Irresponsible Avoidance Parenting

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Why did you have us if you weren’t going to care? Was it just so you could become the image? Or did you really want us but you just didn’t know how to split your time? Didn’t know how much effort it would take?

It’s okay for me now, because I have figured out enough on my own. But what about him – he thinks he’s enjoying life but he doesn’t know how much he’s missing. He’s barely even opened the box. You’ve kept him there without even knowing you were, or what you were doing to both of us by not giving us boundaries. Not giving us boundaries meant for me I was always looking for them and for him, he could just carry on with his own self-indulgent existence. You have to ask him, nag him, demand him to take out the recycling for one time only and it’s the biggest inconvenience to him and his routinely planned evening. The recycling, for fuck’s sake. And you don’t even ask him, I do. Ask him to wash the dishes after dinner and he’ll huff and say he’ll do it when he’s ready. Ask him to wash the bathroom and he’ll say he can’t see dirt, even though the place is ridden with mould; green, black, and white mould. What the fuck? Why do you let him live that way? Why did you let me live that way? I’m not supposed to be the one instructing the rules onto a 30-year-old child.

He has a problem and I told you three years ago and I thought you listened to me because you nodded your head at me as if you knew I was right and you said ‘yeah, I know, I know’. But you didn’t want to know. You know there’s a problem but you’re avoiding it just like you avoid everything. Avoid deep conversations, that as it turns out could have been beneficial to me when I was too young to recognize that other children were getting maybe more information than I was. I had to figure it out on my own. Alone.

Maybe I’m being too harsh on you. Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me and you were there and you did tell me things, but I’ve just blanked it from my memory. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as I’m making out. Maybe I am the guilty one. The one who needed you too much, was too fragile and needy that I couldn’t cope without you and you just had too much other stuff to do, so your capacity was all you could give but mine was still too empty; because I was needing too much.

Or maybe you just weren’t there. And now, years later I tell you I’m in counselling for cocaine, ecstasy, and one night stands, and you tell me not to be too high maintenance or my new saviour boyfriend might grow tired of me.

Absent Parenting

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How would you know that I hadn’t been well? How would you know I am good at what I do? How would you know what my drink of choice is? How would you know I love swimming in the sea? How would you know I don’t like sand? How would you know you don’t need to worry about bailing me out? How would you know how adventurous I am? How would you know I can stand up for myself if I need to? How would you know that I can read social cues and not force myself on people? How would you know that people actually want me around? How would you know that I am the happiest I have ever been? How would you know how low I was before? How would you know that I asked for guidance to let you go? How would you know that I was always convinced I wasn’t part of you? How would you know I’ve never felt loved by you? How would you know the hardest bits that I have endured? How would you know what a rainbow of people I have in my life? How would you know I am not embarrassed by the things you are? How would you know I was brave enough to make this move? How would you know that I had saved and planned hard for this chapter?

How would you know all of these things?

For you have never asked. You have never listened. You have never shown interest. You have never shown you care or made me feel loved.

My doubts are born from you, all my niggles and hang-ups are from your voice over my shoulder. I’ve been scared, I’ve skirted along the bottom, I’ve stared the worst in the face. Life is beautiful, exciting, challenging, terrifying, the biggest lesson of all – each and every day. But it has to be lived, because it is fleeting and can be over in a flash. It must be savoured and every day you must find joy in something – whether that is a nice chat, a free parking space or a new little flower in bloom. For you are missing out on all of this, so coiled you are in your worries, fears and judgements.

Please don’t bother trying now; what you have to offer isn’t what I need and what I needed from you once upon a time, I no longer need. You don’t have it, I found it elsewhere. The most wonderful bunch of humans I love dearly have each offered me a puzzle piece, which put together fills the void you should have once stood in. You have missed out on so much; I am pretty decent, yet you have always focused on my failings or the worse-case scenario. I am exhausted by you, by thinking about you; you drain the life out of me. I don’t want to see you. I wish you well, I want you to find your own happiness.