Proving Yourself: Do I Believe It?

You want people to like you in this world. We all desire companionship in some way- through family members, close friends, co-workers, teammates, interactions when we are receiving services- as even those who seek solitude at times know in their hearts they need someone to share and communicate with.

Are there relationships you have that you feel the other person has the upper hand over you? Where no matter how much you tell, show and make them feel your total commitment, it’s never enough to level the playing field and you consistently feel weaker and drained as a result? I’m beginning to feel like this when it comes to my youngest daughter.

She admitted to my wife that at this point in her 12 year old life, she “can’t stand the sight of me” according to her latest report tonight. So she figures every interaction, every conversation, every topic that can be open for debate and argument, she’ll attack until I surrender. What would surrender mean to her? As much as I’ve tried to pinpoint what she wants, she’s never come out directly and told me. I’m betting though that if she had the chance to get me to move out of my house and away from the family, that would be her current best scenario.

News flash: I’m not going anywhere. When I make a commitment in relationships, I’m in this for the long haul. I didn’t bring two daughters in my family just to throw in the towel when rocky roads pop up. My oldest daughter thought she could thwart my wife and I’s relationship early on when she moved in, and after a year of attempting to pit one person against the other and realizing that we are smarter and communicate to each other about our children, she trusted me and found out that I’m not such a poor father after all.

To anyone who thinks that the first 5 years of a child’s development doesn’t have a profound impact on us years and years down the road, even into adulthood- please spend two or three days with my children. It breaks my heart that the statements my youngest remembers most from her birth parents revolve around words of hate, profanity and violence. Whenever she’s scared, shocked or angry, I hear those same words streaming from her memory at me. I’ve learned through my years of working in the human services field that you can help those who are ready to be helped- so I just continue to comfort her, assure her of safety and security and go on to live another day.

I’ve already proven myself in the eyes of my friends and my family that I’m a worthwhile, caring and compassionate individual. What will it take for my youngest to believe it? Years and years of continual, intensive therapy create a confusing road map for her- tenuously holding on to the past while trying to make sense of her present and future. Momentary change occurs when I go into my own cocoon and resolve to not speak to her- but I can’t go on as a father living in silence around her the rest of her life?

My wife faced these issues the first year and a half in our relationship, and my youngest continues to battle with her, just in a different way for asserting her place in the family and also desiring to be treated older while not keeping up with her responsibilities. Maybe it’s time for me to seek out individual counseling to gain guidance and an outside perspective so that I don’t emotionally punish or hurt the relationship more than what my daughter already feels. There are no right answers- it’s my work in progress.

Thank you for reading this 100th post to my blog. It’s hard to believe that I’ve had enough material to write this many posts in this quick a fashion- but I feel like looking at what goes on around me, through me and what I take in, I’ll have room for another 10,000 more.

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