Perceptions of the self

I feel like I made a major mistake yesterday, although I don’t think I did.  I don’t normally cuss here, so I thought I’d just say that this post contains a whopping TWO (yes, count them) cuss words. 🙂

My phone lit up yesterday afternoon while I was at home, distracting myself with a book.  I glanced at the number and didn’t recognize it, so I turned it on silent and pushed it away.  Then I realized that the area code was from where my father lives and that it’s probably a work number that I don’t have in my phone.  I wasn’t going to answer, but then I heard the aftermath of my decision playing out in my head.

Dad is angry I don’t answer his calls.

Dad sends annoyed/angry email to my mom and me.

Mom gets frustrated with me for not just “sucking it up” and talking to him on the phone and keeping her from having him get upset at her.

So I decided that maybe I could tolerate his call.  We talked cordially for a few minutes until he started asking about my plans to pay back my student loans.  My logic regarding my loans is a bit complicated, but I’ve put a lot of thought into it, especially considering my job deals with student loans.  I knew, immediately, that I wouldn’t be able to fully explain the situation to him.  He would think it was wrong and he would tell me how to do it “right.”  So I tried to explain a bit, but when he obviously was indicating that I was a stupid little girl who had no idea how to manage money, I told him that they are loans in my name, so they are my responsibility to pay off, and that I don’t need his financial support to do so.  He asked why I was being such a bitch.  I told him I wouldn’t talk to him if he spoke to me like that.  He hung up on me.

I think I did jump to a defensive response too soon, but I know him so well that it doesn’t take much to tell where a conversation is going, and I absolutely cannot stand having him speak to me like I have no idea what I’m doing, because I do.  Better than he does.  He never went to college, he’s never filed his own taxes, he doesn’t pay attention to interest rates or repayment plans.  He has no idea what it means to have money in savings in case of a rainy day, because he makes too much money to worry that he won’t have enough to pay for the unexpected.  He’s never thought ahead (financially) in his life, which is how he’s ended up with so many lawsuits and bankruptcies and IRS tax collectors hounding him around every corner.

So that’s why it’s hard for me to even begin to tolerate having a conversation about how I’m going to pay my loans back.  Defensive? Yes.  Wrong? I don’t know.

It felt very wrong when, about an hour later, while I was trying even harder to distract myself with my book, I got an angry email from him (copied to my mother, of course) saying that he’s had it with me and that I hurt him and that he cares about me but I can’t lift a finger to call him.  He said that all we can talk about is bullshit and nothing that really matters.  It’s these kinds of things that just play mind games with me.  What if I really did imagine everything and I really am just a horrible person? Reading his email made me want to crawl out of my skin, disappear, and just generally do something destructive to myself.  I didn’t, not really destructive at least, but I did end up breaking down later that day.  And self-medicating in an unhealthy way, because I couldn’t tolerate being in my head.

I’m thankful I get to meet with my therapist tomorrow to discuss this, because my mind feels like a jumbled mess right now.  And I still feel like a horrible person.  Really, just awful.  Because I have him telling me he cares about me, but I don’t feel an ounce of love for him.  Not even when he was literally on death’s door.  The pain I constantly feel and try to escape from, what if I conjured it up in my mind, or I really was born with a hollow tin chest, and I’ve chosen to make him the bad guy due to…what?  Convenience?  My cruel nature?

I suppose I technically know what my therapist will say, but part of me is always afraid that she’ll confirm my worst fears – that all the negative things I believe about myself are actually true.  Or, I’m afraid that I’m a master manipulator, making myself look like this good person while I’m really just an emotionless, compassion-less shell of a human so that any nice things that she sees in me are just a product of my manipulation.  It’s extreme, maybe, but these are things that honestly seem like viable possibilities.

One phone call from him.  One email.  That’s all it takes to throw me into a small tailspin.

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4 thoughts on “Perceptions of the self

  1. No wonder you are in a spin. Immature behaviour like that from a parent is mind boggling. I hope therapy helps tomorrow xx

  2. Kashley, I am sorry your dad is taking his stuff out on you. My dad does the same thing. The conversation running through your head once you realized it was likely him calling is one I have weekly. I’ll never be the kid that calls my parents, especially my dad, often enough. It is draining dealing with the emotional confrontations from parents, especially when they are the ones supposed to be supporting us instead of suffocating us.

    You’re doing good work with your T, don’t let your parents drag you down! (easier said than done!) xox

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