1. the trait of being difficult to handle or overcome.
2. resolute adherence to your own ideas or desires
My father is an obstinate man. If I tell him it’s raining, he tells me it’s not, literally. One day, I commented to him how interesting it was for a painter to paint a cow bright red, and he replied matter of factly,
“There are red cows, I’ve seen them.”
He is convinced that my brother has stolen his shoes, books, and his certificate he received when he crossed the equator. I’ve never seen this certificate, ever. I think about what I will be like if I reach his age, 92 years old.
Will I be a burden to my children? My dad is not a financial burden, but he can be an emotional burden. But can’t we all, at one time or another?
I’m told “I’m a good daughter” by many people. It doesn’t make me feel better. I’m not trying to be a good daughter. I’m really not. I was raised with certain values and principles that don’t allow me to just forget my dad exists. He’s human. He has feelings. He is my dad. For better or worse, and there is both.
My dad is an alcoholic. He was for my entire youth and long after. He did the best he could. He is not cognizant of how he was. He doesn’t understand why I’m the only child who sees and speaks with him regularly. I am far from a doting, patient daughter, but I do a lot.
I try to imagine how I will react when he dies. Oftentimes, I think he will outlive me. He is a strong man. He is determined. He is obstinate. Maybe he will live until 100. I wish he talked to me. I wish we would have had conversations about life, love and happiness when I was growing up, or even now. My father has never really communicated with me or anyone, for that matter. He sits silently, sometimes smirking, sometimes frowning, but mostly with a blank nondescript look, staring at the TV that never goes off. He has all of his faculties. He is just a man of few words. He always has been.
I have a hard time dealing with my dad. Seeing him is a constant reminder of my childhood. My childhood was not terrible. I know a lot of people who had it much worse. But it’s not the best memory. He’s not the best memory. I see his face, and I remember him drunk. I remember the disappointment. I remember the fear. I remember the contempt I felt for him. He doesn’t drink anymore except for an occasional beer or glass of wine. He is an old man. He is just looking for companionship.
I’ve been to Al Anon a few times. I’ve never spoken. I listen. I observe. But I’m angry. I’m resentful. After all of these years, I’m still mad at him, and I don’t want to stop being mad at him.
I’m mad that he didn’t go to AA.
I’m mad that Al Anon has the same 12 steps as AA.
I’m mad that I have to go through the same steps as my alcoholic father should have, even though I’m not an alcoholic.
But I’m a good daughter, for better or worse. I am. But that doesn’t make it any easier.