talking. In face-to-face conversations, I can fake it.
I can stop talking and people are all right with that.
They see the need to ponder, or at least understand it a little more. On the phone, you are not able to have time to think about what you are saying. This leaves me open to panic and I am unable to control what comes out of my mouth. There can be no silence on the phone! No audible pause – you are required to keep talking. My brain gets fuzzy and flustered because I have to keep going with my words. I am left ending the conversation in complete confusion having no idea what I said.
I do not know what the person said.
Then, the conversation starts to flood my mind and this can be for days. It has been a difficult thing with my dad because I have never known how to perceive him. Some of his words hurt, his behavior was inconsistent, with my sisters and me. He would talk about other people and I did not understand why. Our conversations turned to simplistic and one-dimensional because they hurt me too badly.
I would go through phases of not talking to him for months and months.
There is a lot that happened throughout my life with our relationship that confused me, hurt me, devastated me at times, and made me angry. There are also times when I was overwhelmed with complete joy, and love for my dad. The most confusing and many times the most hurtful thing was how differently I was treated from everyone else.
He has always treated me differently.
I do not know how to explain it, but if you observed it, you could see it. He acted differently around me, and I think this confused my sisters as well. I always took this as my father not wanting me, not wanting to know me, or not being interested in me. He did not ask about me, or when he did I felt judged and condemned – I always felt lacking in all of my abilities because he would share how someone else achieved something else, or did it better.
I did not understand this and took it as being inadequate.
I think I have had much of this all wrong. I think I have misunderstood several things about my father. Now that I look at some of these things in hindsight, I believe he was trying to connect to me. He too needs to have a common interest in order to talk to people. He can be a very literal thinker. He has been prone to black-and-white thinking as well.
His words were unbending and hurtful at times.
Many things go into my relationship with father. Many, many years of pain and confusion for me and my mom was the one who was left to try to comfort me. She is not a very comforting person and it turned into my responsibility to comfort myself, and try to make sense of my father’s confusing behaviors. I have read that many people on the spectrum can reason to the point of complete illogical reasoning (I think everyone does this to some extent, but we come up with some concrete thinking that can be different from the average Joe.) just to make sense of confusing situations. I have done this my whole life with relationships.
The most irrational logic that I adopted from childhood is that “I am always at fault.”
I had to get to some logical explanation to make the loops stop – no matter how irrational or illogical it was. I will give an example of what my mom and I both said yesterday realizing how ridiculous our thinking was. I was discussing with her the things I have discovered about body image and proprioception. My mother suffers from dysmorphia as well. She feels no connection to her body, and she shared with me that she has no idea what she looks like.
This explained to me my mom’s obsessive behavior about appearance while I was growing up.
She obsessed about mine and hers sometimes it was out of control other times it was nonexistent. Lots going on there – needless to say I was confused on many occasions. It didn’t stop me from wearing my vampire boxer shorts, tank top, and socks into the grocery, thank you very much. She and I were talking about how we have no clue what we look like, and I said that all we had to go by is what others said about our appearance.
My mom and I were both mocked, and made fun of for the way we looked.
We had people in our life that would pick on parts of our body in “joking” ways. During junior high I had girlfriends do this to me, then later I had boyfriends nit-pick my body, or my behaviors. We have a childhood of those words. My mom also had her father who made fun of her looks. He thought they were funny jokes to make fun of her nose, or freckles. Those jokes destroyed my mother – she also had kids at school mocking her for the same things among other things. I was constantly mocked for various things, but mainly for my birthmark.
Then, the men in our life who claimed to love us treated us horribly.
They would pay attention to other women (girls) all the while claiming that we were the ones they wanted. They would tell us how attractive we were, or they thought we were beautiful then, would cheat on us. When it comes to cheaters, our minds now have written them off. They liars – anything they said or did say were lies. Everything. If they said, we were beautiful it was a lie. So how could we ever know what we looked liked?
If they cheated, or paid more attention to another girl than that meant we must not be attractive.
Those two factors were confusing, and did not help us to gain a true understanding of what we look like. This is completely irrational thinking. Those guys were jerks for doing that, we picked the wrong guys because we had no comprehension of our self-worth. We usually just “ended up” with them. There is a lot wrapped into that as well. It helped to talk this stuff through though and we gained a great deal of healing.
Back to my dad.
I called on Sunday forgetting that it was Sunday and that he is at church for most of the day. I was taking the kids to the beach so I would be too tired when I got back. I left a message and then, decided to call him on Monday. I decided to call him from the beach because yes, I am taking the kids as much as possible before we leave… in eight days! Aaaaaa!
It was one of the best conversations I have had with my dad.
I had no anxiety, or fear about what I said. I figured out that I need to be in a place that I really enjoy in order to be on the phone. I have settled that I will not make any calls unless I am on the beach or by water of some sort. During the summer, so I can only makes calls for a few months the rest of the time I am in phone hiding. Hee hee
My dad actually started talking to me about his sensory issues.
I expected the normal response when I started to explain what was going on with his auditory processing. It is usually changing the subject, or a transition to another person – somehow the topic is evaded. It was not the normal response he said, “So this is normal?” I laughed and said, “For those who have sensory issues.” I explained synesthesia to him because he sounded like he had some similar issues as I do – my mom has a certain form of synesthesia as well. When I told my dad he said, “Wow you got it from both sides!” This was so confirming for me. I said, “Yes! See, now can everyone be just a little bit more lenient with me?’ He said, “You mean you want some grace?”
I said, “Yes, from now on I am going to pull the grace card. A little grace here people!”
We had fun talking and I was on the phone for over an hour I believe. I did not go into shutdown, I did not get depressed, I was not filled with confusion, and I did not have some impending fear of waiting to be rejected. If my dad knew that I have gone through this my entire life he would feel so sad. He has never purposely hurt me, or even realized that he has.
With his slight acknowledgement of sensory issues it made me feel understood.
It made me feel like he wanted to know about something that I have knowledge in. It felt good. It made me hopeful for when he sees the kids. My step mom shared with me several weeks ago that they have a single mother who has a daughter with Aspergers who now goes to their church. I am not sure how everything is interpreted with her behaviors, or if they are praying for healing. She did not mention any of that. She did mention that the mom has shared about what it was like for her with her daughter, and she has shared about some of her experiences with meltdowns/shutdowns.
I think them being around someone with Aspergers, and a parent with experience has helped.
I do admit that yesterday morning I had a spout of depressive feelings. I wrote out what I was feeling through a story, and by midmorning, I was feeling better. In the afternoon the kids, mom, and I went to the beach. I am a little emotional now, but I have a lot going on – I believe it is quite normal. I think I can allow myself to feel some overwhelming feelings.
I am off to pack – Whoop!