Incapable of love

incapable of love

In a previous post I mentioned a very disturbing thing dad did right after grams died. The other day mom expressed her concerns about dad playing some songs that were played at grams’ funeral and since dad was still there I asked her to tell him about it, so we could resolve the issue for once and for all.

He has been playing those songs frequently and somehow I had hoped he would be considerate enough to steer clear of them until she had recovered from the grief of losing her mom a few months ago.

In my opinion, what he fails to realize is that she was very close to her mom and her death affected her a lot. He lacks empathy. From what I’ve gathered, he and his mom were never really close. She was a strict disciplinarian and at some point, due to the conflict of interests he ran away from home. That said, I feel he doesn’t quite understand that special bond between a mother and child.

He never had the pleasure of calling his own mother “Mom.” She forbade her own children from calling her ‘mother’. She never really wanted to accept she was growing old and it’s like she imagined being called mom would emphasize the fact that she was losing her youth.

Making up for lost love

However, we understood that fact a long time ago, and for that we’ve always showed dad so much love, hoping it would in a way make up for his love-deprived childhood, though he hardly reciprocates. I feel he deliberately pushes us away.

Shouldn’t the thought that we try to make him feel loved help him overcome the bitterness from his childhood? I am no shrink, but I imagine my presumptions are not too inaccurate.

What ensued though, was a fight. Dad argued that there’s nothing he does that sits well with mom. “People die, you will die too. Let everyone carry their own cross,” he bit out angrily. I hadn’t seen that coming. Somehow I had imagined he would be like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you felt that way.”

On the contrary, he seemed totally unapologetic. “Let everyone listen to the songs they like,” he seethed.

His response shocked me. I had hoped he would atleast empathize with mom. But then, the more I think of it, the more I realize why he seems incapable of love. The one person, who was supposed to show him how to love, didn’t.

Substandard parenting

I may never have this conversation with his mother-for respect’s sake-but I feel she’s entirely to blame for her children’s misfortunes. As damaged as dad might seem, he appears to be the best of the siblings. That definitely tells a lot about her. She failed her children, now we’re left with the empty shells she raised; mean people who don’t seem to know what love is.

How do we teach dad how to love? How to be empathetic? It’s true what they say about teaching an old dog new tricks; how can we possibly fill his heart with love, when he grew up, not knowing how it feels to be loved? How can he love, if he doesn’t know what love is?

In a twisted kind of love, I talked about how he has a weird way of showing us he loves us. He tells us he loves us, but his actions tell a tale of their own. I don’t remember any single thing dad did for me that made me feel he loves me. I get the impression that every little thing he’s ever done for my sisters and me, he did out of obligation.

When I was small, I managed to overlook his shortcomings. I knew I would have wished for a better dad, but somehow I still loved him, and hoped he would love me back. Now I’m all grown up, and there’s nothing he does that even gives the illusion he is capable of love. In any case, nowadays it even feels worse because he has become an alcoholic so any free time he spends away from the office, he spends it alone, drinking; and most of the time he is plainly hostile.

Neighbours who have come to know the type of man dad is keep telling mom whenever they meet outside, “Be strong.”

After that brief argument, he said goodnight and flounced out of the room. Clearly, it hadn’t gone the way I had expected it to. I know mom has her own shortcomings and all, but that’s not the response I had hoped for. She had approached him meekly, in a conciliatory tone; one that didn’t brook argument, yet he reacted like mom had thrown hot coal at him, throwing hands up in the air and all.

I know dad had a difficult childhood and that’s why he has turned out into the hostile man he is today. However, I believe even though we might not have the power to change the lives we led as kids, life gives us numerous opportunities to forge out our own paths.

It’s not easy trying to ditch one’s past, that much I know; but at the same time I believe that with a little determination one can make so much progress.


8 thoughts on “Incapable of love

  1. Susan Irene Fox

    Aly, unfortunately, you keep thinking your dad will act like someone who is not alcoholic, or someone who is not (fill in the blank – narcissistic, whatever). Hon, you have to understand that you can’t change (or save) him. Neither can your mom. You can’t change your grandmother, either. And telling her all the bad things she’s done will only serve to dump your anger out on her. If she’s that way, think of the upbringing she must have had!

    The best thing you can do is break the cycle, and continue to give your mom encouragement to be honest about who she is regardless of your dad’s reaction. That, and bump up your moving date to as soon as possible.

    Still praying for you.

    1. alygeorges Post author

      I really appreciate the encouragement you give me Susan. I hope to break the cycle and I’m still trying so I can move out soonest possible. Please keep my family and I in your prayers.

  2. threekidsandi

    I am so sorry. You have had some good advice, dysfunctional people will usually react dysfunctionally, and all you can do is decide your own boundaries and try not to internalize it.

  3. Looking for the Light

    My upbringing was horrific. It took me many years to resolve the issues inside due to the scars. At 50 I’m glad I can look back knowing I freed myself from pain and hatred. Some issues I disassociate from, they stay in the box, don’t ever think about them unless I read something on here jars the memory. I had cancer at 28 and was unable to have children and for that I’m thankful. I had to see a psych at 12, bad kid, I remember clearly telling her I’m not having children because I would never want to do to my children what was done to me. It was probably the smartest thing I said at 12 years old. As the saying goes…you can lead them to water but you can’t make them drink. We can only change ourselves and set boundaries with others. I’ll be thinking of you and hope for improvement. 🙂

    1. alygeorges Post author

      I’m really sorry for all you went through. You are strong indeed. Sometimes I feel it’s difficult forgetting things because one thing happens and it leads to another and then it all starts feeling like some sought of ugly dejavu. But the best thing to do, as you’ve pointed out, is to improve oneself and set boundaries with others.

      1. Looking for the Light

        It’s not an easy process. I am estranged from my mother and my father has passed. I’m 50, I’ve had plenty of time to resolve the abuse of my mother and stepfather. I don’t have any boxes that I know of about that abuse. The hard one is sexual abuse and add the person committed suicide. I haven’t processed most of the issues. I’ve talked with my therapist and she said sometimes you have to disassociate. As long as those memories aren’t reoccurring it’s not a problem. Resolving the issues are suggested but you have to decide when/if you’re ready. If dragging out the memories is going to impact you negatively it’s not the right time. Of all the post I’ve written about my abuse, the hardest was about my father. It was the first time I told anyone. Luckily those memories do not haunt me. I think with a good therapist and a clear direction for your life, you can say I don’t want to go there. It’s hard when you’re haunted by memories or have the family members still involved in your life. I wish you strength and healing.

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