I have had a couple of really good sessions with my therapist where we are starting to explore “dad”. Dad really hasn’t been an accessible topic for me the way that mom has been. We discussed the fact that I have never truly grieved the “loss” of dad once the divorce was final. He would see us, but it never felt like he truly wanted to...it felt like my brothers and I were more pawns that he used to get back at our mom....example..there was a custody battle that my dad initiated for custody of me and when he won, he did not want me. I don’t recall any closeness or affection from him....he would not pick us up at our mom’s house....he would talk very mean about her (so would our step mother). The visits were awkward and inconsistent and conversations were shallow. He would promise vacations and then “get busy” or the vacation would be a tag along to a seminar he was attending out of state. He once said I was “this close to normal” (using his fingers to indicate about an inch). He was a psychiatrist. It is weird to talk about him because I feel numb...but I know there is more under the surface.
I’m still going through some of your posts, so maybe you ended up writing more about this, but this is extremely important in my opinion. My father is EXTREMELY avoidant, even though he loves me so much, in the best way he can, it’s been sorely lacking in nurturance and effort. He didn’t take good care of himself so there was an undercurrent of worry and feeling of responsibility, he didn’t go on trips with me, and as I got older we didn’t talk. He’d love when I was over at his house but would like me to be in the background, in the other room often. We did some activities together which was a good thing, like paint and make model airplanes and watch movies. We’ve always had a rapport of humor and intellect and affection....similar to my DA. He’d get angry and insult me and wouldn’t apologize (when I was a child.). The limitations and lack of awareness he and my DA have are astounding. I have always been able to forgive/disregard unacceptable behavior/neglect from a loved one because I absolutely had to as a child. And I’m able to see the potential bc my father actually got better when he wanted to...he went to therapy in his 60s. Definitely a gigantic connection.