My brother thinks that dad is a little bit scared of me.
My instinctive reaction to this was laughter and, somewhat meanly, to think of “THE POWER!” that this grants me.
I asked my brother if I really seemed that volatile. He didn’t have to elaborate much for me to get the gist of it: dad is scared by the unpredictable ferocity of my wrath.
I used to get like that with my brother sometimes; the right glare would make him shrink. But we’re both older now and have a fair bit in common. I’m more inclined to be frustrated by dad than my sibling.
You see, my brother and I actually talk to each other about feelings. Dad doesn’t do that (whenever he does it leaves me in a mild state of shock). Mum’s the empathic one, my brother’s been through enough of the stuff I worry about to simply get it, and I know dad doesn’t do emotions. He’s literally said as much. He feels them sure, but he doesn’t talk about them. It’s stupid, but it’s his prerogative I guess.
We’re a bit alike in that way, sometimes. I doubt I’d get so fiercely angry about stuff if I didn’t bottle it up in the first place. If I regularly talked to people about the things that bother me (I’m a terrible judge of how frequently I do that by the way) I could probably defuse the problem.
Dad tends to consult my brother on how to handle me. I find this fact hilarious and I’m not sure why. There’s definitely some sort of bitterness in me there. I can’t pinpoint the specific cause of it but, if I had to guess, I’d say that it stems from the marriage blip he and mum had during my teenage years.
That was a long time ago now. I haven’t had to explain the story behind my parents living in separate houses while still being together to anyone for a while. I think I’ve gotten better at explaining it concisely, but it’s still one of those *sigh* “here goes” moments.
One of the standard questions you get asked in a counselling assessment session is: “Are your parents divorced?”. To that I say no, because they’re not. But they nearly were at one point. It was the most amicable separation ever, it had a happy ending eventually, and I angsted to my friends about it way more than was necessary at the time. I have nothing to be upset about now and I barely had an excuse to get upset back then. It all worked out fine in the end.
But I still get mad sometimes and it’s easiest to get mad at dad. It’s not necessarily his fault; it takes at least two to miscommunicate, after all, but sometimes he’ll say something horribly insensitive at dinner and the rest of us will exchange glances round the table. I don’t think he even realises that what he’s said is insensitive until I respond with either a “I want to murder you” grin or a tight lipped bit of snark. I’ve managed to avoid bursting into frustrated tears in those moments so far.
Passive aggression is my bread and butter. I know it’s not a great approach to dealing with anything, but it’s very difficult to politely explain why you feel the urge to rip someone’s head off to said head owner. I love my dad but he can be a complete idiot sometimes. Maybe if we talked about emotions once in a while he’d know better than to say certain things around me, but I can’t bring myself to bridge that gap.
Shit. Maybe that’s why the idea of him going to my brother for advice on how to handle my emotions is so fucking funny to me. It highlights the crux of the problem.
I tend to alternate between glowing at any tidbits of praise I get from dad, gushing to him about tech stuff (because you can only talk to him about concrete things he cares about, since emotions are out of the equation) for the sake of us having some sort of thing to bond over (it’s not mandatory, but it is nice), getting sometimes out of date job advice from him, and wanting to rip his head off.
That’s family I guess.