I acknowledge that I have some father issues. These can be summed up in four statements:
1) My biological father was (and still is, I’m sure) an abusive, manipulative, and violent man. I truly consider him the most evil person I have ever personally known.
2) I deeply hate him.
3) I am a total jerk to my adoptive father most of the time, and for some reason he still deeply cares about me.
4) Despite number 3, I have realized that deep down I really, badly want to do things that will make my adoptive father show his approval of me.
The first statement is just a couple of facts that won’t change. As for the second statement, I realize that it’s probably unhealthy to harbor such a strong hatred. My close friends have warned me that it’s probably hurting me more, that it’s letting him win, etc. But the fact is, you don’t just wake up one day and decide that you aren’t going to hate your former abuser anymore. It takes a long time. I have had years now, years away from him to calm down my anger. But it just hasn’t changed; I still would, given the chance, try to make him feel pain like he always did to me. I realize that’s an issue that should be worked on, but I feel helpless to do anything about it right now. Maybe it just needs some time before I’ll be able to reflect on things with a cooler head.
The third statement is something I’m not really to proud of, but half the time I feel like I can’t help it. I don’t even really know why I’m such an ass to him. Maybe it has something to do with him taking the verbal abuse much more passively than my biological father would have? I don’t know. All I know is, I get angry and take things out on him and he ends up very sad. Part of me feels bad about it, but the rest of me feels like I can’t help it. I’m sure I can, it’s just another thing I need to figure out and work on.
The fourth statement was kind of surprising to me, but I realized it was true. When I lived at home, I was constantly trying to impress him. I would show him my programming projects, I would take on more than I could handle with my class load at school, I would do anything to earn his approval. And when, instead of a good job, he offered me helpful criticism–because I can recognize it as such now–I was crushed, and often, resentful.
Organizing my thoughts and problems like this really has helped me to gradually overcome them, in the past. Maybe eventually, I’ll be able to do the same thing with these.