Client Journal: Absent Father

I appreciate you going over our time to get me to the point where I can start thinking about who I am in relationships. I have been thinking about that for the past couple of days. I think in a lot of my relationships, I turn into my absent father. I do not do it as much now, but what would happen in the past, is that I would intensely (like almost everyday for about 4 or 5 hours) hang out with a friend for a few weeks at a time and then I would just disappear. Without calling, texting or anything. I would rationalize that “they should know I’m busy and have other stuff to do.” I would act like that because after spending so much time with someone, I would realize that I wasn’t taking care of myself. I wasn’t expressing myself, I wasn’t talking about my problems, I would just listen to theirs. I wasn’t working on myself as an artist and I wasn’t doing the hobbies that I like to do just for me that make me feel good. This would cause me to feel overwhelmed and anxious, which would turn into to me judging and criticizing myself (“No wonder your career isn’t where you want it to be, you spend all your free time bullshitting around…”) which would then have me shut down and not talk to anyone so I could “work” on myself. Which would basically mean me not doing anything except sleep.

It wasn’t until a few months ago when I was confronted by L about it that I realized this pattern is extremely hurtful to people. After speaking to you on Tuesday, I realize that this is similar to what my dad would do, and still does. When I go back home I will maybe have one day, or a half day in which I will see my dad. He’ll make me dinner or eat dinner with me, or if I am hanging out with my niece he will watch a movie with us and just listen to our conversations without really saying anything. Then, after that one day or half day of spending time with him, he’ll disappear and the next time I most likely will see him is when he is dropping me off at the bus station. It is hurtful to me to just have him be so disconnected with me. You and I had a conversation that made me realize that he is like that with everyone, so I don’t take it personally now, but it still hurts. Now I realize that I do in fact need a lot of alone time, to actually work on the things I need to work on, like with dance, music and writing. But I am more forthcoming with my friends about that. I say things like, “I am not sure of the next time I will be able to spend time with you, but lets at least make a phone date.” Sometimes I slip. Sometimes I do disappear. But I try to catch myself after a couple days and hold myself accountable to whomever it is that I disappear on, I talk to them and tell them why I flaked out on them. As I am writing this, I realize that when I do disappear on people, most of the time, it isn’t about them, it’s about me collapsing and falling into my victim when I am not properly taking care of myself.

This post was written by

Leave a Reply