Yesterday's was our last session until I return to school in September, and in a bittersweet way it was fitting to end our last session with the same topic that we'd started our very first session with: my dad. Something happened during a phone call with him Thursday that really upset me. I won't get into the details, but basically for the past week he's had the opportunity to come up here and see me and couldn't be bothered to do so. Before I continue I must make two things very clear: 1) I don't miss my dad at all, not one bit. In fact, I can't remember a time in my life when I ever truly missed him. 2) I wouldn't have been the least bit overjoyed if he had come or offered to come, and to be honest I probably would have been annoyed that he'd interrupted my preparation for the obstacle course that is finals week. For me, it's the principle of the matter. This man told me in his own words
that he was having a week-long stay in a nearby state, had taken a day to travel to another nearby state to visit his family, and "probably should've" come to see me too, but didn't. And what's worse is that he said this as an afterthought during our conversation, not as if he actually regretted it. This hit me hard, because it was yet another reminder that things haven't changed. It hurt the more that I let it sink in, and the old toxic cycle of thought resurfaced in my mind:
Other people and things matter more to him than you.
You don't matter to him.
You don't matter.
On numerous occasions and in various ways my dad has treated me in this manner, and up until recently I have always blamed myself and been incredibly saddened by it. But this time, though I was disappointed and upset, I was also angry. Indignant even. Like, How dare you?! I am nobody's afterthought, thankyouverymuch! Do you have any idea how awesome I am?! What makes you think you can do this to me?!
So during our session yesterday, Sue and I ended by talking about this phone call and how it made me feel:
- Your dad doesn't see you because he's probably a narcissist, and narcissists only see people as a reflection of themselves. They don't think about other people or their feelings. He's probably not even aware of what he does or how it makes you feel.
- This is a wound that will linger; the hurt will probably never go away. But as you recognize that it's on him and not you, it will gradually have a smaller and smaller impact on how you react to him and how you feel about yourself.
- And then maybe one day you'll be able to tell him how you've felt all these years, without being afraid that he'll get mad and yell at you.
- In reaction to his hurting you, you've been able to move from devastation and self-blame to anger and indignance. That's progress. And you're right. How dare he? You just keep being awesome, and he'll just have to miss out.
- You've been able to make steady progress in such a few months because you were ready for this process. You needed it. You did the work, Sue just guided you along.
On a much happier note, I am so grateful to Sue for working with me all these weeks. I know she said that I was the one who did the work, but I don't think I would've been able to make it as far as I have without her support. There are tons of therapists and counselors out there, but I honestly believe that God placed Sue in my path because she was the one best suited to specifically help me through my issues. I still have a long ways to go, and I am a little concerned about not having someone to talk to during the summer the way that we have. But I do know that I've been able to peel back quite a few old layers and equip myself with new habits and ways of thinking that will propel me forward. I can't thank you enough, Sue. You've been one of the greatest blessings! See you in September!
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